Greg Wyshynski

  • Can Ken Hitchcock get more magic from Blues in final season?

    Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 1 hr ago

    Ken Hitchcock has decided that the rest of his coaching life will be spent signing one-year contracts, like the one he’s agreed on with the St. Louis Blues for the 2016-17 season. 

    And it turns out that his coaching life has one more year left in it: Hitchcock announced on Tuesday that this will be his last season coaching in the NHL.

    "I just feel like I've got this really good year in me. This season has invigorated me like no season before,” he said. "This group of players, their dynamic has changed, and it's really exciting right now."

    The only question about Hitchcock – and it’s a legitimate one – is about his message, and when it’s worn out.

     So it sounds like they’re still down for his particular brand of tough love.

    What’s interesting is that the responsibility for the Blues’ success next season has shifted completely away from Hitchcock onto Doug Armstrong, the general manager.

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  • Patrick Marleau won’t be suspended for Bryan Rust hit; right call?

    Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 3 hrs ago

    Patrick Marleau of the San Jose Sharks will not have a hearing for his hit on Bryan Rust of the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, and thus will not be suspended by the Department of Player Safety.

    Marleau was given a two-minute minor for an illegal check to the head at 4:47 of the third period.

    Rust left the game for concussion protocol according to NHL on NBC's Pierre McGuire, then returned to the bench. He played one more shift after that at 8:36 but would not hit the ice again for the rest of the Penguins’ 3-2 win.

    "Obviously we lost him for the rest of the period. He's day-to-day with an upper-body injury," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. "It's a blindside hit to the head. He gets a penalty. I'm sure the league will look at it."

    Marleau, obviously, saw it differently and didn’t think the League would suspend him.

    “I don’t think so. I kept my shoulder in and elbow in and everything. I just kinda let him skate into me," he said. “I wanted to keep everything down. Didn’t get too up high.”

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  • Bonino, Bonino, Bonino! Hockey Night Punjabi’s viral epic goal call

    Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 4 hrs ago

    Harnarayan Singh is the play-by-play voice for Hockey Night In Canada Punjabi, which is thought to be the only regular game coverage of the NHL that’s not in English or French. He’s a national treasure for many reasons, chief among them his creative goal calls. For example, when he somehow worked Nikita Kucherov’s name into the song lyrics of a famous Punjabi song during the Tampa Bay Lightning’s run. 

    Nick Bonino of the Pittsburgh Penguins is also a favorite of Singh’s. In the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Washington Capitals, the Penguins center scored and Singh just shouted “Bonino, Bonino, Bonino, Bonino, Bonino!” in celebration.

    In Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, Bonino had the game-winning goal with just over two minutes left in regulation against the San Jose Sharks. And Singh didn’t disappoint:

    Well that was amazing. "BOOOOOO-NEEEEEEEEE-NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"

    And

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  • Sharks baffled by slow start in Game 1 loss to Penguins

    Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 13 hrs ago

    PITTSBURGH – The San Jose Sharks had 2,102 regular-season and playoff games to prepare for their first Stanley Cup Final appearance. 

    And they weren’t ready.

    Defenseman Brent Burns called it the Sharks’ “holy [crap] we’re here’ moment. A first period absolutely dominated by the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. A first period that saw them control puck possession, shot totals and on the scoreboard, building a 2-0 lead.

    “We started so slow. I don’t know if it was the long break. It wasn’t pretty in the first period. Nobody can skate. It was slow for us. We played the whole first period in the D-zone, and that’s not out game,” said forward Tomas Hertl.

    The Sharks would rally in the second to tie the game, only to lose late in the third period on a Nick Bonino goal, 3-2. But it was the horrific start and getting skated out of the building in the first 20 minutes that was the talk of the dressing room.

    Were they nervous?

    “Eh, possibly,” said forward Logan Couture. “They came out flying. We looked like we were stuck in mud. Maybe that was it. But this time of year, the games are too big to have a start like that.”

    So what happened?

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  • Penguins take Game 1 vs. Sharks on Bonino’s late goal

    Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 14 hrs ago

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    PITTSBURGH – Nick Bonino’s goal with 2:33 left in third period gave the Pittsburgh Penguins a 3-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final.

    Kris Letang’s pass form the corner found Bonino in front of Martin Jones (38 saves), and he knocked the puck past the Sharks’ goalie for his fourth of the playoffs at 17:27.

    But it wasn’t over yet. Ben Lovejoy took a hooking penalty against Patrick Marleau that gave the best power play in the playoffs a chance to tie the game with Jones pulled. But the Penguins killed it, and skated off to victory.

    Pittsburgh took a 1-0 series lead, with Game 2 set for Wednesday.

    The Sharks were dominated in the first period by the home team. 

    The Penguins took a 1-0 lead on a goal by one of their Eastern Conference Final heroes, rookie Bryan Rust, his sixth of the playoffs.

    Another rookie made it 2-0 just 1 minute and 2 seconds later, thanks to a dynamic setup from the Penguins’ captain.

    The Penguins finished the period with a 15-4 shot advantage.

    San Jose finally got on the board thanks to its NHL-best power play, with Ian Cole in the box for hooking.

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  • NHL offers pessimism on Olympics, intrigue on expansion rules

    Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 18 hrs ago

    NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman offered pessimism on Olympic participation, optimism about the coach’s challenge and some frustrating vagueness on the League’s potential expansion before Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final in Pittsburgh. 

    First, the good news: The NHL announced that its average attendance of 17,481 fans per game is a new “full-season” record. (With the usual caveat that the League tabulates attendance via tickets distributed.)

    Here is what Bettman and NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said on several topics:

    Expansion

    The Executive Committee will recommend on expansion well ahead of that Board of Governors meeting in Las Vegas, which takes place ahead of the NHL Awards on June 22.

    The options, according to Bettman, are to expand by one or two teams; to defer expansion; or to decide that the NHL will not expand.

    NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said that the earliest the NHL could add expansion teams was for the 2017-18 season, but that the NHL could defer expansion “for a year or more.”

    Bettman said that the potential for an expansion candidate to pull their bid because of a deferment “is not something that we’re focused on right now.”

    Expansion Draft

    For example:

    Olympics

  • Phil Kessel, Pittsburgh Penguins comedy legend

    Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 20 hrs ago

    PITTSBURGH – Phil Kessel is a fun guy. 

    “Sneaky funny,” according to Pittsburgh Penguins teammate Patric Hornqvist. “He’s always in such a good mood. He always has a smile on his face. Just a great guy. And then on the ice, he can shoot the puck like no one else.”

    The last part has never been in dispute. Kessel is now, and has throughout his career, been one of the NHL’s most lethal snipers. From 2008 through this season, Kessel is fourth in the NHL in goals scored with 243 in 598 games, trailing only Alex Ovechkin, Steven Stamkos and Corey Perry.

    The rest of Hornqvist's assessment might come as a surprise to anyone that views Kessel as a locker room irritant. Or a disinterested party, unless it involves getting his coach fired. Or a prisoner of his own social awkwardness.

    Maybe we don’t know Phil Kessel, because he doesn’t allow us to, and so the media and fans fill in the blanks like a disparaging Mad-Libs. So we speculate on perceived standards of fitness, and we speculate on perceived attitudinal issues, and allow his laidback comportment to be indicative of any number of character flaws. 

    Phil Kessel is a fun guy.

    ***

    ***

    Phil Kessel is a fun guy.

    We’re doing it for him.

  • Nick Bonino healthy for Game 1, recalls odd Sharks past

    Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 1 day ago

    PITTSBURGH – Nick Bonino used to be a member of the San Jose Sharks. 

    Well, “member” might be pushing it. Perhaps “property” is more appropriate, as Bonino was drafted on the sixth round of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, 173rd overall, while attending Boston University.

    “It was cool to be drafted. I thank them for drafting me. But I only went to one or two of their development camps. Good organization,” said Bonino, who is over his Game 7 leg injury and ready to draw in for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final for the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday night.

    Bonino was traded by the Sharks to the Anaheim Ducks on March 4, 2009, in a package for Travis Moen and Kent Huskins.

    “I was in school. In a class. I couldn’t really concentrate because I heard I was going to be traded,” he said. "So I went to a 3 p.m. practice and I hadn’t been traded yet. And then when I got back to the room, I had a bunch of calls and texts.”

    Fast forward seven years later, and Bonino is facing the Sharks for the Cup.

    “They’re a physical team. When you play out West, you have to be,” said Bonino, who had played in the Western Conference with Anaheim and Vancouver before heading East.

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  • Stanley Cup Final Preview: Who has the better defense?

    Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 1 day ago

    The San Jose Sharks and the Pittsburgh Penguins are both known for the blazing team speed. That doesn’t just go for their scoring prowess, but also their defense.

    The Sharks’ team goals-against average for the playoffs is 2.28, while the Penguins is 2.39. The Sharks have given up 41 goals against to the Penguins’ 43. Both teams like to swarm opposing players, taking away their time and space, filling gaps to disrupt outlet passes.

    Here’s a look at both of their team defenses.

    SHARKS 

    The blue line is anchored by the top pairing of Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Justin Braun, the team’s shutdown duo. They helped stifle Tyler Toffoli, who had one assist in five games for the Los Angeles Kings. They helped frustrate Filip Forsberg, who had one goal in seven games. And then, most impressively, they held Vladimir Tarasenko scoreless until the final stage of the St. Louis Blues’ elimination game.

    Paul Martin and Brent Burns are the other dynamic duo. The acquisition of Martin was a boon for Burns, as he’s been the perfect complement and safety net for the offensive dynamo. They’re both positive possession players and solid on the back end.

    PENGUINS

    WHO HAS THE EDGE?

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