The St. Louis Blues are getting the biggest bang for their bucks.
Hockey doesn't have the reputation other sports do for analytics-based, Moneyball-type tactics to succeed with a lower payroll. The analytics movement in hockey isn't as developed as it is in baseball (even proponents disagree among themselves on various issues). Advanced stats don't lend themselves quite as easily to a flowing, inter-connected sport such as hockey. And the NHL salary cap (and salary floor), ensures a more even playing field.
But the movement exists in hockey, and teams all over the NHL are working to exploit every small advantage they can. One of those teams earned our choice as doing the most with the least money in the league.
Over the past five years, the St. Louis Blues have compiled a 208-127-41 record, including three straight playoff appearances, despite payrolls that ranked in the bottom 10 of the NHL.
Alex Ovechkin was helped off the ice after an awkward collision left him lame. Early reports were sketchy, but it appears as if he'll be okay. What are the chances the Russian coach plays him anyway?
The 28-year-old sniper appeared to suffer a right knee injury in the third period of a 3-0 win over Germany in Belarus.
Ovechkin took a low hit on the leg from a Germany's Marcus Kink at the Russian blue line. He stayed on the ice for two minutes before being helped to the locker room without putting pressure on his right leg.
Ovechkin was taken to a local hospital where he was treated and released. He eventually returned to the team's hotel and tweeted a picture of himself giving the thumbs up sign.
Here's a gif of the hit. This is an example of how trying to avoid a hit can be worse than taking it.
Some are already talking dynasty for the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Chicago Blackhawks are in a familiar spot in this year’s Stanley Cup playoffs. After handling the St. Louis Blues and the Minnesota Wild with relative ease in the first two rounds, they find themselves in the Western Conference Finals against the Los Angeles Kings. Chicago’s continued success over the past few years shows a stunning turnaround for the historic franchise, and it is that same success that brings to mind a question that has been the talk of the hockey world of late: How much longer before the Chicago Blackhawks can be considered a modern day dynasty?
More trade talk out of Columbus, this time it's R.J Umberger.
In a bit of an offseason bombshell, Aaron Portzline reported in this morning's Dispatch that veteran winger R.J. Umberger has asked the club to explore a trade this offseason, and will provide them with a list of teams he does not wish to be moved to as part of his no-trade clause when it changes to a limited NTC on June 15th. (One more reason to celebrate Flag Day?)
On Umby's side, this appears to stem from the decision by head coach Todd Richards to sit him for several games during the final stretch run, when Richards said he was looking for more speed and physical play in certain matchups. Given Umberger's long standing with the club and the load he's shouldered over the years, you can easily see why he felt hurt by that decision, though points to him for not making it a source of distraction during the season or through the Blue Jackets' playoff series against Pittsburgh.