The Stanley Cup playoffs roll on, and it was an interesting weekend where all four teams continued to stay alive. Here are a couple of thoughts from both series while wondering just how stringy and weird Los Angeles Kings Captain Dustin Browns playoff beard is going to become by the end of the Stanley Cup Finals.
Great playoff performance by Phoenix Coyotes Captain Shane Doan when his Yotes teammates needed him most. You could sense his intensity when he was speaking with NBC rink side guy Brian Engblom prior to Sundays Game 4 in Los Angeles, and he went out and scored two goals in a 2-0 victory that allowed Phoenix to stay alive. Doan might be the most compelling Lets win it for fill in the blank theme that we see develop during every Stanley Cup Finals, and he showed exactly why in pushing the series back to Phoenix for at least one more game. Hes being criticized in some corners for the penalties that hes taking against the Kings, but Doan has to play with that unrelenting physicality that can sometimes push him into the penalty box. Otherwise he isnt playing Shane Doan playoff hockey and matching the intensity of guys like Dustin Brown, Justin Lewis, Brad Richardson and Willie Mitchell on the Los Angeles side.
Henrik Lundqvist still hasnt allowed a bad goal during the playoffs. There is zero shot the Bruins were going to get by New York even if theyd squeezed by the Capitals and the Flyers. Its already down to Lundqvist (1.57 goals against and .942 save percentage) and Jonathan Quick (1.46 goals against and .948 save percentage) for the Conn Smythe Trophy at this point with Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar as dark horse candidates.
Pretty amazing that Claude Giroux is still leading the postseason field in scoring with 17 points even though he was eliminated by the New Jersey Devils in the last round of the playoffs.
Nine points and a minus-3 in 15 games for Zach Parise has been a little eye-opening with the New Jersey forward on the cusp of unrestricted free agency. It got so bad that he stormed out on the media after a loss to the Rangers last week, and is showing everyone just how much pressure hes putting on himself. While his numbers arent terrible Parise hasnt really done himself too many favors when it comes time to talk contract this summer.
Seeing plenty of talk about the Bruins being up close to the salary cap for the upcoming seasons. Theres no way of knowing given up the upcoming CBA battle between the NHL and the NHLPA, and the Bs still have yet to put Marc Savard on long term injured reserve. That would free up 4 plus million in salary cap space for the Bruins that theyre still currently carrying on their cap for a player that doesnt appear likely to ever return to hockey. That combined with a potential deal moving Tim Thomas away would free close to 10 million in salary cap space, so the Bruins have plenty of flexibility to make plenty of moves if necessary.
The Bruins’ new practice facility has been years in the making and they will finally get to officially open the doors to Warrior Ice Arena in Brighton next month.
The B’s players will start informal captain’s practice skates at the new facility on the New Balance property in these final days of August, but the team announced on Friday that the new facility will be officially opened to the public on Thursday, Sept. 8.
Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs, Bruins CEO Charlie Jacobs, team president Cam Neely, general manager Don Sweeney and a number of players will be on hand for the opening ceremony and ensuing open house for the media. Also planning to attend from New Balance will be Owner and Chairman Jim Davis and NB Development Group LLC Managing Director Jim Halliday, along with Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Massachusetts Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo.
Following the formal portion of the event, Warrior Ice Arena will host the “Boston Youth All-Star Game featuring Bruins Alumni” which will feature local squirt players from the Boston communities of Allston-Brighton, Charlestown, Dorchester, Hyde Park, South Boston and West Roxbury mixed in with members of the Bruins alumni.
The Youth All-Stars will team with Bruins alumni and they will play the first official game before the ice is turned over to the current Bruins players for their training camp later in the month.
The Warrior Ice Arena gets its name from the Warrior brand of hockey equipment that is now a division of New Balance and comes with a 79-foot high Warrior hockey stick that greets visitors at the front entrance doors.
Warrior Ice Arena will be the B’s new and permanent practice home after the Bruins spent 25-plus years practicing in the suburbs of Boston at Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington.
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while finally catching up on “The Man in the High Tower” on Amazon.
*The Coyotes and Panthers executed a trade sending Dave Bolland to Arizona, and it’s not exactly great news for Gary Bettman with Arizona continuing to take on a lot of dead money.
*Alex Pietrangelo was appropriately humbled to be named the 21st captain in the history of the St. Louis Blues.
*The Colorado Avalanche have a new head coach, and his name is Jared Bednar, who it is said will get the players to play hard for him.
*The footage of somebody in full goalie equipment running away from a burglary scene is something out of a movie.
*The New York Rangers can never have enough depth, and that’s why they added Brandon Pirri to the mix on Thursday.
*PHT writer Cam Tucker says Lawson Crouse brings the total package in the trade from Florida to Arizona, and he also brings a player that can take a hell of a hit as he was the guy that got rocked by Charlie McAvoy at the World Junior Showcase earlier this month.
*It’s only 15 days until the US National Team Development Program gets going with their 2016-17 schedule: here it is in full.
*For something completely different: can you see David Ortiz’s face in this corn maze? This could be like an ink blot test.