New territory for Predators
With Sunday’s 4-2 victory over Anaheim, the Nashville Predators have reached the second round of the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. Beyond simply extending their season and increasing their chances at capturing the Stanley Cup, it’s a timely progression for a club that will seek to lock up its captain this summer. One task at a time you say, and fair enough. Although, you’d have to think that a little taste of playoff success could go a long way in enticing Shea Weber to remain in Nashville for the long-term.
Canucks can’t shake demons
There’s post-season surprises and there’s sitting your $10 million goaltender in a potential series clincher in favour of a largely unproven backup. With all due respect to Cory Schneider, what was Alain Vigneault trying to prove by attempting to knock off the defending Stanley Cup champions with Roberto Luongo watching from the dressing room? For a couple of periods, it looked like Vigneault’s ballsy gamble would pay off… until Schneider went down with an injury early in the third period, thus forcing Luongo into the game.
The decision to run with Schneider is still a head scratcher. Despite shaky play in Games 4 and 5, the numbers still suggest that Luongo was the best bet for Game 6. Luongo, prior to letting in 6-goals in Game 4 at Chicago, held a recored of 4-1-1 with a 1.32 GAA and .959 Sv% in six contests (playoff games included) at the United Center.
The Canucks’ 4-3 OT loss in Game 6 can’t be pinned on a goaltender, but any hope that this team has of eliminating the Blackhawks in Game 7 begins with Luongo.
Sabres want suspension for Mike Richards
The Buffalo Sabres are calling for Mike Richards to face discipline over this greasy hit on Tim Connolly:
Ryan Miller openly questioned the Flyers captain’s tactics, via Sabres Edge:
“If Mike Richards thinks we’re getting away with murder, I don’t know what he just got away with,” Sabres goalie Ryan Miller said. “Mass murder? Are we stepping it up a notch? Unbelievable. We lose a player for the rest of the game. That’s the kind of hit the league has been talking about that’s dangerous. They better seriously consider looking at that one. It’s unbelievable.”
Mass murder? On one guy? Whatever, also word in Vogl’s notebook that Derek Roy is expected back for Game 7. This has really become the Eastern Conference’s most entertaining series.
Captains, alternates named for Canada’s World Championship squad
Rick Nash will wear the ‘C’ for Canada at the upcoming World Championship in Bratislava, Slovakia. New Jersey’s Travis Zajac was named an alternate along with Dion Phaneuf, Andrew Ladd, and Jason Spezza.
Donald Brashear to give MMA a shot?
Puck Daddy on reports that ex-NHL tough guy Donald Brashear is set to enter the world of mixed martial arts. Athletes crossing over to the realm of REAL fighting have produced mixed results. The good: Herschel Walker, the bad: Bart Gunn.