Luongo, O'Brien losing touch with reality

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Luongo2.jpgInstead of taking responsibility for his own play in net, Roberto
Luongo is looking instead to change his luck. The playoff beard is gone,
obviously the cause for his troubles in the second round against the
Chicago Blackhawks. The goaltender says he’s “trying to change things up
a bit” as the Canucks hope to stave off elimination in Game 5 against
Chicago.

Shaving off the beard is all well and good, signifying a
fresh start and all that, perhaps the complete disconnect between the
players’ mindsets about their own play and the reality their coach is
seeing that should truly be worrisome.

Shane O’Brien, once praised
for keeping his cool and settling in defensively against the Kings, has
now been at the forefront of his team losing their collective minds at
the wrong time. With their season on the line,
O’Brien makes perhaps the most boneheaded comment of them all:

“We are in a situation where probably nobody thinks we can come back;
the odds are we probably can’t. We are going to give it our best go.”

Now, I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt here. I don’t
know what his tone was when he said it, and I certainly don’t know the
exact context of the comment itself. But saying that the odds are that
his team can’t come back isn’t exactly the best statement to make after
his team decided to stop playing hockey and swing and punch like a bunch
of spoiled kids who were pushed down on the playground for the first
time. The Blackhawks have found out exactly what to do to beat
Vancouver, and they’re exploiting that weakness all the way to a series
win

While the rest of his team agrees that they just need to stay out of
the penalty box, O’Brien decided that perhaps the officiating was to
blame, saying that perhaps “that’s our fault for yelling at the refs
during the season.”

His coach knows the reality of the situation however, and I’m sure
that if the Canucks had a better defensive situation available O’Brien
would find his value on this team diminish in a hurry. Alain Vigneault
knows that his team was outplayed in the three losses, and that his team
needs to learn to keep itself out of the box:

“All the penalties we took are penalties we deserved,” he said.
“Officiating has got nothing to do with it.”

After the first round, the Canucks became my favorite to win the
Stanley Cup. I felt that with the offense they possessed, all they
needed was for Roberto Luongo to just manage to be good. Not great, just
good. Instead, he’s looked like someone who’s more interested in
yelling at the officials than stopping the puck and even then it’s a bit
half-hearted. The rest of the team hasn’t shown much more of a heart
themselves, and therein lies the reason that the Cancucks are facing a
3-1 series deficit and what’s likely to be eventual elimination.

If the captain has no heart, why would the rest of the team?

Bergeron takes advantage of slow Sens change, sends Game 6 to OT (Video)

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Every game in this Senators – Bruins series has been decided by one goal, so why not send Game 6 to overtime?

Oh, and speaking of overtime, this contest going beyond regulation makes it 17 OT games, tying an NHL record for the most in a single round.

Ottawa appeared to take a “lazy change” with a 2-1 lead, and Patrice Bergeron made the Senators pay, putting in a rebound to collect the goal that eventually sent this contest to overtime.

VIDEO: Bruins take three delay of game penalties in first period

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The delay of game-puck over the glass rule is the one call in the NHL that gets made pretty consistently. It might get missed on occasion, but it’s a pretty black and white rule.

If you shoot the puck over the glass in your own defensive zone without it hitting another object, it is a penalty. Really nothing to argue about there.

The Boston Bruins had some issues with it in the first period of Sunday’s playoff game against the Ottawa Senators when they took three — three! — delay of game penalties in the first 15 minutes of Game 6, giving the Senators plenty of opportunities to draw first on the scoreboard.

It all started 17 seconds into the game when Sean Kuraly, the Bruins’ Game  5 overtime hero, was guilty of it. Twelve minutes later, Joe Morrow was guilty of it. Then three minutes after that, Colin Miller sent one over the glass. You can see them all in the video above.

Fortunately for the Bruins they were able to kill off all three penalties and keep the game scoreless.

Because hockey can sometimes be a random, unpredictable and maddening game, the Bruins got a power play of their own late in the period when Mark Stone was sent off for tripping. It took the Bruins less than a minute to capitalize when Drew Stafford scored his first goal of the playoffs to give his team a 1-0 lead.

So through all of that — three penalties and a 12-6 shots disadvantage that included a clear breakaway on Tuukka Rask — the Bruins went into the first intermission with the lead.

The lead did not last long into the second period, however, thanks to Ottawa goals from Bobby Ryan and Kyle Turris.

The Bruins’ issues keeping the puck in play in the period was very reminiscent of that Penguins-Capitals playoff game a year ago when the Penguins, when trying to protect a third period lead, took three consecutive delay of game penalties in the third period of Game 6, opening the door for a Capitals comeback that sent the game to overtime. The Penguins ended up winning the game anyway to clinch the series.

Couture wants Sharks to re-sign Thornton, Marleau

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The San Jose Sharks 3-1 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night was not only the end of their 2016-17 season, it could have also been the end of an era.

With veterans Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau eligible for unrestricted free agency on July 1, their future with the team remains uncertain, and neither one seemed prepared to talk about it in the immediate aftermath of Saturday’s defeat.

Sharks forward Logan Couture was asked if he wants to see the two players return next season and made it pretty clear that he does.

“You’re asking a guy who’s played with those guys for eight years,” said Couture, via Paul Gackle of the Mecrury News. “I love those guys. They play hard. If you guys only knew what they play through. The respect level that I have for those two guys is just through the roof.”

There are a number of variables that are going to play a role in whether or not the two leading scorers in franchise history will be back.

Along with their willingness to return is the fact that both players will be entering their age 38 seasons and already showed some signs of slowing down this season. How much cap space are the Sharks going to be willing to invest in the duo when they already have $55.7 million in salary cap space committed to 16 players for next season, especially given their ages.

If this does turn out to be the end for Thornton and/or Marleau in San Jose their time will be remembered more for not winning a Stanley Cup and probably not for how much success they have actually had on the ice, both individually and as a team. Not only have Thornton and Marleau been two of the NHL’s best and most productive players over the past decade, but the Sharks have been one of the NHL’s best teams. Since the 2005-06 season, when Thornton first arrived in San Jose, the Sharks have won a league best 547 regular season games (11 more than the team with the second-most wins, the Pittsburgh Penguins) while their 64 playoff wins are tied for the fourth most (Anaheim Ducks) behind only the Pittsburgh Penguins, Chicago Blackhawks, and Detroit Red Wings.

WATCH LIVE: Maple Leafs, Bruins facing elimination on Sunday

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It is a win or go home situation for the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday, as both teams enter their respective Game 6s facing elimination in their first-round playoff series’.

The Bruins need to beat the Ottawa Senators to force a Game 7 on Tuesday night, while the Toronto Maple Leafs need a win to extend their series against the Presidents’ Trophy winning Washington Capitals to a decisive seventh game on Wednesday.

Both games will be shown on the NBC Networks and streamed online.

Here is all of the information you need for Sunday’s games.

Boston Bruins vs. Ottawa Senators

Time: 3:00 p.m. ET

Network: NBC (Stream Online Here)

Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Washington Capitals

Time: 7:00 p.m. ET

Network: NBCSN (Stream Online Here)