May 17, 2014

Dobber Sports

2014-05-17

Sadly for the viewers, the third Game 7 of the second round wasn't as exciting as the other two. This wasn't much of a contest as the Kings jumped out to a 5-0 lead and never looked back.

 

After a handful of narrow escapes, my two Cup teams are still alive in New York over Los Angeles and my picks for the Expert Panel sit at 12-0. The way things are going I may soon regret not joining a playoff pool this year that rewarded the winner with more than just bragging rights.

 

Marian Gaborik with a goal and an assist as he continues his impressive playoff push. Many times deadline deals don't pan out and teams are left regretting big moves, especially when it comes to rentals. That's not the case this year with Gaborik and Thomas Vanek, and both are a big reason their teams are in the Conference Finals.

 

Justin Williams opened the scoring and now has an incredible six goals and 12 points in six career Game 7s. Some players just manage to save their best for the biggest stage and Williams is certainly one of those.

 

Mike Richards had a goal and an assist for the Kings. He's followed up his mostly disappointing regular season with a similar playoffs until last night, but more efforts like these would be huge for the Kings in the next round.

 

I know there are still two rounds to go, but if you had to pick a Conn Smythe candidate right now from each team who would it be?

 

For me it's Jonathan Toews, Anze Kopitar, Carey Price and Henrik Lundqvist. With honorable mentions to P.K. Subban, Jeff Carter and Duncan Keith.

 

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John Gibson looked more human in this game, although you couldn't really fault him for any of the goals. He'll be in a battle with Frederik Andersen next year for the starting job and if this postseason was any indication, Bruce Boudreau isn't shy about mixing things up on the fly.

 

That was Teemu Selanne's last game, making it a perfect time to look back on an outstanding career.

 

 

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So the Penguins fired Ray Shero but have kept head coach Dan Bylsma, for now at least. It's a bizarre move considering you would think there are no issues with the roster. I'm not sure someone is going to step in and put together a better set of talent that already boasts Crosby, Malkin, Letang, Neal, Kunitz, Maatta, etc. Not that I'm faulting Bylsma for the Pens recent failures to return to the Cup finals, but I'm not sure what getting rid of Shero really accomplishes.

 

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I wanted to throw my two cents in on the handshake fiasco from the Bruins/Canadiens series. I've never understood why the handshake line after the series has to be done so formally. Montreal and Boston just battled it out for seven games in some pretty chippy hockey and then 30 seconds after the final whistle they have to act nice and shake hands? Some series are obviously more cordial than others, but the majority of matchups are going to leave bitterness and angry participants. I'm not excusing anyone's behaviour or on anyone's side, (believe me as a Leafs fan I was hoping somehow both of those teams would get disqualified like in an old school WWF wrestling tournament and have the Rangers advance straight to the finals), but it just seems like the NHL should just do away with the line to avoid problems. Handshakes can still happen between players that want to do so on either team like in other sports, but it just doesn't have to be so formal with all eyes on what happens.

 

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John Tavares' knee is feeling good and he's been cleared for full activity. The fact that he looks like he'll have a full offseason of training should be a good sign for any poolies who had a sliver of doubt when it came to taking him next year. The Islanders should be an interesting team to watch next season. With Thomas Vanek gone it will be important to monitor who gets the spot alongside Tavares and Kyle Okposo. Someone may not earn the coveted position until a few weeks into the campaign, so make sure you're first to pounce once it's claimed. I wonder if youngster Ryan Strome would get a shot on the wing.

 

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