Haggerty: Kings looking like Cup favorites

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Haggerty: Kings looking like Cup favorites

The Los Angeles Kings might have just won themselves the Stanley Cup with last nights early, entertaining dispatching of the Phoenix Coyotes.

The Kings certainly looked the part of hockey royalty while dusting the third-seeded Coyotes in five games capped by Tuesday nights 4-3 overtime thriller in Glendale.

Dustin Brown is the kind of one-man wrecking ball that would make any Bruins fan proud, Drew Doughty is the do-everything defenseman that every NHL team lusts after and Jonathan Quick was dubbed Vezina Smythe by his teammate Dustin Penner in postgame interviews after his game-winning goal in overtime on Tuesday night.

The Kings now await the winners of the rock fight between the Rangers and Devils, and it should be a pretty advantageous position for the West Coast warriors either way. They get a week to rest and recharge the batteries while the Eastern Conference slugfest continues.

If the favored Blueshirts end up taking the hotly contested best-of-seven series that appears destined to go the distance, it will mean New York has played the maximum 21 playoff games entering the Cup Finals against a rosy-cheeked Kings bunch. After brutal opening playoff series against the Senators and Capitals, the Rangers are doing everything the hard way in the playoffs.

That kind of yeomans work might cost them when they need to dig down deepest against their West Coast challengers, and certainly takes a toll as time wears on.

After the Bruins became the first NHL team to win three Game 7s en route to the Stanley Cup last season, it doesnt take a Massive Dynamic scientist to tell anybody the Rangers would have to match that feat against the hottest team in hockey.

Unless, of course, they can take care of business in the next two games against New Jersey and get a couple extra days off.

Looking through the annals of playoff lore, every Stanley Cup winner has enjoyed at least one short series where they were able to catch their breath en route to raising the Cup.

Last year the Bs blew out the Flyers in a four-game second round sweep that turned into a key factor in their Cup victory. This season the New Jersey Devils had a five-game victory over the very-same accommodating Flyers team in the second round of the playoffs.

The Kings have only played 14 playoff games entering the Conference Finals. That means, in essence, that the Rangers will have played another entire series of games going up against the Kings. Thats a huge difference.

The Devils might actually stand to be the Eastern Conference opponent more able to give a Los Angeles team of destiny the best fight possible.

One thing is certain if both the Rangers and Kings make the Cup Finals: Yet another team that began the year in Europe at the Premiere Games will hoist the Cup overhead just as the Black and Gold did last season.

Former Bruins star Ray Bourque 'in unfamiliar territory'

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Former Bruins star Ray Bourque 'in unfamiliar territory'

ANDOVER, Mass. — Former Boston Bruins star Ray Bourque, who's facing a drunken driving charge, says he accepts the responsibility of his actions.

Bourque was charged Friday night with operating under the influence of alcohol and following too closely. He posted bail and was released.

"For the first time in my life, I find myself in unfamiliar territory," Bourque said in a statement released Sunday. "I am not happy about the situation I put myself into."

Andover Police Chief Patrick Keefe said the 55-year-old Bourque was arrested about 11:30 p.m. after his Mercedes-Benz rear-ended a minivan in a construction zone in the city. No injuries were reported.

Bourque is to be arraigned in Lawrence District Court. Police haven't provided a date.

According to The Boston Globe, Bourque currently owns Tresca, a restaurant on Boston's North End.

'Everything is on track' with Bruins prospect Zboril

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'Everything is on track' with Bruins prospect Zboril

Little more than a year after he was drafted in the middle of the first round by the Boston Bruins, some are whispering that 19-year-old Jakub Zboril isn’t going to live up to advanced billing. Clearly the Czech defenseman took a step back for the Saint John Sea Dogs after being taken 13th by the Bruins in last year’s draft, and dropped to six goals and 20 points in 50 games in the QMJHL while watching second round pick Jeremy Lauzon pass him by on the prospect hype chart.

Perhaps the more concerning thing have been the whispers about an erratic work ethic and bad habits in Zboril’s game, a couple of criticisms that haven’t exactly gone away since the Bruins signed him to a contract last summer following development camp. Bruins assistant general manager Scott Bradley was asked about those concerns with the young D-man as he heads into an important training camp with Boston this fall, and didn’t seem all that concerned about his first round pick being a “bust.”

“I think his offensive production was down, and that he struggled a little bit coming out of the gate” said Bradley of Zboril, who had 13 goals and 33 points in 44 games during his first season in the Quebec Major Junior League prior to getting drafted by Boston. “But he had a strong playoff. Everybody forgets that he’s a gritty guy, and a strong player that moves the puck. The thing that stands out about him are that his numbers are down from last year.

“But everything is on track with him. He’s going to come to camp and hopefully shines, and has a good year this year…patience.

“I think it’s great if the second rounders are on par with him: the [Brandon] Carlos and the [Jeremy] Lauzons. If you look at the whole of our draft last year you can’t rule out the first eight picks that they might play [in the NHL]. We’re excited. Donnie and I were at the Memorial Cup, and Lauzon raised our eyebrows every night that he played. You’d come away with a good feeling like this kid plays hard, plays the Bruins style, moves the puck and is tough. Obviously [you had to like] what Carlo did when he was brought in [to Providence] at the end. It just bodes well for what we have coming this year. Zboril and Lauzon are probably going back to junior, but Carlo is going to get a long look.”

The young Czech D-man is still at a point where his stock can still shoot higher than it’s ever been with a good showing at training camp, and a strong season for the Sea Dogs entering into his professional hockey career. But he can’t afford to go through another down season, or that talk of him being a first round bust is only going to get louder and stronger.