Top’o’the morning to you, dear hockey fans! (Sorry)
It’s Saint Patrick’s Day and you know what that means: novice drinkers making fools of themselves, the questionable misuse of green dye and police officers making their quotas in DUI charges. Oh, let’s not forget getting pinched.
Anyway, with this goofy holiday in mind, it’s not surprising that there are a few quirky news items today. Let’s start the medley off with something that’s not specifically related to the holiday (although, come on, there is Patrick Kane). Here’s the Making Sure We’re Wearing Green edition of Odd Bounces.
First, the Chicago Blackhawks appeared on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” last night. Check out the video:
You know, Kane and Toews have solid comic timing. For hockey players, anyway.
It’s a big tilt between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the New Jersey Devils tonight as the Devils can re-claim the Atlantic division lead with a regulation win. The real story, though, is that the Devils are rocking their retro green-white-and-red jerseys for the game. Tom Gulitti of the Fire & Ice blog has the story.
The Devils will wear their vintage red, white and green jerseys Wednesday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins for the first time since the 1992 preseason.
While wearing the red, white and green from 1982-93 to 1991-92, the Devils compiled a 285-422-93 record (last column all ties). Since changing to the red, white and black they are 742-430-178 (last column ties and OT/shootout losses).
Why was the impish Clancy wearing this jersey? The Leafs were hosting “King Clancy Night.” Clancy was as big a star as Toronto has ever seen. They honored him with the night, the jersey, and a number of stereotypical gifts that would keep any Irish eyes smiling.
Several junior players stepped on to the ice through large potato props. Red Horner emerged from a boxing glove. New York Ranger’s star Bill Cook hid in a shamrock. All the while the Knights of Columbus Minstrel Band played Irish music.
Ah, the good old stereotypical days. Feel free to share other St. Patrick’s Day related hockey memories and other cabbage-scented bits of nostalgia in the comments.
Ducks take control of second in Pacific after edging Oilers
McDavid scored a goal and two assists, yet Ryan Getzlaf was right there with him with three assists, helping the Ducks win 4-3.
With that, Anaheim is clearly ahead of Edmonton for second in the Pacific. The Ducks would hold home-ice over the Oilers if the playoffs began today, and better yet for them, a division title isn’t out of the question:
1. Sharks – 91 points in 73 games played
2. Ducks – 89 points in 73 GP
3. Oilers – 87 points in 73 GP
4. Flames – 86 points in 73 GP
As you can see, the Oilers aren’t exactly far ahead of the Flames for third, either.
Going forward, the Oilers have an interesting schedule: a mix of games against cellar dwellers (two apiece against the Canucks and Avalanche) plus two games apiece versus the Kings and Sharks.
The Ducks’ schedule includes two matches against the Flames, one against the Kings and one more match at Edmonton on April 1.
Long story short, the jockeying for position is far from over, but this was a pretty significant win for the Ducks.
Video: Connor McDavid shows off speed and skill (again)
Connor McDavid‘s 26th goal of 2016-17 was a lot like many others: an impressive display of skill and speed. He didn’t blaze past the Anaheim Ducks like has against opponents on other occasions, but his rare wheels still came in handy.
Maybe more than sheer speed, this tally is a reminder that McDavid could do impressive things while losing little or no momentum. It’s one thing to have straight-line speed, but he has the hands and hockey IQ to take advantage of his swift skating.
McDavid already has two points in this one, pushing him to 84 points. He also extended his point streak to five games (three goals, six assists if he stays at one of each on Wednesday).
The goal posts might move from time to time – now they’re chasing the Boston Bruins more than the Toronto Maple Leafs – but the bottom line is that the New York Islanders need to get it done to make the playoffs.
They still have some climbing to do, but Wednesday represented a step in the right direction with a tough 3-2 win against the New York Rangers.
The Rangers built 1-0 and 2-1 leads in the second period as John Tavares struggled with a “hat trick” of penalties, but Tavares & Co. wouldn’t give up. They managed two power-play goals in the third (one by Nikolay Kulemin, the winner by Andrew Ladd) to turn things around for a significant win.
Anders Lee was also a big part of the win, grabbing a goal and an assist. The biggest difference-maker may very well have been Thomas Greiss, who stopped 34 of 36 shots (including all 11 in the third) as the Rangers created a lot of offense.
The Islanders now have 80 standings points, placing them two behind the Bruins for the East’s final wild card spot.
The Rangers’ hold over the first wild card seems quite secure, but they do have to worry ever so slightly about their play at home. With this defeat, they’ve now lost seven straight (0-5-2) at Madison Square Garden.
Video: Rick Nash scores 20th goal in sprawling style