NHL playoff round one update: Blackhawks don’t fear The Reaper

After spiriting away the fourteen NHL teams that were not strong enough to make beyond the regular season, hockey’s Grim Reaper had a few days off to enjoy the opening games of the playoffs. But yesterday he had to gather up his hockey stick scythe, tear himself away from the Afterlife Bar & Café and make his way the windy city.

There the Chicago Blackhawks awaited his arrival, down three games to none in their matchup with the Vancouver Canucks

However, the Hawks were determined to not go quietly into the night and spanked the Presidents’ Trophy winners 7-2 to avoid being given the broom treatment.

David Bolland notched one goal and assisted on three others in the win while Patrick Sharp converted on a pair of power play goals in the third period to send the Reaper away empty handed on this night. Goalie Corey Crawford turned aside 21 of 23 Canuck shot for the win…and even helped out the offense by earning a secondary assist on Brian Campbell’s goal that broke a 1-1 tie in the second period.

The two teams return to Vancouver for game five Thursday night.

Also last night, the Los Angeles Kings died a painful death in game three of their series with the San Jose Sharks. After building a 4-0 lead early in the second period, the Kings watched as the visiting Sharks gnawed their way back with three unanswered goals. But just 15 seconds after Logan Couture got San Jose back to within one Ryan Smyth gave LA a two-goal cushion.

Ryane Clowe and Joe Pavelski then each scored in the final 1:25 of the period to send the two teams into the second intermission deadlocked at five apiece. The scored remained that way through the third and Devin Setoguchi capped off the comeback with a tally at the 3:09 mark of overtime.

Setoguchi, as you may remember, was the 8th overall draft pick by the Sharks back in the 2005 draft, a pick they acquired from the Atlanta Thrashers. Then-GM Don Waddell and the Thrashers eventually traded their way to the 16th pick where they snagged “the player they had wanted all along”…Alex Bourret.

…sigh…

Anyway…Hockey’s Grim Reaper will now make his way to Arizona where the Phoenix Coyotes face elimination tonight. There, the Detroit Red Wings will be looking to do what the Canuck’s failed to accomplish in Chicago…advancing to round-two via a four game sweep.

Prior to puck drop there, we’ll be treated to a quartet of game-fours. Washington will be in New York, Pittsburgh at Tampa Bay, Philadelphia at Buffalo and Anaheim is in Nashville.

The Caps, Pens, Flyers and Preds will all look to take a 3-1 lead in their respective series.

If those four teams are successful, it will set up a very hectic travel schedule for the Reaper later this week. However, hockey’s Angel of Death slipped me some 411 this morning saying that the Fat Lady has availed herself to sing the final song for teams facing elimination if scheduling conflicts should arise.

Cats to be Torched?

According to this tweet by Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the Thrashers have given permission to the Florida panthers to interview John Torchetti for their vacant head coach position. Torchetti came to Atlanta from Chicago last summer as the team’s associate coach.

This didn’t come a huge surprise to me as I heard some buzz surrounding this during the closing weeks of the season. Plus, I think Torchetti is indeed worthy of such consideration.

If Torch does actually take over behind the Cats bench, he will become the first associate or assistant Thrashers coach to be tapped for an NHL head coaching gig elsewhere.

83 comments Add your comment

ben

April 20th, 2011
9:44 am

ben

April 20th, 2011
9:47 am

also i saw that game and the ‘nucks looked beyond flat. this was the best team all year and they’ll clobber the hawks at home. still, it was good to watch

Red Light

April 20th, 2011
9:48 am

Rounding out my roster, I signed 35-year-old Jose Theodore for $1.75 million to back up Pavelec, added Zenon Konopka from the Islanders as my fourth line center, designated disturber and top face-off man (57.7%) for $750,000, and will let Klingberg or Cormier (or someone else) battle for the 12th forward spot. Thus, my 23-man roster including bonuses is $50.71 million for the 2011-12 season.

Smoothie: If it’s OK for you to dream about stealing Sharp, Setouguchi, etc., then it’s OK for me to dream about Yandle and Sauer.

Defense (7)
Yandle $4.45 million
Sauer $1.55 million
Enstrom $3.75 million
Byfuglien $5.2 million
Stuart $1.7 million
Hainsey $4.5 million
Meyer $600,000

Forwards (13)
Korpikoski $1.5 million
Berglund $2.25 million
Antropov $4.0625 million
Kane $900,000 Bonuses $2.2 million
Little $2.3833 million
Burmistrov $900,000 Bonuses $600,000
Thorburn $866,667
Dvorak $1.5 million
Ladd $3.95 million
Wheeler $2.65 million
Klingberg $790,000 Bonuses $110,000
Boulton $650,000
Konopka $750,000

Goalies (2)
Pavelec $1.15 million
Theodore $1.75 million

ZAvalanche

April 20th, 2011
10:13 am

Nice piece Blog Master. I think Chicago is as good as done, and if it is possible, the Yotes are going to be well done. Not sure in the East……an upset is just around the corner.

ZAvalanche

April 20th, 2011
10:15 am

RL, betting on Theodore, as you well know, is a scary, scary bet.

Hoof Arted

April 20th, 2011
10:23 am

Cats being ‘torched”?

Oh my.

Smoothie

April 20th, 2011
10:24 am

Looking at San Jose’s large payroll for next year, they have nearly $51 M tied up in 7 forwards, 3 d-men and 2 goalies. I reckon they will want to address their blueline UFA’s (Wallin, Huskins, White) before they figure out how to / what to pay Setoguchi. Plus, if they pay just Wallin and White market value, and give Setoguchi a handsome raise as a RFA (from his $1.8 M), that doesn’t leave them much to sign 4-5 depth forwards, a depth D-man and any key prospects coming off ELC.

Just sayin’…Setoguchi isn’t nearly the pipe dream that you may think. Of course, if the cap goes up to $62.4 M, they may be able to swing it, but I don’t see why they wouldn’t be interested in a younger option to replace Wallin and Setoguchi may just be the price it takes. Although San Jose may be vulnerable (and ripe for) to an offer sheet on a player like Devin S. Also, Wellwood might be an attractive UFA option for a team on a budget like the Thrashers. His speed and passing might help Kane take the next step in his development.

kracker

April 20th, 2011
10:34 am

The Grim Reaper is splitting travel and lodging expenses with the Fat Lady.

Hoof Arted

April 20th, 2011
10:39 am

kracker, I actually think there’s something more to the Reaper and Fat Lady “travelling” together.

wink-wink-nod-nod :wink:

Red Light

April 20th, 2011
10:43 am

Love Jose ZAvs. What he did last year in Washington after the death of his newborn was other-worldly in my opinion. Jose for $1.75 over Mason at $1.85 million any day of the week and twice on Sunday! 51 playoff starts to 9 by Mason. A year and a half younger too.

Smoothie: Sharks have plenty of space to sign Setouguchi if they utilize entry-level players in three other positions.

Smoothie

April 20th, 2011
10:53 am

That’s a big IF!! We shall see. I say slap an offer sheet on him for 4-5 years and see what happens. Might as well keep Bogosian and give him another 1-2 yrs to get his act together. But I could see Duds going the trade route since Wilson did us a favor in the wake of the Buff deal and we returned it, sort of, in the form of Ben Eager. Goodwill has been established, now it’s up to Duds to work the phones and pull another rabbit out of his butt!

Fan from Carolina

April 20th, 2011
10:59 am

Oh, that Kings collapse was epic. No recovering from that, not in the playoffs. The Reaper is on the way to L.A.

ZAvalanche

April 20th, 2011
10:59 am

RL, I didn’t know about his loss. My most sincere condolences to he and his wife – that is something nobody should go through. All I was saying is that he is streaky. Perhaps he has ended his ways of clubbing and severe drinking and is his former self from Montreal, I really hope so. I met him when he was in CO and he seemed very genuine.

Alan R.

April 20th, 2011
11:03 am

The always funny Down Goes Brown has done some searching, in light of the recent suspensions and non-suspensions, and dug up an updated map of the NHL playing surface.

http://www.downgoesbrown.com/2011/04/official-map-of-nhl-rink.html

(Re-posted here, because I got ranallo’d)

Smoothie – Wellwood is all well and good, I suppose, but all Atlanta restaurants would have to become “all you can eat” establishments. Then again, I’m fairly certain Wellwood could afford establishments like Fogo De Chao.

ZAvalanche

April 20th, 2011
11:03 am

FfC, I totally agree. LA crapped the bed last night. That game should have been locked up after the 1st. Tells you a lot about the Sharks though, doesn’t it?

alex

April 20th, 2011
11:06 am

what about offer sheet for parise? can lou to fight with us for star forward because of kovy bad deal? am i wrong? sorry with asg running we couldn’t afford him. just dreaming.

Badger Bob

April 20th, 2011
11:12 am

Despite their come back, the Sharks look like fish bate for the Wings or Nucks. Smoothie, the Eager deal is definitely a “sort of”. He is pure liability on the ice, and it seems like the Sharks locker room is not a perfect environment to absorb his problematic personality. I’ll take a 1% chance of landing a Buff or Enstrom (i.e., 7th rounder) for him every day.

And Kunitz’s elbow looked similar to ones thrown by Cormier that got him banned from juniors. Hmmm…

Still working out my GM moves. Real work keeps interfering!

R. Stroz

April 20th, 2011
11:36 am

If the Grim Reaper is splitting expenses with the Fat Lady, he better keep a close eye on the checking account.

Smoothie

April 20th, 2011
11:45 am

Damn it all to hell this work thing keeps cutting into my blog time! :)

Alan – if Wellwood is still eating Horton’s donuts by the dozens AND skating that fast, then I’m fine with giving him a $200-300K raise so he can buy lots of Metabolife and Hydroxycut to offset his donut intake. I think he has progressed past that stigma as he hardly looks pudgy to me.

Dwayne

April 20th, 2011
11:49 am

dang Rawhide, first you leave your cats out in the sub zero weather for days not end now your torching the poor things….. you got hot ones and cold ones, i perfer mine hot

SYK

April 20th, 2011
11:59 am

Torchetti leaving would be very bad. Switch him and Rammer. Torch will be the in your face disciplinarian/strategist while Rammer is the soother of hurt feelings/Hockey 101 teacher/where not to buy your suits–guy.

Rawhide

April 20th, 2011
12:14 pm

Dwayne – Hmmm….this would explain all the hate mail I get from PETA.

hockeygoon79

April 20th, 2011
12:30 pm

At first it looked like the Sharks were ready to tank in the first round, but in the end it was the Kings who had a royal collapse.

Is it just me, or does San Jose look flat. It’s a good thing they drew LA in the first round or they might just be down 3-0 to anyone else.

Alan R.

April 20th, 2011
12:37 pm

Smoothie – He may have progressed past the stigma, but the fat jokes live on. Even today.

Hoof Arted

April 20th, 2011
12:43 pm

“Blackhawks Don’t Fear The Reaper”

Ah, I see what you did there. Blue Oyster Cult. Very crafty, BlogMaster.

Joe Friday

April 20th, 2011
12:55 pm

Let’s go Rangers, Pens, Sabres, Preds, and Yotes!

Hockey Biltong

April 20th, 2011
1:03 pm

I can only agree with the Preds sentiment…

World Be Free

April 20th, 2011
3:17 pm

Red Light-to be able to get Konopka, that would be nice. tough, gritty, in you face fighter.

ben

April 20th, 2011
3:43 pm

we, those of us who aren’t living in Canada or New England, should all be Yotes fans. If a town smack in the midst of nothing can take a team from one of the largest and fastest growing cities in America, no one’s team is safe. The very day that True North puts an NHL team in spudville, start the clock. 25 years later or less it’ll move again.

Moe

April 20th, 2011
4:57 pm

Will the Sharks play Nittymaki for the rest of the playoff series? I hope the coach makes that mistake and replaces Niemi, it will breath liife into the current LA corpse..!

Red Light

April 20th, 2011
5:35 pm

Stay with Niemi. He was a bit shaky but don’t give up on him yet.

glovesave29

April 20th, 2011
5:36 pm

Waaaaaay off topic here, but MLB has announced that they are taking over operations of the LA Dodgers. This is mostly due to a messy divorce, but it springs some interesting questions. Now league offices operate teams in the NHL, NBA and MLB. Only the cash cow NFL has not had such an occurance (although there are problems in both Minnesota and Jacksonville). Are the tides turning? The salaries actually going to come back down? Certainly never going to come down to the levels of the average joe…but are the days of $30M baseball players coming to an end? I can certainly see the death of the municipalities forking over free stadiums and arena as belts continue to be tightened. I wont be surprised to see teams folding due to continual losses. Could the whole house of cards be ready to collapse? I am a free market kinda guy…I have no problem with the players getting as much as the owners are willing to pay. But the gates are down because people cannot afford a night at the game costing them several hundred dollars. Even good teams in traditional markets are not filling their arena and stadia. Will players unions realize they are killing the golden goose? Are they more amenable to lower paychecks or fewer players? These are certainly interesting times in pro sports!

Joe Friday

April 20th, 2011
5:40 pm

Niemi has always been shaky, was for the Hawks all year, the club was just so stout last year they overcame it. Nittymaki is the same way, both of them are feast or famine, you never know which will show up when . . . that series is far from over. But first tonight, let’s go Rangers, Pens, Sabres, Preds, and Yotes!

Joe Friday

April 20th, 2011
5:42 pm

Oh, and someone make sure to get Luongo a box of kleenex, poor guy!

Joe Friday

April 20th, 2011
6:13 pm

Channel 11 just reported that Glavine confirmed he’s part of group looking to buy Thrashers. Looking for additional investors

Myrtle also just tweeted that Bettman says Atlanta staying put is his only expectation after new ownership takes over

glovesave29

April 20th, 2011
6:20 pm

Well, Joe – if this is true and comes to pass, I will forgive him for signing with the hated Mets!

ben

April 20th, 2011
7:14 pm

@Joe Friday:

YAY! WOOT! WOOT!

Thrashniac

April 20th, 2011
8:31 pm

Glovesave29 makes great points.

In addition I continue to believe the 500 lb gorilla in the room is HDTV. It’s so good there’s little incentive to fight the traffic, overpay for tickets and food and put up with obnoxious fans whO consider themselves privileged to stand in your line of sight all night and curse.

TV can’t duplicate the feeling you get from being there, but it’s a much better alternative on many nights.

Brendan

April 21st, 2011
12:18 am

I always thought the large NFL and MLB salaries were outrageous due to lucrative TV contracts. Fans have awakened to the realization that the person/entity that stands to make money of the new stadium is the owner. They stop and start thinking, “So, why are WEEEEE financing it?” *Crickets.*

Right. So, maybe less money is the way to go, for the players. If I were a player, I’d be happy to cut my losses, and be thankful for a multi-million dollar job, rather than less teams/opportunity in the league. The pay disparity between the pros and the minors leagues is pretty substantial, in most sports. You do have ask yourself, what can you do with $30 million that you couldn’t do with $20 million?

I’m a free market guy, too. Let the market set the value. Let the players grab all they can for their services. But, that also includes knowing when the market has taken a downward turn, and preparing to ’salvage’ what you can.

In hockey, I have, pretty much since the 2007 season forward, felt the cap was ‘too high.’ I think the NHL cooks its books, and its cap is fantasy. It’s permitted because everyone wants it to go higher. The players do. The owners in markets trying to win do. The fans want their teams to spend more, even though it leads to increased ticket prices. I think that if the league set the market at $50 million out of the lockout, and kept that figure in place through the end of the CBA, that it’d be in fine shape, today. Instead, it has gone from $39 million to $59.4 million, and if reporting above is true, to $62.4 million. That’s more than a $22 million increase, in just seven seasons. The floor of the cap cannot be met in over 10 markets without the assistance of revenue-sharing dollars propping up the financial health of such franchises. That’s not a ‘healthy’ NHL, the way Commissioner Bettman envision, as a stated goal of the Lockout.

It’s true … that without Coca-Cola or Chick-Fil-A Family nights out, that a family of four cannot escape the arena for less than $200. Parking, food, souvenirs, it all adds up. And when the team loses, everyone feels like someone just cut the cheese in a crowded elevator. By the time the empty-net goal goes in, we’re all scurrying for the exits, trying not to breathe in the stench. And that car ride home. Uggh. Not even calling in to the post-game show, to chat with Kamal and Eliot will make it better.

I think NHL honestly believes … that if doesn’t pay its players the highest salaries around … that they’d bolt for European league. I don’t buy that, at all. I think players want to make money, but also play for the most established, best known, highest skilled league on the planet. That’s the NHL. While it’s true that, every now and again, some player bolts for the KHL, the KHL is not the best league in the World. And truthfully, I think that league is in some financial trouble.

When the Knights were here, I did very much enjoy going to those IHL games. In the end, we just want our team to win. It’s not NHL caliber, but it’s still entertaining hockey. Hockey, that families can easily afford. The NHL should give some consideration to that. But, they probably won’t, citing some marketing research that indicates that people will always pay whatever the NHL team says is required for entry to the game.

Thrashers27

April 21st, 2011
12:22 am

Glavine=owner=very cool!!!

Brendan

April 21st, 2011
12:35 am

Congrats to the Penguins and Capitals for taking their respective series to 3-1, with back-to-back road wins. Congrats to the Buffalo Sabres, and especially Ryan Miller, for evening their series with Philly at 2-2. It’s Miller’s 2nd shutout, I believe. Gee, all he has to do is shutout the Flyers two more times, and the Sabres could advance. I have the Flyers in this series.

Phoenix and Detroit and are tied, 3-3, going into the 3rd period. C’mon Coyotes! Avoid the sweep! Could be their last game in Arizona. Ducks got a big, big win in Nashville, to even their series at two apiece. Best-of-Five now. Go Preds! Though, I have the Ducks in this series.

My picks were Washington, Philly, Pittsburgh, and Boston. Out West, Anaheim, SJ, Detroit and Vancouver. Same as “Russ.”

Brendan

April 21st, 2011
12:54 am

This has been a tremendous 3rd period between Phoenix and Detroit. And, as I type this, Dan Cleary has just scored to give the Red Wings the lead, 4-3.

Brendan

April 21st, 2011
12:55 am

The Coyotes just might be the 1st team eliminated. They’ll draft 15th, right? Or is it based on other factors? I have forgotten the methodology for determining the draft order of playoff eliminees.

litz

April 21st, 2011
1:01 am

5-3 DET now … I’d say the Fat Lady is singing warmup scales in the green room …

litz

April 21st, 2011
1:03 am

Holy crap … I just read the scroll back above …

Glavine ??? GLAVINE ???

There is only ONE answer to that … please please please pretty please?

litz

April 21st, 2011
1:11 am

Fat Lady has sung … DET 6 PHX 3 …

How long do you think, now, before it’s announced that PHX is relocating to a colder climate?

Tom

April 21st, 2011
7:21 am

I was in the car yesterday listening to the NHL network. It was sickening listening to the the anticipation of the Canadian announcers to the demise of the Phoenix Coyotes. They were salivating over getting the Yotes to the great white north.

The only good point I heard was that the wives of the players will not want to move to Winnipeg. If I was Dudley I would set up an office in Phoenix and invite the free agent players and their wives to Atlanta to “take a look” if the move goes through.

Back when players earned the bare minimum and had to chase the dream to the far outposts of the NHL it was one thing. But now the top players are marrying celebrities and are living a completely different lifestyle.

Winnipeg’s owners may be rich with oil shale money but they can not buy location. When the city realizes that top talent will avoid their city and they will constantly field teams of itinerant travelers whose families live in other cities they will get frustrated.

Think about it, remember how we felt about Sopel leaving every chance he got to go to Chicago? He never bought into ATL and while he was a stand up guy on the rink his heart was never with this team. That is the fate of a Winnipeg franchise.

hockeymom92

April 21st, 2011
7:49 am

Aha – I had not heard report from 11Alive, but did know about the Glavine thing a few weeks back from a parent during our tournament (that was my rumor I did not want to jinx). I had heard though there was already someone else in with him, but maybe they backed out. Also understood from someone close to situation that our staying or going could not be determined until Phoenix was out of the tournament. Though this person seriously did not want to go to Winnipeg.

As for my pitiful predictions for the first round – I can at least blame it on the drugs!

glovesave29

April 21st, 2011
8:02 am

Tom Glavine is PERFECT as the face of any ownership group. He’s well spoken, and comfortable with both the fans and the media. His contacts within the sports world would make the games THE place to be. I can see a game where you look around in the stands and you see Matt Ryan, Chipper Jones, etc in the seats around you. He understands getting the players out there in the community a la Nashville and Minnesota. I am sure the NHL brass is DROOLING over this. I am sure something can be worked behind the scenes where Tom does things in the corporate world to “assist” the companies that are owned by the other team owners…outings, speeches, etc…

Hulsizer was in PHX last night talking to fans. I still think this is a bad deal for the people of Arizona and the team will inevitably move back to Winnipeg. But after reading the trolls here, on PHX, NYI and PIT boards – in conjunction with the total jerks on TheFan590 in Toronto to commissioner Bettman – I would love to see them get screwed and have Hulsizer get PHX and Glavine get ATL both with looooong term contracts. Karma’s a……

World Be Free

April 21st, 2011
8:12 am

Tom – it is pretty sickening listening o the Canadian media talk about Atlanta, Phoenix, or any other U.S. franchise that might have an uncertain future. What would be the reaction in Canada is we urinated on Tronna, Vancouver or Montreal?