Morning Skate 54: Breaking down BostonPhilly stats

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Morning Skate 54: Breaking down BostonPhilly stats

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

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 jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Heinen looking to be dark-horse candidate for Bruins' roster

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Heinen looking to be dark-horse candidate for Bruins' roster

While much of the focus is going to be on the young D-men headed into Bruins training camp, it would be foolhardy to overlook a forward prospect Danton Heinen, who is in position for a real dark horse run at an NHL roster spot. 

The strong odds are that the former University of Denver star is going to be begin the season in the AHL for the Providence Bruins after putting up a couple of points in four games there at the end of last season.

Still, that certainly hasn’t stopped Heinen from setting his sights on an NHL spot out of this fall’s camp, most likely in a third- or fourth-line capacity to start things off, or perhaps at the top-six right wing spots that have given the Bruins some problems filling permanently over the past couple of seasons.

Either way, the 2014 fourth-round pick knows that his clock to fulfilling his dreams as an NHL player has started and that it’s up to him when he can start making that a reality.

“It’s something I’ve wanted to work toward my whole life, so I’m just going to try to keep getting better, have a good rest of the summer and then put my best foot forward to see what happens,” said Heinen, who had an assist and a sweet goal in the Friday scrimmage at development camp when he twisted D-man Cam Clarke around like a pretzel on a nifty rush to the net. “I just need to continue to get stronger this summer, and working on my skating to get a bit quicker.

“[The AHL] was a lot of fun to get in there and see what it was all about. It was a lot different than college hockey, and it was definitely good to get a taste of it. [Bruins officials] told me to have a really big summer getting faster and getting stronger, so that’s what I’ve been doing.”

The 6-foot-1, 185-pound Heinen, 21, continued to show in development camp last week, however, that he has the playmaking skills and hockey IQ to flourish while surrounded by more accomplished players and in tighter situations. It’s exactly what he showed while posting 36 goals and 93 points in his freshman and sophomore seasons for the Pioneers and it was what he showed while finishing last week as one of the best forwards in camp.

“He’s looked really good at [development] camp. He’s a smart player, he’s committed and I think you’ll notice him in training camp. It will be up to him, but I think he’ll definitely be pushing some guys [for an NHL job],” said Bruins assistant coach Jay Pandolfo, who was running the Bruins development camp. “He looked good [in Providence]. He fit in well. He’s the type of player that can play with good players because he’s got high hockey IQ, and he’s got really good skill.

“Anywhere you put him he’s smart enough to figure it out. You could tell in his first game there was a little bit of an adjustment for him, but the second time game it really looked like he’d been playing [at that level] for a long time. He’s a quick study, and he looked really good last year.”

The Black and Gold management hope he continues to look good at main NHL training camp in a couple of months, where he’ll undoubtedly be featured, and could be a lot closer than many people think as a polished skill forward coming out of a big-time college hockey program. 

Saturday, July 23: Hammer Time for VP pick Kaine with Caps

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Saturday, July 23: Hammer Time for VP pick Kaine with Caps

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while everybody is working for the weekend...or during the weekend.

*The vice-presidential candidate for Hillary Clinton, Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, made quite an impression while hanging out a Capitals game with MC Hammer. They call this guy boring, but that doesn’t sound very boring to me.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Bob Stauffer has the news that the Edmonton Oilers are parting ways with fancy stats lad Tyler Dellow. Boy, it seems like some teams are reversing course pretty quickly on some of these smarter-than-thou advanced statistics types, aren’t they? I certainly wish Dellow well and hope he finds another gig. But Instead of baselessly wondering whether the Oilers are going to continue down the fancy stats road (which they most certainly will), perhaps this is more a referendum on nonsensical stats-driven decisions like handing out that long term contract to a perpetually underachieving Benoit Pouliot.

*The New York Rangers have locked up Chris Kreider to a four-year contract at a reasonable number, and now he has the time with the Blueshirts to see how good he can be.

*Brian Leetch opens up to the Players Tribune about his NHL experiences playing with the New York Rangers, and all of his favorite experiences from a Hall of Fame career.

*PHT writer Cam Tucker says that Carey Price’s injury from last season is no longer a concern, according to Habs coach Michel Therrien.

*The Chicago Blackhawks will appear a whopping 21 times on national television across the NBC Networks next season.

*Incoming BU goaltender Jake Oettinger is among the names to look out for at the 2017 draft, according to the NHL Central Scouting bureau.

*Travis Yost says that the Carolina Hurricanes are on the rise thanks to winning the shot differential battle. I think it’s because they have an outstanding cast of young defensemen, who are helping them control the puck and win that shot differential battle. But they still need to score more if they’re going to really be a team on the rise, so we’ll see what happens there.

*For something completely different: for those that think I’m a Democrat because I am anti-Trump, here’s a story on the DNC machinery attempting to torpedo Bernie Sanders during the presidential campaigning over the last year.
 

 

Friday, July 22: Versteeg headed for Europe

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Friday, July 22: Versteeg headed for Europe

Here are all the hockey links from around the world, and what I’m reading, while vowing to never try to marry the NHL and Pokemon into the same lame story.

*PHT writer James O’Brien has Kris Versteeg one of a number of NHL veteran free agents going to Europe for next season.

*The New York Islanders have reportedly been discussing moving to Queens and building a rink right next to the Mets’ Citi Field. Interesting. I know the Isles fan base was not happy with the setup in Brooklyn last season.

*The Black Knights get the top odds as a moniker for the Las Vegas franchise with a number of funny long shot names.

*Ian Mendes said that it’s pretty clear by the moves of the Ottawa Senators that they believe their time is now.

*Jason Botchford wonders if the Vancouver Canucks have a shot at being a playoff team next season. I hope so for Jim Benning’s sake.

*Ken Campbell wants to know if Brad Richards and Vincent Lecavalier, now that they’re both retired, are Hall of Fame-worthy players. I say no to both of them, but I can be stingy with my Hall of Fame qualifications as the Jarome Iginla fanboys know so well.

*For something completely different: Jon Stewart brought the funk and the noise while breaking his TV silence on Thursday night and tearing into a GOP that’s coming apart at the seams right now.