Johnny Gaudreau

Tonight on NBCSN: Hockey East playoffs — No. 5 Boston College hosts Vermont

It’s Game One of the Hockey East quarterfinals and this is when Jerry York’s Eagles usually start to shine.

Boston College Eagles (20-10-4) vs. Vermont Catamounts (11-17-6) – 7:00 p.m. ET

Season series: Boston College went 2-0-1 against Vermont

Things didn’t quite go how BC expected them to. They’ve become accustomed to finishing high atop the Hockey East standings when the regular season ends. This time around they are but the No. 2 team behind UMass-Lowell it what turned out to be a very close race for No. 1. Don’t let that fool you into thinking there’s something wrong with these Eagles.

Boston College can score plenty of goals. Calgary Flames prospect Johnny Gaudreau (pictured) finished the regular season tops in points with 46 including 18 goals. Senior forward Steven Whitney has been just as dangerous as well scoring 24 goals and finishing with 41 points. BC also boasts two more players with over 30 points (Pat Mullane and Flames prospect Bill Arnold) and junior Blackhawks prospect Kevin Hayes is nearly there himself.

When you compare that to what Vermont has, it makes the Catamounts pale in comparison. Junior forward Chris McCarthy is their only player with 30 points and he leads the team in goals with 13. He’s also their only double-digit goal scorer so far this season. Sophomore forwards Jacob Fallon and Kyle Reynolds are their only other two players with 20 or more points.

If Vermont stands a chance of pulling a huge upset, they’ll need freshman goalie Brody Hoffman to play out of his mind while sustaining the BC attack. They’re also going to need help from Eagles senior netminder Parker Milner in hoping he’s not-so sharp. Vermont was able to score on him a bit during last weekend’s final games earning a 4-4 tie on Friday night, but they’ll have to forget about the 7-2 drubbing they took the following night.

If there’s anything that can help Vermont it’s that Boston College hasn’t dominated at home this year going just 9-5-2 at Conte Forum and just 7-5-1 in Hockey East games. All that said, this is the time of year when we start to see the best out of Jerry York’s teams, don’t expect that to change this weekend.

PHT Morning Skate: Jim Craig doesn’t regret selling ‘Miracle on Ice’ memorabilia

Leave a comment

PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

–These parents named their baby girl after Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov. (ABC News)

–The  hockey card that helped inspire a Tragically Hip song. (Puck Junk)

–The fan who promised to get a tattoo of Gary Bettman if LA and Chicago were eliminated in the first round kept his word. (Bardown)

–Watch the highlights from last night’s game between the Sharks and Blues. (Top)

–Jim Craig doesn’t regret auctioning off most of his “Miracle on Ice” memorabilia. (Yahoo)

–A Q & A with former Quebec Nordiques forward Peter Stastny. (ESPN)

–Former Flyers coach Craig Berube breaks down Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final. (NHL)

Hitch: ‘I see the devastation in our locker room’

4 Comments

Despite a late comeback attempt, the 2015-16 season came to an end for the St. Louis Blues, as they lost the Western Conference Final in six games to the San Jose Sharks.

And with Wednesday’s loss, the off-season will settle upon the Blues. It will be an intriguing one in St. Louis, starting with their head coach Ken Hitchcock. He’s on a one-year deal and he has already outlined that he’s fine with taking short-term contracts. But is an appearance in the conference final enough to solidify his place behind the St. Louis bench for next year?

The Blues have, according to General Fanager, five pending unrestricted free agent forwards, including Scottie Upshall, Kyle Brodziak, Steve Ott, and most notably Troy Brouwer and David Backes.

Backes, 32, is the team’s captain and coming off a 21-goal, 45-point regular season, which is a decline from the numbers — 26 goals and 58 points — he posted the year before. Brouwer, 30, enjoyed the best post-season of his career, with eight goals and 13 points in 20 games, and he could potentially cash in on that this summer.

However, while there are questions ahead for the Blues, the emotional toll this loss took was clear.

“I see the devastation in our locker room right now. Guys aren’t even able to speak. I’m more worried about our guys right now, to be honest with you. We got some guys that are pretty shook up right now,” said Hitchcock to reporters.

“I’m not going to talk to them for a day or two. They need their space with each other. They’ve bonded together here better than any team I’ve coached in the last 10 years. They need their time together. They don’t need me interrupting them right now. We’ll talk at an appropriate time. But right now they need to be with each other.”

 

Video: So, Joe Thornton is pretty stoked about playing in the Stanley Cup Final

2 Comments

‘Jumbo’ Joe Thornton is off to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in his career. The San Jose Sharks are off to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in franchise history.

And yeah, the 36-year-old Thornton, a veteran of 1,367 regular season games with 1,341 career regular season points, is pretty excited for both himself and his team when it comes to this feat.

It hasn’t been easy in San Jose. It hasn’t been easy for the franchise, for the fans, for the players, for Thornton or for Patrick Marleau, who is also 36 years old and has played his entire career (1,411 regular season games) in San Jose.

There have been playoff failures and a regular season disappointment last year. There has been a coaching change and harsh words exchanged between Thornton and management — more specifically, GM Doug Wilson — and an organizational decision to remove the captaincy from Thornton.

After all that, however, the Sharks are four wins away from hoisting the Stanley Cup.

Did we mention Joe Thornton is excited about the final?

Franchise history: The Sharks are off to the Stanley Cup Final

14 Comments

For the first time in franchise history, the San Jose Sharks are off to the Stanley Cup Final.

This, after a monumental and historical collapse in the first round to the L.A. Kings two years ago. This, after they failed to make the playoffs a year ago, resulting in a coaching change. There have been other post-season disappointments along the way before that, too.

Those difficult times may never be forgotten. But the Sharks have rebounded, and it culminated with a 5-2 victory over the visiting St. Louis Blues in Game 6 of the Western Conference Final on Wednesday. Fans at SAP Center could feel it, too, especially after Joel Ward scored his second goal of the night, giving San Jose a three-goal lead early in the third period.

The Blues attempted a furious comeback but couldn’t quite complete it.

The Sharks this year have eliminated the Kings, Nashville Predators and now the Blues in that order. They await the winner of the Eastern Conference Final between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Pittsburgh Penguins.

 

The Sharks got off to the perfect start in the series clincher versus St. Louis. Joe Pavelski recorded his 13th goal, which leads all players in this post-season, and the Sharks continued to roll from there.

Ward increased the lead in the second period and again in the third. His second of the night proved to be the winner. Joonas Donskoi‘s goal, making it 4-0 San Jose before the midway point of the third period, proved critical as the Blues tried to spark a desperation comeback.

The Blues’ leading scorer Vladimir Tarasenko (40 goals, 74 points in the regular season) was held off the score sheet through the first five games of this series, before finally striking for both St. Louis goals in Game 6.