Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 9 hrs ago
So is Game 4 of the New York Rangers’ series against the Washington Capitals a must-win for the Blueshirts?
“I look at it like every game in the playoffs is a must-win,” center Derick Brassard said.
Well that’s boring.
“You could say that our backs are against the wall here," he said, "but we’ve responded whenever we’ve been in that position, so I think it’s just staying in a good frame of mind and going on the ice and trusting our abilities and our team.”
OK, so the Rangers will never say Wednesday night’s game is a must-win; and frankly, with two more games at MSG and an undeniable propensity for these teams to play seven-game series, it’s logically not a must-win either.
But doesn’t it feel that way? Despite how tight these games have been, how slim the margins of victory are, doesn’t it feel like the Rangers need to get to Braden Holtby, flash some offense from their top line players and turn this thing into a best-of-three rather than a lose-and-go-home?
Their coach would sure like to see something from the top line.
They must win Game 4 in Washington.
Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 12 hrs ago
It's a Wednesday edition of Marek vs. Wyshynski beginning at 2:00 p.m. ET/11:00 a.m. PT, and we're talking about the following and more:
Special Guest Stars: Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun on the Calgary Flames; Mark Lazerus of the Sun Times on the Chicago Blackhawks.
• The no-goal in Ducks vs. Flames.
• DeflateGate and cheating.
• Hockey News and Views
Question of the Day: What's your favorite kind of cheating in hockey? Email email@example.com or hit us on Twitter with the hashtag #MvsW to @wyshynski or @jeffmarek. Click here for the Sportsnet live stream or click the play button above!
Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 13 hrs ago
We begin with the caveat that needs to be given whenever we discuss a standout offensive player struggling in the postseason: The Minnesota Wild’s probable sweep at the hands of the Chicago Blackhawks is not Thomas Vanek’s fault.
That established … woof.
Vanek signed a three-year deal worth $6.5 million per season with the Wild last summer. It was a redundant acquisition – the Wild didn’t necessarily need Vanek, whose best case for joining the team appeared to be an obvious connection to his college playing days – but added a dynamic offensive weapon to their roster. Well, when he’s on.
In the playoffs, he’s been off. Way off.
Vanek doesn’t have a goal his postseason for the Wild in nine games and is a minus-7. Going back to his ill-fitting campaign with the Montreal Canadiens last season, and Vanek has gone 15 playoff games without a goal. He has six assists in that span.
Here's Vanek after the St. Louis Blues series, via TwinCities.com:
Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 14 hrs ago
Ever since it was teased in the since-settled Todd Bertuzzi lawsuit, I’ve had a hankering to see NHL commissioner Gary Bettman under oath and answering questions about the League’s culture of violence.
Not only because I think there’s a better chance of cracking Captain America’s shield than there is Gary Bettman in a lawsuit deposition, but because I’d like to hear him speak with as much candor as he can be compelled the muster about things like fighting and concussions.
Rick Westhead of TSN reported on Monday that the judge in the concussion lawsuit brought by former NHL players has ordered Bettman to testify in the lawsuit.
Westhead also published a few of the specific points on which Bettman will be questioned, and one can already see how this will play out.
In the case of the NHL People vs. Gary Bettman …
It was the smokingest of smoking guns, and the NFL paid up.
Evasive and in the eyes of many probably irresponsible, but not the aggressive debunking the NFL shameless engaged in.
Speculative, but interesting.
(Note: Some audio issues with the above video.)
Game 3 between the Anaheim Ducks and the Calgary Flames on Tuesday night was a tightly played one-goal game in the third period when Frederik Andersen made an impressive pad save on Sam Bennett of the Flames.
OR WAS IT?
The play was reviewed by the NHL War Room as the puck appeared to cross the goal line before it hit Andersen’s pad. At least that’s what a few of the straight-ahead replays showed; the ‘eye in the sky’ replay was inconclusive.
The wait was excruciating for the Flames and their fans. Finally, Kelly Sutherland skated out and announced that the footage was inconclusive and there was no goal scored.
Which didn’t sit well with Brian Burke.
And there were many boos.
Look, for the love of hockey, this should have been a goal. It was close enough, the War Room could have said “goal” and really the only people that would have cared were Ducks fans, and we would have had a tie game in a must-win for the home team. It’s a hockey fable!
Except … it wasn’t a goal.
Still, a good portion of the hockey world felt it was a goal. Which sucks for Flames fans.
But hey, it’s not as if the same thing happened to them 11 years ago or anything …
The New York Islanders’ last game at Nassau Coliseum ended up being their Game 6 win over the Washington Capitals in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Alas, they lost in Game 7, depriving us of another round of games at Nassau Coliseum … and, well, the chance that the hated New York Rangers might have been the ones to close it out.
Brooklyn beckons next season for the Isles. And as the season is over, that means the ice comes up at the old barn one last time.
Bruce Bennett of Getty Images captured these fantastic, depressing and fantastically depressing images of the ice being demolished at Nassau.
The Islanders move to Barclay's Center next season. Captain John Tavares hoped they'd still have a home ice advantage, via the NY Post:
It's a Tuesday edition of Marek vs. Wyshynski beginning at 2:00 p.m. ET/11:00 a.m. PT, and we're talking about the following and more:
Special Guest Stars: Ken Daneyko on the departure of Lou Lamoriello.
• Caps vs. Rangers.
• Ray Shero takes over the Devils.
• Hockey News and Views
Question of the Day: Does salary matter when you evaluate on-ice performance? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or hit us on Twitter with the hashtag #MvsW to @wyshynski or @jeffmarek. Click here for the Sportsnet live stream or click the play button above!
Minnesota Wild coach Mike Yeo saw Chris Stewart get tripped up and slide into the boards during the second period of Game 2 against the Chicago Blackhawks. He saw him return to the game later, having shaken off an apparent arm injury. He expected him to play in Game 3 on Tuesday night in St. Paul.
Alas, Stewart’s injury will keep him out of their showdown with the Blackhawks, who lead the series 2-0.
Jordan Schroeder will draw in for Stewart. He played 8:50 on April 18 against the St. Louis Blues, finishing with two shots and a minus-1.
“He brings his speed, and the fact that he's played these guys this year and actually played pretty effectively,” said Yeo.
Against Chicago this season, Schroeder played in three games and had 12 shots in 9:55 of average ice time.
Stewart has two assists and no goals in the playoffs, skating to a minus-3. With the Wild, after he escaped the smoldering husk of the Buffalo Sabres, Stewart had three goals and eight assists in 20 games. But he hasn’t scored a goal since March 21.
MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY
During Game 1 of the New York Rangers’ series against the Washington Capitals, NBC analyst Mike Milbury said that Rick Nash was playing a “marshmallow soft” brand of hockey, which wasn’t exactly fair, considering that marshmallows are visible.
Through eight playoff games, Nash has one goal and four assists. Against the Capitals, he has one assist. In his last 33 playoff games with the Rangers, he had four goals. In his last 33 regular-season games with the Rangers, he had 14 goals.
And yet he was visible in Game 2, setting the screen that allowed an Boyle’s goal from the point to sneak past Braden Holtby and pumping four shots on goal, more than any other Ranger. And he was very downright dominant in Game 3, with 15 shot attempts and seven of them finding Holtby.
Still, nothing to show for it on Nash’s score sheet, which brings us back to a conversation that was ongoing in the Rangers’ run to the Cup Final last postseason:
Is Rick Nash’s lack of playoff goal-scoring hurting the Rangers, or does he do enough away from the score sheet to excuse it?
When Lou Lamoriello shocked the world by handing his New Jersey Devils general manager gig to Ray Shero on Monday, one of the first things Shero mentioned on his to-do list was finding the team’s next head coach.
Please recall that after Pete DeBoer was fired last season, Lamoriello joined Adam Oates and Scott Stevens in convoluted coaching hydra that managed to inch the Devils closer to mediocrity and farther away from Connor McDavid.
Is it possible that one of them will remain as the Devils’ head coach? Tom Gulitti has an exclusive chat with Shero and pressed him on it:
“So, you take the time that you have and try to make some decisions based on what you find out and go from there.”
Anyone else hear a record scratch and/or a car screeching to a halt when he mentioned Dan Bylsma?
Gulitti asked, noting that Shero might not be at liberty to discuss him candidly: