Allow me a moment of honest selfishness.
(Ignores murmurs that the Dose is sometimes an indulgent expedition for your humble author …)
Setting aside the very risky nature of locking up any over-sized 30+ year-old to a pricey contract for a few years, I get why the Dustin Byfuglien re-signing happened. The Winnipeg Jets struggle to attract weighty free agents to icy Winnipeg, and Byfuglien remains the BMOC (or at least one of the guys wearing lettermen jackets).
We can quibble about the contract - maybe a little expensive … again, Byfuglien’s unusual size makes him even riskier than the normal risky fare - but the bigger picture makes sense. Especially if Winnipeg does NOT re-sign Andrew Ladd, as I feel like this franchise also has to acknowledge the notion that it’s a little odd to break the bank on a core that still lacks a single playoff win to its name.
No, my main quibble is that it would have been fun to see Byfuglien land on a contending team, and it would have been fun to follow the bidding war for his rental services.
It’s no secret that I have an affinity for his oddball set of skills, and I wonder if he’d get more mainstream love if he was playing for a team that wasn’t so, uh, “niche” like Winnipeg.
Overall, I’m happy for “Buffy the Hamburger Slayer” and to an extent happy for the Jets, even if you never know if an extension will morph into an albatross.
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PENGUINS 6, DUCKS 2
-- Allow me another indulgent moment, actually: the teams I picked to make the Stanley Cup Final are at least in their respective playoff pictures for a moment. More than that, two generally fun teams are getting at least a portion of their mojo back. This is a good thing, and their potential presences could really spice up the early playoff rounds.
-- Sidney Crosby is just straight fire right now, scoring two goals and two assists on Monday specifically.
Crosby's point streak is now at 11 games: 12 goals and 10 assists for two points per contest. This torrid run now makes his 2015-16 total look more Crosby-like: 53 points in 51 games.
Even if you're holding onto weird fan hate for Crosby, you have to admit that the world's a little less strange with Crosby at or near the top of his game. Right? Maybe?
-- Nice win for Marc-Andre Fleury, who made 36 out of 38 saves. He's now won six of his last seven games to improve his overall record to 21-12-5 with a nice .920 save percentage.
-- It's at least somewhat possible that John Gibson left the door slightly ajar for Frederik Andersen to nose in on starts. The Ducks rotate goalies like a family hands around dishes of food at Thanksgiving, after all.
RANGERS 2, DEVILS 1
-- The Rangers might have been a little lucky to win this one, as they failed to convert on five power play tries while the Devils didn't even get one opportunity on the man advantage.
Driving the point home a little more, the Devils' only goal (Travis Zajac's eighth of the season) was shorthanded.
-- Kevin Klein scored his first goal since Nov. 3, a cautionary tale regarding jumping on an outlier run.
That's not to say that Klein lacks some punch (he's a nice piece for the Rangers), but it was reasonable to doubt that he could really be a regular fantasy performer.
-- J.T. Miller continues to come into his own, scoring the GWG, his fifth clincher (and 17th goal overall) of the season. Speaking of outliers, be a little careful here: he scored on his only SOG, and his overall shooting percentage is a red flag at 19.8.
Still, this could be an important run because it may convince Alain Vigneault to give him more reps on a more permanent basis, even if No. 10 hits a wall.
RED WINGS 3, PANTHERS 0
-- Speaking of Abdelkader, he grabbed an assist on Pavel Datsyuk's second goal of the night. Abdelkader generated that assist, a +1 rating, seven PIM, two SOG and two hits.
Datsyuk now has two goals and two assists in his last two games. Datsyuk had been on a mini-slump before this two-game run, managing a mere assist in a five-game span. Datsyuk now has 28 points in 38 games this season.
-- Petr Mrazek only needed to make 23 saves for his fourth shutout of the season. Mrazek also has four wins in his last five games, with another low-save shutout thrown in that mix (19 stops against Buffalo on Jan. 22).
-- Jaromir Jagr played his 1,600th career game on Monday. Analysis: dang!
SENATORS 5, LIGHTNING 1
-- Mark Stone scored two goals and one assist, extending his point streak to four games. He has at least one goal in every contest during that streak, totaling five tallies and three assists.
/Insert joke about how he should get hit in the face with a puck more often.
-- Jean-Gabriel Pageau is on a hot streak of his own. He generated a goal and two helpers on Monday, giving himself a four-game point streak as well. It's almost as impressive as what Stone accomplished: two goals and five assists.
-- Two straight wins for Craig Anderson, who allowed a single goal in each victory. In Monday's case, he stymied the Bolts to a tune of 31 saves on 32 shots.
Anderson is now 22-17-4 on the season.