Morning Skate 224: A nice, little NHL breather

Morning Skate 224: A nice, little NHL breather

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.comVANCOUVER Another day in Vancouver for the Bruins to take a deep breath, inhale and then get ready for the final 22 games of the season.It seems that the Bs have moving at a pace somewhere between frenetic and break-neck for the entire season, and its only now with a bit less than two months in the regular season that the Bruins finally get to kick back and hit the pause button briefly.It seems there might not be a better place in Canada to do it either. The snow-capped mountains and Pacific Ocean make a picturesque backdrop, and literally everywhere you turn looks like a postcard background as you walk around British Columbias biggest and best city.The homecoming for Milan Lucic, Cam Neely and BC-born Mark Recchi is great for some very important individual pieces within the Bs organization, but this time to give the batteries another charge at the end of a historically difficult month of February is invaluable. Nobody will look back on these four days once the playoffs kick around, but this kind of recess from the NHL grind is exactly what a team needs while getting ready for the big ice battles that wait over the next three months. On to the links:Adam Proteau from the Hockey News wants to do away with the NHL divisions, and make the NHL regular season schedule make a bit more sense. At least he's not tweeting about "victim" Matt Cooke anymore.Brian Leetch and Don Mattingly talking about which teammates theyd want beside them in the ultimate Game 7 situation. Okay, Ill bite.Nik Zherdev clears waivers for the Flyers, and continues whats been a mistake from the very beginning in Philadelphia.A fan blog on the Atlanta Journal-Constitutions web site is calling for Atlanta Thrashers head coach Craig Ramsay to be fired. Would be a huge mistake to get rid of a great hockey mind like Ramsay in his first season with the team anybody notice what hes done with Dustin Byfuglien and its a little disconcerting that the AJC has given this yahoo a platform.CBC sideline reporter Elliotte Friedman gives his 30 thoughts including some very greedy ideas from the NHL owners to create some kind of outdoor series of games rather than the Winter Classic and Heritage Classic. They apparently are determined to kill the golden goose.FOH Friend of Haggs Yahoo! Sports hockey blogger Puck Daddy has a junior hockey announcer suspending himself after going all icky balookey in the announcers booth during a heated game against Topeka.BU alum and Miracle on Ice participant Mike Eruzione stopped by NHL.com to talk about the 31st Anniversary of the win over the Russians that took place on Tuesday.A few more questions linger for USA Todays Kevin Allen has the NHL trade deadline looms.A good piece in the Province about Vancouver homeboy Milan Lucic getting a chance to bask in the glow of praise from his friends and family this week while being honored by his Vancouver Giants hockey club.

Morning Skate: No surprise cheap-shot artists are running wild

cp_morning_skate-.jpg

Morning Skate: No surprise cheap-shot artists are running wild

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while hoping everybody on this Memorial Day takes some time to appreciate all of those that made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedom. We should also take a moment to say thanks to people like the three heroes in Oregon that stood up to a hateful bigot earlier this week, and in doing so reaffirmed what the majority of people living in the US believe we are all about while trying to live up to that ideal every day.
 
-- A number of NHL legends are shaking their heads at the dirty play that we’re seeing in these playoffs, particularly those plays targeting the superstars that people pay big money to see in the postseason. Why should anybody be shocked by this? The rooting out of enforcers, and fighting, has taken accountability out of the game for the cheap-shot artists and dirty players, and leaves little real deterrant for players looking to take out opponents with dangerous plays. I wrote about this a couple of years ago when the NHL threw the book at Shawn Thornton for going after Brooks Orpik, and in doing so chose to protect somebody trying to hurt opponents (Orpik) and punish somebody trying to protect his teammates (Thornton). It was a sea change for the league, and something players didn’t forget as more and more enforcers were quickly weeded out of the NHL. This is what the rule-makers and legislators wanted, and now it’s what they’re getting just a couple of years later with dangerous stick-work, cheap shots and a general lack of respect for fellow players.
 
-- Here's why the Tampa Bay Lightning would consider trading a player like Jonathan Drouin, and the major impact that could have on the offseason trade market.
 
-- Down Goes Brown has a Stanley Cup Final rooting guide for the other 28 other fan bases now that Nashville and Pittsburgh are in the final series.

-- So which goaltender has the edge in the Stanley Cup Final: Nashville's Pekka Rinne, or Pittsburgh's two-headed monster of Matt Murray and Marc-Andre Fleury?
 
-- Scotty Bowman says winning back-to-back Stanley Cup titles has become monumentally difficult since the advent of the salary cap.
 
-- Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are pushing each other to be betters, and showing exactly how a team should be led by its superstars in the salary-cap era for the league.
 
-- For something completely different: We can confirm through this report that a lot of hot dogs are eaten in the summertime. So glad we have people to research these kinds of things.
 

Morning Skate: Sidney Crosby has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation

ap_17146189635759.jpg

Morning Skate: Sidney Crosby has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while wishing everybody a safe and relaxing Memorial Day weekend. 

*Apparently Nashville Predators head coach Peter Laviolette has yet to try Nashville’s hot chicken despite his time behind the Preds bench. It’s okay, I have yet to try it either in my handful of visits to Music City. 

*Good stuff from PHT writer and FOH (Friend of Haggs) Jason Brough. Apparently it wasn’t so easy to make Wayne Gretzky’s head bleed when it came time for director Doug Liman to cut Swingers together

*Sidney Crosby cares about the history and the issues of the game, and has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation despite the hate that always comes with such responsibility. 

*Puck Daddy examines Crosby’s performance in the playoffs, and the odds of him winning another Conn Smythe Trophy. 

*The Penguins have made it to the Stanley Cup Final without Kris Letang for their playoff run, and that’s an amazing accomplishment. 

*Erik Karlsson said that he will be tending to his injured foot next week, and expects a full recovery for next season after a brilliant run with his Ottawa Senators

*Larry Brooks again rails against the Stanley Cup playoff structure and it’s relation to an “absurd regular season.” Say what you will, but the fact the Penguins are there for a second straight season shoots down some of the absurdity stuff in my mind. The best team from the East is where they should be and they did it without Kris Letang to boot. 

*Chicago Blackhawks prospect Alex Debrincat is confident his abilities will translate to the NHL despite his size after taking home honors as the best player in junior hockey this season. 

*For something completely different: Apparently there’s a hard core comic book geek gripe that “The Flash” is burning through bad guys too quickly. This would make sense if they couldn’t revisit these bad guys at any point, but they absolutely can go back to a big bad like Grodd anytime they want.