James O'Brien

Montreal Canadiens v Buffalo Sabres

PHT Morning Skate: Sens try to shut out Habs fans

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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.

To be fair to the Ottawa Senators, attempts to keep arenas light on fans of opposing teams are common. That doesn’t making this any less humorous, though. (Habs Eyes on the Prize)

Maybe the Boston Bruins are better off missing the playoffs. (Stanley Cup of Chowder)

A retrospective on Elmer Lach and Dollard St. Laurent. (Greatest Hockey Legends)

The Penguins, Blackhawks and Predators are dealing with “rental flops” this season. (NHL Numbers)

Some friendly suggestions as the Toronto Maple Leafs search for replacements. (The Hockey News)

Grading the Philadelphia Flyers. (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Top 50 fantasy draft picks for playoff pools from someone expecting a New York Islanders – St. Louis Blues championship skirmish. (Sportsnet)

Columnist says Penguins’ talk of culture change is ‘window dressing’

Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby
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The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Rob Rossi ripped the Pittsburgh Penguins’ management for “The Collapse” in the kind of rant you’d expect to read about a team whose playoff hopes have already died.

It’s eyebrow-raising stuff, passing along some details that paint a picture of dysfunction from the Penguins’ ownership box down to the locker room.

Offseason moves and comments about a “culture change” left Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin wondering if they were alone in having each others’ backs, according to Rossi.

For another thing, it seems like new GM Jim Rutherford and head coach Mike Johnston both were limited in the amount of moves that they could make.

While many executives get the chance to “shop for their own groceries,” Rossi notes that they each were only allowed to choose one hire (Rutherford brought along Jason Karmanos while Johnston chose Gary Agnew). Otherwise, there are a lot of holdovers from the previous regime.

Rossi critiques some personnel moves, but digs the knife deeper when he writes that offseason claims of a culture change were mere “window dressing” and believes that a change of direction is needed once again.

Really, it’s pretty interesting stuff, so give it a read here.

***

It all makes you wonder if this could be some form of bulletin board material for the Penguins, as the piece almost reads like a postmortem for a season that isn’t over.

As mentioned in this post, the Penguins have been dealing with some poor luck lately, which might play a role in “The Collapse.” What if a few more bounces go their way, the Penguins take advantage of a lack of a salary cap to ice a complete defense and they perform better than expected?

Win or lose, the Penguins are rarely boring, so this could be an interesting ride.

The schedule for the first round of the 2015 playoffs

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If you were waiting up late in hopes of checking out the schedule for the first round of the 2015 postseason, you are in luck. Here’s all the information that the league shared about who’s playing when (updated with a format that’s a little easier on the eyes, via NHL.com):

source:

source:
 TBD: To be determined
JIP: Joined in Progress

Cross your fingers: Odds for 2015 NHL Draft lottery

IHOCKEY-U18-WORLD-FINAL-CAN-USA
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Gentlemen, you may now power down your tanks.

The 2014-15 season is over, so now it’s just a matter of time (reportedly April 18) until the 2015 NHL Entry Draft’s lottery will take place. What are your favorite or most hated non-playoff team’s odds of landing Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel (pictured together)? The final odds are listed below:

1. Buffalo (54 points, 15 ROW) – 20 percent

2. Arizona (56 points, 19 ROW) – 13.5 percent

3. Edmonton (62 points, 19 ROW) – 11.5 percent

4. Toronto (68 points, 25 ROW) – 9.5 percent

5. Carolina (71 points, 25 ROW) – 8.5 percent

6. New Jersey (78 points, 27 ROW) – 7.5 percent

7. Philadelphia (84 points, 30 ROW) – 6.5 percent

8. Columbus (89 points, 33 ROW) – 6 percent

9. San Jose (89 points, 36 ROW) – 5 percent

10. Colorado (90 points, 29 ROW) – 3.5 percent

11. Florida (91 points, 30 ROW) – 3 percent

12. Dallas (92 points, 37 ROW) – 2.5 percent

13. Los Angeles (95 points, 38 ROW) – 2 percent

14. Boston (96 points, 37 ROW) – 1 percent

To get you in the spirit, here are a couple random photos of lottery drawings:

El Gordo Christmas Lottery
Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images
AP Photo/Andres Kudacki

Super-pumped now, aren’t you?

Julien: ‘When you don’t make the playoffs, you’ve failed’

Claude Julien, Scott Kozari
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The unthinkable was made official on Saturday as the Boston Bruins were eliminated from the 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs.

Perhaps the best phrasing would be “the Bruins failed to make the playoffs,” as that word seemed to come up pretty often as key members of the team reacted to their postseason run ending.

“Everybody’s pretty down right now,” Head coach Claude Julien said. “When you don’t make the playoffs, as you know, you’ve failed.”

Brad Marchand echoed such a thought, deeming the 2014-15 campaign “a failure of a season,” according to WEEI’s DJ Bean.

Then again, maybe Marchand and Julien jumped to the “acceptance” phase of grieving while others haven’t quite made it there yet. More than a few Bruins seem stuck in “confusion.”

Zdeno Chara said it’s “tough to find words” to explain the letdown while Patrice Bergeron seemed in the middle: knowing that they failed, but not completely comprehending the turn of events.

Unfortunately for the Bruins, they have a longer-than-usual offseason to contemplate what went wrong … and then maybe address what needs to change.

Tuukka Rask, meanwhile, honestly got a little dark:

Tough times.