While I’m sure a potential Bruins and Flyers matchup in the East will
be great fun, and the Red Wings taking on the Sharks yet again would be
entertaining, it’s the semifinals series between Canucks and Blackhawks
I’m looking forward to the most.
These are two teams that battled
it out in last year’s playoffs, with Nikolai Khabibulin somehow able to
lead the Blackhawks to victory. Now the Hawks are a bit older, a bit
wiser, have better different goaltending and are looking to once more
rekindle that old playoff rivalry and take out the Canucks once more.
have to do it against a Vancouver team that is a bit different itself,
especially when you consider how well the Sedins are playing this
season. Throw in a Mikael Samuelsson that’s playing out of his mind and
you have a recipe for one heck of a playoff series. Joel Quenneville
acknowledges that things may get testy, but it’s the team
that’s in control that should come out on top.
“The rivalries and intensity and emotions are in place,
but at the same time in the playoffs you’ve got to have composure and
discipline and stay smart,” Quenneville said. “The focus is to win the
game and win your shifts, and retaliation is not going to be successful.
“They’re a dangerous team in a lot of ways, but let’s be
Roberto Luongo says he whispered into the ear of Patrick
Kane at the end of the Olympics “see you in the playoffs”, and this is
certainly the rematch all the Canucks have been looking forward to.
Roberto Luongo actually looked like an elite goaltender at times against
the Kings, and now Vancouver is more talented and hungrier than ever.
Bring it on.
Hall among injured Devils, but it could be much worse
When people see a hard knee-to-knee collision, the general reaction is to a) wince at the possibility for something serious and b) debate the dirtiness of said check, if you’re into that sort of discussion.
New Jersey Devils fans must have grimaced on last night, as Taylor Hall had a real scare in a collision with Kurtis MacDermid of the Los Angeles Kings, which you can witness in the video above this post’s headline.
There may have been extra grunts as this was arguably garbage time in the game, as the Devils were up 4-0 in a game they would eventually win 5-1, and Hall put on a show, including scoring this goal:
Well, Hall and the Devils didn’t go totally unscathed, but most N.J. fans will breathe sighs of relief at today’s update. Head coach John Hynes labels Hall day-to-day, with Thursday’s game at Montreal being ruled out, but there’s no structural damage to the prolific forward’s knee. The injury is considered a contusion.
So, a mostly dodged bullet there, and while the Devils are a little damaged, the injury news is generally heartening.
Like Hall, Kyle Palmieri has been ruled out for Thursday’s contest against the Habs. The Bergen Record’s Andrew Gross reports that Palmieri is in a walking boot and will probably miss a week of action. With Marcus Johansson also a little banged-up, the Devils must show some resiliency, yet the bounces go their way to some extent even here, as other teams are missing key players for longer spans of time.
This injury update seems like a worthwhile excuse to exalt Hall’s fantastic 2017-18 season, so let’s take a quick look at how special he’s been.
Hall of a time
The 26-year-old (yes, he’s still that young, and his birthday came on Nov. 14) had a perfectly fine first season with New Jersey, scoring 20 goals and 53 points in 72 games. It was the third straight season in which Hall scored on fewer than 10 percent of his shots on goal, connecting on 8.4 percent. He was an impressive possession factor, as he’s been for much of his career.
In 2017-18, he’s producing some of the best work of his woefully underrated career.
Hall has 11 goals and 20 assists for 31 points in 30 contests, leading the Devils by 11 points. With a 1.03 points-per-game average, he’s on one of the best paces of his career, and if this knee issue is truly minor, he could set some career-highs. Sadly, inopportune injuries have been almost as much of an unfortunate theme for Hall as has been “lottery luck.”
Officially adding "NHL lottery ball specialist" to my hockey resume.
It will be tough for Hall to top his best-ever work in 2013-14, when he scored 27 goals and 80 points in 75 contests, but perhaps he’ll finish closer to 80 GP and match at least one of those marks?
Of course, Hall likely values a possible first playoff run more than any individual milestones.
You hear that sort of talk quite frequently with players, yet that cliche is virtually guaranteed to be the honest truth for Hall. If anyone deserves the sort of bounces that have been going the Devils’ way so far this season, it’s this long-suffering left winger.
So here’s hoping that his knee issue really is minor, and he can get back to reminding observers that he’s one of the best wingers in the NHL.
In what should come as no surprise, the Deutsche Eishockey Liga has changed its rule regarding when a goaltender goes and pulls a David Leggio when facing an odd-man rush.
According to Wednesday’s league announcement, should a goaltender purposely dislodge his own net to prevent a scoring chance, a goal will be awarded. The original league rule, which followed IIHF guidelines, awarded a penalty shot.
The change was in response to Leggio’s actions on Friday night while playing with EHC Red Bull München. With Ross Mauermann of the Fischtown Pinguins skating in on a breakaway, the netminder turned and knocked his net off, stopping play and eliminating the scoring chance.
Leggio, who was also fined an unspecified amount for “gross unsportsmanlike conduct,” would go on and stop the penalty shot during a 5-2 Munchen victory.
Appearing on NHL Network earlier this week, Leggio told E.J. Hradek that from where he stood he thought he was facing a 2-on-0 and not a 1-on-0 breakaway, which is why he went to the move he pulled in the AHL in 2014. (The AHL would tweak its own rule that awarded a penalty shot to also eject the goaltender.) If he would have realized it was just a simple 1-on-0 breakaway, he said he would have preferred to face that rather than a penalty shot.
“When I was at the World Championships playing for USA, I went in the game and [Russia] had a 3-on-0 with Ovechkin and Tikhonov and surprise, surprise, they scored,” he said. “That would have taken some courage to do it in that situation. So I figured out the rule [and] if this ever happens again let’s take the percentages and take the penalty shot instead.”
Leggio added that during his second year in Germany, when the league implemented 3-on-3 in overtime, he spoke with officials to clarify what the rule was in that situation. When he was informed the punishment would only be a penalty shot, he knew he could pull off his famous move at during an odd-man rush.
You can love what Leggio did or you could think it’s a cheap move, but you have to give him credit for knowing the rules and taking advantage of them. Two leagues in two different countries have now tweaked their rulebook because the Williamsville, N.Y. native found a creative way to prevent a scoring chance.
Leggio is also now 2-for-2 in stopping penalty shots following a net dislodging, so maybe he’ll move on to another country next season and keep that streak going.
Tuesday was just a day to forget for the Columbus Blue Jackets. Not only did they get obliterated by the Edmonton Oilers, 7-2, but they also lost center Brandon Dubinsky to injury.
Dubinsky was shaken up after taking punches from Oilers forward Zack Kassian with under two minutes remaining in the game.
As you can tell from the video above, Kassian dropped the gloves and started going after the Jackets forward, who was just ducking for cover. Dubinsky took a few good shots before skating off the ice very slowly.
“Brandon suffered an orbital bone fracture that will keep him out of the lineup for six to eight weeks,” said Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen. “At this time, the damage has not affected the function of his eye and long-term vision. He will continue to be monitored closely by our medical team.
NBCSN’s coverage of the 2017-18 season continues on Wednesday night, as the Detroit Red Wings host the Boston Bruins at 8:00 p.m. ET. You can watch the game online by clicking here.
There’s only four points separating the Bruins and Red Wings (Boston is ahead), but they seem to heading in opposition directions.
The Bruins, who are currently third in the Atlantic Division standings, have been on a roll of late. They’ve won back-to-back games and eight of their last 10.
Boston will want to take care of business against their division rival, but they’ll also have to leave something in the tank for the Washington Capitals, who are coming to town the next day.
“Detroit’s going to be a tough game. I remember playing there in preseason and it was the first game (in the new Little Caesar’s Arena) so they had lots of fans there and it way pretty loud. We have to be ready for that,” said Jake DeBrusk, per the Boston Herald. “And obviously Washington, they’re coming to town and they’re playing really well right now. We just make sure we save our energy, keep our legs, play the right way and get out front as fast possible.”
Tuukka Rask will be between the pipes for the Bruins. The 30-year-old has won each of his last four decisions. He’s given up two goals or less in each of those outings.
The Red Wings come into tonight’s clash having won just one of their last 10 games (1-5-4). Even though Detroit is four points away from a playoff spot, they’re also just six points away from the basement of the conference.
“Mistakes that people make is they get away from the process when they’re not getting (results). They panic too early and they don’t stay with it.”
Sticking with “it” might be hard considering the Red Wings can’t seem to find the win column with any regularity. Their refusal to rebuild is a little concerning at this point. Their roster needs a lot of work and the fact that they’re so close to a playoff spot might be a bad thing considering the team needs to get younger.
They’ve signed veterans like Frans Nielsen and Trevor Daley over the last couple of off-seasons, which hasn’t helped. They missed the playoffs last year and they’re on their way to missing them again if they don’t turn things around soon.