Ryan Miller makes Buffalo a Cup contender

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NBC Playoff Coverage

Game 2: Boston Bruins at Buffalo Sabres (Buffalo leads series 1-0)

Live on NBC at 1:00 PM ET

The other day, the subject of the league’s best goalies came up and I couldn’t help but realize that – at least in this moment in time – it is difficult to make an argument against Ryan Miller being the gold standard in net. Roberto Luongo and Evgeni Nabokov are struggling. Goalies such as Craig Anderson seem like they need to put together another great season or two before they can be considered among the league’s best.

So, perhaps that leaves Ryan Miller alone as the league’s best goalie. Maybe. Either way, Miller’s jump from “very good” to one of the league’s best gives his team their first sniff of true contender status since the exodus of Daniel Briere and Chris Drury.

Whatever way you slice it, the Team USA hero is crucial to the Buffalo Sabres’ under-the-radar run at their first ever Stanley Cup. While I’ve brought up the fact that Sabres’ offense has been stealthily hot to finish the season, there is no doubt that the team’s hopes truly start and stop with Miller.

Miller was the best player in Thursday’s 2-1 win for Buffalo. He managed to put up a stunning 38-save performance, only allowing one goal during a desperate 24 shot run at one point by the Bruins. Overall, Miller put up a no-brainer Vezina trophy season; he had career bests with a 41-18-8 record with a 2.22 goals against average and a 92.9 save percentage.

Most of the talk out of Boston centers on the Bruins’ befuddled attempts to fill the net. Judging from Miller’s season and Game 1 output, there may not be many answers for Boston in this series. (Of course, saying that, Miller will surely be jinxed as the two teams put together an improbable goal buffet in tonight’s afternoon NBC game.)

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    WATCH LIVE: Los Angeles Kings vs Anaheim Ducks

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    CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

    PROJECTED LINES

    Los Angeles Kings

    Adrian KempeAnze KopitarDustin Brown

    Tanner PearsonTrevor LewisTyler Toffoli

    Alex IafalloNick ShoreMarian Gaborik

    Kyle CliffordTorrey MitchellAndy Andreoff

    Derek ForbortDrew Doughty

    Jake MuzzinAlec Martinez

    Kevin Gravel– Christian Folin

    Starting Goalie: Darcy Kuemper

    NHL on NBCSN: Kings look to end losing streak vs. Ducks

    Anaheim Ducks

    Rickard RakellRyan GetzlafCorey Perry

    Andrew CoglianoRyan KeslerJakob Silfverberg

    Nick RitchieAdam HenriqueOndrej Kase

    Chris WagnerAntoine VermetteJ.T. Brown

    Cam FowlerKevin Bieksa

    Hampus LindholmJosh Manson

    Francois BeaucheminBrandon Montour

    Starting Goalie: John Gibson

    Red Fisher, as told by those who knew him

    The Canadian Press
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    Red Fisher is a mythical name in sports journalism.

    Fisher’s death on Friday at 91 sent shockwaves through the National Hockey League community, and stories upon stories — snippets of Fisher and his life — began circulation around the Internet, many on Twitter by those who worked alongside him and those who had the pleasure to speak with the man.

    Fisher’s life will be immortalized in print in the coming days. Michael Farber wrote this beautifully done piece for the Montreal Gazette already today. A must-read.

    Here’s what his contemporary’s are saying, those that revere him and the people who Fisher made an impact on in so many ways:

     

    Kraken? Totems? New domains raise interesting Seattle possibilities

    Oak View Group
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    It’s all in the name. A domain name.

    As DetroitHockey.net’s Clark Rasmussen points out, even though a Seattle franchise hasn’t been announced yet, it hasn’t stopped some interesting speculation as to what that team would be called if and when that announcement comes.

    The Seattle Kraken? Totems? Rainers? They’re all interesting (and perhaps potential) possibilities for what would be the NHL’s 32nd franchise.

    Rasmussen has been following the registration of domain names for websites that are cropping up over the past several weeks. Many, he says, are bought by “known domain speculators” looking to make a quick buck if their speculation turns out to be accurate.

    But Rasmussen stumbled upon something a little meatier on Thursday.

    “By my count, 38 domains representing 13 different possible names were registered under the name of Christina Song,” Rasmussen wrote on his blog. “Ms. Song, according to her LinkedIn profile, is General Counsel at Oak View Group, who won the bid to redevelop Seattle’s Key Arena on December 4. The domains were registered via an email address for a lawyer at Gibson Dunn. That firm assisted Oak View Group in the Key Arena bid process.”

    Rasmussen isn’t new to this. He did some great work in the lead up to the naming of the Vegas Golden Knights.

    Rasmussen is quick to point out that 13 names that were registered don’t necessarily mean one of them will be the chosen name for the new club.

    “The franchise hasn’t even been applied for,” he writes, noting that the ownership group hasn’t even been formed yet. “There is the distinct possibility that this is nothing. That said, someone so close to the process applying for so many related domains is worth noting.”

    Indeed.

    The names Rasmussen found were:

    Seattle Cougars
    Seattle Eagles
    Seattle Emeralds
    Seattle Evergreens
    Seattle Firebirds
    Seattle Kraken
    Seattle Rainiers
    Seattle Renegades
    Seattle Sea Lions
    Seattle Seals
    Seattle Sockeyes
    Seattle Totems
    Seattle Whales

    In an update to his original story later on Friday, Rasmussen identified 38 domains that were registered on Thursday for two years.

    They are:

    seattle-cougars.com
    seattlecougarshockey.com
    seattleeagles.com
    seattle-eagles.com
    seattleeagleshockey.com
    emeraldshockey.com
    seattle-emeralds.com
    seattleemeraldshockey.com
    evergreenshockey.com
    seattleevergreens.com
    seattle-evergreens.com
    seattleevergreenshockey.com
    firebirdshockey.com
    seattlefirebirds.com
    seattle-firebirds.com
    seattlefirebirdshockey.com
    seattle-kraken.com
    seattlekrakenhockey.com
    rainiershockey.com
    seattle-rainiers.com
    seattlerainiershockey.com
    seattlerenegades.com
    seattle-renegades.com
    seattlerenegadeshockey.com
    sealionshockey.com
    seattle-sealions.com
    seattle-sea-lions.com
    seattlesealionshockey.com
    seattleseals.com
    seattle-seals.com
    seattlesealshockey.com
    seattle-sockeyes.com
    seattlesockeyeshockey.com
    seattle-totems.com
    whaleshockey.com
    seattlewhales.com
    seattle-whales.com
    seattlewhaleshockey.com


    Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

    No suspensions, just fines for Dustin Brown, Evgeni Malkin

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    At least one things seems consistent when it comes to the NHL’s fines and suspensions: Dustin Brown sure has a knack for avoiding supplemental discipline.

    The hard-hitting Los Angeles Kings forward agitates and frustrates, and sometimes he hurts with polarizing hits. Yet, even with a resume full of debatable checks, Brown only has one suspension to his name.

    Many expected that toll to rise to two today after an ugly looking cross-check on Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Justin Schultz, but that was not the case. Instead, the Department of Player Safety is only giving Brown a $10K fine.

    Evgeni Malkin was also fined $5K for spearing Brown (video isn’t available at the moment, but many claim that Malkin speared Brown in the groin).

    The Penguins ended up winning last night 3-1, adding to their recent upswing and extending the Kings’ losing streak to five games.

    You can see the Brown incident, which drew a match penalty, in the video above this post’s headline. Brown explained his side of the story, as you can see in this post, and maybe that hearing ended up going in his favor?

    “I’m going to close on him. He stumbles, toe picks. I don’t drive him into the wall or anything,” Brown said afterward via LA Kings Insider. “Also, closing on the play, at the most it’s probably a two, I think. I mean, who knows because of the protocol and all that, but it’s one of those plays where I’m going to close and he’s in an unfortunate spot.”

    The bright side is that Schultz at least seems OK.

    Even so, plenty of people are upset with this drawing a mere fine instead of forcing Brown to miss time, particularly in the backdrop of Andrew Cogliano seeing his ironman streak end thanks to a two-game suspension.

    This isn’t just a matter of Penguins fans griping, either, as Brown tends to draw wider ire from observers in moments like these.

    The Department of Player Safety is no stranger to handing out head-scratching rulings, but we’re no longer in the Brendan Shanahan days in which there would be more widespread explanations for decisions. The league seems responsive when it comes to complaints about spin-o-ramas and lengthy offside reviews, but when it comes to suspensions and fines, it seems like fans and media are still on for an uphill battle.

    James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.