I am a contributing editor/writer/troublemaker for NBC's Pro Hockey Talk blog.
It’s a mixture of bad and good news for the Boston Bruins early on in Game 1.
Let’s front-load this with the positive: they’re currently only trailing the Ottawa Senators 1-0 and Colin Miller might be OK.
Update: While Miller returned to the game, he might still be injured after testing out his leg(s). Not ideal.
Otherwise, it gets a little bumpy. The Senators are dominating the play in the second period, and Miller is still someone to watch health-wise after a knee-to-knee hit by Mark Borowiecki. They were already dealing with bad injury news from Wednesday alone, as David Krejci‘s upper-body issues kept him from playing in Game 1.
Bruins vs. Senators – Stream live on NBC Sports
They also might be dealing with a resurgent Bobby Ryan. The oft-criticized (in some circles) forward has dealt with injuries and inconsistency through much of 2016-17, but he provided this spell-binding goal, so far the only tally between the two teams:
Wow. If Ryan really asserts himself and the Bruins continue to suffer bumps and bruises, this series might not look a lot better for Boston than the regular season, when Ottawa enjoyed a sweep.
The first few notes of this post are worth remembering, too, though: it’s early and the score is merely 1-0 as of this writing.
If you expected Tanner Glass to score the first goal of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs … your name might be Alain Vigneault.
Seriously, more than a few jaws dropped as the enforcer scored a stunning – and stunningly nice – goal against Carey Price to give the New York Rangers a 1-0 lead against the Montreal Canadiens.
It’s only his second postseason tally and Glass only had one goal in 2016-17. His inclusion in the Rangers lineup is almost always the source of derision among stats-minded fans … so this is likely to prompt some amusing banter on Twitter.
Watch Rangers vs. Canadiens on NBC Sports
Watch the goal in the video above.
Check it out in GIF form, too:
This actually breaks a pattern of fairly well-known players scoring a postseason’s first goal. Nikita Kucherov started the fun last year and Brock Nelson notched the first tally of 2015. Remarkably, neither player is even in the 2017 postseason.
Things got a little chippy to start Rangers – Canadiens, by the way.
An upper-body injury proved to be too much for David Krejci, who is sidelined for the Boston Bruins in Game 1 against the Ottawa Senators tonight.
It’s no secret that injuries were already a concern for the Bruins coming into this series, with Torey Krug possibly out for the entire round.
As much as Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron tilt the ice in Boston’s favor, Krejci’s enjoyed a strong season, scoring 23 goals and 54 points while playing all 82 games.
Watch Bruins vs. Senators on NBC Sports
The Bruins seemingly expected him to suit up tonight, so perhaps he’ll be available for Game 2?
The Las Vegas Golden Knights are expected to name their first head coach on Thursday afternoon, according to various reports including Sin Bin Vegas and News3LV’s Amber Dixon.
Elliotte Friedman and others believe that former Florida Panthers and Columbus Blue Jackets head coach Gerard Gallant will be the guy. At 53, Gallant might fall in the ideal spot for a candidate: experienced but also young enough to put up with the growing pains of coaching an expansion team.
In late March, Golden Knights GM George McPhee stated that he wanted to hire a “progressive” coach. There were rumblings that Gallant clashed with Panthers management regarding analytics vs. traditional approaches, yet “progressive” can mean many things.
“We want someone who is very current on the game, who is progressive on how the game should be played,” McPhee said in a phone call with season ticket holders. “We’re looking for that progressive guy that can really help us through the early years and help develop our team and our players.”
It sounds like we’ll find out if that guy will be Gallant (or someone else) tomorrow.
Update: Even more reports lean toward Gallant.
Much of the focus regarding the Toronto Maple Leafs’ run to a playoff spot revolves around Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and William Nylander. Failing that, people fawn over the job Mike Babcock’s done integrating those new pieces.
But … let’s take a moment to give some other key, not-quite-as-young figures some credit, too.
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The easiest way to illustrate this mix of new and near-new is to look at the ages and point totals of the Maple Leafs’ top 10 scorers:
1. Auston Matthews – 19 years old, 69 points
2. James van Riemsdyk – 27, 62 points
3. Nazem Kadri – 26, 61 points
3. William Nylander – 20, 61 points
3. Mitch Marner – 19, 61 points
6. Tyler Bozak – 30, 55 points
7. Jake Gardiner – 26, 43 points
8. Connor Brown – 23, 36 points
8. Nikita Zaitsev 25, 36 points
10. Leo Komarov – 30, 32 points
Again, there’s nothing wrong with highlighting the Buds’ ridiculous bounty of rookie difference-makers.
There’s a feel-good story to long-suffering Leafs such as JVR, Kadri and Bozak enjoying some glory. It doesn’t seem like we need to #FreeJakeGardiner any longer.