The quality of the ice at TD Garden has already been a topic for discussion (and profanity) during this Stanley Cup Final.
So not surprisingly, with high temperatures and humidity in Boston today, Bruins coach Claude Julien was asked about the playing surface ahead of tonight’s Game 6.
“I thought the ice this morning was in pretty good shape, and they’ve done a good job,” said Julien. “Walking in here yesterday with 90-plus degrees it was nice and cool in the arena.
“But those doors are going to open I would imagine and some of the heat will come in. But those are conditions that you have to play with at this time of year. Everybody has been through it, and two teams are going through the same conditions.
“Both teams are going to tell you the same truth; keep the game simple and try and avoid those mistakes from over-handling pucks in those kind of ice conditions.”
The consensus opinion is that poor ice conditions would favor the Bruins, a team that’s at its best when it keeps things simple and moves as a five-man unit with short passes.
With a dangerous transition attack, Boston also feasts on turnovers, which can be a byproduct of choppy ice.
Here’s your Stanley Cup playoffs schedule for tonight
The NHL and NHLPA have agreed on the framework for a potential expansion draft, according to TSN’s Gary Lawless.
Last month, we found out what each team will be able to protect if ever the NHL adds expansion franchises. Bill Daly made it clear that each existing team would only lose one player per expansion team coming into the league. More specifically, teams would be allowed to protect seven forwards, three defensemen, and a goalie or eight skaters (any position).
Although this agreement between the league and PA doesn’t guarantee expansion will happen, it does ensure that one major step is out of the way if ever the league decided to add a team or two.
The agreement between the two sides also includes an expansion scenario for players with no-trade or no-movement clauses in their contracts.
Here’s an excerpt from Lawless’ story:
The NHL has hundreds of steps to go through before expansion can potentially become a reality and getting an agreement with the NHLPA was viewed as near top of the list. The executive committee would not have recommended expansion to the NHL’s board of governors for the purpose of a vote without an agreement in place with the NHLPA, and in particular, a resolution on how existing no-trade and no-move clauses will be handled.
Las Vegas and Quebec City have been mentioned as two potential destinations for expansion franchises in the near future. As Lawless mentions in his story, NHL general managers were told to expect a decision on expansion for 2017-18 by the NHL Entry Draft in June.
NHL, NHLPA have agreed to expansion draft rules, concpet. Doesn't mean expansion happens but major hurdle cleared, including no move clause
–Prior to Game 1 between the Penguins and Capitals, T.J. Oshie‘s daughter was filmed kicking a Penguins poster. Maybe she should do it more often because her father scored a hat trick just a few hours later. (Instagram)
–Brett Hull says “goals don’t matter” when you play for Ken Hitchcock. (Sportsnet)
Oshie’s hat trick lets Caps just barely squeak by Penguins in OT
This series between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals might be headlined by Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin, but as many have said in the lead-up to tonight’s opener, there is so much more to this second round matchup than that. Washington’s 4-3 overtime victory in Game 1 tonight could be offered up as Exhibit A.
This game had everything except big offensive showings from Crosby and Ovechkin. They had their moments, but in the end combined for just one assist.
What we got instead was a hat trick by T.J. Oshie that was completed with a game-winning goal that made it past the line by such a narrow margin that it warranted a video review:
Murray on the goal: "I don't know how the ref that called it a goal could have seen it from his angle. I think I had it."