The Rangers-Devils Eastern Conference finals didn’t have a lack of drama nor silliness, that’s for sure. From seeing Peter DeBoer and John Tortorella sniping back and forth to Mike Rupp smacking Martin Brodeur and Steve Bernier there was enough action not having to do with pucks to keep everyone fired up.
One guy who’s happy the series is over is Devils GM Lou Lamoriello. Rich Chere of The Star-Ledger catches up with Lamoriello after the Devils eliminated the Rangers in Game 6 last night to see he’s happy the histrionics with the Rangers are at an end for the rest of the season.
“The series had an added sort of a—I don’t want to say sideshow— a side attraction because of the rivalry,” Lamoriello told The Star-Ledger today. “It was because of the close proximity. History kept being brought up that many of the players had never been involved with and yet it became a topic to which they had to respond.
“To have the end result we did, I have a tremendous amount a respect for our players and our coaching staff the way they handled it.”
The only guy who really had a handle on the history was Brodeur who actually played in the 1994 Eastern finals. Aside from him, most guys weren’t even a part of all that. Now with the Rangers off to the golf course for the summer, the Devils will hope to keep the nonsense to a minimum against Los Angeles. With former Flyers Mike Richards and Jeff Carter as well as Dustin Brown being a lightning rod for controversy, the Rangers may have been just a warm up act for the big show.
Could Raphael Diaz be on his way back to Switzerland?
We’ll know in a month.
Diaz, who lost out on the Rangers’ final blueline spot in training camp, has reported to the club’s AHL affiliate in Hartford but doesn’t seem pleased with his current situation, per the Post:
The 29-year-old Diaz, who cleared waivers last Saturday after the Blueshirts opted to keep rookie Dylan McIlrath as the club’s seventh on the blue line, is interested in the European option if he is not in the NHL.
The Blueshirts have told Diaz they will revisit the situation at the end of October, but have not promised to release him or assign him to a European team at that point.
If Diaz, a Swiss native who represented Switzerland in the 2014 Olympics, does play in Europe during the season, he would have to go through waivers in order to return to the NHL.
Diaz’s agent, Ritch Winter, told the Post that Diaz signed a one-year, $700,000 deal with the Rangers “to play with the Rangers.”
And it’s understandable if Diaz — a journeyman offensive defenseman — isn’t happy with this situation.
While some believe McIlrath earned his roster spot on merit, some think it’s because of his contract status. McIlrath, who’s only 23 and a former first-round pick, would’ve needed to clear waivers to go back to Hartford, and it’s believed he would’ve been claimed by another club.
Bit of uncertainty out of Vancouver regarding the health of backup goalie Jacob Markstrom.
Markstrom, a late drop from the Canucks’ 5-1 opening-night win over Calgary, has suffered a hamstring injury that will keep him sidelined for another week, the club announced on Thursday.
With Markstrom out, backup duties will stay with AHL call-up Richard Bachman, who served as Ryan Miller‘s No. 2 on Wednesday.
Now, the focus turns to how long Bachman keeps those duties.
Per a Sportsnet report, Markstrom could miss up to three weeks of action with his injury. If that’s the case, Bachman will almost certainly be called into action; the Canucks will play eight games in 17 nights starting with Saturday’s home-opener against the Flames, which includes back-to-backs in Los Angeles and Anaheim on Oct. 12 and 13.
It would be asking a lot of the No. 1, 35-year-old Ryan Miller, to shoulder that entire load.
Bachman does have some NHL experience, with nearly 50 games to his credit. That includes a 3-2-0 record with the Oilers last year, in which he posted a 2.84 GAA and .911 save percentage.