Kukla's Korner Hockey
For boarding, here is the explanation from the NHL.
from Rob Vollman at NHL.com,
There's a fierce battle for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference. The Boston Bruins hold the second wild card with 82 points, followed by the New York Islanders, who have 80 points and a game in hand. Each team trails the Toronto Maple Leafs, who are third in the Atlantic Division with 83 points with 10 games remaining.
If the standings remain this way, Toronto will make the playoffs for the second time since 2003-04, Boston will end a two-season absence, and New York will miss the playoffs for the first time in three seasons.
The Bruins and Maple Leafs have an edge in the standings and in most statistical categories, but neither team is out of the woods yet. The Islanders have been one of the NHL's best offensive teams since Doug Weight replaced Jack Capuano as coach Jan. 17, and the Tampa Bay Lightning, who are five behind the Bruins with 77 points, are one of several teams within striking distance if some should fade down the stretch.
Let's break down the numbers behind each team's key advantage.
2:12 minutes in length.
from Tal Pinchevsky at the New York Times,
When the N.H.L.’s newest franchise went looking for a keen, energetic mind to help oversee the training and performance of its players, it did not confine its search to conventional hockey circles.
Instead, the Vegas Golden Knights, who will be the first major professional sports team in Las Vegas when they begin their inaugural season in October, went in a drastically different direction. They named Jay Mellette, a longtime Las Vegas resident, as their director of sports performance and head athletic trainer.
Although Mellette acknowledges he has much to learn about hockey, there are not too many people in the N.H.L. — or any pro sports league, for that matter — who have such a versatile and colorful background in sports medicine.
Mellette was in the United States Air Force and was a member of the Colorado Rapids’ medical staff during Major League Soccer’s initial season, in 1996. But he has spent the past 12 years with Cirque du Soleil, the Canadian entertainment company known for producing some of the world’s most ambitious and elaborate performances.
Working most recently as Cirque du Soleil’s director of performance medicine, Mellette led 20 sports medicine teams assisting 1,300 athletes, including Mongolian contortionists, South American aerialists, Scandinavian tumblers and Chinese martial arts experts.
Polak received 5 for boarding a game.
from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,
No one around the NHL views the Presidents' Trophy as a predictor of playoff success. Since 2003, only two of 13 teams that finished No. 1 overall have gone on to win the Stanley Cup.
But winning that title has added value this season because the NHL’s top three teams, Washington, Pittsburgh and Columbus, are all in the Metropolitan Division. The runner-ups in the race will face each other in the opening playoff round.
“That’s going to be a test right off the bat, and it could leave a mark for the second round,” Washington Capitals coach Barry Trotz told USA TODAY Sports.
The Chicago Blackhawks, currently fourth in the Presidents' Trophy race with 100 points and nine games remaining, could easily step up and win it. But that wouldn’t change the reality that the losers of the battle for Metropolitan Division supremacy have a tougher playoff road.
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
People just don’t expect him to come up with the big goal anymore.
Well, people not named Richard McLaren Nash.
People who weren’t paying attention Wednesday night.
Because after getting off a nine-game schneid with a back-to-the net backhand in New Jersey on Tuesday, Nash scored the type of spectacular goal to put the Rangers up 2-1 on the Islanders early in the second period of a game he Blueshirts lost, 3-2, at the Garden in a seventh straight defeat at home while dropping to 5-6-2 in their past 13.
It was a display of talent and power as Nash drove in from the right wall and rode off a flailing Thomas Hickey before, while falling down, beating Thomas Greiss. It was Nash, who has the same array of skills as he did as an 18-year-old, first-overall in 2002, filling what he recognizes as his job description.
“I’m here to score goals. I get paid to score goals,” Nash told The Post before the game. “I’m supposed to provide offense. That’s what the team expects of me. That’s what I expect of myself.”
Indeed, Nash regularly grimaces when complimented for his work on the defensive side of the puck or for having imposed his will against opposing defensemen for shifts at a time when the plaudits follow games in which he has been held off the sheet.
“Because that’s not good enough,” said this unfailingly pleasant man and selfless teammate. “I take pride in my defensive game and in being a complete player, but I know why I’m here and that’s not it.”
Watch the Nash goal from last night below...
What's the secret to the recent success of the Toronto Maple Leafs?
Craig Custance: Coach Mike Babcock and rookie scorer Auston Matthews definitely deserve a big dose of credit, but one thing I don't think the Toronto Maple Leafs get enough credit for is the quality veterans kept to surround the impressive rookie class. Nazem Kadri might be the best example of that. He scored his 30th goal of the season on Wednesday against the Blue Jackets, and his line was great. Suddenly the Maple Leafs have a pair of 30-goal centers. That's impressive. A layer of veterans in James van Riemsdyk, Kadri and Leo Komarov is often an overlooked part of a rebuild, and if we're looking for reasons beyond Babcock and Matthews, I'd start there.
Pierre LeBrun: After a 3-2 overtime win over the Carolina Hurricanes almost two weeks ago, a game that wasn't very pretty to watch, Babcock called it a "thing of beauty" the next day. His message? His team had limited the Hurricanes to five scoring chances. That's what he cares about. Consider their last three daunting opponents: Chicago Blackhawks, Boston Bruins and Columbus Blue Jackets. The Leafs picked up five out of six points from that dance card. That's what real playoff teams do. But more telling is how they played defensively. They did a better job protecting the puck, not forcing plays, making safer decisions. You see, it just might be that Babcock, who should be a finalist for the Jack Adams Award as coach of the year, has managed to finally teach his young offensive thoroughbreds that not every shift has to be about glory. The Leafs are 6-1-1 in their last eight and third in the Atlantic Division, and look very much like a club that's playoff-bound.
more views from the ESPN hockey crew...
Home Team in Caps
Toronto 5, COLUMBUS 2
NY Islanders 3, NY RANGERS 2
ANAHEIM 4, Edmonton 3
ROOKIES VAULT MAPLE LEAFS UP ATLANTIC DIVISION STANDINGS
William Nylander (1-1—2) extended his point streak to nine games (3-7—10) and Auston Matthews scored his team-leading 33rd goal of the season as the Maple Leafs improved to 6-1-1 in their last eight contests.
* Toronto (34-23-15, 83 points) moved one point ahead of idle Boston (38-29-6, 82 points) for third place in the Atlantic Division. The Maple Leafs, who have one game in hand, completed a four-game season sweep of the Bruins on Monday.
* Per Elias, Nylander – who scored his 20th goal of the season – tied the longest point streak by a rookie in Maple Leafs history, equaling the mark set by Gus Bodnar in 1943 and later matched by Bob Nevin (1960) and Dan Daoust (1983).
* Matthews (33-25—58) moved within one goal of matching Wendel Clark (34 in 1985-86) for the most by a rookie in Maple Leafs history and vaulted back into a tie with Patrik Laine for the rookie goal-scoring lead.
They would still be a non-playoff team. I just hope the Wings don't use injuries as and excuse and try again next year without making some very key changes.
Tempting to wonder where Wings at if ... Howard not out 11 weeks, Vanek not out 11 games (4g 4a in 5-2 start; Wings 3-7-1 without him).
You missed the point. The Wings have been decimated by injuries (260+ man games lost). Take away a couple, maybe different season.
Steve Yzerman many times told me the team that wins the Stanley Cup often is the healthiest one.
Ask the Montreal Canadiens if injuries factor into a season. Ask them if last season it mattered not having Carey Price. (spoiler: It did).
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org