Morning Skate: Wednesday, October 5

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Morning Skate: Wednesday, October 5

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs

Here are some always interesting odds from the fun-loving gambling folks at bodog.com about the NHL Awards with some interesting trends when it comes to Bruins players.

First of all Alex Ovechkin is the 4-to-1 favorite to win the Hart Trophy, and there isnt a single Bruins player listed among the favorites to nab the NHLs version of the MVP trophy. Any goaltender is listed at 112 odds and any defensemen sits at 30-to-1 odds to win the trophy.

Most interesting of all: Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller is a 5-to-1 favorite to win the Vezina Trophy for the second time in three years, and oust Tim Thomas as the best goaltender in the land. It appears that Vegas is just as in love with the Sabres as the rest of the NHL as the trendy pick to emerge out of the Eastern Conference this season with new ownership and suddenly deep pockets. Thomas, by the way, is 7-to-1 odds to repeat as the Vezina Trophy champ for two years in a row.

Zdeno Chara is also the runner up favorite to win the Norris Trophy at 9-to-2 odds with Nashville Predators defensemen Shea Weber listed as the favorite to win best defensemen at 4-to-1 odds. Interestingly Montreal defenseman P.K. Subban is listed among the favorites at 20-to-1 odds.

David Krejci was the only Bruins player to be mentioned among the favorites for the Art Ross Trophy, and is 55-to-1 odds to lead the entire NHL in points this season.

Here is the full list courtesy of bodog.com with the morning links listed afterward:

Who will win the Hart Memorial Trophy as the NHLs Most Valuable Player?
Alexander Ovechkin (WAS) 41
Steven Stamkos (TB) 112
Sidney Crosby (PIT) 132
Daniel Sedin (VAN) 121
Henrik Sedin (VAN) 141
Pavel Datsyuk (DET) 141
Anze Kopitar (LAK) 181
Jonathan Toews (CHI) 181
Corey Perry (ANA) 251
Martin St. Louis (TB) 251
Evgeni Malkin (PIT) 301
Jarome Iginla (CAL) 301
Brad Richards (NYR) 301
Joe Thornton (SJ) 401
Any Other Forward 115
Any Goaltender 112
Any Defenseman 301

Who will win the Vezina Trophy for being the NHLs top Goaltender?
Ryan Miller (BUF) 51
Tim Thomas (BOS) 71
Roberto Luongo (VAN) 152
Henrik Lundqvist (NYR) 81
Carey Price (MTL) 91
Marc-Andre Fleury (PIT) 101
Pekka Rinne (NAS) 101
Martin Brodeur (NJ) 101
Ilya Bryzgalov (PHI) 121
Miikka Kiprusoff (CAL) 141
Jaroslav Halak (STL) 161
Cam Ward (CAR) 161
Antti Niemi (SJ) 161
Tomas Vokoun (WAS) 181
Jonathan Quick (LAK) 201
Jonas Hiller (ANA) 251
Jimmy Howard (DET) 331
Corey Crawford (CHI) 401
James Reimer (TOR) 401
Semyon Varlamov (COL) 401
Craig Anderson (OTT) 501
Field (Any Other Player) 301

Who will win the James Norris Trophy as the NHLs best defenseman?
Shea Weber (NAS) 41
Zdeno Chara (BOS) 92
Nicklas Lidstrom (DET) 132
Mike Green (WAS) 71
Drew Doughty (LAK) 101
Duncan Keith (CHI) 101
Kris Letang (PIT) 121
Keith Yandle (PHO) 121
Christian Ehrhoff (BUF) 151
Dan Boyle (SJ) 151
P.K. Subban (MTL) 201
Lubomir Visnovsky (ANA) 201
Dustin Byfuglien (WIN) 221
Dion Phaneuf (TOR) 251
Andrei Markov (MTL) 251
Chris Pronger (PHI) 301
Mark Streit (NYI) 351
Tobias Enstrom (WIN) 351
Field (Any Other Player) 91

Who will win the Calder Memorial Trophy as the NHLs Rookie of the Year?
Brayden Schenn (PHI) 31
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (EDM) 72
Gabriel Landeskog (COL) 112
Nino Niederreiter (NYI) 71
Adam Larsson (NJ) 81
Tim Erixon (NYR) 101
Erik Gudbranson (FLA) 101
Jared Cowen (OTT) 101
Ryan Johansen (CBJ) 151
Alexei Yemelin (MTL) 151
Field (Any Other Player) 31

Who will win the Art Ross Trophy as the NHLs points leader?
Alexander Ovechkin WAS) 72
Steven Stamkos (TB) 72
Daniel Sedin (VAN) 112
Martin St. Louis (TB) 172
Henrik Sedin (VAN) 141
Pavel Datsyuk (DET) 161
Corey Perry (ANA) 181
Ryan Getzlaf (ANA) 181
Sidney Crosby (PIT) 181
Anze Kopitar (LAK) 251
Evgeni Malkin (PIT) 301
Nicklas Backstrom (WAS) 301
Henrik Zetterberg (DET) 301
Jonathan Toews (CHI) 301
Joe Thornton (SJ) 351
John Tavares (NYI) 401
Patrick Kane (CHI) 401
Jarome Iginla (CAL) 401
Bobby Ryan (ANA) 401
Zach Parise (NJ) 401
Matt Duchene (COL) 451
Brad Richards (NYR) 451
Eric Staal (CAR) 451
Rick Nash (CBJ) 451
David Krejci (BOS) 551
Derek Roy (BUF) 551
Jeff Carter (CBJ) 851
Ilya Kovalchuk (NJ) 851
Dany Heatley (MIN) 1001
Jaromir Jagr (PHI) 1001
Field (Any Other Player) 251

Who will win the Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy Trophy as the NHLs Top Goal Scorer leader?
Steven Stamkos (TB) 72
Alexander Ovechkin (WAS) 41
Corey Perry (ANA) 92
Evgeni Malkin (PIT) 61
Sidney Crosby (PIT) 132
Jeff Carter (CBJ) 101
Rick Nash (CBJ) 151
Daniel Sedin (VAN) 151
Zach Parise (NJ) 181
Ilya Kovalchuk (NJ) 201
Bobby Ryan (ANA) 251
Jonathan Toews (CHI) 251
Jarome Iginla (CAL) 251
Patrick Marleau (SJ) 301
Henrik Zetterberg (DET) 301
John Tavares (NYI) 351
Jeff Skinner (CAR) 351
Field (Any Other Player) 121

National Post columnist Bruce Arthur examines the tough summer endured by the NHL, and it includes a photo of Zdeno Chara fighting back his emotions at the funeral for his friend Pavol Demitra. It was such a tragic off-season for so many.

The Pro Hockey Talk boys take a look at a Seattle lawmaker thats looking to lure an NHL team to their city with a new arena. Seattle is obviously in close proximity to Vancouver, and one has to wonder if the area could support two NHL teams with the Supersonics long gone.

An interesting read at Justin Bournes new series of blogs at the Score radio station in Toronto.

The heat is getting turned up on the Maple Leafs brass this season, and its no surprise given the time theyve had to build up a franchise.

NBC and Versus guy Jeremy Roenick talks NHL preview among other things with Yahoo Sports Radio.

Brad Richards is bringing a new kind of flavor to the New York Rangers, and the New York Post has the story.

Evgeni Malkin continues to show signs that this could be a breakout year for him in Pittsburgh.

FOH (Friend of Haggs) Sarah Baicker of CSNPhilly.com notes the pressure on Ilya Bryzgalov to start the season strongly with the Philadelphia Flyers after last years goaltending breakdown.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Thursday, Dec. 8: Five most confusing NHL players

Thursday, Dec. 8: Five most confusing NHL players

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while celebrating the proud ownership of this year’s Christmas tree in the Haggerty household some fifty bucks later. 

*Down Goes Brown provides a list of the five most confusing players in the NHL this season, and none of them are Boston Bruins. Hooray. 

*Bruce Boudreau makes the case to the Hockey News that Devan Dubnyk is more deserving of a Vezina Trophy this season than Carey Price. How about Tuukka Rask being more deserving than either one of them?

*An interesting look at the rough state of Maple Leafs goaltending right around the Tuukka Rask trade to Boston and the Vesa Toskala/Andrew Raycroft years. 

*A fun video piece with FOH (Friend of Haggs) Elliotte Freidman and Wild coach Bruce Boudreau as they took a tour of Toronto together.

*Speaking of trades, the Philadelphia Flyers hit the jackpot with the Wayne Simmonds trade as he’s been a proud part of the Broad Street Bullies tradition. 

*Gord Miller is an excellent play-by-play man, and he tells some great stories of his life on the road whether it’s the NHL season or the World Junior tournament. 

*While the Boston University hockey team is a star-studded group with an amazing freshman recruiting class, Patrick Curry has been a player that’s quietly had an excellent season. 

*A few minutes with Pittsburgh Penguins D-man Kris Letang about a wide array of subjects including Mike Sullivan and concussion spotters.

*For something completely different: good interview with the former Flash, John Wesley Shipp, about his role in the newer Flash TV series, and the coolness of bringing back Shipp and Mark Hamill as their former characters. 

 

 

Haggerty: Pastrnak’s price keeps going up, but Bruins will gladly pay

Haggerty: Pastrnak’s price keeps going up, but Bruins will gladly pay

At this point, there’s no really no limit to the offensive pyrotechnics show that 20-year-old David Pastrnak is putting on nightly for the Bruins. 

The electric Pastrnak scored his 16th goal of the season in his 22nd game in the 4-3 overtime loss to the Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center on Wednesday night. He was at the heart of a Bruins comeback that erased a three-goal deficit on the way to an overtime point. It was vintage Pastrnak with the speedy winger stripping Evgeny Kuznetsov of the puck at Washington’s offensive blue line, and then winning a race to the net before sliding a backhanded shot through Braden Holtby’s leg pads. 

It was a pure speed and skill play at its very core and that’s not an observation you’ve always been able to make about the B’s offense. 

That narrowed Washington’s lead to a one goal at the end of the second period and set things up for the Bruins to make an impressive final push in the closing 20 minutes. For Pastrnak, it also continues a breakout season that began with dedicating himself to improving his size and strength last summer, and included getting up to a weight of 190 pounds that allows him to stand in, stay on his skates and win key one-on-one battles all over the ice. 

But the most important difference for Pastrnak is the pure, unadulterated offense he’s generating for the Black and Gold this season. After two years of learning and development on the job, the Czech winger is totally cashing in on the elite offensive skills he brought into the league as the youngest player in the NHL two seasons ago. He’s on pace to become the fourth Bruins player in the past 25 years to hit the 40-goal mark. He is the exact kind of game-breaking force the B’s have been desperately yearning for since they shipped Tyler Seguin to Dallas following the 2013 Stanley Cup Final. 

“He’s burying pucks at a great rate. There’s no question. But I think the way that he’s done it…he soaks it all in and you see Pasta not at all full of himself, and coming in here where he’s always light-hearted and has a great day every day seemingly,” said David Backes. “You love to have guys at the rink like that who bring the energy every day, and a young guy that loves the game, and is always working on it and really using all the tools that he’s been given. 

“There’s a lot of season left to continue to add to that [goal] total and to continue to help us win games. He’ll tell you that the most important part of him scoring is that it helps us win games, and that’s what the mindset is in this [dressing] room.”

As Backes alluded to, don’t expect the fun-loving, hard-working Pastrnak to get caught up in the numbers, or be overwhelmed with his standing as the third-leading scorer in the NHL behind a couple of guys named Sidney Crosby and Patrik Laine. 

After all, this is a guy that purposefully hasn’t gone to get his two front teeth fixed after they were smashed by a high stick a few weeks back, and instead made a Dumb and Dumber joke on his Instagram account. 

So, Pastrnak isn’t hung up on the cosmetics of his breakthrough third NHL season. He’s intent on doing what’s been working for him this season. 

“Obviously there’s social media that I’m on, so I kind of see [the stat leaders] a little bit. But it’s obviously not something I’m focused on or looking for. So far it’s getting [the puck] in, but in ten games it could be somebody else who has that goal streak, you know?” said Pastrnak. “As long as we’re winning games it doesn’t matter whether you’re on the top [of the league’s goal scorers] or whether you’re on the bottom. 

“We are like one team, and that’s the way we’re going to get better. It’s not a one-man unit, it’s 22 guys. I’m just trying to play the same way. It’s not like I’m going to have to score every game. Nobody is going to score every game in this league. When I have a chance I still have in my mindset that I want to pass a little too much, so I’ll just keep playing the same way. We have the same chances, five or six scoring chances, every game. Sometimes four of them are going to go in, sometimes one and sometimes none. I think we did a good job as a line and I have to give a lot of credit to my linemates. Without them, I wouldn’t have all these goals.”

One thing that will be on the minds of Bruins management, however, as the numbers pile up for Pastrnak: his contract status beyond this season. Pastrnak will be a restricted free agent following this breakout year, and he has perfectly timed his goal-scoring ascension with his ability to monetarily maximize the situation with a giant second contract.

If Pastrnak stays healthy and productive enough this season for 30-40 goals and 60-70 points (and he’s nearly halfway there just 27 games into the season), then he’s looking at the same kind of contract handed out to young, productive players like Johnny Gaudreau, Jonathan Huberdeau, Sean Monahan, Jaden Schwartz, Nathan MacKinnon and Mark Schiefele, in the range of five to six years at around $6 million per season, give or take a few hundred thousand per season. 

The real “nightmare” scenario for the Bruins is Pastrnak truly goes supersonic offensively and puts himself in a position where he can demand Vladimir Tarasenko money (eight years, $60 million) in a second contract. Certainly ,Pastrnak is realizing his star potential at the NHL level in his third season and may have NHL All-Star games and other honors in his near future, but he’s not quite yet at Tarasenko’s level of sustained, consistent excellence as he exits his entry-level deal. 

“If I could find a similarity it would be in the way they can both just find the open ice, where they can get available and the puck just seems to find those guys where they’re able to put it where they need to score goals,” said Backes, a longtime teammate of Tarasenko with the St. Louis Blues. “Pastrnak is a little more opportunistic closer to the net in finding loose pucks and scooping them in. They both have great shots,  but Tarasenko is a little more of a delay, find the late ice, get the late pass and be able to rip one past the goalie from a little bit further away. 

“They both have great one-timers. There’s probably a lot of similarities, but I think Pasta working with his linemates and the chemistry they’ve been able to achieve is awesome to see, and is going to be awesome for this group.”

Clearly, the Bruins want to avoid getting into a potential stalemate situation with Pastrnak where other, offensively-starved and desperate teams could throw offer sheets his way. This is a big part of the reason why the B’s opted not to go the nuclear route in throwing an offer sheet at Winnipeg defenseman Jacob Trouba last summer, and open themselves up for another team to do it to them. Instead, the Bruins let the situation play itself with Trouba, and didn’t send a message that NHL poachers could come after Pastrnak if he’s somehow without a contract extension after the July 1 opening of free agency. 

Nobody is expecting it to play out in any kind of adversarial way, given how much Pastrnak enjoys playing in Boston and how much the B’s value their budding superstar. The Bruins have enough cap space to ultimately make it all work with their 20-year-old scoring machine, and his level of breathtaking skill and natural scoring ability is nearly impossible to replace. 

So, it should be all good for the Black and Gold: there’s no reason to think Pastrnak is going to fall off the cliff offensively from his torrid start, and there’s no reason to think he won’t be doing it for the Black and Gold for a long, long time to come. It goes without saying, though, that everybody will feel a lot better when Pastrnak is signed on the dotted line, and the offense keeps pouring in from the puck prodigy.