As much as the Chicago Blackhawks try to “one game at a time” their way through questions about their record-breaking point streak, guys like Patrick Kane told the Chicago Daily Herald that the increasing national coverage around the team is pretty great.
Here’s what Kane said about the fact that reporters from ESPN, TSN, The Wall Street Journal and Sports Illustrated joined the media fray for the ‘Hawks morning skate on Tuesday.
“It’s huge,” Kane said. “For me, personally, I’m a guy that has watched ESPN since I’ve been growing up and now you turn it on and it’s one of the first stories, the Blackhawks and hockey, which you don’t really see on that station.
“It’s cool to see. Anything to get the game out there and see how we view it; we view it as the best game in the world, and hopefully other people will start seeing it that way too.”
Fellow forward Dave Bolland admits that “you can’t ignore it,” so the team is trying to embrace it in a productive way.
“I think it’s great that it has become a national story,” Bolland said. “It’s always great when hockey is getting in the national spotlight or is big news. The game of hockey has really grown, and for this to help it in any way, it’s always great for it.”
Chicago hopes to extend this season’s streak to 23 games and break a tie with the 1977-78 Montreal Canadiens for second place overall with 29 stretching back to last season by getting a point against the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night.
The Wild were better in the second period, but they still couldn’t figure out Connor Hellebuyck.
This is the third year in a row that Minnesota has been bounced in the opening round of the postseason. In 2016, they were eliminated in six games by the Dallas Stars and last year, they watched as St. Louis took them down in five.
Even though they finished the year with over a 100 points, it’s another disappointing year for them. It’s tough to envision them making major changes to the roster because Zach Parise and Ryan Suter are under contract for six more years. It’ll be interesting to see what they can do to shake up this roster or their staff.
As for the Jets, they’ll face either the Nashville Predators or the Colorado Avalanche (the Preds are up 3-1 in their best-of-seven series). Winnipeg definitely looked explosive in Game 5, and they’ll need to keep rolling if they want to reach the Western Conference Final.
With their season on the line on Friday night the Philadelphia Flyers are making a change in goal.
Michal Neuvirth, who has played just 59 minutes of NHL hockey since Feb. 18, will get the Game 5 start in goal when they take on the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Neuvirth replaced Brian Elliott in Philadelphia’s Game 4 loss on Wednesday night after Elliott gave up three goals on 17 shots, the second time he was benched in the first four games. The Flyers have already used three goalies in this series with Elliott, Neuvirth, and Petr Mrazek all getting playing time. None of them have played well.
Aleksander Barkov of the Florida Panthers, William Karlsson of the Vegas Golden Knights, and Ryan O’Reilly of the Buffalo Sabres have been named as the three finalists for the 2018 Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, the NHL announced on Friday. The award, voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers Association, is given “to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.”
The winner will be announced during the NHL Awards show in Las Vegas on June 20.
The Case for Aleksander Barkov: The Panthers center certainly has the “high standard of playing ability” part down with a season that saw him lead the team with 78 points and finish tied for third in goals with 27. Barkov played the fifth-most minutes (1,743:32) among NHL forwards and only picked up seven minor penalties. This is the second time he’s been named a finalist in the last three seasons.
The Case for William Karlsson: Karlsson had a monster of a season with 43 goals and 78 points during the Golden Knights’ historic first year. In playing 1,534:47, the 25-year-old forward racked up only 12 PIMs. Should Karlsson win, he would become the first player to win an end-of-season trophy for a team in its inaugural season since Wayne Gretzky of the Edmonton Oilers won the Byng and Hart Trophy and in 1979-80.
The Case for Ryan O'Reilly: O’Reilly missed one game this season and logged 1,686:10 of ice time for the Sabres. He recorded only one penalty all season, way back on Oct. 24 versus Detroit, a slashing call. His one penalty is the fewest among NHL players who suited up for at least 41 games this season. He’s a previous winner having taken home the trophy in 2014 while a member of the Colorado Avalanche.