- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy37 mins ago
The NHL did a smart thing on Wednesday night.
It wasn’t the Matt Cooke suspension, at least in the eyes of those who feel he got off lightly, but it was the timing of that suspension announcement: Well after the East Coast news cycle, well into that night’s action in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Instead of having hockey fans pouring rage all over social media during the day about Cooke’s punishment, the news dropped within hours of two overtime thrillers and a stunning upset in Dallas. Matt Cooke’s suspension was now, at best, the fourth headline of the evening.
That’s not to say fans and media weren’t outraged over the Minnesota Wild forward getting off with an “inadequate” and a “joke” of a suspension. But after predictions ranging from two rounds to the rest of the playoffs, seven games felt … anti-climatic.
- Harrison Mooney at Puck Daddy40 mins ago
Patrick Kane played the hero for the Chicago Blackhawks in Wednesday night's Game 4 with the St. Louis Blues, scoring the 4-3 overtime winner to send the series back to St. Louis tied at two games apiece. His reward: a media scrum, where he would be asked questions about the goal he just scored.
One such question: "Patrick, was this your first overtime game-winner?"
"I'll have to check that," Kane responds, "I think I've got a couple."
Kane's actually got 4 overtime winners in his career -- three in the postseason, and one in the regular season.
You could expect someone to forget that last one, which was his first one. It came over six years ago, on March 23, 2008, and even though it was the first OT winner of Kane's career, it was a regular-season winner in a year where the Blackhawks didn't make the postseason. That could slip one's mind.
But a few of the others are pretty memorable. Kane's got something of a reputation for scoring big goals.
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy1 hr ago
Whether or not you’re pulling for the Columbus Blue Jackets in Round 1 vs. the Pittsburgh Penguins, let’s agree on one thing: Seeing this long-suffering fan base finally get a taste of playoff drama, let alone success, is a heartwarming thing.
So maybe it’s that or maybe it’s the unrivaled moment in pro sports that is a Stanley Cup Playoffs overtime goal … whatever it is, this raw audio of the Nationwide Arena crowd after Nick Foligno’s overtime goal gave us the chills:
If nothing else, the goal ensured we get to see and hear these Jackets fans again for Game 6.
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy2 hrs ago
Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins, Anze Kopitar of the Los Angeles Kings and Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks are the three finalists for the 2013-14 Frank J. Selke Trophy, which is awarded “to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game,” the National Hockey League announced on Thursday.
The Professional Hockey Writers Association votes on the award, and these are the top three vote-getters.
Toews won the award last season, while Bergeron won it in 2011-12. This is Kopitar’s first appearance as a finalist, coming in fourth in the voting last season.
Before we break down the finalists, let’s talk about criteria.
The Selke is, for my money, the NHL Award that most lends itself to advanced stats. That’s a good thing, because it’s an award that shouldn’t simply be judged on faceoff wins, plus-minus and shorthanded ice time.
And yet, if you read the descriptions of the finalists, that’s pretty much all that’s mentioned.
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy3 hrs ago
By popular demand, Puck Daddy takes its Conn Smythe Watch from the evening Three Stars to every morning of the postseason. Keep in mind that we factor in the probability of a long playoff run into these choices. Who are the current favorites for playoff MVP? Glad you asked.
1. Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins
Rask has an 0.67 GAA and a .976 save percentage through three games, which is pretty good if you like dominant goaltenders, we guess. He’s yet to surrender a power-play goal.
2. Patrick Marleau, San Jose Sharks
Marleau has three goals and two assists thus far in the postseason, including the overtime game winner in Game 3. You know, folks, he might actually not be gutless. Just a hunch.
3. Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis Blues
The Blues have 11 goals in the postseason and Tarasenko has four of them, to lead all playoff scorers. That includes the game-tying goal with seven seconds left in Game 2.
4. Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado AvalancheThu, Apr 245:00 PM PDTBoston at DetroitPreview Game
- Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy4 hrs ago
[Author's note: Power rankings are usually three things: Bad, wrong, and boring. You typically know just as well as the authors which teams won what games against who and what it all means, so our moving the Red Wings up four spots or whatever really doesn't tell you anything you didn't know. Who's hot, who's not, who cares? For this reason, we're doing a power ranking of things that are usually not teams. You'll see what I mean.]
6. Not being able to see a few hours into the future
On Monday I brought up Matt Cooke's status as a repeat offender who was told to stop acting like a piece of garbage who tried to injure everyone all the time, and did so successfully across three seasons for two different teams.
But then about 10 hours after that published, Cooke went knee-to-knee on Tyson Barrie, and every columnist who never forgave him or thought they saw through his pretty transparent media campaign following his alleged transformation into St. Francis of Assisi got to break out a ladder and clamber back up on their high horses for the first time in nearly a thousand days and scream from the mountaintops, “See?!”
- Harrison Mooney at Puck Daddy12 hrs ago
No. 1 Star: Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks
Kane was his usual dynamic self in Game 4 versus the St. Louis Blues, scoring twice, including the overtime winner in a 4-3 victory, and adding an assist. His game-winner was a remarkable bit of poise, as he backed off the defense before beating Ryan Miller high.
No. 2 Star: Alex Goligoski, Dallas Stars
Skating a game-high 32:48 in the Stars' 4-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks that evened the series at two, Goligoski led the Stars with two points, a goal and an assist. Cody Eakin got the game-winner, but Goligoski's goal was the one that put the Ducks away. Check out the assist from Vernon Fiddler:
No. 3 Star: Brandon Dubinsky, Columbus Blue Jackets
- Harrison Mooney at Puck Daddy12 hrs ago
There's an old saying when it comes to the playoffs: a series hasn't even begun until a team wins one on the road.
Supposing that's true, through four games, the first-round series between the Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues has yet to even begin. After going down 2-0 in St. Louis, the Blackhawks did what they had to, winning both of their home game.
The Game 4 victory came thanks to Patrick Kane, who gave them a 4-3 overtime win with this beautiful overtime winner:
You could see this one coming, and not just because we know Kane has a playoff gear because he has a playoff haircut, or because he was in that gear all night, with 2 goals and an assist.
He was dancing all overtime. You had to worry about what would happen if he got a little time and space, and what do you know, this is what happened.
There are few players in the NHL more terrifying on an odd-man rush, because Kane can just about do it all. We've seen him make incredible passes, and we've seen him deke his way through the defense to get to the goal, so you have to respect both options. That means he's almost always going to have time to shoot, if he wants.
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy15 hrs ago
On two misplays, all the good will Marc-Andre Fleury had earned in the Pittsburgh Penguins’ division semifinal against the Columbus Blue Jackets was squandered. All the confidence evaporated. All the hope that he wouldn’t be a liability for the third straight postseason thrown into doubt.
Yes, he made 42 saves in the game, as the Blue Jackets desperately peppered him in a fight for their playoff lives on Wednesday night. But it’s the two he didn’t make with 24 seconds left in regulation and 2:49 into overtime that cost the Penguins the game, 4-3, and made this a best-of-three series.
His puck-handling gaffe behind the net with the Columbus net empty was inexcusable:
Why leave the net? Why attempt to make a play? And if there was a play to be made, why not ensure the puck is stopped for your defensemen to grind it out? Instead, he gift wrapped the puck for the best passer on the Jackets, Ryan Johansen, who found Brandon Dubinsky, who found the back of the net through two stunned Pittsburgh defenders who assumed their goaltender wouldn’t flub the lead away.
Then, in overtime, Fleury was beaten by a Nick Foligno shot that was launched somewhere near Cleveland:
- Harrison Mooney at Puck Daddy16 hrs ago
Tyson Barrie won't return to the Colorado Avalanche's first-round series with the Minnesota Wild, after suffering an MCL injury on an ugly, knee-on-knee hit from Matt Cooke.
Unsurprisingly, neither will Cooke, who was suspended seven games by the Department of Player Safety on Wednesday.
The DOPS suspension video uses the word knee a lot. Makes sense.
"Cooke is leading with his left knee. After Barrie releases the puck, Cooke continues in this posture, further extends his knee, and makes contact wkith Barrie's left knee. This is kneeing."
That's from Patrick Burke, the knight who says knee .
Burke also explains away anybody who might be dumb enough to suggest that Barrie exacerbated the injury by trying to avoid the hit.
"While this evasive action might have worsened the extent of the injury, it should have been entirely predictable to Cooke that Barrie would attempt to avoid contact."
In other words, of course he tried to avoid the hit. Why the heck wouldn't he? That doesn't mean you can hang a knee.