When you take a look at how the goaltenders have played in the Stanley Cup Final, it’s hard not to marvel at how well they’ve done.
Bruins coach Claude Julien was asked today how Tuukka Rask’s play compares to Tim Thomas’ play in 2011 and he said there are strong similarities.
“I think it’s just as good. No doubt,” Julien said. “Tim has been a great goaltender for us. When you lose a guy like that, there’s always that fear that you’re not going to be able to replace him.
“Tuukka’s done an outstanding job. To me, he’s been as much of a contributor to our team as Tim was two years ago.”
Considering that Thomas’ play was so good he won the Conn Smythe Trophy during the Bruins’ run two years ago, that’s pretty high praise. The scary truth? Rask has been better than Thomas.
Thomas posted a 1.98 goals-against average and a .940 save percentage then. Currently, Rask has a 1.78 GAA and a .944 SV%. If Boston comes away with the Stanley Cup again this year, Rask will likely match Thomas with a Conn Smythe of his own.
Kings defenseman Slava Voynov is getting set to cash in on his breakout season.
The 23 year-old blue liner is set to become a restricted free agent in a few weeks but L.A. general manager Dean Lombardi is trying to make sure he stays in Southern California for a little while longer.
According to R-Sport in Russia (via Jon Rosen at L.A. Kings Insider), Voynov is close to a new deal with the Kings. Voynov’s agent, Alexander Tyzhnykh, relays the details.
“Slava is in contract talks with Los Angeles and we should come to an agreement in the very near future,” said Tyzhnykh, suggesting Voynov will not sign with his hometown Traktor Chelyabinsk, which offered him a deal to return to Russia earlier this week.
Ah yes, the ever-present threat of going to the KHL.
Considering Voynov had a career-high 25 points (6 goals, 19 assists) in a shortened season this year and then scored six more goals and 13 points in the playoffs, he’s got a healthy payday coming from either league. Rosen suggests Voynov could make anywhere between $3.5 million and $5 million per season on a new deal.
Alex Ovechkin taking home his third career Hart Trophy yesterday may have been seen as an upset by some, but for the Russian superstar he says he wouldn’t have done it without Adam Oates.
In speaking on a conference call today, Ovechkin says he put all his faith into Oates to lead him right, especially when moving from left wing to right wing.
“I told him, ‘Thank you very much.’ I’m just happy because, again, it’s history. It means a lot for me. It’s history,” Ovechkin said.
“I tell Adam I’m going to go along with you starting the first day. I tell him, ‘I trust you.’ He said, ‘Okay, just listen to me and you are going to be okay.’ I listened to him. Right now almost — I’m okay.”
Oates has been Ovechkin’s biggest supporter as well this season and what one was able to do for the other is evident. After the “good old days” under Bruce Boudreau to the rough time he had with Dale Hunter, it’s fun to see Ovechkin find a new buddy in Adam Oates.
As for the hairline fracture in his foot, Ovechkin says it’s healing just fine.
“Foot is okay. Right now I’m working fine. I’m going to start playing tennis soon. I’m going to be in good shape.”
With the series tied up 1-1 both teams have had a chance to see what is and isn’t working for them. For the Chicago Blackhawks, their Achilles’ heel is clearly their power play.
Through two games, the Blackhawks are 0-6 on the man advantage and haven’t looked good in those six chances. Captain Jonathan Toews tells Scott Powers of ESPNChicago.com that the Bruins penalty kill has plenty to do with their power play failure.
“They’ve got a good penalty kill and so do we,” Toews said. “It’s tough to go out there and do everything that you want to do every single time you get the chance. We had a good first power play. We created some chances there.”
Toews attributes some bad luck and bad breaks to coming up empty. Broken sticks will happen sometimes. Truth is, the Blackhawks have enough talent on their power play to do better than they have. Not scoring in 15 straight power plays, however, shows that it may be more than the Bruins’ PK that’s making things happen.
If Daniel Alfredsson is going to retire, the Ottawa Senators are going to give him all the time he needs to think about it.
Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun reports the organization will not pressure their team captain into deciding whether or not he wants to play next season.
“He’ll make the decision when he’s ready,” said a league source Saturday. “He needs time.”
This is the second summer in a row we’ll get to do the retirement dance with Alfredsson.
Alfredsson, 40, helped the Senators to the playoffs yet again this season in a year where not much was expected of the team. After dealing with a host of key injuries, the Sens finished seventh in the East and upset the Montreal Canadiens in the first-round of the playoffs. It’s a one round improvement on how the team did last season when they lost in seven games to the New York Rangers.