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|Posted by Talk Hockey on May 14, 2013 at 8:50 PM||comments (0)|
Posted by: talkhockey.ca
Shock, confusion, and heartbreak. That’s how the Toronto Maple Leafs season ended Monday night during Game Seven of their first round match-up against the Boston Bruins.
Up 4-1 with less than eleven minutes left in the third period, it seemed almost certain that the Leafs were about to upset the Boston Bruins and move onto the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. But, somehow, and against all odds, the Boston Bruins came back and rallied for three goals to tie the game and send it to overtime. Then, 6:05 into OT, Patrice Bergeron scored the winner to cap off the incredible comeback.
The goal was Bergeron’s second of the game, with his first being the tying goal. His unbelievable performance earned him the first star of the game.
Words can’t really describe how painful this loss was to Leafs Nation. I’m sure we’re all still confused as to how it occurred.
In fact, it was the first time a team has overcome a three-goal deficit in the third period of a Game 7 in Stanley Cup playoff history, and fortunately for the Bruins, they were on the winning end. – ESPN
In addition, the referees definitely did not help Toronto in anyway whatsoever during the game. They were an absolute joke the entire night, missing call after call and letting the game go on… Here is a list of calls they missed…
1. Chara takes down van Riemsdyk behind the play in the first period (interference).
2. Joffrey Lupul gets shoved into Tuuka Rask, then gets punched in the face by him and Chara. (roughing). Video Evidence.
51.3 Match Penalty - If, in the judgment of the Referee, a goalkeeper uses his blocking glove to punch an opponent in the head or face in an attempt to or to deliberately injure an opponent, a match penalty must be assessed.
3. James van Riemsdyk gets elbowed in the face by Chris Kelly during the second period (elbowing). Video Evidence.
45.1 Elbowing - Elbowing shall mean the use of an extended elbow in a manner that may or may not cause injury.
4. Brad Marchand throws a water bottle onto the ice at the start of overtime. (delay of game). Video Evidence. Bruins fans throw things onto the ice during the last minute of the third period (delay of game).
Any of these calls could have played a major role in changing the outcome of this game and Toronto’s unfortunate fate. Nevertheless, the refs are still no excuse for blowing a three goal lead with eleven minutes remaining in the third.
"There’s no way to describe it I don’t think," Reimer said. "Just an empty feeling really. It’s over and there’s nothing you can do about it. When you go through the season and a goal goes in or somebody scores in the shootout or whatever deciding goal that it is, you know, it sucks but you’ll get them next time. But a case like tonight there is no next time, it’s just next year. So you know, it’s really just an empty feeling."
Despite the heartbreak, there's no denying that the Leafs had a very successful season. They ended the nine year playoff drought and nobody expected them to go seven games with Boston. I’m proud of them and I really hope they can build on this in the future.
Here's a great recap by Steve Dangle.
GIF: Grabovski flips the puck up, makes crazy self-pass attempt
Leafs beat Bruins 4-2, even up series #ThankYouKessel
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The St. Louis Blues season came to an end last night as the Los Angeles Kings beat them 2-1 in yet another hard fought contest. Every game in this series was decided by one goal and the Blues need to hold their heads high after such an effort. Given the tough battling that went on, it may be appropriate at this time to ask, what was the difference maker in this series? Why did the Kings win? I think the major reason for this outcome is simple to state but harder to overcome. Both the Blues and the Kings have tough defenses and great goalies, but what it really came down to was the fact that the Kings have more go to scorers. They have more players that can put the puck on net and take advantage of scoring opportunites. This is especially true in a series like this, which relied on the incredible bouncing puck to make the difference, so evenly matched were these teams in other ways.
So, what needs to be done in St. Louis? The easy answer would be to go get some free agents snipers and increase the number of go to scorers. The problem there, however, is that the Blues really do not operate that way. They look for solutions within. You will notice that when they look to trade, it is often for defencemen or goalies. They have not shown (recently) that they will go sign big time free agent sniping talent or trade for it either. I guess we will see, but that seems to be the missing piece of the puzzle. The emergence of someone like Vladimir Tarasenko would be a more likely example of how the Blues address this question. It could be an interesting offseason. The Blues are making strides, here is hoping it continues.
|Posted by Talk Hockey on May 11, 2013 at 9:15 AM||comments (0)|
During the first period of Game Five between the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs, Mikhail Grabovski made one of the most creative attempts to score I have ever seen in my life. Down low in the offensive zone, Grabo flipped the puck over the net and tried to knock it out of the air back in front of the net. Even if Grabovski got it past Rask, it would have likely been a high stick.
I honestly believe this had the potential to be one of the greatest goals in NHL history! Too bad he couldn't pull it off! A+ for the creativity though.
Posted by Talk Hockey.
Video: Grabovski's crazy creative flip pass
Kaspars Daugavins creative shootout attempt
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|Posted by Landon Ewaniuk on May 11, 2013 at 2:45 AM||comments (0)|
There's never been a set timeline for the return of Ottawa Senators star center Jason Spezza after his back surgery in January, but it appears that the club could be getting him back for their Round 2 matchup (against a to-be-determined foe).
According to Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun, Sens GM Bryan Murray has confirmed that Spezza is practicing with a group called the "Black Aces" -- the nickname for the players not in the starting lineup.
"He's skating much harder, competing much better and feeling much stronger," Murray indicated during an appearance on The Team 1200 on Friday. "Skating with the Black Aces is a more serious involvement for him. He's got to practice a few times with the team before [coach] Paul [MacLean] thinks about making a change, but there's light at the end of the tunnel."
Having Spezza back in the mix would certainly alter the outlook of their next matchup. Stay tuned.
|Posted by Landon Ewaniuk on May 11, 2013 at 2:30 AM||comments (0)|
Three of the NHL’s top scoring forwards have been nominated for the league’s Ted Lindsay Award for the 2012/13 season. The award is voted on by the league’s players and given out to who they feel is the player of the year. This year’s nominees are the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Sidney Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals and the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Martin St. Louis. Crosby and Ovechkin have also been nominated for the Hart Trophy, given to the league’s most valuable player.
The 25-year-old year-old Crosby is a previous winner of the award as he took it home after the 2006-07 season. He missed 12 games this campaign, but still managed to finish tied for third place in the NHL scoring race with 56 points from 15 goals and 41 assists. The center scored a league-leading 1.56 points a game on average. However, he missed the final dozen games of the 48-game season after he was struck in the face with a puck and suffered a broken jaw.
Crosby was leading the league in scoring at the time of the injury and was still leading it in the final week of the season until he was finally passed. His plus 26 rating was a career high. Crosby said that he cherishes each and every award nomination that he receives, but to be recognized by your fellow players is always something special. He added that he tries to play his best every shift and is thrilled that his peers recognize this.
Ovechkin has already won one award this season as he captured the league’s Rocket Richard Trophy which is given to the top goal scorer in the NHL. Ovechkin started the season slowly and some people had written him off. He turned his game around though and finished the campaign with 32 goals to earn his third Rocket Richard trophy win. Ovechkin added 24 assists and finished tied with Crosby at 56 points for third-best in the league.
The 27-year-old Russian winger scored a league-leading 16 power play markers and helped lead Washington to the title in the Southeast Division. He scored 22 goals in the final 29 contests and added 12 assists for 41 points in that stretch. He finished the regular season with a plus two record.
The 37-year-old St. Louis captured the Art Ross Trophy for the second time in his career this season. The Art Ross is awarded to the league’s top overall scorer. St. Louis took it by passing Crosby in the final few days and finishing the year with 60 points on 17 goals and 43 assists. The award means St. Louis is now the oldest player in NHL history to lead the league in scoring during a season.
He’s also one of just three players in history to score a minimum of 1.25 points a game after reaching the age of 37. The others to achieve this feat are Hall of Fame members Gordie Howe of the Detroit Red Wings and Mario Lemieux of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Howe set the mark back in the 1968/69 season and Lemieux matched it in 2002/03. St. Louis’ 43 assists were tops in the league the year. St. Louis missed the playoffs with Tampa this season and finished the campaign as en even player in the plus/minus rankings.
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|Posted by Landon Ewaniuk on May 9, 2013 at 8:05 PM||comments (0)|
The NHL has announced the three nominees for this season’s James Norris Memorial Trophy, which is awarded to the league’s best defenseman. This year’s finalists are the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Kris Letang, the Montreal Canadiens’ P.K. Subban and the Minnesota Wild’s Ryan Suter. The trophy will go to the player who displayed the best all-round ability on the ice this season. And it will be voted on by members of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association. The voting is based on regular-season play only and not the playoffs. However, all three candidates are playing in the postseason.
It’s the first time any of the players have been nominated for the award. Last year’s Norris Trophy was won by Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators and the Nashville Predators’ Shea Weber has been the runner up in the past two years. Karlsson missed most of the 48-game season due to a torn Achilles tendon, while Weber had a sub-par season. Karlsson has since returned to join his Ottawa teammates for their playoff showdown with Subban’s Montreal Canadiens.
The 26-year-old Letang missed 13 games this season, but still managed to tie Subban as the league’s top-scoring defenseman. Letang had five goals and 33 assists for 38 points and was a plus 16, while the 23-year-old Subban scored 11 goals and 27 assists in 42 games and was a plus 12. Letang led all defenseman in assists though and was 12th in the league in that category.
Letang played an average of 25:38 in each game which ranked him number seven among all blue liners. Pittsburgh’s head coach Dan Bylsma used Letang for penalty killing as well as on the power play. He managed to score 13 of his points when the Penguins had the man advantage.
Subban’s 38 points tied his career best total which he set two years ago as a rookie. However, it took him 71 games to reach that mark while he equaled the total in 42 contests this year. Subban has improved quite a bit defensively since his rookie season. He was minus eight two years ago and finished plus 12 this season.
Subban’s leadership helped Montreal win the Northeast Division this season and they finished as the second seed in the Eastern Conference. The team finished in last place in the East and out of the playoffs last year. He scored seven goals and 19 assists on the power play for 26 points with the other 12 coming at even strength. The 26 power play points were tops among defensemen this campaign.
The 28-year-old Suter joined Minnesota as a free agent this season after leaving Nashville. He was easily the club’s top defenseman and led the league in average ice time per game at even strength. He only managed to score four goals during the season, but added 28 assists for 32 points. This ranked him as the NHL’s third top-scoring defenseman while the 28 assists were good for second best. Suter ended the season with a plus two ranking.
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The St. Louis Blues faced a do or die situation in the fifth game of their series against the Los Angeles Kings last night. Not because true elimination was at stake, rather because Game Six goes back to Los Angeles. A victory last night would have afforded the Blues the luxury of not winning in LA in Game Six and bringing it back to St. Louis for a Game Seven. The Blues loss to the Kings in overtime 3-2 last night burst that bubble, Now they have to return to Los Angeles and play the Kings in front of hostile crowd that rarely sees its team lose. The Blues fought hard like they always do and it is good to see how close they battle, win or lose. It gives me hope that all is not lost in this series. Having said that, the Kings game winning goal last night was beautifully executed and showed their great skill, even on enemy ice. Justin Williams, speeding down the ice, fed it to Anze Kopitar who placed it perfectly on Slava Voynov's stick and he put it in. The goal may look a little soft at first, but it was a textbook 3 on 2 that had Blues Goalie Brain Elliot guessing about what to do and only partially blocking the puck.
So now the series goes back to Los Angeles. The Blues can win if they play mistake free hockey and fight as they never have before. A victory in LA would be a massive momentum changer and set them up to take the series in Game 7. A huge mountain is left to climb however and the Kings remain underrated even though they won the Cup last year. The strong defense must show up and play every shift like its their last. That is Blues hockey and the way they tie this one up.