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Who will be the hero? April 14, 2010

Posted by calvin in Uncategorized.
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Each year, there’s a different player, or players, who are heroes in the playoffs. We’ve all seen footage (or the game live) of May Day in ’92-93, and many of us remember Jason Wooley’s overtime goal on the road to win the first game of the ’99 Stanley Cup Finals. And of course who can forget Jason Pominville’s shorthanded goal to send the Senators packing in ’05-06?

So… who will be the hero this year?

Let’s go through the lineup. I’m excluding goalies from this and making my assumptions based on who will score a goal to tie or win a crucial game. It’s my blog, and I can do what I want. 😉

I’m going to put my own purely unscientific odds on each player. Feel free to agree or disagree:

Tim Connolly: He’s done it before (tying Game 1 against the Senators in ’05-06 with only 11 seconds left in regulation), but can he do it again? Let’s face it – there’s little chance his foot is 100%, but this is the playoffs, and he’ll play. 5-to-1 *NOTE: Without the foot injury I’d probably put him at 4-to-1.

Matt Ellis: Possible, but very unlikely. Fourth-liners don’t get much ice time in the playoffs, for one thing. 20-to-1

Tyler Ennis: It’s hard to say what Ennis can or will do. This is his first NHL playoffs, and he might be intimidated. Conversely, he may handle the pressure well (he has so far from what I can see) and perform admirably. 8-to-1

Paul Gaustad: Gaustad has it in him to be a game-changer. However, the playoffs are often so tightly contested they come down to things like lucky bounces, and lucky bounces tend to go better for players with hands and scoring instincts, neither of which Gaustad has. Before you all tar and feather me, let me say this: I like Paul Gaustad a lot. But he’s not as likely to score that timely goal as some of his teammates are. 8-to-1

Nathan Gerbe: Gerbe is another wild card. I don’t think he’ll be as much of a factor in the playoffs as Ennis will (provided either of them remain with the team, of course), but he has played in big games before and performed admirably. 12-to-1

Mike Grier: Grier doesn’t strike me as the guy who will make the big play. It’s more likely he’ll make the pass that gets the big play started. 10-to-1

Jochen Hecht: I’ve never seen Hecht as a game-changer. He chips in his 20 or so goals and isn’t a defensive liability. The fact he plays with Connolly and Pominville a lot will help his chances of heroism but I don’t expect him to be “the guy”. 6-to-1

Pat Kaleta: Strangely enough, I have more faith that he could be a hero than I do in a lot of the other grinders. Unlike some of them, he can be a game-changer, whether it’s because he draws a timely penalty or scores a goal at an unlikely time. I’ll put him at 7-to-1.

Tim Kennedy: I think Kennedy is wearing down. The rigors of a full season of NHL hockey is taking its toll. That being said, he may find another gear in the playoffs. 8-to-1

Adam Mair: With Mair’s propensity for taking stupid penalties at awful times, if I was Ruff I’d nail his butt to the bench with the exception of a shift or two a period. With so little ice time he probably won’t be the one to make a difference (in a good way). 20-to-1

Jason Pominville: Pominville’s done it before and can do it again. He’ll get plenty of time and opportunities to be the difference-maker. 3-to-1

Derek Roy: Roy was the top points-getter in the regular season and scored some timely goals. Like Pominville, he will eat up a lot of ice time and have many chances to be the hero. 3-to-1

Drew Stafford: IF Stafford plays, he won’t be 100%. That fact, coupled with the fact his ice time hasn’t been consistent this season, will make it harder for him to score the important goals. 7-to-1

Raffi Torres: Theoretically, Torres should have a good shot at being the hero. Realistically, though, I think the mental fatigue brought on by not scoring during his time with the Sabres so far will hinder his chances. 9-to-1

Thomas Vanek: Vanek can be a game-changer, and if he continues to play like he has since he came back from injury there’s an excellent chance he’ll put the biscuit in the basket at the right time. 2-to-1

Chris Butler: Both he and Andrej Sekera seem to be in Ruff’s doghouse, but he’ll still get ice time when he dresses. He’s got an offensive touch and may play on the point during the power play. 10-to-1

Toni Lydman: Lydman’s job isn’t to score goals, it’s to prevent them, but he chips in some offense when he can. I think he’ll be too busy, you know, defending, to help out much at the other end, though. 15-to-1

Steve Montador: Montador has shown more of an offensive upside than I had anticipated. Despite that, the guy doesn’t exactly have soft hands. 12-to-1

Tyler Myers: When a player gets as much ice time as Myers does, and in every situation, there’s a good chance he’ll become your playoff hero. He’s got the best shot of all the defensemen. 6-to-1

Craig Rivet: Unless I’m missing something, Rivet is running on fumes. Veterans sometimes find another gear in the playoffs. If he doesn’t, though, his chances of being the hero are not good. 16-to-1

Andrej Sekera: Read the above commentary about Butler. Ditto. 10-to-1

Henrik Tallinder: Playing with Myers and getting so much ice time probably make him the second most-likely defenseman to get the big goal. He’s more likely to shovel the outlet pass to the hero, though. 9-to-1

What do y’all think? Who will be the hero?



1. Cynthia - April 14, 2010

I agree for the most part, although I think you may be underestimating the youngsters. My guess would be one of four players– Myers, Vanek, Ennis, Roy.

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