One game of the Stanley Cup finals is in the books. Vancouver won 1-0. It was a goaltending battle, unlike what Ken Campbell predicted. 70 shots were taken in the game and 69 were stopped. 19 seconds were left when Raffi Torres scored the game’s only goal. There were scoring chances - more from the Canucks than the Bruins - so I would give goaltending more credit for the low scoring game than defence. A significant portion of the first two periods were spent on the power play, but there were no power play goals. In the third period no more penalties were called. Is this an example of the referees keeping their whistles in the pockets when the game was on the line after trying to control the game by calling penalties in the first couple periods? One would think that penalties being called should favor the Canucks because the Bruins power play has been abysmal so far in the playoffs. Sooner or later, one would think the Canucks’ power play will catch fire.
In 1996, the Winnipeg Jets left town for what they thought were greener pastures in Phoenix. The Phoenix Coyotes are stuck in bankruptcy and NHL control for their third season. It seems improbable that there will be a successful team in Phoenix. Their eventual sale to another market seems almost inevitable.
In the meantime, Winnipeg missed NHL hockey. They missed the Jets. Popular sports bars throughout Winnipeg still retained their Winnipeg Jets memorabilia. Stores still sell Winnipeg Jets memorabilia. This is true in larger cities in Manitoba (such as Brandon) which lie a few hours from Winnipeg itself. The Winnipeg Jets maintained a strong following even though they didn’t exist anymore. The Manitoba Moose were an AHL team that moved into Winnipeg in the Jets absence and they were one of the more popular franchises in the AHL.
Finally, after 15 years we have the official announcement that NHL hockey is returning to Winnipeg. The Atlanta Thrashers are moving there.
A week ago Ken Campbell of the Hockey News wrote a blog post entitled NHL playoff goaltending not what it used to be. While it is on a topic that I like to explore - namely putting today’s hockey into a historical perspective - the conclusions he draws are largely incorrect. As his title implies, he claims that today’s playoff goaltending is not as good as it used to be. This statement is a silly one as we prepare for a Stanley Cup final where two of the three Vezina Trophy candidates - Tim Thomas of the Boston Bruins and Roberto Luongo of the Vancouver Canucks - are set to face off against one another. This has the potential to be one of the toughest goaltending battles ever in the Stanley Cup finals. It is a showdown between two Hall of Fame tracked goalies.
It was ten years ago the last time two goalies who were future Hall of Famers or on Hall of Fame tracks matched up in the Stanley Cup finals. In the 2001 series Patrick Roy of the Colorado Avalanche bested Martin Brodeur of the New Jersey Devils.
When the round robin completed the Owen Sound Attack and the Kootenay Ice were set to play a tie breaker to determine who would play the home Mississauga St Michael’s Majors in the semifinal. The semifinal winner would meet the St John Sea Dogs in the final.
Here are the results:
With a 1-0 win in game seven, the Boston Bruins are going to the Stanley Cup. They will be playing against the Vancouver Canucks. I have written many times about the lack of elite teams in the NHL recently. While I am pleased that it looks like Vancouver could be an elite team (the first one since the 2007 Anaheim Ducks and the second since the lockout).
The round robin portion of the Memorial Cup tournament ended yesterday in Mississauga, Ontario. Here was my preview.
Here are the results:
1. St John Sea Dogs This team looked poised to win the round robin easily until they lost to Kootenay in overtime in their final round robin game. They qualify for the finals as a result of beating Mississauga head to head. Tomas Jurco (2011 draft eligible) leads the tournament in scoring at this point. He is supported by Michael Kirkpatrick (undrafted) and Jonathan Huberdeau (2011 draft eligible). Nathan Beaulieu (2011 draft eligible) has led the defence. Jacob DeSerras (Philadelphia prospect) has been their top goalie.
Here are the results:
I am back from
Rogers Arena and can report that Vancouver is celebrating. The Vancouver Canucks have made the Stanley Cup finals for the third time in their history and for the first time ever as the favorites.
A big part of the reason that the Vancouver Canucks led the NHL in goals in the regular season was their ability to get their best offensive players into the offensive situations. Daniel and Henrik Sedin have some of the highest offensive zone start totals in the last several years. Ryan Kesler was their next best offensive player who had played a strong defensive role in the past. This season, he played a more offensive role. It was Manny Malhotra who played the toughest defensive role for the Canucks. He played it so well that I think he should be a Selke Trophy nominee.
The Canucks signing of Malhotra last summer was very important. It allowed their best offensive players to play in more offensive situations than they had in the past. Malhotra could lead the NHL in defensive zone starts and do a good job at it.
About The Puck Stops Here
Who am I? A diehard hockey fan.
Why am I blogging? I want to.
Why are you reading it? ???