"Hits" is (are?) a divisive statistic among fans: is it a legitimate measurement of a player's contributions to his club regarding "strategic" physicality? Or yet another attempt by the league to NBA-ify the numbers with an ultimately meaningless made-for-TV value?
Whatever side you fall on, defenseman Erik Gudbranson paced the Florida Panthers in 2011-12 with 154 hits in 72 GP; nowhere close to NHL leader Matt Martin (374 in 80 games with the Islanders), but "good" for 71st in the league. Who placed second on the Cats after Guds? Oft-injured forward Matt Bradley, with a remarkable 134...in 45 appearances.
- (3) Phoenix over (4) Nashville, 1-0 (REG): Shane Doan backhander midway through first period holds up; Mike Smith stops 25 shots. Local reaction from Five For Howling and On The Forecheck.
Today's lone NHL Playoff Action
- (1) NY Rangers at (7) Washington, in another supremely ludicrous 12:30 ET start (NBC): Game Four, Rags lead series 2-1. Worried about another HeidiGate? The network and league claim to have figured it out.
Panthers in the WHC
- None today, but Marcel Goc (Germany) and Tomas Kopecky (Slovakia) are back it at tomorrow. USA and Canada both (1-0) dance from Helsinki at noon ET (NBCSN at 7:30 p.m./tape-delayed).
Around the Den
- The Rampage take their 1-0 AHL Calder Cup second-round series lead into action this evening from Oklahoma City (8 p.m. ET); are special-teams going to be the difference down the stretch? We'll have links for Game Two later tonight.
- @SARampage_Voice Dan Weiss corralled San Antonio newcomer Quinton Howden after Friday's practice (QuickTime)
- Last call: Sunday's South Florida Hockey Fest from Saveology Iceplex in Coral Springs (12-4) is open to the public (obviously) and free; Mikael Samuelsson and Jason Garrison are scheduled for an appearance.
- In case you missed it Friday: Hockey's Future finds a lot to like among Florida's prospects.
- "Making the Case for Florida's Dale Tallon" (Whitehead/RLD)
- "Goal differential meaningless" in Tallon EOTY nomination (Spiegel/HB)