Sharks and Bruins look to cue fat lady

Dust off the stage and prepare the orchestra…the fat lady is on standby once again. This time, it’s the Detroit Red Wings and Philadelphia Flyers that find themselves in the front row of the opera house preparing for the performance that would signal their playoff demise.

With Wednesday night’s 4-1 win over Philly, the Boston Bruins are now but a win away from their first conference finals appearance since 1992…taking a commanding 3 games to none lead in their series with the Flyers. The Bruins won despite losing centerman Dave Krejci and defenseman Adam McQuaid.

Krejci left the ice after a crushing open-ice check delivered by Flyers captain Mike Richards with just under six minutes elapsed in the game. The play led to Miro Satan’s goal that broke a 1-1 tie…his fifth tally of the playoffs.

Regardless, that’s a tough way to earn a secondary assists.

Entering this spring’s hunt for Lord Stanley’s Cup, Boston had the lowest offensive production in the regular season…scoring but 2.39 goals per game on the average in 82 games. In the 83rd through 91st games, however, they have a 3.11 netted G/G…seventh best of the sixteen playoff qualifiers.

Game four will be in Philly Friday night.

But by that time, we may already know who the first participant of the Western Conference Finals is. Yes, Detroit could be the scene for the fat lady’s first performance of the second round…hmmm, I wonder how well she does performing Motown hits?

The Sharks have forced the Big Red Borg to win four straight as they have built a 3 –0 lead in that series with three 4-3 wins.

Of course, I’m pretty sure the big gal would prefer it if the Wings at least took one game in the series, winning game four and forcing a return to San Jose. I mean…having to perform in Detroit or having to go to the San Francisco Bay area of northern California?…Detroit or San Jose?…Detroit or San Jose?

Yeah…you get the picture.

The Wings have only themselves to blame after blowing leads of 2-0 and 3-1 in game three and losing in overtime on a perfectly executed break away by Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton.

The San Jose Sharks find themselves up 3 games to none thanks in part to Patrick Marleau's overtime winner Tuesday night (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

The San Jose Sharks find themselves up 3 games to none thanks in part to Patrick Marleau's overtime winner Tuesday night (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Evgeni Nabokov is now 7-2 in the playoffs, despite giving up three goals in each of the three games against Detroit on 89 shots, (.899 SV%). And Joe Pavelski continues to help power the Shark attack…scoring 4 goals and 3 assists against the Red Wings in three games.

Also tonight, Montreal will look to even their series with Pittsburgh as those two square off in game four. Habs netminder Jaroslav Halak has allowed only one goal in 5 of the last games played, and has a playoff-best .933 SV% going into tonight’s action. But still the Canadiens find themselves down 2 games to 1 to the defending Stanley Cup Champs.

Last night, Chicago took a 2-1 lead over the Canucks with a 5-2 win in Vancouver thanks to Blackhawks forward Dustin Byfuglien’s hat trick. They were his first three goals of the playoffs this spring.

“He was in the middle of everything”, Marian Hossa said of his teammate. “He’s dominating in the corners, in the physical department and I think he was frustrating their team”.

Hossa scored his second of the playoffs in the third period to give the Hawks a 4-2 cushion.

Lastly…the Chicago Wolves and Texas Stars are knotted up two games apiece after they split games three and four in the Lone Star state.

Tuesday evening Chicago won 5-3 behind Spencer Machacek’s 2 goals, one assist showing. Nathan Oystrick added a pair of power play goals for the Wolves while Brett Sterling scored his first goal of the playoffs. Peter Mannino stopped 27 of the 30 shots taken by the Stars for the win.

Last night, Texas evened the series with a 3-2 win. Sterling scored twice in this match and Mannino stopped 20 of 23 shots faced.

Game five will be played Friday night in Austin.

104 comments Add your comment

Brendan

May 6th, 2010
12:26 pm

I gotta think Detroit avoids the sweep. Same with Philly. I have the Bruins and Red Wings advancing, in my earlier picks. Looks like I’m .500 there.

Brendan

May 6th, 2010
12:32 pm

Rawhide, Brett Sterling is an RFA or UFA at season’s end?

Alan R.

May 6th, 2010
12:33 pm

The Wings have only themselves to blame after blowing leads of 2-0 and 3-1 in game three and losing in overtime on a perfectly executed break away by Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton.

Please, don’t forget to give our old friend Jason Williams credit on the assist. He’s benched tonight, by the way.

Red Light

May 6th, 2010
12:46 pm

I believe Sterling is a Group VI UFA because he’s 26, has played in 3 or more professional seasons and has played fewer than 80 NHL games. He signed a multi-year deal 7/17/08 and I can’t imagine it was for longer than two seasons.

Bluenote

May 6th, 2010
12:46 pm

If Detroit can stay out of the penalty box pride may keep the brooms away for a game, but the outcome does not appear to be in doubt. Cue fat woman.

Competition for the Wolves just got stiffer as the Hershey Bears just added a couple NHL defenders the Caps won’t be needing this spring. I look for them to advance to the AHL finals. Again.

Nice chef analogy on the last blog Glovesave. I actually saw sporadic evidence JA had enough kitchen stock to serve up a playoff entree. Unfortunately the missing ingredient was heart…

Savannah Blueland Fan

May 6th, 2010
1:03 pm

The Redwings have themselves to blame for plenty….but reserve a portion of the blame for the referees. Let’s be honest. But, yeah, mostly themselves. Game 3 they just looked whipped. I could hear their joints creaking throught he TV. Do they still make Geritol?

The Phillys? Blah…. They got into the playoffs by just the slimmest of margins. Good for them. They managed to get into the second round. Great for them. But even Horatio Alger stories have to end at some point. Boston is just too good right now.

BTW–the last blog ended at the worst time. I, too, was wondering….why the hate on Hossa?

Red Light

May 6th, 2010
1:11 pm

Nice mention of Satan Rawhide! He has 3 game winning goals, goals in 4 straight games, and points in 6 straight games for the Bruins after having just one goal and 4 assists in 17 games for the Penguins in last year’s playoffs and he didn’t even dress in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final.

He didn’t play his first game this year until Jan. 5 and Chiarelli gets high marks for this signing because no one would have thought he could make this kind of impact despite being a member of the underrated Slovakian Olympic team. A deeper look at his career shows he performs rather well late in the season and his Cap hit the Bruins take in this goal-starved year when they needed scoring? $363,000.

Not sure what they’re going to do without Kreci!

rob

May 6th, 2010
1:29 pm

Chipper/Savannah,
Just personal opinion on my part. He bounces from place to place to place with no loyalty to anything but the money and winning the Cup with whatever team is the flavor to win it that year. The irony of being in Pitt when the Wings beat them, then flip flopping to have the roles reversed yet again was kharma. He doesn’t stand for anything. He didn’t help build anything. The teams he jumps on are already built. IMHO he deserves nothing for this. No respect, no fans, zip, zero, nada, nothing, nilch. Those that will live on after their times stood for something, stayed with a team, and his running all over is contrary to that notion, especially to me as a fan that is loyal to my team. We the fans take the good with the bad, and I think at least to some extent the players should too.

Dwayne

May 6th, 2010
1:51 pm

phooey on hossa, heatley and kovalchoke. If the Flyers can’t come back, I am pulling for Boston. No cindy, no maryanne, no heatly, no canadian team.

rob

May 6th, 2010
1:59 pm

phooey? I don’t think Boston has what it takes to get past a good team with a good goalie this year, though if Rask keeps playing well he will give them a fighting chance, I just don’t think they have the depth to get it done, and that goes for the Habs too, though their efforts are to be admired.

DWTOO

May 6th, 2010
2:12 pm

rob has pointed out the general hate for Hossa amongst the bloggers. My own “hate” is a bit more personal – the last season he was here he just dogged it. A real lack of effort. Lacksadaisical.

Had no problem with him moving on – cannot balme anyone for wanting out of this mess. However, as a professional athelete he should play hard every night – not just when auditioning for Detroit. That’s why Mary Ann remains on the permanent list.

Savannah Blueland Fan

May 6th, 2010
2:22 pm

If Hossa gets to the finals only to lose again, ordinarily no one would be laughing harder than me because, frankly, I’m funny that way. But since Chicago is the team I’ve picked to win the Cup, I’ll just have to find something else to laugh at.

But perhaps I need to have my memory checked because I don’t remember Hossa slacking at the end of his time with Atlanta. I really don’t. However, I will always remember Kovulchuk’s month-long vacation prior to Vancouver and then the trade. Always.

glovesave29

May 6th, 2010
3:00 pm

DWTOO stole my thunder…Hossa mailed it in his last season here. I wanted the guy who played with piss and vinegar like the first time Heatley and the Sens came into town after the trade. Remember that game? – he was a beast, and Philips was packed and all were screaming “Hossa’s better!” If you want to leave, that’s fine, but give everything you have to your current employer.

DWTOO

May 6th, 2010
3:27 pm

GS29 – We were at that game too. The energy, electricity, etc. at that game was amazing. Up until that last season Hossa was our best player. Shame that his play that last year just sucked. At first I thought he may have been hurt, up until the Detroit game where he scores a hat trick and then goes back to his half-donkeyed self.

kracker

May 6th, 2010
3:56 pm

I thought the same thing, DWTOO. Hossa pulled his groin a bit very early in the season. It was his first groin pull he said. I thought for a while he was just taking it easy and nursing the groin. That was partly true, he was taking it easy.

Lee

May 6th, 2010
4:06 pm

It’s a funny thought that Ilya Kovalchuk didn’t want to be here, lied, didn’t play hard, etc. and he got his wish: to got to a GOOD team. He went to the Devils, and they got out in the first round. Good team?

Ilya Notworthabuck
Ilya Kovalsuck
Ilya Myjerseyistucked
Ilya Ihavetheworstluck.

WE LOVE U KOVY!!!!!!!!!! ahem

World Be Free

May 6th, 2010
4:08 pm

Rawhide-what is this obsession with fat women?

Revisionist Historian

May 6th, 2010
4:14 pm

This just in “Germany accepts the surrender of Alled Forces Commander General Eisenhower”

“There were 12,536 fans at Philips Arena on Jan. 2, 2006 for Heatley’s return”

(aka Smart A** Red Light)

Savannah Blueland Fan

May 6th, 2010
4:18 pm

I guess with Hossa I just have selective memory. I honestly have no memory of him dogging it. But then again, my memory and I have never seen eye to eye. F’rinstance, I never ever remember the names of hurricanes two days after they make landfall. Ever. And I love sushi rolls; but after spending 45 minutes studying the menu and carefully ticking off the boxes, when the food comes it could be cat food and tater tots for all I know. I never remember what I chose.

DWTOO

May 6th, 2010
4:21 pm

Maybe so Smart A** Red Light – But, it was loud! And GS29 is right about the chants. Carried on into the postgame. Still carrying the buzz from New Years.

And, was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?

Red Light

May 6th, 2010
4:48 pm

It was loud that night for sure and I remember the chants very well. I just happen to think that Hossa was easily the best player ever to wear the Thrashers sweater, followed closely by Heatley and then Kovalchuk. You’ll not change my mind on that and I don’t apologize for it. If they were still here, we’d be getting ready for a second round home playoff game tonight, and that is the shame of it. Instead, I’ve got to go home and watch two teams on TV that I could give a cussword about.

World Be Free

May 6th, 2010
5:00 pm

Red Light-totally agree, I hate Mary Anne today – but Hossa is a great 2 way forward. My favorite player when he was a Thrasher.

glovesave29

May 6th, 2010
5:55 pm

4 years ago, and I am supposed to remember the attendance from that night? Ha! Trust me, the place was rocking

EA

May 6th, 2010
7:06 pm

Perhaps this has been asked and or commented on before, but is anyone else having a hard time reading the Blueland Blog? The text is hidden in a very blue screen. Is it just me, or is anyone else experiencing this same problem?

World Be Free

May 6th, 2010
7:41 pm

EA-dont go there much

rob

May 6th, 2010
7:56 pm

There’s another Thrashers blog? Really?

DWTOO

May 6th, 2010
8:09 pm

RL – Think you’re dead on about Hossa being the best ever forward to put on a Thrasher sweater. Just don’t like the fact that he mailed it in when it counted. Just wanted to make sure he was traded.

Scotty

May 6th, 2010
8:23 pm

EA, I just went over to the blueland blog and looked and it seemed OK to me. But I agree with rob, there is really one Thrashers blog, well two counting Vivlamore’s. Ben does a good job reporting though. The message boards used to be OK but has dropped off of late.

This is where the best Thrashers talk is and that’s a complement to the likes of Brendan, Red Light, Smoothie, World Be Free, Joe Friday, glovesave29 and all the others who frequent this blog too.

As for Hossa, he dogged it in 2007 and clearly wanted to go. That’s another exampe of Waddell not reading the situation and would have done better to have traded him before the season began.

Water under the bridge I guess.

HookyBob

May 6th, 2010
9:29 pm

Game over. Give the Habs credit. If you googled on”grit” the Habs might be the first hit,…of 10 million. How about that rookie D-man,…Sabban. Man, I wish he was a Thrashers asset. What do you think we would need to trade to get him?

2-2 headed to Pittsburgh. Series goes at least 6.

Also, is Doc Emrick the best announcer ever (I mean ever,…and alll sports)?

Gotta go, west series on.

kracker

May 6th, 2010
9:37 pm

yea…sort of hate to root for the Habs but I have to…grit is grit.

Personally, HookyBob, I think Emrick does a fine job …sort of like a radio guy on TV, he’s always describing the play and the player’s name, etc. and he generally keeps up with the action.

Brendan

May 6th, 2010
9:52 pm

I’ll admit it, freely. I’m rooting for the Penguins. I hope they hang eight (8) on the Habs in Game Five. Then another eight in Game Six. I cannot even believe how competitive these past three games have been between Montreal and Pittsburgh. I expect a snoozefest of a series. It’s been anything but that.

It’s not that I hate Montreal. I don’t. It’s that, I don’t like they way they handled themselves over the past two seasons. Some of that was Bob Gainey, who is gone now. Some of that was the ownership. Bygones. Montreal has turned the page, and is moving forward. Perhaps without Cary Price, which, again, was a Bob Gainey decision. We’ll see.

Don’t look now, but Frazen just scored his 4th goal of the game, to pace the Red Wings to a 7-1 lead, with 11:00 left in the 3rd period. That’s not a typo. Detroit led 5-0, in the 1st period. They are making a statement to their fan base, who pays a shiny penny to see them play in the regular season. And they need a mortgage consultant for the playoff prices.

Brendan

May 6th, 2010
9:58 pm

Rob, I don’t frequent any blog where there isn’t free speech. That’s why I’m here, and not there.

Brendan

May 6th, 2010
10:09 pm

Red Light, do you think the Thrashers will re-sign Brett Sterling, for a two-way contract? I certainly think Sterling brings value to the Wolves. I doubt some NHL team is out there, romancing him for a July 1st contract. Sterling was a Hobey Baker finalist, from Colorado College, in his NCAA days. He never really impressed in his opportunities to play here, at the NHL level.

HookyBob

May 6th, 2010
10:30 pm

Brendan, your comments are valued and insightful. However, in the spirit of free speech I must respectively disagree with pulling for the Penguins. In my mind the Penguins Mat Cooke’s mission is to injure opposing players (90% of his hits are from the side or blindside, and after the puck has been moved). He should be a pariah in the NHL. Any team that gives a player with that intent any icetime is hurting the sport of ice hockey. He’s the #1 dirtbag in the NHL, and the sport’s image is worse because of him. I have similar feelings about several Flyers,…but at least they initate their hits face to face.,…

As for Sterling,…there may be a fit on another team. However, I have to think that that team should be weighted with big players and not have any (or very few) small players. For the Thrashers I’d choose Nick Bergfores (sp) over Sterling. However, I will defer to Dudley’s thoughts on this. :)

Red Light

May 6th, 2010
10:47 pm

I’d highly doubt Sterling is part of the plans. He’s small and there are other guys worth a look before him. I liked him when he was up earlier in his career, but in typical franchise fashion if you don’t invest money into him he ain’t playing (ie Crabb, Stewart, Stapleton, Siddall, etc. etc. etc.). He might get a two-way deal but I honestly think he’ll get a chance elsewhere.

Headline tomorrow: Shark Tanked

Brendan

May 6th, 2010
11:03 pm

HookyBob, Matt Cooke is a slimeball. No argument. But I don’t want to taint the whole Penguins franchise because of it. I respect the San Jose Sharks organization, even though they traded for self-serving, prima donna in Dany Heatley. If Heatley were not part of the Sharks, I’d be rooting for San Jose. So, I can definitely see your point, HookyBob. One player can make a person root against an ‘otherwise fine’ organization.

Scotty & HookyBob, be careful. If you go public with supporting my posts and viewpoints, there arrrrrre those out there who will then embark on a campaign of researching your last 18-months worth of previous posts, seeking to attack you, discredit you, and discredit your viewpoints. Sad, isn’t it?

Red Light, I don’t see Sterling as a player Dudley would seek. But, I do still think Sterling brings value to the Wolves. Now, I hear ya. If we’ve truly turned the corner from the “Waddell Administration,” where Waddell ENTIRELY REMOVED from personnel decision, then we don’t try to do ‘nice things’ for our minor league teams, like re-signing a fairly effective player at the minor league level. When Waddell was the GM, he’d even do trade deadline moves for the benefit of the minor league team in Chicago. That’s how Waddell rolled. He’d always try to toss the farm system a bone, for their playoff race/run. Perhaps you’re right, Red Light. Maybe those days are, indeed, over. If so, then the franchise won’t waste one of its 54 permissible contracts, per year, on Brett Sterling.

Alan R.

May 6th, 2010
11:04 pm

Brendan – The first goal belongs to Bertuzzi. Franzen then proceeded to score a natural hat trick, then rubbed some salt in the wound in the third period.

Not sure why SJ decided to goon it up (of course, we all know they were frustrated. No surprise there. Still wasn’t classy). Also really mystified at Draper getting a misconduct. The CSN guys sounded surprised as well.

HookyBob

May 7th, 2010
1:08 am

Brendan:…To be “discredited” pre-supposes one has “credit.” So,..no worries for me :) Especially after my Preds, Yotes, and Caps bowed out in the first round.

When Waddell was GM he seemed to have a penchant for small, fast, skilled players (ie Sterling). I’m of the opinion that Dudley likes a little more size (not necessarily a lot more) and grit (necessarily a whole lot more). Think Artuken,..and not Sterling, going forward.

There was some mention earlier about who was our “best ever” forward. Hossa’s name came up and I would agree. So who was our “best ever” D-man? While my memory is not what it used to be,..I’m going with Kubina. Since we haven’t heard anything on the signing front since the season ended it appears to me that he will be testing the waters come July 1st. That could be a big hole to fill.

“Best ever” Thrashers goalie?. Do I hear any votes for Passi?

World Be Free

May 7th, 2010
7:33 am

Hooky-Doc is one of the best, certainly of our time. But I’d take Dan Kelley and Danny Gallivan just ahead of Doc. That’s some pretty good company to be in with.

I agree with you on the best d-man, which is sad to say when you consider Kubina may only be here one year and gone. Our best d-man would have been acquired from a loser team (Tronna) AND is past his prime age-wise. This is why we need to spend $$$ on a defenseman more than anything else.

Gonchar looked pretty good last night, didn’t he?

kracker

May 7th, 2010
8:05 am

HookyBob, I think Waddell became enamoured w/ the post-lockout play of the Sabres: small, speedy, roll 4 lines in the ‘new’ NHL where hooking, holding and generally impeding play was now illegal. (It already was illegal, they just decided to enforce the rules after the lockout.) While it worked with the roster of the Sabres in 05-06, it was more of those players ‘clicking’ than it was a model to be easily copied by other teams. I’m sure our Buffalo guys can say it better.

That’s how I think Waddell saw it. Remember, IIRC DW was on the rules committee during the lockout so he probably thought he had a real handle on how to build a team post-lockout.

(Countering the points I just made: If DW was in love w/ small, speedy players why did he sign Holik?)

World Be Free

May 7th, 2010
8:25 am

Kracker – can’t argue with your Buffalo post-lockout logic. The players in Buffalo did click together. Witness how much Drury and Briere were overpaid once theu became UFAs in 2007 and how much they have not performed to the value of their new contacts in their new locations. Through Brian Campbell in there too.

glovesave29

May 7th, 2010
8:31 am

Call me old school – but no play by play guy today can touch either Dan Kelley or Jiggs McDonald. In a class above anything NBC, Versus or the regional cable systems are trotting out there nowadays.

Emrick is OK, but it annoys me that every year, as the cup is presented, he makes the same speech about how time is moving slowly for the players as they celebrate, but as they look back years from now, time will have seemed to fly by. It is so planned and sterile…I have the game on DVD when the Flames won the cup in 1989 and he makes the same speech. Think of something new already!

Brendan – true statement. We could all be picked apart as to the things we have posted if someone had the will and/or time. But the beauty of posters like yourself is that you put your opinions out there, and leave yourself wide open to the criticism. Its easy to be a reactionary, to comment on things that have already occured. I like reading your manifestos. Its food for thought. You obviously know and love the game, so the passion comes across…damn the detractors!

jimbo

May 7th, 2010
8:40 am

Dudley’s comments are really encouraging. Will bring in a coach who can adapt and has a defensive strategy. Boy what a condemnation of Anderson. From his comments, Kulda, Cormier and Klingsburg should start looking for housing in the area. Interesting that he thinks that Jimmy No-Hands has finally found himself.

Red Light

May 7th, 2010
9:15 am

You have posed some excellent questions in the past few posts and as World Be Free said, “it’s sad to say” that Kubina is one of if not the best to have played here. I’m going to cast my vote for Nic Havelid, as he did a nice job of tutoring Enstrom (gasp, look what has happened to Toby after Nic left). Certainly not the biggest but very definitely responsible and a good puck mover. Pasi in goal as Hooky said just because he was able to keep an awful team in games and was the combative, likable sort that we all seem to love.

I will say this, projecting value and improvement was never Waddell’s strong suit, but then what was his strong suit? If he had an eye for building a team in the way many of us would have liked, your 2009-10 roster could have been as follows…

G Kari Lehtonen and Moose Salary: $4,175,000
D Steve Staois, Brett Clark, Toby Enstrom, Zach Bogosian, Pavel Kubina, Ron Hainsey Salary: $19,675,000
W Marian Hossa, Ilya Kovalchuk, Marc Savard, Marty Reasoner, Rich Peverley, Bryan Little, Evander Kane, Jim Slater, Eric Boulton, Pascal Dupuis, Eric Belanger and Andrew Brunette. $30,840,000

Now, that’s $54,690,000, still under the cap and certainly a bit more competitive than what we had this year.If you wanted to let Savard walk, then you save another $1 million by replacing him with Antropov. If you wanted to let Brunette walk, you replace him with Max and save another $1.7 million.

Anyone think that roster could have made the playoffs with that blend of youth, speed and experience?

Red Light

May 7th, 2010
9:20 am

World: Some day, GMs will look upon free agents as integral pieces of the puzzle not major pieces of the puzzle. You are right on target with the Campbell, Briere and Drury signings. They should have been viewed as complementary players not stars. Anyone else think the Rangers have at least two of the worst contracts in the sport: Drury and Redden (toss in Rozsival and you’ve hit the idiotic trifecta).

Joe Friday

May 7th, 2010
9:46 am

“Hossa was easily the best player ever to wear the Thrashers sweater, followed closely by Heatley and then Kovalchuk.”

Yep. But they’re all on other clubs now and thus the enemy, eff ‘em.

Best dman ever has to have been David Harlock.

Don’t make me trot out the list of Waddell dman over the years again . . . it’s like picking the prettiest pig. Kubina would be the guy though.

Let’s go Nucks, clap clap clap clap clap

World Be Free

May 7th, 2010
10:24 am

Red Light-Rangers gave Kotalik a 3 year commitment too! At least Sather found a bigger idiot in Calgary to take that conract?

Who will Glen overpay this summer? Jimmy Slater, 3 years $12M?

Alan R.

May 7th, 2010
10:33 am

How come no one wants to talk about the Red Wings today? I’m all sad and lonesome over here, but everyone is ominously quiet (unlike the other day)!

Spud Webb

May 7th, 2010
10:37 am

I gotta be honest here. Flyers will be swept.
I’m very, very suspicious. Im going to say it right now. The sharks will NOT get their mojo back. Gut feeling here, sharks are done also.

Red Light

May 7th, 2010
10:39 am

Here ya go Alan R.

A great response by the Wings last night when they could have mailed it in. Sharks probably learned the most valuable lesson, however, and that is you can’t take winning a fourth game in any series for granted. You would have thought they would have learned that a long time ago, but the cliche goes: the last game is the hardest one to win.

Franzen awoke from his slumber just in time and I look for a great game 5 in San Jose.

kracker

May 7th, 2010
10:40 am

glovesave29

May 7th, 2010
10:48 am

While details are sketchy, it seems the Reinsdorf offer to buy the Coyotes is dead. The city is negotiating with the the group they previously rejected, Ice Edge. While they are promising to stay in PHX for the complete 24 years as specified on the arena lease, many are doubting their ability to raise the $150M needed. Rumors are that the NHL and Winnipeg billionaire David Thompson already have a contingnecy deal in place to move the team. Deadline in June 30. The AHL Moose would then move to Thunder Bay, ON.

If Balsillie would have been patient and played by the rules, Hamilton might be preparing to get an NHL team. But I am glad if it goes back to Winnipeg – bring back the Jets name.

GaVaHokie

May 7th, 2010
10:57 am

Updated Mock Drafts from NHL.com… I think Morreale’s is the most accurate… Kimelman is clueless. Jack Campbell at #8? You’re crazy.

Morreale
http://www.nhl.com/ice/page.htm?id=62315

Holland
http://www.nhl.com/ice/page.htm?id=62316

Kimelman
http://www.nhl.com/ice/page.htm?id=62311

GaVaHokie

May 7th, 2010
10:58 am

I still think we’re more likely to take Neidereiter, Burmistrov or Johansen based on Morreale’s Mock II.

Smoothie

May 7th, 2010
11:01 am

Bring home the Jets!! Love it, why the hell not? Eventually the NHL will have to contract. And so will the NBA. The long-term economy will not support 60+ pro hockey and pro b’ball teams. It just won’t. The economy is too unpredictable and tied to crazy world events now that we have this wonderful global economy. Hell, I saw empty seats (bunches in the lower level) at the Joe during game 3! What does that tell you?

Alan – the Wings obviously played great. Did not watch the game cuz I was watching golf and baseball and, gulp, Survivor! I know, I just lost my “true hockey fan” card, but a 3-love series does not excite me. Although I completely forgot about Pens v. Habs till someone reminded me via text. Anyway, even the Hawks will win one from the Magic. That’s all I have to say about that.

Smoothie

May 7th, 2010
11:06 am

GVH – I’m being lazy. Who are you responding to? I don’t recall any draft talk in this blog yet. But I am fine with all of your potential candidates for the Thrashers at # 8. Burmistrov is the ONLY Russian JR I would want to take a chance on and that’s if Nino and Ryan are already gone before we pick. I seriously don’t know why any mock draft has us taking Tarasenko. Dudley was enraptured with Russian players at the turn of the century like everyone else. Now, the depth of talent in North America is too great to pass up IMHO. Duds learned from his mistakes during his time in Chicago apparently. How many Russians do they have? Uhhh, none.

kracker

May 7th, 2010
11:12 am

Smoothie, the draft talk is a carry-over from Rh’s previous blog.

Thanx for the links, Hokie. I’ll look at them during lunch, maybe.

Alan R.

May 7th, 2010
11:22 am

Thanks for indulging me, guys. I feel better now. :D

rob

May 7th, 2010
11:29 am

Survivor!?!? Rawhide will need his card back after that comment I suspect HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Smoothie

May 7th, 2010
11:39 am

Hey rob, I was looking for something a bit different! ;-)

Guess I was more in the mood for skimpy bikinis on beaches than watching some hockey. But that changes tonite…can’t wait for Game 4 of the Hawks v Nucks series.

GVH – Morreale’s mock seems reasonable but why does he think we’d take Etem over Neidereiter? Then again, we’d probably take Johansen before either of them since we need depth at C. His Martindale selection for our 2nd 1st rounder is intriguing but isn’t his order off by 1? Don’t we pick at worst 24th?

Red Light

May 7th, 2010
11:43 am

We need depth at center? No, we need centers period!

glovesave29

May 7th, 2010
11:55 am

Hey Smoothie – I worked for years in Brasil…need photos from Copacabana or Ipanema beaches?

Thrashers27

May 7th, 2010
11:56 am

Center? Really? All of these players are capable of playing center, so I think, at the very least you could say we have “centers”.

Antropov
Little
Slater
Reasoner
Thorburn
Esposito
Cormier

Maybe not the greatest compilation of all time, but we definitely have guys on the roster who fill out that position. I’d say we need wingers more than centers.

World Be Free

May 7th, 2010
11:59 am

Alan R-have the deepest respect fopr the Wings, vnver said anything bad about them, though I am not a fan. Somebody kicked The Mule. You wonder how well the Sharks slept on the flight home, knowing their history of failing in the playoffs. Saturday night’s game 5 is a potential franchise-changing event for the Sharks.

Smoothie

May 7th, 2010
12:05 pm

GS29 – thanks but if I get that desperate, there’s this great thing called the internet! LOL What’d you do down in Brazil for work?

Thrashers27 – uh, yeah we need C. You have to think ahead. Reasoner is at the end of his career and has 2 good years left at best I fear. Anyway, he, Slater, Thorbs and Cormier are bottom 6 at best. I’m afraid Little may only be 2nd line material and Antropov should be playing wing as he’s weak in the F/O circle. BTW, you forgot Kane, who may end up being the best C on the team given the chance, and Peverley, but both Pevs and Kane may be better at the off wing when it’s all said and done. We still don’t have a 50-60 assist playmaker.

World Be Free

May 7th, 2010
12:06 pm

You wonder if Esposito will ever make it to the NHL.

So nobody has commented one bit on my continual suggestional that we sign Gonchar on July 1. Does it mean you all agree with the contention that signing a #1 defenseman should be our priority? Silence is approval.

Don’t worry Smoothie-Ms. WBF kept making me turn over to the Hawks’ game, which was intersesting before Orlando took over.

Montreal – Pittsburgh series has been great!

World Be Free

May 7th, 2010
12:16 pm

Update-both Scott Arniel and Kevin Dineen have interviewed for the Blue Jackets’ job. Paul MacLean is next.

steve

May 7th, 2010
12:22 pm

I watched the pens/habs on the cbc feed. I swear the cbc announcers are the worse. Everytime the Habs touched the puck, you’d swear they were on a breakaway the way the game was called. Plus, why have the refs put the whistles away? Their were LOTS of calls not made last night for both teams.

Alan R.

May 7th, 2010
12:22 pm

WBF – Babcock kicked the Mule. Mr. Mule then proceeded to carry the team up hill.

I’d love to see more of that this spring from him. Here’s to hoping the Wings actually make a series out of this.

Smoothie

May 7th, 2010
12:25 pm

WBF – I’m all for getting Gonchar, but not sure I want him over Kubina. Take away the extra games Pavel had to play at the Olympics and I think he’s a better defensive stopper than Gonchar. I agree we need more production from our PP QB so perhaps there’s a spot for Gonchar on our Top 2 mentoring Bogosian. But defensively, I’m not sure I’m comfortable with this picture:

Gonchar & Toby
Hainsey & Oduya
Bogey & Valabik / Kulda

For better or for worse, we need to go with Bogosian and see if he can become the player he was drafted to be. We need him to ascend like Doughty did towards the end of this past year.

GaVaHokie

May 7th, 2010
12:36 pm

Smoothie… sorry for the confusion. My earlier reply was to the mock itself. Based on Morreale’s picks, I’d say we’re more likely to take Neids, Burmistrov or Johansen over Etem.

That being said, I still wouldn’t cry if we took Etem… he’s the equivalent of Evander Kane on the RW side. He’s fast, tough and plays a North and South game… and yes, he’s also black.

Would love to see Peverley or Little centering Kane and Etem.

Smoothie

May 7th, 2010
12:38 pm

Looking at the IIHF website, it appears as though Pavelec has been playihng well in the exhibition games for the Czechs. He’s allowed only 3 goals in 2 wins over SWE and RUS…not bad at all. He even won the SO against Sweden. And the strangest thing I saw was Afinogenov getting a 10 min misconduct penalty for roughing / instigating. Max the goon!

rob

May 7th, 2010
12:51 pm

I don’t think Gonchar is our solution. I like Kubina, but I wonder if he has lost a step, he just appeared slow to me this year, and I wonder what kind of deal he is looking for. We talked a little before about Volchenkov(?) from Ott., He blocked a lot of shots during that series and played good ice time I thought, and I believe he is also younger than Kubina, so how about a look at him???

GaVaHokie

May 7th, 2010
1:16 pm

This will give you a little taste of what Emerson Etem is like… the #6 goal is pretty sweet.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L27NIB5RdQo

This will show you his wheels and hustle…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ZU9cbz1NeI

Red Light

May 7th, 2010
1:37 pm

Personally, while I respect Kubina, Gonchar and Volchenkov, I can’t help but to think you can’t win anything meaningful with too many European defensemen. We have Hainsey and Bogo as our token North Americans, but during the past 20 seasons, only Detroit and Colorado have regularly used more than two European defensemen during the playoffs and won the Stanley Cup.

Pittsburgh Gonchar
Detroit Lilja, Kronwall and Lidstrom
Anaheim None
Carolina Wallin and Kaberle
Tampa Bay Kubina
Detroit Fischer, Olausson, Lidstrom (Federov at times)
Colorado Skoula
New Jersey Malakhov
Dallas Zubov
Detroit Fetisov, Eriksson and Lidstrom
Detroit Konstantinov, Fetisov, Eriksson and Lidstrom
Colorado Krupp, Ozolinsh, Gusarov
New Jersey None
New York Karpotsev and Zubov
Montreal None
Pittsburgh Kjell and Ulf Samuelsson
Pittsburgh Ulf Samuelsson
Edmonton Ruotsalainen

For that reason, I say no to Gonchar unless you subtract others!

World Be Free

May 7th, 2010
1:42 pm

Thanks for your thoughts on Gonchar-
I think he would be a difference maker here, especially on the power play. I like Kubina, but I think we are overvaluing him compared to Gonchar.

Thrashers27

May 7th, 2010
2:02 pm

Smoothie,

I did neglect to include Kane in that list, but only because I get the feeling he had been relegated to the wing. In hindsight I guess you gotta consider that that could change with a new coaching staff. I’m not arguing the quality of our centers, only pointing out that it seems we have more there, than we do on the wings. The ranks of the wings seem weaker without a 40+ goal scorer in the midst. We’ve always had either Kovy, Heater, Hossa and even Kozzie to a lesser extent. Now we have none of those guys. Just makes me feel like there’s more of a need on the wing, rather then the pivot.

Alan R.

May 7th, 2010
2:18 pm

Thrashers27 – I might be alone in this, but if the coach we get actually tells our guys to SHOOT THE FREAKIN PUCK… then perhaps we’ll have more goals. In short, I’m not convinced we have that big of a need on the wing. Or at center, for that matter.

Having said that, however, I do expect us to pick up some “salary cap castoffs” this offseason.

Smoothie

May 7th, 2010
2:25 pm

Thrashers27 – I hear ya! Just feel like we have been mis-allocating some of our resources and it remains to be seen how many of our centers will be playing the pivot next season. If we were to pick up a player the caliber of Plekanec or even Koivu, then all of a sudden you have a # 1 C and Antropov definitely moves back to the wing. If the next coach comes in and views Little’s 2-way game as being too valuable to waste playing wing, then perhaps he slides into our # 2 line pivot slot and Pevs goes to the top line or LW on the 2nd line. Or Little could end up being the RW replacement for Colby if he departs.

There are so many variables and possibilities. But when it comes to the draft, I feel like you have to go with the play-making C over the fast, hard-nosed gritty wing type such as Etem or Nino. However, Antropov and Peverley could prove me wrong and having a young stable of wings like Klingberg, Morin, Kane of course and then either a Gormley or Etem could really set us up for a bright future in 2011-2013.

Red Light

May 7th, 2010
2:46 pm

Amazing. What centers on the current roster are top-two line centers? None. Smoothie makes an excellent observation, you have to have a top line playmaker, then you can worry about the other three. Little simply doesn’t have hockey sense and I can’t see him playing the pivot at this level. Antro was forced into playing center and is more valuable in the slot and inside the circles. Kane isn’t a playmaker either, he’s a North-South sprinter and his speed is best used on the wing. Pevs, Slater and Marty can handle 3rd and 4th, but Thorburn can’t and Esposito won’t be here anytime soon, if ever, in my opinion. That still leaves a gaping hole on the second line, if not the first, unless you use Antro again. Is Cormier a top-6 center? That’s a lot to ask of a guy who plays a rough-and-tumble style.

Red Light

May 7th, 2010
2:48 pm

That’s not to say that Little and Kane can’t play center, but in order for you to get the most out of your team, players have to be put into positions where they can succeed night in, and night out. I think the wing is best for them.

Agreed?

Tony C.

May 7th, 2010
2:57 pm

Wow. Just got done reading part 2 of the Dudley Q&A on the Thrashers-I’ve upgraded my view of next season from “pessimistically hopeful” to “very cautiously optimistic”. I like the viewpoint espoused Why take a 30-yr old NHLer, when we already have the same guy/player in the minors?

Dudley’s points about Colorado’s success with playing their kids shows that with proper support it can be done, and done successfully. I also LOVE that flat-out “there will be a goalie coach”. Don’t like the idea of a commuter, but eh. I would posit that our biggest need, providing we re-sign our UFAs/RFAs is a playmaking center. we’ve got guys that’s shown they can light the lamp, but outside of Peverly and Antropov, I haven’t seen any of our other forwards really >em>create chances for their linemates-this is a HUGE need IMHO.

Lee

May 7th, 2010
3:00 pm

Whoot Woot!!!!!! GO ‘HAWKS!!!!!!!

Smoothie

May 7th, 2010
3:02 pm

Red Light – I think the jury is still out on Little. He hasn’t really been given a legit shot at playing the pivot for any length of time. He’s one of our top 3 most responsible defensive players along with Antropov and Reasoner (Kane and Peverley are debatable but prolly only top 5 at this point).

When he played with Kovy, he was forced to play wing and it hurt his play-making because Kovy controlled the puck and put an extra burden on White & Lits to race back on D when Kovy lost the puck. When playing with White and Kozlov, his scoring actually improved because that line was clicking on the PP. But you can’t really say he’s been given an extended look at C which was his natural position.

In my estimation, he is a very underrated passer although he may not be good enough at controlling the puck to be a true set-up man. For now, I think he could be a # 2 barring a big pick-up in FA. No matter what, I’d even like to see him play C on the 3rd line between Slater and hopefully Armstrong to see what he can do in a 2-way role in which there won’t be as much pressure to produce offensively.

kracker

May 7th, 2010
3:07 pm

Kane is normally a LW, right? So w/ Kovalchuk & Kozlov gone, Kane fills one of those spots. I don’t see any LW on these mock drafts in the top 20 or so. Dudley is talking like he wants to draft an immediate NHLer so it’s a RW or C if these mocks are at all accurate. Duds isn’t likely to get a roster player with the NJ pick unless he trades it. Which he just might do. Dudley also mentioned moving down with the first pick, too…as well as taking the best player available with our top picks and drafting more by positional needs in the later rounds.

So many possibilities, I love this time of the year. I’d love it better if the Thrashers were still playing, of course, but having 2 first rounders is pretty exciting. Especially with having a widely respected talent judge making the personnel decisions.

GaVaHokie

May 7th, 2010
3:19 pm

Dudley has already said that you take the “best player available” at the #8 pick, then you draft for need with the rest of the picks.

I wouldn’t put too much weight on having a top Center with the 8th pick… who is the best player available?

Joe Friday

May 7th, 2010
3:22 pm

Lloyd, I’ve always like Gonchar’s game. I noticed you called him a defensive dman, I always have seen him as an offensive dman myself. I’d take him in a heartbeat, but only for a 2 yr contract.

I’d like to see Little play some center for us on the 2nd line

GaVaHokie

May 7th, 2010
3:22 pm

You also have to consider personality… here’s three examples. If you sat down and interviewed these guys, all things equal. Who would you draft?

Emerson Etem… you’ll have to scroll through the profiles.

http://tigershockey.com/multimedia/mc.php?cat=profiles

Kirill Kabanov

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KPkHuTOv5g8

Nino Neidereiter

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RiHQyWxFcCI

kracker

May 7th, 2010
3:23 pm

Connolly at RW or Johansen at C…which is more NHL ready?

GaVaHokie

May 7th, 2010
3:37 pm

More interviews are now up at NHL.com for the draft prospects…

http://video.nhl.com/videocenter/console?catid=635

GaVaHokie

May 7th, 2010
3:40 pm

Ryan Johansen 6′2″ 195 lbs, “I see myself as a Joe Thornton, Ryan Getzlaf type player”

… Sold!

Smoothie

May 7th, 2010
3:48 pm

Hokie, none of the wings are overwhelming in their production. Connolly might have been but injuries prevented him from having his break-out season. When there are so many players between 55 and 75 points, don’t you take the C by default as they are generally the “best player” on their respective teams? Especially if they are capable of dishing the puck…I’d say we need that going forward more than anything if Bergfors, Kane, Klingy, Morin and Little are our wings of the future.

GaVaHokie

May 7th, 2010
4:32 pm

Smoothie… i’m leaning towards best of both worlds for us. I see Ryan Johansen as both “best player available” and a “need at Center”.

I still think that Kane and Etem together would be awesome to watch, though. What I’ve seen of Etem so far, I feel like I’m watching Evander Kane footage.

Smoothie

May 7th, 2010
5:16 pm

Works for me Hokie!

Just not sure I’m inclined to put Etem ahead of Nino if RJ is gone by #8. At least we have some options it would appear as this is supposedly such a deep draft.

Brendan

May 7th, 2010
6:34 pm

Red Light, your 9:15 AM post this morning was very intriguing, indeed. It probably has the Waddellites’ undies in a bundle, however. They’d counter-argue, “But you can’t keep Brunette at what it would have cost for him all these years, and Staios, and whomever, as is their usual arguments over finance. I always forget Brett Clarke was here. I’m not sure how we got him, or the manner in which he departed. My guess is via waiver claim, both times. I’m sure someone knows the answer.

My favorite goalie of all-time for the Thrashers is Moose, followed by Pasi, “the frantic Finn.” But I’d have to tip my hat to Kari Lehtonen as the most skilled to play here. If only he could have been healthy, and avoided mental meltdowns. Oh well.

My favorite D-man to play here might well have been Brian Pothier. But he didn’t stay long. I also liked Steve McCarthy paired with Exelby. But the Best D-man to ever play here? Well, I’ll give the nod to Kubina, with an honorable mention to Nic Havelid. Zhitnik, in 2007, actually played well. I said, in “2007.” Before he got demoralized and realized he was trapped in an organization committed to spending the league minimum in 2008 and 2009, while retaining a failing GM, without a playoff berth. Moving right along …

My favorite forward to ever play here was Ilya Kovalchuk, beyond a shadow of a doubt. I enjoyed Ilya while he was here. However, the best forward to ever play here was Marian Hossa. Hossa was the most “complete” player we ever had. One of my new “favorites” is Rich Peverley. If the Bryan Little who scored 31 goals in 2009 reemerges, he’ll be on my list. I also like Evander Kane quit a bit. I can’t wait to watch him develop.

Brendan

May 7th, 2010
6:37 pm

Alan R., I still think the Red Wings could pull this thing out. Indulge me, here, a moment. The Red Wings led Game Two, 3-2, going into the 3rd period. It’s very un-Red Wing-like of them to lose that game. Even more “un-Red Wing like” was their collapse with a 3-1 lead in the 3rd period in Game Three. Had the Red Wings held on for those wins, they’d be up, 3-1, right now, instead of trailing, 3-1, right now. But what do I always say? “In the playoffs, it’s win or go home, making excuses for not winning.” No pity points in the playoffs.

Brendan

May 7th, 2010
6:41 pm

Glovesave29, thank you for those kinds words, sir. I like to at least “think” I contribute something here. And when I do have disagreements with other posters, I make a real effort to be civil about things. Where somebody attacks me, and I don’t expect intelligent debate to follow, I just put them on “ignore” status. To engage an idiot and a flawed premise is to drag both (and all) parties down in the process. Ever watch two grown men argue over who can swim faster, AquaMan or Superman? Pfft. And yet, it happens. And each side is “sure they’re right.” And proceed to defend their case. D’oh.

Alan R.

May 7th, 2010
8:09 pm

Indeed, the Wings could pull it out. However, given the likelihood of pulling out a series win after being down 3-0, I’m not holding my breath.

Still. One shift. One period. One game… at a time.

LGRW

kracker

May 7th, 2010
9:08 pm

hey Bill…I’m thinking the Fat Lady must not get dates to very many sporting events. Ya know, you’re in the stands, the Thrashers are down a goal or two and your diva date begins warming up for a full-throated song just as Moose gets pulled! That could make for a very uncomfortable ride home!

But since we usually see her only in the post-season, Thrashers’ fans haven’t had this problem for several years!

Rawhide

May 7th, 2010
9:23 pm

kracker – LOL…I guess you’ve got a point there. And yeah…we in Thrasherville normally hear her bellow out her curtain-closing song prior to game number 82.

Everyone – It’s interesting that you’ve been discussing the Thrashers 8th pick these past couple of days…I’m putting the finishing touches on a new post for us to discuss the options Dudley has with that selection. Look for it to go live later tonight.

Oh yeah…and by the way…100th!!!

kracker

May 7th, 2010
9:34 pm

JUST WOW!!! Recchi ties it w/ less than 30 seconds left!! 4-4 going to OT at Wachovia Center.

kracker

May 7th, 2010
10:17 pm

wooohooo! Flyers win off the Gagne redirect! This means…………….we get MORE PLAYOFF HOCKEY!!! That’s definitely a good thing. I want them all to go seven games.

Brendan

May 7th, 2010
10:21 pm

I’m right there, with ya, Kracker. I picked the Bruins, but I don’t fear losing the series, so I just want to see more playoff hockey. The best time of the whole year is already passed. And that was the 1st round of the playoffs, when we had double-headers every night.

Once the 2nd round series start to wind down, things start to get pretty sparse.

kracker

May 7th, 2010
10:32 pm

Yea, Brendan, I’m really enjoying these playoffs! I think it’s because I’m (cautiously, always) optimistic for the changes the Thrashers under new direction will be making this off-season. For the series, you should be happy with a Bruins win but we get one more game, maybe more.

And we have RH’s draft column coming up soon! And the Nucks/Hawks are tied at 2-2!