Hal Gill played 23 regular season games for the Nashville Predators after being traded from Montreal, but GM David Poile picked him up for the postseason. (Gill is one of the more experienced blueliners when it comes to the playoffs.) Unfortunately for Nashville, he won’t be able to serve his intended purpose just yet, as Joshua Cooper reports that he wasn’t around for the pre-game skate.
During his worst moments, Gill has been referred to as a “pylon.” Those lesser times seem more frequent during the regular season, however, as looser officiating in the playoffs often allows the big defenseman to equalize offensive opponents. He was a helpful part of a nice shutdown pair alongside Rob Scuderi in Pittsburgh during its 2009 Stanley Cup run and then helped the Canadiens beat the Penguins in their quest to the Eastern Conference finals in 2010.
Gill is dealing with a lower-body injury.
There was the possibility that the Flyers could be going without a pair of key players in tonight’s Game 1 against Pittsburgh, but that won’t be the case because hockey players are tougher than you are.
Forward Danny Briere and defenseman Niklas Grossmann will both suit up for the Flyers tonight the team announced after this morning’s skate. Briere is a key offensive player for the Flyers while Grossmann is a needed presence on defense to try and slow down the likes of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and James Neal.
The team will be hoping Briere’s contributions can be big as he’s had a rough go of it all season long thanks to nagging injuries. Grossmann, meanwhile, will give the Flyers a bit more of a defensive edge along the blue line.
One move that’s less surprising is Ilya Brygalov getting the start in goal for Philly. Bryzgalov missed the last few games of the season thanks to a chip fracture in his foot and some thought Sergei Bobrovsky might get the call in Game 1. After seeing the Penguins score easily on Bobrovsky in the season finale, Bryzgalov getting the call is no shock. While Bryzgalov didn’t participate in this morning’s skate, he said he was just resting for tonight.
There are plenty of good teams in the Western Conference, but is there a true “favorite” this year? The “unproven” status of the St. Louis Blues and the various issues for other contenders* makes me reflexively insert the Vancouver Canucks in that category. Yet there’s that nagging question: will Daniel Sedin be healthy?
“Healthy” might be a relative term, but TSN reports that an unnamed Canucks executive said the “shooting Sedin” should “be fine for next week.”
Henrik Sedin provided some pretty positive feedback about his brother’s recovery.
“Early on, maybe (Daniel had concern), but as time has moved on he’s felt better and better,” Henrik said.
Daniel Sedin is fighting off concussion symptoms and has been sidelined since Duncan Keith’s controversial elbow in a March 21 match. (Keith received a five-game suspension for his bad deeds.)
The playoffs officially begin on Wednesday, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the Canucks’ first round will start then. That might depend on where they rank as far as seeding is concerned (stay tuned for the schedule to roll out on Sunday), yet it seems like the odds are in favor of the Sedin twins being reunited once the games start to really matter.
* – Some are awful on the road, others lack offensive punch, defensive savvy and stable goaltending. A few might even suffer from all of the above