The fatigue factor that coach John Tortorella refuses to address regarding his New York Rangers has history on its side. The fact is no NHL team has ever won the Stanley Cup (post 1967) after playing seven games in their first two playoff series.
The last team in that situation were the Montreal Canadiens in 2010 and they were eliminated 4-1 by the Philadelphia Flyers in the third round.
Dustin Brown keeps getting better
Dean Lombardi, GM of the Kings, says Dustin Brown has turned into a real team leader. Lombardi told us on Hockey Night in Canada Radio that Brown's emergence as someone who knows when to step up puts him in the same class as real team leaders such as Joe Sakic and Steve Yzerman.
A team with the calibre of players such as Mike Richards, Anze Kopitar, Jeff Carter and Drew Doughty needed that intangible presence that Brown brings every night.
Lombardi remained coy about the widespread speculation that he had discussions about trading Brown after they acquired Jeff Carter from Columbus.
Tough to argue against the idea that so goes Dustin Brown, so go the Los Angeles Kings. They were 18-1-6 in the regular season when Brown scored at least one goal and are 5-0 so far in the playoffs.
Where will Ovechkin fit with new coach?
The next coach of the Washington Capitals is going to be an important and interesting hire by general manager George McPhee. Dale Hunter was given tons of credit for putting Alexander Ovechkin "in place" regarding his minutes played and to get Ovie to embrace the team concept. This was something Bruce Boudreau was unable to do during a long and successful run with the offensively gifted Ovechkin.
The next coach is not so much going to have to keep Ovechkin in his place; he's going to have to find a new and "better" place for his star forward.
Ovechkin has an important ally in team owner Ted Leonsis. The attendance and revenue bonanza within the Capitals in recent years can be directly attributed to his star power. Average attendance was about 13,000 five years ago and now it is over 18,000. Just as important, if not more importantly, the Capitals average ticket price has doubled over that period as well.
Money changes everything!
Home needs to feel like home
During my brief time with the New York Rangers, I remember with amusement what it was like to play in the Meadowlands against the New Jersey Devils. It was a better home team experience than actually playing a true home game at Madison Square Garden.
And, it wasn't like the novelty of Leaf fans making a trip to Montreal or Buffalo for example. This was as if the usual Devils crowd had left town and been replaced by New York Rangers faithful...for every game at the Meadowlands. The Devil core fans were there, but it was a raucous and hardcore Ranger faithful that made for a very different atmosphere.
The Devils organization doesn't want what happened to the New York Mets a number of years ago to happen in their building. During that Yankees-Mets World Series, Yankee fans were able to basically turn home games for the Mets into a home environment for their beloved Yankees as their passion and ingenuity enabled them to be the louder voice at the Mets venue.
The Devils have offered assistance to those fans looking to move or sell their tickets so that they fall in the hands of a New Jersey Devils supporter. We will see if they are successful. Ranger fans can be every bit as "cunning" as Yankee fans.
Quick ties team record
It is not surprising that Jonathan Quick has now tied the Los Angeles Kings team record for most career shutouts. It is astounding that the number is only three and the person who held the record was Felix Potvin.
Yes, it is hard to remember him even playing for the Los Angeles Kings, never mind holding a team playoff record. Potvin recorded two shutouts in the 2001 playoffs and one in the 2002 playoffs to set the team record that Quick has now tied and could surpass in the not too distant future.
Most remember Potvin's time as the goaltender of the Toronto Maple Leafs. After that great playoff run in 1993, the Leafs began the 1994 playoffs with a series win over the Chicago Blackhawks. Potvin recorded three shutouts in that series which remains an NHL record, something he shares with about 15 others.
Blues owner wants that community feeling
Despite the playoff disappointment on the ice in being eliminated by the Los Angeles Kings in four straight in their second round, the Blues did get great news off the ice with the completion of the sale of the team to a group headed by Tom Stillman.
Stillman was a minority partner in the Blues ownership group and has involved a number of prominent local types to give more of that civic feel and support to the St. Louis Blues.
One of his first priorities is to bring Brett Hull into the Blues' management group to re-connect the Blues' biggest star with the city where he enjoyed his greatest success. This will follow a successful trend with the hiring of the likes of Luc Robitaille in Los Angeles, Ron Francis in Carolina, Mark Messier in New York and others.
A matter of where and for how much
Alexander Semin's play was kind of lost in the shuffle with the focus on Alexander Ovechkin when it came to the Capitals playoff run. While his play wasn't spectacular, the often maligned Semin played well enough to earn another NHL contract. It most likely will not be with the Washington Capitals, and certainly not at the $6.7 million US he made this season.
Hurting the Leafs
Rick Dudley's move to Montreal to join new general manager Marc Bergevin as one of his assistants comes as no surprise. What does raise eyebrows is the timing. This is an important draft for the Toronto Maple Leafs and Dudley had been one of the guys working on the preparations. Now he will not be using his expertise for the Leafs. The optics are horrible for a team that already has enough horrible optics.
Why was Walkom left out?
Eight referees and one standby were named by the NHL office for the third round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The one omission that raised more than a few eyebrows was former Director of Officiating Steve Walkom, who is usually a staple all the way to the Stanley Cup Final.
He was one of the officials who chose not to call a penalty against Raffi Torres after his hit on Marian Hossa. Of course a few days later the NHL suspended Torres for that hit. Imagine if that game had come down to overtime and Torres had scored the game winner...and then a few days later was banished for the 25 games.
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