Off-Day Watch, 2/17: All the Kempe, All the Time
How about we talk about anything other than that game?
That game last night was, well, I have nothing nice to say so I will say nothing on it at all. The recap is up - and quite good - so if you missed the game or want to vent, head on over and let loose.
The most exciting event last night was the debut of Adrian Kempe, who played on Anze Kopitar’s left wing. His performance was good, all things considered, and his speed a welcome addition to the roster. Combined with the development of Kevin Gravel and Paul LaDue, we could be looking at real additions to the roster if all three are able to stick. Check out Kempe’s wheels here...
A sign of things to come? Nice awareness under pressure by LaDue, then Kempe's speed pushes defenders back pic.twitter.com/tLxURFrKoa— Sheng Peng (@Sheng_Peng) February 17, 2017
...and come back to reality here.
Darryl Sutter’s postgame comments on Kempe were expected and in my mind quite accurate. Kempe showed real talent last night but there were moments - particularly in the corners - where he seemed to hope the puck would pop loose instead of working to claim it. These are issues that have plagued him in Ontario - check out Mike Stother’s commentary on Kempe from February 10 - and he’ll have to work them out if he is to stay on the Kings’ roster long-term.
2/16 Game Highlights
Sidney Crosby earned his 1,000th point last night with an assist, and it really is worth a watch. For all the skill Crosby displays night to night, his sheer physical dominance is what often stands out. Poor Blake Wheeler.
- Not content with 1,000, Crosby would earn point 1,001 after a nifty pass from Evgeni Malkin. Did I mention it was in overtime?
- Future LA King (?) Evander Kane got on the scoreboard as well, with a nice outside-in move against the Colorado Avalanche. /
- Speaking of Kane, there was “An army of NHL scouts” in attendance in Buffalo last night...Dean Lombardi was one.
- Very good piece here on gauging proper value for rental players in a trade market. So often as fans we over/underestimate a player’s worth; this piece goes a long way to providing context behind these types of deals.
- Claude Julien’s firing in Boston was questioned around the league, and Dom Luszczyszyn makes a numbers-based case for why Boston’s record was due for a correction, with Julien or not.
- Finally, Dallas Stars play-by-play man Dave Strader is in a fight for his life, and he’s hoping a return to the booth provides some positive mojo. As a cancer-survivor myself, I’m following this story closely and rooting for him every step of the way. /