As soon as teams are eliminated after a deep playoff run, there are
two questions that are asked of players the next day.
kind are the reflections on the series loss, the season past and
rumination on what went wrong.
The next are saved for the pending
free agents. Hey, the season has only been over for a day, but what are
your plans moving forward?
Jaroslav Halak, the hero for the
Canadiens along the road of an improbable playoff run, will be a
restricted free agent with arbitration rights on July 1st. While the
Canadiens had previously turned via free agency to Carey Price, I’m
guessing that the team would rather have Halak for the long term. He’s
not thinking about any of that just yet:
“Right now, don’t think about it,” Halak said Tuesday when asked what
his priorities are when it comes to his contract status. “This is not
going to happen today or tomorrow, it’s going to happen over the summer.
“It’s a good question, but right now I just want to go on vacation and
put aside hockey and not think about it.”
There’s always the fear that a player that gets so hot in the
playoffs ends up being just a one-time shot in the pan, someone who
cashes in on a great postseason and never lives up to high expectations.
For Halak though, he’s a goaltender who was in high demand for the most
of the season, with the Canadiens reluctant to part ways with him via
trade unless a king’s ransom was paid.
Halak has the tools and the ability to a long-term, solid goaltender
for the Canadiens and he’s already become something of a cult figure in
I’m guessing the contract issues will work themselves out just fine.
Leafs pass Bruins for third in Atlantic after gutsy win against Columbus
It wasn’t pretty – especially if you’re disgusted by that Roman Polak hit – but the Toronto Maple Leafs keep generating big wins as a playoff return looks increasingly likely.
Toronto managed a 5-2 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday, passing the Boston Bruins for third place in the Atlantic Division:
Maple Leafs: 83 points in 72 games
Bruins: 82 points in 73 games
This leaves the currently in-action New York Islanders four points behind the Bruins for the final wild card in the East.
The Maple Leafs aren’t just grabbing key points; they’re doing so against some strong opponents who’ve had plenty on the line, too. They beat a Metro contender in Columbus tonight, the Bruins on Monday, grabbed an OT point against Chicago on Saturday and handled the desperate Lightning last Thursday.
John Tortorella was left enraged after Roman Polak delivered a dangerous boarding hit on Oliver Bjorkstrand, and he probably wasn’t too pleased after the Columbus Blue Jackets failed to make Toronto pay for Polak’s misdeeds.
Polak received a game misconduct and boarding major for the hit, but the Blue Jackets failed to score on a lengthy power play. Tortorella played to script, as cameras caught him expressing his anger at the situation.
Honestly, after 10 games, the question shouldn’t be “can Josh Ho-Sang stick with the Islanders full-time?” Instead, the feeling is … what took so long for him to get this chance?
For all the grumbling about Ho-Sang sporting number 66, he’s provided serious bursts of brilliance and creativity for the Islanders, whether he’s been supporting or even setting upJohn Tavares.
The video above is some really good stuff, as it walks through his confident comments – and undeniable uncertainty – during the night he was drafted, all the way through him getting his chance with the Isles this season. Some of the best stuff comes from Doug Weight, who raves that Ho-Sang is a “five out of five” from an offensive standpoint.
Leafs’ Nylander puts on show with breakaway goal, assist on Matthews’ 33rd
This wouldn’t have been worth a chuckle if not for the correction. (Well, maybe a chuckle at Auston Matthews‘ expense.)
On the 33rd goal of his brilliant rookie season, Auston Matthews made it 2-0 for Toronto on the power play. Crusty “act like you’ve been there” types might grumble that he actually celebrated before a goal really happened, only to tap it in for real the second time around. The rest of us, again, get a mild chuckle.
William Nylander‘s pass was nothing to laugh at, however. That one just gets a big thumbs up.