Cooper on replacing Bishop: ‘That is asinine to me’

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With Ben Bishop allowing five goals in each of his last two starts for the first time since March 2011, Bolts’ head coach Jon Cooper was asked on Saturday whether he’d consider a change in goal ahead of Game 5 Sunday night in New York.

“I understand your question,” Cooper said of a potential change in goal. “For someone to sit here and say, are we changing (in) goal? That is asinine to me.”

Bishop has 5.00 G.A.A. and an .807 save percentage as the Lightning split a pair of games on home ice.

“You never like to give up five goals in back-to-back games, but the best part is we’ve got another game,” said Bishop following Friday’s 5-1 loss.

The 28-year-old has a 3.50 G.A.A. and an .882 save percentage through the first four games of the series.

“He’s a great goaltender and we lean on him a lot, and we expect him to be better as we expect our team to play better,” said defenseman Braydon Coburn.

Added Jason Garrison: “I think he’s probably not happy about that, and I don’t think any of his teammates are really, so collectively as a team we’ve got to make sure that doesn’t happen. You can’t win in the playoffs very much letting those kind of goals up.”

Game 5 goes Sunday night at MSG. Puck drop is at 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Flyers won’t trade Del Zotto, but ‘something will have to give’ on crowded blue line

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After adding Yevgeni Medvedev to the mix yesterday, Flyers GM Ron Hextall knows he’s going to have to do “something” about all the defensemen he’s got.

As in, he knows he can’t keep all of them. Especially not with a bunch of talented young blue-liners waiting in the wings.

Here’s how the situation looks, courtesy generalfanager:

source:

Hextall said yesterday that he plans to re-sign and keep Michael Del Zotto, so we can take the 24-year-old off the trade list.

Meanwhile, Andrew MacDonald may not have a market whatsoever, given he’s signed through 2020 and hasn’t exactly shone since joining the Flyers.

Luke Schenn and Nicklas Grossmann are pending UFAs, so their trade value is automatically limited. Perhaps there’s still a GM out there who believes Schenn, 25, has good potential. Then again, maybe not.

Nick Schultz has a reasonable contract and would have some trade value. But do the Flyers have anyone to step in and reliably do all the dirty work that he does? Remember that they don’t have Braydon Coburn anymore.

Mark Streit may be their most valuable trade chip. He’s 37, so it’s not like he’s going to be part of the long-term future in Philly. And he can still produce offensively, as evidenced by the 52 points he put up this season, the third most on the team.

The problem with trading Streit is that there are still expectations for the current roster, as Ed Snider made perfectly clear. And with all those talented, young defenseman in the system, might Streit provide a good role model?

“We’re going to have to do something,” Hextall said, per the Daily News. “Yevgeni we thought was a real good, solid upgrade on defense and was someone we couldn’t let go by. But yeah, something will have to give here.”

Bolts will protect Bishop ‘as we see fit’

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The Habs have history with getting in Ben Bishop’s wheelhouse — see here — and that trend continued on Sunday as they took a pair of third-period penalties on the Bolts goalie in an eventual 6-2 loss.

Despite the effort, Montreal’s moves moves don’t seem to have rattled Bishop much (.959 save percentage through two games) — and they don’t seem to have rattled his teammates much, either.

“They have been falling on him and hitting him — I think last night was obvious,” Lightning forward Brian Boyle explained on Tuesday. “[Torrey] Mitchell and [Brandon] Prust slew-footing him, those are penalties and they’re going to get called and they’re going to go in the box.

“We’re going to try and stay disciplined. We’ll protect our goalie as we see fit. But sometimes it’s OK to take a punch in the face in the playoffs if you’re going to go on the power play.”

Mitchell was called for tripping Bishop early in the third period and Tampa Bay converted with the man advantage, scoring its fourth and final PPG of the game. All told, the Lightning went 50 percent on the power play and used Montreal’s lack of discipline to revive a unit that had struggled coming into this series, as the Bolts were just 2-for-30 on the PP in Round 1 against Detroit.

As for the rough stuff, Boyle preached discipline on Tuesday, but also suggested his team was more than willing to step up and protect Bishop when the time calls. Evidence of that was on display last night, as Braydon Coburn dropped the gloves almost immediately after Prust ran Bishop — a move that Prust approved of, noting that the Bolts remained in control of the situation.

“I don’t know what [Prust] is thinking, and I don’t really care,” Boyle explained. “Everybody understands it’s a 6-2 game. I think [Coburn] did a great job in doing what he did.

“You see things happen like that in lopsided wins. You expect and be ready for them and as long as nobody’s injured, you just kind of forget about them.”

‘You can’t win,’ ex-NHL ref Fraser says of Prust incident

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Interesting piece here from the National Post, following Brandon Prust’s alleged dressing down from referee Brad Watson during Montreal’s 6-2 loss to Tampa Bay on Sunday:

“You can’t win,” said Kerry Fraser, who officiated 1,904 regular season games and 261 playoff games, including 13 Stanley Cup finals, during his 37-year career. “What’s the end game to all of this? The end game is he questioned the integrity of an official and there’s not a win in that.

“Brandon Prust has engaged himself in something that’s going to take him into an area where he doesn’t want to be part of, because officials are human and they’re part of a team too. If you look at the team concept from a hockey players’ perspective, they stand up for their teammates. The same goes for officials.”

In the wake of an eventful night — Prust finished with 31 penalty minutes, tossed after a late-game altercation with Bolts goalie Ben Bishop and d-man Braydon Coburn — the Montreal forward made the rare move of calling out an official, claiming Watson launched into a verbal tirade while calling a penalty in the first period.

“He called me a piece of you know what, a [expletive], coward, said he’d drive me right out of this building,” Prust explained. “I kept going, ‘Yeah OK, yeah OK, yeah OK.’ He kept on me, he kept on me. I kept saying ‘Yeah OK.’ I wasn’t looking at him and he [added an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty].

“That’s the ref he is. He tried to play God. He tries to control the game and he did that tonight.”

Many have suggested Prust will now face the same fate as Vancouver forward Alex Burrows, who infamously called out former referee Stephane Auger in 2010. Burrows was fined by the league for his comments but many suggested it was his reputation, not wallet, that took the biggest hit; there were whispers (loud, loud whispers) Burrows was — and still is — a marked man among NHL officials.

Prust blasts referee Watson after getting tossed from Game 2

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Montreal forward Brandon Prust accumulated 31 penalty minutes during the Lightning’s 6-2 win over the Canadiens, mostly because he hit goalie Ben Bishop and then fought Tampa Bay blueliner Braydon Coburn, but it’s his postgame rant that might end up leading to supplementary discipline.

“I thought the original call was kind of soft and I let him (referee Brad Watson) know on the way to the penalty box,” Prust said, per the Toronto Star’s Bruce Arthur. “He kept provoking me. He came to the box and called me every name in the book. He called me a piece of you know what, a (expletive), coward, said he’d drive me right out of this building. I kept going, ‘Yeah, OK, yeah OK, yeah OK.’ He kept on me, he kept on me. I kept saying, ‘Yeah, OK.’ I wasn’t looking at him. He teed me up.

“That’s the ref he is. He tries to play God. He tries to control the game and he did that tonight.”

Prust was discussing his roughing penalty in the first period. The Canadiens forward ended up with an additional minor for unsportsmanlike conduct.

This matter will likely be addressed by Hockey Ops and Colin Campbell as opposed to the Department of Player Safety, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger. Prust might end up receiving a fine for what he said.

Montreal as a team ran into penalty troubles in Sunday’s contest and Tampa Bay had eight power-play opportunities as a result. The Lightning capitalized on four of those chances.