News has dried up like a conversation with Jacques Martin... guess we could get into all the rumours floating around but most of them don't seem to make any sense, so we'll leave that up to the professional rumourmongers...
A rumour that would have some pretty big fantasy hockey implications if it did materialize is the one that has M'sota shopping back-up goalie Josh Harding looking for forward help in return. Harding has paid his dues and has put up solid numbers in the WHL, AHL and NHL (only 3-9-1 last year but had a 2.21 gaa & .929 sv%). He looks like he could be ready for a full-time #1 gig and would be an excellent add in a keeper league. There is speculation that teams like Colorado and Edmonton will be interested but not sure the Wild will want to deal him within their own division. Could the Leafs be interested if they don't get the Jonas Gustavsson? They probably should be.
Brent Burns says he is over the concussion issues that knocked him out of the last few months of the season and is just recovering from shoulder surgery that he had in April. "Worst year of my life... It starts with [elbow] surgery two weeks before camp. I had that, then I had to play forward. Then I had the shoulder bothering me a long time. It finally doesn't hurt [because of injections] and the first day back [from the All-Star break], I smack my head and then play through it. It was definitely a frustrating year. I'll be glad to start new next season." Love how he slips the "then I had to play forward"... getting a little dig in there for Jackie Lemaire.
What's distracting us today? Crosby (29 points) and Malkin (33 points) are doing their best to snatch away the Conn Smyth from one of the Red Wings. They are putting up playoff points the like we haven't seen for a very long time.
If Crosby can pick up one more point (a tough task with the way Detroit looked in Game #5) it will be the first time since 1991 two players from the same team scored more than 30 points when three did it...Lemieux, Recchi and Stevens. Impressive stuff.
We thought we'd take a stroll down memory lane with the top ten single season point leaders in playoff history (thanks to THN.com)
THN decided that the list wouldn't be very much fun if players were allowed to appear on it twice. All because of Wayne Gretzky...who topped 30 points a ridiculous six times -- 38, 35, 47, 34, 43 & 40. Lemieux on the other hand pulled the trick only twice (44 and 34 points).
Here's the list:
10. Eric Staal – Carolina Hurricanes, 2006, 9-19-28, 25 games
Staal didn’t win the Conn Smythe Trophy (it went to goalie Cam Ward), but he could have. The then-21-year-old center bested teammate Cory Stillman by two points to take the scoring race.
9. Bryan Trottier – New York Islanders, 1980, 12-17-29, 21 games
Trottier also led the playoffs with 29 points in 1982, but notched half as many goals as the 12 he had in 1980, the year the Islanders won their first of four Cups in a row and Trottier won his only Conn Smythe.
8. Craig Simpson – Edmonton Oilers, 1990, 16-15-31, 22 games
En route to winning the Oilers’ fifth (and final) Cup in seven years, Simpson tied Mark Messier in total points, but scored seven more goals. But neither skater won the Conn Smythe; it went to Edmonton goalie Bill Ranford.
7. Al MacInnis – Calgary Flames, 1989, 7-24-31, 22 games
The first of two defensemen on the list, MacInnis led the Flames in scoring by seven points and the playoff race by six on his way to a Conn Smythe Trophy. Calgary beat Montreal in six games for its lone Cup in franchise history on the back of the MVP’s four game-winning goals.
6. Evgeni Malkin – Pittsburgh, 2009, 13-20-33, 20 games
With at least two games yet to play, Malkin is likely to move up on this list — although if Crosby catches fire he could very well take his skating-mate’s spot.
5. Joe Sakic – Colorado Avalanche, 1996, 18-16-34, 22 games
Sakic led the league in goals and game-winners (6) as the Avalanche won its first of two Cups in six years. Colorado swept Florida in the Cup final; Dave Lowry led the Panthers in scoring with exactly half of Sakic’s 34-point total.
4. Brian Leetch – New York Rangers, 1994, 11-23-34, 23 games
Although not the highest scoring defenseman in any single post-season (that mark goes to Paul Coffey’s 37 in 1985), Leetch led the league in assists and tied with teammate Messier with four game-winners. That year the Blueshirts won their first Cup in 54 years and Leetch took home the MVP trophy.
3. Mike Bossy – New York Islanders, 1981, 17-18-35, 18 games
The man with the highest regular season goals-per-game average (.762) amongst players with 200-plus goals in NHL history was good for nearly a goal and two points per game in the ’81 post-season. He led the playoffs in goals, assists and power play goals, but somehow lost out on MVP honors to teammate Butch Goring. Not to worry, Bossy collected the hardware in 1982, when the Islanders won their third Cup in succession.
2. Mario Lemieux – Pittsburgh Penguins, 1991, 16-28-44, 23 games
Lemieux was simply magical in leading the high-octane Pens to their first Cup, beating the upstart Minnesota North Stars (15th overall) in six games; the Pens, for their part, finished the regular season seventh overall. Lemieux led the playoffs in scoring by 10 points over teammate — and current ageless wonder — Mark Recchi, recording the second-highest playoff point total in NHL history.
1. Wayne Gretzky – Edmonton Oilers, 1985, 17-30-47, 18 games
Gretzky’s 2.6 points-per-game average will likely never be matched. For leading the scoring race by 10 points over teammate Paul Coffey, The Great One captured the first of his two Conn Smythe Trophies. Gretzky had already led the post-season points parade the prior two years and went on to do it a total of six times, a record matched, appropriately enough, by just one other NHL legend: Gordie Howe.