Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while impressed an NHL team in the salary cap era was able to win back-to-back Stanley Cups. That’s extremely difficult to do and it could be another 20 years before we see it again.
*It’s always encouraging to see somebody prosper after they’ve really paid their dues, and that’s exactly what Mike Sullivan had done over the last ten plus years after being let go by the Bruins. He’s worked hard during that time as an NHL assistant coach and an AHL head coach, and prepared for this moment that now sees him flourishing behind the bench with the Penguins. He was a very young head coach when he was in Boston and that might have come through at times with the Bruins, but he is the right guy at the right time for the Penguins with a whole lot more experience under his belt at this point in time.
*Anson Carter and Brian Boucher ask if the Penguins are the next NHL dynasty during the postgame portion of the NBC broadcast following the Stanley Cup Final.
*Steve Simmons weighs in on the terrible first period whistle that eliminated a good goal for the Predators, and potentially cost the Predators a chance at a Game 7 back in Pittsburgh. That’s a tough way to lose for the Preds.
*Frank Seravalli says that Sidney Crosby has now passed Mario Lemieux as Emperor Penguin in Pittsburgh.
*Barry Melrose says that the Predators are “hypocritical” for silencing PK Subban prior to Game 6 after previously complaining about the lack of media coverage for their team in year’s past. I think the Mullet has a point there. I still think the NHL shares some of the blame for letting this happen as they should have forced the Predators to make him available given his standing as a star player at the league’s marquee event.
*Bruce Arthur puts a bow on the Stanley Cup Final that goes to Pittsburgh in six games, and officially closes the door on the 2016-17 NHL season.
*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Brian Wilde details the Montreal search for a top line center that isn’t going to be an easy search for the Canadiens. There is a great deal required of centers in Claude Julien’s system, so they’re going to need to be very selective about the player that becomes the “1C” in Montreal.
*For something completely different: That’s it…lock it down. Gordon Hayward is going to be a member of the Boston Celtics when it’s all said and done, because I believe everything posted on Instragram and Facebook.
BOSTON – It was probably only a matter of time before it happened, but it looks like Boston’s favorite Little Ball of Hate is stepping up his game on social media.
Brad Marchand is known as much for his rabble-rousing and trash-talking on the ice as he is for massive offensive production while serving as Boston’s top scorer in each of the last few seasons. So Marchand has the perfect mixture of good humor and clout as a star NHL player, and that usually combines for a pretty powerful voice on Twitter.
Marchand has been noticeably more active on Twitter in recent days with a wide-ranging group of tweets, and the big winner is the hockey fan that gets a little more exposure to some classic Nose Face Killah wit. Some of the tweets have been as a Bruins team leader where he’s praising the talented young crop of B’s prospects that he’s watching during training camp:
Some have been about chirping the NHL for their decision to skip the Olympics this winter where Marchand most certainly would have been primed for a chance at a Gold Medal:
Some have been engaging with “fans” and dropping classic pop culture references from children’s books while showing the nasty edge that routinely drives opponents up a wall:
The Charlotte’s Web reference is a devastating classic from Marchand, a noted longtime fan of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Sometimes it’s just telling a quick story in a tweet that gives you an inside look at the kind of chirping that goes on when Marchand is on the ice:
A social media platform like Twitter was made for a personality like Marchand, and a stepped-up presence is good for him and good for hockey fans. So why all of a sudden is No. 63 tweeting with greater frequency over the last few days?
It sounds like it’s a combination of training camp boredom and a genuine interest in amplifying his voice on all manner of subjects.
“I’ve just been kind of lying around with nothing to do and I jumped on [twitter]…thought it was kind of funny,” said Marchand. “I thought I’d get a little more involved. I don’t know if I’m going to have enough time to do it every day, but it’s fun.”
As fun as it’s been for Marchand, it’s no doubt even more fun for the fans that might get a chance to interact with him even if it’s as the unwitting foil for one of his well-placed chirps.
BOSTON – Fresh off a strong performance allowing just a single goal on 31 shots in his preseason debut, Tuukka Rask looked close to the top of his game and exactly where he needs to be with the regular season a couple of weeks away. Nearly as important as Rask’s state as the regular season nears, the Bruins coaching staff has been keeping a keen eye through camp on the all-important backup goaltender position as well.
It’s important that the Bruins have a quality backup goalie in place as they hope to start Rask in just 55-60 games this season, and manage the slender puck-stopper in a way where they can get the best out of him from beginning to end. Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy indicated Anton Khudobin has the inside track on the backup job after finding his groove in the second half of last season, and it would appear he’s well on his way to retaining his job with a Malcolm Subban/Zane McIntyre tandem in Providence.
“Tuukka looks good, and looks good in practice and healthy. So that’s reassuring,” said Cassidy. “[Anton Khudobin] I thought played very well in his game. He had the one unfortunate goal, but I thought he was rock-solid the rest of the game. He’s in very good shape and he’s practiced well, so he’s got a leg up on the other [goalies] based on his experience.
“We know that going in, but he’s going to get pushed. Zane [McIntyre] was good in a game, and Malcolm let in a couple where he could have been more aggressive. But it was a first game, so right now they all look good. That’s a good problem to have if they all push each other, but to get direct to the point Anton has done nothing to lose that backup spot.”
At this point, it would likely be McIntyre rather than Subban that would challenge for the NHL backup job if Khudobin did stumble at all in training camp or early in the regular season as he did last year. There will be no backup controversy, however, if the 31-year-old plays like he did in stopping 20-of-22 shots in Tuesday night’s win vs. the Red Wings or as he did going 6-1-0 with a .922 save percentage after the All-Star break last season.