After last night's performance, Steve Mason proved to be a liar. Sort of.
After yesterday's morning skate, in an interview, Steve Mason "admitted" that he was in no way fatigued — this was a result of him being named the starter for the 22nd time in 24 games. Well, after last night's game 5-2 loss, that proved to be exactly the opposite. Facing 27 shots and stopping 22 while posting a .852 save percentage is not where the Flyers want Mason. Especially considering the first two Rangers' goals went five-hole and could have easily been stopped. The third Rangers goal should have never happened considering Mase was being screened by his own defender; that's right, Radko Gudas was posted directly in front of Mason. Then again, it was a beautiful feed from Miller (Rangers) to Grabner (Rangers) to put the Rangers up.
(Photo Credit: NHL.com)
Not only was the fifth straight loss for the Flyers a poor performance by Mason, it was also a poor performance by a good majority of the team. The defense was a complete train wreck. And once again, the offense could not muster together shots that were finding the back of the net .It's not like the Flyers were not shooting, they launched a total of 32 on Lundqvist, who stopped 30 of them, the only two that were buried came late in the third period off of Voracek's stick. Something that I still cannot seem to wrap my head around is some of the decisions made by coach Dave Hakstol. One of the first things, his choice of who plays and who plays with who.
These are the offensive line rushes that Hak put together last night as well as when he tends to go with on occasion. First of all, demote Schenn to the third line, bring Couturier up to play with Konecny and Simmonds. Scratch Weise and put Cousins in at 3C with Schenn at the wing. Lyubimov was not active to play because of cap space complications with Mark Alt who was activated and brought up at some point this past week. But if Lyubimov was active throw him in place of Gordon (this was the original plan until the cap space issue). Now comes the real question and issue, why is VandeVelde playing every game and why is Bellmare playing every game? I understand the Hextall does not like to rush the development of prospects but come on. The same issue can be seen on defense with Andrew MacDonald playing nearly every game. I'm not saying Nick Shultz is any better or worse than AMac but mix things up.
(Photo Credit: NHL.com)
Moving forward, the Flyers play back to back games this weekend. Saturday at home against the Lighting and Sunday on the road against the red hot Columbus Blue Jackets. It is highly likely that Neuvirth gets the nod at least once. Considering how much Mason has played and how fatigued he looks on the ice.
Its pretty surprising that the Montreal Canadiens have yet to sign star defender, PK Subban.
Earlier this off season, Subban filed for salary arbitration. Basically what this means is that Montreal can't resign Subban until his arbitration hearing occurs. The long of the short of it is, Subban is looking for more money and wants to play out the remainder of his career in Montreal. Subban, who became a restricted free agent after the 2013-14 season ended, is the next possible candidate to become the Canadiens team captain after former captain, Brian Gionta was singed to a three-year, $12.75 million contract by the Buffalo Sabres.
Personally, I feel like it would be the right thing for the Canadiens, resigning Subban to a hefty contract. Just to get a feel for how PK ended of the regular season, he finished with 10 goals and 43 assists in his 82 games. The post season was good to him as he finished with 5 goals and 9 assists in the Canadiens 17 post season match ups. This guy is a presence on the ice that will be hard for the Canadiens to replace if they decide that they should move on.
Michael Del Zotto is one of the more underrated defensive free agents still up for grabs.
(Photo Credit: NHL.com)
Del Zotto was part of the deal with the New York Rangers and the Nashville Predators where Del Zotto was traded to Nashville in return for Kevin Klein. This trade was speculated to be pretty decent in favor of the Predators; Del Zotto, a young, up and coming defender who has quite a bit of untapped potential. The thing was, this trade almost back fired on Nashville. Klein would end up being a part of the Rangers playoff run while Del Zotto was sitting back home in Nashville watching his old team make a run at the Cup. Not to mention Del Zotto's numbers with Nashville were not the best; contributing only 1 goal and 4 assists in his 25 games in Nashville. Than again, if you look back at MDZ's 2013-14 career with the Rangers, it is pretty clear to see why he was on the trading block. It also makes sense why he's now a free agent.
(Photo Credit: predators.nhl.com)
However, Del Zotto wants to be singed to a team, not only to play the game he loves but to also prove to himself and to the league that he is a better player than what it says on paper. Now comes the question of who should sign Del Zotto. Obviously fans around the league have their own opinion on where MDZ should end up, however, it all boils down to a few teams; Edmonton, Toronto, and possibly San Jose. These three teams have the ability to turn Del Zotto's play style and physicality around and turn him into a pretty decent defender. He also won't take up too much cap space; he could be signed for a one-year minimal level contract so if things don't pan out it won't be a detrimental blow to the team. On the flip side, if things to pan out with MDZ the team can sign him to a multi-year contract and continue to shape Del Zotto.