Ritter’s Rant: NHL News And Notes

April 27th, 2010 No Comments

He may have only played just over ten minutes, but given his game six performance I think it’s safe to say the P.K. Subban era has commenced in Montreal. There are not too many defensemen that can play in all zones, Subban looks to be that kind of player.

Keeping with the Montreal Canadiens, hands up all three of you that predicted the Canadiens would be forcing a game seven in their round one series against the mighty Washington Capitals.

The Canadiens have kept Alexander Ovechkin off the scoreboard in two of the six games and they have done a marvelous job extinguishing the Capitals ultra-tough power play which stands at an astonishing 3.3 percent success rate. For the record, the Caps came into the series with the top ranked power play in the regular season, chiming in at a 25.2% success rate.

Quick pick for game seven: Montreal takes it to the Caps once again with Canadiens goaltender coming up large. Capitals lose, at home, 3-1.

On the heals of ousting the Buffalo Sabres from the playoffs, the Boston Bruins just got some more good news as Marc Savard (who has been out of the Bruins lineup since March 7th with a concussion) has been cleared to play.

The final decision will likely go to Bruins head coach Claude Julien, but one has to expect Savard to be inserted into the lineup immediately. Regardless of the decision, Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask will be the difference maker, not Savard.

Before the playoffs started I picked the Los Angeles Kings to beat the Vancouver Canucks, the Buffalo Sabres to beat the Boston Bruins, the New Jersey Devils to beat the Philadelphia Flyers, the San Jose Sharks to beat the Colorado Avalanche, the Pittsburgh Penguins over the Ottawa Senators, Washington Capitals over the Montreal Canadiens, the Chicago Blackhawks over the Nashville Predators and the Detroit Red Wings over the Phoenix Coyotes.

So far I am sitting with a 3-3 record (not good). With only the Detroit/Phoenix and Montreal/Washington series yet to be decided I am going to have to go 2-0 in order to save face…and I don’t like the chances of either Washington or Detroit heading into game seven! Can you say fisted?

If you are looking for a reason there have been so many upsets in this years playoffs look no further than the goaltenders. Teams that have been blessed with good goaltending are moving on, the one’s without it (with the exception of the Colorado Avalanche) are already on the golf course.

What I like about this years playoffs is that so many players are emerging as possible MVP’s. One night Colorado’s Craig Anderson is making over fifty saves, next night it’s the Canadiens Jaroslav Halak doing the same thing against the Capitals, then, on the flip side, Sidney Crosby is making highlight reel plays followed by some tremendous individual efforts by the likes of Mikael Samuelsson. Simply put, every game has been “can’t miss” hockey—there is a different hero emerging every night.

Washington Capitals sniper Alexander Semin has registered a total of 36 shots on net in the series against the Montreal Canadiens—he has NO GOALS to show for his efforts…

Mike Green, affectionately referred to as the next “Paul Coffey” by some, has amassed 19 shots, registering NO GOALS in the process. Green has also proven to be a defensive liability once again…Paul Coffey? I think not!

If the Los Angeles Kings elect to keep the dynamic defensive duo of Jack Johnson and Drew Doughty together for the long run they will emerge as the NHL’s best 1-2 punch. That said, given the negative comments directed towards Johnson during the regular season, there are doubts the King’s will elect to sign Johnson long-term. Let me just say this— separating these two would be a mistake…sign him!

If anyone has seen Chicago Blackhawks forward Dustin Byfuglien say “hello”—I missed him in the Blackhawks series against the Nashville Predators, was he even there?

Alarming statistic: There are only ten Russian players in this years NHL playoffs, of which, five (Alexander Semin, Anton Volchenkov, Denis Grebeshkov, Sergei Gonchar, Andrei Markov) have yet to register a goal. Which brought me to this question—Is Russia a dying hockey power?

For all of you involved in the never ending Sidney Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin debate here is the score through six playoff games—Crosby five goals, nine assists, numerous highlight reel moments; Ovechkin five goals, four assists, nine points, two games kept off the score sheet. EDGE: CROSBY!

Until next time,


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