2010 NHL Draft: Panthers may be taking Gudbranson third overall

While a lot of the talk surrounding Friday’s NHL Draft surrounds the Tyler Seguin/Taylor Hall debate for who will go to the Edmonton Oilers and Boston Bruins, it’s looking like the Florida Panthers, picking third, have zeroed in on who they’re looking to take in the third spot. George Richards from On Frozen Pond fills us in.

A few signs on Friday pointed to Gudbranson being Florida’s choice at No. 3 – with two general managers within the Panthers division saying they are penciling him in as Florida’s selection.

Not only is Gudbranson a physical specimen at 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds who plays a tough brand of hockey. But Gudbranson is also a good looking, well spoken player the team will be able to market to South Florida.

Gudbranson is a beast of a specimen as far as things go and other writers have taken notice of him as well, like Islanders Point Blank’s Chris Botta sharing a couple of nice quotes from the soon-to-be first round pick.
On his trip to Long Island: “Everyone lays on the (car) horn pretty good,” he said with a smile, adding that he loved his visit with Garth Snow and to the Coliseum. “You walk in the arena, people say it’s a dump, but you see all the banners and see all the history. I was really blown away by that. That had an effect on me.”
If he’s blown away by the facilities in Nassau County, then the arena in Sunrise, Florida as well as Miami’s South Beach should really knock him on his rear end when/if the Panthers take him. In fact, I hope the Panthers were smart enough to take him the long way to the arena for a visit, the kind that shows off the beaches a lot.

After all, showing off a 14 year-old Eastern Conference championship banner kind of loses its luster after a while, especially when the guys being drafted this year were four years-old when the Panthers were last that deep into the playoffs in 1996. There, now I feel sufficiently far too old now.

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    Game on: Penguins even series with rival Capitals

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    The Pittsburgh Penguins will head back home with a split of their second-round series with the rival Washington Capitals.

    Former Capitals forward Eric Fehr came back to burn his hold team, as he scored with under five minutes remaining in regulation to help lift the Penguins over Washington with a 2-1 victory in an eventful Game 2 on Saturday. Evgeni Malkin threw the puck toward the net and Fehr was able to re-direct it by Braden Holtby.

    Oh, this was an eventful game, indeed.

    It started early in the first period with Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik catching Penguins blue liner Olli Maatta with a late and high hit that warranted — at least for now — only a minor penalty for interference. Maatta, clearly in distress following the hit, didn’t play another shift and saw only 31 seconds of ice time in total, as Pittsburgh was reduced to five defensemen for the remainder of the game.

    It continued in the third period. Kris Letang was furious after getting called for a trip on Justin Williams, and even more ticked off when the Capitals tied the game on the ensuing power play.

    For two periods, the Capitals couldn’t get much going. Only four of their players had registered a shot on goal through 40 minutes, while the Penguins held the edge in that department and held the lead.

    Washington came out with more jump in the third period, testing rookie netminder Matt Murray with 14 shots in the final 20 minutes. But the Penguins got the late goal to break the deadlock.

    Video: Penguins’ Letang was furious after Capitals tie up Game 2 with power play goal

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    Kris Letang watched from the penalty box as the Washington Capitals tied up Game 2 with a power play goal in the third period. The Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman was called for tripping after he appeared to muscle Justin Williams off the puck as he entered the zone.

    Letang let his disagreement with the call be known at the time, and was furious after the Capitals capitalized on a goal from Marcus Johansson.

    The Capitals started the period down a goal and being outshot 28-10 by the Penguins, who need a win to even the series.

    Also, it seems this is worth mentioning:

    Video: Hagelin goes top shelf to give Penguins the lead in Game 2

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    In their quest to even the series, the Pittsburgh Penguins had done a nice job through two periods of suffocating the Washington Capitals, while gaining the lead on a beautiful goal.

    Carl Hagelin took advantage of a vast amount of space that opened up in front of the Washington net, finishing off a nice pass from Nick Bonino, burying his shot just under the cross bar on the glove side of Braden Holtby.

    Through two periods, the Penguins were outshooting Washington 28-10. Only four Capitals players — Alex Ovechkin, T.J. Oshie, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Matt Niskanen — had registered shots on goal.

    Video: Orpik penalized after catching Maatta with late, high hit

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    The Pittsburgh Penguins were without defenseman Olli Maatta for most of the first period of Game 2 after he was on the receiving end of a high, late hit from Washington Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik.

    The hit occurred early in the first period, well after Maatta had gotten rid of the puck on a rush into the Washington zone.

    Maatta, who nearly fell over as he tried to stand back up, was in obvious distress as he went to the dressing room. Orpik was given a minor penalty for interference on the play.