Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
So, they have to trade for a defenceman, but one that’s considerably older. It’s no secret the Oilers are eyeing the Chicago Blackhawks’ Brent Seabrook, 30, because he has another year on his contract at $5 million before he becomes an unrestricted free agent, and the ’Hawks are once again in a major cap squeeze for next year and beyond.
Maybe there’s some soft interest in the Toronto Maple Leafs’ Dion Phaneuf, also 30, but he’s starting a six-year, $41-million deal this upcoming season.
Is he in Seabrook’s league as a Top 2 defenceman? Probably not.
Here’s what the Oilers could be doing to upgrade their defence, even if it’s not landing a legitimate Top 2 guy. They should try to get a very good No. 3, who is young and can play big minutes.
Minnesota Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher, who needs a young scorer with Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville coming up dry in the playoffs, and Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli, who needs a defenceman who can eat up minutes, should be on the phone to each other.
Chiarelli, who has never had trouble with small defencemen (see Torey Krug and Brad Marchand in Boston), should be making a strong pitch for Tyler Ennis’s best buddy Jared Spurgeon, a solid No. 3 National Hockey League defenceman with strong possession numbers.
And Fletcher should be asking about winger Nail Yakupov because Chiarelli may not be married to the young Oilers as former GM Craig MacTavish was.
from Aaron Hutchins of Macleans,
With 13 Canadians on their roster, second highest of the remaining teams, the representation is spread well across the country. The Blackhawks feature players from Atlantic Canada, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and B.C., not to mention they’re the only team left with a Canadian as the starting goaltender.
Some might prefer to root for the underdog, and Chicago hardly fits that mould. They’ve already taken home two of the last five Stanley Cups. But Canadians also love to win. As far as a team all of Canada could get behind for the rest of the NHL playoffs, the Blackhawks might be Canada’s best choice.
more on the remaining teams in the playoffs...
from the Ottawa Senators,
OTTAWA – This past season our fans witnessed the remarkable and historic rally of their Ottawa Senators to overcome the largest regular-season point deficit in National Hockey League history to successfully qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
During this spectacular comeback many of our fans noticed the unusual absence of the Senators’ number one fan and team owner, Eugene Melnyk.
Mr. Melnyk has consistently remained very private on matters of a personal or family nature.
Today, the club wishes to share with the hockey community and our fans that Mr. Melnyk has been sick and battling major health issues since mid-January. Since then, his medical care and treatment have been the sole focus for him and his family.
Mr. Melnyk was admitted to hospital three weeks ago as a result of the onset of liver-related complications. He has undergone a comprehensive medical assessment and it has been determined that Mr. Melnyk is in urgent need of a liver transplant.
Mr. Melnyk’s family has actively reached out to his close friends and broader family with the hope of identifying someone who could be a “live liver donor”. This process involves the removal of a portion of the living donor’s liver so it can be transplanted into the recipient patient.
from Stephen Whyno of the CP at the Brampton Guardian,
The 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs may become better known as the 2-1 playoffs.
Over a quarter of games have been decided by that score as part of the lowest-scoring NHL post-season since 2012.
But while scoring is down, drama isn't. More than half of the games through two rounds were decided by one goal, and 15 went to overtime.
"When you get to the heightened intensity and how you're hanging on every play of every single game in the playoffs, a 2-1 game becomes pretty darn exciting," Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "That probably masks a little bit of not so many goals being scored because it's the win-at-all-costs type of atmosphere and I don't think people care as much about the score."
Goals are being scored at a rate of 4.88 a game, down half a goal from the regular season and the lowest in the playoffs since 4.84 three years ago. That's thanks in part to bigger and better goaltenders, more advanced coaching systems, a ton of shot-blocking and even just a difference in mentality for players.
Among the four teams left, only the Chicago Blackhawks, who split goaltending time in the first round between Corey Crawford and Scott Darling, have allowed more than two goals a game. Henrik Lundqvist and the New York Rangers, Frederik Andersen and the Anaheim Ducks and Ben Bishop and the Tampa Bay Lightning are all at a 2.00 goals-against average or below.
from Scouting The Refs,
Eric Furlatt, Steve Kozari, Wes McCauley, Dan O’Halloran, Kevin Pollock, Chris Rooney, Kelly Sutherland, and Brad Watson. Standby referee is Gord Dwyer.
Derek Amell, Scott Cherrey, Michel Cormier, Greg Devorski, Shane Heyer, Brad Kovachik, Brian Murphy, and Pierre Racicot. Standby linesman is Steve Miller.
read on to find out who is missing and more...
from Travis Yost of TSN,
Each of our four remaining teams has at least one fatal flaw. The New York Rangers aren’t all that impressive at 5-on-5 – more on that in a minute. Tampa Bay’s looked weirdly ordinary in spurts during their first and second-round series, and we have already talked about special teams issues. Chicago’s dealt with some degree of shot suppression concerns during the regular season, and the goaltending isn’t a guarantee. Anaheim’s looked the most impressive of any team this post-season, but it’s impossible to ignore that their road to the Western Conference Final included a lay-up series against an out-of-their-weight-class Calgary club.
Allow me for a moment to illustrate just how razor tight things are this season. What I’ve done is plot out each remaining team’s performance at even-strength by ScoringChance% and Corsi% -- those teams noted by way of black circle. I’ve also included other teams who have made Conference Final appearances since the 2007-2008 season. And, I’ve noted Stanley Cup winners by way of an orange circle.
Let’s see how this year’s final four stacks up:
Odds to win the 2015 Stanley Cup
New York Rangers 2/1
Chicago Blackhawks 11/5
Anaheim Ducks 12/5
Tampa Bay Lightning 19/4
Home Team in Caps
NY RANGERS 2, Washington 1 (OT) – NYR wins series 4-3
STEPAN LIFTS RANGERS INTO EASTERN CONFERENCE FINAL
Derek Stepan scored at 11:24 of overtime to lift the Rangers into the Eastern Conference Final for the second consecutive year and third time in the past four seasons.
* The Rangers improved to 9-5 in 14 all-time Game 7s, including a 7-0 record at home (all since 1992). They are the only team in NHL history that has played at least four Game 7s at home and won each contest.
from Kerry Fraser of TSN,
- Boyle placed himself in a vulnerable position.
- The Rangers player materially change his body and head position immediately prior to the hit delivered by Orpik.
- Orpik attempted to hit squarely through his opponent's body and did not "pick" Boyle's head.
These circumstances as listed in rule 48.1 subsections (i) (ii) and (iii) qualifies this hit as unavoidable and therefore "legal."
Watch the hit below....
from Dan Steinberg of DC Sports Bog,
“Guys are a little bit shocked, don’t know what to think,” Matt Niskanen said after the loss. “We’re hurt, for sure. We were obviously in a great position. We believed that we could — we believed we had a good shot of moving on and doing something. And it didn’t happen.”
“I don’t know either,” Karl Alzner said, when asked for help interpreting the result. “Just don’t think about it for a day or two. I don’t really know how you can determine [who was the better team]. Well, I guess they are. They’re the team that’s moving on.”
Most team sports are capricious, but playoff hockey often seems especially so. New York’s Game 5 goals — both of which hit obstacles on their way past Braden Holtby — might easily have bounced in more favorable directions. A potential Washington goal was disallowed. Overtime is so often a coinflip, which Washington lost twice. Which helps explain why some Caps were left thinking they had played well enough to advance.
“We’re a great team, and I think we deserve a better result,” captain Alex Ovechkin said.
“I thought we deserved this series,” agreed Eric Fehr, who watched most of it as a spectator while he nursed an injury. “I thought we worked hard, and I thought that this was going to be the year we were going to break through.”
They didn’t. And because of that, the Caps must grapple with the same confusing questions the rest of us are facing.
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.
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