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January 22, 2019
Well Done, Sir
by Michael Menser Dell, Editor-in-Chief
I remember last summer our buddy Mone Peterson warned me Perry would score 40 someday. I laughed and laughed and laughed. Well, Perry wouldn't have hit 40 this year, but he surely would have cracked 30. And that's a hell of a lot closer than I thought he'd get this season. I would have taken the under on 25.
Even though the Hawks have given up two more goals than they've scored this season, Keith has somehow managed to clock in at plus-26. That's not easy, especially when he's seeing 25 minutes a night against the other team's best forwards. Keith's the real deal. And I still say he got jobbed at the fastest skater competition.
Always known as a speedy penalty-killer, Sharp has terrorized opposing power plays for a league-leading seven shorthanded goals. His .197 shooting percentage ranks fourth in the league, and this is his second straight 20-goal season, so this whole goal-scoring thing could be a trend.
Well, this season the Hawks started using Byfuglien on the wing, and the kid's responded with 17 goals and 32 points in 59 games. While his skating is still labored, his touch around the net and willingness to take the body may have earned him a home up front. He's recently been skating with Jonathan Toews and Andrew Ladd, and his versatility allows him to man the point on the power play. Plus, his train wreck of a last name will ruin the lives of sports editors for years to come. That'll be great; that'll be fun.
Ribeiro has just 97 shots on goal. The most he's ever recorded in a season is 130. The reason his numbers are up this year is because he's leading the league with a ridiculous .278 shooting percentage. That won't last. Before this season, Ribeiro converted a mere .144 percent of his shots. He won't crack 60 points next season. Book it.
It's been quite the renaissance for the 35-year-old Kovalev, who nearly played his way out of Montreal last season with a dreadful 47-point, minus-19 debacle. In testament to his renewed commitment to the team, not to mention improved health, Kovy is also leading the team with a plus-13, which is the first time he's been on the plus side of the ledger since 2001-02.
Kovalev is truly one of the coolest players in hockey history, so it's great to see him back playin' like a champ.
Streit's true value, though, has been on the power play, where he's filled in nicely for the departed Sheldon Souray. Streit's been logging nearly five minutes a night on the point, piling up four goals and 23 assists on the man-advantage. The power-play production has bumped his scoring to an impressive 12 goals 52 points. He's been an integral part of the Montreal resurgence, and he also comes in handy whenever you need to open a bottle of wine or add a hole to your belt.
Since March 1, Ellis has started seven games to Mason's one, and he's responded with a 1.97 GAA and a .941 SV%. He's single-handedly keeping the Preds in the playoff hunt.
Ellis' time in Music City could be brief. He's scheduled to become unrestricted this summer. Expect those filthy Red Wings to make a run at him. Ellis just beat them 3-1 the other night, stopping 34 shots in what could prove to be a very rewarding audition.
Acquired from the Hawks over the summer for Kevyn Adams, Vrbata has been an offensive sparkplug for the Coyotes, leading the team with 27 goals and ranking second in scoring with a career-high 53 points. If anyone out there knew Vrbata was Phoenix's leading goal-scorer, well, you're a better man than me, Gunga Din.
Before this season, Boyes had 43 goals and 72 assists in 164 career games. That's 0.597 goals for every one assist. In 2007-08, he's notched a remarkable 37 goals to just 18 assists. That's 2.06 goals for every one helper. That is some wild, wild stuff.
The goal-scoring outburst couldn't have come at a better time for the 25-year-old Boyes, who was slated to become a restricted free agent this summer. The Blues inked him to a new four-year, $16-million contract, ensuring he'll stay in town through 2011-2012. I guess that almost makes up for giving Paul Kariya $6 million a year. Almost.
At pick 27, Washington took the gigantic Jeff Schultz, who's emerged as a pretty steady defender this season, appearing in 63 games and demonstrating tremendous promise as a 6'6" defensive stalwart.
Finally, at No. 29 overall, the Caps nabbed blueliner Mike Green. Jackpot. After a middling rookie season that saw the youngster record just two goals and 12 points, Green found his stride this year, using his phenomenal skating and wicked wrister to ring up 17 goals and 46 points. He loves to jump into the play late, taking full advantage of Ovechkin, Semin, and Backstrom occupying the opposition's attention.
Best of all, Green is just fun to watch. He isn't scared to bust out the individual effort. Considering the talent around him, Green should be near the top of the defensive scoring charts for the next decade.