Days with the Stanley Cup: Kaberle and the Piggy Band, Krejci’s ‘Cupbombing’; Chara’s day begins

After a rough beginning in which the Stanley Cup didn’t arrive in time for Nathan Horton’s parade in Dunnville, Ontario, it seems like things went a bit smoother once the silver chalice made its way to the Czech Republic. NHL.com has a running blog of its journey, as it went from Tomas Kaberle on July 20 to David Krejci on the 21 and is now in the over-sized hands of Zdeno Chara today.

It only seems right that Kaberle’s day with the Cup was a little strange since his own journey with the Boston Bruins will be remembered by many as a bumpy ride. In a scene that Sean Leahy compares to the polarizing Jim Carrey vehicle “The Cable Guy,” Kaberle was greeted by the … “Hello Piggy Band.” NHL.com compares the place to what you might find at a “Knights of Columbus-type establishment” while Jame Mirtle tries to make a little more sense out of that weird portion of the celebration.

Kaberle was far from alone during his day with the Cup as Krejci, a “20-motorcycle motorcade” and plenty of Czech fans and friends joined him for the festivities despite rainy conditions. Here’s a quick look at his celebration.

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Some people furrowed their brows when Pierre McGuire called Krejci “Boston’s Pavel Datsyuk.” As it turns out, maybe Krejci is more like Boston’s Ryan Kesler. That at least seems to be the case in the video below, in which he’s guilty of “Cupbombing” (to steal NHL.com’s phrase) one of Kaberle’s videos.

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Kaberle and Krejci continued to party and celebrate together on Thursday, even though rain was “bucketing” down on them. They appeared at a town hall gathering that included a mayor and approximately 3,500 fans, but Krejci’s arrival with the Cup was also quite spirited.

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The Cup then took a two-hour trip to Slovakia, where Chara will enjoy his day today. It seems like Chara is taking care of the business end of the deal first as he endured a photo session, spoke with about 50 media members and completed tasks for sponsors.

We’ll keep an eye on Chara’s celebration and other fun moments the Cup will have this summer. Let’s look at who will get the Cup next via this schedule from WEEI.

Tuukka Rask: Savonlinna, Finland
Shawn Thornton: Oshawa, Ontario
Daniel Paille: Welland, Ontario
Rich Peverley: Guelph, Ontario
Gregory Campbell: Tillsonburg, Ontario
Tyler Seguin: Brampton, Ontario
Marc Savard: Peterborough, Ontario
Chris Kelly: Ottawa, Ontario
Patrice Bergeron: Quebec City, Quebec
Mark Recchi: Kamloops, British Columbia
Milan Lucic: Vancouver, British Columbia
Shane Hnidy: Neepawa, Manitoba
Johnny Boychuk: Edmonton, Alberta
Adam McQuaid: Prince Edward Island
Brad Marchand: Nova Scotia
Michael Ryder: Newfoundland
Tim Thomas: Flint, Mich.

Predators’ Kevin Fiala taken off on stretcher, hospitalized after scary fall

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The crowd in St. Louis was sent to stunned silence at the scary sight of Nashville Predators rookie Kevin Fiala crashing feet-first into boards during the first period of Game 1.

Fiala was taken off the ice on a stretcher after he awkwardly hit the boards following a hit by Blues defenseman Robert Bortuzzo. An arena announcement indicated that Fiala will be taken to a nearby hospital.

It’s a cruel twist for the 20-year-old forward, whose high-end speed stands out most when you first see him. A bit longer than a week ago, he scored the biggest goal of his career as he ended Game 3 against the Chicago Blackhawks with the overtime-clincher. Now one has to wonder about his health.

Video will be added soon. Until then, here’s a GIF of that frightening moment:

Members of the Blues and Predators both escorted Fiala off the ice during a stunning moment for all involved.

Colin Wilson: still far more productive in playoffs (Video)

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When you put together a list of “clutch” players, do you put Colin Wilson on it?

Before you laugh that question off – which, really, that’s kind of mean – consider how productive the under-the-radar Nashville Predators forward is during the postseason.

In 33 career playoff games, Wilson had 11 goals and nine assists for 20 points. He’s now at 12 goals and 21 points in 34 games after the first period of Game 1, and there is time to add to those totals.

That’s already pretty solid, but consider his regular season: 12 goals and 35 points in 70 games. He’s only scored 20 goals once in his career.

Yet … for whatever reason, when the games get bigger, the 27-year-old has developed a knack for scoring at a much higher clip. In the case of Game 1 against the Blues – his first game of this postseason thanks to injuries – he deflected P.K. Subban‘s booming shot for the 1-0 goal. Watch it above.

And wonder: is it hasty to consider him clutch?

Video: Erik Karlsson gets Jeremy Roenick’s seal of approval

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Jeremy Roenick is so impressed by Erik Karlsson, he almost likes him as much as Ottawa Senators GM Pierre Dorion does.

As a reminder, Dorion … didn’t exactly go the humble route in his praise of the all-world defenseman. When speaking of Karlsson’s play through ridiculous injuries, he provided quite the quote, as the Ottawa Citizen reports.

“Was I surprised? A bit,” Dorion said. “What do you say? I’ll probably get in trouble for saying this but, you believe in whatever you believe in, and they always say God rested on the seventh day, I think on the eighth day he created Erik Karlsson.”

Surely Karlsson’s critics will love this.

Anyway, Roenick and Keith Jones had some fun with such comments, as you can see in the video above.

For more genius Swedish fun, enjoy the Henrik Lundqvist video above. That’s a bonus, folks.

Babcock, McLellan and Tortorella are 2017’s Jack Adams finalists

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The NHL Broadcasters’ Association named the three finalists for the 2017 Jack Adams Award on Wednesday: Mike Babcock, John Tortorella and Todd McLellan.

The Jack Adams is given to the head coach who “contributed the most to his team’s success.”

It might tickle some to realize that Babcock and McLellan once coached together on the Detroit Red Wings’ staff. All three coaches share the distinction of bringing teams to the playoffs who failed to make the postseason in (at least) the previous season.

The Maple Leafs missed from 2013-14 to 2015-16. Columbus failed in its previous two seasons. And, of course, the Oilers hadn’t seen the playoffs since falling in Game 7 of the 2006 Stanley Cup Final.

One could make an argument for each coach in a number of ways.

Babcock molded a Maple Leafs team topped by young players, showing a refreshing willingness to take the good with the bad (especially for a guy who’s known for his scowl). McLellan broke that Oilers slump, gradually finding a lineup that could be “more than just Connor McDavid.” The Blue Jackets were expected to be one of the worst teams in the NHL to the point that they’d get Torts fired; instead, they boasted a power play that baffled opponents for much of the season and Tortorella enacted some (gasp) progressive ideas to help Columbus compete.

Now, you could critique all three in different ways – barely making the playoffs, riding hot goaltending, deploying Connor McDavid – but that’s part of the fun, right? There are certainly some cases to be made for snubs (Bruce Boudreau, perhaps even Joel Quenneville?), yet this trio of finalists is strong nonetheless.

The NHL has a more traditional rundown of each coach’s credentials, by the way.