Here’s the second half of Screen Shots’ mid-season review. (The Western Conference recap can be found HERE).
Star Pupils: The Â“Three Sticks MafiaÂ” (Ilya Kovalchuk, Marian Hossa, Slava Kozlov).
Remedial Work: Niko Kapanen, a minus-10 despite averaging only 10:51 a game.
Principal’s Office: The marketing mastermind who decided the best way to promote the Thrashers was by focusing on revenge-based violence. You’ve got HossaChuk on your team, for Pete’s sake!
Star Pupils: Marc Savard, who came as advertised (lots of points and only a passing interests in defense); Tim Thomas, when he’s hot; Zdeno Chara, when he’s not in the penalty box.
Remedial Work: Tim Thomas, beer league goalie.
Principal’s Office: Â“RaphaelÂ” Paul Mara. Only two goals and a minus-14 thus far? Nick Boynton’s been injured most of the year in Phoenix, but the Coyotes still won that trade.
Star Pupils: Pretty much everybody.
Remedial Work: Pretty much nobody.
Principal’s Office: Nobody, that is, but for Andrew Peters. Thirty-four games played, one assist, 55 penalty minutes and an average of four minutes per game so far. Thanks for comin’ out, big fella.
Star Pupils: The Ageless Wonder, Rod Brind’Amour; Ray Whitney, who at age 34 is in line for a new career high in points.
Remedial Work: John Grahame, whose goals-against average (3.19) is worse than it was last year (3.06) when he was Tortorella’d out of Tampa.
Principal’s Office: Hurricanes fans, because crowds of 13,000-14,000, even if they’ve only happened a couple of times, are inexcusable the year after your team wins the Stanley Cup.
Star Pupils: Astonishingly, Nathan Horton is a plus-10 on this team. The next-best forwards are Gary Roberts and Olli Jokinen, both at plus-4.
Remedial Work: Alex Auld hasn’t had much support from his teammates, but his sub-.900 save percentage isn’t impressing anyone.
Principal’s Office: Their post-regulation-time play, as they’ve lost more games (9) than any other team; Their management structure (i.e. a single coach-GM combo), currently copied by no other team.
Star Pupils: Andrei Markov, in all situations; Sheldon Souray, but only with the man advantage; Saku Koivu, on pace for his best-ever goals and points totals; Cristobal Huet.
Remedial Work: A defense that allows 33.7 shots per game, second-worst in the NHL; Alexei Kovalev.
Principal’s Office: Sergei Samsonov, even though Guy Carbonneau gave up on him way too easily; Janne Niinimaa, a healthy scratch for 18 games thus far.
Star Pupils: Martin Brodeur, still the best goalie on the planet; Patrik Elias and Brian Gionta, both back to their old selves after slow starts to the year; Zach Parise, who could more than double (and has already surpassed) the 14 goals he scored last year.
Remedial Work: Paul Martin and Colin White, both a minus-7; the team’s management and marketing department, for failing to realize safe-talking robots don’t sell tickets.
Principal’s Office: Cam Janssen. Twenty-eight games played, zero points, 65 penalty minutes, one shot on net and an average of 4:10 per game. For more, see Peters, Andrew.
New York Islanders
Star Pupils: Jason Blake, for leading the Isles in goals and points; Mike Sillinger and Viktor Kozlov, for playing as good as, or better than, advertised; Chris Simon, Sean Hill and Radek Martinek, who’ve combined for an amazing plus-39.
Remedial Work: The power play, currently staggering along at a 15.1 per cent clip, good for fifth-worst in the game; Alexei Yashin, as usual.
Principal’s Office: Whatever happened to the Trent Hunter who had 25 goals and 51 points in 2003-04? If you know, contact Garth Snow.
New York Rangers
Star Pupils: Jaromir Jagr, pointmaker (he’s well on his way to another 100-point season);
Remedial Work: Their play at even strength is well below the league average; so is the play of sophomore goalie Henrik Lundqvist (.899 save percentage).
Principal’s Office: Adam Hall, the lone Blueshirts forward with a double-digits minus ranking (minus-13).
Star Pupils: Dany Heatley, for turning on the jets when injuries most threatened the team; Ray Emery, for turning on the jets when Martin Gerber most threatened the team; Tom Preissing, who leads the league with a plus-26.
Remedial Work: Andrej Meszaros and Joe Corvo, neither of whom is delivering in their own end (minus-23 combined).
Principal’s Office: Also known as Â“Gerber’s PlaceÂ”.
Star Pupils: Hardy har har. Just messin’ with ya.
Remedial Work: Let’s seeÂ… their face-off percentage (25th in the league), their shots-allowed per game (26th), their power play (28th), and their goals-allowed per game (30th). Other than that, everything is swell.
Principal’s Office: Kyle Calder, the anti-Preissing (minus-26); Derian Hatcher, he of the single assist so far this year; Robert Esche, who at least is man enough to admit when he stinks; many others space doesn’t allow us to list.
Star Pupils: Crosby and Malkin. All who require elaboration, please go away.
Remedial Work: How can you share the same ice with two of the best young players in the game and still be a minus-13? Ask Nils Ekman how he does it.
Principal’s Office: The faceoff crew, which ranks dead last in the league at 46.8 per cent efficiency; the artist formerly known as John LeClair.
Star Pupils: Martin St-Louis and Vincent Lecavalier, for earning every penny of their megabuck deals.
Remedial Work: The goaltending, which was just as suspect as some of us suspected it’d be; Brad Richards, on pace for his worst offensive output in five years and a minus-10.
Principal’s Office: Vinny Prospal, who coach John Tortorella would gladly trade today for a hamburger tomorrow.
Star Pupils: Mats Sundin, who’s showing how he might have dominated games under Pat Quinn, if only the former coach would’ve given him the minutes; Tomas Kaberle, still about as physical as a mild breeze, but much better positionally, and at the peak of his offensive game; Michael Peca, as good a lockdown artist as the Leafs have had in decades and the guy also chiefly responsible for a vastly-healthier dressing room vibe.
Remedial Work: Bryan McCabe, for looking like a world-beater one night, and an AHL rookie the next; Andrew Raycroft, who can’t put a solid game together when the skaters can’t score; Darcy Tucker, whose minus-13 takes some of the shine off of those 19 goals.
Principal’s Office: Alex Steen, before his current surge; Pavel Kubina, who seemingly can only score goals against the Sabres; Nik Antropov, a lost cause at this stage in this market.
Star Pupils: Alex Ovechkin and Alexander Semin, the biggest Russian Red Menace the locals have never heard of; Chris Clark, this year’s Andy McDonald; Olie Kolzig, this year’s Olie Kolzig.
Remedial Work: Their defense, which allows a league-worst 34.2 shots per game on average; backup goalie Brent Johnson, who has gotten worse as the season has gone on.
Principal’s Office: Washingtonians in general, for their indifference toward the most charming superstar the city has had since Michael Jordan was a Wizard a few years back.
Click HERE to read the Western Conference grades
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