Stan's Java Jive: 2/4/21
David Pastrnak nets a hatty; Kaprizov leading the rookie race; Justin Faulk nets a beauty; Roberto Luongo added to Canada's Olympic coaching staff
HEADLINE: PASTRNAK -- LIKE A DAVID AND GOLIATH
THE JIVE: Not that the bang-hot Bruins needed help but the return of hip-repaired David Pastrnak has turned the Big, Bad B's into a monster, marauding outfit. The Complete Czech -- and Pastrnak is as complete a forward as you'd want -- put on a hat trick show last night against the Flyers.
Spurring the Beantowners to a 4-3 win, Dauntless David opened the game with a spectacular score just a dozen seconds into the match. He took a pass on the fly, undressed the Philly defense and put a billiard shot off the right post. As a pre-closer -- with his Hub boys down a goal -- David tied the game with 15 seconds left, leaving it for Patrice Bergeron to win the marbles 31 seconds into OT with a PP clincher. (And if you think the Bruins are scary-good, check out another terrific team, just below.)
HEADLINE: BOLTS LOVE, HOME-HOME ON THE BAY (NOT THE RANGE)
THE JIVE: Talk about home-cooking, how about home-skating when it comes to the defending Champs. The Lightning have won 15 straight at Amalie Arena and who knows when that solid streak will end? The victim last night happened to be the Red Wings who went down, 5-1 which, if nothing else, proves that the Bolts take no team for granted. Another proven point last night was that Victor Hedman is playing in Conn Smythe-type form. He scored the first of three opening period goals -- they were done in a span of 4:56 of regulation time. The victors took their third straight win. Also worth mentioning is the too often overlooked superior two-way play of Anthony Cirelli who became a key factor against the Islanders in the playoffs. Rookie defender Cal Foote --remember Adam? -- has had a promising start; not that this club needs more A0-1 backliners. Meanwhile Blake Coleman continues to prove to be a mostly-unheralded asset. His two assists gave him 99th and 100th career points. (If this team, doesn't look like a favorite to win the Stanley Cup again, then who is? See above, Bruins!)
HEADLINE: HOW WILL LAINE ADJUST TO TORTS; AND VICE VERSA
THE JIVE: The bonding of the volatile coach and the volcanic forward is just beginning. If it turns out ginger-peachy -- assuming that Patrik behaves, and scores -- there won't be much to write about except a surging Blue Jackets team. In the meantime, the coach-star relationship will be under the microscope. My scientist-hockey-analyst, Joltin' Joe Dionisio, offers this forecast: "What's the over-under on Tort's patience with the mercurial Finn? Their relationship seems akin to forcing Superman and Lex Luther to share a 300 square foot apartment in (Manhattan's) Hell's Kitchen!"
HEADLINE: PAUL MAURICE FIGHTS FOR BLAKE WHEELER
THE JIVE: This is a truly weird one in Winnipeg. The Jets are doing just fine under the baton of coach Paulie, so what's the problem? Seems that some media types have put the knock on captain Blake in the wheelhouse.
Maurice would stand for no such thing and publicly announced, "I'm offended" and then proceeded to show he has his player's backs with such support. "I'm in awe," adds the coach, "by the way Blake handles the room." As for the captain, his retort is kind of problematic. "You (press) guys love to focus on me." (Well, who should they focus on, the stickboy?)
HEADLINE: IS THIS AN OUTRAGEOUS OR ACCURATE ASSESSMENT OF MCDAVID?
THE JIVE: TSN'S very competent James Duthie must believe that the compliments that daily arrive for Edmonton's Royal Connor are not enough. So Gentleman James has come up with a novel description of THE man of the Oilers. Duthie calls him "The most highly-evolved player in hockey history." (Now if you can figure that out, you are to be commended. McDavid already has been lauded a bazillion times. Which, I guess this why Duthie found yet another -- I say controversial -- way to do it!)
HEADLINE: GET OUT THE MOVING VAN FOR TONY DEANGELO
THE JIVE: They don't call The Sports Network's Darren Dreger "The Insider" for nothing. The Red Deer, Alberta native had the scoop on the much ballyhooed Patrik Laine-Pierre-Luc Dubois exchange before his competitors; and that wasn't easy. Now Dreger is to be taken seriously when he asserts that "There's a ton of interest in Tony DeAngelo." According to Dreger, the controversial defenseman -- pushed out of bounds by the Rangers -- "could be moved in the next few days." All things considered, if true (it may not be) that will be amazing. Also, it will prove that other teams are looking beyond the factors that inspired the Blueshirts to dispose of this talent. DeAngelo's agent, Pat Brisson, ranks among the NHL's best reps and that means only one thing; we'd better watch the wires because DeAngelo may have the moving vans coming to his house as we speak.(Not that it should matter to you all too much but Tony signed a two-year, $9.6 million contract with the Rangers in October with a $4.5 million Cap hit.It did matter to DeAngelo.)
HEADLINE: KIRILL KAPRIZOV LEADS ROOKIE RACE
THE JIVE: When the Wild drafted this gifted left wing in the fifth round of the 2015 Entry Draft, there were no odds on him making the NHL. But Minny's general staff was patient, waiting five years and, in this case, patience was a virtue.
Kaprizov is leading all rookies with nine points. He's a high-end goal scorer whose middle-name could be "Excitement." There was some doubt about KK's ability to adjust to the smaller NHL ice surface but it has not been a problem. With Kirill working with the improving right wing Kevin Fiala, the Wild have a nifty Gold Dust Twins combo.
HEADLINE: BLACKHAWKS AIN'T DEAD YET
THE JIVE: Yes, Stan Bowman is in a rebuilding mode. And, no, he won't tear down his roster below it's foundation. And, yes, coach Jeremy Colliton is enjoying a responsive squad. In their encounter with the Canes -- 4-3, Carolina in Shoutout -- Patrick Kane 's goal tied him with Doug Weight at 1,033 points for "most points by an American-born player. Our Blackhawks reporter, Coby Maeir, notes, there are other sunny spots on the roster. "After returning from his Covid 19 sabbatical Alex DeBrincat looked good, generating chances and coming up with two assists. Also, the rookie defenseman, Ian Mitchell, is combining solid D with good offense." Meanwhile, Dylan Strome continues to impress -- he got the tying third period goal -- as the club's top center. And that's not hot air from the Windy City. it's a cool breeze.
HEADLINE: STEP ASIDE, CONNOR MCDAVID FOR JUSTIN FAULK
THE JIVE: There have been an abundance of spectacular stickhandling goals so far this young season. Not surprisingly Master McDavid leads them all on end-to-enders or otherwise. But even the Oilers ace would do a low bow in the direction of Blues defenseman Justin Faulk.
The South St.Paul native did a number on the Coyotes Tuesday night that was nothing short of breathtaking. Faulk's bobbing and weaving looked like a pinball bouncing around uprights and, finally, in, past the flippers. The Blues ownership gifted Justin with a rich, seven-year contract extension and -- man, oh, man -- did he ever justify it with that latest bit of artistry. (One more like that and alma mater, University of Minnesota-Duluth will name a rink after him.)
HEADLINE: NHL.COM PICKS 7 PLAYERS WITH BIGGEST IMPACT ON THEIR NEW TEAMS.
THE JIVE: This is a neat idea. NHL.com asked seven of its writers to pickthe new-team-big-impact stickhandlers. They chose Zdeno Chara; Patric Hornqvist, Jacob Markstrom, Brandon Saad, Chris Tanev and Tyler Toffoli.There's no doubt in my mind that Big Z is the best of this admirable bunch and the Bruins will rue the day they let him slip through their clutches. Up front, it's got to be Tyler Toffoli, who's been a Montreal goal machine. Even if there was another goalie, I'd still take Markstrom.
LAST NIGHT:DETROIT AT TAMPA BAY: 5-1 for the Bolts. Let's face it, the Wings are struggling and we can only hope they improve. Put it this way, it would be nice.BOSTON AT PHILADELPHIA: 4-3 for the B's in overtime. What a way to wrap a package. The Bruins score 12 seconds into the contest and tie the ribbon 31 seconds into OT.
YAYS YAY TO THE WESTERN COLLEGIATE ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION for naming Gino Gaspirini "Coach Of The Decade For The 1980s." Gino coached his alma mater to three National titles and groomed many a future NHL star including Ed Belfour , Jon Casey and James Patrick, among others.
* PETR MRAZEK HAD SURGERY ON HIS RIGHT THUMB: No date for his return. No worries; James Reimer will save the day.
* CHRISTINE SIMPSON STILL HAS THE GOODS: One of the best interviewers does a terrific Sporsnet job with Flyers Oskar Lindblom and his bout with Ewing's Syndrome.
* ROBERTO LUONGO NAMED ASST. G.M. CANADA'S OLYMPIC TEAM: The Tall Man continues to excel as he did in the crease. Good man will do a good job.
GREAT QUOTES FROM THE PAST "We'd all love to have a lot of money in the bank. But I'm so poor, I can't afford to pay attention." Doug Carpenter, Maple Leafs coach.