Wings hate storybooks, beat Coyotes and win series

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1-wings.jpgIf you thought things might get turned around after a demoralizing end to the second period for the Coyotes… Then you were still caught up in the storybook storyline potential that this Detroit-Phoenix series had. Instead, reality set in and the Wings took out the Coyotes in Game 7 of their opening round series 6-1.

Goals by Todd Bertuzzi and Nicklas Lidstrom on the power play, his second of the night, helped end the Hollywood storyline for the Coyotes in the third period. Pavel Datsyuk’s two goals in the second period and Henrik Zetterberg’s three assists showed that Detroit’s big stars were not about to go down without a fight. Jimmy Howard stopped 32 of 33 shots in what was a rather pedestrian effort despite the shot totals.

If you’re looking for a goat on the Coyotes roster, the last guy to look towards is goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov as he stopped 44 out of 50 shots he faced, meanwhile the Red Wings scored three of their six goals on the power play. It seems crazy to not blame the goaltender in a game that ended with a five goal differential, but Bryzgalov’s efforts throughout the first period kept the Coyotes hopes alive.

What killed the Coyotes was their tentative play all across the ice. In their own end, they gave all of Detroit’s players far too much room to maneuver and rather than challenging the puck carrier, they sat back and waited to collapse in on Bryzgalov to help him out. The physicality was gone for the most part (Phoenix lead in hits given 23-18, rather soft for an NHL playoff game) and the Wings were able to control the puck for large chunks of time with minimal issue.  What that all means is simple: Phoenix didn’t come to play and Detroit taught them a lesson for it.

Detroit now moves on to play San Jose in round two of the Western Conference playoffs and they’ll have a relatively quick turnaround to do so as Game 1 of that series is tentatively set to be on Thursday night. For the Coyotes, this offseason should provide some time to think and learn about what they just went through against the Wings, but expect a lot of talk this summer to be about stuff off the ice and whether fan support will carry over into next season. It’ll be fun when these kinds of topics aren’t an issue for a franchise finally turned in the right direction.

Video: Flames goalie makes incredible behind-the-back glove save

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A save of the year candidate in September? It’s possible.

Jon Gillies of the Calgary Flames made an incredible stop during Wednesday’s exhibition game against the Vancouver Canucks.

The camera angle from directly above the net is the best, as it clearly shows how Gillies appeared to bump the puck back toward the goal line, then suddenly reach back with a no-look, behind-the-back glove save to prevent a Canucks goal and stop play.

That is one incredible save.

Drouin shows ‘commitment’ to community with donation to Montreal hospital

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Jonathan Drouin has yet to play a regular season game for his new team, the Montreal Canadiens.

But after getting traded to the Habs in the summer, Drouin has already made a sizable contribution in the community, donating $500,000 over 10 years to the University of Montreal Hospital Centre and planning to help in the fundraising activities to raise an additional $5 million, according to The Canadian Press.

From Sportsnet:

“I think all of that had some impact on his overall decision making,” Drouin’s agent Allan Walsh told Sportsnet. “One day when he’s retired and 50 years old, that hospital [which will begin serving patients for the first time this coming October] will still be here and he’ll have played a role in its development. That means something to him.

“But I think more than anything else he wants to help people. If he can help people—the hospital is going to be the largest hospital in North America and there’s a tremendous need for it in the city—and if he can use the fact that he plays for the Montreal Canadiens to do that, I wish more players felt that kind of responsibility to their communities.”

As noted in the Sportsnet piece above, Drouin is following in the footsteps of Saku Koivu and P.K. Subban, who made generous donations in the community during their time in Montreal.

The Habs acquired Drouin from the Lightning in June, sending prospect defenseman Mikhail Sergachev to Tampa Bay. They then signed the 22-year-old forward — who was born in nearby Ste-Agathe, Que. — to a six-year, $33 million contract.

It won’t be long before the pressure falls on Drouin’s on-ice ability, especially playing as a potential No. 1 center in Montreal and essentially being a hometown player for the Habs. But without even playing a meaningful game for his new team, he’s already giving back to an important cause in the city.

“And when you look at that, if you make $6 million and you give $50,000 a year, it’s not a big deal and you get tax receipts,” he said, per the Montreal Gazette. “But it’s a commitment, and being involved in the community and doing something for your community I think it’s something that you have to do.”

Lupul apologizes, takes ‘full responsibility’ after calling out Maple Leafs on Instagram

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Joffrey Lupul made headlines earlier this week after appearing to make accusations against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Instagram.

The comments — which have since been deleted but caught on a screen grab — came after the Maple Leafs announced Lupul failed his physical prior to training camp for the second year in a row.

“I’m ready … just awaiting the call,” Lupul wrote in the comments section of the Instagram post, per the screen grab. “haha failed physical? They cheat. Everyone lets them.”

On Wednesday, the 33-year-old forward, who hasn’t played since the 2015-16 season, posted a statement on his verified Twitter account, saying his Instagram comments were an “inappropriate response.”

Here is his entire statement:

What’s also significant is that he stated he will not seek a second medical opinion regarding this failed physical. As previously noted, that option was available to him, although, per reports, the deadline for this was 5 p.m. on Thursday.

Lupul is in the final year of his five-year, $26.25 million contract.

Erik Cole retires as a member of the Hurricanes

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Erik Cole has officially retired.

The Carolina Hurricanes made the announcement on Wednesday, stating that Cole signed a ceremonial contract with the NHL team and retired as a member of the Hurricanes.

Now 38 years old, Cole played 892 regular season games in the NHL, scoring 265 goals and 532 points. A number of his best seasons occurred while he was with the Hurricanes, reaching 30 goals with the 2005-06 Stanley Cup winning team.

His best season came with the Montreal Canadiens in 2011-12, as he scored 35 goals and 61 points.

His last season was in 2014-15. He began the year in Dallas and was moved to Detroit at the trade deadline, but a spinal cord contusion essentially meant an end to his playing career.

From the Detroit Free Press in April, 2015:

Cole revealed Wednesday that he has a spinal cord contusion severe enough doctors have cautioned him not to play again this spring.

“It stems back from my neck injury in 2006,” Cole said. “When I ran into the player in the Arizona game, I bruised my spinal cord. A spinal contusion is something that you have to let heal and obviously, it’s a pretty serious occurrence. Doctors feel I need to look out for my well-being as a person, not just as a hockey player.”

Cole is now a team ambassador for the Hurricanes.