Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 11 hrs 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.
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.
WHO HAS THE EDGE?
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Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 15 hrs ago
PITTSBURGH – Like the other natural wonders of the modern world, Joe Thornton’s beard has to be witnessed in person to truly appreciate its grandeur.
The sheer mass of it. The waterfall of gray that streaks down the center, making it appear as though he attempted to sing with a mouth full of milk. The way it frays off on the edges, sweeping off in various directions like the tidal tail of a galaxy.
Somewhere behind it lurks the San Jose Sharks star.
“My brother John always has a huge beard. So I kinda follow in his and Burnsie’s footsteps,” said Thornton of his epically bearded teammate, Brent Burns. “I got two mentors that have a bigger one than me.”
Burns said that in the last couple of years, his beard has “taken off a little bit,” having not shaved for 10 months.
“Jumbo’s got a good one too,” he said. “The ‘ol Dodge racing stripe.”
Burns said he has a collection of items that have allowed him to keep the beard looking good and free of, say, vermin. Like a Jedi to his apprentice, he’s passed on that knowledge to Thornton.
It’s been quite a transformation for Thornton, considering how he looked in his younger years:
Do he think he looks better with the beard?
Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy 16 hrs ago
PITTSBURGH – NHL coaches are often depicted as cruel taskmasters that skate their teams into the ground and crush the spirits of players who don’t conform to their physically demanding standards.
And then there’s Peter DeBoer, man.
Like, practice, don’t practice. It’s cool, whatever.
“There was a stretch when he pretty much just told us, ‘Hey, you guys aren’t practicing anymore. You guys prepare hard enough,’” said San Jose Sharks captain Joe Pavelski.
“A lot of days off. A lot of rest time. Guys have benefitted from that,” said defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic.
When DeBoer took over as head coach of the San Jose Sharks this season, he walked into a situation that was like a gumbo of stress and strain. The Sharks missed the playoffs for only the second time since 1998. Rumors swirled about the futures of stars Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau, and frankly that of the rest of the roster. The players had tuned out previous coach Todd McLellan. The captaincy was, at last check, being shared by roughly 30 players.
Darryl Sutter might have the market cornered on California-based Zen in the NHL, but Pete DeBoer is the League’s greatest slacker whisperer.
(Ed. Note: As the Stanley Cup Playoffs continue, we're bound to lose some friends along the journey. We've asked for these losers, gone but not forgotten, to be eulogized by the people who knew the teams best: The bloggers and fans who hated them the most. Here are the Chicago Blackhawks bloggers of The Committed Indian, fondly recalling the 2015-16 St. Louis Blues.)
By The Committed Indian (@RealFansProgram)
“Slayed the dragon!”
That’s a phrase we’ve gotten used to around these parts. Upon this day when we come to mourn/kick dirt/wildly celebrate yet another Blues playoff exit before anything a banner would be raised for, It’s time to consider that. We heard it five years ago, when another continually good-but-not-good-enough team hell-bent on measuring its manhood every shift beat a deeply flawed Hawks team, took the most amount of time to do it, and celebrated as if it was discovered drinking beer gives you superpowers. A team with Cup aspirations screaming out its lungs needing every bounce and break to beat a third-placed team.
It was Vancouver then. It’s St. Louis now. That’s some company you keep, Blues.
David Backes of the St. Louis Blues gave one of the most emotional postgame interviews in recent memory after the San Jose Sharks eliminated them in Game 6 of the Western Conference Final.
His face was haggard. His eyes were red with tears. His voice cracked. And he wanted to take a moment to thank a teammate.
“He’ll kill me for telling this story, but in Game 5 I’m not feeling well. And Steve Ott brings me something that helped me feel better,” said Backes, choking back the waterworks. “And knowing that he’s the guy coming out of the lineup if I can play, that’s pretty selfless. That’s the kind of guys we have in here.”
It was quite a moment, as the captain thanks a teammate who sacrificed his … wait, what? ‘Brings me something that helped me feel better?’
This naturally led to a Barstool Sports story that “speculated” that the entire St. Louis Blues playoff run was the result of performance enhancing drugs.
But seriously, what did Steve Ott give David Backes to make him feel better?
OK, OK … but what magic elixir did Steve Ott give you?
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Stunning Numbers is an occasional look at stats and figures from around the NHL
The Pittsburgh Penguins and the San Jose Sharks are going to battle for the Stanley Cup. Who are they? How did they get here?
A look at some of the numbers behind the conference champs:
The combined total of regular season, playoff, Olympic and world championship games played by Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau of the San Jose Sharks before playing in their first Stanley Cup Final game on Monday.
The age of Penguins goalie Matt Murray when Dainius Zubrus of the Sharks made his debut with the Philadelphia Flyers in 1996, which was also the year he was taken in the NHL Draft.
The total number of Canadian players on both teams’ active rosters – an important fact to know in Gary Bettman’s Plan To Attract Canadian Viewers To A Non-Canadian Playoff Season Through Canadian Players.
The number of power-play opportunities between the regular season and postseason for the Sharks, most for any team in the NHL this season. The Penguins, by comparison, had 325.
The Stanley Cup Final has arrived, as the Pittsburgh Penguins will face the San Jose Sharks for the big silver chalice.
Both team have had stellar performances from individual players to help them reach the final round.
But which ones have really stood out? Which players have the accomplishments, the narrative and the momentum to potentially capture the Conn Smythe Trophy for playoff MVP?
Puck Daddy editor Greg Wyshynski breaks down the Top 5 Conn Smythe contenders in this week’s edition of The Wysh List, his weekly countdown of all things hockey.
It’s often been said that Canada has so many players worthy of being on their national team that there could literally be a second national team made up of the snubs.
So with that, we present you with the seven final additions to the Team Canada World Cup of Hockey roster, which were announced on Friday:
G Corey Crawford, Chicago Blackhawks
G Braden Holtby, Washington Capitals
G Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens
D Brent Burns, San Jose Sharks *
D Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings
D Duncan Keith, Chicago Blackhawks
D Jake Muzzin, Los Angeles Kings *
D Alex Pietrangelo, St. Louis Blues *
D Marc-Edouard Vlasic, San Jose Sharks
D Shea Weber, Nashville Predators
F Jamie Benn, Dallas Stars
F Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins
F Jeff Carter, Los Angeles Kings
F Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
F Matt Duchene, Colorado Avalanche *
F Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks
F Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers *
F Brad Marchand, Boston Bruins *
F Tyler Seguin, Dallas Stars
F Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning
F John Tavares, New York Islanders
F Joe Thornton, San Jose Sharks *
F Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks
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Team USA’s final World Cup of Hockey roster additions were announced on Friday evening and, well, they reaffirmed that John Tortorella is the head coach.
Seven players were added, highlighted below. They join the 16 previous selected to the team on March 2, as chosen by management group that includes old-school names like Dean Lombardi, Paul Holmgren, Brian Burke, Jim Johannson and John Tortorella. Please keep that in mind as you read the following:
G Ben Bishop, Tampa Bay Lightning
G Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles Kings
G Cory Schneider, New Jersey Devils
D Dustin Byfuglien, Winnipeg Jets
D John Carlson, Washington Capitals
D Erik Johnson, Colorado Avalanche *
D Jack Johnson, Columbus Blue Jackets *
D Ryan McDonagh, New York Rangers
D Matt Niskanen, Washington Capitals *
D Ryan Suter, Minnesota Wild
F Justin Abdelkader, Detroit Red Wings
F David Backes, St. Louis Blues *
F Ryan Callahan, Tampa Bay Lightning *
F Brandon Dubinsky, Columbus Blue Jackets *
F Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks
F Ryan Kesler, Anaheim Ducks
F T.J. Oshie, Washington Capitals
F Max Pacioretty, Montreal Canadiens
F Zach Parise, Minnesota Wild
F Joe Pavelski, San Jose Sharks
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The Lake Erie Monsters are the AHL affiliate of the Columbus Blue Jackets. On Thursday night, the defeated the Ontario Reign in double-overtime to advance to the Calder Cup Final for the first time in franchise history.
(Hooray for some semblance of palpable optimism about the future for Blue Jackets fans!)
Along the way, the Monsters have created one of the most memorable playoff traditions we’ve come across recently. Or at least among those that involve hockey players getting the graffiti on:
Seriously, how awesome is that? In a high-school pep rally kind of way?
This is the first year the Monsters have done the spray paint bit on the boards of their home rink for the postseason. Jeff Elston, the team’s communications coordinator, said the idea was came from someone in the team’s front office, and the players embraced it. “They were never in on the idea, but each player that has done it has enjoyed it big time,” he said
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