Carter getting last laugh in Cup Finals

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Carter getting last laugh in Cup Finals

NEWARK, NJ Apparently it was a Flyers thing, and not a Jeff Carter thing.

One year after the Philadelphia Flyers jettisoned both Jeff Carter and Mike Richards in trades after determining they were a problem inside a dysfunctional dressing room, the troubled duo are still standing.

Theyre just two wins away from being Stanley Cup champions, and the Flyers are taking up tee times all over the world.

Further adding insult to Philly injury, Carter potted the game-winning shot in overtime during a Herculean shift that pushed the Los Angeles Kings to a 2-1 victory at the Prudential Center.

Its a pretty special moment, said Carter. Its my first overtime goal in the playoffs. Obviously anytime you get a chance to play in the Finals its exciting, but scoring an overtime goal in Game 2 to put us up 2-0 in the series. Thats pretty special.

The play started with a scramble in front of the New Jersey net, and a tiring group of Devils players looking for a whistle with the puck resting in front of the net.

Carter wrapped around the back of the net while beating every Devils player to the loose puck, and then curled to his left before dragging back into the slot area moving right to left.
Carter buried a bullet of a shot at the 13:42 mark with Dustin Penner using his 6-foot-4, 250-pound bulk to screen Martin Brodeur in front of the net, and the Kings are once again well on their way to a short postseason series triumph.

Though Carter finished with only 21 goals in a star-crossed year going from Columbus to Los Angeles, it was the kind of sizzling shot that would have been a goal had Brodeur seen the puck or not.

Good to see him score, right? asked Darryl Sutter rhetorically after the Kings took their 2-0 lead. Hes a goal-scorer. Youre counting on him to score a big goal.

Too many times with the Flyers Carter never scored that big goal despite gaudy numbers, but his LA redemption story has been a sweet one.

The overtime win pushes the Kings to 10-0 on the road during the playoffs this year an NHL record -- but thats not the most eye-popping number when it comes to Carter and his Los Angeles teammates. The Kings are 25-7 in the regular season and playoffs in 32 games since Carter arrived in a trade with the Columbus Blue Jackets, and reunited him with his Dry Island partner in Philly, Richards.

Dry Island was a reference to the notion within the Flyers organization that both Richards and Carter werent fully focused on the playoffs last year, and the idea that a parting of ways was necessary.

Its not a coincidence that Carters arrival in LA has brought the wins.

Its instead one of the driving reasons why the eighth-seeded LA hockey club has taken the world by storm during the postseason. They havent played like an eight seed since a healthy, happy and productive Carter joined the Los Angeles lineup.

Carters Kings teammates immediately noticed a difference when the Columbus Blue Jackets exile was brought on board, and the Kings had some consistent offense to go with Jonathan Quick and the stifling LA defense.

He was very professional. Hes been focused since he got with us, said Penner. He knew we needed some offensive scoring punch. He came in and had familiarity with Richards and that helped a lot.

I can speak from experience about being traded, but not while having a 10 or 12 year deal like those guys did. Its probably disheartening when you expected to be part of the Flyers franchise for a long time. When you get a 12-year deal you probably expect that youll always be there. Im sure it was tough on him. But hes been professional since he came here. Its great for him to get a goal like that.

Clearly both Richards and Carter left the City of Brotherly Love with something to prove, and their Kings experience has allowed them a chance to do just that.

We were pretty mad. I'm not going to lie," admitted Richards of the deals that sent the two buddies away from the Flyers to differing NHL locales. "It's something that I've never had before. I've never been traded; Jeff's never been traded. For us to be traded at the same time, I think was a lot of venting to each other."

Had things gone stale with the Flyers for both players, or did they just need a swift kick in the pants to get them motivated enough for a Stanley Cup title?

Perhaps, but there wont be too many complaints from Los Angeles after Kings GM Dean Lombardi showed a riverboat gamblers moxie in putting the Philly twosome back together again. Richards was sent to L.A. for forwards Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds, and an undisclosed draft pick.

Carter was dealt to Columbus for forward Jakub Voracek, the No. 8 pick in the 2011 NHL Draft (Sean Couturier) and a third-round pick in the 2011 draft (Nick Cousins).

Fast forward a year and now Carter and Richards have been reunited in Los Angeles, theyre living together in a condo on Manhattan Beach and theyve got the Kings 120 minutes of good, winning hockey away from the organizations first Stanley Cup title.

Who knows?

Perhaps theyll even take the Cup to Dry Island for a visit on their respective Cup days should Carter and Richards finish off the job they helped start with two road wins in New Jersey.

Thursday, April 28: Who are the lottery picks?

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Thursday, April 28: Who are the lottery picks?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while giving a thumbs up to “The Good Dinosaur” as quality family viewing.

*TSN Hockey Buddha Bob McKenzie breaks down the players available in the NHL draft lottery and what kind of names teams like the Boston Bruins should expect to be available with the first 14 picks.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Greg Wyshynski talks about the World of Cup ads with the ESPN creative people that made them happen. They used the word jarring in something of a positive fashion to describe them. I would use the word “not funny” for Reg Carling, the fictional character created for the ads. If they were trying to feature the personality of NHL players in those ads, I think they missed the mark. It’s not really a big deal in the final scheme of things, but it doesn’t make for a good first step in drawing hockey fans back to the four letter network.  

*Good luck to Cam Tucker, a hockey writer based out of Vancouver that appears to have been one of the latest to be downsized in our industry.

*Dennis Bernstein has some thoughts, facts, analysis and theories surrounding the Los Angeles Kings, who have a long time to think about their first-round exit from the playoffs.

*Bruce Garrioch has some info on Ottawa’s long range plan to move to a needed downtown arena and that being the blueprint for most other Canadian cities.

*Tracey Myers has a dilemma for the Blackhawks: Andrew Shaw wants to stay, but the question is whether the Blackhawks can afford him?

*PHT writer James O’Brien has Bruce Boudreau lamenting the tough Game 7 loss for the Anaheim Ducks to the Nashville Predators. The loss may cost Boudreau his job, and will see a lot of new blood in the West with Chicago, Los Angeles and Anaheim now all out of the postseason.

*For something completely different: how can you say “no” to a tour of the world’s most magnificent treehouses.

Bruins have slim chance at No. 1 in NHL Draft lottery Saturday

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Bruins have slim chance at No. 1 in NHL Draft lottery Saturday

The Bruins will know a great deal more in a couple of days about their prospects for NHL Draft weekend in Buffalo this June.

The NHL will hold its annual draft lottery in Toronto on Saturday night for those teams outside the playoffs that hold first-round picks or those shrewd enough to have secured a first-rounder and still have reached the playoffs. 

The Bruins will have two first-round picks regardless of what happens: they hold their own lottery-eligible selection along with the first-round pick from the San Jose Sharks sent to Boston last summer in the trade for goaltender Martin Jones. The Sharks are still alive in the postseason, so the B’s second selection will be a late first-rounder.

The Bruins were the last NHL team eliminated from playoff contention, so they hold the slimmest odds of securing the first overall pick with a 1 percent chance in the Auston Matthews sweepstakes.

It’s too bad because the kind of game-breaking talent available at the top of the draft is exactly what the Black and Gold franchise needs after trading away top-10 first-round picks in Tyler Seguin and Dougie Hamilton the past three years.

The Bruins will have roughly the same odds for the second (1.1 percent chance) and third overall picks (1.3 percent chance) should they miss out on No. 1, but the chances are still slim at they will pick anywhere but the same exact 14th overall pick where they selected Jake DeBrusk last season. Should they get a selection in the top three, the Bruins would be looking at big-time center Matthews, and a pair of Finnish wingers in Patrick Laine and Jesse Puljujarvi, along with Matthew Tkachuk (son of Keith Tkachuk and cousin to Jimmy Hayes).

The highest rated D-man on the board is Sarnia Sting blueliner Jakob Chycrun, who is a player the Bruins would need to trade up for, a la their attempt at Noah Hanifin last year. The Bruins will have assets to potentially make that happen, but we all know how that worked out last season for Don Sweeney when a big part of “the plan” was moving up to nab one of last year’s blue chip D-men in the draft.   

Hopeful Bruins fans can try their luck with the NHL Draft Lottery Simulator online, but fair warning that you won’t see the Spoked ‘B’ come up very much while hashing out the order of the top three overall picks for late June at the First Niagara Center. 

 

Pastrnak suiting up for World Championships run with Czechs

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Pastrnak suiting up for World Championships run with Czechs

Young Bruins winger David Pastrnak wasn’t 100 percent sure he was going to play in the IIHF World Championships, but it now appears he will taking part in the tournament for the Czech Republic entry competing in Russia. According to Twitter account for NHL reporter Zdenek Matejovsky, Pastrnak will play on a line with Czech Republic team captain Tomas Plekanec and fellow young winger Roman Cervenka.

Pastrnak finished his NHL season with a flourish scoring three goals in his last five games after battling injuries and taking a detour trip to the World Junior tournament in the middle of the season. The 19-year-old produced 15 goals and 26 points in 51 games for the Black and Gold when it was all said and done, and finished the year playing in a top line spot with David Krejci and Loui Eriksson.

Pastrnak is also expected to take part in the World Cup of Hockey tournament for the Czech Republic during NHL training camp amidst a growing international hockey resume for the highly skilled Bruins youngster. The hope is that the top competition at the World Championships and the World Cup could segue into a major NHL leap forward for Pastrnak in his pivotal third season in Boston at a position (right wing) where the Bruins really needed more production this season.

Krejci would have also been an automatic choice for the Czech World Championship team, but he’s instead scheduled to undergo surgery on his left hip for a nagging issue that’s bothered him on and off over the last two seasons.