Lots of Leaf-related content out there this morning, with an emphasis on Brad Richards and the possibility of him signing with the Leafs this summer. With game two of the Stanley Cup Finals getting underway tonight, feel free to share your predictions in the comments below.
Links after the jump
Alex Burrows bit someone, Henrik Sedin flopped around, and Raffi Torres eventually scored the lone goal, and what would obviously be the game winner for the Vancouver Canucks last night. It wasn't an overtime goal, but it may as well have been.
The Bruins actually played a great road game until the third period, their five on five play was excellent. And in the area of special teams, their penalty kill totally made up for the fact that their powerplay is laughable.
The Canucks really didn't get a lot going on the powerplay, and Tim Thomas was great in the early and late stages of the game. But one slip up in the final seconds of the third proved costly, as Jannik Hansen threaded a pass to Torres for an easy tap in and a 1-0 series lead for Vancouver.
There are a few links to get to, so let's check it out.
After 16 years of frustration and uncertainty, the Winnipeg fan base has finally be rewarded with an NHL team to support. In what was an ongoing process between the Atlanta Thrashers ownership group, the Atlanta Spirit, and True North Sports and Entertainment, the fans in Winnipeg could not be any happier at what the future holds. There are still legalities to be settled, including the approval from the NHL's Board of Governors, along with a name being chosen for the franchise prior to the draft on June 24. Good things come to those who way, and boy has the city of Winnipeg waited long enough.
Darren Dreger reports early this morning that while final sale and relocation details are being sorted out between True North and the Atlanta Spirit Group, there is hope the announcement of a Thrashers relocation to Winnipeg could come today. Atlanta lawyers still need to sign off on the agreement (as well as the league with an official approval), but we could very well see Canada get a seventh team back on this final day of May, 2011. [more…]
As we get ready for the Stanley Cup Finals, future draft eligible players had their day in the spotlight. The Memorial Cup. A competition that's probably more enjoyable to watch than the World Hockey Championship came to a satisfying conclusion for one Jonathan Huberdeau and the St. John Sea Dogs.
Projected a top 4 pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, Huberdeau was named MVP of the tournament and the Sea Dogs became the first team from the Atlantic Division of the QMJHL to win the Memorial Cup with a 3-1 win over the St. Michael's Majors. Besides Huberdeau, their roster featured names like Tomas Jurco, who is expected to go in the latter stages of the first round of the 2011 draft and already drafted jewels like Simon Despres, Jacob DeSerres and Stanislav Galiev.
It was quite a story for DeSerres who was shellshocked last year in the Memorial Cup while tending goal for Brandon. Taylor Hall and the Windsor Spitfires cruised to an easy 9-1 win. They say that those who wait, work hard usually get their way in the end. Well, DeSerres starred this time around. He collected 34 saves including a couple of highlight reel ones and completely stole the show. It seems that day in and day out, hockey offers us a feel good story.
One player that is worth singling out for his performance in the Memorial Cup is Devante Smith-Pelly. A six foot 211 pound RW is a sight for sore eyes. Just 18 years old, heâ€™s not afraid to use his size and strength with authority and is often the most intimidating player on the ice. Anaheim Ducks picked Smith-Pelly 42nd overall in the 2010 Entry Draft and quite possibly hit the jackpot. The kid possesses incredible lower-body strength, very good hockey instincts and a quick, deadly shot.
Links after the jump.
While the Stanley Cup Playoffs are still running for another two weeks, the major junior season wraps up tonight with a highly anticipated matchup between the Saint John Sea Dogs and Missisisauga St. Michaels Majors. The QMJHL champion Sea Dogs entered the tournament as the favorites, with four players ranked in the top 20 for the upcoming NHL Entry Draft, including the tremendously talented Jonathan Huberdeau. However, the Majors will put up a good test and attempt to outmatch their opponent up with depth and physicality.
The atmosphere at the Hershey Centre in Mississauga will be off the charts as junior hockey fans everywhere gather for the top event of the year. Regardless of which team wins, the Memorial Cup has been thoroughly exciting, with several promising prospects eager to leave a lasting reputation with scouts. Not only is the NHL at an all time high for popularity, but the quality of the play in the CHL may have never been better.
When you're plying your trade in a hockey market like Florida, it is quite hard to convince people that youâ€™re a game breaking player. Itâ€™s a team that wins some, loses more and generally misses the postseason.
A clutch player? Forget it. After all, being clutch can only be proven in games that matter, and no offense to Panthers fans but they didnâ€™t exactly play many of those since 2005-06.
With the Vancouver Canucks having been on the sidelines for several days now, all of the attention has shifted towards the Eastern Conference finals, with Game 7 set for tonight in Boston. The entire series has been as unpredictable as it has been exciting. The Lightning have had four five goal outings in the series (Games 1, 2, 4 and 6) disrupted by 1-0 and 3-1 losses in Games 3 and 5. We'll see if Tampa Bay can produce offensive success in the seventh and deciding game and if Dwayne Roloson provides the backing necessary to make it hold up.
In another wild playoff game, the Eastern Conference final was pushed to seven games last night. Despite a David Krejci hat-trick, the Bruins just couldn't outscore the Lightning in what turned out to be a goal scorer's field day from the outset.
If goaltending is essential in winning the Stanley Cup, the only evidence of that seems to be coming from the West. Either of these teams will need a much better effort over the course of their meeting with Canucks starting next Wednesday, or else they'll be steamrolled.
Game seven goes tomorrow night in Boston, and you have to think both tenders will bring their game and keep the score reasonable (by playoff standards).
On to the links!
It's not every day that a team can acquire a true number one centre with the ability to carry a franchise. Nevermind a guy who is only 26 years old and has recorded 115 goals in his last three seasons. When online reports trickled in from Comcast in Philadelphia and mentioned on Twitter that Jeff Carter may be on the open market, Leaf fans went abuzz about a potential swap. Regardless of whether the sources reporting the deal are legitimate, there is some reason to believe the Flyers are willing to move Carter.
Amid the speculation surrounding the Philadelphia Flyers and their cap aches, it was bound to happen that the Leafsâ€™ name would get thrown into the mix. After all, whatâ€™s a rumor about a big name NHL player without Toronto somewhere in the headline?
However, much like a few years back, the recent Jeff Carter rumors actually make a lot of sense â€“ simply because the Flyers are in such a jam right now and have to move salary.
As if the Versteeg deal hasnâ€™t turned out good enough, it has effectively compounded the Flyersâ€™ cap troubles even further.Ville Leino canâ€™t be signed without moving out some other cash and Philadelphia are still in desperate, desperate need of a goalie.
This has been anything but your typical playoffs. A historical first round followed by a somewhat quiet second, only to be blown wide open by a shellshockingly good Conference Finals. Iâ€™m quite sure that none of the four coaches (Vigneault, Boucher, McLellan or Julien) are too happy about the number of goals being scored, but this has been a really pleasant experience for your average fan. 56 goals scored in 8 games (7 per game) played, talk about a sudden rise in playoff scoring. Last nightâ€™s Vancouver â€“ SJ matchup was slightly below this yearâ€™s Conference Finals average but it was a telling game nonetheless.