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Friday, April 20, 2018

April 20 Stanley Cup Playoffs Morning Skate

Stanley Cup Playoffs

THURSDAY SCORES 

Boston 3 Toronto 1
Washington 4 Columbus 1


PASTRNAK POWERS BRUINS TO COMMANDING SERIES LEAD

David Pastrnak (0-2—2) recorded his third multi-point game of the postseason as the Bruins took a 3-1 series lead over the Maple Leafs. Pastrnak, who leads all players with 4-7—11 in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs, trails only Wayne Gretzky for the most points by a player in his team’s opening four playoff games since 1987.

* Tuukka Rask (31 saves) earned his 33rd career playoff victory to move past Frank Brimsek (32) for sole possession of third on the Bruins’ all-time playoff wins list. Rask sits eighth among active netminders, one win shy of Roberto Luongo (34).

* Torey Krug opened the scoring 28 seconds into the contest, marking the fastest goal to begin a playoff game since James van Riemsdyk (0:29 w/ PHI) in Game 2 of the 2011 Conference Semifinals.

* Boston took a 3-1 lead in a best-of-seven series for the 21st time in franchise history and holds an all-time series record of 18–2 in those instances.


CAPITALS EARN ANOTHER ROAD WIN TO EVEN SERIES WITH BLUE JACKETS

The Capitals received multi-point performances from Evgeny Kuznetsov (1-3—4), Alex Ovechkin (1-1—2) and Tom Wilson (1-1—2) to even their First Round series with the Blue Jackets. Elias notes that when a best-of-seven series in tied 2-2, the winner of Game 5 holds an all-time series record of 201-54 (78.8%).

* Washington tied a best-of-seven series 2-2 after losing Games 1 and 2 for the first time in franchise history. In the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs, three teams accomplished the feat: Anaheim (FR vs. EDM), NY Rangers (FR vs. OTT) and Nashville (F vs.PIT).

* The road team has won each of the first four games of the series, marking the fifth such occurrence in the Stanley Cup Playoffs over the last 10 years.


This And That

Welcome to Friday.  Here are the usual weekly thoughts running through my muddled mind. As always, they come in no particular order.




--The Moose Jaw Warriors didn't get it done-----again! What the h-e double hockeysticks was that in Game 7!  Yes, the Swift Current Broncos were the better team, but there was no pushback from the Warriors after Glenn Gawdin's goal late in the first period.  A team that had come back many times in the playoffs just seemed to say that's it once that goal went in.  I picked Swift to win the series, and I have had Swift Current to win the East and the league since before the playoffs started much to the disgust of some.  They were built for the playoffs and Moose Jaw seemingly wasn't---for the second straight year against Swift.  Give a lot of credit to Al Millar and Tim Hunter for building a team that won the Scotty Munro trophy, but as the Pats found out last year, that guarantees you nothing.  In fact, the SMT winner rarely wins the WHL crown.  As many told me who watched both the PA and SC series, MJ didn't turn it up come playoff time thinking they could just keep going the way they did in the regular season.  That obviously didn't work!

The question I have for Warriors fans is one I had for Pats fans last year.  With Regina having the success they had, the talk was "this is the best ever team they've ever had".  I said that honour goes to the 74 Memorial Cup championship team because they won and Regina didn't.  This MJ team was great, but they didn't get to the league final like the team that lost to Vancouver in 05-06.  That team got to the league final, this one didn't. I would have to say the 05-06 is still the one then.

WHL fans were spoiled thanks to the TV deal it had with SHAW.  We were able to see the Ed Chynoweth Cup final and many games until the ludicrous decision was made by SHAW to cut things like WHL and Canada West football.   While Access managed to broker a deal with IKS Media for Games 5-7 of the Warriors -Broncos series, it looks like WHL fans will be shut out of the conference final with perhaps the final as well.  In this day and age, surely we can find some way to get WHL playoff hockey into our living room. You can't stop now!  I thought the league said at the start of the year there would be a TV package.  The WHL in 30 is not enough at this time of year.


 --Just to get this straight. The Knights had a four game sweep over L-A in which the total goals in the series was 7-3.  Boston beat Toronto 7-3 in Game 2 of their series.

--Nashville and Winnipeg are one game away from a second-round matchup against one another. Sign me up! That will be some good skatey-punchy as the guy in the commercial says.

--At the end of the day being an Oilers fan, I could care less about what the Flames do, but the firing of Glen Gulutzan is a sign of desperation.  Gulutzan didn't sign Jaromir Jagr, Gulutzan couldn't do anything about his team laying an egg when Mike Smith and Sean Monahan got hurt. Gulutzan did what he could with a team that thinks they are a lot better than they are.  He deserved better.  Some have suggested he would make a great assistant to Todd McLellan in Edmonton. If Todd stays, I'd be OK with that

--Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo like many are frustrated over the fact there have been so many games cancelled due to weather in April.  Rizzo is suggesting the baseball season start later and there be fewer games.  I would have no problem in starting baseball in mid-April and ending in mid-September.  The question I have is would players be happy if more doubleheaders were played and would owners be happy with less gates?  Cutting the season down by two weeks at the start and end of each season would be about 20 games.  You could play some doubleheaders to give you 150 games. The product wouldn't suffer.

--The Toronto Blue Jays had their game against Kansas City on Wednesday available only on Facebook. It wasn't on TV, it wasn't on MLB TV, it was only on Facebook.  Is this a sign of things to come? The younger generation is cutting the cord.  They are into the world of streaming and have no problems watching a game on their phone or a computer screen.  I understand that. I also understand that if I have a choice, I am going to watch a game on TV any day of the week.  Is the day coming that Twitter or Facebook can get a package of games from a major professional sports league and have those games exclusively. If that happens, we will be walking a very dangerous slope.   Some don't even have Facebook and have no desire to be on it. The same could be said for Twitter.  Thanks on this one, but no thanks.

--Speaking of Twitter, Stamps quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell announced this week he will not be bringing back his account because of the negativity social media can bring.  Mitchell had an entertaining Twitter account that showed some personality.  I am OK with that.  He chirped at Duron Carter and lost that battle with Rider fans ---fans whom he would troll coming back at him with full force. Did he yank his account or did the Stamps do it for him.  I'll let you decide on that one, but I know what way I'm leaning.

-- I can't be the only one surprised at the fact Bruce Campbell hasn't signed with anyone yet.

--That's all I got.  Have a great weekend!



What Did You Miss Thursday?




--Alexandre Ovechkin said his team would come back home for Game 5 of its series against Columbus tied at 2 after losing the first two games and he was right.  The Capitals beat the Blue Jackets 4-1 sending the series back to Washington for Game 5 tied at two. Meanwhile, the Leafs are down to their last strike after losing 3-1 on home ice to Boston.

--After losing in Game 7 to Swift Current, three members of the Moose Jaw Warriors are still going to play hockey.  Defenceman Kale Clague has joined the Ontario Reign of the AHL which is the LA Kings affiliate.  Forward Brayden Burke will be playing with Arizona's AHL affiliate, the Phoenix Roadrunners and defenceman Oleg Sosunov is off to Syracuse--the AHL affiliate for Tampa.

-- The Kelowna Rockets organization has announced their intention to bid for the right to host the 102nd edition of the Mastercard Memorial Cup in 2020.

The Rockets will be in partnership with the City of Kelowna, Tourism Kelowna and Prospera Place, as well as many local sponsors, volunteers, fans and officials working towards achieving this goal.
“We feel that it has been a long time (16 years) since we have had the privilege to host the Memorial Cup. From our perspective it’s a great opportunity for our organization and for our city,” Rockets Owner / President / General Manager Bruce Hamilton said. “From a hockey standpoint we feel very confident that we will have an extremely competitive team, and we will be in it to win the tournament. We feel that our fans deserve the opportunity to host this event again.

 The last time we hosted, we changed the course of the Memorial Cup and turned it into a festival. We know our city will do an even bigger and better job this time around.

--A member of the 1976 Riders has died. Robert Holmes, who won a Super Bowl with Kansas City, died in Regina last weekend at the age of 72.  After a successful NFL career, Holmes came to Saskatchewan late in the 1976 season. He did not play in the Grey Cup game that year.  In 2015, he was one of the Roughriders of African descent who were recognized by the Saskatchewan African Canadian Heritage Museum as athletes who “played and stayed.”

--The Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame will induct five athletes, one builder and a team at a dinner in September.  Amongst those in the class of 2018 are Moose Jaw wheelchair athlete Lisa Franks, Nipawin baseball player David Pagan, who is one of nine Saskies to play in the majors, and the 1984 mixed curling team skipped by Regina's Randy Woytowich that won the Canadian crown.




Thursday, April 19, 2018

April 19th Stanley Cup Playoffs Morning Skate


WEDNESDAY RESULTS 

Pittsburgh 5 Philadelphia 0
Tampa Bay 3 New Jersey 1
Nashville 3 Colorado 2
San Jose 2 Anaheim 1 (Sharks win series 4-0)

Evgeni Malkin celebrates his goal in the first period in Game 4 Wednesday.

SHARKS SWEEP DUCKS, WILL FACE GOLDEN KNIGHTS IN SECOND ROUND

Anaheim tied the game in the third period, but Tomas Hertl scored the clinching goal with 10:51 remaining in regulation as the Sharks swept their First Round series with the Ducks. San Jose swept a best-of-seven Stanley Cup Playoffs series for the second time in franchise history (also 2013 CQF vs. VAN).

* The Sharks outscored the Ducks 16-4 through four games, highlighted by an 8-1 victory in Game 3. Elias notes that San Jose established a franchise record for fewest goals against in a playoff series (4), eclipsing the mark of seven set in the 2002 Conference Quarterfinals vs. PHX and matched in the 2004 Conference Semifinals vs. COL.

* Martin Jones (30 saves) improved to 4-0 in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs, with a 1.00 goals-against average, .970 save percentage and one shutout. He earned his 20th career postseason win with the Sharks to pass Antti Niemi (19) for sole possession of second place on the franchise’s all-time list among goaltenders, trailing only Evgeni Nabokov (40).

* The Sharks will face the Golden Knights in the Second Round of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs – the only other team to advance thus far. This marks just the eighth time in NHL history – and second time in the past 22 years – that two teams will meet after both sweeping their preceding best-of-seven playoff series. In six of the seven previous instances, the winner went on to win the Stanley Cup (including two instances where the meeting occurred in the Final).

CROSBY LEAPFROGS LEMIEUX IN PENGUINS’ GAME 4 VICTORY

Sidney Crosby (1-1—2) was one of four Pittsburgh players to post multiple points and Matt Murray turned aside all 26 shots he faced as the Penguins took a 3-1 lead in their First Round series. Pittsburgh holds an all-time series record of 14-3 when taking a 3-1 lead in a best-of-seven (82.4%).

* Crosby boosted his career playoff totals to 62-111—173 (all w/ PIT) and leapfrogged Mario Lemieux (76-96—172) for the most postseason points in franchise history. Among active players with at least 50 games of playoff experience, only two others are franchise leaders for postseason points: Washington’s Alex Ovechkin (48-46—94) and Anaheim’s Ryan Getzlaf (37-83—120).

* Crosby moved within two playoff points of tying Denis Savard (66-109—175) for 16th place on the NHL’s all-time list. He owns a 1.14 career points per game average in the postseason (152 GP), the fourth-highest in Stanley Cup Playoffs history (min. 150 GP).

 Murray has posted a shutout in four of his last six postseason appearances dating to Game 5 of the 2017 Stanley Cup Final versus Nashville. He registered his sixth career playoff shutout overall and moved into a tie with Harry Lumley and Terry Sawchuk for the most by a goaltender before celebrating their 24th birthday.

LIGHTNING TAKE 3-1 SERIES LEAD, KUCHEROV CLIMBS FRANCHISE’S ALL-TIME LIST

Nikita Kucherov (2-1—3) factored on all three goals to help the Lightning take a 3-1 lead in their First Round series. Tampa Bay holds an all-time series record of 4-0 when taking a 3-1 lead in a best-of-seven.

* Kucherov (26-25—51) scored his 25th and 26th career playoff goals (all w/ TBL) to pass Vincent Lecavalier (24) for sole possession of second place on the franchise’s all-time list. He trails only Martin St. Louis (33-35—68) and Lecavalier (24-28—52) for the most postseason points in Lightning history.

* Kucherov is the franchise’s all-time leader in multi-goal outings (7) and games with at least three points (8) in the postseason. He shares the League lead with nine points in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs (4-5—9).

* Kucherov is the franchise’s all-time leader in multi-goal outings (7) and games with at least three points (8) in the postseason. He shares the League lead with nine points in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs (4-5—9).

PREDATORS HANG ON TO WIN GAME 4

The Predators built a 3-0 lead and held off a late Avalanche rally to win Game 4 and go up 3-1 in their First Round series. Nashville holds an all-time series record of 2-0 when taking a 3-1 lead in a best-of-seven.

* The Predators will host Game 5 at Bridgestone Arena, where they own an 11-2 record in postseason games since the beginning of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs. All three of Nashville's series-clinching wins in the 2017 postseason came on home ice (Game 4 of FR vs. CHI, Game 6 of SR vs. STL and Game 6 of CF vs. ANA).

* The Predators have won 13 of their last 14 games against the Avalanche dating to April 5, 2016 (regular season and playoffs).

(NHL Media)

Pats Start Long Wait To Memorial Cup




While the “Road to Regina” continues for 12 teams in the Canadian Hockey League, the Regina Pats are practicing awaiting for the arrival of the other teams that will compete in the 100th Mastercard Memorial Cup.

John Paddock’s squad has started practicing for the event after taking some time off following their elimination at the hands of the Swift Current Broncos in Game 7 of the first round of the playoffs April 3.

As the team embarks on several practices leading up to their first game at the event on May 18, captain Sam Steel says in a way getting ready for the Memorial Cup with this extended training camp is like getting ready for the World Juniors.

“This might be a little bit more intense.” Steel said. “When you go to World Juniors, they teach you everything, but here we know our game and what we can do so it is a case of getting in shape and being ready to go.”

Steel says the first couple of days have been positive.

“Guys have had a good attitude in the first couple of days, and it’s been fun to come to the rink.” Steel said. We’re all anxious to get going, but we all realize there is a long time between now and that first game.  We all play hockey to play the games. We know we will play,  and that all the stuff we are doing right now will make us better players and a better team.”

Head Coach and General Manager John Paddock echoes the thoughts of his captain when it comes to the work ethic of his squad knowing they have a lot of time yet before getting back on the ice.

“They worked real hard for the first few days which is the biggest thing.”Paddock said.  “Putting in the work,  having the commitment to work,  and a commitment to doing things right is the key.  We can use this rest as an advantage.”

The Pats first game at the Mastercard Memorial Cup is May 18 against the Ontario Hockey League champions.

No Sask Representation at Keystone Cup Junior B Championship




The Western Canadian Junior “B” championship will be contested in Thunder Bay, Ontario this weekend, but the battle for the Keystone Cup will be watered down as only four teams—two from Manitoba and two from the host community are competing.

Citing many things including costs, BC and Alberta said they would skip the event this year and so is Saskatchewan.

The Extreme Hockey Regina Capitals won the Prairie Junior Hockey League title last week beating Delisle in the final, but head coach and general manager Scott Kreutzer says a decision was made before the final to follow the lead of Alberta and BC and stay home.

“The league made this decision. There was a vote made in conjuction with all of our teams and the Saskatchewan Hockey Association and it was decided it was in our best interests not to go.” Kreutzer said. “Costs were a lot of it, but quality of play is the main reason because BC and Alberta are historically the stronger teams and without them there and you add the cost you ask if it is worth it. It was a good decision.”

While this year’s Keystone Cup won’t have the same participation, Kreutzer doesn’t think this will hurt Junior “B” hockey across Western Canada and maybe something like this will make it better.

“I think the level of Junior B hockey is getting better and better so a revision of the Keystone was inevitable and this is a good time for the SHA and other provinces to move forward and find a new format.” Kreutzer said. “We would like to get it going again next year if we can.”

What Did You Miss on Wednesday?



Image result for bo levi mitchell


--His Twitter account was colourful, but it also got him into some trouble so Bo Levi Mitchell said Wednesday that he has said good-bye to social media.   The Calgary quarterback made the comment in the first of nine "CFL State of the Franchise" conference calls as the Stampeders led things off. 

Mitchell says he has a radio show when he wants to talk about something, so he doesn't need Twitter anymore. 

On a more important topic, the 2016 MOP was asked about his throwing shoulder which he says is structurally sound and did not need surgery.  That shoulder bothered him through the latter stages of last year.  Mitchell believes with the work he has done he will be a better quarterback in 2018.

--The NHL suspended Jets defenceman Josh Morrissey one game for the cross-check he delivered to the head of Minnesota's Eric Staal in a 2-0 win Tuesday to put the Jets within one game of the second round. It means the Jets won't have Morrissey or Tyler Myers for Game 5. Myers is still nursing an ankle injury suffered in Game 3. 

--With the Pittsburgh Penguins' 5-0 win over the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 4 on Wednesday night, goaltender Matt Murray became the fastest goalie in NHL history to reach 25 playoff wins. He  completed the feat in just 36 games, one quicker than Bill Durnan, Terry Sawchuk, Gerry Cheevers, Grant Fuhr, and Patrick Roy - all of whom are enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame.  In other games, Nashville beat Colorado 3-2.  Tampa edged New Jersey 3-1 and San Jose moved into Round 2 with a 2-1 win over Anaheim to complete a four game sweep.

--Erin Popovich, the wife of San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, died on Wednesday, the team announced. The two were married for four decades and had two children and two grandchildren together. Erin, who was 67, had been ill for an extended period of time