The Stanley Cup playoffs roll on, and it was an interesting weekend where all four teams continued to stay alive. Here are a couple of thoughts from both series while wondering just how stringy and weird Los Angeles Kings Captain Dustin Browns playoff beard is going to become by the end of the Stanley Cup Finals.
Great playoff performance by Phoenix Coyotes Captain Shane Doan when his Yotes teammates needed him most. You could sense his intensity when he was speaking with NBC rink side guy Brian Engblom prior to Sundays Game 4 in Los Angeles, and he went out and scored two goals in a 2-0 victory that allowed Phoenix to stay alive. Doan might be the most compelling Lets win it for fill in the blank theme that we see develop during every Stanley Cup Finals, and he showed exactly why in pushing the series back to Phoenix for at least one more game. Hes being criticized in some corners for the penalties that hes taking against the Kings, but Doan has to play with that unrelenting physicality that can sometimes push him into the penalty box. Otherwise he isnt playing Shane Doan playoff hockey and matching the intensity of guys like Dustin Brown, Justin Lewis, Brad Richardson and Willie Mitchell on the Los Angeles side.
Henrik Lundqvist still hasnt allowed a bad goal during the playoffs. There is zero shot the Bruins were going to get by New York even if theyd squeezed by the Capitals and the Flyers. Its already down to Lundqvist (1.57 goals against and .942 save percentage) and Jonathan Quick (1.46 goals against and .948 save percentage) for the Conn Smythe Trophy at this point with Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar as dark horse candidates.
Pretty amazing that Claude Giroux is still leading the postseason field in scoring with 17 points even though he was eliminated by the New Jersey Devils in the last round of the playoffs.
Nine points and a minus-3 in 15 games for Zach Parise has been a little eye-opening with the New Jersey forward on the cusp of unrestricted free agency. It got so bad that he stormed out on the media after a loss to the Rangers last week, and is showing everyone just how much pressure hes putting on himself. While his numbers arent terrible Parise hasnt really done himself too many favors when it comes time to talk contract this summer.
Seeing plenty of talk about the Bruins being up close to the salary cap for the upcoming seasons. Theres no way of knowing given up the upcoming CBA battle between the NHL and the NHLPA, and the Bs still have yet to put Marc Savard on long term injured reserve. That would free up 4 plus million in salary cap space for the Bruins that theyre still currently carrying on their cap for a player that doesnt appear likely to ever return to hockey. That combined with a potential deal moving Tim Thomas away would free close to 10 million in salary cap space, so the Bruins have plenty of flexibility to make plenty of moves if necessary.
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while watching the Montreal Canadiens crash and burn in the Atlantic Division.
*Max Pacioretty is certainly falling on his sword up in Montreal calling himself “the worst one on the ice” as the Habs really struggle to get going this season.
*Brad Marchand was on the Twitter machine after Thursday night’s win and having some fun with what his video game controller probably looks like when he plays hockey.
*Pro Hockey Talk has the details of the Erik Gudbranson boarding hit on Frank Vatrano from last night that looks like it’s going to get the Vancouver D-man suspended.
*Oliver Ekman-Larsson is still adjusting to the changes that are taking place with the Arizona Coyotes as they struggle in the desert.
*The Maple Leafs are looking and acting like contenders early on up in Toronto, and that would be a very good thing for the NHL.
*For something completely different: The Backstreet Boys are going country? Now I’ve definitely seen it all.
BRIGHTON, Mass – Another serious injury has hit the Bruins in the first few weeks of the season.
Adam McQuaid’s right leg is broken, he'll have surgery Monday and he’ll miss some significant time after he blocked a shot that knocked him out of the Thursday night victory over the Vancouver Canucks. The rugged, stay-at-home defenseman took multiple pucks of in successive games off his leg in the past two games against the Golden Knights and the Canucks.
Bruins GM Don Sweeney, in a Bruins statement released after practice Friday, said McQuaid sustained a broken right fibula and is scheduled to have surgery on Monday at Mass. General Hospital. He is expected to miss approximately eight weeks.
It’s a tough blow for McQuaid, 31, after he was able to play 77 games last season before missing the playoffs with an injury and has consistently battled injuries in his career while playing a hard-nosed, fearless brand of hockey.
“Adam [McQuaid] is seeing the doctors as we speak, so there will be an announcement about him,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said earlier Friday at practice. “With Bergie [Patrice Bergeron] it’s a maintenance day where we felt it would be better after 20 minutes of ice to let it rest, and the same with [David] Krejci. Miller is a maintenance day as well. He got whacked, but he should be fine as well. We’ll have a better idea in the morning, but we expect all of the [maintenance players] to play.”
Bergeron, David Krejci and Kevan Miller were all missing from practice on Friday morning at Warrior Ice Arena, but it was maintenance days for all as they’re expected to be back in the lineup on Saturday against the Buffalo Sabres.
Tuukka Rask is out indefinitely while in the concussion protocol after his practice collision earlier this week, but the good news is that Bruins goaltender was up and around at the practice facility on Friday rather than at home convalescing in a dark room.
Here are the line combos and D-pairings for the Black and Gold with a few bodies missing from practice: