Written By: Mark “The Hard Hitter” Ritter
Congratulations go out to New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur, who set the all-time shutout record this week versus the Pittsburgh Penguins. With 104 shutouts, Brodeur has further solidified his reputation as the NHL’s best goaltender of all-time and his place on team Canada’s roster at the 2010 Winter Olympics as Canada’s starting goalie.
Trading Mr. Carter
It’s hard to comprehend all the chatter on Philadelphia Flyers fan sites about wanting to deal Jeff Carter. This is a 24-year-old kid who scored 46 goals last season and, by all accounts, is as much a victim of having poor wingers as he is a victim of bad luck.
Riddle me this: if Flyers fans are correct in their assessment and Carter is indeed a “waste of human flesh” as one fan wrote this week, how the heck do they expect to get anything of value in return for him? Lucky for Flyers fans, their assessment is wrong. Carter is an elite player on a bad team, and trading him would be a horrible move.
How "Swede" It’s Not
The early money was being laid down on Sweden’s junior team to give Canada a run for its money for the gold medal. Well, after Canada’s 6-2 drubbing of Sweden, I think it’s safe to say that unless the Russians have something say about it, the gold medal is all but assured to be awarded to team Canada.
And another thing...last time I checked, the Canadian flag was red and white , not green and white—the colors team Canada was wearing when they defeated the Swedes. Nothing against the Irish (especially this time of year when many Irishmen have been drinking!), but I don’t like when team Canada looks like team Ireland. Let’s get back to the Red and White, pronto!
Taking It to the “Mats”
Interesting to note: when NHL.com threw out their all-decade team, former Toronto Maple Leafs centre Mats Sundin was nowhere to be found. Let’s face it, the likes of Joe Sakic and Sidney Crosby (who were selected No. 1 and No. 2) needed to be there, but going with Joe Thornton and Vincent Lecavalier over Mats Sundin in the “honorable mention” department was a bit of a shocker to me.
After looking a little closer, it appears as if NHL.com got it right. Sundin, while talented, never brought home any trophies, personal or team-wise, which, in the end, looks to have cost him his induction to the all-decade team.
For the record, from 1999-2000 through to the present, Thornton has averaged 0.96 points per game, Lecavalier has averaged 0.919 PPG, and Sundin averaged 0.92 PPG (***retired at the end of 2008-09 season).
Which leads me to this question...when you look at Sundin’s career, he consistently had “good” seasons; that said, given his lack of hardware and lack of “great” seasons, is Sundin a Hall of Famer? Discuss amongst yourselves...
Rod Brind’Amour Watch
Through 35 games, Brind’Amour has amassed a total of two goals, eight points, and he leads the NHL with a league-worst plus/minus rating of minus 19. With all due respect, it’s over Mr. Brind’Amour. Hang 'em up already...
Dollar, Dollar Bills Y’all
The Montreal Canadiens have committed a combined $18 million to Brian Gionta, Mike Cammalleri, and Scott Gomez. The question is, has the investment paid off? At the end of the 2008-09 season, the Montreal Canadiens finished with a 41-30-11 record, good enough for 93 points, 13th place overall.
This season, through 38 games, the Canadiens have a record of 17-18-3, which puts them on pace for a record of 36-38-8, which equates to a total of 80 points, which would see them miss the playoffs. I’ll go out on a limb here and suggest that when Canadiens GM Bob Gainey signed Cammaleri, Gomez, and Gionta, he was not expecting to take a nosedive in the standings, and in the end, the lack of results may cost Gainey his job.
Clearly, the Philadelphia Flyers have been brutal through December. That said, the worst team this Christmas season has been none other than the Columbus Blue Jackets. The BJ’s have a record of 1-7-2 in their past 10 games, the Flyers 2-7-1. Take your pick; both teams are playing way below their potential, and both teams can be expected to start making changes once the trade embargo is over.
Until next time,