Over at the New York Times, Jeff Z. Klein is in the midst of his outstanding “Remembering 1994” series — a variety of Q&As with some of the most noteworthy combatants from the 1994 Eastern Conference finals.
One recent interviewee was four-time Stanley Cup champ Claude Lemieux, who figured prominently in the ’94 series and later won the Conn Smythe during New Jersey’s 1995 Stanley Cup run.
Here’s his take on the coaching:
NYT: Do you see any parallels between the 1994 Eastern Conference finals and the current Devils-Rangers series?
LEMIEUX: I think both teams right now are being coached probably like we were coached at the time. In ’94 it was a very intense series, and Mike Keenan, the Rangers’ coach, was a very intense guy. In this series we’ve seen key players not touch the ice for a while — Gaborik, Del Zotto — and it was the same thing with Keenan. Some of the players who were playing half the game all of a sudden were sat down, like Brian Leetch.
Jacques Lemaire was the opposite. He never got too high, never got too low. He was a thinker, and he never let his emotion take over making the right decision. Keenan was much more of an emotional guy, probably like Tortorella is. Peter DeBoer and the Devils’ coaching staff coach a lot like the way we were coached when we were winning.
Eeriest part of the coaching parallels?
In 1994, Keenan benched Leetch — New York’s best offensive defenseman — in Game 4, which the Devils won 3-1.
In 2012, Tortorella benched Del Zotto — New York’s best offensive defenseman — in Game 4, a game the Devils won 4-1.
And yes, I did watch a lot of X-Files growing up.
You know what they say: “What a difference a game makes.”
Even in the 82-game marathon that an NHL regular season is, that can be true.
Ryan Suter admitted he went too far with comments during tough times, yet there he was on Tuesday night, grinning ear-to-ear after scoring the 2-1 goal that ended up being the game-winner.
Heck, people were even joking about things. The healing powers of winning, right?
As of this writing, this win places Minnesota in the last wild card spot, and they’re close to elbowing in on the Chicago Blackhawks (who own a standings point advantage, but have played two more games so far in 2015-16).
Jeremy Roenick labels this 2-1 win as a “team win” for Minnesota, and it showed on that 2-1 goal, as the Wild showed off some picture-perfect passing and a willingness to crash the net for rebounds.
Let’s face it, though; Devan Dubnyk deserves plenty of credit, too.
It won’t be easy in the Central Division, and things may get heated again. Still, this is the sort of win that may just help Minnesota build up some confidence.
When you’re talking about bright sides, most people believe that they boil down to the light at the end of the tunnel for the Philadelphia Flyers.
Sometimes it’s nice to enjoy a little success in the present while waiting for that bright future, though.
The Flyers are providing at least a burst of sunshine lately, as Tuesday’s 4-2 win against the Ottawa Senators gives them … (drum roll) their first three-game winning streak of this season.
Even in recent darker moments, Philly’s been pretty impressive on offense, so Flyers fans are likely relieved to see a relative offensive outburst.
Sure, it wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns – Radko Gudas might have gotten himself into some trouble, for instance – yet this is still a nice sign of life for a team expected to finish in the draft lottery.
If that fails … hey, the future may require shades.
Here’s an understatement: things haven’t gone very well for Dougie Hamilton early in his first season with the Calgary Flames.
(It must feel like the opposite of Tyler Seguin in Dallas for Boston Bruins fans, but feel free to disagree in the comments.)
You could look at Hamilton’s meager offensive stats and break down his disappointing work through a very of “fancy” and traditional metrics …
… Or you could just fire up a projector and show this own-goal on a loop.
It remains to be seen if the Ottawa Senators can avoid losing against the Philadelphia Flyers tonight, but either way, it’s been a costly night.
The Senators saw two forwards leave the game with injuries, as Milan Michalek and Mika Zibanejad were banged up on Tuesday.
Michalek may have gotten hurt blocking a shot while a Radko Gudas hit on Zibanejad left the Senators forward with an upper-body injury.
Gudas may get a call from the league for his infractions.
Update: Michalek’s issue could be significant.
The Flyers ended up beating the Senators 4-2, so a tough night for Ottawa.