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May 31, 2012
8:26 PM: Game one
of the Stanley Cup final played out as
expected, low scoring, tight checking - chances at both ends, both teams feeling
each other out...
When the dust settled, Anze Kopitar
scored a highlight reel forehand/backhand deke on Martin Brodeur to win the game
2-1 for the Kings in overtime...leading up to that, it was Colin Fraser in the
1st, and then Patrik Elias with a lucky one late in the 2nd...no scoring in the
What I'm still asking myself almost
24 hours later, is how the hell was Kopitar allowed to skate in all alone on
Brodeur like that? Used to be New Jersey who took advantage of neutral
zone turnovers (remember Jeff Freisen in the 2003 Conference Final?)...
Still plenty of hockey to be played
in this series, though...L.A. can't get too high, yet...they find themselves in
exactly the same position they were in back in 1993 against Montreal...
Kings better not bring any illegal
sticks to Saturday Night's game...just saying...
And as you can see by the front page
picture, Nick Lidstrom retired today after 20 NHL seasons - the Red Wings didn't
miss the playoffs once during his tenure...and have 4 Stanley Cups to show for
May 25, 2012
11:51 PM: Wow!! With so much talk
the past couple of days about the 1994 Messier Guarantee and the like,
the way Game 6 played out, one had to
wonder if Ryan Callahan was going to quietly guarantee a Game 7...
Flashback to 1994...and after Scott
Niedermeyer and Claude Lemieux made it 2-0 Devils after 1 period of play, Alexei
Kovalev got the Rangers on the board later in the 2nd period, then in the 3rd,
the hat trick form Messier and the guarantee was complete, they went to 7, and
well, you know the rest...
Tonight, eerily similar...Ryan
Carter and Ilya Kovalchuk got the Devils out to a 2-0 lead, and it stayed that
way until almost halfway through the 2nd period, where Ruslan Fedotenko became
the modern day Kovalev...then, before the period was out, captain Ryan Callahan
Unfortunately for John Tortorella's
2012 New York Rangers, that's where the similarities to 1994 ended...no scoring
in the 3rd, and we would need overtime...
A couple of scrambles at both ends,
and Adam Henrique, who eliminated the Florida Panthers in Game 7 of their
series, picked up Kovalchuk's garbage in the crease and did it again, 1:03 into
the extra frame...eliminating the Rangers, and giving the Devils the series win
in 6 games...so not only is Henrique in the running for the Calder, now he has
to be given strong consideration for the Conn Smythe...Kovalchuk too...the
Devils will welcome the Kings for Games 1 and 2, starting
And I'll tell you what - just like I
have been saying since the end of the first round, I have no idea what to
expect...but since uLAr and I are separated by 1 point in our playoff picks, and
without even having to look I know he'll be picking the Devils...I'll go out on
a limb, and I'll take the Kings in 6...depending on what happens, I could either
maintain my one point lead or win it outright, or uLAr could come from behind,
or simply tie...we'll find out...
the Memorial Cup, the host Shawinigan Cataractes are doing it the hard
way...beating Edmonton 6-1 in the tiebreaker last night, and the defending Cup
champion Saint John Ice Dogs 7-4 tonight, they will face London in Sunday's
final...a little Memorial Cup interesting fact - only Taylor Hall's Windsor
Spitfires have played the tiebreaker and gone on to win the tournament...every
other team that's made the final after having to play in the tiebreaker has
lost...if Shawinigan can do it, not only will they become just the 2nd team ever
to accomplish the feat, they will end decades of heartbreak for the
region...Cataractes (or any Shawinigan sports team from what I understand) have
never won anything...ever...yes, they are a long way from Montreal...
May 23, 2012
11:22 PM: Ok...not
sure if I understand this, but it's Edmonton-Shawinigan in tomorrow's
Tiebreaker...London, despite finishing 2nd based on goal differential, gets a
bye to Sunday's final? And Saint John, finishing first thanks to goal
differential, gets a bye to Friday's semi-final against tomorrow's
winner...London must have beat Saint John...yes they did, 5-3...there you go...
Exciting tournament, weirdest format
ever...they should just bring in the two teams from all three minor
leagues that faced each other in the final, the host team, and a wild card (or
dare I say it, Commissioner's Choice)...play 2 pools, kind of like the World
Juniors...I don't know, wouldn't that be more exciting?
10:52 PM: Haven't seen
a Devils game like tonight since, well, the
first round against Florida...Game 5 between New Jersey and New York, and if the
Rangers stole Game 3 on the road, then the Devils definitely got out of MSG with
a stolen game tonight...
Started out really good, they got
out to the dreaded and dangerous 3-0 lead, Stephen Gionta just 2:43 in with the
ice breaker, Patrik Elias exactly a minute and a half later, and before the MSG
stragglers could make it to their seats, it was 2-0, New Jersey...Travis Zajac
would make it 3-0 about five minutes later, but Brandon Prust, back from
suspension, finally got on the board for the Rangers with his first of the
playoffs, and it was 3-1 after the first period of play...
Rangers continued to push in the 2nd
period, and the Devils seemed to let them...Ryan Callahan would make it 3-2
before the 2nd intermission...
Lot of weird bounces in this
one...the weirdest one of all tied it 3-3 just 17 seconds into the 3rd...Marian
Gaborik would get credit for it, but it was one of those ones that made you
scratch your head as to how Martin Brodeur has been so good for so many years,
and even in this post season, how could he allow one like that...remember that
stinker he let in against Anaheim in the 2003 finals? Kind of like
that...bounced off Gaborik, the ice, the back of Brodeur's skate, and
in...weirdest goal of this series for sure...
Seems the Devils learned from their
previous experiences this spring, though...they wouldn't allow the 4th goal, and
late in the game, Ryan Carter, of all people, would score the game winner, at
15:36 of the 3rd period...Zach Parise would add an empty netter to pad his stats
with 1G 1A, Devils win Game 5, 5-3...after the empty net goal went in the camera
went on Lou Lamouriello - now I can't read lips, but seriously, it looked like
he was saying something to the effect "we gotta sign this guy...we gotta sign
this guy"...yes, you do Lou...yes you do...
New Jersey is going home for Game 6
with the opportunity to join L.A. in the final...now I wonder - in 2003, Game 6
between New Jersey and Ottawa went to OT before Chris Phillips sent it back here
for Game 7...wonder what we can expect on Friday night?
Only hockey action tomorrow is from
the Memorial Cup as the elimination round gets underway...matchups depend on who
wins the game between Saint John and Shawinigan...
And Leaf fans, rejoice...the Marlies
are 1 win away from the Calder Cup final as they blanked Oklahoma 3-0 in Game 4
to take a 3-1 lead in their series...Game 5 is Friday night from the Ricoh...you
know, maybe there's hope for Toronto after all...regardless of whether they get
there or if Oklahoma comes back, the Norfolk Admirals are waiting and resting
after their sweep of St. John's...they outscored the Ice Caps 14-2 through four
games and shut them out twice...ouch!!!
Staying with the AHL for a sec,
Ottawa's Luke Richardson will head to Binghamton next season as he was named
their head coach today...
6:54 PM: Shouldn't be
a big shock to anyone that the L.A. Kings
managed to close out their Western Conference final series against Phoenix and
advance to the Stanley Cup Final last night...the bigger story may be how they
almost didn't get there...
Not so much that the Kings won -
that seemed inevitable...more how the Coyotes fought back and tried to make a
series of it...Taylor Pyatt got the Dogs rolling, but the Kings again came
through on special teams - Anze Kopitar scored his 6th of the playoffs, must be
like his 3rd shorthanded goal...
Then, the unexpected unsung heroes -
Marc-Antoine Pouliot hadn't scored since April 2010 when he was still an
Edmonton Oiler - he put the Coyotes ahead 2-1...Radim Vrbata almost made it 3-1,
but he shot it over the net...Keith Yandle scored his first to tie the game 3-3
late in the 2nd...you just kind of got a vibe it should have been Phoenix'
night...but not so - even a 5 on 3 power play and an interference penalty in OT
wasn't enough to help extend this series to a 6th game...and how fitting -
Dustin Penner got the winner...and somehow, the Los Angeles Kings, the 12-2 Los
Angeles Kings, with one more series win will hoist the Cup...
My lasting memory of last night's
game - Drew Doughty going absolutely ape on the referees when they called that
interference penalty in OT (it was borderline), and then again when they called
a close offside play...
I have to wonder, how good of a
rivalry there will be now between Phoenix and Los Angeles next
season...especially since one of the lasting images of the Coyotes was seeing
Michal Roszival being helped off the ice after taking a vicious hit from Dustin
Brown...the two almost seemed to collide with each other...Brown shook it off,
but could have been worse for wear, too...don't know if I've ever seen this,
either - the goal was scored 17:41 into the 1st overtime, after which Shane Doan
and Mike Smith both were incensed at the refs for not calling a penalty on Brown
for the hit (and Smith, for a play where he lost his helmet and no call for
interference, or at least no whistle to allow him to put his Wile E. Coyote eyes
back on)...both were assessed a 10 minute and game misconduct after the game was
already over and the Kings were celebrating...
And, as is usually the case...Brown
did not touch the Clarence Campbell trophy...
So now, we watch and wait for a
winner of the Eastern Conference Final...we know the Stanley Cup Final will
commence one week from tonight - only question left to be answered is, will it
be at MSG, or The Rock?...because, as you know - "Questions will become
answers"..."Because, it's the Cup"...
Game 5, Devils-Rangers, in just over
May 21, 2012
No scoring in the 2nd period,
then, the biggest mistake the Rangers may
make this entire series - they woke up Zach Parise...Derek Stepan took a high
sticking penalty, and was in the box a whole 4 seconds when Parise scored his
5th on the power play, with thanks to Ilya Kovalchuk and Adam Henrique...at 2:41
of the 3rd, it was 3-0...Ruslan Fedotenko would score his 1st of the playoffs at
14:55 to bust the Martin Brodeur shutout, but Parise would seal it with an empty
netter at 18:31, his 6th...Devils win 4-1, and this baby is deadlocked 2-2...
8:49 PM: Late period
power play for the Rangers gave them a
little momentum, and a bit more respectability on the shot clock, but it's still
2-0 Devils at the 1st intermission...shots were 12-7, New Jersey...
8:37 PM: Game 4, Devils-Rangers...and
New Jersey is getting the breaks they didn't get in Game 3...the difference
being, the Rangers aren't winning the defensive puck battles...it's already 2-0,
Devils...Bryce Salvador and Travis Zajac...Rangers have only 3 shots on
goal...it's Salvador's 3rd at 8:10 of the 1st, assists to Alex Ponikarovsky and
David Clarkson, and Zajac's 6th from Zach Parise and Dainius Zubrus...
Petr Sykora is scratched for this
game, Jacob Josefson is in, and seems to have provided a bit of a spark...
Brandon Prust is serving a
suspension for an elbow to the head of Anton Volchenkov in Game 3...
May 20, 2012
5:55 PM: Final from the Staples Center -
Shane Doan 2 Los Angeles 0...Mike
Smith made 36 saves for his 3rd shutout of these playoffs, many of the series
saving variety - one in particular during the 2nd period, the Kings had him down
on the goal line and the puck was nowhere to be found...no matter what - the
Coyotes had to be better and they were...now they drag the Kings back to the
Desert for Game 5...
Been an odd weekend for Staples
Center based teams...the Clippers, Lakers and Kings all played playoff games
within the last 24 hours, and all three lost...
Even odder - so far this weekend the
home NHL team has been unable to score...
3:49 PM: After killing
off 2 penalties, the Coyotes got a power
play, Justin Williams for interference on Mike Smith...Shane Doan made him pay
with his 4th, at 14:19, Ray Whitney drew an assist...
3:37 PM: Game 4 Kings-Coyotes...Desert
Dogs have their proverbial backs against the wall...
Phoenix gets Adrian Aucoin back from
an undisclosed injury that kept him out of the first 3 games, and Martin Hanzal
returns from suspension...Colin Fraser is back for L.A....
So far nothing doing about halfway
through the 1st, but the Coyotes are still skating the edge to the penalty
box...they cannot hope to stave off elimination that way...
ESPN.com is reporting Dustin Brown
scored his 8th unassisted at 1:54 of the first to give L.A. a 1-0 lead...don't
know what game they're watching, but it is 0-0...
May 19, 2012
3:32 PM: Martin Brodeur hits
the bench with 2:30 left, but Ryan Callahan
gets the empty netter...Rangers lead 3-0 and are going to go up 2-1 in the
series...you talk about a goalie needing to steal games in the playoffs?
How about this one for Lundqvist? The Rangers fans that are still in
attendance are chanting "M.V.P."...
3:25 PM: Harrold beats Lundqvist, but not
Time out, Devils...as
usual, Rangers took theirs earlier in the game...a common Tortorella move...
3:22 PM: Richards goes off for the takedown
on Peter Harrold (they'll call it interference)...now
it's the Devils who look like they're gassed...perhaps they can build some
momentum off this power play...
Regardless of how this game ends I
have to think we'll see Adam Larsson draw back in for Game 4...shows you how
much I've paid attention, didn't even realize he was scratched the last two
3:17 PM: ...and the Rangers kill it off...only
reason New York is still playing - King Henrik...shots in the period have been
an even 5-5 so far in the 3rd...
3:12 PM: They always say
you can't keep tempting fate...so it was no
wonder when Bryce Salvador took a hooking penalty on Marian Gaborik that the
Rangers on their 4th power play of the game would capitalize on it...at 3:19 of
the 3rd, Girardi's 3rd, and potential 3rd GWG, from Richards...then at 5:16,
Kreider with his 5th from Ryan McDonagh and Derek Stepan...as good as Ilya
Kovalchuk has been in these playoffs, he looked real bad on that play...
Devils are on a power play of their
own...Marc Staal sits for holding Ryan Carter's stick...
3:08 PM: Badly out shot, badly
outplayed...but now all of a sudden the Rangers lead 2-0...and
it's the usual suspects for New York - Dan Girardi and Chris Kreider, with goals
1:57 apart...aside from Brad Richards, is there anybody else that can score on
2:59 PM: Another post for the Rangers...
2:55 PM: It happened in Hockey Night...May
1988...Jim "Have Another Donut" Schoenfeld was suspended for Game 4 of the New
Jersey-Boston series for verbally assaulting Don Koharski after he didn't agree
with the officiating in Game 3, a 6-1 drubbing for the Bruins - between games he
managed to win an appeal to the New Jersey Supreme Court, and was able to remain
behind the bench - the referees, however, decided to go on strike, forcing the
NHL to use replacement officials...
Have another donut indeed...the
Devils would win Game 4 by a score of 3-1, but
Schoenfeld would eventually serve his suspension, and Boston would eventually
win what was then the Wales Conference Final in 7 games...
2:47 PM: Still no score
after 40 minutes...shots 15-9, Devils - 2
period total 26-14..."You cannot win like that", according to Coach
Grapes...Rangers are now 0 for 3 on the PP...Devils did not get a man advantage
in period 2...
Don't remember who it was who said
it, but somebody on one of the many radio interviews I heard said tongue in
cheek that NBC will have the Preakness Stakes horse race later on this evening,
unless this game ends up going to Quadruple Overtime...
1:50 PM: Shots 11-5, Devils...both
teams 0 for 1 on the power play...scoreless after the 1st period...
1:31 PM: Game 3
between the Devils and Rangers nicely
underway...the Devils seem to have the early territorial advantage - but somehow
the Rangers appear refreshed after the extra day off...should be a good one...
draws in for the Rangers and has already
made what could have been a costly mistake...Michael Del Zotto broke up the
ensuing 2 on 1...Stu Bickel is a healthy scratch...no change in the Devils
lineup...keep an eye on Marian Gaborik, who was benched in the 3rd period of
Looks like efforts to keep Rangers
fans out of the Prudential Center were futile...see an equal amount of blue
shirts to red shirts in the crowd...almost 50/50...kind of had to expect that
with the teams only separated by the Hudson River...
Preakness Stakes today, as Kentucky
Derby winner "I'll Have Another" will continue work towards the elusive Triple
Crown...don't mind if I do have another...coffee...
May 18, 2012
4:47 PM: Better effort
for sure by Phoenix in Game 3...same end
result on the scoreboard...a win for the L.A. Kings...
The Desert Dogs
grinded out the first goal as Daymond
Langkow ripped one past Jonathan Quick...but they couldn't keep it going...Anze
Kopitar would get it back, then Dwight King, with some help from Trevor Lewis
would get the game winner in the 3rd...2-1 the final score...they can grind you
out or blow you out...take your pick...
11-1 the Kings are in the playoffs...you
have to go back to 1988 for a performance as dominating...that spring Edmonton
went 16-2 to win the Cup...
One could argue if it wasn't for
Daniel Sedin suiting up in Vancouver's final 2 games that the Kings might have a
No games tonight...Game 3
Devils-Rangers tomorrow at 1 PM...depending on where I am or what I'm doing I
might blog live during the game...either way, I'll be around...enjoy the long
Speaking of Edmonton - no Tom Renney
next year - Steve Tambellini announced yesterday the Oilers will not be offering
him a contract renewal - saw that one coming 6 months ago...rumors already are
abound that Brent Sutter might be on the short list, but the name I heard today
on HNIC Radio from Mark Osborne - Gerard Gallant?!? Probably have to give
some consideration to the Oklahoma City Barons head coach Todd Nelson, and
Oilers assistant coach Kelly Buchberger, too...I don't know if I'm totally
convinced you can blame Renney, though...seemed like he was a fair coach - but
then again, his call out the team in the media tactics may have gotten a little
May 17, 2012
11:48 AM: We're
two games through both Conference Final
series...one of them is tied, and the other is at 2-0...
Phoenix-Los Angeles on Tuesday night
was all Kings...the frustration clearly showed on the Coyotes end, as both Shane
Doan and Martin Hanzal both got tossed from the game with boarding
majors...Hanzal ended up with a one game suspension, Doan seems to have escaped
supplemental discipline...probably because Trevor Lewis turned awkardly at the
last minute...Hanzal's hit on Dustin Brown, however...kind of brutal...both
Kings players were OK...
I heard at least one person say
before Game 2 that if Jeff Carter could ever get going, look out...good
call...Dwight King helped the Kings get that all important first goal, then
Carter took over and finished the game with the natural hat trick...Dustin
Penner and Anze Kopitar both had 2 assists...Kings were 2 for 8 on the power
play, Coyotes 0 for 4...shots were 40-24, Kings...Scott Ferrall said it
best...an embarrasing game for Phoenix...and the Kings continue to roll, setting
a Stanley Cup Playoff road wins record with 7 straight wins on the road...4-0
game, 2-0 series lead for L.A....they are for real, in case you didn't already
know...as for Phoenix, at one point in the game TSN's Ray Ferraro likened them
to the 1993 Kings in the finals against Montreal - they just seem out of sync,
out of gas, unable to get anything going...but if this is true - how do you
explain how the playoffs have gone for the Kings so far - is it possible that
they're just that good? And at this juncture, do we really need to ask?
One game they've lost so far in the playoffs...that's it...not bad for a team
that was 30-1 to win the Cup at the outset...
Last night in New York, Game 2
between the Rangers and New Jersey Devils...and no matter what John Tortorella
says, you could really start to see the fatigue on the Rangers...and the Devils
took full advantage...snake bitten in Game 1, Ilya Kovalchuk got the Devils on
the board first 13:39 into the 1st period...in the 2nd period, the Rangers
pushed hard with 2 goals, Marc Staal at 2:23, and Chris Kreider at
12:19...Devils didn't flinch, however...they came back and tied the game 2-2,
Ryan Carter at 18:09...they'd go ahead for good at 2:31 of the 3rd - David
Clarkson with his 3rd was the GWG...Devils win Game 2, 3-2, and series is tied
1-1...they get an extra day between games in this one - Game 3 is Saturday
afternoon...if you just watch highlights of the games - check out Martin
Brodeur's "Scorpion" save which you can be sure will make it to many highlight
reels...could be the save of the series...so far...
Game 3 of Phoenix-L.A. tonight from
Staples Center - no game on Friday night...Memorial Cup gets underway -
Edmonton, London, Saint John and Shawinigan...may the best team win...
And a shocker at the World
Championship - after going 6-0-1 in the round robin, Canada has been sent
packing after their quarterfinal against Slovakia...Michal Handzus scored the
GWG in a 4-3 final score...a Ryan Getzlaf major penalty led to the goal...
May 15, 2012
7:57 PM: I have to confess
- last night I was more pumped for the
season premiere of "America's Got Talent" than I was for Game 1 between the
Rangers and Devils...and that's not to take anything away from either team, both
are totally deserving of being in the final four...but I just got that sense
that New Jersey would be flat from having almost a week off, and that the
Rangers would be run ragged over having gone the distance against
Washington...neither team got anything going through 40 minutes, yet I just had
the feeling the Rangers weren't going to make it out of MSG with anything to
show for it...oh boy was I wrong...
Just as I was watching Howard Stern
console an emotional perfomer on stage, the Rangers exploded in the 3rd
period...they only had a slight 18-17 edge in shots through 40 minutes, and the
Devils sure got their chances, but Henrik Lundqvist once again was the
story...53 seconds into the final frame, Dan Girardi, who all of a sudden has
people talking Conn Smythe, converted a Chris Kreider feed into his second goal,
and second game winner of these playoffs - the MSG faithful went nuts, and it
was 1-0...give Michael Del Zotto a second helper...from there it was all
Rangers...Kreider would get his 3rd on a power play while Steve Bernier was
sitting for boarding, at exactly the 12 minute mark, give an assist to Girardi
and Artem Anisimov...2-0...and Anisimov would score into an empty net at 18:33,
from Brian Boyle and Ruslan Fedotenko...3-0, Rangers won Game 1 and lead the
series 1-0...but I still get the feeling they expended all their energy into
that 3rd period - it'll be interesting to see how the Devils react in Game
2...Ilya Kovalchuk was still pretty dominant despite the loss, shot a puck right
into Lunqvist's catcher at one point...final shots were 28-21, Rangers,
including a 10-4 lambasting in the 3rd...but like they have all playoffs, they
must have easily blocked about 30 more shots...I don't know who's counting the
actual shots on goal down there in New York, but it was like a shooting gallery
for most of the first two periods...
So tonight, I'm equally as anxious
to see Howard settle into his new judging stint as I am to see if Phoenix can
swing momentum their way in Game 2 against L.A....so far, my theory on the
mirror is holding true, but so much for my predictions if the other teams don't
turn it around...
May 14, 2012
3:41 PM: Hope everybody had a great
Mother's Day...whether your
mother is still here or in that great mother shrine in the sky, whether you're a
new mother or an old mother...yesterday that's what it was all about...
Shouldn't have come as any surprise
to anyone that Game 1 of the Western Conference Final started the way the Los
Angeles Kings' previous 2 playoff rounds did...with a win...so that makes them
9-1 on the post season...unbelievable...
In the final analysis, it was
another game where Mike Smith faced 47 shots, stopped 44 of them...Jonathan
Quick made 25 saves, pale by comparison, but the best of which were midway
through the 3rd period with the Coyotes buzzing for the tying goal...
So the Kings got on the board first,
just 3:54 into period one - Anze Kopitar from Dustin Brown and Drew
Doughty...4th for Kopitar...1-0...the lasting image of this game, however, and
one replay that will show Quick is in fact human after all (I think) - a Derek
Morris shoot in from centre ice, fed to him by Daymond Langkow, went in...at
13:26 of the 1st, tied the game 1-1 and could have been the turning point if not
for L.A.'s relentless fore check...despite a 17-4 shot advantage, after 20
minutes it was 1-1...Quick will want that one back...
2nd period, the Kings would get it
back...at 8:02, Dwight King from Mike Richards and Trevor Lewis, his 2nd,
2-1...Mikkel Boedker, however, would score his 4th at 18:04, Shane Doan and
Morris assisted, and after 40 minutes it was tied 2-2...the centre ice goal
seemed the ignite the Dogs, but they still only managed 14 shots to L.A.'s 17,
for a 2 period total 34-18, Kings...
Like they have throughout most of
their previous 9 games, in the 3rd, they went ahead for good...Dustin Brown
continued his chase for the Conn Smythe, scoring what would turn out to be the
game winner, 2:11 into the 3rd, Richards and Lewis with their second points of
the game...the Coyotes, try as they might, couldn't beat Quick...Dwight King
would seal the deal with an empty netter at 19:02, with thanks in part to Lewis
and Jarret Stoll...and the Kings take Game 1 by a score of 4-2...final shots
were 48-27...neither team could get anything going on special teams...L.A. was 0
for 4 while Phoenix was 0 for 5...the power play has helped the Desert Dogs get
here, while the Kings have relied mostly on an aggressive 5 on 5 fore check...
Maybe next game the Yotes should
purposely try rebounding some pucks off the end boards...see how Quick reacts to
that...what's the old saying, can't stop what you can't see?
And tonight, we shift scenes back to
New York for the Eastern Conference Final...
Couple of notes today...Dale Hunter
has stepped down as Washington head coach...and Columbus announced Todd
Richards, who replaced Scott Arniel on an interim basis Jan 9, has been hired
full time and signed a two year contract extension...had the Jackets actually
had a respectable record down the stretch...an accomplishment not lost on G.M.
Scott Howson...Richards helped guide the team to an 18-21-2 finish, after they
stumbled out of the gate with a brutal 11-25-5 record...given them 14 more wins
and who knows?
May 12, 2012
10:56 PM: Well at
least there's one team that plays at Rexall
Place on the verge of a championship this year...the Edmonton Oil Kings, last I
could find out, were tied 1-1 with the Portland Winter Hawks after 40 minutes of
Game 6 of the WHL FInal...the Oil Kings lead the series 3-2, so if they can pull
out a win tonight, they're on their way to the Memorial Cup tournament...if not,
Game 7 is tomorrow...
The rest of the brackets are set -
Shawinigan is the host, Saint John won the Q, London won the O, and we await the
winner in the W...
Fans in Toronto now, like Grapes,
probably wonder why Mike Zigomanis wasn't with the Leafs all season...he scored
in overtime of Game 5 against Abbotsford earlier this week to send the Toronto
Marlies to the AHL's Western Conference Final against either Oklahoma City
(Edmonton), or the San Antonio Rampage (Florida)...
10:21 PM: Ok...I'm
going to get my 3rd round picks out of the way now...
Eastern Conference Final: Devils in 6...the
Rangers, despite having Henrik Lundqvist, have to run out of gas sooner or
later, don't they?! Fact - no team has ever gone to 7 in the first two
rounds and made it to the finals, in any number of games...look it up...I know
Boston had 3 seven game series last spring, but don't forget, they swept Philly
in the 2nd round...
Western Conference Final: Coyotes in
7...You can really flip a coin on this one...one thing for sure, I cannot
see this one being a "Quick" series...no goaltender has faced more shots than
Mike Smith...and none of the remaining goaltenders has more shutouts...as good
as the Kings have been, they haven't faced a goalie like Smith, either...Team
Canada, or Team Cactus?
We've inverted...like I mentioned,
in the East, 1st seed has gone up against 8th, 7th and now 6th...in the West,
8th has gone up against 1st, 2nd, and now 3rd...
So if it's true when they say expect
the unexpected, expect the mirror to shift...
10:05 PM: Game over...another
2-1 score in this series...and the Rangers win Game 7 and will meet the Devils...although,
one could argue they played 8 games in this one...
So how strange is this -
L.A. goes up against 1-2-3 in the
West...and the Rangers go up against 8-7-6 in the East?!...it's almost like
somebody put a mirror in between the two conferences...
Scoring in the 3rd -
at 10:05, Michael Del Zotto with his 2nd,
from Marian Gaborik and Hagelin...then at 10:43, Roman Hamrlik from Brooks Laich
and Jason Chimera...
Bring on the Battle of the
Hudson...Monday night...you know it'll be every bit as intense as in 1994...Game 1 from the Desert tomorrow...
9:58 PM: I hope
the one Capitals fan I can see in the crowd
(he's wearing red) is staying at the Pennsylvania Hotel, across the
street...might need a quick getaway...
9:52 PM: Goal scoring stats coming later...gonna
catch the last 5 minutes...you know, the whole Don't Blink thing...Del Zotto for
NY, Hamrlik for Wash...that's all I'll say for now...
9:47 PM: Capitals just
got redemption, I think, for the missed
interference call in Game 6...Rangers thought they had scored shorthanded, but
they ruled the goalie was interfered with...
9:44 PM: Washington power play...delay
of game penalty to the Rangers - to...Ruslan Fedotenko...I think that's the
first penalty of the game...look out!!
Too ironic that the call goes to
Fedotenko...hero of the 2004 Stanley Cup Game 7 for a Tampa Bay team that had
John Tortorella behind the bench...
9:42 PM: Two goals
in less than a minute...38 seconds to be
exact...the Rangers had scored to make it 2-0...but the Capitals have scored to
make it 2-1...
the goals coming up...
9:31 PM: This has
been well noted since Game 5, but deserves
repeating...I love how Dale Hunter continues to let Joel Ward on the ice...he
hasn't missed a shift since the unfortunate events at the end of Game 5 and
overtime...you just get the feeling Hunter's persistence in rolling four lines
will eventually be rewarded...with about 14 minutes left in the 3rd, the New
Jersey Devils of 2009 will tell you this game is far from over...word of advice
to the Rangers...get another one...
9:08 PM: End of the 2nd...still
Interesting fact -
this is the 14th playoff game in these
playoffs for both teams, but this is the 1st time Washington has trailed after 2
periods of play...
Despite the sequence where
Washington kept the pressure on, shots are still fairly even...20-19, slight
edge to New York...
8:55 PM: The Capitals
are pressing hard to even the score...they
had a sequence similar to what Ottawa managed in the 3rd period of Game 7 in
Round 1...looked like Washington was a on a power play...
the "MVP" chants rain down on Henrik Lundqvist...he's the only reason the
Rangers are still in the lead...
8:34 PM: I love how
when there's a broadcast in New York, they
always show the overhead view of Madison Square Garden and then cut to Times
Square, as if to imply it's right across the street...and if you've never
visited, you wouldn't be any the wiser...it's only, like, 10 blocks down the
street...nice walk on a nice day, though...what I still can't get over is you
can walk into a pizza parlor and order a slice and a beer, and sit right by the
street in the window seat...they have to open up something like that in
the Byward Market...yeah I know there's Dunn's and Lone Star, but they don't
serve pizza slices...too bad they closed the Sbarro at Rideau Centre...a little
renovation here and there...
Rangers still nursing a 1-0
lead...about 4 minutes into the 2nd...shots were deadlocked 8-8 after 20
7:50 PM: "
In a New York Minute...everything can
Yes sir -
the start of Game 7 couldn't have gone any
better for the Rangers...loud crowd...early goal...can you say Mo-Mentum?
1-0 in the first period...Brad
Richards with his 6th of the playoffs, just 1:32 in, scored on the first shot on
goal for either team...Carl Hagelin and Michael Del Zotto assisted...can't
imagine what the atmosphere must be like at the corner of 8th and 31st right
now...or for that matter, 7th and West 42nd...Richards scores in a Game 7 for
the first time, ever...
May 10, 2012
8:11 PM: Conference Finals schedule is
out...Phoenix-L.A. gets underway
Sunday at 8, New Jersey starts Monday and 8...CBC gets the Devils series, TSN
gets the Wild West...
And it seems, for once, the heat is
on Ron Maclean instead of Don Cherry...last night and today, people were all up
in arms on Twitter and various other online venues over comments he made before
Game 6, comparing the spirit of Hockey players (and athletes in general) to that
of firefighters and police officers...rightly or wrongly, the whole thing has
stirred up yet another 9-11 controversy...
You know - I have to say this - if
people are going to continue to be overly sensitive, then, quite frankly - the
bad guys win...yes, 9-11 was one of those "stop the world, I want to get off"
moments, where on one hand you were both shocked and sickened by what happened,
while at the same time you saw the human spirit and what it's all about come to
the forefront...and, sure, we can't ever forget that - the event, the people we
lost, the aftermath...but you know what - at the same time, we have to
move on too...otherwise - they win...
For anyone to suggest for even a
second that Ron Maclean meant any ill will or disrespect is clearly missing the
Can't wait for the next Coach's
Corner...maybe if they're lucky, they'll both get themselves thrown off the
air...because if you heard Maclean on HNIC Radio today, it's evident the CBC,
even after all these years, still doesn't get it either...
I've said it for years...TSN is
waiting in the wings and chomping at the bit for the right to become the next
home of Hockey Night In Canada...they didn't hesitate to grab the old theme
song, don't think they wouldn't take Ron and Don in a heartbeat...then maybe
they can turn Coach's Corner into a trio - Ron, Don, and Dave (Hodge)...there -
go ahead - Tweet that...
May 9, 2012
10:09 PM: Marian Gaborik
got credit for his 4th of the playoffs at
19:09 of the 3rd, assists to Dan Girardi and Derek Stepan...shouldn't have
counted as Braden Holtby was interfered with...not sure how you're expected to
make a save when the player is hovered over the right goal pad...he'll be happy
to get the win as the Caps held them off, and we go to Game 7...that poor mother
of his is going to need a defibrillator when this is all over...
Game 7, Saturday night...
9:33 PM: ...or at least for
40 minutes they brought their A game...the
Rangers are leading the charge so far in the 3rd...
9:19 PM: Bob Gainey
is back with the Dallas Stars...as a
the St. Louis sale was approved by the
NHL's board of governors today...they're hoping to be able to say this about
Phoenix sometime in the near future, too...
I'll believe the latter when I see
it...seems to me we've seen this movie before...a visit by the Stanley Cup will
9:15 PM: Shots on goal
through 40 minutes...20-17, Rangers...
be sure the New Jersey Devils are rooting
for Washington to send this to Game 7...this is probably the first time this
entire playoffs that I've seen Washington play like the Washington of
old...they've brought their "A(.O.)" game tonight...
9:04 PM: First time
in this series that Washington has led by 2
goals for more than 2 minutes...Jason Chimera scored his 4th of the playoffs, at
10:59 of the 2nd period, Backstrom and John Carlson with helpers...
even though they just killed off a 4 minute double minor (Jeff Halpern for high
sticking), they would be well advised to stay out of the penalty box...just ask
the Ottawa Senators about that one...
Sticks on the ice, boys...
8:02 PM: Game 6 -
Capitals got the start they wanted...Alex
Ovechkin, 1:28 into the 1st period, assists from Nick Backstrom and Mike
Green...power play goal while Anton Stralman sat for tripping Jason Chimera just
over a minute in...
30th career playoff goal, tying a franchise
record held by Peter Bondra...
May 8, 2012
10:09 PM: And it's all over...3-1
is the final score...and the Devils move on to the Eastern Conference Final...
Philadelphia just couldn't get
anything going...seems the Hockey Gods are rooting for Martin Brodeur...6th
Conference Final of his career...he's won four of them...
9:39 PM: Kind of hard
to get back into a series when you're
undisciplined...just ask James van Riemsdyk...4:56 of the 3rd, gets called for
holding Patrik Elias...it took the Devils 4 seconds to score...and who else -
Ilya Kovalchuk, at 5:00 of the 3rd...assists to Adam Henrique and Dainius Zubrus...
8:25 PM: Shots in the 1st period,
12-11, New Jersey...but it's the failed
clearing attempt that is the difference on the scoreboard...
Devils 0 for 1 on the power play,
Flyers have not had one...
8:11 PM: Do you mean
to tell me Bob Cole can't tell the
difference between Eric Wellwood and Wayne Simmonds!??
8:06 PM: Volchenkov returns...shouldn't
surprise anyone that's followed his career in Ottawa...I have to wonder how many
bumps and bruises this guy has...
8:00 PM: Ouch!!!
Bryzgalov tried to clear the puck and it
ricocheted in the net off David Clarkson's shin pad...if you're a goalie,
wouldn't it best advised to attempt that play with no opposing players in your
zone?!? Just saying...
be an unassisted goal...at 12:45, Clarkson's 2nd...that could be Philly's season
right there...kind of makes you wonder why Michael Leighton continues to be a
7:56 PM: Flyers once
again got the first goal of the game...but
the Devils have replied...
they just about made it 2-1...once again Ilya Bryzgalov looks shaky...
Max Talbot's 4th from Schenn and
Danny Briere at 7:18 of the first, and Bryce Salvador's 2nd from Adam Henrique
and Ilya Kovalchuk, at 9:27...it was Marek Zidlicky almost getting the go ahead
You're up to date...for now...;)
7:52 PM: OK...how
the hell did I do that?!
quite Stevens on Lindros, but a big hit in
the corner as the "A-Train", Anton Volchenkov, made an abrupt stop at Brayden
Schenn Station...moments later, Zac Rinaldo got him with a shoulder to the
head...didn't see him coming as he tried to avoid Sean Couturier...he has since
left this game...
7:18 PM: This day in Hockey History -
May 8, 2012 - the New Jersey Devils played
Game 6 against the Toronto Maple Leafs in their Eastern Conference Semi-Final
series - and wrapped up the series with a 3-0 win to clinch the series 4-2 -
Devils held the Leafs to a mere 6 shots on goal...this game was also the
last game of Wendel Clark's career...the Leafs had made it here after beating
Ottawa in what would be their first (and to this day still their best)
series...I remember after this game more than a few people (mostly Sens fans)
making comments like "I would rather be golfing"...certainly doesn't rank up
there in Toronto's best efforts...but today, I'll bet you the fans would have
taken it because that would have at least meant playoff hockey...
Of course...much talk this year was
how the Florida Panthers hadn't been to the playoffs since 2000, they were swept
in the 1st round, by, you guessed it - New Jersey...after beating Toronto, they
went up against Philadelphia in the Eastern Conference Final - a series they
would win in 7 games...that was the series where Scott Stevens took out Eric
Lindros and knocked him out cold...
So something will have to give
tonight, one would think...
2:07 PM: As
we already know - Claude Giroux will
miss Game 5 between Philadelphia and New Jersey...there are reports out there,
however, that the Flyers could get a boost on defense, as Andrej Meszaros may
draw back in...he hasn't played since March 1, so how effective he can be
remains to be seen...call it a game time decision, I guess...all coach
Laviolette would say over the last week or so is "He's looked good"...
11:34 AM: Even though
Dustin Penner is still right in the thick
of the playoffs, don't rule out the possibility he could end up in an Ottawa
Senators uniform next season...that's according to Don Brennan of the Ottawa
Sun...of course, the reasoning is simple - Bryan Murray knows Penner from his
Anaheim days, not to mention Penner almost came here in a trade with Edmonton
for Dany Heatley...
Penner is unrestricted as of July
1...so the only question left to be answered would be, how many rings will he
have, 1 or 2, and how much will a potential contract be worth?...and, depending
on where the Los Angeles Kings go from here, how many other teams will be
interested in his services - probably at least one more than were interested at
the trade deadline...if a move to the Eastern Conference helped out Kyle Turris,
I'd say the gamble is worth it...
12:50 AM: And the Coyotes
hang on for the 2-1 win, and the series
victory in 5 games...
barely missed scoring an empty
netter...ensuing face off, they clear the zone, and jubilation ensues...
Like I said -
it's going to be a heck of a series next
round...so many good stories out of this team - one has to feel for guys like
Shane Doan - not just through the Coyotes trials and tribulations off the ice,
but for what he had to endure back in 2006 when Canadian Parliament was up in
arms over him being named captain of Team Canada (over an allegation he was
prejudiced against a French Referee, which an internal NHL investigation
revealed was false)...one has to feel for the the goalie Smith who was picked up
on waivers not once but twice in the last year (how do those teams feel
right now?!), guys like Ray Whitney, Adrian Aucoin, and even Derek Morris, who
got it going tonight...most importantly, though, you really have to feel for
fans in Winnipeg...deep down, despite them having a team again, you just know
there are many former die hards who are enjoying this playoff run...and
don't ask me why, but every time I see Shane Doan I think back to the 2009 All
Star Weekend in Montreal, when he took part in the first ever Elimination
shootout, with his biggest fan on the bench, his daughter...wonder if she's
allowed to stay up late to see these games?
As for Nashville, the
Radulov/Kostitsyn incident notwithstanding, have to still be wondering what the
hell just hit them!? After they looked poised for a deep playoff run, they
once again fall short in the 2nd round, and now raise more questions than they
did last spring when they bowed out to Vancouver...what is to become of Radulov
and the Kostitsyn brothers, what is to become of coach Barry Trotz, and will
they be able to bring back Ryan Suter? As the saying went last spring,
"questions will become answers", just not for a couple more months...
And finally, with the second round
half done, uLAr and I both sit here both stunned that all of our bonus picks are
no longer a factor...first time for either one of us...in years past, even if we
couldn't count on our East, West and Stanley Cup picks, we could usually count
on our dark horses...not so...everybody we thought would be there, is
out...that's just the kind of playoff it's been...and it's nowhere near done...
Next up - Game 5, New
Jersey-Philadelphia...does that series end tonight?
12:29 AM: 164 minutes and 45 seconds
of Mike Smith shutout hockey ends...at
14:01 of the 3rd, Colin Wilson with his 1st of the playoffs, assists from David
Legwand and Ryan Suter...
It's 2-1...the Predators have 5
minutes left to try and save their season...
May 7, 2012
11:43 PM: Coyotes are
20 minutes away from going to where they've
never been before - the 3rd round...and I already said it, but that series
against Los Angeles is going to be a beauty...
Let's not get ahead of myself yet,
Nashville is still way ahead on the
shot clock, 22-12...Mike Smith, the only player on Phoenix' roster you could
possibly nominate for the Conn Smythe at this point, has stopped them all so
11:30 PM: Martin Hanzal
scores his 3rd, at 15:09 of the 2nd period,
from Kyle Chipchura and Daymond Langkow...
Kind of fitting that we had that
Super Full Moon over the weekend, isn't it? Plus, that cactus of
mine...growing like crazy...
11:19 PM: After a
scoreless first period, the Phoenix Coyotes
get on the board first...Derek Morris, with his 1st, at 3:54 of the 2nd period -
Antoine Vermette and Shane Doan set it up...
1-0, Desert Dogs...in Game 5...no
surprise, the Nashville Predators are outshooting Phoenix by a margin of about
2-1...16-9 at last glance...
10:22 PM: Marc Staal,
from about 50 feet out...another power play
goal, just 1:35 into the 1st overtime period...give an assist to John
Mitchell...Rangers win the game 3-2, lead the series 3-2...2nd of the playoffs
All Joel Ward
could do was skate off with his head
down...the thrill of Game 7 victory becomes the agony of Game 5 defeat...still
plenty to be decided, though...Game 6 on Wednesday back in the U.S. Capital...
happening yet in Phoenix...
10:12 PM: OK...so
how does Ron and Don end up on the big screen in Times Square!?...
Goal picks -
uLAr goes for Brooks Laich for Washington,
Marian Gaborik for New York...I'll take Jason Chimera and Carl Hagelin...
10:03 PM: 6.6 seconds...that's
all that was left on the clock when Brad Richards tied the game 2-2...
gets worse for Washington...the goal was
scored on a power play, after Joel Ward took a high sticking double minor at
19:38...time of Richards' 5th of the playoffs, 19:53, Ryan Callahan and Michael
Del Zotto assisted...
remain on the power play heading into OT...
9:36 PM: On nights
when the London Knights win, the Washington
Capitals, too, are undefeated...
Well the Knights won tonight...and
almost as if on cue - the Capitals have taken the 2-1 lead...John Carlson's 2nd
of the playoffs, at 4:20 of the 3rd, on a power play while Mike Rupp sat for the
hook...helpers to Dennis Wideman and Brouwer...
8:58 PM: Shouldn't
come as any surprise in a series that's
deadlocked 2-2 that Game 5 is deadlocked 1-1...
The NY Rangers
got on the scoreboard first, Anton Stralman with his 3rd from Marc Staal and
Derek Stepan, at 10:44 of the 1st period...the Rangers peppered Braden Holtby
with 17 shots, while the Capitals were only able to muster 4 shots on goal...but
you just had the feeling something had to give...and it did - Brooks Laich, at
8:15 of the 2nd, assists to Alex Ovechkin and Troy Brouwer...and that's where we
stand almost through 40 minutes...about 4 minutes left...
Any minute now, Gary Bettman is
expected to hold a press conference to announce the Phoenix tentative
sale...just in time for Game 5...
4:00 PM: One game suspension for Claude
Giroux...that could be it for
Philly if the rest of the team can't pick up the slack in his absence...and
judging by last night, doesn't look like it's going to happen...we'll find out
I look for a big game from his buddy
Jaromir Jagr, who has nothing but good things to say about him...
I don't know about anybody else, but
I get the sense with every questionable hit or play the NHL is admitting they
screwed up with Shea Weber on Henrik Zetterberg, and subsequently, they're
trying to make up for it - you'll never hear anybody in a position of
importance (Bettman?) admit it, though...in fact, I believe it was Bettman
himself on his own radio show who felt the very idea was preposterous...and
maybe at the end of the day he's right...but you just get that feeling...you
12:32 PM: Chris Stevenson
from QMI Agency reported today that Gary
Bettman is getting ready to announce a tentative deal is in place to keep the
Phoenix Coyotes right where they are...might explain why we haven't heard from
him for the last week or so...reports are the franchise will be sold to a group
headed by San Jose Sharks executive Greg Jamison...ESPN reported four days ago
that an announcement is imminent...
If the Dogs actually go on to win
the Stanley Cup, it'll be quite the story, won't it? I have to say, if
they get through and face L.A., it'll be one hell of a series, never mind if
they manage to get to the Final...
Nothing on NHL.com or any of the
other media outlets, yet...my guess is we might hear something this afternoon...
Should also hear if Claude Giroux
gets any supplemental discipline for the hit on Dainius Zubrus last night...his
hearing is today...we already know Rosti Klesla will miss the game tonight...
May 6, 2012
10:12 PM: Zubrus scores
his 3rd of the playoffs, 2nd of this game,
into an empty net at 19:15 of the 3rd...was tripped up on his way, but still
managed to direct
it in...would have counted anyway...can't interfere with the player if he
has a clear path the empty net...
And the game ends 4-2,
a 3-1 series lead for New Jersey...Happy
Birthday, Marty...gets a point on the empty netter...Mark Fayne also with an
Now I think I'm heading to my
inverted massage chair for about an hour...I feel like Ilya Kovalchuk must have
felt between Game 1 and Game 3...lower body injury...note to self, can't bend
over anymore when troubleshooting the lawn mower...;)
9:57 PM: I know
Danny Briere is out there...I see his
#48...but I don't see Danny Briere...seems oddly quiet in this game...he's not
getting on the puck like he normally does...maybe he's hurting a little bit...
9:17 PM: Dainius Zubrus'
2nd of the playoffs has given the Devils
the 3-2 lead...at 17:47 of the 2nd period, Adam Henrique and Sykora assisted...
ended with Claude Giroux getting a 2 minute
penalty for an illegal check to Zubrus' head...with just 3 seconds left in the
period...that could have easily been a major and hit the showers...we'll have to
wait and see if Giroux gets a call from Brendan Shanahan...Rostislav Klesla did,
today, for a hit on Matt Halischuk in Game 4 between Phoenix and Nashville...and
he was served a 1 game suspension...Giroux has been playing on the edge these
entire playoffs...did he just cross the line? We'll find out...
Shots on goal - 32-12, New
Jersey...the fact that it's not 5-2 or 6-2 by now is a testament to Bryzgalov in
net...but...he still gave up the go ahead goal...
8:57 PM: Game 4
between Philadelphia and New Jersey, and to
quote HNIC's Scott Oake - "it was an interesting first period"...indeed it
was...the momentum pendulum swung back and forth at least 3 times, if not
4...the Devils came out flying and seemed like they would run away with it
early...Peter Laviolette called an early time out, to try and settle down the
referees took over...two straight penalties on New Jersey, the second of which
to Marek Zidlicky for interference...the end result, a power play goal from
Scott Hartnell, 11:50 into the 1st, from Claude Giroux and Kimmo Timonen...Hartnell's
3rd made it 1-0 Flyers...it was what seems to me the first retaliation penalty
New Jersey has taken in this series...moments later, the Devils would give up a
shorthanded goal...Giroux, his 8th, give a helper to Max Talbot, at 13:40, and
all of a sudden it was 2-0...New Jersey would respond, finally scoring on the
same power play they gave up the goal on...in the dying seconds of an Andreas
Lilja tripping call, Petr Sykora would get his 2nd, thanks in part to Zidlicky
and Travis Zajac...at 15:14, it was 2-1...Devils would tie it before the period
was out...at 18:10, Zidlicky, oddly enough with his 1st career Stanley Cup
playoff goal, set up by Bryce Salvador and Ilya Kovalchuk...2-2...
That's where we stand,
now just past the 10 minute mark of the 2nd
Shots on goal
to this point in the game are 26-7, New
Jersey...7-0 in this period...Ilya Bryzgalov's hot/cold streak is all of a
5:45 PM: Brown scores
his second of the game, into an empty net
at 19:34 of the 3rd, and his 1st period goal turns out to be the Game and series
clincher...Matt Greene and Anze Kopitar getting points on the play...and we have
handshakes at Staples Center...
Kings sweep the Blues...first
time ever in franchise history Los Angeles wins a playoff series in four
straight...that's remarkable when you think about it - even the Great One
himself can't add the feat to his illustrious list of records...and, it's the first time
a team takes out #1 and #2 in the same playoff year (somehow I thought Edmonton
did it in 2006, but Detroit was #1, San Jose was #5, Anaheim #6 - that playoff,
the first after the work stoppage, was unique in that all four bottom seeds in
the West won their respective first round series - it almost happened in the
East this year)...of course,
too, it's the first time a #8 seed gets to the Conference Final after only 9
games played...so now they'll enjoy a nice, well deserved rest...if Phoenix gets
by Nashville, they'll attempt to go 1, 2, 3...then we'll all have to wait for
the two Eastern series to complete...we know at least one of them is going 6
games, possibly 7...
Don't know if even Vegas could have
predicted this...what were the odds for Los Angeles to win the Cup again?!
They have to be a lot better now than they were a month ago...
4:50 PM: Despite a
territorial advantage for St. Louis in the
2nd period, they continue to trail 2-1 after 40 minutes...20 minutes away from
the Western Conference Final for the Kings, and for the Blues, 20 minutes to try
and avoid a summertime of singing the Blues...
Shots on goal were 13-2 for St.
Louis, for a 2 period total of 17-12...Jonathan Quick only had to be good, as
the Los Angeles defense was there...
Blues are now 0 for 17 on the power
3:57 PM: There's just
no stopping the Kings...
So if this
was Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final and you
had to get your votes in for the Conn Smythe...who do you pick? Jonathan
Quick? Dustin Penner? Mike Richards? Drew Doughty? Anze
Kopitar? Or, the captain, Dustin Brown? Tough choice, right?
on what happens from here, Brown is
certainly on a lot of people's minds...and he added to the hype, scoring his 5th
of the playoffs in just L.A.'s 9th game...Kopitar and Doughty with helpers, at
18:17 of the 1st...used Alex Pietrangelo as a decoy and got it up over Brian
2-1, Kings...they're now at the 1st
intermission...shots were better than 2-1 - 10-4, also in favor of the Kings...
The most telling stat for the Blues
in this series - they're 0 for 15 on the power play...including a missed
opportunity in the 1st period...
3:40 PM: St. Louis
ties it 1-1 on Kevin Shattenkirk's 1st of
the playoffs...in fact, that is his 1st career NHL Playoff goal...1st goal from
the Blues defense in these playoffs...Barrett Jackman assisted at 11:34...
3:29 PM: First of all today,
Happy Birthday not only to my father, who I
understand is somewhere in the Ontario wilderness on his annual fishing trip,
but also to New Jersey's Martin Brodeur...
It's Game 4 between St. Louis and
Los Angeles - a win for the Kings and they are halfway to the Stanley Cup, and
they're already leading early, again...they have been relentless in this
Jordan Nolan, son of former Buffalo
and NY Islanders coach Ted Nolan, has his first career Stanley Cup Playoff
goal...4:36 into the 1st, Dustin Penner assisted...
As an avid Oilers fan, I've watched
Penner play this post season, and he looks like a completely different
player...he seems possessed, has that fire in his eyes like Steve Yzerman used
to have...something or somebody got to him - many pundits credit coach Darryl
Sutter, but it's just mind boggling how somehow, he's bought into a
system...kind of like when he was in Anaheim...I figure if I'm scratching and
shaking my head, imagine how Kevin Lowe feels?! Maybe it's the California
sun...but then, how do you explain his disappearing act between the trade from
Edmonton and when Sutter arrived? Last year when the Kings played the
Sharks you couldn't even tell he was part of the team...
May 5, 2012
3:05 PM: For Game 4
it's been a story of Washington's best
players having to actually be their best players...and finally it would appear
Alex Ovechkin has it going, somewhat...seemed to respond from the crowd's "Ovie"
chant as the clock counted down to 8 minutes left in the 1st, as at 12:43, he
scored his 4th of the playoffs, unassisted, to get the game going...shots on
goal, 14-3, Capitals, after 20 minutes, and they took the 1-0 lead into the
Rangers responded -
Artem Anisimov, 1:10 into the 2nd period,
with his 2nd, Dan Girardi and Brian Boyle assisted, and we were tied 1-1...it
took 10 minutes and 44 seconds for Nick Backstrom to finally score his first
goal since double overtime of Game 2 of the Boston series - relegated to the
checking line with Jason Chimera and Jason Ward, the move paid off as it was 2-1
at 11:54 of the second...the Rangers, again, however, would respond before the
40 minute mark - Marian Gaborik with his 3rd, and 2nd goal in as many games, at
16:43, from Anisimov and Marc Staal...so Anisimov with a goal and an assist,
Gaborik and Backstrom both ending goal slumps...after the 2nd period we were
deadlocked 2-2...the Rangers out shot the Capitals 10-6 thru the middle frame...
Only 4 penalties called this entire game...and
at 13:45 of the 3rd, Carl Hagelin would go to the bin for a slash on John
Carlson...at 14:12, Dennis Wideman would set up Mike Green for his 2nd goal of
is now a final score...the Rangers couldn't get anything going with the goalie
pulled, as the Caps were content to just keep icing the puck until the clock ran
out...and the end of the 2nd period appears to have been a good omen...after
being deadlocked 2-2 on the scoreboard, a good grinding third period, and the
series is now deadlocked 2-2 and is a best 2 out of 3...
I'm not too sure either team would
have had anything left in the tank if they had to go to overtime again...now
they can rest until Monday, back in New York...
As for me, looks like it'll be movie
night tonight...no NHL action until tomorrow afternoon at 3 PM, when we'll find
out if the Kings will sweep...thought there were 3 games on the schedule
tomorrow - there are only 2...the afternoon game, and the Flyers-Devils Game 4
at 7:30...there are actually 3 possible games next Saturday, all potential Game
2:50 PM: So last game,
New York's Marian Gaborik woke up...now it
would appear Washington's Mike Green has woke up...3-2, Caps...with about 5 1/2
2:48 PM: Game 4
between the NY Rangers and Washington
Capitals...another close one...tied 2-2 right now in the 3rd...given that the
last game went to 3OT, might be a good thing this is the only game on the
schedule today...we could be here awhile...
138th running of the Kentucky Derby today
too...always enjoy watching what
is often referred to as "the most exciting 2 minutes in all of sports"...
May 4, 2012
10:43 PM: Phoenix
ends up winning the game 1-0...and leads
the series 3-1...the closest Nashville came to tying the game was a power play
sequence late in the 3rd, the puck went in but it was waved off because Mike
Smith was pushed into the net...
And talk about karma...David Legwand
got away with putting his hand over the puck in the crease in the Detroit
series...Rostislav Klesla of the Coyotes did the same thing in this game, and
also got away with it...
Phoenix can wrap it up Monday
night...if they can do it, they'd better send thank you cards to Radulov and
Kostitsyn for breaking curfew...
Was just checking out the HNIC
special It Happened On Hockey Night...they've been taking votes over the past
several weeks on what viewers think are the best HNIC moments - and #1 was that
game on New Year's Eve 1975 from the Montreal Forum between the Habs and the
Soviet Red Army...Russian goaltender Vladimir Tretiak was virtually unknown on
this side of the world until that legendary Summit Series of 1972, but in this
game, the Habs out shot the Soviets 38-13, more than 3-1, but somehow the game
still ended in a 3-3 tie...
9:55 PM: Game 4
between Nashville and Phoenix, and only one
goal scored so far...Shane Doan with his 3rd of the playoffs, 14:25 into the 1st
period, Mikkel Boedker assisted...that's it...no scoring in the 2nd period or in
the 3rd so far...
Alex Radulov or Andrei Kostitsyn again,
coach's decision to stick with the Game 3 winning lineup...
about 6 minutes left in the 3rd
period...shots have been almost even...23-22, Phoenix...
12:41 AM: So unlike
in Game 2, things settled down and we
finally got back to hockey in the Los Angeles-St. Louis series...and, well, the
end result was more or less the same...
led 1-0 after 1 period, but in the 2nd, the
Blues came out flying...actually tying the game 1-1 1:13 into the middle frame,
Chris Stewart from Kris Russell, his first of the playoffs...but it only took 40
seconds for everything to go downhill from there...Dwight King finally got his
1st of the playoffs, assist from Matt Greene, at 1:53, and the Kings' 1 goal
lead was restored...more penalty trouble for Jamie Langenbrunner, interference,
and at 10:29 Mike Richards would score his 3rd, a power play marker, and Kopitar
and Doughty would have their 2nd assists of the game...that turned out to be the
GWG, but at the time it put the Kings up 3-1...4:35 into the 3rd, Stewart would
strike again, from the returned Alex Pietrangelo and David Perron...all of a
sudden it was 3-2...but at 8:12 of the 3rd, Doughty would salt it away...his 1st
of the playoffs, from Richards and Jeff Carter...4-2, that turned out to be the
final...Kings win and like in round 1 against Vancouver, have a stranglehold on
St. Louis, 3-0 lead in the 2nd round series...
By far they're the story of these
playoffs...we knew they'd be good, but we didn't know they'd steamroll their way
through the top two seeds in the West...while every other series sits at 2-1,
this one could be over on Sunday night...
May 3, 2012
10:50 PM: Alex Ponikarovsky,
the former Leaf, 17:21 into the 1st
overtime, set up by, guess who - Kovalchuk...and the Devils win 4-3, lead the
2 questionable calls on the Devils
in the overtime period, but they killed both penalties off...yet another puck
over the glass call...
Meanwhile, in Los Angeles for Game 3
vs St. Louis, after 20 minutes, it's 1-0 Kings thanks to Justin Williams' 2nd of
the playoffs at 13:33 of the 1st, helpers to Drew Doughty and Anze Kopitar...
Looks like the bad blood from Game 2
has carried over to Game 3...Mike Richards slashed Jamie Langenbrunner, and then
fought over it...14 total penalty minutes in the 1st - there weren't that many
the entire game in New Jersey...I guess Langenbrunner, the former Devil, has had
10:19 PM: OK...so
uLAr takes Kovalchuk for NJ, or Lindros for Philly...well played...
10:10 PM: Can't believe
Claude Giroux is a -1 in this game...since
he's been trading places with Briere for team lead in goals, I'll take him for
Philadelphia, Dainius Zubrus for New Jersey...
I need to ask uLAr who he's
picking...;)...although, he did mention he might switch it up after the Game 1
10:03 PM: Nothing resolved
after regulation...so, big surprise, we
have overtime in Game 3 between New Jersey and Philadelphia...
get underway in Los Angeles...
9:50 PM: Tied again...seconds
after Kovalchuk almost made it 4-2...James van Riemsdyk, who has been somewhat
quiet, assisted on Danny Briere's 8th of the playoffs...at 11:04 of the
3rd...Wayne Simmonds also assisted...
Kovalchuk's shot from the hash marks
beat Bryzgalov, didn't beat that section where the post and cross bar meet...
3-3...dare I even suggest what could be forthcoming?
9:39 PM: Don't ask
me how the Flyers didn't see Zach Parise
coming, but at 7:29 of the 3rd he pots his 4th of the playoffs, Patrik Elias and
Marek Zidlicky assisted...the Philly defense seemed to just stand back while
Elias and Parise played shinny in the corner...
9:12 PM: If there's
one rule I'd change if I were in charge, it
would have to be that dumb puck over the glass delay of game penalty...I mean,
OK, if you deliberately take the puck and shoot it into the crowd and it's
blatantly obvious, sure, call it...but when you're trying to clear the puck down
the ice and it clears the glass, that should not be a penalty...if that's a
penalty, then call it when it goes into the player benches too...right...that's
how silly the penalty is...garbage...I'm sure the 2006 Buffalo Sabres would
agree with me wholeheartedly...
it hits the shaft of an opponent's stick
and then goes out...Ilya Kovalchuk's clearing attempt appeared to deflect off a
Philly player's stick...but they called the penalty anyway...you want
to talk delay of game? - took the referees
more time conversing about whether or not to call a delay of game penalty...what
took longer, letting the play go, or calling the penalty?!...just saying...
nothing became of it...later on Brayden
Schenn took a goalie interference penalty and the Devils eventually had a power
ends tied 2-2...shots are 18-16, New Jersey...they were leading 14-7 after the
Sean Couturier left this game with
an obvious "lower body injury" and hasn't returned...
8:43 PM: Tied 2-2...Matt
Carle's 2nd of the playoffs, from Jakub Voracek and Scott Hartnell...at 4:44 of
the 2nd...even strength for once...seems every time Philadelphia scores it's on
8:05 PM: Looks like
the game off did Kovalchuk some
good...already has a goal and an assist, and just like that, the Devils now lead
Philly's Braydon Coburn took a
penalty for tripping Dainius Zubrus, and at 12:33 Patrik Elias got his 3rd, on a
power play, Marek Zidlicky and Kovalchuk got the assists...took Kovalchuk just
20 more seconds after that to score his 4th of the playoffs, at 12:53, from
Travis Zajac and Alex Ponikarovsky...by the way - 20 seconds between goals -
that's a new Devils franchise playoff record...
7:50 PM: Game 3
between New Jersey and Philadelphia...Ilya
Kovalchuk, after a little rest, is back in the lineup...Adam Larsson stays in,
Peter Harrold is out...not sure if that's fair, but what do I know...Peter De
Boer said he couldn't keep him out of the lineup...
The Flyers have struck first,
again...Brayden Schenn with his 3rd, 6:08 into the 1st, Danny Briere and Jaromir
Jagr drawing helpers...a power play goal while Adam Henrique got called for the
trip on Wayne Simmonds...
6:15 PM: The NHLPA
has filed an appeal of the Raffi Torres
suspension...and...Gary Bettman's NHL Hour is not on tonight...coincidence!??!
12:58 PM: Game time
decision for Ilya Kovalchuk...as for Alex
Pietrangelo, apparently he will be back for St. Louis...
12:15 AM: Welcome back, Marian Gaborik...at
14:41 of the 3rd overtime period, assists to Brad Richards and Dan Girardi...the
only thing the Rangers will care about - they win the game 2-1, lead the series
It's a good thing these two don't
hook up again until Saturday afternoon...they'll welcome the extra rest...
Next up - Philadelphia-New Jersey
and St. Louis-Los Angeles Game 3...Game 4 Phoenix-Nashville the lone game on
Friday night...Game 4 Rangers-Capitals, is a 12:30 PM start on Saturday...the
weird part about that - there are no other games Saturday night...3 games on
May 2, 2012
11:42 PM: Nashville
is back in their series, still trail 2-1,
but they win Game 3 2-0, Pekka Rinne made 32 saves for the shutout...none better
than a sequence late in the game, with Phoenix on a 5 on 3...stopped them all...
11:37 PM: First game
of the 2012 Playoffs to go to triple
OT...fatigue is becoming a factor...
It's the first Stanley Cup Playoff
game to go this long since 2010 - Game 5 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinal
series between Ottawa and Pittsburgh on April 22, 2010 went to the 3rd overtime
before Matt Carkner was the unlikely hero...
left in the 3rd in Nashville, still 2-0
10:51 PM: End of
the 1st overtime in Washington...end of the
2nd period in Nashville...still 2-0 Predators, and obviously, still tied 1-1
between the Caps and Rags...
Washington killed off a big penalty
towards the end of the OT, Alex Semin got called for a trip...an even up call
for an similar penalty in regulation time on the Rangers...
Dan Girardi missed 5 minutes after
taking a goal stick right between the eyes...his own team mate Henrik
Lundqvist's stick...talk about a miscue...
Shots after 40 minutes,
22-16, Phoenix, but they trail on the only
board that counts...that game might be over before the one in Washington...shots
are an even 37 each there...
Fans in Washington
have taken a page from the Rangers
fans...when the clock gets down to 8 minutes, they chant "Ovie"...they've done
it 4 times tonight...they might get a 5th chance tonight, at the rate we're
going...Ovie beat Lundqvist but couldn't beat the post about halfway through the
The most nervous fan in the
building? - Braden Holtby's mom...
10:15 PM: Goal picks...Matt
Hendricks for Washington, John Mitchell for New York...uLAr: Dennis Wideman for
Washington, Brad Richards for NY...
2nd period underway in Nashville...
10:08 PM: Overtime at the
Verizon Center...29-27 the shots on goal
thru regulation, Washington...
9:30 PM: Two Game 3s tonight:
New York-Washington and
tied 1-1 thru 40 minutes at the Verizon
Center - there was no score after 1 period, first goal came at 6:41 of the 2nd
period - Ryan Callahan's 4th from Michael Del Zotto and Marian Gaborik, and
until 11:10, the Rangers led 1-0...that's when John Carlson scored his 1st,
assists to Alex Semin and Karl Alzner...Alex Ovechkin has seen more ice time in
this game, but should probably get some new sticks...can't seem to get a good
shot without either fanning on it or breaking the stick...
dropped the puck on the 3rd...shots through
2 periods, 22-21, Rangers...pretty even going so far...
in Nashville, the Predators are already up 2-0, barely 10 minutes in, thanks to
goals by David Legwand and Mike Fisher...the Catfish are flying, and so is the
team...Legwand from Gabriel Bourque at 8:10, and Fisher from Martin Erat and
Sergei Kostitstyn at 9:16...of course brother Andrei and Alex Radulov are
sitting this one out after they violated curfew...evidently they were seen out
in Phoenix until about 4 AM in the morning before Game 2...at least that's the
rumor - nobody on the team, including the offenders, have confirmed or denied
If the Predators win this game
handily, they might never make it back in the lineup...as I predicted, Tootoo
and Halischuk are their replacements...didn't take a rocket scientist to figure
that one out...
3:38 PM: Montreal has
named their new General Manager...Marc
Bergevin, the former NHL defenseman was assistant general manager to Stan Bowman
in Chicago - he becomes the 17th G.M. in Habs history...he beats out Tampa Bay
Lightning assistant Julien Brisebois and present NBC/former TSN hockey analyst
May 1, 2012
10:22 PM: Bryce Salvador
scored into an empty net, while the Flyers
were on a 6 on 4 power play...at 17:09, assist given to Adam Henrique
The game ended 4-1...series
is tied 1-1, heading to Newark for Games 3 and 4...
9:51 PM: Travis Zajac
gets his 5th, a wraparound goal assisted by
Stephen Gionta, at 14:01...
Bryzgalov had his period of glory...
9:47 PM: uLAr keeps
telling me David Clarkson is going to get
the winner in OT, well he may have the potential GWG in regulation...his 1st of
the playoffs, at 11:17 of the 3rd, set up by Zach Parise, after a long scramble
which eventually saw the net come off its moorings...the Flyers protested, but
it counts as a goal...
9:36 PM: After out shooting
the Flyers 12-2 in the 2nd period, the
Devils finally get on the board 3:08 into the 3rd...Adam Larsson, 1st NHL
Playoff game, 1st NHL Playoff goal...assists to Dainius Zubrus and Peter Harrold...the
teams were 4 on 4...Marek Zidlicky was off for an elbow, Scott Hartnell for a
to have sparked the Flyers...now we've got
8:51 PM: One benefit
of having a crazy first round in the NHL,
is now more of the elite players that otherwise would still be playing are able
to attend the IIHF World Championship...when was the last time members of the
Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks were able to attend and represent their
some of the rosters, and Canada and the
U.S., as always, regardless of who they send over, look the strongest on paper,
but look out for Sweden and Russia...Alfie, Silfverberg and Karlsson represent
the Ottawa Senators...and the Mule, Johan Franzen, is there too...Finland might
have the best goaltender - Dallas' Kari Lehtonen...and this just made me laugh -
Cristobal Huet is on Team France's roster...seeding for the 2014 Olympics in
Russia at stake in this tournament...
Russia might wish they had Ilya
Bryzgalov...his game has improved tenfold since the Pittsburgh series...just
made about four quality saves on the last sequence...Devils are doing everything
except score...they're out shooting the Flyers 10-0 so far in the 2nd...23-9
overall...but they trail 1-0 on the scoreboard with about 8 minutes left...
8:42 PM: St. Louis
head coach Ken Hitchcock announced today we
won't see Jaroslav Halak for at least the rest of the Los Angeles
series...translation: already down 2-0 in the series, in all likelihood we won't
see him again this season...
8:35 PM: Nashville
will have a new look when they take to the
Bridgestone Arena ice for Game 3 of their series against Phoenix,
tomorrow...Alex Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn have both been suspended by the
team after "an unspecified violation of team rules"...Radulov led reporters to
believe they both violated team curfew...
it's probably safe to say we'll see Jordin
Tootoo and Matt Halischuk for the first time in the series...
8:08 PM: Game 2 between
Philadelphia and New Jersey...and
all the rage before this one was the status of one Ilya Kovalchuk, out of this
game with what they're calling a "lower body injury"...speculation is it's his
lower back...I've been mentioning since the conclusion of Game 7 that he just
didn't look right (and in all fairness, uLAr mentioned it to me first)...having
had my own experience with back pain, I can understand why...if indeed that's
what's wrong...sometimes all I have to do is sneeze the wrong way and I'm out of
commission for 3 days...can't imagine what it must be like trying to skate with
a stick and a puck...with speed...never mind whether it's regulation or
So the Devils tonight went with 11
forwards and 7 defensemen, they've moved Peter Harrold up to the wing, but back
on the point for power plays, and drawing in for the first time this post season
is Adam Larsson...
The game started off just the way
Philly wanted it to...Matt Read, 2:53 into the 1st, from Brayden Schenn and
Shots were 13-9, New Jersey...both
teams have had two power plays apiece...in fact, Philadelphia's 2nd power play
of the game will commence with the start of the 2nd period, as Bryce Salvador
got called for interference at the 20 minute mark...
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