A potential four-point swing at play in a game between two wildcard playoff spot competitors tonight in Carolina.
– As we’ve all heard by now, Peter Holland has joined the Marlies for the first time since the trade and Carter Ashton (10 goals, 15 points in 14 AHL games) has been recalled. Holland is three games away from hitting the 25-game mark, and the condition on the draft selection in the trade with Anaheim is that 25 games played upgrades the third round pick to a 2nd.
– It does seem likely, though, that Peter Holland is going to be called upon at least three more times this season and the 2nd round pick will be lost. We haven’t heard anything on Trevor Smith, but based on the timeline reported at the time of his injury he’s still weeks away. Dave Bolland probably isn’t in the conversation until after the Olympic Break. At some point injury, another suspension, or the team needing more options will likely necessitate a recall. The guy had eight points in 10 games at one point, all but one point at even strength, on a team struggling for 5 v 5 offense. Not like he doesn’t provide a useful option.
The logical decision, of course, was to play both Holland and Ashton and maybe boost the scoring depth of the lineup.
– Carter Ashton played center in junior and in one game for the Leafs earlier this season vs. Buffalo. He played 5:10 in that game and went 3 for 3 in the faceoff circle. Depending on the status of David Clarkson, it seems McLaren, Orr, Ashton will be the fourth line tonight and tomorrow, and it will play a negligible amount in a back-to-back scenario.
– Clarkson reportedly hobbled out of the game day skate this morning after breaking his stick in frustration. Doesn’t sound like he’ll go tonight. If he can play tonight or tomorrow vs. the Capitals, one imagines he joins McClement and Kulemin while D’Amigo shifts down to line 4 with Ashton (at center) and Orr.
– Carl Gunnarsson is a game time decision.
– Cam Ward will not start for the Hurricanes, as he is out indefinitely with a lower body injury. Look out, though, as Anton Khudobin has won three in a row and is 5-0-0 with a .940 save percentage and 1.99 goals against average this season. Khudobin was 1-1 against the Leafs as a member of the Bruins with a 2.50 goals against average and a .868 save percentage.
– Eric Staal is out tonight with a lower body injury. Jeff Skinner is expected to center Tuomo Ruutu and Alexander Semin on the Canes’ top line.
– James Reimer will start for the Maple Leafs for the first time in seven games. He’s 4-1-1 against the Hurricanes in his career, stopping 146 of 156 shots over the six starts (.936 save percentage).
– The Leafs won the last meeting between the two teams 5-2 a little over a week ago. Here was the Game in 10 report. The Hurricanes enter tonight winners of four straight since that December 29 meeting.
– The Hurricanes trail the Leafs by two points for the final wildcard spot and hold a game in hand. The full playoff implications of the next two games are laid out here. Carolina (18-16-9) has the worst goal differential of any team in the League with more regulation wins than regulation losses.
Assuming no Gunnarsson/Clarkson:
JvR – Bozak – Kessel
Raymond – Kadri – Lupul
D’Amigo – McClement – Kulemin
McLaren – Ashton – Orr
Gleason – Phaneuf
Gardiner – Franson
Rielly – Ranger
Ruutu – Skinner – Semin
Gerbe – J. Staal – Dwyer
Boychuk – Sutter – Lindholm
Bowman – Malhotra – Dvorak
Faulk – Sekera
Harrison – Bellemore
Liles – Murphy
Randy Carlyle Presser:
Eric Staal and Ward both out with a lower body injury.. mm dutch rudder went wrong?
Anyway 16-0 Leafs, McLaren with 5 hattricks
I'm at weird place right now, a side of me kind of wants them to lose tonight so Mgmt has no excuses to keep Carlyle here. If they come out playing like they did against LA and CHI than I'll say okay there's improvement. But i'm still going to be disappointed if they play one of those games where they're constantly hemmed in their own end being outshot and outplayed but play one period well and manage to win.
Carlyle trying to teach a lesson to Gardiner when the game is probably the most important of the season (so far)
Here are some examples of why defenders hit their prime at 28:
Age 22-27 228 points in 432 games (0.52PPG)
Age 28-33 293 points in 456 games (0.64PPG)
Age 22-27 251 points in 435 games (0.57PPG)
Age 28-33 263 points in 381 games (0.69PPG)
Age 22-27 131 points in 434 games (0.30PPG)
Age 28-33 231 points in 388 games ( 0.60PPG)
Age 22-27 234 points in 409 games (0.57PPG)
Age 28-33 309 points in 386 games ( 0.80PPG)
Age 22- 27 113 points in 268 games (0.42PPG)
Age 28-33 229 points in 338 games (0.68PPG)
@JWaterdrager 15 goals? The rarely seen Top Hat Trick.
@JWaterdrager uhhhhh....who scored the 16th goal?
@The_Polish_Cannon I totally get where you're coming from, and I dont think it's anti leaf to do so.
@Alec Brownscombe TB has been going with 11 forwards and 7 d-men for a while now. It's more common than I thought.
@Burtonboy The brain is simply an assumption at this point...
@Jay31 He's saying something to someone, that's for sure. I wonder if this is a prod at Nonis.
@Cameron19 Didn't they change teams?
@Cameron19 Great examples. So I assume there are no examples of defensemen peaking at 25 and going downhill from there?
Peak age is 25 on average. Highlighting exceptions to the rule doesn't prove your point.
@loomx @Cameron19 Looking at the average doesn't make sense though. That includes defensive defenders and career AHL'ers, and guys who play different styles, and players who had their careers altered by injuries. Barring a lot of factors that you can remove pretty easily from this conversation, defenders generally improve beyond 28 so long as they are healthy.
@theacs1966 Do you have a streaming site going as well, because that happens to me.
@wendelsfist If by declined you mean scored less, then yes. But he's a far better defenseman overall than he was 6 years ago.
@Cameron19 I agree with that. The coach, situation, player's health all contribute heavily. I also think there's a certain randomness to it as well.
@djamon @4evrblue Yea, there are no rules, that's for sure. Some defenders simply become different, too. I don't know if Doughty will ever be the points beast he was as a 20 year old, but does that mean he peaked at 20? Phaneuf has changed his game. Keith seems to be proving my point this year. I'm just saying, this notion of 25 being the end of the line is ridiculous.
@4evrblue I just refuse to believe there any any hard and fast rules to a defenseman's peak. I'm sure there are many factors in play other than age.
@loomx @Cameron19 No, it doesn't though. That's my point. There are FAR more defensive defenders and plugs than talented offensive defenders. And it's not just generational talents - which is why I included Visnovsky. You'll find it's the same for much lesser talents who have that skill-set, too. Basically, the whole article you're basing your opinion on is a flawed one for the parameters of his particular discussion. The game isn't going to pass Gardiner by because his skating has gone to shit like 75% of the league's D. His skating is top notch. He is FAR more likely to continue to improve as he figures out tendencies of particular opposition and gets accustom to dealing with more and more situations.