The opening night of the NHL playoffs is always filled with anticipation, excitement, some great hockey and some interesting talking points.

Wednesday night was no different, and Chris Lund did a great job breaking it all down for us here at Backhand Shelf as it unfolded.

While Chris was working hard recapping all of the exciting Game 1 action, something else caught my eye, and likely every eye in Canada.

Shots. Fired.

The immediate response to this tweet was incredible. Canucks fans were agitated, Kings fans were still on a high from their Game 1 win, and for the most part, Canadians outside of British Columbia responded with a resounding “Thank You!”

To be frank, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this tweet from the Kings’ official twitter feed. There’s nothing offensive about it, there’s nothing malicious about it and there’s nothing presumptuous about it, as it’s not like the tweet predicted a series win or something along those lines.

The fact is, a lot of non-Vancouverite Canadians and non-British Columbians can’t stand this Canucks team, from General Manager Mike Gillis to the insanely talented Sedins to Maxim Lapierre to little used (and apparent goon) Byron Bitz. It’s nothing against the City of Vancouver, which is beautiful, the people of Vancouver, who are great, or the entire picturesque province of B.C.

It’s just the team itself that is pretty much impossible to root for, and the large following of bandwagon fans that come with it.

So whether Canucks fans want to admit it or not, a large portion of Canada cheered when Dutin Penner scored the winner with 3:14 remaining in Game 1, and many Canadians expressed thanks. The Kings’ Social Media department just did the polite thing and acknowledged those thank yous.

And if you ask me, I’d rather have an official team twitter feed that is bold in its blatant homerism instead of intolerably corny.

Now here are your morning links:

  • You can find all of Chris’ post-game thoughts here, and can watch all of Wednesday’s most talked about plays here.
  • The Canucks have an identity crisis (
  • Mike Babcock and the Red Wings aren’t saying much about Shea Weber’s ridiculously cheap shot on Henrik Zetterberg (Detroit Free Press). If Weber isn’t suspended for this incident, then Brendan Shanahan and the NHL will have majorly dropped the ball. He cupped the back of Zetterberg’s head and guided it forcefully into the boards for God’s sake. If that’s not suspension worthy, what the hell is?
  • Babcock was saying lots about the Game 1 officiating in general though (Sporting News). What’s different?
  • After being cut on the forearm by a skate, Darren Helm needed surgery, and no one knows how long he’ll be out yet (The Detroit News). What horrible luck for Helm, who was playing his first game since March 17 after recovering from a sprained knee.
  • The Predators didn’t play their best hockey, but still got the W (On the Forecheck). One thing a lot of people are talking about after Game 1 is how great the Nashville crowd was. The Preds’ home-ice advantage is very underrated, and it looks like their fans have fully embraced going from underdog team to legitimate Cup contenders.
  • The Flyers were “scary good” in their Game 1 comeback against the Penguins (Philadelphia Inquirer). Did you see that blown offside call that led to a Flyers goal? I’d say the linesman was “scary bad.” For the Penguins, is there any worse way to begin a playoff series than blowing a 3-0 lead at home?
  • Is this Danny Briere’s time to shine? (Philadelphia Inquirer). With two goals on Wednesday night, Briere now has 98 points in 98 career playoff games. Not too bad.
  • Senators coach Paul MacLean knows he’ll be a factor against the Rangers (Ottawa Citizen).
  • Whatever “it” is, John Tortorella has seen it in the Rangers’ eyes. (The Journal News). Outside of the Canucks, I’d imagine the Rangers have as much pressure on them this Spring as anyone else. They finished first in the East, and whether deservedly or not, always face extra pressure playing in New York, in front of the Madison Square Garden crowd. They converted one of their NYC subway trains into a Rangers-centric vehicle, remember. I think a lot of people see the Rangers as overachievers this season, but I doubt Rangers fans and New Yorkers see it that way.
  • Patrice Bergeron might be the Bruins’ most important player heading into their series against the Capitals (CBS Sports).
  • With Brian Elliot injured, Jaroslav Halak is “obviously” the Blues’ starting goalie for Game 1 tonight.
  • Is Martin Havlat the key to the Sharks’ success? (San Francisco Chronicle)
  • Jonathan Toews expects to play in Game 1 against the Coyotes ( The Blackhawks are one of many unpredictable teams in this year’s playoffs. On one hand, I can see them losing to the Coyotes in five or six games, while I can just as easily see them winning the Western Conference. Neither would surprise me.
  • Dave Tippet says the Coyotes have been in playoff mode for weeks ( To be fair though, you can say that about all three Pacific Division teams that made the playoffs, not to mention the Panthers and Capitals.