Days with the Cup: Conclusion of Stanley’s Euro tour, Paille goes to Niagra Falls and more

The Stanley Cup has seen some exotic (and wet) places since we last took a look at its tour among the Boston Bruins. Let’s go in chronological order, beginning with the last leg of its European tour.

Tuukka Rask’s day (July 24):

It must be strange to be Rask. He was the expected starter going into the 2010-11 season only to see Tim Thomas return to his Vezina Trophy form from 2008-09 and steal back the job. Instead of being the Bruins’ starter, he was relegated to solid backup duty. A lot has been made of the trade value of backups like Cory Schneider and Jonathan Bernier, but Rask’s case might be the most interesting since Thomas is an aging star.

There wasn’t a whole lot of information available about Rask’s day wit the Cup in Finland, but this mini-clip shows that it wasn’t for a lack of fun.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Shawn Thornton relaxes with the Cup (July 27):

The bruising forward had his first run with the Stanley Cup thanks to the Anaheim Ducks’ dominating 2007 win, so he told NHL.com that he “took care of” the fans and other people who demanded their moment with him and the silver chalice last time around. (Note: “took care of” does not mean murder.)

That being said, Thornton wasn’t a total homebody; he took the Cup to the top of Toronto’s CN Tower and spent plenty of his time signing autographs and making sure that people had their chance to see it.

“I think when you tell the city or whatever you’re going to show up somewhere, you end up being there for a lot longer and we don’t have it for that long,” Thornton told the Bruins’ website. “I’ve seen it happen before, you schedule two hours to be at an event and you end up being there for four or five because you don’t want to say no to the kids.

“I’m fortunate enough that this is my second time and I did a lot of the ‘taking care of people’ the first time I had it, so this time is a lot more chill, a lot more relaxed.”

Danile Paille (July 28):

Unlike Thornton’s laid-back day with the Cup, Daniel Paille’s was scripted to get the most of his measly hours. The rugged winger brought it to a place it’s apparently never been before: Niagara Falls. Here’s video footage of the Stanley Cup going along for the “Maid of the Mist” ride.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Rich Peverley (July 29):

Peverley shared the Cup with 2,300 fans from his hometown of Guelph, but for the most part, the underrated center decided to take it easy with his family and friends on his day with the Cup.

Gregory Campbell’s heartwarming day with the Cup (July 30):

It was easy for critics to pick on the son of former discipline czar Colin Campbell during the 2010-11 season, but it’s nearly impossible to do anything but admire “Soupy’s” use of his day with the Cup. The grinding forward brought the Cup to Grand River Hospital in Kitchener to share it with kids who are “fighting a much bigger fight” than any hockey game could provide.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Tyler Seguin is today’s lucky winner for a day with the Cup. We’ll keep an eye on what he does, but if you cannot wait, here are a few photos to whet your whistle. Stay tuned for more day with the Stanley Cup updates as the Bruins’ summer-long victory lap continues.

Oilers win first series since 2006 after Sharks fall crossbar short of overtime

Getty
7 Comments

After making the playoffs for the first time since 2006, the Edmonton Oilers weren’t just “happy to be there.” They confirmed as much by eliminating the San Jose Sharks with a 3-1 victory in Game 6, winning the series 4-2.

Yes, those young Oilers just eliminated the team that represented the West in the 2016 Stanley Cup Final. Wow.

Ultimately, winning the breakaway battle in the second period indeed made the difference. Leon Draisaitl and Anton Slepyshev scored on their chances in the middle frame while Patrick Marleau could not; Slepyshev’s 2-0 goal ultimately became the series-clincher.

Now, that’s not to say that Marleau was a drag on San Jose. If this is it for one of the faces of the franchise, he had a great 2016-17, including generating the Sharks’ final goal of the postseason.

The Shark Tank was alive after Marleau reduced the Oilers’ lead to 2-1, and more than a few blood pressures rose – both in Edmonton and San Jose – after the Sharks got this close to tying things up.

Wow.

With this result, the West is set. The St. Louis Blues will take on the Nashville Predators while the Oilers face the Anaheim Ducks.

As much as people try to put the training wheels on Connor McDavid & Co., the West is wide-open enough that it’s not so outrageous to imagine a big run for Edmonton.

Beating the Sharks is a pretty nice way of adding an exclamation point to that statement win. And hey … they beat the Sharks last time around, too.

Canadiens sound a lot like Wild after playoff exit (without ‘better team’ talk)

Getty
Leave a comment

Much like the Minnesota Wild earlier on Saturday, the Montreal Canadiens are stunned to approach the golf courses so rapidly.

Many of the responses after the New York Rangers eliminated them in Game 6 sound a lot like what the Wild uttered, though there’s no potential bulletin board material like Bruce Boudreau’s line about the better team failing to win four games.

Max Pacioretty viewed this early exit as a “missed opportunity” and never really believed that an elimination was coming.

Claude Julien provided parallel comments to Bruce Boudreau, believing that Montreal generated chances but lacked “finish.”

Brendan Gallagher? He worries that this might have been the Canadiens’ best chance, something the Wild must also worry about with a difficult offseason ahead.

Now, it’s likely that most teams speak about being shocked and expecting better after being booted from the postseason.

Still, these reactions do shine a light on the staggering nature of some of these exits. Will the likes of the Blackhawks, Canadiens and Wild struggle to be in such prime positions in the future? With the Sharks needing a comeback against the Oilers, could the trend continue on Saturday?

The bottom line is that, instead of preparing for a Game 7 after winning the Atlantic Division, the Canadiens are packing up their stuff and worrying about re-signing Carey Price. That’s a pretty stunning turnaround, regardless of the soundbytes available.

Video: Draisaitl, Slepyshev score on breakaways, Talbot spurns Marleau

Leave a comment

Some playoff games or even series come down to something as stupidly simple as one team taking advantage of their opportunities while the other fails to capitalize on chances.

If Game 6 of the Oilers – Sharks series follows the story of the second period, then San Jose may join Saturday’s stream of eliminated teams.

It’s not fair to boil it down to three breakaways, but some might feel that way.

Leon Draisaitl looked like a gritty, strong veteran during his first career playoff goal, bulling his way to the net for 1-0 breakaway tally. About a minute later, Anton Slepyshev was even more alone against Martin Jones, and he scored his first postseason goal to make it 2-0.

That stings for the Sharks, and it doesn’t help that they had a similar chance not long after. This time around, Patrick Marleau couldn’t beat Cam Talbot, so it remained 2-0 for Edmonton.

That’s the same score as the game enters the third period, even with some dangerous late chances for the Sharks.

If the Sharks don’t score at least two goals in the third, their push to return to the Stanley Cup Final could end in the first round.

Report: Ilya Kovalchuk wants to return to NHL (with Devils or not)

Getty
Leave a comment

The Montreal Canadiens fell short against the New York Rangers, but the series put the spotlight on Alex Radulov‘s great return to the NHL. What if an even bigger name came back from the KHL next season?

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports that Ilya Kovalchuk wants to come back to the NHL, whether it be with the New Jersey Devils or someone else.

It’s a tantalizing thought for the Devils: either add a big star or gain a nice set of assets for a team that might be a little more prepared to make the most of the 34-year-old’s skills right off the bat.

With big-name free agents rarely becoming UFAs these days, the market could always use some juice. Even at an advanced age, Kovalchuk provides that as one of the deadliest snipers of his era.

Kovalchuk had a fantastic year in the KHL, scoring 32 goals and 78 points in 60 games. He last played in the NHL with the Devils in 2012-13, collecting 11 goals and 31 points in 37 games.