MLHS Morning Mashup: Road to the Cup/WHCs

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    Photo Credit: Frank Gunn/Associated Press

    It’s the most wonderful time of the year. No, the Leafs aren’t participating in the post season for the sixth consecutive season, but the playoffs began with Vancouver, Washington and Detroit getting the starts they were expecting while Nashville and Pittsburgh took the game one edge in the 4 v. 5 matchups.

    Let’s hope tonight’s action only builds on yesterday’s excitement. There are three games on the docket, with Montreal/Boston, Buffalo/Philadelphia and Los Angeles/San Jose getting underway tonight. What game are you most looking forward to watching?

    As far as the Leafs‘ post-season goes, thirteen Leafs will represent their respective nations at the World Hockey Championships in Slovakia later this month. Carl Gunnarsson will wear the Three Crowns for Sweden while the Marlies‘ Marcel Mueller and Korbinian Holzer will feature for Team Germany. After news Mike Brown will represent Team USA, another pleasantly surprising addition has been in announced in the Marlies’ 20-year-old defenceman Jake Gardiner, who in his ten games with the team to close out the season impressed observers with his speed and puck skills.

    With Phaneuf, Schenn, MacArthur and Reimer (Canada), Mikhail Grabovski (Belarus), Nikolai Kulemin (Russia), and Juraj Mikus (Slovakia) also committed, that takes the Leaf count to 13. It’s not the type of tournament they would ideally be playing in at this time of year but with quite a strong Leaf contingent, there’s worse consolation prizes.

    Quotables:

    “The hockey media across North America questioned us. When you read or hear that we’re ‘hanging on’ until those guys come back, you take that personally. I mean, we’re obviously a better team with Sidney and Evgeni in the lineup. But we’re also a good team without those guys.

    - Penguins forward Mike Rupp, courtesy of Paul Hunter at the Toronto Star

    Leafs Links:

    Leafs’ Brown, Gardiner, and Gunnarsson to Play at World Championship

    More Leafs‘ headed to Slovakia to participate in the Worlds.

    Reimer Will Continue To Chase His Dream

    Mike Ulmer looks at Reimer’s pursuit of acheiving his goal of becoming an elite goaltender.

    ‘Own the Leafs’ entrepreneur pulling fans together

    The Star’s Mark Zwolinski writes on Leaf fan and entrepreneur Darren Thompson and his pursuit towards owning the blue and white.

    Team Toronto gives Maple Leaf fans reason to cheer

    Kevin McGran runs down the Toronto-born players and ex-Leafs who are participating in the NHL playoffs.

    Mother, brother inspire ex-Leaf Dominic Moore

    Good read from the Toronto Star on Moore’s family inspirations.

    McCabe: Miss us now, Toronto?

    McCabe gets the last laugh over the Leaf faithful now that he’s participating in the post-season.

    Thanks Leafs & Thanks Readers

    Latest from Leafs HQ with final thoughts on the Leafs season and an off season preview.

    Other hockey links:

    NHL legends are born in the playoffs

    Paul Hunter at the Toronto Star looks at a list of potential playoff heroes.

    NHL denies report of Coyotes moving to Winnipeg this summer

    NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly denies rumor reported by the FAN 590 that the Coyotes would be moving immediately after the playoffs concluded.

    Final wagering odds for 2011 Stanley Cup champs, quirky bets

    Puck Daddy looks at the Stanley Cup odds.

    Tavares, Eberle, Zajac, Skinner join Canada ahead of Worlds

    Led by GM Dave Nonis, Team Canada continues to bolster their roster for the WHC.

    Richards on re-signing in Dallas: “there’s no ownership, I am still kind of hesitant”

    The future looks uncertain for pending free agent Brad Richards.

    AHL announces schedule modification plan

    AHL cuts down team schedules from 80 games to 76.

    First Round Home Playoff Online Average Ticket Prices

    Montreal tops the list as the highest average cost per ticket at $398.

    Planning Your Playoff Party

    Rick Moldovanyi at The Houses of the Hockey has some suggestions for your next playoff party.

    Video: Top 10 Hits of the Year

    The Houses of the Hockey assembled a montage of the best hits from this past season.

    Last Night in Leafs Prospects:

    As expected, the Owen Sound Attack swept their second round series over the Plymouth Whalers with a 4-1 win last night. They will have a few days to prepare for the Western Conference finals, where they will face either the Saginaw Spirit or Windsor Spitfires. Jesse Blacker scored his fourth of the post season on the powerplay last night, bringing his current total to eight points in 10 playoff games. Despite an impressive performance in the first round versus Kitchener, Jamie Devane went pointless in four games in the second round, but still finished with a respectable five points.

    Josh Nicholls’ Saskatoon Blades bowed out of the post-season after a 5-2 defeat at the hands of the Kootenay Ice completed their sweep of the second round series. Nicholls went out on a personal high note, scoring his fourth goal and sixth point in ten playoff games.

    Your Say:

    What series did you pay most attention to around the NHL last night? Who do you think will step up and become clutch playoff performers out of all the teams in action? Do you think the Vancouver Canucks have what it takes to knock off the Blackhawks this time around?

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