Playoff Quick Shots & Hats Off To Sidney

Crosby’s vs. Ovechkin’s

This is exactly what the league, the networks and the fans were wanting from the Caps vs. Pens, eh? Even though Washington takes a two-OH lead into Pittsburgh, both games have been awesome to watch.

Crosby has scored all of Pittsburgh’s five goals so far…including matching Ovechkin’s hat trick Monday night…and very well could have a pair of three-goalers had it not been for Simeon Varlamov’s incredible save in game-one!

I’ve picked the Capitals in seven games in this matchup…and I’m prayin’ to God it does indeed go the full seven.

74 mph+ Winds vs. Big Bad Bruins

Remember that scene in “Dumb and Dumber” when Llyod, (Jim Carrey) asked Mary, (Lauren Holly), what the chances were of the two of them getting together.

“Not good”, replyed Mary.

“You mean, not good like one out of a hundred”?

“I’d say more like one out of a million”.

Lloyd then pauses to reflect and then says, “So you’re telling me there’s a chance…YEAH”!

Well, I’m telling Canes fans…there’s a chance. Not a big one, mind you…but escaping Bah-ston with a split gives them hope where there would be none had they been facing an OH-two hole. Cam Ward was stellar Sunday night, especially in the third period. They’ll need much more of that from here on.

Oh and Toronto…it was too a goal!

Quackers vs. Big Red Borg

If you could write up a good formula for the Anaheim Ducks to succeed against the Red Wings, it might go something like…”Keep Marian Hossa and Pavel Datsyuk off the scoresheet and continue to enjoy strong goaltending by Jonas Hiller”.

Well, it’s worked so far.

Hossa and Datsyuk have a grand total of one assist between the two and, even with their depth, the Wings will need more from them than that. As for Hossa…remember, he’s playing without a contract next season and a poor showing in the post-season might hurt him in the bank account this summer.

After Hiller allowed a couple of unfortunate goals in the first period of game 2…one off the ankle of his defender…he returned to the same form displayed in the first round against San Jose. He stopped 59 of 62 shots Sunday afternoon, including all 29 he faced in the 41:15 of overtime.

Heading back to the pond, the Ducks have to feel god about gaining the split in Motown.

Windy City vs. Orca’s

This series in tied at one apiece…but easily could be led 2-0 by either team. In game one, Chicago erased a 3-0 third period deficit, only to lose at the end. They then fell behind 2-0 in the first during game two but this time completed the comeback for a 6-3 win.

What this means is that even if the Knuckleheads get off to an early lead from here on out in the series, there could still be a little stick-clutching taking place on their bench. Plus, the Blackhawks have shown they won’t panick if they fall behind.

Robbie-Lu has surrendered eight goals in the two games on 62 shots, (.871 SV%), after giving up only five in four games against the Blues in round one. Yeah…we all saw that coming.

Meanwhile…Back At The Ranch

OK, so since it’s the hockey offseason here in Atlanta…which normally arrives here the day after game number 82… that means the Ilya Nikulin saga is upon us again.

Joy…rapture.

To me…after he put Waddell on the yo-yo last summer…I’m of the frame of mind that if he joins the team this season…great! If not…fine. Time to move on. We’ve pretty much been playing this game since Waddell picked in in 2000 with the 31st overall selection.

Now, that having been said, I actually think there’s a decent chance we’ll see it happen this year. His contract with Ak Bars Kazan is up and the bloom is kinda off the KHL rose right now. Plus, I think Kovy is probably using his time in Switzerland right now having a word or two with him as well.

If he does make it over, his 6′-4″, 210-ish frame could provide the blueline addition that the Thrashers need to solidify that corps.

So…what kind of odds am I giving that Nikulin finally decides to play in Atlanta? Well, let’s just say it’s better than Llyod’s chances with Mary.

Mid-Week Reading Assignments

The Falconer has posted Part One of his interview with Dan Marr in which he reviews the junior prospects.

What if Don Waddell decided to hold a White Sale this summer.

And finally…what’s all that whining I hear? Oh…it’s just that Crosby kid again. And what is it this time that the NHL’s poster child for post-lockout recovery has a problem with?

Well, he seems to have an issue with…of all things…hats.

110 comments Add your comment

Viking

May 6th, 2009
3:51 pm

Shots 22-37 Finland after 2 periods.

Smoothie

May 6th, 2009
3:52 pm

Viking, you’re right to the extent Finland was kicking our arses all over the place until the first American goal. After that, USA really carried the play. But Esche did not recover after the puck hit him in the head and Finland pokes in the rebound to make it 3 – 2.

The Americans have a chance to break the 7 game winless streak against the Finns, but it is imperative that they continue to play physical and get the puck deep in the Finnish zone. If the 3rd is a repeat of the 1st period, Finland will likely win going away.

Let’s go USA!!

PS — Salmela has looked very solid. Hainsey, not so much.

Tony C.

May 6th, 2009
3:56 pm

yEaH. I’m pleased that the video is working-sometimes they’re not allowed to stream the vid.

The Oshie goal was pretty, but I’d like to see the US come out and bang away-let’s see some down-low cycling.

P.S.-All these LAK players look great. Johnson especially.

Sara

May 6th, 2009
4:20 pm

I love Oshie – he’s my new youngster crush – behind Bogosian anyway. STL had a great commercial with him this season – it interspersed him standing there talking with highlight footage from games. “I like to hit…I like to score….but most of all, I love to win.” He’s more of what I thought Army would be…’cept Army seemed to have lost his nastiness on some golf course last off-season. More of those this team could definitely use.

Tony C.

May 6th, 2009
4:25 pm

Looks like Wilson had the same idea-US is carrying the play this period

Viking

May 6th, 2009
4:31 pm

Funny, the commentators is repeating the perennial mispronounciation of our goalkeeper. There is a Finnish player called Lehtonen (with an “o”) but they still make the “o” into an “i” like in Jere Lehtinen.

It is weird that it is so deep rooted. Kamal is the only I’ve heard doing it right – unless he gets excited.

By the way, the Finnish pronounciation of “h” is forgiven.

Viking

May 6th, 2009
4:37 pm

3-2 USA in a “mild upset” as the commentators called it!

Smoothie

May 6th, 2009
4:41 pm

Americans hold on to win 3 to 2!! Actually they did a good job of keeping the pressure on and did not sit back on their heels waiting for the Finns to attack. They took Finland out of their rhythm early and they never got into much of a flow. They had a few decent chances but Robert Esche came up big — he had 47 saves!! Wow. Where was that against Sweden??

Viking

May 6th, 2009
4:57 pm

However, they are facing Kovy & Co. next…

Tony C.

May 6th, 2009
4:58 pm

Nice win for Team USA.

Brendan

May 6th, 2009
5:08 pm

U-S-A!! U-S-A!! U-S-A!! So, how many penalties did Ron Hainsey get?

Smoothie

May 6th, 2009
5:52 pm

None for Ron in this game Brendan.

Alan

May 6th, 2009
6:21 pm

If you thought the Balsillie Comedy Hour was fun, check this out…

Alexander Medvedev is looking to buy a team

Currently, no plans exist to relocate any purchased team to Mordovia. However, he laments the fact that Quebec City isn’t represented by the NHL.

BERN, Switzerland – Alexander Medvedev, the billionaire owner of Russia’s Continental Hockey League, is interested in buying an NHL franchise.

“We have considered 10 opportunities, we have short-listed three and we continue to look at these three teams,” Medvedev said Tuesday at the IIHF World Hockey Championship. “We will just make our due diligence.

“It’s a very strange situation when real hockey (cities) like Quebec don’t have an NHL team.”

(continued)

Hockey Biltong

May 6th, 2009
7:17 pm

Bogo did not look so hot in the game.One good hit early and some missed passes. In fact I didn’t see him play much after the first period. Hainsey was sloppy behind the net. Our forwards , however looked great from the second period on.
Salmonella did have a good game.

Brendan

May 6th, 2009
10:08 pm

Thank you, Smoothie.

Hey, the Capitals and Penguins are in Overtime in Game 3. It’s gonna bug me if I don’t say it, but UNFAIR OR NOT, Crosby or Malkin is EXPECTED to SCORE for Pittsburgh. Think about it. They’re superstars. Superstars EARN THEIR LEGACY in these very moments. Imagine if the Penguins lose this game? They’d be down, 3-0.

So?

So, if Crosby and Malkin are the SuperStuds the league says they are, one of them has to step up and win this game for Pittsburgh. And if Ovechkin should score, you know what that means. This series was billed as “Sid, the Kid vs. O.V.” Well, who won? It won’t be “whispers” that circulate around league. They’ll be talking about it.

Brendan

May 6th, 2009
10:12 pm

And no sooner said … then Pittsburgh scores! Series lead is cut in HALF. I believe it was C. Letang who got the winning, on a weird caroming shot that Varlamov managed to get a piece of, but not enough.

Carolina and Boston are in overtime. Our old pal, Mark Recchi, got the tying goal for Boston. It’s 2-2. Overtime is just about to start.

Brendan

May 6th, 2009
10:17 pm

Boston/Carolina overtime is being shown on channel 771, on Center Ice, on Comcast Cable. But it also appears that Versus is carrying the overtime action. Bear in mind, on Versus, you’ll have to suffer through Pierre McGruire’s commentary. Tripp Tracy and the ‘Canes have the Comcast Center Ice coverage. So, pick your poison, there.

Brendan

May 6th, 2009
10:23 pm

Carolina wins it!!! 3-2!!! For a series that Boston is supposed to run away with, they should be very worried. Jussi Jokinen with the goal. Samsonov with the big assist.

So, there are potentially four (4) games left in this series. Boston must now win three (3) of them to advance.

Jokinen was a waiver wire claim off Tampa Bay, wasn’t he? More Lightning brilliance from owners Oren Koules and Len Barrie.

Brendan

May 6th, 2009
10:24 pm

Was Samsonov also a waiver wire acquisition by Carolina?

Midfield

May 6th, 2009
10:25 pm

As expected, horrible officiating in Pittsburgh. The interference call that led to the equalizer had to be the third or the fourth such call, not the first one to be called. Needless to say, Caps got called for everything.

Brendan

May 6th, 2009
10:33 pm

Midfield, I think Bruce Boudreau (Capitals Coach) just amplified your post, in the post game press conference. I like Boudreau. I do hope he gets to experience a deep playoff run. Here’s a guy who coached over 1,000 games in the minors, then was pressed into service in relief of the fired Glen Hanlon. Two division titles later, he’s at least got one playoff series win. That’s a “feel good” story, right there.

Brendan

May 6th, 2009
10:38 pm

In case anyone’s following the case of an early Conn Smythe that isn’t a goalie, Eric Staal scored again for a Carolina. That’s 7 goals for Staal. I think Crosby has 8, as does Ovechkin. How many does Malkin have?

Midfield

May 6th, 2009
10:41 pm

All Caps need to do is to throw more at Fleury. It does not always have to be Ovechkin. Just get the puck through on goal. Varlamov is a much better goalie, and that should be the edge enough.

Brendan

May 6th, 2009
11:07 pm

I think Alexander Semin has also got to step up his game for the Capitals. As you know, I picked Washington to win the East this year. I was extremely nervous about that in the Rangers series. (San Jose was my other Conf. pick. Look how well that turned out?) But since being down, 3-1, the Caps have gone 5-1 in their last six games. To be fair, I’ll add that Washington just missed a GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY to put a strangle hold on this series. While the goal of any series is just to WIN it, in a MARATHON RACE, it doesn’t hurt to have more REST. Up 3-0, hypothetically, the series probably doesn’t go seven games. Up 3-0, the Canadian media probably embarks on a knee-jerk reaction to bury certain members of the Penguins roster. But now, none of that talk will happen. The Penguins are very much alive. Perhaps, we’ve just seen the turning point in the series, and the Pens take the next three games? We don’t know. That’s why we’re watching and waiting. Best time of the year.

Mountain man

May 6th, 2009
11:39 pm

Rawhide- You should pimp your other blog more often. I read this one all the time but somehow always manage to forget about your hockeybuzz blog despite having it bookmarked. Great read on Whitey over there. Lots to think about in that one.

RE the actual blog post, I think these playoffs are actually some of the best theyve been in the post-lockout era. Lots of the games seem to be of the ilk that they really and truly could go either way, and there doesnt seem to be as much trapping (which I personally dont like. Nail the bastard in open ice if you want to, and Id rather ya did, but trapping is something I dont like. I realize its effective, but its not my cup of tea). The only thing to me is that it seems that the games are not as demanding as they have been in the past (I will admit I could well be wrong, but it seems like both teams have all the speed and finesse at the end of the series that they did at the opening of the playoffs) and so its almost as though the playoffs just aint as tough as they should be, but Im sure a few players would debate that point with me, and theyd know better than THIS mountain man from Podunk, western North Carolina.

As regards Crosby, Ive taken to completely ignoring the “man” when hes not actually playing the game. That includes press conferences, off-ice interviews (between periods, feature interviews, etc) and after whistles. Ovechkin can play pretty dirty (he seems to leave his feet a hell of a lot during his hits) but hes by FAR the better option to market. Better personality (IN MY OPINION; I realize this is highly debatable), more overt energy, grittier player and missing teeth. Yeah, he complains about calls to; everyone does. But at least he doesnt look like hes actually crying when he complains about a call. Sid should really go with a tinted visor. Might help that at least a little. Back to Ovy, the mere fact that hes of Russian heritage does not mean that he cannot or should not be the poster boy of the NHL over Crosby.

erock

May 7th, 2009
8:15 am

I don’t want to talk about the referees, too,” Ovechkin said. “They only had two penalties, it’s kind of a joke. It was lucky we tied the game and went to overtime.” TOO MANY TIMES THE REFEREES DECIDE THE OUTCOME OF HOCKEY GAMES…CERTAIN TEAMS GET PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT

Rawhide

May 7th, 2009
8:53 am

Mountain Man – Thank you very much. Ya know, since you mentioned the HockeyBuzz thing, I did find it it ironic that I posted this piece yesterday afternoon regarding possibly changing the way playoff overtimes are handled…then watched as both games played last night went into OT.

Both were awesome games and I believe support my opposition to leaving the current format alone.

Russian

May 7th, 2009
10:06 am

I think we need to talk about game tomorrow. Russia vs. USA.
Kovy vs. Hainsy, Bogus and Stuart. It will be SemiFinal tomorrow.
I have a link to see a game: ATDHE.net. It should works.

Alan

May 7th, 2009
10:30 am

A word of warning about ATDHE. If you are around children or trying to view at work, it might not be wise. Some of the advertisements are not work safe.

DWTOO

May 7th, 2009
10:32 am

International competitions are a bit unusual in that you find yourself cheering against players who are otherwise your favorites(ie Kovy). Know the players have to play all out, but, it would horrendous if Zach B. knocks Ilya K. into next week or if they got tangled up and ended up hurt. It would sure suck, but, that’s the way the puck rolls.

Wonder if they look around in these tournaments and think “I can’t hurt so and so – they’re vital to my name on the Stanley Cup next year’.

Rawhide

May 7th, 2009
10:37 am

DWTOO – I’ll root for the US to win 4-3, with Kovy scoring a hat trick for Russia, Stuart getting two goals and Hainsey & Bogey getting one each with some assists as well.

What could be better? :cool:

Spud Webb

May 7th, 2009
10:47 am

Brendon you are correct, Semin has to step up.
The officiating is/was brutal, but has to be expected for the pens. That said, the caps played HORRIBLE & blew a great opportunity. I did notice a lot of banging on the russian goalie, never an interferance call, surprised me a few times?? Ovy with a down game and nobody else really stepped up. Anyone seen Mike Green in this series?
Canes are better than I expected, giving the “b’s” all they can handle.
I swear though, I enjoy watching Chara more than any other player in the league. He just MAULS guys and not a thing can be done with it. Great D & killing people! I’d love in a perfect world to have him here!!!!

Smoothie

May 7th, 2009
10:57 am

DWTOO, I wouldn’t worry too much about Bogey tangling with Kovy as Ron Wilson has pretty much relegated him to riding the pine. He is the 7th D-man on the bench and will likely only play if someone else gets hurt.

However, I would put money on it that Kovy will make Hainsey look foolish at least once and score one of his patented left-circle wristers through Ronsey’s legs. Esche has a weak glove hand and that open right corner will look quite inviting to Ilya.

Mountain man

May 7th, 2009
10:57 am

Rawhide – Haha that is pretty ironic. And another good post over there. I tend to agree with you, they would suggest the NHL leave well enough alone. Also, see Dallas-SJ last year with the 5 OT thriller. I stayed up the ENTIRE time listening on the online radio feed and it was more than worth every second, and thats on the RADIO.Anyway, your post over at HockBuzz got me to thinking. A lot of the older fans who were fans in the 50s or 60s or 70s who grew up watching hockey (and of whom I am incredibly jealous having only seen my first NHL game, and not the entire game either, when Philly and Detroit were in the finals. It would be years before I was able to follow hockey on a more regular basis) have become disenchanted with the NHL today. Some of their issues are the instigator penalty, what seems to them bogus suspensions (on some of which I must agree), shootouts, NEEDING to settle a tie, giving points for a loss, pansification of the league/game (and thats the edited version, but Im sure everone here has read/heard the same things). All this to say, theres a lot of fans out there that the NHL has alienated on Bettman’s whims, as they would put it (and I wouldnt necessarily disagree)

So my question is this: would you be, in any way, interested in doing a blog post on what the NHL would have to do to A) regain those old diehard fans who watched their first game about the time they got their first teeth, B) drive away those remaining of that ilk of fan, and C) what the NHL would have to do for you to stop watching? Id be interested to hear your thoughts on those subjects.

Hockey Biltong

May 7th, 2009
11:16 am

Brendan,
Samsonov was a waiver wire pick up according to the boys on Versus.

Tony C.

May 7th, 2009
11:30 am

Rawhide

May 7th, 2009
11:35 am

Mountain Man – I can answer those questions right here:

A). Don’t abandon the traditions of the game, and those who hold them dear. Trying to improve the experience is fine…but not at the expense of what made the game great.

B). Well…as I pointed out in the HockeyBuzz piece…do things like force a conclusion to overtime games with the shootout. Catering to the short attention span fringe crowd only works for so long ’til they move on to something new. Why? Because they have a short attention span! (DUH5).

C). For me to stop watching? Well, when I feel like my patronage is being taken for granted…if I ever feel like they believe I’ll be there regardless of what they do. Ruining the game with playoff overtime shootouts and other such stupid rules changes might move to that point. But I love hockey so much, I’ll watch it at other levels if I had to…college, AHL, ECHL….bantam house league.

Tony C.

May 7th, 2009
1:04 pm

Amen. I like the shootout as a regular-season institution; perhaps the 3-point system would the answer to those who (correctly IMO) maintain that a one-on-one skills competition should not decide the outcome of a team game-no matter how exciting it may be (fair it may not be, but show me one fan in the stands who is sitting during the S/O).

But playoff hockey MUST remain 6-v-6 none of this 5-v-5 like the regular season.

To illustrate: Myself and the Prettiest Girl in the World’s mother were watching the 3OT game the other night when it went to overtime-she remarked:

“They don’t do four-on-four? I thought they took a skater away in OT”

I explained it was going to be 5-on-5 skaters until somebody won she said:

“No shootout? What if they don’t score for two OT periods??”
I told her the fans in the stands would get one free game of hockey then she said:

“Wow. the players must be exhausted-and there’s four rounds of playoffs for the winner? Hockey players are insane”

We both agreed that when you look at what it takes to win it, The Stanley Cup is the most impressive trophy in all professional sport.

Take the grind of “keep going til somebody blinks” and you loose the one of the most compelling parts of springtime hockey-you literally see guys leave every bit of energy they have out there, and then they just dig for more-knowing it’s not really there (which is why I’m interested to hear what Gary and the NHLPA decide to do regarding the current policy of no PED-testing during the playoffs)-it becomes a contest of will and a question of “what are prepared to do?”-dramatic stuff & the reason I became a lifelong Hockey fan after watching the 1994 ECF (game 6 may be the best game I’ve ever seen)-you can’t discount the effort, skill & sacrifice of players that just kicked the snot out of each other for like 4 hours.

In that vein, Sir Charles says A-O is a better athelete than LeBron: just look at the stunned faces of the NBA Tonight crew-priceless

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/dcsportsbog/2009/05/charles_barkley_says_ovechkin.html

the first video.

Viking

May 7th, 2009
2:59 pm

Sweden-Czech Rep. 0-0 after 1st Period.

If you are watching, check out the Swedish goal tender Jonas “The Monster” Gustavsson. He played the last season for my “old” home team Färjestad in the Elite League. If I’m not mistaken, my son (who lives in Sweden), told me he started out letting in something like only 4 goals in 8 games with a completely rediculous save percentage!

Many NHL clubs are trying to get his services for next season since he is not drafted.

GaVaHokie

May 7th, 2009
3:00 pm

I knew I liked Charles Barkley. :)

GaVaHokie

May 7th, 2009
3:03 pm

Chris Webber is an idiot… “If Lebron James could skate, with his size, he’d be the best”.

Well, I’m willing to bet that Lebron CAN’T skate, but I’m pretty sure Ovechkin could find a way to shoot a ball into a basket.

Viking

May 7th, 2009
3:06 pm

GaVaHokie

May 7th, 2009
3:14 pm

Is it just me, or is the constant fan “whistling” during International play the most annoying sound on earth?

I can deal with the chanting, but whistling is just obnoxious… so glad that’s a European thing and not an NHL thing.

Viking

May 7th, 2009
3:28 pm

“Whistle” translated: Boo

GaVaHokie

May 7th, 2009
3:29 pm

Yeah, I know… I’d rather here “Boo”.

Viking

May 7th, 2009
3:31 pm

There has been a tremendous amount of penalties, so there is a a lot of displeasure to communicate = BOO = Whistling.

Viking

May 7th, 2009
3:32 pm

Fail to see the difference.

Viking

May 7th, 2009
3:40 pm

Sweden – Czech Rep. 2-0 after 2nd.

GaVaHokie

May 7th, 2009
3:46 pm

I hate the SOUND of it… not WHY they are doing it… it’s painful on the ears.

Bob

May 7th, 2009
4:13 pm

“did anyone catch the “unleash the fury” signs that the caps fans were holding last night? I could be wrong, but I thought that was the thrashers phrase from 2 seasons ago”

the Caps stole the Spirit’s guy who was in charge of videos a couple years ago. That’s why our videos stink now and the Caps are good (the guy won awards for his work for the Spirit).

Two great games last night, just awesome! Was it Nikita trying to claim that Ovechkin was just head and shoulders over Crosby? Take your blinders off and watch this series, you’ve got 1A on the ice (Ovy) 1B (Crosby) and 1C (Malkin). Just magical stuff out of all three of them.

Just loving the Ducks taking it to the Wings, just go Duck! Hawks need to tie that series up tonight, I love this time of year.