Around the league – Oct 22 2009

This past week Nick Lidstrom became only the 8th defenseman to register 1,000 points. The 53rd pick in the 1989 draft is quietly putting himself in the conversation of greatest defenseman ever.

Lidstrom doesn’t seem to get the fanfare he deserves. His game is so effective we sometimes overlook how good he has been. Only Bobby Orr (8) and Doug Harvey (7) have more Norris Trophies than Lidstrom’s six, and Lidstrom might have seven if there wasn’t the lockout.

Lidstrom never put up spectacular numbers, his best season was 80 points in 2006, but his offensive numbers are solid, but his defensive play is top-notch. Lidstrom might be the best European player to ever play, and when his career is over he will be considered a top-five defender and maybe the best ever.

With his 1,000 point he joined an elite crew of scoring defenders, Ray Bourque (1,579), Paul Coffey (1,531), Al MacInnis (1,274), Phil Housley (1,232), Larry Murphy (1,216), Denis Potvin (1,052) and Brian Leetch (1,028).

Back in 1989 not many thought he would turn out this good, in fact he wasn’t even drafted as an 18-year-old in 1988, but instead he was taken as a 19-year-old. Here are the D-men who were taken before him in 1989.

  • Adam Bennett, 6th overall to Chicago, 69 games and eleven points.
  • Doug Zmolek, 7th overall to Minnesota, 467 games and 64 points.
  • Jason Herter, 8th overall to Vancouver, 1 games and one point.
  • Jason Marshall, 9th overall to St. Louis, 526 games and 67 points.
  • Kevin Haller, 14th overall to Buffalo, 642 games and 138 points.
  • Jason Soules, 15th overall to Edmonton, No games.
  • Jamie Heward, 16th overall to Pittsburgh, 394 games 124 points.
  • Steve Bancroft, 21st overall to Toronto, six games and one point.
  • Adam Foote, 22nd overall to Quebec, 1040 games and 291 points.
  • Dan Ratushny, 25th overall to Winnipeg, one game and one point.
  • Mike Speer, 27th overall to Chicago, No games.
  • Patrice Brisebois, 30th overall to Montreal, 1009 games and 420 points.
  • Rick Corriveau, 31st overall to St. Louis, No games.
  • Bob Boughner, 32nd overall to Detroit, 630 games and 72 points. (Even the Wings didn’t think Lidstrom was the best D-man available.)
  • Paul Laus, 37th overall to Pittsburgh, 530 games and 72 points.
  • Brent Thompson, 39th overall to LA, 121 games and 11 points.
  • Bob Kellogg, 48th overall to Chicago, No games.
  • Veli-Pekka Kautonen, 50th overall to Calgary, No games.

The Blackhawks took three defensemen ahead of Lidstrom that year, talk about a bad year for the Hawks scouting staff.

Nikolai Khabulin is now tied with Olaf Kolzig 21st overall with most career wins, 303. Three more wins and Khabibulin will pass Billy Smith (305) and be in the top 20. If he wins 37 games this season he will pass Sean Burke (324), Harry Lumley (330) and Gump Worsley (335), putting Khabibulin 17th overall. If he finishes his contract with the Oilers, and wins an average of 20 games the next three years he could crack the top ten.

Some other milestones or career rankings that should fall this year:

  • With two more goals Mike Modano will pass the Rocket, Maurice Richard with 545 career goals.
  • With one more OT goal, Patrik Elias becomes the career leader with 16. He is currently tied with Jaromir Jagr, Mats Sundin and Sergei Fedorov with 15.
  • Mark Recchi needs one more assist for 900 in his career. He will pass Bryan Trottier (901) at some point this season and move into 17th on the all-time assists list. And he needs three more GP, to become only the 13th player in NHL history to play 1,500 games.
  • With his 21 PIMs so far this year, Donald Brashear is now 15th all-time in PIMs with 2,582. He needs 203 more to catch Scott Stevens for 14th.
  • Paul Kariya needs 48 points for 1,000, while Alexia Kovalev needs 55.

Ice girl of the week

This week I give the slow clap to a group of Blackhawks Ice girls. I know this is back-to-back weeks with a Chicago girl, but the picture above showcases the benefits of Ice Girls.

Random thoughts

The NFL has Mr. Irrelevant, a moniker given to the last pick in the NFL draft, but the NHL has no such thing. Patric Hornqvist was the last pick, 230th in 2005, but is off to a great start for the Predators with two goals and six points in seven games. He is only the 9th player who was taken with final pick, since 1979, to have played in the NHL.

  • 2002: Detroit took, Jonathon Ericsson 291st. Is hurt but should be a solid contributor.
  • 1997: Boston chose Jay Henderson 246th. Played 33 games.
  • 1994: NYR took Kim Johnsson 286th. Currently playing with the Wild, has played in 686 career games.
  • 1993: Pittsburgh took Hans Jonsson 286th and he played 242 games for the Pens.
  • 1988: Calgary chose Sergei Pryakhin 252nd. He played 46 games over three years.
  • 1987: Oilers took Igor Vyazmikin 252nd. He played four games for the Oil in 1991.
  • 1980: Philly took Andy Brickley 210th. He played 385 games and registered 222 points.
  • 1979: Edmonton took Blair Barnes 126th. He played one game for the L.A Kings.

I love a good fight and a good hit, but why does it seem every time we witness a bone-crushing hit the guy who dished out the hit gets jumped. Last night, Willie Mitchell crushed Jonathon Toews with a clean open-ice hit. Kris Versteeg wrestled with Mitchell right after and both got minors. Mitchell shouldn’t have to turtle, and he shouldn’t have to sit for two minutes because Versteeg got in his face.

Now that the Islanders won in a shoot out last night, the Leafs are the only winless team left and I’m happy for Brian Burke. His pompous attitude, short hypocrite memory and overall smug attitude make me cheer against the Leafs. I’d love nothing more than to see the Leafs finish dead last, win the lottery and watch Burke squirm as the Boston Bruins select Taylor Hall first overall.

In the summer many said Ryan Smyth had no chance to make the Olympic team, in fact Ryan Rishaug and I debated in at length, and I said you can’t rule him out. I never thought he’d produce like he is, but if he is in the top-twenty in scoring come December he will make the squad, because Steve Yzerman and crew know what to expect from Smyth. He is still the best in the league in front of the net, and never shies away from getting greasy.

Regular season NHL drafts that don’t allow reserve players are stupid. One major injury and your draft is over. Now that Marc Savard is out for six weeks, I’m done. Losing a draft due to an injury is bogus.

Leader through the week

Here are the top ten in pts, goals, assists and other stats.

Goals:

  • Nine: Alex Ovechkin
  • Seven: Ilya Kovalchuk, Patrick Marleau and Devon Setoguchi
  • Six: Dany Heatley, Ryan Smyth, Alex Semin, Ryan Malone, Marian Gaborik and Mike Richards

Assists:

  • Twelve: Joe Thornton (leads for the second straight week).
  • Nine: Nicklas Backstrom
  • Eight: Vinny Prospal, Anze Kopitar, Marty St.Louis and Henrik Sedin.
  • Seven: Ovechkin (no assists this week), Smyth, Rick Nash and Evgeni Malkin, Rene Bourque, Dan Boyle, Matt Carle, Erik Johnson and Jason Demers. Hands up anyone who has heard of Jason Demers before reading this? The rookie D-man for the Sharks has four assists in his last two games.

Points:

  • Sixteen: Ovechkin
  • Fourteen: Thornton
  • Thirteen: Smyth and Kopitar.
  • Twelve: ealtey, and Gaborik.
  • Eleven: Nash, Bourque, Malkin, Prospal, St.Louis, H. Sedin and Backstrom.

Plus/Minus:

  • +11: Nicklas Grossman
  • +9: Ladislav Smid, Brandon Dubinsky, Alex Goligoski, Stephane Robidas and Ovechkin.
  • +8: Scott Hannan, Henrik Tallinder, Jan Hejda and Curtis Glencross.
  • +7: Five players tied.

PP Goals:

  • Four: Mike Richards, Devon Setoguchi and Ryan Smyth
  • Three: Michael Del Zotto, Rich Peverley, Steven Stamkos, Andrew Brunette, Mikael Samuellson, Raffi Torres and Matt Stajan.

Hits:

  • 38: Ryan Callahan leads for second straight week.
  • 34: Dustin Brown
  • 32: J.F Jacques and Chris Neil
  • 30: Matt Cooke and Troy Brouwer
  • 29: Andrew Alberts, Cody Mcleod
  • 28: Ovechkin
  • 26: Five tied with 26

Shots:

  • 61: Ovechkin had 19 shots this week with four goals.
  • 41: Samuelsson had 20 shots this week, but only one goal.
  • 39: Gaborik
  • 37: Alex Burrows
  • 34: Malkin
  • 33: Eric Staal, Michael Cammalleri, Zach Parise, Dustin Brown and Setoguchi.

Final point(s)

Sidney Crosby, Jonathon Toews, Zach Parise and Jamie Langenbrunner are two-for-two in shoot outs this year. They are the only players perfect with more than one opportunity.

Also, remember to sign-up for the three hockey drafts we’re running over at NationDrafts.com. Great prizes, gloating, and it’s all free!

  • Hemmertime

    I like the Blonde on the right.

    Jason, I saw Tatum Stanowich (Tator Sandwich)the other day. Kinda funny. She hasn't changed a bit. I was leaving Rexall around 5:30ish on Monday. Had work to do there, in the BC Booth.