NHL All-Star game: 5 from the First

NHL All-Star game: 5 from the First

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.comRALEIGH, N.C. Here are five thoughts from the NHL All-Star game at the RBC Center in Raleigh with Team Staal and Team Lidstrom tied at a 4-4 score after the first 20 minutes in North Carolina.1)The team payroll of Team Lidstrom is 102,675,000 while the payroll of Team Staal is 102,231,700 after the NHL All-Star fantasy draft on Friday night. Amazing how even the two teams ended up, and even more amazing when NHL salary cap of 59.4 million is considered.2)Good to see Phil Kessel came into the game all fire and brimstone after being Mr. Irrelevant in the fantasy draft on Friday night. I dont think there is anything that will ever light a fire under No. 81 even in an exhibition atmosphere.3)Too much passing by Team Staal after they scored a bunch of goals early in the game. I think everybody would love to see one team just load up and drop eights goals on the other one to underscore the outlandish nature of the All-Star game.4)Matt Duchene is pretty nasty. That little leg kick fake on a breakaway against Cam Ward totally froze the Carolina goalie, and then he simply roofed a shot over the glove hand. Respect him all the more after the way he handled himself on twitter after the microphones overheard him joking how hung over he was on Saturday after drinking too much vodka.5)Good thing Tim Thomas is playing the third period for Team Lidstrom. They may need him, and he may get a shot at his third consecutive winning decision in an All-Star game.

Playoff run ends for Providence Bruins, but some promising signs

Playoff run ends for Providence Bruins, but some promising signs

It was the longest run that the P-Bruins have had in a few years and another unmistakable sign that the future is brightening for the Black and Gold, but the Bruins AHL affiliate has ended their playoff push in the Calder Cup semi-finals. 

The Providence Bruins fell by a 3-1 score to the Syracuse Crunch on Saturday night to lose to the Crunch in five games when the best-of-seven series was set to return to Providence this coming week. The P-Bruins had vanquished the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins and Hershey Bears in the first two rounds of the Calder Cup playoffs before finally exiting against Syracuse. 

Though it’s over, it’s clear some of the Bruins prospects made a nice step forward over the second half of the AHL season and then into the Calder Cup playoffs. With the Calder Cup Finals yet to start, B’s forward prospect Danton Heinen stands as the second-leading playoff scorer in the entire AHL with nine goals and 18 points in 17 playoff games after really struggling in the first half of his first pro season while bouncing back and forth between the NHL and the AHL. 

This could bode well for the skilled Heinen and his hopes to make the leap to the NHL in the near future after a stellar collegiate career at the University of Denver. AHL journeymen-types Wayne Simpson and Jordan Szwarz were the next two top scorers for the P-Bruins in the playoff run, but Jake DeBrusk had a strong playoff season as well while popping in six goals in 17 games. DeBrusk led all Providence players with his 54 shots on net in the 17-game playoff run for Providence, and he headlined a group that included B’s prospects Ryan Fitzgerald, Zach Senyshyn, Matt Grzelcyk, Peter Cehlarik (who succumbed to shoulder surgery during the playoffs), Emil Johansson and Robbie O’Gara all getting some vital playoff experience. 

Both Heinen and DeBrusk will be strong candidates for jobs on the wing with the Boston big club when training camp opens in the fall after strong showings in the postseason. 

On the goaltending side, Zane McIntyre was solid for the P-Bruins at times while in 16 of their 17 playoff games with a .906 save percentage. But it was Malcolm Subban that was playing at the very end of the playoff run for Providence and featured a sterling .937 save percentage in the four AHL playoff games that he appeared in this spring after an up-and-down regular season. McIntyre had an .857 save percentage and 4.37 goals against average in the final series against Syracuse, and looked a little spent like many of the other P-Bruins players once they’d unexpectedly made it to the third round of the AHL postseason.  

The only unfortunate part of Providence’s run is that newly signed youngsters Charlie McAvoy and Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson couldn’t be a part of it after signing and then appearing in NHL games following a cut-off date for AHL playoff rosters. Both missed on an experience that could have been very conducive for their professional development, and uncovered a wrinkle in the NHL/AHL transaction process that really doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for a developmental league.