The Grand Rapids Griffins and Toronto Marlies were doing battle in the AHL playoffs last night. The Marlies had their backs against the wall and were facing elimination…when they blew a 3-1 third period lead in the final ten heart-breaking minutes to have their season ended. Oh man, Toronto teams.
Last season during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, I put out a morning “noteworthy” column in the style of Trey Kerby’s “Things Of Note” posts on The Basketball Jones. This year I’ll be doing something similar (I think with some upgrades on my own previous attempts) using the NHL’s morning press release (“Stanley Cup of Joe,” they’re calling it), my own opinions, and some videos, .GIFs and appropriate pictures. Quoted passages are from the NHL press release.
One series got close
The Sharks beat the Kings by a score of 2-1 to tie the series at two games apiece.
Not all successful junior coaches are cut out to coach pro hockey, but a certain type should expect to have an even tougher time: “name” junior coaches.
I bring this up in light of the news over the past day or two from Adrian Dater of the Denver Post that Patrick Roy is very likely to be named the head coach of the Colorado Avalanche. Dater relays the news from Stéphane Roy, Patrick’s brother:
“They’re discussing the final details of an arrangement. Colorado is going to be very happy. Patrick is looking for a new challenge,” said Stephane Roy, the younger brother of his famous sibling.
Stephane Roy, who played briefly in the NHL, posted on his Facebook page Monday night, “For all my friends I’d like you to know before the official news spreads that my older brother will be the new coach of the Colorado Avalanch(sic).”
The six pictures that make up the top row of Jonathan Toews’ Getty Image page all show something similar to what you see above. Jonathan Toews with a facial expression that implies something like “F^&% F$%$ STUPID PUCK WHY DON’T YOU JUST GO IN THE STUPID NET YOU F&*%ING F*^&.”
Now, you can generally find Toews with some sort of contorted look while playing, but it’s getting pretty extreme. He pretty obviously wants to score, and win, bad.
For those who haven’t noticed – and it’s pretty clear he’s not one of those people – he’s yet to contribute a tally in the post-season. His zero goals sit beside a total of three assists, which after eight games, doesn’t quite match-up with his 48 points in 47 regular season games.
There’s a number of excuses to be made for him, as their is for most top-tier players: it’s playoffs, and he’s one of the players other teams are going to key on to shut down (Jonathan Ericsson, in particular, is making him insane). It’s playoffs, so he’s going to be paying extra-special attention to defense. And it’s playoffs, so everybody’s time and space is shrunk by the general ramped-up intensity of the game.
There’s also a number of reasons to say he’s actually playing extremely well despite not putting up the standard boxcar stats. He’s averaging 3.5 shots per game, a pace only eclipsed in the regular season by a handful of players. His advanced stats are downright gaudy, as he’s leading the way for the Blackhawks possession-wise, while suffering a 970 PDO (he’s been somewhat unlucky). And he’s certainly not shying away from “the dirty areas,” which is generally a problem for skilled players going through slumps. He’s getting chances. Read the rest of this entry »
It wasn’t your typical Hollywood underdog sports story. Underdogs generally don’t win 9 straight heading into a championship final. Underdogs don’t tend to be one of the top-scoring teams in a tournament, finishing tied for the most goals. Underdogs don’t boast incredible goaltending, finishing second in team save percentage.
That is, however, what Switzerland did at the World Hockey Championships, defeating Sweden, Canada, the Czech Republic (twice!), and USA enroute to a landmark appearance in the gold medal game. Despite ultimately losing in a rematch with Sweden in the final, it was still an incredible tournament for the Swiss.
The national team’s performance, combined with the emergence of Swiss players in the NHL, is an indication that Switzerland is once again poised to be a top tier nation in hockey.