Greg Wyshynski

  • Lightning banking on bad luck to explain Game 4 blowout

    Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 3 hrs ago

    “How did you see it play out?” 

    Any time a coach answers a question with a question it’s squirmy. And it rarely ever happens when the query and the response are grounded in happy feelings and optimism.

    As it was, Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper was asked how he saw the second period of their 5-1 loss to the New York Rangers in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final on Friday, where the Bolts gave up two late goals in backbreaking fashion.

    Sarcastic and exasperated as the reponse was, he answered the question with a question, and then was questioned again.

    “Maybe some tough luck?” responded Chris Johnston of Sportsnet.

    “OK, I’ll start there: Maybe some tough luck,” said Cooper. “I'll go beyond the second period. I thought for 45 minutes, we did everything but put the puck in the net. We had some really good looks. It's tough to have a period like we did in the second period. Nine times out of 10, you're coming out with the lead probably by multiple goals. Instead you come out of that, like you lose the period.  It doesn't happen very often.”

    The second goal of that Rangers rally was scored by Keith Yandle, off the leg of Tampa defenseman Victor Hedman.

  • Marek vs. Wyshynski Podcast: Mike Harrington on Babcock; Andrew Gross on Rangers; Game Show Friday!

    Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 14 hrs ago

    LISTEN HERE! [And if that doesn't work, try here.]

    It's a (gettin' down on) Friday edition of Marek vs. Wyshynski beginning at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT, and we're talking about the following and more:

    Special Guest Star: Andrew Gross of the Bergen Record on Rangers/Lightning! Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News on Mike Babcock! 

    • The Conference Final coverage!

    • Game Show Friday!

    • Hockey News and Views

    Question of the Day: How much trouble are the Blackhawks in? Email or hit us on Twitter with the hashtag #MvsW to @wyshynski or @jeffmarekClick here for the Sportsnet live stream or click the play button above!



  • Conn Smythe Watch: Tyler Johnson, Ryan Getzlaf lead MVP pack

    Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 17 hrs ago

    Welcome to the first edition of our Conn Smythe Watch, which chronicles the ever-changing race for playoff MVP. This one is a just a glimpse at the current picture; we’ll make it a daily feature when Round 2 begins. Keep in mind that we factor in the probability of a long playoff run into these choices. Who are the current favorites for playoff MVP? Glad you asked.  

    1. Tyler Johnson, Tampa Bay Lightning (3)

    The Triplets Line has taken over the Lightning’s series against the Rangers, led by Johnson and his 12 goals in the playoffs. He’s the postseason leader in goals and points (18), and tied for the lead with seven power-play points. 

    2. Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks (7)

    The heart, soul and muscle of the Ducks. He had two assists in their Game 3 win, including a great pass to set up Simon Despres for the game winner. He now has 16 points, with 14 assists.

    3. Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks (4)

    Kane’s whirling back-hander in Game 3 was his eighth goal of the playoffs and his 14th point in 13 games. He’s credited with two game-winners.

    4. Corey Perry, Anaheim Ducks (2)

    5. Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers (1)

    6. Duncan Keith, Chicago Blackhawks (6)


  • Gary Bettman claims ‘no evidence yet’ that concussions, CTE linked

    Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 18 hrs ago

    Gary Bettman met reporters in Chicago on Thursday night for Game 3 of the Western Conference Final, which meant he was going to get the Steve Montador question. 

    Bettman is fending off a few lawsuits related to concussions and players whose deaths were allegedly linked to brain injuries. One that’s in the works: The family of Steve Montador, the former Chicago Blackhawks and Buffalo Sabres defenseman who died in February, who was working with the same law firm handling Derek Boogaard’s wrongful death case against the NHL.

    “The finding of widespread CTE in Steven's brain helps us all better understand that his brain was ravaged by disease and he was unable to control it,” they said in a statement. “We always knew that there might be black eyes, broken bones and soft tissue injuries -- but he never anticipated that playing the game he loved would result in such devastating impairment of his brain function. CTE changed everything."

    What did Bettman have to say about this?

    So that, at least, is what Bettman might have been getting at.

  • Mike Babcock thanks Red Wings fans with Detroit newspaper ad

    Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 18 hrs ago

    Mike Babcock made no secret that leaving the Detroit Red Wings was an emotional decision. He’s spoken about needing to crack open a box of Kleenex when discussing it with friend and general manager Ken Holland, and we’ll go ahead and assume he’s not talking about his allergies (but oy vey, that ragweed these days).

    So the 10-year coach of the Red Wings decided to make one last gesture of appreciation to the Detroit fans as he embarks on the new chapter of his life as Toronto Maple Leafs head coach/savior.

    Babcock and his family took out an ad on Page 6B of the Detroit Free Press on Friday, featuring a photo of the Babcocks hoisting the Stanley Cup and what appars to be a photo of an Easter Island statue.

    The ad reads:

    "Detroit Red Wings fans,

    Thank you for an amazing 10 years!

    - The Babcocks"

  • Can NY Rangers, Lundqvist clamp down Lightning again?

    Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 1 day ago

    The New York Rangers have given up 12 goals in the last two games to the Tampa Bay Lightning. 

    Prior to that? They hadn’t given up more than four goals but once, in the second game against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Round 1. They had given up one goal in eight of their previous 13 playoff games. Goalie Henrik Lundqvist had a save percentage of .944 entering the series. It’s now down to a mortal .926.

    So what happened?

    Game 2 was a gong-show. Twelve power plays between the teams turned the game on its ear, and the Rangers couldn’t exactly evaluate what went wrong because if it. Those games happen, and the Lightning simply converted their chances.

    Game 3 was a little more concerning. The Bolts won the 5-on-5 possession game in the first and third period. It was more fire-wagon than the Rangers have played or would like to play, which was a function of needing to rally and New York opening up its offense. Tampa Bay’s speed was starting to become a determining factor in the series.

    The result? A second straight loss.

    Can the Rangers get back to the defensive basics of the rest of their run to the Eastern Conference Playoffs? Are they going to slow it down for Game 4?

  • Mike Babcock claims no lying to Sabres, brings the 'pain' for Maple Leafs

    Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 1 day ago

    Mike Babcock brought the pain in his introduction press conference as Toronto Maple Leafs head coach. 

    Like the pain of building a championship team from the ground up in Toronto, a process whose length and complexity are symbolized by the eight-year contract given to him by MLSE president Brendan Shanahan and the board.

    “If you think there's no pain coming, there's pain coming,” said Babcock.

    “The path we're taking has to be different. There’s no chance for a quick fixer here. You build a program. It’s going to take a long time. They committed to me for a long time. I committed to Toronto for a long time.”

    Like the pain being felt in Buffalo, as the Sabres and their media proxies believed Babcock had agreed to a deal to coach that franchise.

    Babcock denied he ever agreed to a contract with owner Terry Pegula and the Sabres, and bristled at the accusation that he flat-out lied to them, leveraging the Sabres’ offer to enrich the one coming from Toronto.

    “That 'lying' word’s an interesting word for me,” he said, while admitting he and the Sabres worked on a contract framework.

    "We wanted Mike to be a coach and a builder," said Shanahan. 

  • Winners and losers in Mike Babcock coaching the Toronto Maple Leafs

    Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 1 day ago

    Mike Babcock is being introduced as the next head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs after a wild Wednesday for the Leafs, the Buffalo Sabres, the Detroit Red Wings and many, many others. 

    Here are the winners and losers in the Mike Babcock Derby:


    While Shanahan had no experience running an empire as vast as MLSE – or any empire for that matter – he had one calling card when he took over operation of the Toronto Maple Leafs: coalition building. Putting the right people in the right places, as he did in creating the Department of Players Safety with the NHL.

    The first pieces he fit with the Leafs were Kyle Dubas and Mark Hunter in player personnel – both highly lauded. He expunged Randy Carlyle and Dave Nonis – also lauded, although not as timely as some wanted.

    Then he landed Mike Babcock, the biggest free agent acquisition for the Leafs in recent memory and a game-changer behind the bench.



    The Wings reaffirm two important tenets of their franchise in seeing Babcock leave for bluer pastures.

    The Wings were great before he arrived. They’ll be great after he’s gone.




  • David Letterman’s Top 5 hockey references in Top 10 lists

    Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 2 days ago

    David Letterman signs off for the last time on Wednesday night, ending a 33-year run in late night in which he reinvented the modern talk show. 

    It sounds hyperbolic, but it’s not. Everything Conan does. Everything Kimmel does. Most of what Fallon does. Really, name every host outside of Leno (who was the antithesis of everything Dave was) and they were influenced by Letterman.

    And really, name anyone over the age of 30 that attempts to be funny, and they probably put on the TV with the volume down at 1 a.m. to watch Stupid Pet Tricks on NBC when they were supposed to be asleep for school or work. I think the vibe I borrowed from Letterman  was that "let's just try everything, see what we can get away with and hopefully someone likes it." That's what "Late Night" was, before he started "The Late Show."

    Letterman had a great connection with sports and sports figures, usually with the ironic detachment of wooden-acting athletes attempting to read comedy bits off cue cards.

    That extending to hockey on a few occasions as well.

    1. Dog Hockey

  • Mike Babcock to coach Toronto Maple Leafs with NHL record contract

    Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 2 days ago

    The theory on Mike Babcock, perhaps the most high-profile coaching free agent in NHL history, was that he would leave the Detroit Red Wings to chase the money, seek a new challenge and look to win a Stanley Cup in short order.

    Two out of three ain’t bad. Mike Babcock is the next coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs, with an NHL record contract for a head coach. 

    Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet was the first to confirm that Babcock has agreed to an 8-year conract, that might have an out clause after five years. He reports it’s a front-loaded deal – the CBA doesn’t govern those for coaches  – with a ton of money up front. He said there was talk about Babcock having a role in player personnel, potentially working with MLSE president Brendan Shanahan in that role.

    That means he'll make more money next season than every player on the Toronto roster safe for Phil Kessel and Dion Phaneuf. 

    That left the Toronto Maple Leafs – the team without a general manager, the team seeking its first Stanley Cup since 1967.

    And the team that landed the biggest fish in the coaching pond.

    He chose the challenge of all challenges.