- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy2 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.
- Josh Cooper at Puck Daddy2 hrs ago
Apparently former North Dakota, and new Philly, coach Dave Hakstol had an out-clause in his college contract that inlcuded a $100,000 penalty if he took a job in the NHL.
Per the Grand Forks Herald:
When negotiating coach Dave Hakstol’s last contract in 2012, (UND athletic director Brian) Faison put a clause in the contract that specifically outlined a penalty fee if Hakstol left UND for an NHL head coaching position.
The Philadelphia Flyers hired Hakstol to be their head coach last week.
According to Hakstol’s contract, he will owe the school $100,000 for leaving his contract before June 30, 2015, for an NHL head coaching job.
Coaching the Flyers is a much more high profile job than coaching the North Dakota Fighting Sioux. And probably a higher paying gig. Hakstol had the UND head job since 2004-05.
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy4 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.
- Josh Cooper at Puck Daddy10 hrs ago
Have the St. Louis Blues gone from a team with Stanley Cup aspirations to one that just wants to make the playoffs?
Probably not, but the opening messaging of Ken Hitchock’s news conference, announcing the coach had been re-upped for a year by the Blues had that weird kind of feel.
“I know there’s going to be questions about next year’s playoffs, but unless we come prepared to work in September, that won’t be an issue for us because we won’t make the playoffs,” general manager Doug Armstrong said. “We have to come ready to play. We have to prepare.”
The Blues have been postseason flameouts with Hitchcock as coach. They haven’t made it past the second-round, in spite of having some dominant teams in the regular season.
There were questions about Hitch’s ability to push this group onwards and upwards, especially after such a disappointing loss to the Minnesota Wild last playoff.
“This is a really good team trying to become a great team. I think I have the tools and expertise to help them along the way,” Hitchcock said.
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy10 hrs 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.
- Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy11 hrs ago
As a hockey community, collectively, we look at what Matt Beleskey is doing in this postseason and say, “Well, someone's going to overpay him this summer.”
And as is usually the case with pending unrestricted free agents who overperform during deep playoff runs, that belief is correct. Someone is going to look at what Beleskey is doing — and let's be honest, a 7-1-8 line in 14 games really isn't that great — and say, “Yes please, here's a bunch of money.” Almost every year, without fail.
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy11 hrs 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.”
- Jen Neale at Puck Daddy11 hrs ago
Here are your Puck Headlines: A glorious collection of news and views collected from the greatest blogosphere in sports and the few, the proud, the mainstream hockey media. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at .
• Rex Ryan attends New York Rangers game. Judging by the face of the guy in front of him, it's not a pleasant experience. [Getty]
• Convicted pedophile, former junior hockey coach Graham James faces more charges. [Canadian Press]
• "Until recently, it was considered inevitable the Tampa Bay Lightning will re-sign superstar captain Steven Stamkos. Several factors, however, could make this a difficult decision." [Spector's Hockey]
- Jen Neale at Puck Daddy12 hrs ago
By now, we’ve all come to realize the true hero of last night’s Anaheim Ducks overtime win – Emilio Estevez.
Prior to Game 5 puck drop, the original (Mighty) Ducks coach, Gordon Bombay (aka Emilio Estevez), took to Twitter to lend inspiration to the team he birthed from his movie loins.
GO GET 'EM TONIGHT DUCKS!!! @AnaheimDucks#GordonBombay
Naturally, the hockey blogosphere went nuts. What an endorsement in a destined series:
Even though the matchup was fated in The Mighty Ducks, Game 5 felt much more like D2: The Mighty Ducks for everyone, including Bombay.
The boost in confidence was immediately evident in the Ducks. In the first five minutes of the game, they scored 2 goals just 32-seconds apart against the Chicago Blackhawks. Chicago? More like Trinidad and Tobago.Wed, May 278:00 PM EDTAnaheim at ChicagoPreview Game
- Sean Leahy at Puck Daddy12 hrs ago
Whenever Vladimir Sobotka decides to return to the NHL, he owes the St. Louis Blues at least one year of service. That was the result of the qualifying offer sent his way last summer and the arbitration hearing that awarded the forward a one-year, $2.725 million contract. The only problem? The restricted free agent has two years left on a deal with
Now that both St. Louis and Omsk have seen their seasons come to a conclusion, GM Doug Armstrong is hoping to lure Sobotka back as soon as next season, which would be a nice start to a roster remodeling now that head coach Ken Hitchcock isn't going anywhere.