In James Neal’s last two games – 28 minutes of total ice time, five goals, two assists, and 14 shots on goal.
Ottawa had a hell of a season. They should be extremely proud of themselves. A ton of adversity, and their young kids followed the lead of their proven vets for a really, really surprising and successful campaign.
That being said, Pittsburgh was too good. Crosby was, once again, simply magic on the ice on Friday night. And his Penguins teammates followed suit. Kris Letang was phenomenal. Neal was great.
And how is this for depth?
Iginla – 10 minutes
Jokinen – 12 minutes
Neal – 12 minutes
Kunitz – 14 minutes
Malkin – 15 minutes
Morrow – 10 minutes
Paul MacLean on the Pens:
“I hope they don't bill us for the clinic,” MacLean quipped. “They didn't step off the pedal one time, and that's what it takes.”
I made the point yesterday, but I’ll echo it again – Drew Doughty is, for my money, the best two-way defenseman in hockey. Chara may have the edge defensively, and Karlsson and a few others are better offensively, but Doughty combines everything better than anybody else. He’s big and physical, he can shoot and pass, but his best attribute is getting the puck out of danger, either with his feet or with his stick. He is amazing under pressure and always makes the right play when exiting the puck out of the defensive zone.
If you read my ramblings on a consistent basis, you know that I am a big Ryan McDonagh fan. Here is a praiseful column from the NY Post on New York's best defenseman (and arguably best player, too).
"He's done it all year long," center Derek Stepan said. "It's nothing different. It's the playoffs and the [defense] is going to have to continue to log big minutes."
McDonagh has carried over the dominant defense from helping keep Alex Ovechkin scoreless in the final six games of the opening round, but his offensive awareness has elevated a Rangers offense headed to the obituaries.
Valeri Nichushkin plans to play in North America this season. Huge news for real GMs and fantasy GMs – how does this affect his draft stock?
However, I wonder if Nichushkin meant he will play in the NHL (if he makes it). I could see him back in Russia if he doesn't – sure beats making minor league money to ride a bus around North America (I imagine he would get seven figure money in Russia).
The Coyotes have extended Don Maloney’s contract – will Dave Tippett be next? Apparently Tippett wants to wait and see what happens with the ownership situation… hey Dave you may be waiting a while.
Edmonton is “very amenable” to trading the 7th overall pick, says GM Craig MacTavish.
"If we do move that pick back and get an asset that we feel can come in and help the current group, we'd be more than happy to have any of those discussions, and have had many of those discussions with a lot of the managers at this point. In terms of moving up, I've had a couple discussions with managers about moving up."