Thoughts from an ameture who loves hockey, and attends more games than I should......The Mr's and I went to the Thursday, March 6th Islander loss 4-3. What a disappointment. That was the first game that P.O. Joseph was scratched for the "new guy" Kulikov. Kulikov is 32. Joseph is 23. (I'm not saying the loss was because of this one roster spot)
Kulikov's Plus\Minus over the last 60 games is -11.
Joseph's Plus\Minus over the last 59 games is +11.
Yes, Kulikov played that time frame with the Ducks...and the Ducks sucks, .....but still. I've watched Joseph this year just get better and better. IMHO (ameture) the trade for him was bad.....and then you HAVE to play the trade or essentially the coaching staff is saying to Hextall "Your acquisitions are pretty much not helpful." So...they got a defenseman to play\replace for someone they already had who is clearly better.
We also went to the Flyer's game on Saturday. Far better outcome of course, but the team as a whole is "up and down" on a period by period basis.
I watched the Ranger game yesterday, the 12th. Again....up and down play by period.
Malkin is a star player who is (IMAHO) playing.....frankly badly. I watch him as other teams players "get into his kitchen". If Malkin get's checked hard by another player....Malkins focus turns to "I'm gonna get that guy" and he does....and he either takes away from the focus of play....or he draws another stupid Malkin penalty. And he does it time after time. It's an easy play for the opposing team. Hit Malkin a few times....get him to focus on retaliation and not the game....take away the focus of one of the league's best stick\puck handling players!! Hey....it's only ONE goal that makes the difference between a win or loss. Malkin can get that one goal......unless he has his "kitchen" rattled.
There....I said it. If it were me, Malkin would be gone and replaced with far better focused players.