Good news for short NHL defensemen everywhere: You can still succeed on the ice, even if you don't have Zdeno Chara's intimidating frame. TSN's Travis Yost examines which blueliners are the most (and least) successful at keeping the puck out of dangerous scoring areas.
But, you don't have to possess Zdeno Chara's skill set and physical attributes to get the job done. There's more than one way to protect a lead late. Offensive defencemen, for example, may be able to deter attacking forwards from those sweet spots on the ice by simply preserving possession of the puck. If your team is in the offensive zone and in control of the play, it's impossible to concede a shot and goal.
Analyzing competency in this area is difficult for this very reason. We often observe the punishing hits dished out by guys like Chara, who has more than earned his reputation as one of the league's best defenders. But we often fail to observe the steady offensive-minded defenders' contributions in the same capacity. This type of player may not be mercilessly separating an attacking forward from the puck as he crosses into the neutral zone, but that's because he doesn't have to - his team has the puck, and they're in the attacking end.
So, which players succeed at keeping guys from getting into these premier scoring areas? Which players fail?
Yost answers the question with some #fancystats and a chart that's definitely worth a look. [TSN]
First off, it's important to me that y'all know Georges Laraque will be playing Fezzik in a live read of the greatest movie of all time. Anybody want a peanut? [NHL]
For Tyler's sake, please keep all rubber ducks off the ice. [Puck Daddy]
The newly acquired Stephen Johns and 2014's first-round pick Julius Honka made an appearance on players to watch at the upcoming rookie tournaments. [SI]
Jere Lehtinen will be runnin' things for Team Finland at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.
Former NHLer Jere Lehtinen will be Finland's GM, Jarmo's temporary boss.— Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) September 9, 2015
And speaking of former Stars greats, enjoy this blast from the past courtesy of Bob Sturm.
Here is a story about the Zubov trade in 1996 I just read and enjoyed: http://t.co/Bm2XO6xsou— Bob Sturm (@SportsSturm) September 9, 2015
It's anyone's guess how things will play out in the Central Division, but ESPN sets out to answer the biggest question about each team. [ESPN]
ICYMI yesterday, the Stars announced their 2015-16 broadcast schedule. [Stars]
Over at the Dallas Morning News, Mike Heika hosted his regular Stars chat. [DMN]
Cody Franson signed a two-year deal with the Sabres.
Franson's AAV in new deal with the Sabres is $3.325 million
— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) September 10, 2015
All right, the game's tied, and you need to pick your 3-on-3 OT team. Who've you got? [Puck Daddy]
The NHL announced the 2016 World Cup of Hockey this week, and you can read up on the highlights. [ESPN]
Here's Jonathan Toews showing off.
Connor McDavid is good for both hockey and everyone's pockets. [Sportsnet]
Shannon Szabados continues to be awesome. [NBC Sports]
Season ticket holders in Tampa Bay better be careful not to sell their tickets too often. [Tampa Bay Times]
A different one for you -- a look at music and hockey from Five for Fighting's John Ondrasik. [Sports Illustrated]
While we're on that subject (strangely enough), Theo Fleury is releasing a country music album. [Sporting News]
And finally, the prospects currently in Traverse City have a little fun before all the hockey starts.