Rink Fries: On pulling the goalie early and the idea of hate-watching

John Hynes and his coaching staff pull Marc-Andre Fleury with possession of the puck to get the extra attacker in overtime. Matt Boldy gets set up and rips a one-timer to win it for the Minnesota Wild.

One week after we all praised Minnesota Wild head coach John Hynes for pulling Marc-Andre Fleury in overtime against the Nashville Predators, there is an even bigger hero move he could have pulled.

Take the goalie out while the game is still tied late in the third. The idea being that you not only push for the two points, but you’re also trying to pick up the tiebreaking regulation win while attempting to deny Nashville, a team you’re chasing, a single point.

I wondered if we would have seen Don Granato do that Friday night if the Buffalo Sabres were tied with the New York Islanders late in the third, but it was obvious early that scenario wouldn’t present itself.

Or how about a tie game late in the third with the team chasing in the standings going on a power play? Pull the goalie to make it a 6-on-4?

Given how tight the races are in the Eastern Conference right now I suspect we’ll see more opportunities for coaches to go hero in tied games.

Why Yzerman opted to ‘stand pat’ at trade deadline

Detroit Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman has heard it from all corners about not adding at the trade deadline, but there are a couple of simple reasons for that.

It sounds like: A) He felt the prices were just way too high, and B) He’s reluctant to move any of his prospects. As much as we focus on the off-season free agent roster building he’s engaged in the last two summers, it’s going to take a lot to get him to part with players he sees as the future of this team.

Stars’ expectations for Punnett

Quick note on Connor Punnett, the bruising defenceman Dallas signed last week out of the Oshawa Generals organization. Sounds like he caught Dallas’ attention last summer at the Traverse City prospects camp (Punnett was a Red Wings invite) and while his physical play was noticed, it sounds like what put him over the top was this fight with … Artem Grushnikov, who the Stars moved to Calgary in the Chris Tanev deal.

Punnett is expected to take Grushnikov’s spot on the AHL’s Texas Stars blue line next season. 

Pairing ‘hate-watching’ and the draft?

Wanna hear a wild concept that will never happen but is fun to play with in your brain?

I was reminded recently of a conversation I had last year about “hate-watching” hockey games (the idea being deliberately watching a team you despise just to cheer for losses) that led to a discussion of marrying that phenomenon with … the draft.

This is a concept first put forth by Deniz Selman, an economics professor at the University of Pennsylvania who focuses on game theory.

Let’s get rid of the Gold Plan (which I actually do like) or tweaking how many lottery balls each team gets … here’s what we’re going to do.

To begin, let’s establish this doesn’t start with this upcoming draft, that goes as usual, but this looks forward to 2025.

First big concept: Nobody owns their own pick.

Wrap your head around that first. Take your time.

All good?

Ok, next.

At the conclusion of the 2024 season, a draft is conducted to determine who gets whose pick.

If you finish last you get to select who’s pick you get at the 2025 draft. So, let’s say you’re San Jose sitting in last place. You select first and you maybe take Chicago anticipating they’ll have another season of pain next year. So, wherever the Blackhawks finish the following season, that’s where the Sharks draft.

If you finish 31st, you choose second and so on and so on.

And no, you can’t select yourself.

What does this achieve?

Firstly, it discourages tanking at the end of the season since you don’t see any benefit in losing hockey games.

Secondly, it encourages fans to watch games out of their own market, something the league has been trying to do forever. You say hockey is regional? Give fans something out-of-market that’s in their best interest to watch and follow.

Sidebar to this point as someone told me — it encourages hate-watching and new rivalries between fans who are cheering on each one of your losses.

Thirdly, it’s a cool and fun way to revise the lottery.

And fourthly, I can’t wait to see Elliotte’s eyeballs roll back in his head when I propose it to him.

PWHL notes

How about this goal by PWHL Ottawa’s Emily Clark last night?

Speaking of the PWHL, I wonder about New York, currently in last place in the six-team league.

As one person told me this weekend, “If Pascal (Doast, New York GM) thinks he has any moves to make, do it now.”

Montreal has been ravaged by injuries and needs to do something. Maybe there is a fit here.

Condolences to the Chung family

And finally, in this profession, I get to meet a lot of wonderful hockey fans some of whom have become lifetime friends. Richard Chung is one of those people. He’s a true hockey fan whose curiosity fuels his love and I’ve been on the learning end of many of our conversations and text exchanges. Richard lost his father Saturday and my heart breaks for him. Condolences to him and his family.

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