Vote for Bertuzzday V

James has been kind enough to hand over his baby boy project to me. No, not his affinity for Sidney Crosby, some powerful folks might get angry about that turf being encroached upon. Instead it’s time to Vote for Bertuzzday.  First things first, the previous four winners:

1. Matt Cooke

2. Alex Ovechkin

3. Rocky Wirtz

4. Jim Playfair

This week, the folks gunning for the big prize involve a couple of team captains, an apparently bitter former Flyer, and a player/coach tandem entry. Add “tandem entry” to your list of phrases you never thought you’d read here.  The nominees are…

1.  Jarome Iginla. Now poor Jarome didn’t deliver a violent head shot to anyone, nor did he deliver any questionable hits otherwise but instead he’s been the source of gut-punching his own team. When you’re a captain these sorts of things are kind of a bummer, especially when it means being mired in a soul-sucking scoring drought that’s essentially costing the team a playoff spot. Ouch, babe.

2.  Rob Blake.  Another captain and another nomination, this time he did do something questionable as he knocked Avalanche forward Peter Mueller out of the game, and the remainder of the regular season, with a dubious hit from behind that went unpunished. For exhibit B and immediate reaction purposes, here’s a selective photo of the hit.

 Blake4.jpg

3. R.J. Umberger.  Yes, he plays for the Blue Jackets and they’ve been out of the playoff hunt for a bit longer than most teams this season, but that didn’t stop him from commenting on what he thought about the Washington Capitals this year

“They play the wrong way. They want to be moving all the time. They float around in their zone, looking for breakaways and odd-man rushes. “A good defensive team is going to beat them (in the playoffs).”

Perhaps R.J. is just jockeying for a TV analyst job once the Blue Jackets’ season mercifully ends on Friday against the Red Wings. Either that or the mind-control device Ken Hitchcock implanted in Umberger’s brain has gone live. Skynet is self-aware!

4.  Nathan Horton/Mike Kitchen.  So you’re not totally sure who these two are and that’s fair, they’re part of the Panthers organization. Nathan Horton is one of the team’s better forwards and Mike Kitchen is the Panthers assistant coach who got in an altercation with Horton at practice. Listen guys, we know it’s been frustrating in Miami this year but let’s not fight at practice. 

5. Other.  Did we miss something? Feel free to let us know about it.


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    Penguins’ Guentzel makes ‘kick save’ to stop Capitals

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    It doesn’t get much better than a player making the type of save you’d only expect from a goalie. OK, how about this: when it happens amid the high stakes of the Stanley Cup Playoffs?

    Pittsburgh Penguins forward Jake Guentzel had already been distinguishing himself with a red-hot scoring start to the postseason, but he made a big difference in a way that won’t show up in the box score (aside from maybe as a blocked shot) for Game 1 against the Washington Capitals.

    In one of the few golden opportunities in a notably tight first period, Guentzel made a “kick save” to keep it 0-0. He also managed to avoid giving the Capitals a penalty shot in the process, so this was quite the effort from the impressive rookie.

    Video will be added soon. Here’s the moment in GIF form first:

    Lundqvist snubs Sens with 21 saves in first (Video)

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    You know how goalies claim they prefer to be busy rather than risking rust in seldom seeing shots? If that’s true, Henrik Lundqvist was really, really happy in the first period.

    The Ottawa Senators generated chance after chance in a busy opening frame of Game 1, generating a 21-12 shot differential against the New York Rangers. The game remains 0-0 in large part because Lundqvist has carried over his momentum from the Montreal Canadiens series so far.

    As you can see from the video above, Lundqvist made some absolutely fantastic saves, especially in somehow stopping Mark Stone.

    In a duller game, 21 shots on goal could a team’s entire output.

    That’s impressive stuff from what appears to be a “vintage” Lundqvist. We’ll see how much more the Rangers lean on him as this one goes along.

    Oh, and here’s a GIF of the best stop of the bunch, because seriously.

    Kunitz is in for Penguins vs. Capitals in Game 1

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    The Pittsburgh Penguins get a familiar face back in the lineup, as Chris Kunitz is good to go against the Washington Capitals in Game 1.

    The 37-year-old has been sidelined since March 31, ending his regular season with just an assist in his final nine games. His last goal came on Feb. 16.

    So, in other words … he’s not quite as big of a deal for this series as he had been in the past.

    He’ll draw into a solid fourth line with Matt Cullen and Tom Kuhnackl, while Carter Rowney will be a healthy scratch. Check out the Penguins’ line combos heading into Thursday’s showdown:

    Foligno, Getzlaf, Giordano vie for Messier Leadership Award

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    The NHL announced the three finalists for the Mark Messier Leadership Award: Nick Foligno (Columbus Blue Jackets), Ryan Getzlaf (Anaheim Ducks) and Mark Giordano (Calgary Flames).

    In case you’re curious about the process, the league explains how it works (and how the buck stops with Messier):

    Mark Messier solicits suggestions from club and League personnel as well as NHL fans to compile a list of potential candidates for the award. However, the selection of the three finalists and ultimate winner is Messier’s alone. 

    So, yes, it might come down to steeliness/60.

    Anyway, the most fun part of this award is that Getzlaf and Giordano just engaged in a first-round series, with Getzlaf’s hit on Giordano (see above) being one of the standout moments.

    Perhaps Giordano will at least get the best of Getzlaf in this one?