Monday, November 28, 2011

Kyle Turris: Doomed to the life of a Desert Dog?

When I heard Kyle Turris wanted to be traded from Phoenix my first thought was: "just wait a few months and the team will move itself". But I guess that wouldn't solve Turris' problem of playing for Dave Tippet, in what he presumably considers a bad situation for himself.

I also began to wonder whether or not Turris was actually a bust. He was drafted third behind Patrick Kane and James van Riemsdyk in 2007 and he still hasn't really cracked the NHL (last year he played in 65 games). Turris feels like a bust because Kane has seemingly been around for forever, so what's taking Turris so long?

Then I looked at his age and realized he was 22. For comparison's sake, Nazem Kadri is 21. If I was going to label Turris a bust, then I better start preparing to do the same for Naz. I wasn't prepared to do that, I still view Kadri as a quality prospect (hold on while I adjust my rosy Leafs-coloured glasses).

With super rookies like Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, and to a lesser extent, players like Jeff Skinner and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, coming into the NHL and making an immediate impact at 18, it becomes easy to write off someone like Turris for failing to make a similar impact 3-4 years later. But the truth is that it is very rare for an 18-year-old to play at a high level. Most often, players take years to develop into quality NHLers.

So altering my thinking through that lens, it became clear why some teams would still have an interest in Kyle Turris, and why the Phoenix Coyotes didn't give into his trade demands. You don't just give away a player you took with a lottery pick, even if it's three-and-a-half years later.

For today's Good Point article I wrote about the whole Turris saga.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Sidney Crosby Returns: A Retro Diary

sidney crosby penguins
Did you enjoy Crosby's return as much as I did? I had an inkling it was going to be pretty special, so I kept a running diary of what happened. Here it is.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Ovechkin's Trajectory: Yashin or Yzerman

alex ovechkin capitals
There's a problem with Alexander Ovechkin. It doesn't matter that he has the 7th highest points-per-game of all-time, or that he's cracked 50 goals and 100 points four times. It doesn't matter that he's won two Hart Trophies. There's a problem.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Occupy the Neutral Zone

I hate boring, defensive hockey so much I once proposed fining and banning defensive coaches. Of course, that was a little tongue-in-cheek, although sometimes that doesn't translate well on the internet because people take everything super seriously.

There is a lot of hullabaloo lately about the Lightning's use of the 1-3-1 trap, which started some murmurs that the league might even look into adding some sort of shot clock style system that requires teams to move from zone to zone in a certain time. That's stupid.

What's really stupid is that the Lightning are being killed for using the trap even though it hasn't affected how offensive of a team they are. They are still a top-10 offensive team even with the trap.

When people hear trap they immediately picture the New Jersey Devils. But there's a difference between being a defensive team because you know you can only score a maximum of two goals a game, and just being a good defensive team. The 1995 New Jersey Devils probably were more of the former, as they were a middle of the pack offensive team; but the 2000 New Jersey Devils were definitely the latter, as they led the league in goals.

Just because you use the trap does not immediately make you boring - just plenty of boring teams use it. The Lightning, however, are not one of them.

That's today's post at The Good Point.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Monstrously Horrific Goaltending

jonas gustavsson leafs bad
Oh, look, a rebound.
It's over. Jonas Gustavsson must be stopped. He isn't stopping anything, so the only reasonable course of action is to stop him.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Reviewing the UFA Class of 2011

jaromir jagr flyers salute
I'm so cheap I'm still pissed about the day I spent a dollar on a mystery bag of comics. I thought "wow, a mystery bag, I bet there could be tons of Spider-man comics in there". Wrong. I was young, the comics were crap, and I still mourn the loss of that dollar.

But most NHL GMs don't share my miser ways. In fact, every summer they take a great, big wad of cash burning a hole in their pocket, which is undoubtedly there because some horrible contract just came off the books, and they proceed to spend it on a new contractual anchor, which might as well be tied around their neck (unless we're talking about Glen Sather, then we're talking about the contractual anchors that will eventually be around some other GM's neck).

This summer, most GMs spent as wildly as ever, but some actually spent their money wisely. It's early in the season, but it's about time we start looking at what the 2011 UFA class is doing.

Some players such as Brad Richards and Christian Ehrhoff have provided a level of production that is fairly consistent with their salary. You won't find them on this list. Other players like Simon Gagne are just 'meh'. They aren't paid too much and they are playing half-decently. They're no fun.

This list is the best, the worst, and the 'OMG how is this player not on the bust list', based on the early returns of the 2011-2012 season. Of course, this list can change at any time, but in some cases, you know it won't.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Sustaining the Surge

bozak kessel lupul super best friends
First place. It's got a nice ring to it doesn't it.

The last time the Leafs were in first place this late in the season was in 1998. Yup, I think that about sums up what's happened around these parts lately. The Leafs already have nine wins, which they didn't achieve last season until early December.

It is truly miraculous that the Leafs sit first overall in the league despite owning the league's worst penalty kill and one of the worst goals-against per game. But they have outgunned their problems on the way to a 9-3-1 record, and when you win, nobody cares how you do it.

But there is legitimate reason for concern. If the Leafs don't rectify some of their problems, it won't matter that they've started the season like gorillas out of a cage, they'll find their lead atop the standings slowly slip away, and they'll fade, joining a long list of teams that looked like Stanley Cup champions in October, only to find themselves forgotten by January.
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