The Colorado Avalanche have just resigned center Matt Duchene to a two-year, $7 million deal, a great deal for the team. The Avs have done a good job locking up their players this offseason, having already agreed to deals with forward David Jones, defenseman Matt Hunwick and captain Milan Hejduk. But this deal is the best they’ve made so far. Just look at Duchene’s stats so far in his career:Due to knee and ankle injuries, Duchene played in just 58 games while tallying 14 goals and 14 assists. While those stats make the deal seem like fair value, Duchene’s first two years in the league demonstrate his true worth. The third-overall pick in the 2009 draft tallied 51 goals and 122 points in the two years while missing just three games.
The best part for Colorado: Duchene is just 21 years old. That means he still is going to improve quite a bit. There’s no reason that he cannot score 35 goals and dish out 50 assists each season for the next few years. If Duchene had had those stats this year, he would have been fourth in the league in points and tied for 11th in goals. That’s an entirely realistic target for such a young player and yet Colorado is paying just $3.5 million per season for him. The injuries are certainly worrisome, but if Duchene stays on the ice, this will be a great deal for the Avs.
The Canucks knocked off the Bruins 4-3 in an exciting, hard-fought game on Saturday afternoon. I hadn’t had time to post about it and was going to wait until the B’s next game to comment on it but the back and forth between Boston and Vancouver after the game has necessitated a post.
The refereeing in the game was terrible – except for Marchand’s dirty hit on Sami Salo. Marchand deserved his five-minute major, game misconduct, and a likely suspension. But of the 107 penalty minutes in the game, those were about the only that the refs called correctly. It began less than four minutes into the game when a full brawl took place on the ice. During a line change the Bruins Shawn Thornton and Canucks’ Alexander Burrows got into it. Somehow, Thornton found himself being attacked by SIX Canucks all at once.
Yes, that’s more players than Vancouver is allowed on the ice. The Bruins quickly came to help Thornton and Milan Lucic, who was about to go off for a line change and had one foot on the ice and one foot on, skated over and helped out as well. And that was the end of Lucic’s night. The refs inexplicably gave him a game misconduct for leaving the bench and in the end, Vancouver ended up with a five-on-three for a full two minutes. How can six Canucks attack Thornton at one time and the refs deem it all okay (with the except of some matching roughing and fighting penalties).
The Canucks scored on the ensuing two-man advantage and eventually scored twice on Marchand’s idiotic play. Vancouver’s other goal? It came on another terrible call when Tyler Seguin was whistled for tripping a Canuck player. In fact, Seguin had tapped the Canuck on the ankle slightly, nothing more. However, this Canucks’ goal only evened up the officiating as the Bruins were gifted a goal themselves after a non-icing call (which as clearly icing) caused Vancouver to relax and when the refs didn’t blow the whistle, Boston took advantage. Read more…
The fifth edition of the NHL’s Winter Classic may have been its best yet as the Philadelphia Flyers took on the New York Rangers in the league’s annual outdoor game at Citizen’s Bank Park in Philadelphia. While the game time had to be pushed back two hours because of the weather, the players were ready to go as soon as the puck dropped.
Both teams came out of the gate flying with back and forth action throughout the entire first period that ended scoreless, despite good chances from each team. The period was very physical, with both teams looking to leave their mark on each other. Throughout HBO’s “24/7: Flyers/Rangers” documentary, an inside look at both teams, the anticipation for this game was building. Players made it clear on the show that there was no love lost between the two of them and it didn’t disappoint.
Just over half way through the second period, the Flyers got on the board with Brayden Schenn recording his first career goal off a bad rebound from Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist. Less than two minutes later, Claude Giroux doubled the lead with his 18th goal of the year and Philadelphia seemed to be in control. But just 30 seconds later, Mike Rupp cut the lead to one again and celebrated with a Jaromir-Jagr esque salute that drew the ire of many Flyer players.
Unfortunately for Philly, Rupp wasn’t done celebrating as just over two minutes into the third period, he snuck a shot past Flyers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky that he should have handled easily. Just a few minutes later, the Rangers big offseason signing Brad Richards broke the tie with his 14th goal of the year. A horrendous penalty call on the Rangers in final minutes of the game gave the Flyers an undeserved chance to tie up the game, but they couldn’t capitalize on it. Read more…