The Windsor Spitfires became one of only eight teams to win back-to-back Memorial Cup tonight, destroying the Brandon Wheat Kings 9-1. Considering the fact that probable No. 1 pick Taylor Hall became the first player to ever win back-to-back tournament MVPs, you have to wonder if – somewhere – the Edmonton Oilers are smiling.
Allan Maki covered the game for The Globe and Mail.
After winning 50 regular-season games, another 16 in the Ontario Hockey League playoffs and four more at the 2010 MasterCard Memorial Cup, the Spitfires are once again the undisputed leaders of the pack, one of the best junior teams ever assembled.
Their embarrassingly efficient 9-1 win over the Brandon Wheat Kings, in the Wheaties’ own Westman Place arena Sunday night, gave the Spitfires a second consecutive national championship. It also earned them a slice of history. Only eight teams have now won back-to-back Memorial Cups, and the Spitfires can now hold their heads up with the 1994-95 Kamloops Blazers, 1980-81 Cornwall Royals and all the other repeat champs.
Maki has some justification for claiming that the Windsor Spitfires are one of the best junior teams of all-time. Here’s more on the Spitfires from Maki.
The Spitfires answered every question, every challenge here. Their line-up featured 10 NHL draft picks and two players (Hall and defenceman Cam Fowler) who are expected to be taken in the first five picks of next month’s draft. When scored on, they scored back. When given a break, they took full advantage.
My guess is Edmonton is hoping that this great night will just be a footnote in Hall’s hockey career. Unless, of course, the Oilers choose Tyler Seguin instead …
The Boston Bruins keep flipping the script.
In Wednesday’s case, it swerved to a “Cinderella” story, as little-known forward Frank Vatrano scored two of Boston’s three goals – including the overtime clincher – as the B’s beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 (OT).
Here’s his first goal of the night:
While this is his overtime game-winner:
It wasn’t a perfect night for the 21-year-old, yet it may have been a convincing one.
The Bruins continue to begin a month on a sour note before ending up with impressive sprees.
October: 0-3-0 start, finished month with four straight wins and victories in six of seven contests.
November: 0-3-0 start, losses in four of five; currently on a four-game winning strek with victories in five of six.
Boston faces a challenge in closing this month out against the Rangers on Friday, and it’s possible that this trend may continue, as they begin December with a three-game road trip through Western Canada.
More than anything else, the safest bet with the Bruins is for ups and downs.
Controversy just seems to find the Pittsburgh Penguins. Credit Sidney Crosby & Co. for responding with a win on Wednesday.
Crosby generated two pretty goals, including this slam-dunk slapper:
… While Evgeni Malkin‘s overtime-winner stood as the Penguins managed a 4-3 overtime win against the St. Louis Blues tonight.
(You can see Malkin’s OT-clincher in the video above this post.)
Will this win and strong performance from Crosby silence murmurs about his relationship with Mario Lemieux? Probably not, yet it likely turns the volume down in some ways, including killing the “Is he struggling because of distractions” storyline.
You know, at least for a little while. Maybe.
Claude Giroux isn’t the nastiest, most physical captain the Philadelphia Flyers have employed. Even so, he can be feisty at times.
Wednesday showed that, as he clearly wasn’t happy with an earlier Nick Leddy hit, and eventually got the New York Islanders defenseman to drop his gloves.
You can see the fight and the check that inspired that scrap in the video above.
It’s the fourth fight Giroux has been a part of, with his most recent adversary being may his most bitter rival.
Not a heavyweight bout between Giroux and Leddy, mind you, but sometimes it’s amusing to soak in such a rare sight.
Update: The fight may have inspired the Islanders more than the Flyers, as they bested Philly 3-1 on Wednesday.
Carter Hutton is getting something that might make fellow Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne jealous: goal support.
Still, there was at least one moment where Rinne was likely happy to be on the bench, as Hutton was left flipping during this collision with Buffalo Sabres forward Marcus Foligno:
Remarkably, Hutton remained in the game.
If you’re the type who loves adding to your “hockey players are tough” files, put this under the goalies section.
Check out this incredible shot of that moment:
Update: The Predators held off the Buffalo Sabres to win 3-2.