So the season is winding down folks and the playoffs are around the corner. A few squads are still battling for the bottom rung of the playoff ladder. Ironically, Montreal found themselves cheering for Boston and Toronto last night. Carolina, Montreal and Columbus are battling for the last playoff spot. The Blue Jackets played the Bruins and the Hurricanes played the Leafs. The Leafs lost to Carolina, possibly just to spite Montreal. I’d like to think that, but the truth is that Toronto is limping into the playoffs cold. Boston on the other hand are just jerks – and to put an exclamation point on it Brad “Ratface” Marchand hit the 100 point mark.
It’s crazy how many players hit 100 points this year! Five guys so far – Nikita Kucherov, Connor McDavid, Patrick Kane, Leon Draisatl and Brad Marchand. Johnny Gaudreau and Nathan MacKinnon have a decent chance from 97 points and Sidney Crosby and Steven Stamkos have an outside shot sitting at 95 points. 5 players hitting the century mark equals the past 4 years of 100 point guys combined. I’m glad to see that scoring is up, and the superstars are well represented. 50 goals seems like a tougher milestone as only Alex Ovechkin is there with Leon Draisatl and John Tavares having a moderate chance sitting at 47 goals with 2 games left. While we’re reading the scoring charts, sometime this season while we weren’t paying attention Cam Atkinson and Alex DeBrincat scored the quietest 41 goals in the league. In other quiet Milestones Sergei Bobrovsky found enough time between demanding a trade out of town and missing the playoffs to record 9 shutouts!
It seems like any team not desperate to earn the last playoff spot is in a holding pattern. Superstars are being rested, and everyone’s trying to get their injured defencemen back in time for the playoffs. PK Subban and Dustin Byfuglien both returned to action this week in order to get in a few reps before crunch time. In San Jose, Sharks management and players are probably following Erik Karlsson around all day inquiring about his ankle. Toronto expects Jake Gardiner back in time to get a game or two in before the playoffs. Mark Giordano, Kris Letang and Victor Hedman are all listed as day-to-day. If you have a marquee defenceman you’re relying on, now would be the time to wish them good and healthy vibes. Unless it’s Drew Doughty, he’s doing just fine and wants to call all the aforementioned defencemen plugs.
I’m gonna get a little catty and anecdotal here for you folks. I’ve had a Hockey pool with my friends since the early 2000s. The pool was predominantly Leaf fans, and some of us refused to ever draft any Ottawa Senators players on general principle. There was also a curse for a while where no one ever won the Pool with a Senator on their team. I remember when Wade Redden bailed on the Ottawa Senators and signed up with the St. Louis Blues. I drafted him and my friend said “Redden? You sure about that?” and I said he’s not a Sen anymore. The now legendary comeback from him was “THAT STINK DON’T WASH OFF EASY”. Now, years later, in the same pool with the same friends I’m going to end up down several positions based on the last month of Erik Karlsson being ambiguously day to day. Erik Karlsson – YOUR GROIN HAS FAILED US ALLLLLLLLL. I guess that stink don’t wash off easy. I’ll have to console myself with the knowledge that Ottawa has secured dead last, and with it Colorado’s lottery position.