Which is to say, the Marlies are winning. Lots. And that’s awesome. Because if they weren’t, and this playoff run had ended weeks ago, I wouldn’t have much to talk about during these April and May Morning Mashups. Really. I never would have volunteered for “Thursday” if I’d known Wednesday was consistently the slowest NHL news day of the week after the regular season ended.
So, kudos to the kids. And Dallas Eakins. The internet, it seems, agrees heartily with me on the Dallas Eakins part.
(Links after the jump).
The Marlies defeated the Oklahoma City Barons 3-0 Wednesday night to take a commanding 3-1 series lead in the AHL Western Conference Finals. I’m going to stick with that word “commanding” and stop short of calling it a Jack Bauer-level chokehold as of right now, because the Barons remain simply too good a squad to outright discount and Toronto teams are…well, Toronto teams.
Too cynical? That’s unfair. The Marlies, quite frankly, are the most impressive group this city’s had to cheer about in recent memory. Drink it in, fans.
Those Marlies received Wednesday night goals from Jerry D’Amigo, Luca Who? Nicolas Deschamps, and Philippe Dupuis. Jake Gardiner and Matt Frattin were both +2 with an assist each, and Ben Scrivens made 30 saves for his (AHL-leading) third shutout of the postseason. “The usual suspects”, you might say: a cursory glance at the Marlies’ individual playoff stats shows D’Amigo, Deschamps, Frattin, Dupuis, Kadri (who sat out Game 4 due to injury) and Gardiner runaway leading the team offensively. D’Amigo’s line, in particular, is noteworthy: 12 GP, 8 G, 4A, +12!
I personally missed the game due to rec baseball. But apparently Scrivens did this, and it was awesome? I almost kind of don’t want to push the analysis any further for fear of jinxing what we’re seeing. So let’s just say “Keep doing what you’re doing, Marlies!” and leave it at that.
Enjoy your Thursday links!
-The New Jersey Devils beat the New York Rangers Wednesday to take a 3-2 Eastern Conference Finals series lead. I don’t really have a joke for this one, just a bunch of surprise where assumption used to be. Go Devils.
-Drink lots? Leaf fan psychology examined via Pension Plan Puppets explains why.
-Alain Vigneault will remain head coach of the Vancouver Canucks thanks to a contract extension. Good for the coach. And good for the team. Because he’s a good coach. And Dave Nonis originally hired him, so Vigneault remains another critical piece of a consistently good Vancouver team we can attribute to the Leafs‘ current management.
-Former Toronto Maple Leaf Luke Richardson is the new coach of the Binghamton Senators, who are the AHL affiliate of…can you guess? I suppose this means we have to start disliking him now.
-The Minny Wild have finally signed their 2010 first round pic Mikael Granlund to a 3-year ELC. Which is good for them. Because he’ll provide, in the words of that link, “an offensive boost” – and they’ll need all the help they can get this summer convincing hometown UFA Zach Parise to come and play for a team that had 81 points last year. (He’s obviously going to want to play for a large market team like Toronto, who had….oh. Nevermind.)
-Over at the National Post, Traikos highlights the Marlies’ success (with Poulin quotes!) and how it’s attributable to several undrafted NHL prospects obtained as college free agents. Why he didn’t call the piece “Draft Schmaft!” undoubtedly kept Cliff Fletcher awake all night.
-Via the Globe, Shoalts tells us the Coyotes’ new deal is still not without “obstacles.” (SPOILER: “Money” and “ego” are two of them).
-Lastly, and bestly, Claude Giroux played beer pong the other night with a cast on each arm due to multiple wrist surgeries, because there is – apparently – no limit to how [censored] awesome this man is.