Puck Daddy Countdown: The Capitals freakin' did it!

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Don’t adjust your screen: That is indeed the Capitals celebrating a series win over the Penguins. (Getty)
Don’t adjust your screen: That is indeed the Capitals celebrating a series win over the Penguins. (Getty)

8. Carolina’s hires

It’s pretty crazy that the best guys to take jobs with various franchises also happen to be those some of franchises’ longest-tenured players ever. What are the odds that this would keep happening like this, right?

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OK, so Rod Brind’Amour is maybe a good hire for the Hurricanes because uhhh, he played for them for a long time? It was pointed out to me that he’s been an assistant coach with the team since 2011, which I’m not sure is the kind of qualification you really want to be throwing out there because y’know, the Hurricanes have been outside the playoff picture that entire time — highest point total: 87.

Let’s put me down as “not optimistic” about this one, folks!

Especially because their new GM is Don Waddell. The Thrashers guy! This sentence from his Wikipedia page sums it up pretty well: “During his tenure as general manager of the Thrashers, the team recorded a 308-401-45-66 record and made their lone playoff appearance after winning the NHL’s Southeast Division in 2006-07.”

And OK, hey, the Thrashers were a relatively new franchise (but not that new!) and here’s the crazy part: They WONNNNNN THEIRRRRRRR DIVISIONNNNNNNN with a minus-2 goal difference.

I bet this goes great for the subprime loan guy.

7. Injury reveals

Gotta love a team gets eliminated from the playoffs and Evander Kane or whoever else had a crap series goes, “I actually had my foot replaced with a potato in December but didn’t want to miss any time.”

Alright man, maybe just take six weeks off when you have 58 games left on the schedule. Like, doesn’t that seem to be more important for a Hockey Guy than playing at, what, 85 percent max by the time the playoffs roll around? I dunno man, I know it’s important to get the goals and stuff, improve your team’s position in the standings, and also get a big new contract if you happen to be on an expiring deal.

But also like, will being crap in the playoffs somehow not hurt your chance to make money this summer? Or would a 62-game season in which you’re pretty good the whole time PLUS a good playoff because you’re fully healthy have helped both the team and your draft stock? Tough to say!

6. Licking jokes

Have a joke about licking? File it next to your jokes about whether the dress is blue or whatever that hack crap was from two years ago. Not particularly interested in these gags.

5. Lamoriello to the Island?

This is a rumor right now and I guess it’s interesting but also only because Garth Snow isn’t that good at being a GM and Lou might be an upgrade of some kind?

One wonders how much of a difference Lamoriello would make, materially, because regardless of who’s GM they might lose John Tavares this summer, and also Loui still loves guys like Matt Martin or whatever, so if he’s totally unchecked it’ll just be a bunch of guys like that making up the difference for the Isles. I dunno how smart this would be, especially because Lamoriello is, I believe, 155 years old.

4. Hiring a college coach

Jim Montgomery to Dallas is very interesting to me because he has a little bit more to work with than the other recent NCAA-to-NHL hire (Dave Hakstol), though similar problems: Good forwards, okay goaltending, worrisome defense.

You wonder what the real point is here, because this isn’t the kind of hire you make — traditionally — to wring a little more performance from a group that everyone involved probably feels like should be “playoff competitive.”

If this doesn’t work out in the next, say, season or two, does Montgomery get canned because he couldn’t use his Book Learnin’ to fix this team’s problems? Or does he stick around because he has a proven reputation for ferrying along young players and they might need to blow it up if this group underperforms in the next two seasons?

It’ll be interesting to monitor.

3. Guarantees

PK Subban said a Game 7 would happen and, indeed, it has. And afterward all the Preds were saying, “Pretty cool and good that he did it.” The message here: If he hadn’t guaranteed the win they would have lost and been happy to do it.

2. Game 7 baby!!!

I love love love that we’re getting the full seven from this series. We deserve it for all the stuff we’ve had to put up with lately. (Grimes dating Elon Musk? Get outta here!)

But also: This is just the second Game 7 of these entire playoffs and I hate that.

1. They freakin’ did it

Washington! (Getty)
Washington! (Getty)

Alex Ovechkin in the Conference Finals? Now I’ve seen literally everything in hockey!

Honestly, this is one of those things where Hockey People are gonna try to say, “Ah well the Caps have learned from so-and-so and they’re better now.” Hockey People will be wrong. It’s very funny that this is the Caps team to break through the second round, because it’s easily the worst of the Trotz era at the very least, and also on the low end of the entire Ovechkin area. And yet here we are, with them hoping they don’t get absolutely creamed by a Tampa team that flattened the much-better-than-the-Capitals Bruins.

Amazing that putting Dominik Simon on Sidney Crosby’s line didn’t produce the results the Penguins were hoping for, eh? But I’m seriously so happy for Ovechkin to get this monkey off his back — especially sans Nick Backstrom in Game 6, which seemed like the kind of nightmare scenario that would have normally undone the Caps — that I don’t really care how it happened.

(Not ranked this week: Days off.

Man, how is the NHL gonna do this to us? Two days off between Games 6 and 7 in the Jets/Preds series? Someone should be in jail for this. I nominate Jeremy Roenick.)

Ryan Lambert is a Puck Daddy columnist. His email is here and his Twitter is here.

(All statistics via Corsica unless otherwise noted.)

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