Showing posts from December, 2020

Washington Capitals Sign Zdeno Chara, How Lineup Is Impacted

Photo Credit: Michael Dwyer/AP Well, 2020 certainly gave it everything it had all the way to the end, didn’t it? In a shocking, and probably only in 2020 fashion, the Washington Capitals signed longtime Boston Bruins ’ defenseman Zdeno Chara to a one-year contract. It was a shocker because most thought if ‘Big Z’ was going to return it would only be back to Boston, but obviously that didn’t work out. Adding Chara is big for the Capitals Stanley Cup aspirations. Even at 43 years old, Chara got after it last season, playing over 21 minutes per game for the Bruins, second among the team’s defensemen. He also averaged more than three minutes per game on the penalty kill. He isn’t nearly the points producer he once was, scoring just 14 points in each of the last two seasons. Part of the reason was his limited exposure on the power play, getting on the ice for just three minutes while the Bruins had the man advantage all season. So how does Chara fit into the lineup? He certainly brings

Pittsburgh Penguins: Despite Favorable Metrics, Juuso Riikola Continued To Struggle To Find Ice Time

Photo Credit: Peter Diana/Post Gazette We continue our series of previewing the 2021 Pittsburgh Penguins by giving an analytical recap of the previous season. Today will feature Juuso Riikola. With training camp rapidly closing in, and the regular season not too far behind, the Pittsburgh Penguins find themselves working from a position of depth when it comes to the blue line. Originally when Jim Rutherford signed Juuso Riikola to a two-year contract this offseason, the expectation was he would compete with Jack Johnson for playing time. But once the team bought out Johnson, it appeared to clear the room needed for Riikola to finally get the playing time that some of his advanced numbers suggest he should be getting. Then the Penguins traded Patric Hornqvist to the Florida Panthers for forward Colton Sceviour and defenseman Mike Matheson , once again blocking a path for Riikola to find consistent playing time. It might not be the scenario that Riikola, 27, had envisioned when

Montreal Canadiens: Future Is Now With Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Nick Suzuki

Photo Credit: Andre Ringuette Freestyle Photo/Getty Images  When the league announced that it would expand the playoffs last season in an attempt to give teams that were still fighting for a spot a spot since the COVID-19 stoppage halted the season suddenly, it led to some interesting postseason scenarios. One of which involved the Montreal Canadiens . Given an opportunity, could they upset the Pittsburgh Penguins in the best-of-five play-in round? Given that they had one of the best goalies in the league in Carey Price , it seemed possible going in, and that’s exactly how it played out. Embed from Getty Images Montreal outed the Penguins in four games, before being eliminated by the Philadelphia Flyers in the Conference Quarterfinals. It was a great run for the Habs, and after an offseason filled with signings and trades, there is an air of excitement surrounding Montreal, more so than maybe usual in the hockey crazed market. While Price returns, as does veteran captain blue line Sh

Pittsburgh Penguins: Mike Matheson Was One of League’s Best ‘Shooting’ Defenseman in 19-20

Photo Credit: Tim Fuller/USA TODAY Sports We continue our series of previewing the 2021 Pittsburgh Penguins by giving an analytical recap fo the previous season. Today will feature newcomer Mike Matheson. The Pittsburgh Penguins knew they were going to have to shake things up this offseason. In each of the last two playoffs, they have only managed a lone victory each time out, so something was obviously not working. So Jim Rutherford moved as big a name as they could have possibly moved without shaking up the true core, trading Patric Hornqvist to the Florida Panthers in exchange for Mike Matheson and Colten Sceviour . While moving Hornqvist made sense if they were trying to move money out of the Pittsburgh, they actually took on additional cap space in adding Matheson. Hornqvist sits with just three years left at $5.3 million per season. Matheson on the other hand has six years and $4.875 million per season remaining on his current deal. The Penguins are obviously hoping that t