The Ottawa Senators were ALL DONE. In last night’s game, in the series against the Penguins, for the season.
Then Dan Bylsma stopped thinking. His team did, too. Suddenly, it’s a series.
Consider the key components to last night’s game-tying shorthanded goal by Ottawa’s Daniel Alfredsson with 28.6 seconds left in regulation:
*There was no need to have a power-play unit on the ice. You’re up 1-0. The instant Ottawa pulls the goalie, you’re playing at even-strength in terms of skaters. That’s just common sense. You don’t need to be Herb Brooks to know that. You needed third-line grit and sensibility, not man-advantage flash.
*Kris Letang and Paul Martin got clustered right. Insanity.
*Evgeni Malkin watched the puck. His man, Daniel Alfredsson, went to the net and scored. Chris Kunitz could have helped there, too.
There’s a perception that I pick on Malkin. If that’s so, it’s because Malkin often hurts as much as helps. The Penguins have lost three playoff games this spring. Defensive-zone miscues by Malkin have helped lose two of them.
For more thoughts on Alfredsson’s tally, click HERE.
Want to play the blame game? Vote, please, in the poll at left.
Raffi Torres of San Jose has been suspended for the remainder of the Sharks' second-round series with Los Angeles after targeting Jarrett Stoll's head with this check.
Torres - then with Phoenix - got suspended 25 games (later reduced to 21) during last year's playoffs for targeting the head of Chicago's Marian Hossa with a more vicious and malicious hit.
Torres pledged to clean up his act after the Hossa episode, and took only 17 minutes in penalties during the regular season. But now, this.
No one ever bought a ticket to see Torres play. At what point does the NHL get rid of Torres for good?
Matt Cooke has cleaned up his act. But at some point, Cooke will relapse. Bet on it. Guys like that DON'T CHANGE.
Back on the plane, Ovie.
John Gibson got cut by the Pittsburgh Hornets travel organization. He was a second-stringer at Baldwin High School.
But now, Gibson is AMERICA’S GOALIE. Your goalie. My goalie. Our goalie. The people’s goalie.
Gibson, 19, backstopped the U.S. to the gold medal in the 2013 World Junior Championships at Ufa, Russia. He got tournament MVP. Today, Gibson knocked out Russia in the World Championships at Helsinki, Finland. U.S. 8, Russia 3. Gibson made 31 saves. Alex Ovechkin, eliminated again. Twice in four days.
First the junior varsity, now the varsity. Roll over, Jim Craig, and tell Jack McCartan the news. John Gibson IS America.
Gibson was Anaheim’s second-round pick in 2011. Jonas Hiller couldn’t cut the playoff mustard. Gibson won’t crack. So let him quack.
Michelle Wright of Channel 4 interviewed the CREEPY HORSE MASK before Game 1 vs. Ottawa. CREEPY HORSE MASK might be the only thing that could save the Sunday night sports shows on Channels 2 and 11. He couldn't possibly know less about hockey.
Photo courtesy of @tvmichelle.
Two Game 7s and the Chris Jericho-Fandango dance-off! Drama, thy name is Monday night.
Kudos to MATT BARTKOWSKI of Mt. Lebanon. Injury put the rookie in the Boston lineup last night, and his role got expanded when defenseman Dennis Seidenberg got hurt in the first period. Bartkowski opened the scoring with his first NHL goal. He played 24:51 and did not wilt in the harsh glare of Game 7.
Will Bartkowski and Boston visit Consol Energy Center for the Eastern Conference final? The Bruins ruined the Toronto Maple Leafs for the next 10 years by coming back from 4-1 down. Gutless can be a tradition, too.
A heartfelt war whoop and a six-pack to ARRON ASHAM, ex- of this parish. Asham netted the first goal in the New York Rangers’ 5-0 win at Washington. Come playoff time, I’d rather have Asham than Rick Nash, who got just two points in the series. Or Alex Ovechkin, who put up a donut in the series’ last five games.
One thing guys like Nash, Ovechkin and Anaheim’s Corey Perry prove is that some guys just aren’t playoff performers. Nash, especially. Nash hasn’t played in the playoffs since 2009. Two assists in seven games is the best he can do?
It was epic to see the Capitals choke like pigs in Game 7. Ovechkin couldn’t lead a hooker to a Holiday Inn with a fistful of Ben Franklins.
The Penguins are guaranteed a gong show for the rest of the Eastern Conference playoffs. The main matchup of the series against Ottawa is Matt Cooke vs. their owner. Then it’s the Bruins and Jaromir Jagr, or the Rangers and John Tortorella.
In other words, it’s my kind of postseason.
Jagr is struggling with the Bruins. They play north-south, he plays east-west. Just doesn’t fit. Hasn’t helped their power play much, either.