Thursday, April 25, 2013

Connor McDavid is Lighting it Up

Connor McDavid is 16 years old. He is only three months into being a 16 year old. He is currently leading the World Under-18 Championship in scoring with 8 goals and 14 points in 5 games, 4 points ahead of second place Vladimir Tkachyov. McDavid is at least 15 months younger than the next three scorers in the tournament. At this age that makes a huge least it SHOULD.

After scoring 66 points in 63 games for the Erie Otters as a 15 year old, McDavid was named OHL rookie of the year this past season. As well as tearing up the scoring in Sochi this past week, he also leads the tournament in faceoff percentage at a ridiculous 71.11%. All of this while not playing more than 16 minutes and 13 seconds in any of the five games.

Despite scoring at least 2 points in each of the five matches, including back-to-back hat tricks, he has been named Canada's Best Player in only one of the five games. McDavid and Canada will now play Finland in the semi-finals Friday morning.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Maple Leaf Goaltenders, The First 100 Games

James Reimer plays his 100th game tonight. He will be the 19th Maple Leaf to play 100 games in goal ranging from Jonas Gustavsson and Allan Bester to Bruce Gamble and Ed Chadwick. Reimer is only the 8th among this group to gain at least 50 victories in these first 100 games (not as easy at it seems what with ties and or overtime losses).

Most Wins, First 100 Games as a Maple Leaf
  1. George Hainsworth      57-27-14
  2. Curtis Joseph                56-33-12
  3. Ed Belfour                    56-34-9
  4. John Ross Roach          53-45-2
  5. Al Rollins                     52-26-22
  6. James Reimer               51-29-14
  7. Felix Potvin                  50-40-8
  8. Mike Palmateer            50-31-17
  9. Turk Broda                   49-37-1
  10. Jacques Plante              47 35 15
  11. Vesa Toskala                47 38 11
  12. Johnny Bower               45-40-15
  13. Bruce Gamble               42-32-14
  14. Harry Lumley                42-39-19

Monday, April 15, 2013

James Reimer is having the Best Leaf Goaltending Season since 1951

The title of this one may seem a bit ridiculous, and perhaps it is. But when looking purely at won/lost record (and what else really does matter?) Reimer is having a season for the Leaf ages. With six games remaining in the 2012/13 campaign he sits with a record of 17-5-5 for a Points Percentage of .722 (39 of a possible 54 points in his decisions).  This represents the second highest single season number in Maple Leafs history and the top mark in 62 years.

Ed Belfour didn't have as high a Point Pct., nor did Curtis Joseph or Mike Palmateer. The closest mark more recently than 1951 was Terry Sawchuk in the Cup winning year of 66/67 when he went 15-5-4 for a Pct of .708. Below are Leaf goaltenders and their top Pts Pct. season while playing for Toronto.

  • Al Rollins .775,  1950/51
  • James Reimer .722,  2012/13
  • Terry Sawchuk .708,  1966/67
  • Lorne Chabot .676,  1930/31
  • George Hainsworth .667,  1934/35
  • Jacques Plante .667,  1970/71
  • Doug Favell .661,  1973/74
  • Johnny Bower .655,  1960/61
  • Turk Broda .642,  1947/48
  • Eddie Belfour .637,  2002/03
  • Curtis Joseph .627,  1999/00
  • Felix Potvin .606,  1992/93
  • Mike Palmateer .589,  1977/78
  • Andrew Raycroft .585,  2006/07
Way back in 1950/51 a 24 year-old Al Rollins posted a record of 27-5-8 in his rookie season and along with veteran Turk Broda lead the Leafs to a Stanley Cup. 

In addition to his outstanding Pts Pct., Reimer sits 5th in Save Pct and 12th in Goals Against Average among goalies with at least 20 games played. Truly a terrific season for a player who just turned 25 years old. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Shore/Bailey Incident, Rare Photos

Here are a few more photos from the Boston Public Library archives. These are from a game at The Garden on December 12, 1933 and the aftermath of the Eddie Shore Ace Bailey incident.

The first shot is the immediate aftermath of Shore slew-footing Bailey, flipping him to the ice and fracturing his skull. Boston (light jersey) #5 is Dit Clapper surveying the scene. Also seen are Toronto's goalie George hainsworth, #10 Joe Primeau and #17 Buzz Boll on the ice and #16 Charlie Sands standing at the bench at bottom-centre.

This is from a few seconds later, #16 Sands has come off the bench and is now helping to attend to Bailey. Other Leaf numbers visible are #8 Baldy Cotton, #5 Andy Blair, #11 Busher Jackson and #17 Boll. Bruin winger #10 Joe Lamb shows concern over Shore who was prone on the ice after a retaliation punch by Red Horner. Gentleman in long coats, presumably doctors are being assisted onto the ice surface. As well, a member of the Boston police force is standing on the ice near at the upper-centre.

Bruin goalie, Tiny Thompson and #4 Alex Smith among others have helped coax Shore to his feet a short time later. Sands, #12 Hec Kilrea and Blair mill about as #2 Red Horner stands alone. The man in the fur coat heads off the ice.

These really are amazing shots of what happened directly after one of the most gruesome incidents in NHL history.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Luongo over Reimer, NOT an upgrade

With the Toronto Maple Leafs apparently still contemplating adding Roberto Luongo I will once again point out the needlessness of this due to the fact that James Reimer has proven himself to be a number one NHL goaltender. There is no need to place a career roadblock that Luongo would be in front of a proven 25 year-old goalie. A look at the numbers shows that Reimer has earned his spot. He is 8th in the league in Save Percentage and 12th in Goals Against Average among goalies with 20 games played. His record is 13-4-4.

Interestingly if we combine his first season and the current season, disregarding last year's injury riddled campaign, the numbers are stellar. In these two seasons combined he has played a full-season's worth of 59 games with a record of 33-14-9 and Save Percentage of .920.

Coincidentally, these numbers are nearly exactly what Roberto Luongo produced in 2008/09 (33-13-7 and .920). Luongo was 29 in this season, Reimer is 25. The argument for a Luongo or another vet is the lack of playoff experience that they would bring over Reimer's zero post-season experience. Realistically, Toronto is not going to win the Cup this year. What difference is it if they win one round or two? Allow Reimer to GAIN his own playoff experience. Luongo wasn't in the playoffs until he was almost 28 years old and over his first three seasons of playoff action he had a record of 17-17, even now he is only 3 games over .500 for his playoff career.

Toronto already has their goaltender of the present and the future, and there is no reason to bring in Luongo or any other Number 1 veteran.

Jeff Carter, meet Butch Keeling

After reaching the 20 goal mark this past weekend, Los Angeles King Jeff Carter is poised to join a very exclusive club if he continues his low rate of collecting assists. To go with his 20 goals, Carter has chipped in a paltry 4 helpers. Not since the 1930's has a player scored 20 goals and finished a season with less 5 assists or less.
In 1936/37 Melville "Butch" Keeling of the New York Rangers scored 22 goals and 4 assists in 48 games. Going back to the dawn of the NHL in 1917 this has only happened on seventeen occaisons. If however, Carter does manage to gain 2 more assists in the last month he will still be doing something not done since 1976/77. That season, Washington Capital Wayne Bianchin played 78 games scoring 28 goals and only 6 assists.

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