Giroux with the game of his life (so far)... more from Ville... Kane rising... Canucks ink trade bait... Babchuk coming back... GMs award themselves... Heatley demands trade (via youtube)
Claude Giroux had the biggest game of his life as he picked up the GWG and had two more assists in Game #3... that's 20 points in 20 playoff games. Giroux is one of our favourites and we think he's in line for a breakout season next year... but then again, we thought he'd breakout this year, guess we should have specified that it wouldn't happen until the post-season.
Ville Leino scored his 15th point in 16 playoffs games last night but more importantly he played over 23 minutes. In the regular season he was around 12 min and we were happy to see him at around 15 in the playoffs. Peter Laviolette has obviously gained a ton of confidence and it looks like he's found a home with Daniel Briere and Scott Hartnell on the second line. That breakout season we predicted for Leino this year might have been one year early.
Leino's 23 minutes are impressive but they are nothing compared to Chris Pronger's 32:07 of playing time. Intense, hard hitting (just ask Toews), physical hockey for 32 minutes... insane. This scout would have trouble finishing a 32 minute walk.
The Canucks signed Cory Schneider to a two-year extension. He's had a couple of big seasons in the AHL (2.04/.928 last year then 2.51/.919 this year) but he's been roughed up in his NHL time (10 games, 3.46 & .887). The Canucks are likely trying to pump up some trade value here so expect him to get more starts than most of Roberto Luongo's backups normally get. Not sure how long the Canucks will keep him in the fold but with a couple of bounces going his way, in the right situation, we think he's got the talent to turn in a Jimmy Howard-like performance in the next few years.
The Blues signed Jori Lehtera, the top scorer in the SM-Liiga to an entry-level deal but he will spend the next two seasons on loan at Yaroslavl in the KHL... so they'll let him develop there before trying to get him to come over.
The Thrashers signed 2009 2nd rounder Jeremy Morin to a deal the other day... we like this kid a lot, we had him ranked as the #14 fantasy prospect in last year's draft and said then that he "scores goals wherever he plays"... well J-Mo made us look smart as he had 59 goals in 78 OHL games (regular & playoffs) this year. Probably still a year or two away from making the big club but we like what we're seeing.
Sabres 2009 1st rounder, Zach Kassian, was in a bar fight over the weekend and has gotten himself into a bit of trouble... shouldn't be anything to worry about but Kassian's been making headlines for the wrong reasons this year but lets remember that he's only 19.
Anton Babchuk met with the Hurricanes recently and they're confident that he'll be back with the team next season after a year in the KHL. Good news for fantasy GMs as Babs had a breakout season with the Canes in 2008/09 with 16+19=35 in 72 games... might be worth a look if you can grab him for nothing in the offseason, otherwise keep him in mind come draft day.
The NHL GMs handed out an award, to themselves yesterday, as Coyotes GM Don Maloney took home the first GM of the Year Award... stupid award, at least based on the one-year criteria, this is like giving out the Conn Smythe after the 1st round of the playoffs, we'll see in five years if the decisions that Maloney made were any good. The Award should have went to former Hawks GM Dale Tallon, but that would make waaay too much sense.
Andrew Ladd missed this third game with his undisclosed UBI. We heard rumblings he would be back for Game 2 so this can't keep him out too much longer.
What's distracting us today?
- If you like terribly written articles then you should check out Walter's Perspective on CBS Chicago's website. A professional writer actually wrote this about his lack of knowledge of hockey: "And the icing, as in icing the puck? Icing is frosting, isn't it, on a cake? And a hat trick? That's for magicians. And the players hooking. Hooking? That's what bad women do. And what is a Zamboni?" Stick tap to Kurtenblog... be sure to check out their entertaining look at the article as well.
- A great craigslist ad by a fake Chris Pronger
- You've probably heard many (including us) talking about the Hawk's future salary cap problems but it just looks so much worse when you see it written down... so thanks to NOHS for writting it down. As NOHS points out "Chicago will have about $419,000 to work with in order to full (sic) in the other 8-9 sopts (sic) on the roster." Ouch.
- We've all seen this hit but it's just soooo much better in gif format:
- Jimmy Howard (along with Kris Draper, Drew Miller, Darren McCarty and Chris Chelios) was invited to Comerica Park for a bullpen session with Justin Verlander. J-Ho held his own according to Verlander: "He did a really nice job, especially with breaking balls, I thought that he would be really good with fastballs, because there isn’t much movement, similar to a puck. But then the breaking balls, he did a much better job then I anticipated. He caught all of them, and that’s not easy to do."
- Finally, we have no idea how OttawaGh0st (via Buzz) does it... but he always seems to get the Dany Heatley exclusives. Today, typical Heater move.... he's demanding a trade to the Hawks: