Behind the Glass
The style of "Behind the Glass" is shamelessly pilfered from Elliotte Friedman's "30 Thoughts" column on Sports Net. But instead of a collection of thoughts, stories and rumors from the NHL, the focus here will be story lines from the NWHL and CWHL.
Let’s jump right into it.
1. Some food for thought before this weekend's Calgary vs. Montreal series: Emerance Maschmeyer has a .938 save percentage in two games against Les Canadiennes. The rookie sensation is the only Inferno goaltender with losses this year, but don't let that fool you; she's the best goalie in the CWHL.
2. If Calgary earns just one point this weekend in their two games against Montreal, they will meet the Toronto Furies in the first round of the Clarkson Cup Playoffs.
Why is that significant? Brampton has a record of 1-4-1 against the Inferno this year and Toronto has a record of 0-4-2 and has been outscored 9-1 in their two meetings with Calgary.
3. Lauren Dahm likely won't win the CWHL's Rookie of the Year after being an All-Star Game snuff, but she deserves some kind of hardware for what she's done for the Boston Blades.
Dahm's average shots against per 60 minutes is 45.13 in 21 starts this year for the Blades. For some context, Genevieve Lacasse SA/60 last year with Boston was 50.5 and her save percentage wasn’t much better than Dahm’s.
Clearly, save percentage, goals against average and wins don't tell the whole story of what Dahm has meant to Boston. She’s been their most valuable player.
.@BostonCWHL won again tonight. First ⭐ of the game: Lauren Dahm. #Dahm4ASG https://t.co/yXsG7ldpyV— The Ice Garden (@TheIceGarden) December 18, 2016
4. Speaking of CWHL Rookie of the Year, Kate Cimini recently wrote a great piece on the topic for Fan Rag Sports. But some of the candidates that Cimini suggested brought forth a vexing question: should we call 29-year old Iya Gavrilova or 28-year-old Carlee Campbell rookies?
If a 24-year-old Artemi Panarin can win the Calder Trophy in the NHL after playing nearly six seasons in the KHL, older first-year players in the CWHL also deserve to be eligible for ROY honors.
It hardly seems fair to punish women who took a different path to professional hockey in North America. There is no “conventional” road to professional women’s hockey and there won’t be until players are paid a living wage. So, let’s keep calling them rookies, but definitely not kids.
5. The Connecticut Whale needed to find another defender after losing Molly Engstrom and Ivana Bilic in the wake of the NWHL's salary cuts.
What they got were two forwards with a history of playing together. Meghan Huertas has played five games with the Whale and she will soon be joined by deadline acquisition Zoe Hickel.
Connecticut will need to figure out a way to out-gun the opposition down the stretch if they want to avoid meeting the Pride in the first round of the playoffs.
6. Anne Schleper has been away from the Beauts because she recently got hitched in Florida to husband Denard Span. Buffalo's big offseason acquisition signed for $21,000, but has played in just six games this year and today rumors of her retirement were confirmed.
Should be hearing from the #NWHL on Anne Schleper's retirement from hockey shortly.— Hannah Bevis (@Hannah_Bevis1) February 16, 2017
It's official, as @Hannah_Bevis1 expected, Anne Schleper has retired. The NWHL just issued its press release on Schleper's retirement.— Mike Murphy 📎 (@DigDeepBSB) February 16, 2017
The good news for the Beauts is that Emily Pfalzer played (and scored) in the All-Star Game last weekend. Pfalzer had missed the Beauts' last two games before the All-Star break and her absence put a lot of pressure on Buffalo’s blue line.
Buffalo is going to need all hands on deck, especially on the blue line, moving forward without Schleper in the mix. She may not have been a regular in the lineup, but she will be a hard player to replace with the Isobel Cup Playoffs rapidly approaching.
7. The Boston Pride’s final pick of the 2016 Draft won’t be playing in North America next season. As @nafio from SB Nation’s Pension Plan Puppets first reported on twitter Lara Stalder will be representing Switzerland in the 2018 PyeongChang Games.
Stalder, a UMD Bulldog, is third among seniors in scoring this season. She’ll be a player to keep an eye in PyeongChang.
Are you having a hard time picturing what the 2017-18 Pride roster will look like without Olympians on it? You’re not the only one.
8. Blake Bolden is the NWHL’s new queen of the hardest shot competition. Not only did Bolden record the fastest shot on Saturday at 87 MPH, she also had the best average in her three attempts. However, Megan Bozek’s 89 MPH rip last year is still the high water mark.
Sometimes it’s hard to notice with the light pollution from all of Boston’s stars, but Bolden is one of the NWHL’s best defenders and has been for two straight years. She’s one of those players that deserves a lot more praise than she gets.