The AHL’s RoY Matt Murray, the World Hockey Championship, NHL playoff notes and more …
My 10th annual Interactive Playoff Draft List is updated as of Monday, pick it up here for $8.99. It includes my own picks, a printable spreadsheet, injury notes, tips, etc. – and it has adjustments such as Kane playing and Mrazek starting.
It’s official – Patrick Kane is back for Game 1. Four weeks early. Again, I don’t understand this. I’m not saying he’ll reinjure. I’m saying that there is a risk. Maybe 1%, maybe 10%, I don’t know. But if Chicago could play Game 1 without him and win, then they can keep playing without him until they lose two games. That could be two games later, or it could be in the second round. But buy him some more time. Sure, he could play the entire game with extra protection and any hit he takes is harmless. But he could also get hit into the boards at the wrong angle and snap that weakened point in the bone and he’s back to Square 1. I’m sure it’s Kane who is the one pushing to play though. Hockey players, eh? Too competitive to know what’s good for them.
I hate to say this about Nashville because I like the team and love what they’ve done this year, but in the Western Conference I don’t think Chicago could have had a better matchup. I’d love to see Nashville win, but they stumbled down the stretch (6-12-3) and both Rinne and Forsberg became mere mortals. So while I’m not big on Chicago winning another Cup, I’m pretty high on them getting past the first round. The only series I see easier than that one is the Rangers putting out the Penguins in four.
Regarding the Penguins, I say that despite two things that should sway me. The first being that the Penguins are the team I root for. It’s the team I cheer for and the team I built two keeper leagues around. And the second being this analysis by Travis Yost over at TSN. Using a pretty accurate (historically) predictor, the Penguins boast the highest “Score-Adjusted Fenwick% Last 25 Games”. Then again, the Pens no longer have Kris Letang, who played 18 of those 25 games.
Here is a list of playoff resources for you, if you have a last minute draft today:
Playoff Prep – East Part 1
Playoff Prep – East Part 2
Playoff Prep – West Part 1
Playoff Prep – West Part 2
Top 10 Playoff Sleepers
The DobberHockey Expert Panel picks
By the way – the expert panel is 50-25 since we started