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Lightning Round: Let’s relive Mikhail Sergachev giving Alex Nylander jelly legs

In other news, Brayden Point is good.

Tampa Bay Lightning v Chicago Blackhawks Photo by Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images

If you watched Thursday night’s Lightning win over Chicago, you might have noticed a play in the second period where Mikhail Sergachev calmly disassembled Alex Nylander’s existence as hockey player. The Fox Sports Sun broadcast seemed to enjoy it as Rick Peckham and Brian Engblom had some laughs but I didn’t see it get much traction anywhere else so let’s give it the attention it deserves. I mean, what are else are you doing a Saturday morning? Something better than repeatedly watching Alex Nylander get juked out of his jock? I didn’t think so.

First of all, Sergachev is known for this. He did it a bunch in his rookie season but has gotten more conservative because other players have obviously seen it on tape and have been prepared for it. That led to some bad turnovers and rightfully, he’s been more judicious in determine when to try to send NHL players swimming. As the gifs below will show, we can be confident that Nylander has not done his homework.

To begin, we’ll look at the direct angle from behind Sergachev. This is a great look because it gives us a good view of Nylander’s attempt at defense as well as shows that the Hawks forward wasn’t the only person fooled on the play. The camera does a little back and forth synchronized with Nylander skates.

Sergachev receives the pass, puts on the breaks, goes forehand, backhand, forehand on the crossover. Nylander’s body goes right left and back right biting on every directional fake Sergachev makes. And in his attempt to get back in position, Nylander’s body betrays him as he gets way out over his skates. He tries to turn with Sergachev and ends taking a pretty fantastic spill. You can see the moment he realizes he’s not going to be able to keep his feet and just acquiesces to the inevitable. Gravity is undefeated after all.

The next angle is much wider and gives a more complete view of the full move and Nylander eating it. What I like about this view that isn’t quite as obvious in the first is that Nylander is comically far away from Sergachev for the entirety of this confrontation. Like, he doesn’t even get close to pressuring him. Sergachev just toys with him and then flies to the inside leaving him in the dust.

Sergachev scored a goal in this game as well but the play I’ll remember is making Alex Nylander’s skates look like they gained consciousness and tried to fly off his feet in the middle of the game taking his legs with them. I hope NHL teams keep bringing in players who don’t watch tape so we can see this at least once per year for as long as Sergachev is in Tampa.

Other News

Losing six consecutive games cost Mike Babcock his job in Toronto. Another Canadian team has lost six in a row and is running through all the cliches that usually precede a coaching change. On Thursday, Calgary had a players only meeting. And then yesterday, General Manager Mark Treliving gave head coach Bill Peters the Dreaded Vote of Confidence. I have no idea if the Flames will make a coaching move but I do know that a players only meeting and a vote of confidence from the GM on back to back days is a harbinger of bad things for coaches.

Every year, TSN does a Core 4 Under 24 ranking which is a nonsensical way of judging the quality of a team’s young players. They pick the top 4 players under age 24 on each team and then rank the teams subjectively. If I get bored this weekend, I might redo this exercise using WAR but for now, I’m happy to report that based on whatever criteria the TSN crew used, the Lightning rank 10th. The four players TSN chose are Brayden Point, Anthony Cirelli, Mikhail Sergachev, and Mathieu Joseph. I might have chosen Erik Cernak over Joseph but aside from that, the choices are fine. Point is doing the heavy lifting in this group and as of now, the Lightning don’t appear to have another young start in the pipeline behind him so they will likely drop pretty far in these rankings next season.