2012 NHL Playoffs

2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs: PHT’s Round 1 picks — in five words


Because we’re on the Internet, and reading stuff on the Internet requires the attention span of a gerbil, PHT’s intrepid staff of keyboard chimps and copy drones have made their Round 1 playoff picks — with five words of analysis per pick.

Nothing less, nothing more.

We. Only. Used. Five. Words.

Western Conference

No. 1 Vancouver vs. No. 8 Los Angeles

Ryan Dadoun (Canucks in 5): Kings lack scoring depth necessary.

James O’Brien (Canucks in 6): Hot Canucks alleviate royal pain.

Joe Yerdon (Canucks in 6): Quick is not fast enough.

Jason Brough (Canucks in 7): More goals in soccer games.

Mike Halford (Canucks in 7): Sedins are good at hockey.

No. 2 St. Louis vs. No. 7 San Jose

Dadoun (Blues in 6): Arnott, Langenbrunner compliment young core.

O’Brien (Blues in 5): Young Blues feast on guppies.

Yerdon (Blues in 7): Sharks scare, Blues too good.

Brough (Sharks in 6): The Blues peaked too soon.

Halford (Sharks in 6): Blues were brutal down stretch.

No. 3 Phoenix vs. No. 6 Chicago

Dadoun (Coyotes in 6): Hot Smith bests inconsistent Crawford.

O’Brien (‘Hawks in 6): Star power bests bland execution.

Yerdon (‘Hawks in 6): Upset? Yeah, I suppose so.

Brough (‘Hawks in 6): Keith rested. Elbow feels great.

Halford (Coyotes in 6): You seen Crawford this season?

No. 4 Nashville vs. No. 5 Detroit

Dadoun (Preds in 7): Reloaded Predators need to win.

O’Brien (Wings in 7): Old just barely beats Rad.

Yerdon (Preds in 7): Winner drops dead next round.

Brough (Preds in 7): Preds desperate. Franchise on line.

Halford (Wings in 6): Offer Suter contract immediately after.

Eastern Conference

No. 1 New York vs. No. 8 Ottawa

Dadoun (Rangers in 6): Learning experience for younger Senators.

O’Brien (Rangers in 4): Senators fetch the shine box.

Yerdon (Rangers in 6): Rangers never win anything easy.

Brough (Rangers in 5): Sens overachieved. Will face reality.

Halford (Rangers in 7): With three classic Tortorella tirades.

No. 2 Boston vs. No. 7 Washington

Dadoun (Caps in 7): Ovechkin’s finally playing like Ovechkin.

O’Brien (Bruins in 5): Bears italicize the bumbling Caps.

Yerdon (Bruins in 5): Caps inconsistency fails them again.

Brough (Bruins in 5): Caps getting peeled off boards.

Halford (Bruins in 5): Nobody’s winning with Braden Holtby.

No. 3 Florida vs. No. 6 New Jersey

Dadoun (Devils in 5): Might be Brodeur’s last run.

O’Brien (Devils in 5): Dangerous Devils crush cuddly Cats.

Yerdon (Devils in 5): Token win for bad team.

Brough (Devils in 5): Panthers aren’t very good. Sorry.

Halford (Devils in 6): Florida’s the worst playoff team.

No. 4 Pittsburgh vs. No. 5 Philadelphia

Dadoun (Pens in 7): Winner becomes Stanley Cup favorite.

O’Brien (Pens in 7): Pens wash hands of “bloodbath.”

Yerdon (Pens in 7): Crosby, Malkin, Neal too much.

Brough (Pens in 5): Maybe if Philly had Pronger.

Halford (Pens in 6): Vitale with the series-winner.

Goalie nods: Reimer returns to Toronto, but he won’t start and the Leafs (reportedly) won’t recognize him

Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender James Reimer reacts during a break in the first period of Toronto's NHL hockey game against the Nashville Predators on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2016, in Toronto. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press via AP)
Leave a comment

James Reimer was drafted by the Maple Leafs in 2006, made his NHL debut four years later and, all told, spent six seasons wearing the blue-and-white, playing in over 200 games.

And tonight, he might get the spotlight on him for a couple seconds.

Reimer will back up Roberto Luongo when the Panthers visit Toronto, and it sounds like he’ll do so with minimal fanfare.

Per the Sun, the Leafs are “unlikely to officially recognize Remier” during the game, opting instead to “put the in-house camera on him for a few moments.”

(Now feels like a good time to mention Edmonton had a video tribute for Nail Yakupov.)

Reimer — dealt to San Jose at the deadline before joining the Panthers this offseason — has only played twice this year, making 25 saves in a shootout loss to Tampa in his debut, then allowing three goals on 22 shots in a loss to Pittsburgh on Tuesday night.

And while he’s likely to receive little attention this evening, Reimer did play to a large media contingent on Wednesday, and had a pretty good quip about Auston Matthews taking his old No. 34 (“that’s brutal… I can’t believe he did that.”)

His former teammates, meanwhile, recalled a guy that battled hard and provided some good memories — specifically, backstopping the Leafs to the playoffs in 2013.

That, of course, led to a not-so-good memory:

For the Leafs, Frederik Andersen starts in goal.


Devan Dubnyk starts again as the Wild visit Buffalo. The Sabres will counter with Anders Nilsson, who continues to play with Robin Lehner (illness) sidelined.

Louis Domingue, who was called out by his head coach recently, goes back in goal for the Coyotes after Justin Peters started last game. He’ll go up against Steve Mason, who starts for Philly.

Jaroslav Halak returns to the Isles net after Thomas Greiss started the last two games. Marc-Andre Fleury is likely to go for the Pens.

— Tantalizing matchup in Montreal as Ben Bishop at the Bolts take on Carey Price and the Canadiens.

Petr Mrazek and the red-hot Red Wings — winners of five straight — look for No. 6 in St. Louis. Jake Allen is the likely starter for the Blues.

— It’s Antti Niemi versus Connor Hellebuyck as the Stars and Jets play in the second of a home-and-home series.

— Nashville used both Pekka Rinne and Marek Mazanec in last night’s 6-1 blowout loss to San Jose, so no word yet on who goes tonight in Los Angeles. The Kings will continue to ride Peter Budaj.

Sergei Bobrovsky, he of the .929 save percentage, gets the start for Columbus. He’ll be up against Martin Jones in the Sharks goal.

Vigneault explains decision to put McIlrath on waivers

New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault runs a practice at NHL hockey training camp Friday, Sept. 13, 2013, in Greenburgh N.Y. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
Leave a comment

The New York Rangers took a gamble today, placing defenseman Dylan McIlrath on waivers for the purpose of assigning him to the AHL.

While it wouldn’t be a surprise if McIlrath gets claimed, for GM Jeff Gorton and head coach Alain Vigneault, it was a decision that couldn’t be put off any longer.

“Gorts and I and our staff had a long talk last night after the game, and we just felt that at this time, Dylan needed to play,” Vigneault said this morning. “We all appreciate him as a person, he’s done everything that has been expected of him, and more. But on our team right now, he’s our eighth defenseman, and keeping him here and not having him play and the money going against the cap…”

Vigneault added that Gorton “looked around” in search of a trade, but obviously no deal was made.

“Selfishly, I hope he clears waivers and goes to Hartford and plays,” said Vigneault. “But if somebody would pick him up and give him an opportunity, I’d be very happy for him.”

McIlrath, meanwhile, held himself accountable for the situation. The big blue-liner has appeared in just one game this season, and he only logged 9:14 in it.

“I’m never going to blame this on the coaches,” he said, per Brett Cyrgalis of the New York Post. “This was all about my play and not earning a spot in the lineup.”

Little (lower body) out another month, and that’s a big hole in the Jets lineup

WINNIPEG, MB - JANUARY 18: Bryan Little #18 of the Winnipeg Jets skates down the ice in third period action in an NHL game against the Colorado Avalanche at the MTS Centre on January 18, 2016 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. (Photo by Marianne Helm/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

Bryan Little hasn’t suited up for Winnipeg since the first game of the year, when he suffered a lower-body injury in a collision with Carolina forward Bryan Bickell.

Unfortunately for the Jets, he’s not expected back anytime soon.

“We’re two weeks out today, and we’re shooting for the end of November,” Jets head coach Paul Maurice said on Thursday, while updating his team’s health situation.

To give an idea of how big a loss this is for the Jets, consider what Maurice had to say about Little’s absence, compared to missing unsigned d-man Jacob Trouba.

“[Trouba’s] not in the room, that has a big factor in terms of the distraction. It’s no different — well, it is different than Bryan. We’ve got a number of solid defensemen in our lineup.

“The Bryan Little injury is probably a bigger frustration than anything else, because that really changes the look.”

Little, 28, opened the year as Winnipeg’s No. 2 center, on a line with Drew Stafford and Shawn Matthias. As mentioned above, he was hurt in the first game of the season and — prior to the Bickell collision — set up the club’s first goal of the year, registering an assist on Matthias’ first-period marker.

When healthy, Little’s a productive contributor for the Jets.

He posted a career-high 64 points during the ’13-14 campaign, and a career-high 24 goals the season following. He’s also one of the club’s top faceoff men.

With Little out of the lineup, the Jets have rolled with Mark Scheifele, Mathieu Perreault, Adam Lowry and Alex Burmistrov at center.

It’s fair to suggest Little’s absence has played a big role in Winnipeg’s slow start to the year. It has just two wins from six games, but will look to get things back on track tonight when it welcomes Dallas to the MTS Centre.

It’s still early, but Preds looking nothing like Cup contenders

ANAHEIM, CA - OCTOBER 26:  P.K. Subban #76 of the Nashville Predators looks on after being defeated by the Anaheim Ducks 6-1 in a game at Honda Center on October 26, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

The acquisition of P.K. Subban, after last season’s addition of Ryan Johansen, made the Nashville Predators a trendy preseason pick to win the Stanley Cup.

Six games into their schedule, however, and the outlook doesn’t seem so rosy. Last night’s 6-1 loss in Anaheim left the Preds with a 2-4-0 record, and one frustrated head coach.

“We have to be tougher to play against, just generally speaking,” said Peter Laviolette, per NHL.com. “[Even-strength] play wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either. Specialty teams just swung the pendulum tonight in the wrong direction, the shorthanded goals and the power-play goals were too much for any team. We have to do a better job just being harder to play against, defending our goaltender and defending our end better. We gave up too many chances.”

The Ducks scored three times on the power play and twice while shorthanded. Obviously, special teams was the big factor last night.

But like Laviolette noted, the Preds weren’t great five-on-five either, and they haven’t been great in that situation all season. In fact, per Hockey Analysis, they’ve been outscored 12 to 6 in five-on-five action. It’s their power play, which has converted 10 times already, that’s kept their start from being a serious disaster.

It’s only been six games, so there’s no need to panic quite yet. But the Preds play tonight in Los Angeles and Saturday in San Jose, so it’s not going to get easier any time soon.