Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 3 hrs ago
(Ed. Note: Welcome to Round 2 coverage of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs, where we flip the format and get right to the point with 11 keys to each series. Enjoy!)
The San Jose Sharks (46-30-6, 98 points) calmly eliminated the Los Angeles Kings in five games, ousting their arch rivals. The Nashville Predators (41-27-14, 96 points) rallied to eliminate the Anaheim Ducks in seven games, costing Bruce Boudreau his job.
The Sharks and Predators met in the first-round in 2006 and 2007, with the Sharks winning both series in five games. Not to say that was a while ago, but Paul Kariya was the leading scorer for the Preds.
They meet again in the Western Conference Pacific Division Final, despite the Predators playing in the Central. Such is playoffs.
Here are 11 keys to victory for the Sharks and Predators.
1. The Top Line
They were also the only three Sharks forwards to out-possess the Kings in 5v5 score-adjusted Corsi, which is seriously impressive against the best possession team in the NHL.
2. Josi and Weber
Oh, and the goalie’s not bad, either.
Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 6 hrs ago
Somewhere in Prague this weekend, Connor McDavid and his Edmonton Oilers teammates Taylor Hall and Cam Talbot will take a break from their IIHF world championships preparation to follow the NHL Draft Lottery.
One year ago, it was McDavid that went first overall to the Oilers. Six years ago, it was Hall. In between, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov were taken first overall by the Oilers, too.
And Brian Burke thinks this is nauseating.
Burke’s Flames have an 8.5 percent chance of winning the first overall pick in Saturday's lottery. The Oilers have a 13.5 percent chance, while Burke’s former team, the Toronto Maple Leafs, have the best odds at 20 percent.
“No one ever wanted that; no one ever imaged that.”
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Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 9 hrs ago
Depending on the day and to whom you’re speaking, the NHL is either going to totally expand – at the very least, to Las Vegas – or it’s going to hold off on it for the foreseeable future.
But if the NHL expands, and we suspect it will, one major hurdle towards the executive committee’s approval of it was cleared this week. Gary Lawless of TSN reports that the NHL and the NHLPA have agreed on the framework and format for an expansion draft.
According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, that format includes the protection of seven forwards, three defensemen and a goalie, or eight skaters and a goalie. There’s an exemption for second-year pros, meaning that if the draft is held in 2017 neither Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel would have to be protected.
From Lawless, who believes that the decision on expansion will happen soon:
One of the mysteries of the expansion draft may have also been solved: How to handle no-move and no-trade clauses.
Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 20 hrs ago
Washington Capitals forward T.J. Oshie was the hero of Game 1 against the Pittsburgh Penguins after he completed a hat trick with an overtime goal for the 4-3 win.
“Osh, right from the get-go, had good jump in his game,” said coach Barry Trotz.
Perhaps he took some inspiration from another Oshie and her performance against the Penguins earlier in the day.
T.J. Oshie said a neighbor left a Pittsburgh poster on the stoop of their house. So his wife, Lauren Cosgrove, and 2-year-old daughter Lyla, decided to make a statement with it … by having the young girl punt it
Now that’s inspiration. Although Oshie admitted that he doesn’t even know how the stars aligned for him in Game 1.
“Pucks just went in. They usually don’t,” he said.
Oshie’s goal at 9:33 of overtime was his third of the game and a controversial one that needed video review to be confirmed, as the puck appeared to just inch over the goal line past Penguins goalie Matt Murray.
Said Penguins coach Mike Sullivan: “I didn’t see all the angles, but obviously they saw one that they felt it went in.”
And in Game 1, he found a way to win it.
Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 22 hrs ago
Washington Capitals blunt force object Tom Wilson was going to be a physical presence in their second-round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins, and didn’t waste any time in Game 1 making that presence known.
And, as Tom Wilson is one to do, crossing the line of legality in doing so.
As Wilson skated back to the Capitals bench on a change, he suddenly veered to this left so he could deliver a knee-on-knee leg-whip to Penguins forward Conor Sheary, who went back to the bench gingerly but played a regular shift in the third period after the hit.
No penalty was called on the play. Penguins coach Mike Sullivan emphatically informed the referees he was displeased with this at the next stoppage. Said Sullivan: “I didn’t get an explanation. I’m not concerned. We’re going to play hockey.”
Wilson earned a roughing call in a second-period tussle with Evgeni Malkin, who was given an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for diving.
Does Sullivan expect NHL Player Safety to get involved?
“I have no idea. But those guys are pretty diligent with their job and they’ll go what they think is appropriate.”
Here's the NBC analysis. It's weird.
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Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins, Ryan Kesler of the Anaheim Ducks and Anze Kopitar of the Los Angeles Kings are the three finalists for the 2015-16 Frank J. Selke Trophy, which is awarded “to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game,” the National Hockey League announced on Thursday.
But, essentially, they mean “best two-way center.”
Who wins the Selke, which is voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers Association?
Why Patrice Bergeron Deserves The Selke
The NHL says:
This is a Lidstrom-and-the-Norris run for Bergeron, and deservedly so. He had a score-adjusted Corsi of 56.04 percent at 5-on-5, and was second in the NHL with a CorsiRel of 8.31 percent (i.e. how much better of a possession team the Bruins were with him on the ice).
It’s a little weird the NHL paid SAP all that money for advanced stats and they’re not even mentioned here. Anyhoo …
Why Ryan Kesler Deserves The Selke
The NHL says …
Hits! Cited in a Selke analysis!
Why Anze Kopitar Deserves The Selke
The NHL says…
Plus/minus? Sheesh …
Who Wins The Selke?
Bergeron. Potentially from now until retirement. We’re in Ozzie Smith/Gold Glove territory.
Aleksander Barkov, Florida Panthers
It's a Thursday edition of MAREK VS. WYSHYNSKI, and we're talking about:
- Bret Hedican of CSN Bay Area talks about the San Jose Sharks and whether they have what it takes to get past the Nashville Predators.
- Recapping the Anaheim Ducks' failure in Game 7.
- Previewing the rest of Round 2.
- Can the Coyotes trust a 27-year-old as their general manager?
- News and notes from around the NHL.
The Marek vs. Wyshynski Podcast is hosted by Jeff Marek of Sportsnet and Greg Wyshynski of Yahoo Sports, breaking down the NHL on a (somewhat) daily basis with their particular brand of whimsy and with guest voices from around the hockey world. MvsW streams live while its being recorded: LISTEN HERE! [And if that doesn't work, try here.]
The NHL had some premature congratulations for the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Islanders, as the second round started before the first round was finished.
So we locked in our picks for that series while waiting to see if the Anaheim Ducks or Nashville Predators would advance. (Spoiler: It was a Game 7, so you fill in the blank.)
Now, here are the picks for the rest of the second round series, as the Pittsburgh Penguins take on the Washington Capitals; the Dallas Stars face the St. Louis Blues; and the San Jose Sharks face the Nashville Predators.
And here … we … go.
Penguins in 7
You could basically flip a coin for these Round 2 series and come up with a prediction that wouldn't be too crazy.
Pens-Caps? Alex Ovechkin and Barry Trotz are long overdue to get out of the first round. But with the way the Penguins have been playing in the second half and with the fact that Matt Murray has kept their goaltending situation stable as Marc-Andre Fleury recovers from a concussion, it's tough not to see them continuing this run.
Bruce Boudreau lost in a Game 7 on Wednesday night, which essentially means he was coaching in the playoffs. Although he probably won’t be coaching the Anaheim Ducks any longer because of it.
That Boudreau has gone 1-7 in Game 7s with two different franchises during his coaching career is just a stunning and stupefying stat. Stunning because it’s hard to conceive of a coach whose regular-season success could cancel out such postseason disappointment, but Boudreau could be a Jack Adams finalist and be looking for a job this month. Stupefying because that’s either bad coaching, bad playing, bad luck or some other supernaturally bad thing happening.
Why does the same thing happen to the same guy seven times, like he’s some kind of hockey-centric John McClane? (OK, in fairness, there already was a hockey-centric John McClane, and he murdered the Penguins’ mascot.)
Here are five reasons why Bruce Boudreau can’t seem to win a Game 7. We were going to go to seven but in the spirit of the subject at hand, we fell just short.
Which brings us to:
Viral moments in social media have become calculated, work-shopped and focus-grouped. The truly organic, truly odd moments of simultaneous discovery and zeitgeist tapping are few and far between, which is why they have to be savored and celebrated.
And with that, the cult of celebrity around Anthony Holmes, a.k.a. “Tony X,” must be celebrated.
As he tells it, Tony was flipping around the channels on Monday night looking for the St. Louis Cardinals game. He landed on Fox Sports Midwest where the St. Louis Blues were playing the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 7 of their opening round series. Tony tweeted:
“Yo deadass this the first time I've ever watched hockey and this [crap] has been LIT for these first 45 seconds.”
What followed were a collection of hilarious observations from a sports fan slowly letting the light of hockey into his heart, including the immortal:
“White people been hiding hockey from us for years bruh. This [crap] lit.”
That last line was favorited 52,000 times and counting. And a star was born.
Here’s that GMA segment: