Bolland show the Hawks how to celebrate (and win) last night
Dave Bolland returned after missing 17 games due to a concussion and he was apparently pretty fired up to get into the series as he had 1+3=4 last night in a dominant performance. He's had injury problems the past two seasons and has typically been better in the playoffs than the regular season so he's a guy who is more value in real hockey than fantasy hockey.
Bolland even dragged his linemate Michael Frolik towards respectability as he had 1+2=3 & plus-4 last night. Hopefully he doesn't do much more of this as he's a guy I'm targeting as a buy-low candidate this summer and heading into next season as I still like the upside and think he was unlucky this year.
I'm disappointed in the clowns (the professional hockey writers) who vote for the Calder Trophy as apparently they only care about goal scoring. Skinner, Couture & Grabner were the three nominees for the award and also the top three goal scorers but the NHL is a league that contains more than just forwards and to not recognize that what John Carlson & Corey Crawford did was more impressive than what the forwards did just shows how little these
writer's writers (as a collective) know.
One of this guy's favourites is hanging them up... Sergei Zubov is calling it quits after sitting out this year's KHL season due to injury. As we do with the greats when they retire, let's shine a light on his greatest fantasy season... for Zubie we go all the way back to the Rangers' championship season of 1993/94 when he led the team in regular season scoring with 12+77=89, plus-20 & 222 shots in 78 games... I'd make room for some of that on my fantasy team.
I've pointed out a few times lately how average Jonathan Quick was down the stretch and that was one of the main reasons I didn't think LA had much of a chance in the playoffs so I wasn't surprised to see him implode last night giving up six goals on 36 shots in the OT loss. As a guy who loaded up on Sharks (9 of 21 boxes) in the FHS Playoff Pool, I was pleased as punch this morning to see that the Sharks pulled off the comeback
We mentioned the other day that Roberto Luongo hadn't given up more than three goals in a game going back to mid-January, a span of 29 games. Well the playoffs are a whole different animal as Bolland & friends beat him six times (on 28 shots) last night and he was pulled in the 3rd period. And for those looking for him to bounceback, recall that he gave up 5+ goals in three of the final four games of last year's series against Chicago.
The Sharks may have a bit of a dilemma on their hands as Antti Niemi looked pretty awful last night giving up four goals on 10 shots before getting yanked. Antero Niittymaki came in and stopped 11 of 12 to spark the comeback but given that Niitty has only started once since mid-January, I would expect to see Niemi back in the net for game #4.
Reports out of Sweden say that Canucks have signed 21-year-old Swedish FA Sebastian Erixon to an ELC. He's a smallish (5'11") dman who is coming off a decent SEL season where he had 5+15=20 in 44 games. The Canucks are also reportedly trying to sign 27-year-old Swede Martin Thornberg who scored 25 goals this year for HV71. I'm inherently skeptical about euro-vets coming to NA and having an impact so pardon me if I'm not going out and grabbing these guys in my keeper leagues.
The Wild signed undrafted college FA Justin Fontaine after a Championship season at Minnesota-Duluth. He had a very solid 22+36=58 in 42 games this season after 46 & 48 point seasons the past two years... so he looks like an intriguing prospect that we'll keep our eyes on.
At the U-18s yesterday... Canada blew a 3rd period lead and lost to Sweden and they'll now face Germany in the QF on Thursday. Dman Ryan Murphy with a beautiful goal & eight shots yesterday for Canada. In other action, the Swiss outshot the Russians 49-23 but lost 8-3... I'd say goaltending was a factor there. The line of Nail Yakupov, Nikita Kucherov & Mikhail Grigorenko combined for 6+10=16.