NHL Playoffs 2013: Which Superstars Haven't Met Expectations During Postseason?

Jerry BonkowskiFeatured ColumnistMay 19, 2013

NHL Playoffs 2013: Which Superstars Haven't Met Expectations During Postseason?

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    As the NHL has moved past its first round and is in the middle of its conference semifinals, many of the league's superstars are doing exactly what they're known for: scoring lots of goals and having a big impact.

    But, there are a few superstars that, to date, have been anything but super. For whatever reason, they've struggled unmercifully in both rounds.

    Let's take a look at six of those less-than-super stars that have not met expectations thus far during the postseason.

Jonathan Toews, Blackhawks

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    Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews tied for the team's scoring lead during the abbreviated regular season with teammate Patrick Kane, both players scoring 23 goals each.

    Toews also added 25 points to finish the 48-game lockout-shortened regular season with 48 points. He also took 143 shots, an average of three shots per game.

    But, thus far during the playoffs, Toews has been almost invisible in the Hawks' lineup, at least when it comes to scoring.

    Sure, he has three assists in the first seven games, but he has yet to score even one goal. He's taken 21 shots—on par with his three shots per game shooting average during the regular season—but he has yet to have even one sail into an opponent's net.

    Given how strong Detroit looked in Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinal series with the Blackhawks, Toews needs to pick up his offense significantly.

    Otherwise, the Blackhawks, who had the best regular-season record, could make an unexpected exit, perhaps as early as in the current round if Detroit continues to flex its muscle.

Brad Richards, Rangers

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    What has happened to Rangers' center Brad Richards?

    While maybe not quite on par as fellow teammate and center Derek Stepan, Richards was unquestionably one of the most significant players for the Rangers during the regular season.

    In 46 games, Richards had 11 goals and 23 assists for 34 points (and 110 shots), making him the Rangers' third-leading scorer.

    But midway through the second round of the playoffs, Richards has been MIA. In eight games, he has just one goal on 17 shots and no assists, dropping him to 14th in scoring on the team during the playoffs.

    Something is wrong somewhere with Richards. He needs to figure out what that is pretty quick, lest Boston, which leads the best-of-seven series 2-0, bids adieu to the Rangers in the next few games.

Marc-Andre Fleury, Penguins

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    It's funny how quickly a player's fortune can change in the NHL.

    Consider Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. He was Pittsburgh's No. 1 man in the net during the regular season and compiled an impressive 23-8 record (in 33 games), giving up 74 goals for a 2.39 GAA.

    But after being hammered in the opening-round series with the arch-rival Islanders, giving up 14 goals in four games (2-2 record) for a dismal 3.40 GAA, Fleury has been riding the bench since.

    He has not played at all in the current series against Ottawa and saw his last ice time on May 7 vs. the Islanders, when he gave up six goals in a 6-4 loss.

    Fleury hasn't even been able to redeem himself because backup Tomas Vokoun has played exceptionally in place of Fleury, with a 4-1 record and giving up just nine goals in five games for a 1.8 GAA.

    At this juncture, the Penguins—who even though they lost 2-1 to the Senators in double overtime on Sunday but still lead the series 2-1—will likely stay with Vokoun for the remainder of the playoffs. That leaves Fleury, the once big-name superstar, to be nothing but a distant memory.

Jaromir Jagr, Bruins

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    The name Jaromir Jagr once used to strike fear in opposing teams. He's unquestionably had a Hall of Fame career, having played in over 1,550 regular-season and playoff games in his career.

    Granted, Jagr is now 41 and likely has lost a step or two. So, we can't really be all that critical.

    But at the same time, when the Bruins made him a late-season pick-up from the Dallas Stars, they had hoped Jagr would still have some scoring gas left in his tank.

    After all, this is a guy who has scored over 750 goals (regular season and playoffs) in his 20-plus NHL career.

    But thus far in the Eastern Conference semifinal series, Jagr has been a shell of his past self. Sure, he has four assists, but the once powerful Czech power shooter has failed to score a goal on 28 shots in nine games during the current postseason.

    Jagr had 16 goals, 19 assists and 35 points (on 135 shots) during the regular season, split between Dallas and Boston.

    To show how relatively ineffective he's become in the playoffs, 14 players have scored for the Bruins thus far in the first two rounds.

    But not one of them is named Jagr.

Tyler Seguin, Bruins

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    While he might be considered more of a semi-superstar by some, there's no denying that center Tyler Seguin has been an important part of the Bruins' offense this season.

    Well, at least during the regular season, that is, finishing fourth in scoring with 16 goals and 16 assists for 32 points and led the team with 161 shots on goal.

    It's been a whole different story during the playoffs, however, as Seguin in nine games thus far has taken 35 shots—second on the team to only Zdeno Chara—yet has failed to score even once and has just one assist.

Niklas Kronwall, Red Wings

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    Niklas Kronwall was the top producing defenseman on the Red Wings during the regular season. In 48 games, he scored five goals and had 24 assists for 29 points.

    In the playoffs, however, Kronwall has been like a lost soul. In nine games thus far, he's managed just nine shots on goal (an average of just one per game) and two assists.

    Not surprisingly, he's now the Red Wings' fourth-ranked defenseman from a scoring standpoint thus far in the postseason. His team needs him to pick up his performance, particularly in the crucial Game 3 against Chicago on Monday.


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