Wed May 22 05:18pm EDT
There are certain inalienable truths in hockey. Ice is cold. Skates are sharp. And Pavel Datsyuk is a [expletive] magician.
Via TSN’s SportsCentre, these were deemed the Top 10 Pavel Datsyuk goals of all-time, which is a bit like trying to narrow down the 10 best entrees ever served by Thomas Keller.
A few thoughts:
• Datsyuk owns the Nashville Predators. Just owns’em.
• We like to pretend that Datsyuk’s “change-up” goal in the shootout against Antti Niemi and the Chicago Blackhawks was a subversive satire about the shootout.
• We’re not sure what's more embarrassing for the goaltender on No. 1 that he got completely bamboozled, or that it happened in a Mooterus jersey.
• We’re sure in no way that this video was a response to Glenn Healy’s claim that Datsyuk doesn’t have “god-blessed talent” on rival CBC. Nope. No way.
Wed May 22 04:11pm EDT
Vancouver Canucks GM Mike Gillis didn’t mince words during his postseason press conference, calling the team’s 2012-13 campaign a “terrible season” after their ouster at the hands of the San Jose Sharks in Round 1.
"We’re going to have to reinvent ourselves and do things differently in order to be successful. The macro look at this team is that changes have to be made,” said Gillis.
On Wednesday, changes were made: According to Louis Jean of TVA, head coach Alain Vigneault and assistant coaches Rick Bowness and Newell Brown were all fired by Gillis in a massive house cleaning for the franchise.
It was later confirmed by the Canucks:
“We have made the very difficult decision to relieve Alain Vigneault, Rick Bowness and Newell Brown of their coaching duties today,” said Canucks President and General Manager, Michael D. Gillis. “Alain, Rick and Newell worked tirelessly to lead this team to great on-ice success. I am personally grateful to each of them and their families for their commitment to the Canucks and the city of Vancouver and wish them continued success in future.”
Vigneault coached the Canucks from 2006-2013, winning 313 games. He captured the Jack Adams in 2006-07, and coached Vancouver to the playoffs in six of those seasons, including that Stanley Cup Final loss to the Boston Bruins in seven games.
Wed May 22 03:44pm EDT
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.
• Alex Ovechkin got his KHL medal for Dynamo Moscow's Gagarin Cup win. And you said he never wins anything. Wait, what's that? He left the team before they won? Well. Still. [Dmitry Chesnokov]
• The NHL's most stylish men. Yes, Henrik Lundqvist is on the list. [Sharp]
• Sidney Crosby was nearly killed by a mozza stick. [Sportsnet]
• Nick Cotsonika on Paul MacLean's "fun" approach to coaching. [Yahoo!]
• Meet Tim Thompson, the guy who makes CBC's awesome playoff hockey montages. [National Post]
• Stephen Walkom, Game 3's referee, coached Mario Lemieux's daughter. Is this a conflict of interest? I highly doubt it. Have you ever coached a bunch of kids? By the end, you hate them all and you hate their parents for making them. Or maybe that was just my experience. [Senshot]
• Speaking of officiating conspiracies, the New York Rangers' last penalty call at home came in Game 4 versus the Washington Capitals. [CSNNE]
• Elliotte Friedman's 30 thoughts, which includes this wild notion: "Conspiracy Theory: Sharks GM Doug Wilson wasn't going to trade Dan Boyle at the April 3 deadline, but he wanted Boyle -- and his other veterans -- to think he might. There's been a lot written and said about Extreme Makeover: San Jose edition, but the more I look back at it, it's not just about increasing Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski's roles. He wanted Boyle and Joe Thornton, among others, to believe, 'If this doesn't work, I'm next.'" [CBC]
• Cory Conacher comes out for the Senators in Game 4, and Mark Stone draws in. [Senators Extra]
Wed May 22 02:13pm EDT
Daniel Alfredsson had the diagnosis for what ailed the Ottawa Senators penalty kill in Game 1 vs. the Pittsburgh Penguins.
“The goals they got were scramble goals,” he said after the 4-1 loss, in which the Penguins tallied two power-play goals. “We've got to be stronger in front of our net."
Stronger, the Senators have been: They’ve shut down the best power-play unit still playing in the Stanley Cup Playoffs (27 percent conversion rate) to the tune of one goal in their last 12 chances. Ottawa's penalty kill went 6-for-6 in Game 3, and has gone 9-for-9 overall. That included a 5-on-3 kill against the Penguins in the second period, during which they only had two shots.
Oh, yeah: There was also the matter of that Daniel Alfredsson shorthanded goal that knotted Game 3 with 29 seconds left. That too.
Again, this is a Senators team stifling a Penguins power play that has slightly fewer stars than “This Is The End.” The kind of all-star unit you’d compile through trades, create-a-player and waiver wire chicanery on a hockey video game.
Can the Senators keep the kill going in Wednesday night’s Game 4?
Wed May 22 01:48pm EDT
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: Chris Johnston of Sportsnet, Harrison Mooney of Puck Daddy and Jesse Cohen of All The Kings Men, a Los Angeles Kings podcast, join Wysh as he rolls solo.
• Is this the end of John Tortorella?
• The Dustin Penner No-Goal in Game 4 for the Kings.
• The Kings Twitter feed fiasco.
• Previewing Game 4 between the Pens and Sens.
Click here for the Sportsnet live stream or click the play button above! Click here to download podcasts from the show each day. Subscribe to the podcast via iTunes or Feedburner.
Wed May 22 12:32pm EDT
Philadelphia Flyers winger Jakub Voracek had some good fortune this season, scoring 22 goals (a career best) and winning the Bobby Clarke Trophy as team MVP.
For his sake, it’s good to see that fortune has apparently extended to the offseason.
According to Sport.cz, Voracek “mishandled” his Ferrari on Wednesday morning in Kladno of his native Czech Republic and crashed into a tree.
According to Sporttovni Noviny, Voracek “was driving too fast for a truck that wanted to turn and did not stop in time” and that the “luxury car then crashed into the left side of the truck, drove off the road, where it hit a power line pole and tree."
Damage to the car is estimated at $147,715 US.
Wed May 22 11:24am EDT
Andy Sutton played 676 NHL games over 15 years, paying the physical toll and maintaining a professional hockey career through what was his final season with the Edmonton Oilers in 2013.
But c’mon, we all know the guy’s legacy as he announces his retirement on Wednesday. It’s two-fold. First, and perhaps foremost, it’s this indelible soundbyte in 2010 in which he questions a reporter about his expertise:
“Are you asking me or are you telling me?” and “So you’re an expert?” and “You saw the replay?” have entered into the NHL lexicon. It’s like the “Who’s on First?” for puckheads.
The other legacy: The suspensions, and his reaction to them.
Sutton was an early poster boy for Brendan Shanahan’s Department of Player Safety, getting suspended for 13 games total in Shanny’s first year as sheriff: Five for a headshot on Gabriel Landeskog of the Colorado Avalanche and eight for another hit to the head on Alexei Ponikarovsky of the Carolina Hurricanes.
He was also one of the first players to speak out against the NHL’s crackdown on certain types of hits. As he told the Edmonton Journal:
"This will be hard because my style of play is to be on my toes, playing physically," said Sutton. "You may see more hits with my back and my butt than my shoulders and my elbow. Seems to be the only way you're not suspended anymore."
"Those guys have to calm down, it's nuts. Everybody does. You can almost dissect every hit and see a guy leaving his feet or there's contact to the head. Guys are always leaning (with the puck). It can look like an elbow, but it's not. The media shows it 1,000 times."
After two seasons of the Department of Player Safety and Rule 48, do you read Sutton’s comments in a different light?
Wed May 22 09:14am EDT
Back in February, Larry Brooks of the NY Post speculated that the New York Rangers could eventually use an amnesty buyout and get out of center Brad Richards’ elephantine contract that runs through 2021.
At the time, I found the notion absurd: Two years removed from winning the Richards Derby, one year after he had 15 points in 20 playoff games for the Rangers, and a slow start means the Blueshirts jettison what was to be a major pillar of a championship foundation?
Then came Richards’ finish to the regular season: 11 points in 6 games, including a hat trick against the Buffalo Sabres. I kept hearing terms like “empty points” to describe that effort, but on paper Richards looked like he was rounding into postseason form.
And then the postseason hit, and that paper was crumbled up and tossed in the trash.
As Rangers fans flail about trying to diagnose how this team could be down 0-3 to the Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference semifinals, Brad Richards’ name glows like a neon sign on Broadway. He’s arguably the biggest bust of the 2013 postseason on an individual basis; a pathetic shell of a formerly clutch player who’s been reduced to a $60-million fourth liner.
Turns out Larry Brooks’ speculation may become a necessity.
Wed May 22 02:50am EDT
The Los Angeles Kings have become a social media sensation for pushing the envelope on Twitter, separating from the pack of staid NHL feeds with their snarky wit.
For Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals on Tuesday night, the Kings had a guest-tweeter on the @LAKings feed in Kevin Ryder, one half of the Kevin and Bean morning show on KROQ in LA. He was snarky. He was sorta witty. But in one instance, he went too far for the Kings:
Yeah, sexual assault jokes aren’t everyone’s particular brand of whimsy.
It's one thing to be snarky and a bit edgy. It's another to use what boils down to a rape joke on an NHL team's Twitter account. Though Ryder is responsible for the Tweet itself, those behind LA's account and marketing team are responsible for allowing him to use it in the first place. We're not sure who thought it was a good idea or how the idea was approved, but here we are. If you go and look through Ryder's work, this isn't exactly a surprising outcome.
The apologies and clarifications were fast and furious after the tweet.
Wed May 22 02:11am EDT
No. 1 Star: Daniel Paille, Boston Bruins
The catalyst for the Bruins’ dominating fourth line in Game 3, Paille set up Johnny Boychuk for the tying goal and then scored the game-winner on a funky bounce to give Boston a 2-1 win over the Rangers and a 3-0 series lead.
No. 2 Star: Antti Niemi, San Jose Sharks
The Sharks goalie stopped 22 shots, including 13 in the third period, to backstop San Jose to a 2-1 Game 4 win and a 2-2 series split with the Los Angeles Kings.