The focus this week in Behind the Glass will be on the CWHL because the regular season has come to a close and the playoffs begin tomorrow.
1. The CWHL recently announced finalists for their yearly awards. There were quite a few surprises, but none bigger than Calgary’s Emerance Maschmeyer getting snubbed as a nominee for both Rookie of the Year and Goaltender of the Year honors.
Maschmeyer has the best individual goaltending stats in the CWHL and made history when she shutout Montreal. A deeper look at her stats (from Crease Giants) only further illustrates just how exceptional the rookie netminder was this year.
Maschmeyer getting snubbed is further evidence that a goalie’s record is not a good way to measure their performance. She may have been in net for three of Calgary’s four losses this year, but the numbers still tell us that she is not only the best goalie on Calgary, she’s the best goalie in the CWHL.
2. Coach Brian McCloskey is the only member of the Boston Blades organization up for an award this year. The Blades improved to a record of 2-20-2 this season and it nearly doubled their goal total from last year.
Are the Blades, the only American franchise in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League, getting enough love? Boston only had three players go to the All-Star Game.
McColskey deserves plenty of praise, but so too do rookies like Kate Leary and Meghan Grieves who have are steering Boston towards being a more competitive team.
3. Speaking of McCloskey and the Blades, Kate Cimini of Fan Rag Sports dove into the topic of politics in the Boston Blades’ locker room earlier this week. President Donald Trump’s views on immigration could unmake a lot of the progress that the Blades made this season.
Here are some of Kayla Tutino’s thoughts from Cimini’s piece:
“From what I’ve heard, Trump has made a general announcement about visas and immigration,” Tutino said. “It actually hasn’t been as detailed as I’ve wanted it to be, from my standpoint, with my status, as to whether or not I can stay here next year. I obviously don’t have a clear mind because I’m not quite sure if it will or will not affect me.
4. The Toronto Furies blue line and Christina Kessler is its best chance to upset the Inferno in the first round, but shutting down Calgary’s offense is no small task.
During the regular season Toronto allowed an average of 3.67 goals playing Calgary. The CWHL as a whole allowed 3.96 goals against the Inferno.
5. The Brampton vs. Montreal playoff series provides surprisingly fertile soil for an upset.
The Thunder beat Les Canadiennes twice this season and lost once in overtime (one of their victories was also earned in OT). And the season series only had a six goal differential (in favor of Montreal).
Les Canadiennes are the favorites heading into the series for a reason. As dangerous as Brampton’s power play is, Montreal’s is even better. If the Thunder can’t win the special teams battle, it likely won’t be able to get past Les Canadiennes.
6. Seven of Team USA’s Post-Graduate Training Camp invites are active members of the Minnesota Whitecaps. Those players are Alex Rigsby, Shelby Amsley-Benzie, Kendall Coyne, Hannah Brandt, Stephanie Anderson and the Lamoureux twins.
The Whitecaps might not be in the CWHL or the NWHL, but it still has as many USWNT players attending the post-grad camp as the Whale, Beauts and Riveters combined. Clearly there’s still plenty of American post-grad talent outside of the NWHL.
Another interesting fact about USA’s roster at the post-grad camp is that only five of the American skaters shoot left-handed. The Americans could likely use a few more lefties in the system.
7. This season Buffalo’s Devon Skeats has twice slew-footed opposing players and struck a player (Alexa Gruschow) from behind. Skeats’ one-game suspension, which she served last weekend against Boston, came as a result of what is apparently a “three strike” system.
In a league that plays less than 20 games a season that can ill-afford injuries, a three strike system seems to be excessively lenient. So too does a one-game suspension for a player who concussed Kaliya Johnson earlier in the year and didn’t earn a suspension for it.
Skeats is tied for the league lead in PIM with Connecticut’s Shannon Doyle. She finished tied for third in PIM in the 2015-16 NWHL season.
8. The Riveters face a unique challenge this week. New York is on its first three-game winning streak in franchise history and it now has a bye week just three weeks before the playoffs begin.
“We really don’t want this break,” Chad Wiseman admitted after the Riveters’ overtime win in Newark on Sunday. Kaleigh Fratkin, who had the primary assist on the game-tying goal and drew the penalty that created the Riveters’ PP goal in OT, was a little more blunt about how she felt about having a week off with the playoffs drawing near. “Yeah, it sucks,” she admitted.
The Riveters will finish its regular season with two games against the Pride- one in Boston on March 4th and one final home game just five days before it looks to win its first-ever playoff game.
Last week’s Behind the Glass: Schleper’s retirement and Dahm’s value to Boston