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Screen Shots: Luke Richardson, Carey Price and Scoring Defensemen

Adam Proteau looks at Luke Richardson's solid start as Chicago's coach, Carey Price's press conference on Monday and defensemen in the top-100 points.
Luke Richardson

Welcome back to Screen Shots, a regular feature in which we forgo the long-form in favor of a few smaller, mini-columns. We also don’t do much in the way of the introductory paragraph and get to the columns right away. Here we go:

– You almost have to rub your eyes in disbelief, but coach Luke Richardson and his Chicago Blackhawks are on a four-game win streak and a 4-2-0 record that puts them in third place in the Central Division. 

If Chicago continues on this .667 points percentage, the NHL should rename the Jack Adams Award (as the league’s top bench boss) after Richardson. 

He's benefited from strong play in net by journeyman Alex Stalock, and a massive increase in their goal production – from the league’s fourth-worst goals-for total average of 2.6 per game to 4.5 goals this season. But Richardson has done his part to keep them ready for games and confident they have a chance to win. Really, you have to give him and GM Kyle Davidson due credit for this start.

That said, the regression to the mean that’s almost assuredly coming is going to be, well, mean. The Hawks have little depth, and as soon as they begin losing players to the injury bug, it’s going to be next to impossible for them to keep up this pace. Enjoy it while you can, Hawks fans, because the tank for generational talent Conor Bedard is going to see Davidson peeling off his veteran talents for draft picks and prospects.

Richardson is pushing a heavy ball up a hill, and it’s likely the ball gets heavier, and the hill steeper, from here on.

– Montreal Canadiens star goalie Carey Price had a news conference Monday, and he filled in reporters and fans on his ongoing struggle to deal with a serious knee injury and the likelihood of him ever returning to action.

The 35-year-old Price was less guarded than normal at the press conference, and if you weren’t a fan of him before you watched him open up and discuss painful times in his life, you were a fan after he spoke. And at the same time, it’s heartbreaking to think this is somebody who would still be on the ice if he could, but his body won’t allow it.

Price hasn’t decided to retire because of his knee problems, and it’s inspiring to see him attempt to keep his Stanley Cup dreams alive. You don’t have to be a Habs fan to want to see him return to action. On a strictly human level, you want him to defy the odds and be a pain-free competitor like he was for so many seasons. Wishing good fortune to him.

– Finally, it’s interesting to take a look at the percentage of defensemen in the top 100 NHL points leaders and see the lack of variation from year to year. 

So far this season, 10 defensemen are in the top 100 point-getters – the exact same number as it was at the end of last season. Those numbers are down in previous years, but not by much: 14 D-men were in the top 100 in 2020-21, 12 blueliners in 2019-20 and 11 defensemen in 2018-19.

What’s particularly intriguing is we know approximately who's going to be in the mix for this – can we call this the DArt Ross Trophy, a.k.a. the Defenseman Art Ross? – race. You’ve got Victor Hedman. You’ve got Cale Makar. You’ve got John Carlson. You’ve got Roman Josi. You know what you’re going to get from them year in and year out.

There’s more variation over time in the 85 to 90 forwards in the top 100. On the back end, it’s a testament to the defensemen that they dominate as regularly as they do. For that reason, don’t be surprised if this year’s DArt Ross goes to a repeat winner. 


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