Whether he chooses to be or not, Lightning goalie Dan Ellis ends up the focus of attention. We saw it earlier this year when he spoke out about how he worries about money and it happened again after Edmonton’s Linus Omark beat Tampa Bay with a remarkable spinorama goal in the shootout. The Lightning didn’t appreciate Omark’s show of flair and sparked a debate over whether or not it’s disrespectful to do something like that in the game.
Today during Lightning practice, they decided to have a little bit of fun and work on some spinoramas of their own. Keeping it lighthearted and fun (and amongst your teammates) does a lot to help keep cooler heads prevailed. In Dan Ellis’ case, it helped him to calm down and enjoy the finer points of offensive hockey. Mike Corcoran of ESPN 1040 in Tampa has the story.
After practice, Dan Ellis talked a bit about the controversy about spin-o-rama’s in shootouts.
“I think a lot was made of the Omark thing.” Ellis said. “Bottom line, the kid scored. If he does something like that, that gets the fans off their feet in like it did in Edmonton, so be it. I think it was a little bit touchy for our team because it was the kid’s first game and we thought it was a bit gutsy. In the end, if we want to go spin every time and put the puck in the net, then so be it.”
You know that Ellis didn’t like being the guy that was the “victim” of such a highlight reel goal and it’s a point of pride for a goaltender to not end up being “posterized” like that. You can read it in his words here that he’s still a bit ticked about but realizes that continuing to harp on it won’t do him nor the rest of the team any favors in the court of public opinion.
Of course, if Ellis and the rest of the Lightning and anyone else that didn’t care for his move doesn’t like it, they can just stop him from scoring.
It doesn’t get much better than a player making the type of save you’d only expect from a goalie. OK, how about this: when it happens amid the high stakes of the Stanley Cup Playoffs?
Pittsburgh Penguins forward Jake Guentzel had already been distinguishing himself with a red-hot scoring start to the postseason, but he made a big difference in a way that won’t show up in the box score (aside from maybe as a blocked shot) for Game 1 against the Washington Capitals.
In one of the few golden opportunities in a notably tight first period, Guentzel made a “kick save” to keep it 0-0. He also managed to avoid giving the Capitals a penalty shot in the process, so this was quite the effort from the impressive rookie.
Video will be added soon. Here’s the moment in GIF form first:
You know how goalies claim they prefer to be busy rather than risking rust in seldom seeing shots? If that’s true, Henrik Lundqvist was really, really happy in the first period.
The Ottawa Senators generated chance after chance in a busy opening frame of Game 1, generating a 21-12 shot differential against the New York Rangers. The game remains 0-0 in large part because Lundqvist has carried over his momentum from the Montreal Canadiens series so far.
As you can see from the video above, Lundqvist made some absolutely fantastic saves, especially in somehow stopping Mark Stone.
In a duller game, 21 shots on goal could a team’s entire output.
That’s impressive stuff from what appears to be a “vintage” Lundqvist. We’ll see how much more the Rangers lean on him as this one goes along.
Oh, and here’s a GIF of the best stop of the bunch, because seriously.
The Pittsburgh Penguins get a familiar face back in the lineup, as Chris Kunitz is good to go against the Washington Capitals in Game 1.
The 37-year-old has been sidelined since March 31, ending his regular season with just an assist in his final nine games. His last goal came on Feb. 16.
So, in other words … he’s not quite as big of a deal for this series as he had been in the past.
He’ll draw into a solid fourth line with Matt Cullen and Tom Kuhnackl, while Carter Rowney will be a healthy scratch. Check out the Penguins’ line combos heading into Thursday’s showdown:
The NHL announced the three finalists for the Mark Messier Leadership Award: Nick Foligno (Columbus Blue Jackets), Ryan Getzlaf (Anaheim Ducks) and Mark Giordano (Calgary Flames).
In case you’re curious about the process, the league explains how it works (and how the buck stops with Messier):
Mark Messier solicits suggestions from club and League personnel as well as NHL fans to compile a list of potential candidates for the award. However, the selection of the three finalists and ultimate winner is Messier’s alone.
So, yes, it might come down to steeliness/60.
Anyway, the most fun part of this award is that Getzlaf and Giordano just engaged in a first-round series, with Getzlaf’s hit on Giordano (see above) being one of the standout moments.
Perhaps Giordano will at least get the best of Getzlaf in this one?