Kings complete historic series comeback, defeat Sharks in Game 7

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The L.A. Kings looked like they were going to be toppled by their California rivals, the San Jose Sharks, in the opening round of the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs. Cue the comeback.

The Kings become the fourth team in National Hockey League history to erase a 3-0 series deficit to win the series four-games-to-three, thanks to a 5-1 victory over the host Sharks in Game 7 on Wednesday. The Toronto Maple Leafs (1942); New York Islanders (1975); and Philadelphia Flyers (2010) are the only other teams to complete the improbable feat, according to CBC.

Oh yeah, Kings’ forwards Mike Richards and Jeff Carter were also part of that 2010 Philadelphia team.

The Kings will now play the Anaheim Ducks in the second round.

San Jose opened the scoring and numerous chances to take the lead even after L.A. got back on even terms, thanks to a run of five straight power plays through the second and third periods. Jonathan Quick, who had been lit up for 16 goals combined through the first three games of this series.

In this elimination game, as in the three previous, he was solid. His best stop of the night was a glove save off Patrick Marleau, with the Sharks on the power play and looking to take the lead for a second time in the evening.

There were questions and concerns from the media about the group of players – perhaps they didn’t have the right “mix” was the thinking – on the Kings roster.

Their comeback in Game 7 wasn’t quite as grand as the series itself. But they never faltered, even when the Sharks took the lead, or when the Sharks took a commanding 3-0 advantage in the series.

Drew Doughty tied the game early in the second period, and Anze Kopitar scored on a beauty backhander to give L.A. the lead. Tyler Toffoli increased their lead to two goals in the third period.

Now begins another off-season of questions for the Sharks. Todd McLellan, the head coach in San Jose since June of 2008, twice pulled starter Antti Niemi in the series, then went to Alex Stalock in Game 6 for his first career Stanley Cup playoff start, before going back to Niemi in Game 7.

Predators tab Roman Josi as new captain, call him ‘our Roger Federer’

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The Nashville Predators boasted some appealing options to take the torch from Mike Fisher as captain, but really there was only one obvious name: Roman Josi.

Josi officially became the team’s eighth captain on Tuesday. Ryan Ellis appears to be second-in-command as “associate” captain, while they seem interested in spreading the leadership wealth around otherwise:

As captain, Josi will see an increased role on the Predators leadership team, which will also see some new appointments. Defenseman Ryan Ellis has been named as the team’s associate captain, while Ryan Johansen, Filip Forsberg and Mattias Ekholm will all serve as alternate captains. In addition, Pekka Rinne, P.K. Subban and Nick Bonino have all taken positions within the leadership group.

If that’s not a sign that the team is taking this seriously – kind of amusingly so – consider that Ellis and Josi “interviewed” for the position and Peter Laviolette evoked military structures in discussing the decision, as sports teams love to do.

Josi seemed flattered when GM David Poile described him as “our Roger Federer,” a fellow Swiss sports star.

At face value, that’s great, especially since it breaks through the near-corporate-speak that saddles announcements like these.

That said, it’s funny to compare the leader in a team sport to a tennis player, among the most individualistic athletes in all of sport. There aren’t many moments of teamwork beyond doubles and rare events like the Davis Cup.

Overall, it’s another strong decision by the Predators. It’s merely fun to tease them a bit about the cornier aspects.

Awful injury news for Blues’ Bouwmeester, Sanford

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Hockey’s training camps and exhibition games share a lot of similarities, big-picture wise, with other sports.

As much as they’re all about evaluating players trying to make rosters and rule tweaks heading into each season, the “winners” of a pre-season may just be the teams that make it out without any significant injuries. The St. Louis Blues aren’t one of those winners.

The team announced unsettling injury updates for defenseman Jay Bouwmeester and forward Zach Sanford on Tuesday.

Sanford is expected to miss five-to-six months after undergoing shoulder surgery. That virtually wipes out an important season for a guy who was still trying to stake his claim to a full-time roster spot.

Bouwmeester’s situation is probably more troubling, potentially, as he’s already a key defenseman for the Blues (averaging more than 22 minutes last season, which was a slight decrease from recent work). The team announced that Bouwmeester suffered a fractured ankle and will be re-evaluated in three weeks.

As tormenting as day-to-day updates can be, “check back in three weeks” makes for even greater anxiety.

It does open up some opportunities for other players in the Blues organization, for whatever that’s worth.

This news comes shortly after the Ottawa Senators announced that Colin White will miss multiple weeks with a broken wrist.

You almost wonder if we’ll start to see fewer practice updates like these:

Senators’ prospect Colin White out 6-8 weeks with broken wrist

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Bad news for the Ottawa Senators today.

The club announced Tuesday that prospect center Colin White is out six to eight weeks with a broken left wrist.

The Senators selected White 21st overall in the 2015 NHL Draft. After two years at Boston College, he signed his entry-level deal in April and appeared in two regular season games for Ottawa. He also appeared in a Stanley Cup playoff game, though he only saw 2:39 of ice time.

That’s certainly disappointing for White, who could’ve had a shot to make the big club out of training camp. One of the question marks for Ottawa had been the status of fellow center Derick Brassard, who had offseason shoulder surgery with a recovery timeline of four to five months.

“I come here and worry about myself, do the right things on and off the ice, take care of my body. If I’m playing well and taking care of my game, I’ll fight for a spot,” White told the Ottawa Citizen prior to training camp.

It was a little on the foggy side for Canucks practice in Shanghai

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The Vancouver Canucks dealt with some adverse conditions as they hit the ice at Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai in preparation for this week’s 2017 NHL China Games exhibition series versus the L.A. Kings.

According to the pictures, it was a little on the foggy side for their practice.

Is that . . . Henrik Sedin in the distance?

The Canucks and Kings face off Thursday at Mercedes-Benz Arena, before traveling to Beijing for Saturday’s game at Wukesong Arena.

The good news? It appears the fog was lifted in time for the Kings’ practice.