The PHT Nightcap: Friday, July 23rd

Even in the depressingly hockey-free summer, we expect to be a productive bunch here at Pro Hockey Talk. Sometimes it might be difficult to follow our pace. We understand that. For that reason, whenever we can, we’ll put all of the day’s stories in one convenient post called the PHT Nightcap. Enjoy, hockey fans.

Henrik Zetterberg’s wedding photos show that they party like it’s 1929 – So weird. So Swedish.

Dallas Stars sign Fabian Brunnstrom – Example 4,350 of why most sought-after imports don’t work out.

Agents say that the NHL cannot block Ilya Kovalchuk’s contract – They also deny fan-created rumors that their hearts are made out of coal.

MSG Network won’t bring back Billy Jaffe – Jaffe was too critical of the Islanders, apparently. I hear they’re auditioning someone who will be more in line with their preferences regarding criticism. That person is blind.

Sami Salo out indefinitely – Well, at least he didn’t injure himself riding a motorcycle or washing his car.

War veteran chooses to lose limb to keep playing hockey

Cliff Viner named sole managing partner of the Florida Panthers – In semi-related news, James Brown was named the soul managing partner of the afterlife. That’s an R & B joke, folks.

Blackhawks sign Bryan Bickell – They lost a lot of girth this summer, but Bickell will keep them in the heavyweight division.

Kevin Smith discusses “Hit Somebody,” filming in Detroit – If I were to make a movie about Smith’s career, it would be called “Hit or Miss.”

Would Detroit be better off without Mike Modano? – I’d say yes.

Yzerman’s latest moves – It’s been a summer of considerable change in Tampa Bay.

Updates on Nicklas Grossman, James Neal, Bobby Ryan – Will James Neal get a “real deal”?

2011 NHL All-Star Game logo to be unveiled Monday – The Duke Blue Devils and North Carolina Tar Heels will probably not be involved. Probably not.

Poile reflects on signing Blake Geoffrion, growing hockey in Nashville – It’s been an uphill battle in Tennessee, but signing a native of the area must be a good sign. (Even if his lineage indicates that the game was passed down from his father rather than the NHL team).

Gilbert Brule could get a big raise – Perhaps the true danger of free agent signing periods lies in the smaller deals, rather than the blockbuster Kovalchuk-type contracts? No, it’s probably in the latter, but still.

Tyler Seguin impressed by turnout, fan knowledge during Bruins development camp – That kid’s a keeper, I tell you.

Scroll Down For:

    Pens coach praises Murray: ‘He doesn’t get rattled’

    1 Comment

    Hot take: the Pittsburgh Penguins probably won’t deal with a goalie controversy going into Game 7.

    (Ugh, that’s a failed hot take … you can’t use “probably” in those things, right?)

    Matt Murray was fantastic at times during Game 6, much like his counterpart in the Tampa Bay Lightning’s net in a 5-2 win. Granted, there were some tense moments during the Bolts’ late-game push:

    Much has been made about experience, especially from those calling for Marc-Andre Fleury earlier in this series. It’s telling that the praise Murray draws sure sounds like what you’d expect from a “veteran.”

    “He has a calming influence,” Sullivan said. “He doesn’t get rattled. If he lets a goal in, he just continues to compete. That’s usually an attribute that usually takes years to acquire that, and to have it at such a young age is impressive.”

    Thanks in part to Murray’s efforts in Game 6, he’ll get a chance to prove his resolve in something new: a Game 7 in the Eastern Conference Final.

    Once again, his teammates seem pretty confident in this elimination situation.

    Lightning lament Game 6 effort, Cooper doesn’t blame disallowed goal

    7 Comments

    The Tampa Bay Lightning seemed to sleepwalk through the first two periods of Game 6, and waking up in the final frame wasn’t enough to edge the Pittsburgh Penguins.

    On the bright side, at least the Lightning aren’t in denial about that weak first 40 minutes.

    It seemed like everyone on the team more or less admitted as much in unison.

    Brian Boyle added that he felt like the Lightning tiptoed around this game. Jon Cooper often provides great quips, yet he was pretty matter-of-fact in this case.

    Many will linger on this disallowed goal for Jonathan Drouin, which would have provided a 1-0 lead for Tampa Bay in the first period.

    Let’s face it; that moment came pretty early in the game. To Tampa Bay’s credit, they’re not pinning the loss on that setback.

    Now they must set their sights on competing throughout Game 7 … and maybe earning some bounces of their own in the process.

    Read more about Game 6 here.

    Penguins force Game 7 after holding off Lightning rally

    18 Comments

    The Pittsburgh Penguins played with fire late in Game 6, but they also showed plenty of fire in beating the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-2.

    With that, this thrilling Eastern Conference Final will go the distance with Game 7 on Thursday.

    There are at least a few “What if?” scenarios to consider, especially for the Lightning.

    What if that offside goal counted?

    Jonathan Drouin played some fantastic hockey on Tuesday, yet his most memorable moment came via something that ultimately “didn’t happen.” An offside call on a goal review kept a 1-0 lead from happening for Tampa Bay:

    Instead, the Penguins poured it on during the first period and eventually went up 1-0. They then carried that momentum over through the second period, adding two more goals to go up 3-0 heading into the final frame.

    What if Tampa Bay played more like they did in the third period?

    The difference between the level of play in the first 40 minutes and the final frame were night-and-day.

    Now, you can make a chicken-and-the-egg argument here. Did the Penguins take their feet off the gas with that lead? Maybe Jon Cooper finally unleashed the hounds when the Lightning were facing a big deficit?

    Maybe it’s a combination of those factors; either way, the Bolts couldn’t come all the way back even after making it interesting. At one point the game was 3-2 before a Bryan Rust breakaway goal and an empty-netter put things out of reach.

    Both Matt Murray and Andrei Vasilevskiy faced plenty of tough chances and came through more often than not. We’ll see if there are any goal controversy rumblings, but each netminder came through at times tonight.

    ***

    Now the series shifts back to Pittsburgh for Game 7 with a Stanley Cup Final on the line. Excited and/or nervous yet?

    More: Great goals by Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel.

    Sidney Crosby scores a superstar goal

    11 Comments

    With the Pittsburgh Penguins’ season on the line in Game 6, plenty of eyes are on big guns Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang and Phil Kessel.

    Those marquee names are really coming through so far as they’ve now built a 3-0 lead through two periods against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

    You likely already saw Kessel’s display of high-end hand-eye coordination (if not, check it here). Kris Letang scored his first goal of the series to make it 2-0 on a very tricky, well-placed shot.

    The highlight really might be Crosby’s tally, though. He left multiple Lightning players baffled and beat a very-much-game Andrei Vasilevskiy to beef that lead up 3-0.