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June 11, 2012
11:56 PM: Final score
not really indicative
of how the 3rd period and rest of the game went, one of them was into an empty
net - Devils gambled by pulling Brodeur with just over 4 minutes left, and like
many folks who have ever visited Atlantic City, they lost...would have been a
real story, though, had they actually scored one or a couple...but as they say
in the casinos - it wasn't in the cards...but what a run...
So many players
to feel happy for in this run - Kings win the Cup with a 16-4 record...with 2
former stars from the 2010 Eastern Conference champion Philadelphia Flyers, four
former Oilers, two of them champs for the 2nd time (Penner/Fraser), the coach
Sutter, GM Dean Lombardi, and yes, even Luc Robitaille brought down the house
when he hoisted the cup...
No matter who
wins it, it never gets old watching players lift the 35 pound silver mug above
And never gets
old watching who the captain hands the Cup to first...Dustin Brown, of Ithaca,
New York - first player to touch the Cup after him - Willie Mitchell...it had to
either be him, or Conn Smythe winner Jonathan Quick...Simon Gagne, Mike Richards
or Jeff Carter would have been good choices too...but they all got to lift it
Kind of feel bad
for Marty Brodeur, whose team showed a lot of heart coming back to make a series
out of it, and could have very easily forced a Game 7 had it not been for the
questionable officiating in the first period...but you kind of knew it was over
when the Kings put that 3rd goal in the net on that five minute major...
Well it's like
they say...no shame in losing to the Champs...
So much to think
about and wrap up - definitely one of the most memorable playoffs in recent
memory, just for the way it played out...
Season and Playoff
post mortem sometime this week - after I have time to digest what just
happened...you won't want to miss this...stay tuned...
10:01 PM: Devils got
one before the period was out...Henrique...4-1...
all but 17 seconds of a power play into the 3rd...they've got 20 minutes to
either prolong this game into another period or to win it outright and force
Game 7...otherwise, Mr. Bettman is on hand to present the Cup to the
Kings...again, they hold the dreaded 3 goal lead...
As Darryl Reaugh
used to say in NHL 97, "this should be a great finish"...
9:35 PM: And they
killed it off...is
this the momentum swing New Jersey is looking for?
9:31 PM: 4 minute
Salvador...the Devils are, to put it lightly, unglued...like Pittsburgh Penguins
unglued...yeah, that bad...if the Kings score here we might see The
Moose...certainly not the way Brodeur envisioned this game...
9:22 PM: Ouch!
Jeff Carter...4-0, Kings...beat
Brodeur over the left shoulder...the Devils' net minder looks stunned, as does
the entire team...
9:20 PM: Post for
Patrik Elias late in
the 1st...unfortunately those don't count...
start the 2nd period
with L.A. nursing the most dangerous lead in hockey...Drew Doughty could be
heard telling his team mates, it's still 0-0...
insult to injury - Rob
Scuderi is back...
8:59 PM: Oh, to
be a fly on the wall in
the Devils dressing room when the 1st period ends...
When are teams
going to learn that when you catch a team sleeping, you let them sleep?!
Steve Bernier is not feeling very good about himself right about now...put a
hard hit on Rob Scuderi in the L.A. end boards - in all fairness, Scuderi turned
at the last second to avoid the hit, but he still ended up being worse for
wear...which is big, because Scuderi is not known for being a guy who goes down
will argue Jarrett Stoll should have got a penalty for running Stephen Gionta
into the bench, but at the end of it all, Bernier gets the five minute major and
the game misconduct...Kings would score not once, not twice, but three times on
the 5 minute power play...Dustin Brown with 2, Trevor Lewis with the other...
It's 3-0 Kings
with about a minute left in the 1st...still plenty of time for New Jersey to get
back in it...they cannot let in the next one...
5:34 PM: So, for
the 3rd straight game,
we ask the rhetorical question - Is tonight the night?!
stage of the game - who
And why not
give us a 7th game in a series that started out 3-0 for Los Angeles?...the
previous three rounds were as unpredictable...why not cap it all off with the
comeback to end all comebacks...it would only be the fourth time in NHL history
that it's happened...but the 2nd time in three years, and 3rd straight time in 3
years that a team down 0-3 forced a Game 7...
I get ahead of myself...
has been too close to
call...three of the five games ended 2-1...well, technically four of the five,
since the 3-1 New Jersey win had an empty netter (Ilya Kovalchuk's only
contribution to this series so far)...you could even argue the Game 3 4-0 L.A.
win was a close one until the 3rd period power play explosion from the Kings...
So last game,
it was more or less the
Martin Brodeur show...at 40, he's still getting it done...and he'll need to if
the Devils have any hope...
got Bryce Salvador in
their playoff pool?!?!
All I know
is if the Devils force
a Game 7, all bets are off!!! One has to think if the Kings pull this off
tonight, Jonathan Quick will be a safe bet for the Conn Smythe...but I leave you
with this to consider just hours before puck drop on Game 6...if New Jersey
pulls off the comeback and wins the Stanley Cup - who do you name as MVP?
Brodeur? Henrique? Parise? Salvador? Kovalchuk?...well,
maybe not unless he explodes in the next couple of games...or, player to be
named later? Tough one, isn't it?!
I mean, in a
year where "I'll Have Another" ended up not even racing the 3rd "leg" of the
Triple Crown due to injury...and in a year where Miami and Oklahoma are facing
each other in the NBA finals (and where the Boston Celtics pushed the Heat
farther than perhaps they should have been able to), who the hell knows what's
going to happen?!?
Face off at
about 5:15 PM, Pacific Time...be there...
June 6, 2012
11:08 PM: Well,
the Devils have never
been swept in a playoff series, and they weren't about to make tonight a
Teams were dead
even 0-0 through 40 minutes, a couple of posts on either side...only needed to
see the 3rd period of Game 4 to get the whole story...New Jersey finally got to
Jonathan Quick, a gentle nudge by Patrik Elias, and then he got a gift in the
crease...the 1-0 lead lasted 58 seconds...pretty weak boarding call on David
Clarkson, and 6 seconds later Drew Doughty shot a 140 km/h puck through the five
hole...well, actually, I think it deflected off the Devil defense and
in...determined not to spend the rest of his summer at the tobacco farm,
yet...Adam Henrique scored to put his team ahead for good, late...if Quick has a
weakness, it's the blocker side, and teams have found if they exploit that side,
they can score on him...Ilya Kovalchuk added an empty netter, and this series
lives for a Game 5, Saturday night...one thing for sure, no matter if this
series ends in 5, 6 or 7 games, the next one will be the last Saturday night
HNIC telecast this season...
I still think
there's something to the "in 6" prediction...can't see the Devils losing three
straight at home in the final...they've never done that either...
"I'll Have Another"...say
the Devils, and at the same time, we'll see if the horse can clinch the triple
crown at the Belmont Stakes...
Talk to you
Big news out of
Montreal yesterday -
they got their
bilingual coach...and it is one they are familiar with - Michel Therrien, who for
the past few seasons since being let go by Pittsburgh has been an analyst on
RDS...obviously mixed feelings and reviews on this, as many thought Marc
Bergevin would go the route most teams have gone in recent years - either bring
up a guy from the minors, or somebody other than a has been coach for the
team...to hear some fans yesterday, they are livid...but, then again - maybe
Bergevin is seeing what Darryl Sutter has been able to do in L.A., and combined
with the foundation he laid in Pittsburgh before Dan Bylsma's arrival, and
maybe, just maybe...quite frankly, I don't know if it would matter even if they
would rehire Jacques Martin...they need to get that team bigger, stronger, and
meaner...that's the only way they're going to make some noise...say what you
will about Sutter - but the Kings are big and strong...that's what they need in
Montreal...and no, I don't care what any of the Montreal fans and members of the
media say - Patrick Roy is not the answer behind the bench...not yet, anyway...
As for another
Canadian team coaching change - I am not understanding Bob Hartley in
Calgary...not in the least...especially if they do nothing to their lineup...the
guy's a good coach, but he can't perform miracles, as evidenced by his time in
Atlanta...although I'm guessing this is what the team brass is hoping, a change
behind the bench might light a fire under the seat of the pants of some of the
And here I am
anxiously awaiting an announcement from Edmonton as to who they are going to
replace Tom Renney with...
2:52 PM: So in case you
the finals I've been doing my best to be a bystander, taking it all in stride,
and talking about it post mortem...
what happens tonight, I may be live, I may be Memorex...nonetheless, the Stanley
Cup will be in the building at Staples Center, just in case the Kings pull off,
at this point, what seems inevitable - another win...
Rewind back to
Monday night, and the Devils had to have had a big chip on their shoulder,
having, for the most part, outplayed the L.A. Kings in Game 2, only to once
again give up the winner in OT...
come out of Game 3 dwelling on two plays - the winning goal for L.A., and the
2nd L.A. goal...first of all, before they dwell on what went wrong, they should
concentrate more on missed opportunities - a full minute 5 on 3 advantage that
they couldn't score on late in the first, could have completely changed the
landscape of the game, and this series...but instead, it was 0-0 after 1...then
in period two, a scramble for the puck and about umptillion whacks at the puck
before Alec Martinez finally put it past Brodeur for the 1-0 lead...argument was
the ref lost sight of the puck and should have blown the play dead...not sure if
all the people saying this were watching the same game as me...the ref was to
the right of Brodeur and probably had the best view in the house...
The next one,
however, as beautiful as a play as it was for Anze Kopitar's 8th, replay shows a
hand pass in the Kings end - that should have been a stoppage in play right
there...but it didn't happen - Kings rushed up ice, Kopitar won the one on one
battle with Zach Parise, and converted on a perfect on the tape pass from Dustin
Brown...if that wasn't game over, then the Kings burying one on a power play in
the 3rd certainly was...Devils went 0 for 6 with the man advantage, including
the aforementioned 2 man advantage, Kings were 2 for 2...do the math - take the
two controversial goals away, and the Kings still win...
By the way -
great to see Simon Gagne get in a game...pretty sure that was to ensure his name
gets engraved on the Cup, because quite frankly, I didn't see him much...seemed
to get better as the game went along...saw more ice time in the 3rd...
So tonight, Game
4 - Kings with a win will sweep and will hoist the Cup for the first time in
franchise history...so many firsts for this team - first time in franchise
history they've swept a playoff series, potentially a second time coming
up...first time in the 1 vs 8 conference alignment that an 8th seed could win
the Cup...first time any team in any format has won the first 3 games of every
playoff series they've played in a postseason...but I digress...it's not over
yet...and with all due respect to New Jersey, you have to bet your bottom dollar
we will see the Devils' best game...because for them, there is no tomorrow...
the Cup...and as much as I'd like to see Brodeur go out on top, unless his
supporting cast do something really special, doesn't look like it's going to
happen...but, as I've often said - stranger things have happened...but it has to
start with Parise, Kovalchuk (who looks hurt again), and the rest of the folks
who got them here...can't hang it all on Brodeur...not anymore...I understand
Petr Sykora will draw back in, and Henrik Tallinder will make his Devils playoff
debut...Peter Harrold and Jacob Josefson will be healthy scratches...still don't
know why they don't bring in Cam Janssen for a little grit...
As for Conan
O'Brien - somebody tell him to shut his pie hole...was making fun of the Kings'
run and what their fans look like...but I bet you the minute they win it all,
he'll have Dustin Brown and the Cup on the show...
Be there tonight,
at 8 PM...if the Kings win and you miss it, there's no hockey until
June 3, 2012
Game 2 of the
Final played out almost as a carbon copy of Game 1...difference was, the feeling
out process was complete and both teams simply went for it...well, somewhat...at
this stage it almost seems like Los Angeles wants it more...New Jersey was
tentative, at times...and aren't getting the production from their top players
like they have the entire playoffs...Zach Parise can be excused for not
producing as he was knocked out of the game but he would return...Ilya Kovalchuk
seems to be just going through the motions, as much as he says he wants to win,
he isn't throwing his weight around like he was in the Rangers series...the only
New Jersey goal was Ryan Carter with his 5th of the playoffs...who saw that
coming at the beginning?
score, 2-1, needed overtime again, and this time Jeff Carter was the
hero...Kings are getting it done the same way they have all playoffs, by
committee...and now they head back home to Staples Center in a familiar
position, up 2-0 in the series...this time, for the Cup...
didn't get caught with an illegal stick like Marty McSorley did back in the day,
but he did go end to end in a Bobby Orr-like play that got the Kings on the
Still plenty of
series left, but the door is already half closed for the Devils...by the same
token, however, the Kings, like the Canucks last year, should know this is far
Game 3 Monday
night...hard to believe exactly one year ago I was sailing out of New York
heading to Bermuda...looking at the weather outside right now, wish I was doing
it all over again...because it doesn't get any bigger than this...
OK, I know...that
Tonight - check
out "Inside The Cup", where CBC plays their hand and following around the teams
that made it to the Final four, kind of like their own version of HBO's
24-7...don't know if the hour is all we get or if it's part one...
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