Trying to turn the corner


I’ve been dealing with a depressive episode for the past three weeks, and I’m finally starting to see some slow and steady improvement, but I’m still really struggling with energy and enthusiasm to do tasks, and as hard as I’m trying to at least be on Twitter during games, I’m aiming to return during the middle to end of this week, energy level permitting.

It’s been a rough go and I appreciate your kind words and support over the course of the past three weeks. I’m very grateful for your patience as I work through this pain in the butt.

Still dealing with depression

My apologies for the radio silence of late. I’m still dealing with my depressive episode, and while I’m just feeling “blah” mentally, the physical pain I’ve been going through over the past five days has been immense.

I’m dealing with it as best as I can, but I’m not quite sure when I’ll be able to battle through it and get back to work.

The truth of the matter is that every day I work I battle through some sort of physical or mental discomfort, and at times like these, it just gets to be too much to bear. I’ve spent a good chunk of time in bed just trying to deal with the pain by sleeping, and I hope that it eases up soon. I miss working and I want to get back to what I find to be a fulfilling job.

Fighting depression

I’m sorry about the absence over the last day. I’ve been fighting some pretty severe depression and anxiety and I haven’t been able to overcome it. It’s very frustrating as I want to work, but I’m really struggling to just get out of bed right now. I’m hopeful that I’ll be back by game time tomorrow night, but I’ve got to play things moment by moment and try to get myself out of the bottom of the pool first.

ESPN’s Wyshynski polls the PHWA, and everybody loves…Zegras

ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski posted an update on the various awards that the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association votes upon for ESPN+ this morning, and it should not surprise you that his polling of PHWA representatives confirmed that the Trevor Zegras Hype Machine has overtaken the Lucas Raymond one:

Calder Trophy (top rookie)

Leader: Trevor Zegras, C, Anaheim Ducks
Finalists: Lucas Raymond, LW, Detroit Red Wings; Moritz Seider, D, Detroit Red Wings

Ever since he set up Sonny Milano with a pass that went over the back of the net to the front of the crease, Zegras has been the center of an all-out fan and media lovefest. It also helps when he does press conferences with Baby Yoda strapped to his chest or becomes a meme after being frightened by Kevin Shattenkirk dressed as a giant teddy bear:

Of course, it also helps that he’s a dynamic hockey player, too. Zegras has 25 points in 30 games, including eight goals, while skating 17:08 per game. He’s basically living in the attacking end, with 83% offensive zone starts. But he’s getting results.

Raymond, who led the Calder Awards Watch race last month, still leads NHL rookies in goals (10, tied with Tanner Jeannot of Nashville), points (29) and points per game (0.85). As our survey of voters might indicate, his buzz has been dwarfed by that of Zegras. But rookie of the year honors are typically linked to offensive stat leaders for forwards.

If Raymond can continue his consistent play — he hasn’t gone more than two straight games without a point this season — he’ll likely end up leading in some offensive categories. The betting market still likes him, too, as his +140 odds make him the favorite for the award ahead of Zegras (+200).

Two other factors to note: Zegras had 24 games of experience in 2020-21 and is just over a year older than Raymond, who is 19. Not saying these should be factors, mind you.

Seider was actually named atop more ballots than Raymond in our poll of voters. He’s been by far the best rookie defenseman in the league, averaging 22:24 in ice time per game, generating 22 points in 34 appearances and getting the opposite of “protection” in his deployment, with over 50% defensive zone starts. He’s playing on the power play and the penalty kill for the Red Wings. Not as flashy as previous Calder defensive darlings like Makar and Hughes; just a solid rookie playing like an old pro.

Other rookies of note: Red Wings goalie Alex Nedeljkovic, who was a Calder finalist last season but is still eligible this season; Jeannot, the Predators forward who keeps hitting the scoresheet consistently; Devils forward Dawson Mercer, who is excelling in all situations; Maple Leafs forward Michael Bunting and Panthers forward Anton Lundell, who are having solid seasons but won’t likely catch up to the offensive leaders. One wild card: Ducks defenseman Jamie Drysdale, the only player in the conversation with Seider.

Continued (paywall); Zegras made a beautiful play, don’t get me wrong, and I get that he is media and soundbyte friendly in a world where Raymond and Seider both possess, “Aw, shucks” personalities. I’m sure that Zegras is going to have a hell of a career.

But as someone who is partial to Raymond and Seider, I watch them making small plays, subtle plays, and I see truly special things happening. I grew up in the early days of Sergei Fedorov’s career and watching Nicklas Lidstrom and Vladimir Konstantinov as rookies, and I’m not afraid to say that I see some similar qualities in Raymond and Seider.

The Athletic’s power rankings involve a discussion of…Filip Zadina’s status as a healthy scratch

The Athletic’s Sean Gentille and Dom Luszczyszyn have posted their weekly set of power rankings, and they’re talking about Filip Zadina’s status as a healthy scratch:

21. Detroit Red Wings

Record: 16-15-3
Last Week: 23
Dom rank: 21
Sean rank: 22

Dom: Quinn Hughes was taken one pick after Filip Zadina. How much closer to the playoffs are the Red Wings if they make that pick instead? A top pair of Hughes and Moritz Seider would’ve dominated this league for a decade, it’s a real shame it never came to be and it’s a decision that may hinder this team’s full rebuild potential. Not getting the top pick means it’s a necessity to hit home runs on those top 10 choices and Zadina simply has not been that. He’s scoring 0.61 points-per-60 this year at five-on-five. To his credit, a lot of that seems to be bad luck, but it’s still discouraging to see for the 22-year-old. He should’ve taken a bigger step by now.

Sean: Yeah, that made me take a look at the 2018 draft — as in, check Pronman’s “re-draft” post from a couple of months back — and folks … it was not good. But yeah, it’s probably past time for people to start getting nervous about Zadina. Getting scratched is a bad break. Maybe Jeff Blashill should throw him on a line with Dylan Larkin and see what happens.

Continued (paywall); the Ken Holland regime wanted to draft Evan Bouchard if they didn’t pick Zadina, so they never even considered Hughes.

An early Wings-Kings preview from the AP

The Associated Press posted a bare-bones Red Wings-Kings preview over a day before the teams will face off on Saturday night:

BOTTOM LINE: Detroit hits the road against Los Angeles looking to end its three-game road skid.

The Kings are 10-8-2 on their home ice. Los Angeles ranks second in the Western Conference with 34.4 shots per game and is averaging 2.7 goals.

The Red Wings are 4-10-1 in road games. Detroit averages 8.9 penalty minutes per game, the 10th-most in the Eastern Conference. Givani Smith leads the team serving 46 total minutes.

The matchup Saturday is the first meeting of the season for the two teams.

TOP PERFORMERS: Adrian Kempe leads the Kings with 14 goals and has 20 points. Viktor Arvidsson has four goals and two assists over the last 10 games for Los Angeles.

Dylan Larkin has 32 total points while scoring 16 goals and totaling 16 assists for the Red Wings. Pius Suter has three goals and four assists over the last 10 games for Detroit.

LAST 10 GAMES: Kings: 6-3-1, averaging 2.6 goals, 4.2 assists, 4.2 penalties and 8.7 penalty minutes while giving up 2.6 goals per game with a .916 save percentage.

Red Wings: 4-6-0, averaging 2.9 goals, 4.5 assists, 3.8 penalties and 11 penalty minutes while allowing 3.4 goals per game with an .892 save percentage.

HSJ in the morning: Even more about Filip Zadina’s re-set

The Free Press’s Helene St. James offers her take on the topic of the day, one Filip Zadina’s status as a healthy scratch during Tuesday night’s Red Wings-Sharks game. In a subscriber-only article, St. James examines what Zadina needs to do to re-set his developmental curve:

The Wings have yet to see great hockey from the guy the former regime was thrilled to select when Zadina was available at No. 6 in the 2018 draft. Known for his shot, Zadina was projected to potentially speed up the rebuild. But Zadina, 22 and in his third season, has struggled to be effective. He has four goals and six assists in 32 games this season and 19 goals and 28 assists in 118 career games. This season and last, he has played in the top six with the likes of Pius Suter, Dylan Larkin and Robby Fabbri. He has also seen time on the third line, which does not draw the same level of defenders as the first two lines.

Zadina said he just has to keep believing in himself, especially when he’s in one of his favorite spots: Setting up for a one-timer in the right circle.

“I just have to either fake the shot and pass it back or just try to find a way to get it through the defensemen and get it on net,” Zadina said. “I just have to figure out what I do have to be better.”

When he found out he was scratched Tuesday, Zadina said he was, “disappointed for sure, I was pissed.” While his teammates enjoyed a 6-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks, Zadina, “was working out and watching the guys playing.” 

Zadina may just need time to figure out how to adopt a quicker and more accurate release. He noted it himself, twice, that, “I’m not the first or last who faces this situation. It’s hockey life. I’m not the first one or the last one who has been in this situation.”

Continued (paywall); as coach Jeff Blashill says in the article, Zadina needs to worry less about scoring goals and more about being a part of making plays and generally contributing to the Red Wings’ offense.

He’s a fine sniper, but he’s too selective with his shot–he tries to set up in that right wing faceoff circle spot so often that he’s become predictable–and the sooner he embraces becoming a better player over the entire ice surface, he’ll become more effective.