“Comeback Player of the Year Award - to the player who returned to a previous high level of performance that was interrupted by subpar play, long-term injury or major illness.”
1. Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning
2. Brian Boyle, New Jersey Devils
3. Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers
How much hockey are you planning to consume this weekend, Bolts fans? We’re just curious. [Raw Charge]
“I’m going to the Raw Charge meetup with Greg Wyshynski for sure!”
“I’m going to Gasparilla AND all the All-Star stuff I can get to (I plan to be dead by Monday)”
“I don’t care about the All-Star Game or Gasparilla so I might check out that Marsh and Kronsnoble show.”
New game: What’s in Brayden Point’s pocket?
The League is definitely making the most of Victor Hedman’s contract. As the Official Tampa Tour Guide, he’s probably doing more at the All-Star Weekend than every other player there (except maybe PK). [NHL dot com]
“Hedman is available to sell visitors on the wonders of Tampa, his adopted home. There are beaches and golf courses and restaurants. Oh, and an insane pirate festival this weekend for all the people-watching you could desire.
“Plus, as Hedman would remind you, the best hockey team in the National Hockey League.”
Leaving without comment because I just can’t right now.
I would like to apologize for missing the Raw Charge All-Star meetup, but I’m pleased to see that Matthew Esteves brought sufficient adorableness to make up for my absence. [Be better next time, Hardev! Buy that plane ticket! - Acha]
Listen, I would like to worry about how little experience the Syracuse Crunch have, but I really just couldn’t care less. Crunch win again, 5-2 over Belleville (again). [Syracuse]
“We’re jelling pretty well so far. Everyone’s kind of stepped up a bit. We really just don’t care. We just go out there and play our game,’’ Anthony Cirelli said. “We know the gameplan that’s set, and we just go out there and try and follow it. We’re young guys. We want to contribute every night. We just go out there and play. Nothing else really matters.’’
Anthony Cirelli has (hel)met all expectations this season... I’m sorry, I’ll show myself out.
Carter Verhaeghe is expected to be out of the Crunch lineup for a few weeks. Okay, which rookie wants to step up and score 10 goals in as many games? [Syracuse]
“Verhaeghe has eight goals and 17 assists in 29 games for Syracuse this season. His start with the team was delayed by an injury as well. Verhaeghe joins Kevin Lynch (one to three weeks), Adam Erne (day-to-day) and Dennis Yan (day-to-day) as Syracuse forwards sidelined by injuries.”
And now for a quick OHL story:
My other other night job consists of being an off-ice official for the Mississauga Steelheads; goals, assists, shots, penalties, video review, that kind of stuff. Friday night saw Lightning prospect Christopher Paquette and the Peterborough Petes come to town to play Sauga. Paquette finished the game with a goal and five shots, but the way the game ended is the real story.
Fast forward 63 minutes into the game, it’s 3-3 and we are in overtime. Petes winger Pavel Gogolev — yes, that’s his real name — stumbles at the blue line as he brings the puck into the offensive zone. Part of me felt like the play was offside, I may have even said it aloud, but the play continued. Four seconds later, Gogolev’s teammate Nikita Korostelev would rip a shot from the top of the facoff circle, ending the game!
The Petes jump onto the ice to celebrate, the Steelheads head to the dressing room. Both teams are now off the ice, the nets are being removed, and Video Goal Judge Bill Prisniak sticks his head out of his office shaking his head vigorously at me. I call my supervisor and we make the neccessary actions to call back both teams. After Video Review, it is determined the puck entered the zone offside, we have no goal. This game’s not over yet.
It takes several minutes to get the players back into their gear — some were already in street clothes — and onto the ice. The already half-empty Hershey Centre is now pretty much barren but there’s nothing we could do about that. Eventually, the puck gets dropped and within a minute projected first-round pick Ryan McLeod scores for Mississauga.
Highlights from the game can be found here. Unfortunately, the offside clip did not make the cut.
“If you’re uncomfortable about a rebuild because of Henrik Lundqvist, well, so am I. To re-build on him at this stage of his career is criminal, but the Rangers made this bed and they need to sleep in it. That Lundqvist is an innocent bystander to this mess is unfortunate. But as much as you want to help him, the Rangers can’t risk a future decade of failure because of bad decisions made today that you know most likely won’t pan out.”
It appears as though the NYR rebuild will kick off with a major sell-off at the 2018 Trade Deadline. [SB Nation]
“Forwards Rick Nash, Michael Grabner, and David Desharnais, and defenseman Nick Holdenare among the upcoming free agents that Brooks names specifically. But the bigger fish would be defenseman Ryan McDonagh and forward Mats Zuccarello, who are both signed through the 2018-19 season.”
The NHL has a Brad Marchand problem. [ESPN]
“But Marchand isn’t Gudas, nor is he Torres. He isn’t necessarily a headhunter by trade. Like Pronger, he “samples the menu.” Unlike Pronger, his menu spans from when he was a bottom-six depth player through his emergence as a first-line scorer -- and All-Star -- with the Bruins.”
Highlight of the Night: Jordan Kyrou with not one, but two highlight reel goals.