The bad news: the Phoenix Coyotes’ longer-term future in the desert remains pretty fuzzy and unsettled. The good news: their season of firsts – in a good way – keeps rolling along.
They won their first Pacific Division title, their first series as the Coyotes and now will enter the Western Conference finals for the first time after shutting down the Nashville Predators 2-1 to take their semifinals series 4-1. Let’s get the discussion ball rolling.
- After surviving against the Chicago Blackhawks in round one and staring down Pekka Rinne in the semifinals, is it time to consider Mike Smith elite? Was it already time?
- Echoing that last sentiment, where does he rank among the best netminders right now? Even sexier: would your rather have him or Los Angeles Kings ace Jonathan Quick between the pipes at the moment?
- Dave Tippett won a Jack Adams for his first season’s work in Phoenix, but is this his best work as an NHL bench boss yet? (He had some nice moments with the Dallas Stars, too.)
- On your perch of hindsight, answer the question: did Barry Trotz make the right move by suspending Andrei Kostitsyn and Alex Radulov for two games? If not, should it just have been for one or none?
- Which team is your early favorite in the Western Conference finals: the third-seed Coyotes (who obviously gain home ice advantage) or the eighth-seed, giant-killing Kings?
- Will another run to the semifinals be good enough to keep Shea Weber and/or Ryan Suter? If not, will the Predators look back at this series as their biggest defeat in franchise history?
You probably know the drill: injury updates are murky in the NHL basically from the moment a puck drops.
We’ll learn more once the 2015-16 season begins, but at the moment, Saturday might have served as a costly night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn went down with injuries stemming from a 3-2 pre-season win against the Florida Panthers.
“Guys were dropping like flies,” Steven Stamkos told the Tamba Bay Times.
These could be minor situations – just about any ailment will sideline a key asset this time of year – yet one cannot help but wonder if the Lightning might limp into this campaign.
Nikita Kucherov is dealing with his own issues, so that means at least minor issues for one half of the Bolts’ top six forwards.
It’s believed that more will be known about these banged-up Bolts sometime on Sunday.
With knee issues still limiting him, Raffi Torres isn’t as mobile as he once was. Apparently he still moves well enough to leave the usual path of destruction.
It’s the pre-season, so it’s unclear if we’ll get a good look at the check, but Torres received a match penalty for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.
Most accounts were pretty critical of the San Jose Sharks’ chief troublemaker:
It’s too early to tell if Silfverberg is injured. If he is, that’s a significant loss for the Ducks, as he really showed signs of fulfilling his promise (especially during the 2015 playoffs).
As far as Torres goes, he’s hoping to play in the Sharks’ season-opener. Wherever he ends up, he’ll certainly make plenty of enemies on the ice.
Whether it was because of that hit or just the general distaste shared by those sides, it sounds like tonight’s Sharks – Ducks exhibition is getting ugly, in general:
This post will be updated if video of the hit becomes available, and also if we get a better idea of Silfverberg’s condition.
Update: Bullet dodged?