Morning Skate 54: Breaking down BostonPhilly stats


Morning Skate 54: Breaking down BostonPhilly stats

By Joe Haggerty

BOSTON Here are a couple of stats to throw out with the Bs nine games into their playoff run this season, and in an excellent position while up 2-0 in their series against the Philadelphia Flyers. Theyve been here before, but this season most definitely looks and feels different. The numbers seem to be backing that up, so heres a giant helping of stats from the series. Patrice Bergeron is tied for second in the NHL with 11 points (2 goals, 9 assists) in the playoffs, and is winning 60.8-percent of his face-offs while also playing at a plus-7 in nine games thus far. The 25-year-old center should be considered in the Conn Smythe discussion and trails only Claude Giroux in the playoff-scoring department with the Flyers forwards 12 points (1 goal, 11 assists) in nine games. Vinny Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis also both have 11 points (5 goals, 6 assists) for the Tampa Bay Lightning in 10 games played. Zdeno Chara, despite missing 10 pounds in a 24-hour period while battling a virus that caused severe dehydration prior to Game 2 against the Montreal Canadiens, is still second among playoff defenseman with 29:04 of ice time per game during the Stanley Cup playoffs. Charas offensive numbers havent been there, but hes still playing the stopper role in the defensive zone along with his other vital roles in the Boston attack. Nashville defenseman Ryan Suter actually leads everyone in the NHL playoffs with 29:34 of ice time per game. Brad Marchand is averaging 18:22 of ice time per game in the playoffs with nine points (4 goals, 5 assists) in nine games, and he leads the entire NHL in playoff plusminus with a plus-8. Mark Recchi and Patrice Bergeron are both tied for second with a plus-7 so far this postseason, and that trio of players so good and so dynamic through the regular season is a combined plus-22 during the playoffs for the Bruins. The Bruins have four of the top 10 plusminus leaders in the NHL during the playoffs with Andrew Ference also clocking in with a plus-6 thus far in nine games. Nathan Horton and David Krejci each have two game-winning goals in the playoffs thus far, but they trail Lecavalier, who has three game-winning goals for the Tampa Bay Lightning in an impressive body of work thus far with the Bolts leading the Capitals 3-0 in their series. James van Riemsdyk leads the NHL with 59 shots attempted in nine playoff games thus far for the Philadelphia Flyers. Thats 13 more than anybody else has managed to squeeze off during the playoffs and an average of 6.5 shots per playoff game for the former UNH superstar and NHL draft lottery pick. Thats a ridiculous number of shot attempts, and what's even crazier is that he's burying 11.9-percent of those shots.With some numbers to digest, on to the links: Paul Coffey tells the Pittsburgh Tribune that hes willing to work with the Penguins power play next season. If they dont have Sidney Crosby at full strength it isnt going to matter all that much. Yan Stastny is starring at the world championships in a European setting that should make him feel very at home, per Kevin Allen of the USA Today. Via Kukla's Korner, ESPN anchor John Buccigross goes through a player on each remaining playoff team that hed personally like to see win the Stanley Cup. Yahoo! Sports columnist Nick Cotsonika goes through how some place like Nashville can transform into a southern hockey town that they like to call Smashville. The attention to detail on defense for this years Washington Capitals team will be highly scrutinized if they fall down in the second round as it seems theyre about to, down 3-0 to the Tampa Bay Lightning. With the Caps struggles in mind, Mike Brophy wonders whether Bruce Boudreau will be in trouble should Washington drop this series sooner rather than later. A couple of cool stories about Tim Thomas from the Globe and Mail in Toronto: one from James Mirtle details how unpredictable Thomas can be between the pipes and the other is how easy it is to cheer for an underdog like the Bs goaltender. CBC rink side reporter Elliotte Friedman gives his always cogent 30 thoughts and thinks Montreal Canadiens underachiever Scott Gomez still has a future with the Habs after a rough season. FOH (Friend of Haggs) Greg Wyshynski takes on the subject of Brad Marchand, and paints a pretty accurate picture of why the Bruins pest is helping to make a difference this season.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Thursday, Oct. 27: Chara top D-man on All-Graybeard team


Thursday, Oct. 27: Chara top D-man on All-Graybeard team

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while saying RIP Vine but not really feeling it since it’s a rabbit hole I never really delved down into. 

*Down Goes Brown celebrates the “NHL’s old guys”, and yes, that means a gratuitous shout out to Zdeno Chara as the top defenseman on the All-Graybeard squad. 

*Hampus Lindholm has signed a long term deal with the Anaheim Ducks, so now that deal leaves everybody to wonder who is leaving the Anaheim roster in the eventual salary cap crunch. It will be interesting to see if this hastens any Cam Fowler trade talk as far as the Bruins are concerned because it looks like they need the help.  

*Pro Hockey Talk has the Oilers off to their best start since the Wayne Gretzky Era and people in Edmonton finally getting to see the hockey they’ve been waiting for over the past few years. 

*In honor of the Halloween season that we’re in, here are a few cool and scary goalie masks with a bit of spooky flair. 

*Arizona Coyotes GM John Chayka is confident that his young team is going to rebound after a rough start to the season. 

*Speaking of creative uniforms, it’s a most wonderful time of the year for hockey when they bust out their Oktoberfest sweaters. 

*For something completely different: this matchup of Peanuts and Stranger Things hits all the right notes for fans of both. 


Goalie update: Tuukka Rask dealing with hamstring AND groin injury?


Goalie update: Tuukka Rask dealing with hamstring AND groin injury?

While the good news is that it doesn’t appear that Tuukka Rask is dealing with a knee injury, there are still some significant muscular issues to work with concerning his left leg. 

According to former Bruins defenseman and NHL analyst Aaron Ward on CSN’s Great American Hockey Show podcast, the Bruins franchise goaltender has been dealing with a hamstring issue that’s also become a hamstring and groin issue as he tried to play through in the first week of the season. Rask clearly tweaked something in his left leg opening night against the Columbus Blue Jackets, missed the Saturday night loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs and then appeared to aggravate the injury in last week’s win over the New Jersey Devils. 

According to Ward, it’s hamstring and groin issues for Rask as the Bruins attempt to survive without him while potentially working toward a possible return for the Finnish netminder this weekend vs. the Red Wings. Rask hasn’t skated with the Bruins since finishing out the 2-1 win over the Devils last Thursday night, and tweaking the problematic left leg in the process. 

“What I was told is that it was left leg, and that at first it was hamstring and now it’s possibly hamstring and groin,” said Ward to CSN Bruins Insider Joe Haggerty on the Great American Hockey Show podcast. “You’re always concerned when you’re a goalie and it’s your legs, right? It’s the push-off. The crazy part was watching it on video where the shoot came from the left side and went wide, and the next time he injures it shot comes from the same spot, misses it wide and [Rask] is in the exact same position wincing.

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“I think [the Bruins] are smart rather than trying to play a guy that’s 90, 80 or 70 percent, whatever it is, to just get it over with. Endure the short term pain to get the greater gain, and that’s having Rask in there. There’s no greater endorsement to keep him out than seeing the [bad losses without him] because you need a healthy Tuukka to let the rest of the team settle.”

It’s been disastrous without Rask, of course, as the Bruins have allowed 11 goals in back-to-back losses to the Wild and Rangers with rookies Malcolm Subban and Zane McIntyre between the pipes, and Anton Khudobin out for three weeks while sporting a cast on his right hand in the last B’s game at TD Garden. 

Meanwhile, Rask (3-0-0, 1.67 goals-against average and a .947 save percentage) is trying to heal and time it perfectly so he returns once he’s past the danger of potentially blowing out the muscles in his left leg and making the situation even worse than it already might be. 

Ward also discusses his relationship with "Toucher & Rich" and the "Cuts for a Cause" charitable event that he helped start.