June 9, 2013

Dobber Sports

2013-06-09

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With Patrick Kane’s overtime hat-trick, which powered the the Blackhawks past the defending champs and into the Stanley Cup Final on Saturday night, the ultimate matchup of the lockout shortened 2013 NHL season is set. Though neither the Pittsburgh-Boston or Chicago-LA series ended up being closely contested, like at all, there was some really good hockey played the past week with Saturday night’s contest, and Wednesday night’s game 3 of BOS-PIT being two of the more entertaining games of the postseason stand outs. Thoroughly enjoyed it, and if you’re not excited about a Chicago-Boston final I don’t really know what to tell you – and I’m saying that as a guy who grew up a Canucks fan!

 

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The Kings are the first true Corsi juggernaut of the Behind the Net era, and whether you think advanced stats are useful or not, I don’t really think that’s a coincidence. That said, I wonder if they bought too much into their rough and tumble reputation and got away from the slick transition game that powered them in the postseason a year ago. Robyn Regehr, Matt Greene, Jordan Nolan and Kyle Clifford  were arguably leaned on a bit too heavily in the postseason this year (and last night), while guys like Alec Martinez were stapled to the bench. Regehr in particular seemed to slow the Kings down a good deal after his acquisition and I’m still completely mystified by the extension they gave him…

 

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Regehr had a tough game on Saturday night. The Kings were out-possesed and outshot dramatically when he was on the ice, even though they were down for a goodly portion of the game. Chicago also outscored the Kings by three at even-strength when he was on the ice…

 

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Los Angeles didn’t score a single five-on-five goal on Saturday (one short-handed, one on the power-play and one with Jonathan Quick on the bench). That’s an appropriate way for a team that crushed everybody five-on-five a year ago, but got away from some of what made them so dangerous, to have their season end. Anyway, kudos to the defending champs for scoring with ten seconds left to force overtime, at least they made the Blackhawks work for it.

 

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Drew Doughty’s hip-check on Patrick Kane was about as good a check as you’ll see. That Patrick Kane took a hit like this, and also scored a hat-trick tells you all you need to know about the guy who is still Chicago’s best player, and one of the most dangerous game breakers in the sport:

 

 

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Jonathan Toews hasn’t scored much this postseason, but he had one hell of a game on Saturday night. Toews had a few additional defensive zone starts at even-strength without Patrick Kane in game five, and still pretty handily one his matchups against the Doughty-Regehr pairing and the Anze Kopitar line. His feed to Patrick Kane on the game winning goal was nothing short of sublime. How good is a Toews-Bergeron matchup going to be in the finals?

 

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That Mike Richards deflection that tied the game with ten seconds to go sort of reminded me of Ryan Kesler’s late goal in game five of the 2011 Western Conference Final.

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Elsewhere in the hockey world, Petr Mrazek led the Grand Rapids Griffins to a one-to-nothing series lead in the Calder Cup Final with a dominant performance against the Syracuse Crunch. Mrazek, a fifth round pick in 2010, has been one of the fastest rising prospect goaltenders in the league for a while now. He demanded attention with a lights out performance in the 2012 OHL playoffs for Ottawa, and he hasn’t looked back. Actually he’s had one of those rare seasons this year where he spent time in the East Coast league, the American hockey league and the National Hockey league &#