Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 2 hrs ago
Synergy! That’s the name of the game in Washington, DC, as Ted Leonsis’s Washington Wizards closed outthe Toronto Raptors on Sunday and then sat against the glass on Monday to watch Teddy AOL’s Washington Capitals play in Game 7 against the New York Islanders.
Now, if you had to guess which Wizards player would enthusiastically taunt the Islanders oh forget it you know it’s Paul Pierce:
The Truth had a huge grin on his face as the teams lined up for a draw and he got his glass-bang on.
Granted, Pierce still saves his best material for vanquished NBA foes, but hey, in the end, it’s pretty much just mocking a bunch of Canadians right?
Now, how do we get John Wall on the Zamboni…
Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 4 hrs ago
It's Game 7 between the New York Islanders and the Washington Capitals from Washington, DC, and we're live chatting it!
Can the Caps overcome their Game 7 disasters? Can the Isles keep Nassau open with another round of playoff games (this time against the Rangers)?
The fun begins at 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT. You bring the funny; we bring the insight, odd rugby photo on the template and the Hamburger Women.
Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 5 hrs ago
The Washington Capitals host the New York Islanders in Game 7 of their Metro Division semifinal series on Monday night.
The Islanders successfully avoided losing their last game at Nassau Coliseum; they need to win to squeeze out a few more games in the old barn.
The Capitals meanwhile, are looking to overcome a decade of Game 7 failures, many of which had come at home.
Here are four keys to Game 7:
1. Forget The Past
Alex Ovechkin’s first Game 7 at Verizon Center was my first Game 7 at Verizon Center: Joffrey Lupul, scoring an overtime winner on the power play in 2008. That game had something I’d experience in the other Game 7 losses for the Capitals: a creeping sense of dread throughout the game, and then a collective panic when adversity struck.
Game 7s in DC tend to create a sold-out building and a home bench full of clenched sphincters from the opening whistle on. Coach Barry Trotz has asked the Capitals to learn from losing five of seven Game 7s during the Ovechkin Era; they’re better off just trying to forget they’ve ever happened, or else repeat the sins of the past.
Speaking of Ovechkin …
2. Backstrom and Ovechkin vs. Tavares
The captain has to lead in Game 7.
Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 7 hrs ago
Corey Crawford is nothing if not patient. All he had to do was wait until Scott Darling fell apart like he did in the first two games of their series against the Nashville Predators, and the Chicago Blackhawks net was his again.
Crawford was named the starter in Game 1 of the Blackhawks’ Central Division championship series against the Minnesota Wild scheduled for later this week. He entered Game 6 in relief of Scott Darling (3 goals, 12 shots, 11:16 TOI), sparked a rally and made 13 saves on 13 shots to close out the Preds.
Earlier in the series, it was Darling who replace Crawford in Game 1 of the series and sparked a Blackhawks’ rally for a double-overtime win. Crawford got a chance at redemption in Game 2, but gave up six goals in the loss and then handed the crease to Darling for the next four games.
But now it’s Crawford again, as the guy signed for $6 million per season against the cap through 2019 gets the start over the guy who earned $570,000 this year. Yeah, we know: Spoiler warning...
Crawford was 32-20-5 with a .924 save percentage for the Hawks in the regular season. He was 2-2 against the Wild this season with a .948 save percentage and a 2.02 GAA.
Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 9 hrs ago
“Most people don’t realize how close we were to actually getting an NHL team.”
That was Mike McGinn, former mayor of Seattle, speaking to the Seattle Times last October. One year earlier, the Glendale City Council approved a lease agreement that kept the Phoenix Coyotes from potentially relocating.
That potential relocation site? Seattle, according to the Times:
Three sources with knowledge of negotiations confirm the Coyotes would have been bought by New York investment banker Ray Bartoszek and his partner Anthony Lanza and moved to Seattle as soon as the following day — playing up to three seasons at KeyArena — had the vote not passed.
Two sources with first-hand knowledge have confirmed New York investor Bartoszek had moving trucks on standby to relocate the team to Seattle. They say a Seattle financing specialist had helped Bartoszek line up local investors to own a small piece of the franchise.
But what if an arena was built on another site?
From Chris Daniels of KING 5, a must follow on this story:
Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 11 hrs ago
Like spoiled milk, moldy cheese and that Russian dressing that’s been on the fridge door since the Bush administration, Ken Hitchcock has an expiration date.
His first head-coaching job in the NHL remains his longest tenured one: Seven years with the Dallas Stars, 503 games, with a Stanley Cup and two Western Conference titles.
Then came four years and 254 games with the Philadelphia Flyers before being fired in 2006. Then came four years and 284 games with the Columbus Blue Jackets before parting ways in 2010.
He’s coached the St. Louis Blues for four seasons and 281 games.
Look, there’s no denying the effect Hitchcock had on this franchise. His systematic structure produced four straight playoff years – Year 1 had him taking over for Davis Payne after 13 games – with the Blues twice finishing first and twice finishing second.
But their six-game bow to the Minnesota Wild is the third straight season that they’re out on their asses in the first round. This year’s loss came at the expense of the best roster, on paper, that GM Doug Armstrong has given his coach. And it wasn’t against the Kings or the Blackhawks. It was against a team they should have beaten.
Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 14 hrs ago
Brendan Gallagher of the Montreal Canadiens is one of our favorite players, because he possesses that unique blend of offensive, physicality and the ability to be an unrepentant little weasel that gets under the skin of opposing players by any means necessary.
Like, for example, mocking an injury.
Please recall Game 1 of the Habs’ six-game victory over the Ottawa Senators in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs, in which rookie sensation Mark Stone took a stiff slash from P.K. Subban in front of the Montreal net. Stone went down in a heap, writhing in pain, before leaving for the locker room. Subban was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct.
Stone returned to the game, and even tried to get into an altercation at the end of the game. Which probably didn’t set well with the Habs, judging from what Gallagher did in Game 6.
As Stone and Gallagher jawed at each other, Gallagher skated away smirking, and then shook his right wrist at Stone, which was the wrist he suffered a micro-fracture on after the Subban slash.
(Reading some lips, it’s pretty obvious their scholarly discussion was about their relative toughness.)
Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 1 day ago
When Andrew Hammond grabbed the Ottawa Senators’ starting goaltender job, Craig Anderson couldn’t grab a stick.
His right hand had a deep bone bruise, keeping him out of the lineup. With Robin Lehner injured as well, Hammond was given his shot as a 27-year-old rookie on Feb. 18. He would go on to finish the regular season with a 20-1-2 record, going 14 straight starts without a regulation loss.
Anderson became a forgotten man, a footnote to a folk hero. He wanted to take part in this Senators’ resurgence, but he physically couldn’t; at one point, he was teary-eyed in front of reporters in discussing how the situation was “killing” him.
To that end, he was an insurance policy, much like he was when the Senators began their series with the Montreal Canadiens with Hammond between the pipes. By Game 3, Ottawa cashed in the policy, yanking their folk hero and turning back to their former starter.
All he’s done since then is stop 120 of 123 shots, posting two wins with a .976 save percentage.
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Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 1 day ago
After the Penguins were eliminated by the New York Rangers on Friday night, Evgeni Malkin held court with reporters and Mike Johnston spoke at the podium. In both case, for whatever reason, my mindset was the same: Is this the last time I’m seeing these guys with Pittsburgh?
Johnston was brought in to make the Penguins a better playoff team; instead, they existed more quickly than they ever did under Dan Bylsma. Malkin went pointless in the Rangers series, and if the Penguins were really going to shake up the team, it might have been the end of an era for him.
But David Morehouse, CEO and president of the Penguins, said Johnston and Malkin are safe. So is Sidney Crosby, quelling any of that bizarre speculation. And above all, GM Jim Rutherford, the Band-Aid applied to the team after Ray Shero was fired last summer, is back as well.
Morehouse also quashed trade talk surrounding franchise centers Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.
So there you go.
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Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 2 days ago
Since the first year Alex Ovechkin made the playoffs with the Washington Capitals, they’ve played in nine playoff series. Seven of them have gone seven games; the only two that didn’t came in the same 2010-11 season, a five-game win over the Rangers and a sweep at the hands of the Lightning.
So, chin up, New York Islanders fans: These things tend to go the distance for the Capitals, even if they’re up 3-2 in the series.
But this isn’t a Capitals team about tendencies, or the past. This is a Capitals team desperately trying to prove that this postseason, and this mix of players, is different.
Do they actually have a killer instinct this time?
Barry Trotz said he wants the Capitals to use the past to thrive in the present:
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