For the past 5+ seasons, nobody wore the ‘playoff choker’ label quite like Joe Thornton. We could debate all day whether there’s anything to the old notion that Joe Thornton is jumbo bust when the NHL’s second season comes around, although a statistical based argument from Tyler Dellow (published before Game 6 started!) would have effectively deflected some of that criticism, but it was the player himself that helped drive a stake through the Joe Thornton ‘playoff choker’ tag on Monday night – ending the L.A. Kings season in the process.

For Joe Thornton, there has not been a bigger goal than this:

A picturesque moment, Jumbo’s sloppy Slip ‘n Slide celebration aside.

Terry Murray skips post-game handshake?

According to several eyewitness accounts (read: players’ post-game Tweets), Kings coach Terry Murray chose to forgo the the handshake line following Game 6. Kris Draper has not returned our calls, but we’d love to hear his thoughts on this.

Vancouver business man in line to purchase Dallas Stars

If all goes well for Tom Gagliardi, the Dallas Stars should have a new owner in place in the not-so distant future. According to a report in The Globe and Mail (by way of Defending Big D), Gagliardi has agreed to the purchase terms in an effort to buy the Stars:

It is expected Gaglardi, 43, will soon enter an exclusive negotiating period of roughly 30 days to complete the purchase of the NHL team and a 50-per-cent share of American Airlines Center. The last hurdle, according to a source familiar with the sale who requested anonymity because the deal is not official, is taking the Stars through bankruptcy court so Gaglardi will not be hampered by any debts left by current owner Tom Hicks.

Chirs Conner blows penalty shot attempt

Bickell done for playoffs

The Chicago Blackhawks will be without the physical presence of Bryan Bickell for Tuesday’s Game 7, and any further postseason action the team may embark on if they knock off the Canucks. Bickell underwent wrist surgery to repair a lacerated tendon suffered during Game 2, he is expected to be out for 6-8 weeks. He did not play in Game 3 of the series, but had suited up for Games 4 thru 6 and was mostly effective in his role.

Ex-enforcer Shane Churla arrested in ‘road rage’ incident

Shane Churla, one of the worst video game hockey players of all-time, was arrested on April 20th for allegedly taking out some aggression on an automobile. Churla, now a scout in the Dallas Stars organization, was charged with criminal damage to property and disorderly conduct before being released on a $200 bond:

According to the criminal complaint, a driver, identified in the report as Jason Statz, 26, of Eau Claire, braked to miss an object in the road. Another driver, identified as Churla, tried to pass Statz on the shoulder.
Churla told officers that Statz refused to let him pass, and Statz claimed Churla pulled alongside his vehicle and “threw a drink or something” at it. Both drivers pulled over to the side of the road. Churla, according to the complaint, approached Statz’s car, kicked the door and hit it with his fist, causing some damage.

Lightning force Game 7 with Penguins

The Pittsburgh Penguins have outshot the Tampa Bay Lightning 360-250 in this series, yet the appear incapable of accomplishing much of anything on the power play. The Penguins PP is operating at a pathetic 3.3% in this series, with just one goal in 30 opportunities. Their penalty kill has been equally atrocious, surrendering eight goals in 25 opportunities to the Lightning. Game 7 goes Wednesday in Pittsburgh.