NEWARK, NJ - APRIL 24: Dainius Zubrus #8 of the New Jersey Devils lies on the ice after he took a hit in the first period from Erik Gudbranson #44 of the Florida Panthers in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Prudential Center on April 24, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
"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)