Even in times when they weren’t moderate underdogs, it seemed like the Washington Capitals had one team’s number in the Alex Ovechkin era: Henrik Lundqvist’s New York Rangers. King Henrik often kept over-matched Rangers teams in those series, yet the higher seed Caps won both series.* The third part of that trilogy will happen in the 2012 semifinals after the Rangers and Capitals won insanely close first round series.
The third edition has some interesting new wrinkles even if Lundqvist’s and Ovechkin’s names remain on top of the marquee. This time around, the Rangers are the No. 1 seed while the Capitals are the dangerous underdogs.
After jostling with equally emphatic coach Bruce Boudreau before, John Tortorella will get to soak up all the attention if Dale Hunter gets his way. Tortorella didn’t have a whole lot to tell PHT’s Joe Yerdon about the upcoming series after Game 7 yet, though.
“I haven’t even got that far yet,” Tortorella said.
That coaching difference will likely represent as big a change as who has home ice. The Rangers might very well see a little bit of themselves – or maybe their old selves – in the increasingly scrappy Capitals.
So, with all that in mind, what are your early impressions? Can Washington thrive in its underdog role again or will the Rangers get some revenge? Will Braden Holtby top Lundqvist like he did to Tim Thomas? It should be a fun one.
* The Capitals took the 2009 series in seven games and topped New York in five last year.
Holland is a solid player, generating 27 points in 65 games with Toronto last season. He’s a nice enough piece, but with the Maple Leafs in rebuild mode, they’re not exactly anxious to pay supporting cast members more than necessary.
With such a context in mind, it should be intriguing to see how much either side will budge.
At the moment, the Maple Leafs seem to hold the advantage.
Report: Flyers, Schenn disagree on money, term with arbitration looming
It sounds like the Philadelphia Flyers have some work to do if they hope to avoid an arbitration hearing with Brayden Schenn.
The session would take place on Monday, so the clock is ticking.
While the differences in opinion aren’t outright enormous, the Flyers still need to clean up their cap situation, so every $1 million counts. That – plus the length of a deal – seem to be the issue for the 24-year-old forward and the Flyers, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman:
Brayden Schenn arb: PHI: $4.25M year 1 and just under $4.37 year 2. Player ask: $5.5M for one year
With the Flyers aiming for a two-year agreement while Schenn just wants one, it’s not quite as simple as merely saying “split the difference.”
Then again, that general logic could prove helpful. Perhaps the best path to a deal would be for the Flyers to edge closer to $5.5 million while convincing Schenn to sign for two years rather than one?
Of course, the Flyers could also offer Schenn more security in exchange for giving up some UFA years:
To be clear, those reported numbers are what was submitted to arbitrator. Doesn't mean they can't settle for longer term before Monday.
When the adrenaline wears off after a big hit or violent fight, fans will want to see results on the scoreboard and in the standings. It remains to be seen if the Oilers truly made strides in that regard during a summer of change.
On the bright side, their wunderkind star and expensive new addition are at least on the same page.