Steady stream of penalties interrupts flow for both teams, second period ends 0-0

2 Comments

So far, the Boston Bruins and Vancouver Canucks have played 40 minutes of score-less hockey and managed to register 13 penalties and 28 penalty minutes combined in that time. I mentioned that the two teams didn’t need the normal “feeling out process” during the first period, but it’s also tough to tell where each squad stands thanks to their shared steady stream to the penalty box.

No one should doubt either goalie, though. Roberto Luongo already has 26 saves while Tim Thomas put aside 20 shots as neither team has been able to solve either netminder through the first two periods.

Boston 0, Vancouver 0; end of second period

As many expected, Zdeno Chara has been a big difference maker so far. He already registered 20 minutes of ice time, helping to shut down an explosive Vancouver power play (a Game 2-leading 6:17 of shorthanded time on ice so far) and wearing many hats in general. Bruins coach Claude Julien tried him in front of the net on the power play while Chara even beat Ryan Kesler for a faceoff. Many people cannot help but wonder: is there anything Big Z cannot do?

(Apparently, he can even get high-sticked … twice, to be exact, in Game 1 so far.)

It looks like Keith Ballard isn’t the only Vancouver Canucks defenseman who can land a brutal (but legal) hip check. Dan Hamhuis delivered a nice one on Milan Lucic, but he might end up regretting that hit because of David Krejci’s cross-checking retaliation. Edit: Upon further viewings of the situation, it seems more likely that Lucic’s fall hurt Hamhuis while Krejci didn’t actually seem to cross-check Hamhuis.

Hamhuis left the ice after that cross-check and hasn’t been back on Vancouver’s bench yet. Losing Hamhuis would be a major blow to the oft-injured Canucks defense since the 2011 free agent acquisition is one of their shutdown blueliners.

This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!

This has been an intense, entertaining and sloppy Game 1 so far. Out of context, a 0-0 game might seem boring, but this one has been brimming with physicality, scoring chances and a bit of controversy. You never know in a playoff year as wacky as this one, but it’s quite possible that the first goal might just win this game.

Who will blink first (or the most)? We’ll find out in the third period and possibly overtime.

Breaking: Predators’ Laviolette has not tried Nashville’s ‘hot chicken’ yet

1 Comment

Nashville Predators head coach Peter Laviolette dropped a bombshell on “The Dan Patrick Show.” Some of us are still reeling from the revelation.

It turns out that Laviolette hasn’t tried “hot chicken” yet.

Laviolette explained that, if he had the “bird that bites back” before a game, he’s be on fire behind the bench. Sadly, Dan Patrick let him off the hook and didn’t ask “Well, what about off days, Lavi?”

(They might not be on a lazy hockey nickname basis yet, though, to be fair.)

All kidding aside, Laviolette provided more insight on the Predators’ Stanley Cup Final run – and not a lot more hot chicken hot takes – in the longer interview below.

Note: This post’s author may or may not have gone a year in Nashville without trying hot chicken either. Hey, Laviolette’s been there for three seasons now. Way worse.

‘Making Gretzky’s head bleed’ wasn’t so easy for ‘Swingers’ filmmaker

Getty
2 Comments

Remember that classic (and very NSFW) video game hockey scene from “Swingers?” The one where Vince Vaughn espouses the virtues of Jeremy Roenick? It was pretty great, right?

There was something so organic about two friends getting up to video-game shenanigans (and discussing which 16-bit era game featured the best pixelated violence), but apparently it was easier to set the scene that it was to “make Wayne Gretzky’s head bleed.”

The Ringer’s Achievement Oriented podcast caught up with Doug Liman (pictured with Jon Favreau in this post’s main image) for some hysterical background information on getting that highly amusing scene right.

“I had never actually seen Wayne Gretzky draw blood, but Vince [Vaughn] claimed he could do it repeatedly, so we put it in the script,” Liman said. “The actors are reacting to that. And then we’re editing the movie and I bring the [game console] into the editing room and we start playing it and we’re recording it onto a videotape so that when we get the one piece we need we’ll play that back on the TV and shoot it. [We do this] for, like, weeks. Nobody can draw blood. And I’m like [to] Nintendo, ‘Hey, can you give us the backdoor key to doing this?’ It wasn’t like we were having fun playing the game, because all we would do was pass the puck down and set it up for Gretzky to get the puck and then we would, you know, try to slam him into the boards.”

Like a rare athletic feat, they got it right, but don’t ask Liman to pull it off on a whim. Liman sure made it seem like they were lucky to ever commit that moment to film.

Liman explained that it was “infuriatingly fleeting” and not the sort of video game trick that you could make work over and over again once you learned the right combination of button presses.

This is some really funny, fantastic background information on the movie that launched the careers of Favreau and Vaughn. It also helped remind us of that golden 16-bit era of EA NHL games, whether you preferred NHL ’94, ’95, or ’96. (And so on.)

Liman also shares a very amusing story about how hockey video game skills don’t exactly translate to the real sport, so check out the transcript and the full podcast for more.

And, if you’re playing a modern game like NHL ’17, don’t pick on “Super Fan 87.” Be nice to your friends. That’s the money move.

Here’s the scene itself. Again, a warning: there is strong language and 16-bit “gore.”

Price’s agent, Canadiens’ GM expected to meet next week

Getty
1 Comment

It seems the two big orders of business for the Montreal Canadiens this offseason will be finding a way to re-sign Alexander Radulov, and come to terms on a new contract extension with franchise goaltender Carey Price.

According to multiple reports, including Pierre LeBrun and RDS, Price’s agent, Gerry Johansson, and Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin are expected to meet next week to potentially begin talking about a new deal.

Price, who has one year remaining on his current contract, will be eligible to sign a new extension on July 1 and it would be reasonable to assume that is going to be one of the larger contracts among the league’s goaltenders.

Price’s current contract will pay him $6.5 million next season, a figure that places him among the top-five goalies in the league.

Given what Price has meant to the Canadiens over the past four years he should expect to make something closer to the $7.5-$8 million figure that Henrik Lundqvist and Sergei Bobrovsky are currently making.

The 29-year-old Price has been one of the NHL’s best goalies for four years now and has a massive impact on the success of the Canadiens. When he is healthy, they win. When he is not (as he was not a year ago), they do not.

Of the 46 goalies that have appeared in at least 100 games since the start of the 2012-13 season, Price currently ranks in the top-three in save percentage (first), even-strength save percentage (first) goals against average (second), and shutouts (third). He has also taken home a Hart Trophy as league MVP and a Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s best goalie during that stretch.

Stanley Cup Final odds: Penguins open as favorites over Predators

Getty
5 Comments

The 2017 Stanley Cup Final is set with the Pittsburgh Penguins, continuing their quest to repeat as champions, facing the Nashville Predators.

Both teams come in missing some key players (Kris Letang, Pittsburgh; Ryan Johansen, Nashville) but both still have plenty of star player with Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel, P.K. Subban, Filip Forsberg and the rest of Nashville’s defense headlining the series.

According to the folks at Bovada, the Penguins open the series as favorites to win it over the Predators.

NHL Stanley Cup Finals Series Price
Nashville Predators +135 (27/20)
Pittsburgh Penguins -155 (20/31)

The series begins on Monday night in Pittsburgh.

Related

2017 Stanley Cup Final Schedule: Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Nashville Predators