So THAT’S why the Washington Capitals haven’t made it past the second round in practically forever – they’ve been too good in the regular season.
We never even thought of that one.
Good thing they’re fighting tooth and nail to make the playoffs this time.
“The last two years we’ve been kind of cruising, waiting and seeing what everyone else is doing,” forward Mike Knuble told NHL.com. “I have to believe (battling for a playoff spot down the stretch) makes your team sharper from being on every night.”
Added Mathieu Perreault: “If you look at the last few years, we’re just sitting there wondering who we’re going to play in the first round. When the playoffs would start, maybe we wouldn’t be as sharp as we could. This year it’s going to be a battle to the end, so when the playoffs start we’ll be in the playoff mode and that’ll be a good thing for us.”
Hey, nothing wrong with looking on the bright side of life. But it should be noted the evidence doesn’t support the theory. Other than the 2008-09 Pittsburgh Penguins, there hasn’t been a Stanley Cup winner that’s been under the gun late in the regular season since…um, not sure when, but it’s been a while.
Not to mention, the Caps beat the Rangers in the first round last year. Can’t really blame “wondering who we’re going to play in the first round” for losing in the second round, can you?
Typically the teams that win the Stanley Cup are the teams that, you know, are good enough to win it. And most good teams have good regular seasons…because they’re good.
Maybe the Caps are good enough this year – they’ve got a ton of talent and it’s looking like they could be fully healthy once the postseason begins.
Have to make the playoffs first though.
Yes, there’s a lot of drama surrounding the Pittsburgh Penguins, whether it’s founded on serious problems or merely speculation.
It’s easy to get swept up in all of that and ignore the fact that, hey, they still have Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby. Those two can really heal wounds with their on-ice play, and in Saturday’s case, Malkin is taking over against the Edmonton Oilers.
His spin-o-rama goal above was a real jaw-dropper. He also scored Pittsburgh’s second tally:
These highlights feel like Malkin’s way of saying “It’s going to be just fine.”
Fighting is down more or less across the board in the NHL, but the Tampa Bay Lightning might be the franchise least interested in dropping the gloves.
Ryan Callahan vs. Kyle Okposo already has some name recognition to it, yet it gets some bonus points for being the Bolts’ first fighting major of 2015-16.
It … probably loses those bonus points in being run-of-the-mill.
Hey, be fair; the Lightning are clearly out of practice.
It must be a helpless feeling to sit idly by while your team continues to flail, but such emotions are what opposing GMs love to prey on.
Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli hasn’t been around through much of the suffering for this hapless franchise, yet that doesn’t mean he’s immune to the calls for improvement. To his credit, he’s not buckling under that pressure.
You can see and hear his full comments below:
If you don’t feel like playing the video, the message is simple enough.
Chiarelli isn’t happy with Edmonton’s record – he hasn’t “seen progression” in ways that he was expecting, but again … he doesn’t want to force moves.
Long story short, he can “sleep at night,” even if he’s disappointed.
Is he right to take a relaxed approach, though? Maybe it’s time to blow up a part of what isn’t working? Have some fun armchair GM’ing on this one.
It’s been a good few days to be a fan of the Philadelphia Flyers, as their team delivered not once, but twice during Thanksgiving weekend.
The Flyers picked up a 3-2 OT win over the Predators on Friday before shutting out the New York Rangers, 3-0, on Saturday.
It was a good afternoon for three players in particular.
Both Wayne Simmonds and Sean Couturier ended long scoring slumps.
Simmonds’ two goals were his first in seven games, while Couturier scored for the first time in his last 13 contests.
Goaltender Steve Mason also had a solid outing against the Rangers.
The 27-year-old turned aside all 24 shots he faced including this great save on Dominic Moore:
The Flyers lost defenseman Nick Schultz to an upper-body injury in the first period after he took a big hit from Dylan McIlrath.
Luke Schenn defended his fallen teammate by dropping the gloves with McIlrath, which didn’t go unnoticed by his teammates.
The Rangers are now on a season-high three-game losing streak. Their lack of effort has to be concerning for their head coach Alain Vigneault.
The Flyers outshot the Rangers 30-14 over the final 40 minutes.