Mon May 20 12:18pm EDT
Sometimes the Stanley Cup Playoffs make us do abnormal things, like canceling a pizza pickup order because our favorite team just tied the game in the third period. Other times it brings two fanbases together.
This was the case for Catherine Farish from Jacksonville, North Carolina. Originally from Boston, she moved south because her husband is a sergeant in the Marine Corps. She's also a big Boston Bruins fan. Working Sunday night at a local Buffalo Wild Wings during the Pittsburgh Penguins/Ottawa Senators double overtime game, she encountered a customer who would end up making her day.
Last night during my shift this young man came in alone and sat at my table. He was quiet, but friendly and very easy to take care of, he came in to watch the Penguins/Senators game. As we all know it went into double overtime, so he was there from beginning at 7pm to the very end around 11:45. After I congratulated him on the Senators win, I stepped away and during that time he left and when I returned to clean off his table, I picked up his credit card receipt (pictured below) It absolutely made my night and even though I may be a Bruins fan, completely restores my faith in humanity. It was such a kind gesture. Hope this brightens your day!! Thanks for reading!
What she found was a $50.33 tip and this message:
(The "KCCO" stands for "Keep Calm and Chive On", a reference to the recently revived "Keep Calm and Carry On".)
Farish added that the generous customer said he was born in Ohio and raised to dislike all things Pittsburgh (Browns fan, perhaps?). We wish could have seen his reaction after Colin Greening's goal Sunday night.
Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy
Mon May 20 11:27am EDT
It’s Stephen White’s job to call the action as a hockey announcer for ATC Productions, which covers the Australian Ice Hockey League.
Little did he know he would be calling it in a dramatically different way when an on-ice official was accidentally injured.
In the first period of a game between the Newcastle North Stars and Melbourne Ice on Sunday, linesman Casper Russelhuber was crunched by two players, receiving an accidental spin-kick from Chris Frank of the Ice that lacerated his index finger.
Along with the sliced digit, he suffered a mild concussion. You can see the injury at the 53-second mark here:
The game needed a replacement official.
They found one in the commentary booth.
Mon May 20 10:51am EDT
As impressive as the Toronto Maple Leafs were in their playoff series against the Boston Bruins, Mikhail Grabovski had a different experience. The forward had just two assists and was a minus-10 for the Leafs – a performance that came after a 9-goal, 7-assist one in 48 games this season.
I spoke with Grabovski about the Leafs’ playoff run; whether Game 7 was his worst loss of his career; his season under coach Randy Carlyle; his Datsyukian goal attempt; his incident with Max Pacioretty; and what the future holds.
Q. Let’s start with a couple of thoughts about the season.
GRABOVSKI: “The season turned to be positive overall. I wouldn’t say it was the best one for me or very successful, but it was certainly interesting, I gained a lot of experience.”
Yet it ended in a big disappointment. If you were asked to describe what happened in a few words, what would you say?
“I would say… You know, it is so difficult to describe it, very difficult to talk about it. It left a very bad feeling. But it was still an experience. It showed that as a team we are not yet ready to compete for the Stanley Cup. At the same time, we are almost there.”
Mon May 20 07:55am EDT
Hello, this is a feature that will run through the entire season and aims to recap the weekend’s events and boils those events down to one admittedly superficial fact or stupid opinion about each team. Feel free to complain about it.
No one is ever going to be totally happy with the ways in which the NHL's referees or officials make their decisions. We can all agree on that.
If there's a game in which neither team is whistled for a penalty, both will likely complain that the refs missed calls on the other. If there's a game in which both teams receive 10 power plays, both will complain that the referees were overly harsh in doling out discipline. No one is ever especially happy with calls that go in between those two extremes, either, because unless you win, you aren't happy. And sometimes, even when you do win, you aren't happy.
It's tough to know what, exactly, brought all this to a head in these playoffs. Alex Ovechkin complaining about a league-wide conspiracy in Game 6 after the end of Game 7; Jonathan Toews stamping his feet when his team got clobbered on home ice by its archrival; Sidney Crosby saying the league needs to institute video review for puck-over-the-glass calls; Jonathan Quick abusing officials because the Kings gave the Sharks a two-man advantage in overtime.
Doesn't it strike anyone as being a bit much?
No one likes to lose in October, let alone in the second round of the playoffs, and you might even say that the refs have made a bit of a spectacle of themselves in the last few games. The best thing a ref can do, the old saying goes, is not be noticeable, and things have admittedly gotten a bit out of hand in some instances.
But nonetheless, can you imagine the eye-rolling or outright mockery in Chicago if Henrik Zetterberg had said the same things Toews did after they got creamed in Game 1? Or the uproar if Ryan Callahan of the lionized New York Rangers had complained about a conspiracy to push the series longer? Or the furor if Joe Thornton had done what Quick did after the Sharks gave up a similar late-game 5-on-3 advantage that allowed the Kings to tie Game 1?
What it boils down to is being a sore loser.
Mon May 20 12:42am EDT
Zack Smith finishes off Matt Niskanen with the stinky leg drop.
No. 1 Star: Craig Anderson, Ottawa Senators
Anderson stopped 49 of 50 as the Senators staged a stunning comeback over the Pittsburgh Penguins, tying the game with less than a minute to go and winning it, 2-1, in double overtime.
No. 2 Star: Torey Krug, Boston Bruins
Krug's second postseason game was even better than his first. He had a two-point night in the Bruins 5-2 win, scoring again and picking up an assist. His play on the goal, kicking the puck to his stick then whipping it past Henrik Lundqvist, showed some serious veteran savvy:
Mon May 20 12:13am EDT
This one looked over.
The Ottawa Senators were staring a three-game deficit right in the face, down a goal with 90 seconds to go. Then, to make matters worse, Erik Karlsson took a slashing penalty, putting them down a man as well. But the Senators refused to go away, and a minute into the penalty, Daniel Alfredsson sneaked into the Pittsburgh zone, unmarked, and Milan Michalek found him in front of the net. Alfy sealed the deal, as Alfies often do, ending Tomas Vokoun's shutout bid and sending the game into overtimes.
Yes, overtimes. For the first time in the 2013 postseason, it took double OT for this game to produce a winner, and when it did, the Senators were back in the series. At 7:39 of the second overtime, Colin Greening banged home a loose puck to give the Sens a 2-1 victory:
And with that, the legend of the pesky Sens lives on. This team just won't go away. Pittsburgh will be left to wonder if it was their brutally lackadaisical approach to the powerplay late in regulation that cost them the lead, or destiny.
(Probably the former. But the latter makes for a nice narrative, no?)
Even after tying the game up in miraculous fashion, the Senators were nearly dealt the fatal blow numerous times. Pascal Dupuis hit a post in the first overtime. Evgeni Malkin had several terrifying forays into the Senators' end. They even survived another Pittsburgh powerplay in OT number two.
Alfredsson and Greening will get much of the credit for stealing Game 3 -- which is sort of what happens when you get your name on the scoresheet after the 59th minute -- but Craig Anderson was a deserving first star after keeping the game within stealing distance all night. The Senators' netminder stopped 49 of 50 shots in the win.
How close were the Senators to the end? After the game, Greening -- who took a high-stick in the second and was late to the postgame scrum because doctors had to extract the fiberglass that had been sitting in his face for two and a half periods -- looked like he'd just come from Dexter's kill table.
You can't get much closer to death than that. Not many people survive the blood slide moment.
Game 4 goes Wednesday in Ottawa.
Sun May 19 06:11pm EDT
Patrice Bergeron streaked into the Rangers' zone, going wide on his man and down the wall. As he neared the goal line, he threw the puck towards the crease, where Dan Girardi was unable to get a stick on it and, much to his chagrin, Brad Marchand was. The smallish winger with the nose for the net redirected it past Henrik Lundqvist for the score.
That's not the Game 1 overtime winner I'm describing, though the similarities are striking. It was the fourth goal in Boston's decisive, 5-2, Game 2 victory over the New York Rangers.
The retread of the Marchand-Bergeron connection aside, these games weren't all that similar. Game 1 was close -- so close it needed extra time; Game 2 was over well before the end of regulation.
Johnny Boychuk scored the eventual game-winner at 12:08 of the second period after Brad Marchand handed him the puck at the top of the zone and the Rangers handed him all the time in the world. He beat Henrik Lundqvist with a laser.
The Rangers' comeback hopes took a major hit just 26 seconds into the final frame, as Marchand and Bergeron hooked up for the goal described above (and showcased below):
Sun May 19 01:06pm EDT
The New York Rangers enter Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals on Sunday with, statistically, the worst power play of the playoffs’ surviving teams: 2 goals on 31 shorthanded chances, for a 6.4-percent conversion rate.
The deficiency has gone from being a drag on the Rangers’ offense to being a boost to the opposition, like during their empty power plays in their Game 1 loss at the Boston Bruins.
So what’s gone wrong for the Rangers, and can it turn around?
Sun May 19 11:18am EDT
Via Penguins WhoSay
Besides being able to have their team advance out of the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the city of Pittsburgh has also made it possible to turn one of its buildings into a goal light.
A Toronto Maple Leafs fan petition to turn CN Tower into a goal light for each playoff game didn't succeed. In Pittsburgh, however, it took a round, but the top of Gulf Tower will light up red every time the Penguins score in for the rest of the playoffs.
Ian Walsh, an executive with Rugby Realty, who control Gulf Tower, met with the Penguins on Wednesday to discuss another idea when the goal light conversation came up. After figuring out a way to control the lights remotely, the plan was put into place for Game 2 on Friday.
Here's a view from inside CONSOL Energy Center after Brenden Morrow's goal in Game 2:
There was no test run, and Crosby's goal early in the first period on Friday night turned the Gulf Tower into a rotating red light for the first time. However, because there was still daylight when Crosby scored around 7:50 p.m., few people noticed.
That was not the case about 30 minutes later when Crosby scored his second goal. A darker sky provided the perfect backdrop for the Gulf Tower to stand out.
During the game, Wareham received word from Penguins employees that fans were posting photos of the rooftop goal-light on Twitter, but even he was surprised how quickly the idea became a success.
The Penguins’ director of event presentation controls the lights via an iPhone and beginning with Sunday night’s Game 3, there will be 20 rotations of the lights for each goal scored, up from 15 used during Game 2.
Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy
Sun May 19 09:23am EDT
The Providence Bruins were unable to close out the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Saturday night in their Eastern Conference semifinal matchup as the home side forced a Game 6 with a 4-0 win. The Bruins wouldn't go quietly as a late-game brawl brought fireworks and set the scene for their next meeting on Monday night.
Both Providence and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton combined for 113 penalty minutes in the game, with the bulk of the total coming after Bruins forward Graham Mink -- who had rolled over him just minutes before -- fell on top of Penguins goalie Brad Theissen after he froze the puck:
What a call by the Penguins voice Tom Grace and a nice warning to the Bruins that Steve MacIntyre lurks. And we have to applaud the arena music person for using the Ultimate Warrior's theme during the brawling.
The two teams weren't done getting at one another. Two minutes later, after Paul Thompson made it 4-0 (8:07 mark of video), Bruins netminder Niklas Svedberg took exception and slashed him in the back of the leg, setting off another round of scrums. Svedberg would get a two two-minute penalties for slashing and roughing.
Mink was given a match penalty for deliberate attempt to injure. According to AHL rules, he's fined $200 and the penalty will be reviewed by the league for supplemental discipline.
"I didn't say anything or do anything. It kind of happened. I'm not sure what provoked it," Thiessen (30 saves) told Jonathan Bombulie of the Citizens' Voice afterward. "Whatever they want to do, my job is still to stop the puck."
Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy