Greg Wyshynski

  • Derick Brassard gets the push he needs for playoff success

    Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 3 hrs ago

    TAMPA – Derick Brassard should have seen the Stanley Cup Playoffs as a rookie.

    The Columbus Blue Jackets made the playoffs for the first time in 2009, but Brassard was in street clothes. He fought James Neal earlier in the season and ended up separating his shoulder.

    The surgery it required ended his season after 31 games. 

    As a result, Brassard played 322 NHL games before his first shift in the playoffs with the New York Rangers in 2013.

    “I played four years in the league before I got my first taste of the playoffs,” he said, “and I think I really enjoy playing at this time.”

    Brassard has 40 points in 53 playoff games with the Rangers, including a team-leading nine goals and 16 points in 18 games this postseason. Granted, that was inflated with an epic five-point night in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final, pushing their series against the Tampa Bay Lightning to seven games.

    “We just made plays. Hungry on the puck. Supporting each other. We just played. It’s just what this team does in elimination games,” said Brassard.

    He and his linemates, Rick Nash and J.T. Miller, combined for 13 points in the game.

    Next up was Marty St. Louis for seven games against the Washington Capitals.

  • Marek vs. Wyshynski Podcast: Pete DeBoer hired, Rangers win, Game 6 with Tracey Meyers

    Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 6 hrs ago

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

    It's a Wednesday 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: Tracey Myers of CSN Chicago joins us to talk Game 6 for the Blackhawks and Ducks!

    • The Conference Final coverage!

    • Peter DeBoer hired by the Sharks.

    • Hockey News and Views

    Question of the Day: What do think of Peter DeBoer as Sharks coach? Email puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com 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!

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  • NHL Three Stars: Brassard's five leads to Seven

    Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 13 hrs ago

     No. 1 Star: Derick Brassard, New York Rangers

    The Rangers center had a five-point night in their 7-3 rout of the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final. He tallied a hat trick, including an empty netter, and assisted on goals by J.T. Miller and Keith Yandle.

    No. 2 Star: Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers

    Not a dominating performance for Hank, but many of his 36 saves came at the right time for the Rangers, i.e. during the first two periods when the Bolts controlled play.

    No. 3 Star: Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay Lightning

    Well, at least one Lightning player showed up in the third period. Kucherov had two goals in an attempt to lead Tampa back from their deficit.

    Honorable Mention: J.T. Miller had a four-point night with a goal and three assists. … Rick Nash had a four-point night, with a goal and three assists. … James Sheppard had the other Rangers goal. … Ryan Callahan scored his first of the playoffs, beating Lundqvist on a breakaway.    

    Did You Know? The Rangers are 43-0-1 this season when leading after two periods.

  • Lightning flunked their Stanley Cup test in Game 6

    Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 19 hrs ago

    TAMPA – Game 6 was a test for the Tampa Bay Lightning, and they failed it. 

    They had a chance to advance to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in 11 years and eliminate the New York Rangers, avoiding a grand finale in a building where the Rangers have never lost a Game 7. They earned this chance by playing three near-perfect periods in Game 5, and then two more effective periods in Game 6.

    But the third period was putrid. It was embarrassing. Fans left early and chants of “Let’s Go Rangers!” echoed in the upper deck.

    It was one of only a handful of times in this postseason where the Lightning looked outclassed by a veteran opponent, their young players competing to see who could make the most bad decisions and ill-fated plays in the span of 20 minutes.

    The Rangers won 7-3. Five of those goals were scored in the third period.

    “That third period,” lamented goalie Ben Bishop, “you’ve like a redo of that third period.”

    Thanks, Captain Understatement.

    Was it a case of a young team not being able to close the deal?

    “I think so. It was kind of similar to that Game 4 against Montreal,” said Bishop.

    That lesson? That the game isn’t 40 minutes long.

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  • NY Rangers rout Lightning, chase Bishop in Game 6 to avoid elimination

    Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 21 hrs ago

    TAMPA – The New York Rangers faced elimination in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final on Tuesday night, so they did what they do best in the playoffs: 

    Force a Game 7.

    The Rangers thumped the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena, 7-3, chasing starter Ben Bishop in the third period and humbling the Bolts. Derick Brassard had a 5-point night, with three goals and two assists. J.T. Miller, playing up with Brassard and Rick Nash, had a goal and two assists.

    Henrik Lundqvist was good when he needed to be, making 36 saves.

    "In the third period, with our season on the line, we probably played our best period of this series so far. So we wanted a chance, and we got a chance," said Rangers coach Alain Vigneault. 

    New York improved to 14-3 when facing playoff elimination since 2012. Game 7 is Friday night at Madison Square Garden, where they’re 7-0 in Game 7s.

    It'll be the second Game 7 of the playoffs for both the Rangers and the Bolts. 

    He made a move and tucked it through Bishop’s wickets for his seventh of the season. 

    Twenty-seven seconds after that power play ended, the Rangers went up 2-0, thanks in part to Brassard.

    Those rends continued. 

  • NY Rangers fight to survive, but has Tampa learned how to close?

    Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 1 day ago

    TAMPA BAY -- On Tuesday night, the Tampa Bay Lightning have a chance to do what they’ve done in their two previous rounds of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs, which is close out their opponents on their Amalie Arena ice.

    Well, eventually they did: The Lightning had a chance to go up 3-2 against the Detroit Red Wings, but lost Game 5 of that series in a 4-0 shutout. They needed wins at the Joe in Game 6 and then at home in Game 7, which they obviously they received.

    They sprinted out to a 3-0 lead against the Montreal Canadiens in the semifinals, with defenseman Jason Garrison talking about a “killer instinct” for Game 4 at home. They were blown out, 6-2, then lost again at Bell Centre before closing out the Canadiens at home in Game 6.

    “This was our Game 7, we were talking and referring to it as our Game 7, we just kept looking back at the way we played, especially in the later half of the Game 7 against Detroit and we wanted that same mentality, and we had it,” said Steven Stamkos at the time.

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  • Sucking the joy out of hockey: NHL playoff narratives vs. analytics

    Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 1 day ago

    Wyatt Arndt’s piece on VanCityBuzz about advanced stats vs. narratives will likely ring true to anyone that doesn’t always appreciate when the facts get in the way of romanticism, hyperbole and archetypes in hockey. 

    My first bout with this collision between reality and escapism was when the salary cap was instituted and every trade proposal made on NHL message boards, going forward, had to pass a financial litmus test.

    The first response was no longer “why in the hell would Team X make this trade?” but “why in the hell would Team X make this trade, considering their cap situation makes it literally impossible without several other dominos falling and a brief fit of insanity from their trading partner?”

    The only rejoinder would be a half-hearted “well let’s say they find a way to make it work” before that’s shot down faster than the ‘NHL 94’ A.I. could say “TRADE DENIED.”

    With the acknowledgement that, yes, they can sometimes undeniably suck the joy out of discussing this game.

    Rick Nash is a good example of this.

    From Arndt:

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    A universal language … with different dialects. 

  • Marek Vs. Wyshynski Podcast: 'If there are sun spots we're screwed' edition

    Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 1 day ago

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

    It's a Tuesday 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: No one! Just your boys. Over the phone. For the best sound quality available. 

    • The Conference Final coverage!

    • Hitchcock stays, Bylsma to Buffalo?

    • Hockey News and Views

    Question of the Day: What's your prediciton for Game 6 tonight? Email puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com 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!

    ***

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  • What the heck happened to Tom Sestito?

    Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 1 day ago

    In 2013-14, Tom Sestito had his best season in the NHL. He played 77 games, he had nine points (a career high!) and amassed 213 penalty minutes, which was of course why he was in the employ of the Vancouver Canucks. 

    That was the season when he picked up 27 PIMs in one second of ice time, which is a hell of a thing.

    But then John Tortorella was fired along with GM Mike Gillis. A completely new regime took over, and suddenly Sestito wasn’t in the plans any longer. He was a frequent healthy scratch this season, before being demoted to AHL Utica.

    “I haven’t been given a fair shake here yet. It’s [head coach Willie Desjardins’] team, he’s the coach,” he said.

    His AHL stint didn’t last all that long, as the Canucks announced in February “that forward Tom Sestito will not play for either club for the remainder of this season. Sestito will workout on his own and will continue to receive his salary while the Canucks work to identify a new club where he can continue his career.”

    All the better to bump into the Canucks a few times.

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  • Dan Bylsma’s seemingly inevitable marriage to the Buffalo Sabres

    Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 1 day ago

    Dan Bylsma wants to coach again in the NHL. 

    He nearly took over the Florida Panthers last season, but ultimately it wasn’t a match. (Money was a factor, as Bylsma wanted upwards of $2.5 million per season.)

    The Pittsburgh Penguins, still paying him after his firing last year, have granted permission for him to interview with the Buffalo Sabres, New Jersey Devils and the San Jose Sharks about their coaching gigs.

    The Sharks are apparently interviewing anyone that’s ever had the word “coach” as a prefix to their name. Among the suspected San Jose candidates: Bylsma, former Devils coach Peter DeBoer, current Devils (tri-? co-?) coach Adam Oates, 2016 Canada world junior coach Dave Lowry, Boston University coach Dan Quinn, potentially Trent Yawney of the Ducks and Kevin Dineen of the Blackhawks, and potentially Randy Carlyle.

    So that’s a rather crowded field.

    Don't get carried away on the Bylsma thing. Shero talked to him already while at world championships. Things could change but don't expect Bylsma and Shero to reunite in NJ. Buffalo seems far more likely.