The Legend of JoePa growing... Swedes coming & going... EC 1st round breakouts, breakdowns & John Druce Award... Marleau missing... Montreal buzzing
The Legend of Joe Pavelski just keeps growing as he followed up his three points in game #6 vs Colorado with another three points last night in game #1. This gives him 6+3=9 in his last four games and pulls him into a tie with Mike Samuelsson for the most playoff goals (7).
Those expecting to see Nikita Filatov at the World Championships will be saddened to hear that he's been cut from the team. He's still one of the better prospects out there and still only 19, so don't get too down on him because of all the turmoil surrounding him this year.
More CBJs news as they signed 25-year old Swedish goalie Gustaf Wesslau as a free agent... he's been the starter for Djurgarden the past two years and took them all the way to the SEL finals with a 1.80 & .940 in the playoffs. He'll spend next season in the AHL trying to adjust to the North American game. Seems like the hot trend these days for NHL teams to sign these veteran goalies out of Europe, trying to find the next Niklas Backstrom or Jonas Hiller... and while home runs like those two guys are the rarity, it's definitely worth the risk.
One prospect comes from Europe and one goes as 22-year old Blues dman Jonas Junland is returning to Sweden after spending the last two playing in Peoria. He showed a lot of offensive potential with 14+30=44 in 74 games this season but the Blues have quite a few prospects on their way up and Junland probably felt like he was lost in the shuffle.
Let's take a look at some Breakouts & Breakdowns of the 1st Round from the Eastern Conference:
Breakouts (maybe they broke out during the regular season and kept it going or maybe they're showing that they'll be breakout candidates in next year's Breakout Bible):Erik Karlsson - regular readers know we've been talking about him quite a bit over the past few months and after 1+5=6 in six playoff games let's just recap... first 37 games of the season he had 1+7=8, the last 29 games (including playoffs) he was 5+19=24... not bad for a 19-year old.
John Carlson - Carlson with a 'C' didn't quite have the production of his Swedish namesake but until the playoffs he wasn't even getting a regular shift in Washington, so for him to play around 20 minutes a night and put up 1+3=4 with a plus-6 in the 1st round is a small glimpse of the potential that he possesses.
Claude Giroux - we really thought he'd breakout this season and with 47 points he was close but with 4+2=6 in five 1st round games, it definitely looks like next year is going to be his time.
Tyler Ennis - he was a bright spot down the stretch for the Sabres as he had 4+9=13 in 16 games to close out the year including 1+3=4 in six playoff games... this after almost a point-per-game (65 in 69) in his rookie season in the AHL.
Tuukka Rask - he was already a breakout this year and we think the sky is the limit for this kid... so it comes as no surprise that he took down the Sabres in round one with a 2.18 gaa & .927 sv%.
Breakdowns (think we all expected a lot more from these dudes):
Tim Connolly - maybe he was hampered by the foot injury that kept him out of nine games at the end of the regular season but only one assist in the 1st round after 65 points in the regular season is not acceptable.
Jamie Langenbrunner - similar situation for Jamie as he came into the playoffs struggling and feuding with this coach but only one assist in the first round is not getting the job done for a guy who's been a clutch playoff performer in the past.
Brian Elliott - he headed into the playoffs with a 6-1-1 record in his last eight games but was no match for the Penguins and seemed to fold when the pressure was on (4.14 gaa & .853 sv% in four games).
Alex Semin - for a guy who had 40 goals this year to score on zero of his 44 shots, that's a pretty remarkable breakdown. At his regular season shooting percentage he would have scored six times on 44 shots.
Matt Cullen - Not a true Druce performance here as he only had three goals but did have eight points in six playoff games and coming from a 33-year old guy who has never topped 50 points in a season (rather amazing when you consider that he has gone over 40 seven times), it's quite a surprise... expect him to be back around 40 points again next year.
Patrick Marleau sat out game #1 last night with an "illness" but there is speculation that he may in fact be injured... the team says he's day-to-day.
Shane Doan had been playing with a rib injury for the last two months of the season and then suffered a separated shoulder in game #3 that finished his season. It was a rough year for Doan and these injuries didn't help, look for him to bounce back next year.
If you're a big Craig Rivet fan then you're going to have to get your fix elsewhere as he'll have shoulder surgery that will require 4-6 months of rehab, so he could miss some time at the beginning of next season.
What's distracting us today? Still abuzz about that Habs-Caps game. Especially since the city of Montreal came to a stand still after the win:
Ummm... can somebody tell them it's only the first round?
All this Hab-love floating around is getting a little annoying. If you're like us you need a good reason to hate Les Canadiens again.... well you're in luck:
Anybody know the emoticon for 'shudder'?
Hat tip to Total Pro Sports for the video