Last night, a fellow outside of the Air Canada Centre was carrying a homemade sign reading "Toronto Stronger," a reference to "Boston Strong", the motto of The One Fund charity raising funds for those affected by the Boston Marathon Bombing. I take issue with the sign for two reasons. First, the sign is inaccurate. If score-adjusted Fenwick and Ben Afflick movies have taught us anything, it's that Toronto is not stronger than Boston.
The second thing I take issue with is that the sign is not very nice. Even if you feel that media coverage of the event has been overblown, (which in all honesty, I would probably fall into this category) getting self-righteous about or making fun of people in their grieving process is not a helpful response. It does not contribute to the understanding of the event nor does it help those trying to come to terms with the violence. Charges of classlessness, the most passive-aggressive accusation known to man, are bandied about frequently during the postseason, but in this case I think they hold some weight. These are hockey games, people. Making fun of those grieving over the deaths of civilians is not a reasonable thing to do. This shouldn't have to be said, but I thought I'd say it anyway.
In summary, be kind, rewind, and enjoy today's links.
Habs News and Analysis
- Roster news abounds, dear reader. Congratulations go out to P.K. Subban for a Norris Trophy nomination alongside Kris Letang and Ryan Suter. With Brendan Gallagher receiving a nomination for the Calder Trophy yesterday, we now have two things to look forward to when the award winners are revealed during the Stanley Cup Final. With regards to the lineup for tonight's Habs-Sens ECQF Game Four, Ryan White and Brian Gionta are both out with upper body injuries. Jeff Halpern (pumps fist) and Gabriel Dumont will draw in for the 7:00 ET puck drop.
- Here's an Associated Press preview of tonight's game four in Kanata, Ontario. The author notes that in Game 3, Ottawa and Montreal combined for 236 penalty minutes and nine game misconducts. Michel Therrien felt that Ottawa targeted P.K. Subban and Brendan Gallagher and that this caused them to take penalties in self-defence.
- Christopher Boucher does not pull any punches in the title of his most recent article: "Desharnais with some brutal playoff possession numbers." Desharnais' success rates for deking, passing, and getting shots through in the offensive zone are all below 50% in the series. This is troubling as during the season his success-rate in the offensive zone was 63.4%. It's also important to note that Davey's d-zone giveaways have shot up from 29.1% of his total d-zone plays during the regular season to 50% in the postseason.On the positive side of the ledger, DD's forechecking success rate is higher than what it was during the regular season.
Know Your Enemy: Ottawa Senators Edition
- There's some activity on the Ottawa front. Defenseman Patrick Wiercioch is out for tonight's game with a lower body injury and so Eric Gryba will draw into the Sens' Game Four lineup. He's Ottawa's seventh defenceman, so keeping him on the ice as long as possible is a much better strategy than targeting him for retribution.
- Here's Silver Seven's Mark Parisi with a brief profile on each Senators' performance through the first week of the postseason. He notes that Jean-Gabriel Pageau has been Ottawa's most pleasant surprise of the series.
- Scott over at the Sixth Sens has posted his scoring chance counts from Game 3. His numbers have the Sens out-chancing the Habs 12-6 at even strength, although through two periods the EV chances were only 8-6 for the Senators. Also of note is the Sens out-chancing the Habs 6-5 in 5 v 4 situations.
- Graeme Nichols over at the Sixth Sens discusses the Canadiens and their blowup in Game Three, noting that "Montreal's obsession with trying to match Ottawa's toughness [evidenced by things like Rene Bourque's elbow and Josh Gorges' anger at Paul MacLean's timeout] is bordering on ridiculously comical levels." He also notes that Paul MacLean's timeout was not only defensible based on the Habs' conduct, but also ingenious as it is drawing Montreal's attention away from the game and towards the Walrus himself.
General News and Analysis
- TSN SportsCentre anchors Jay Onrait and Dan O'Toole will be officially announced as the hosts of Fox Sports Live,"Fox Sports One's nightly studio show" that will be a direct competitor to ESPN's SportsCenter. Have fun in the States, boys. We'll miss you!
- Ryan Lambert publishes a profile of Boston fans for Pension Plan Puppets' "These Guys Are the Worst" series. He characterizes the fanbase as being home to "repellent drunk, middle-aged homophobes" and feels that generalizing Bs fans in this way is fair based on the sheer volume of jerks he's encountered living in the greater Boston area.
- Jonathan Willis over at Oilers Nation calls Brendan Gallagher "the most deserving [Calder] candidate still in the running" after looking at his EV P/60 and Montreal's possession stats with Gallagher on the ice. He does feel that Oiler forward Nail Yakupov deserved a nomination over Florida Panther Jonathan Huberdeau, though.
- By computing expected save percentages and using residuals off of league average shooting, Michael Parkatti has modified PDO, the traditional luck measure, to better represent luck.
- The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi are nine months away and the Russian men's team is laser-focused on winning gold for the hometown faithful. Russian team officials note that as the Olympics will be played on big ice, the foundation of the Russian Olympic team will consist of KHLers with NHL stars peppered into the lineup.
- Here's some highlights of the top saves, goals, and assists from the preliminary round of the 2013 World Hockey Championship.