Heading into the Stanley Cup Finals I really felt the Philadelphia Flyers and Chicago Blackhawks would play a tight checking brand of hockey that would see both teams score few goals. Low and behold the Blackhawks and Flyers scored ten goals in the first two periods en route to a 6-5 game one victory for the Blackhawks. A case of nerves and some bad goaltending from both the Flyers Michael Leighton—who was pulled for Brian Boucher with about four minutes to go in the third period—and the Blackhawks Antti Niemi, who let in his fair share of softies Saturday night. As bad as the goaltending was, both teams had to be disappointed in their star forwards as well. Flyers forwards Mike Richards and Jeff Carter were kept off the scoreboard and were a combined minus four on the night while
It’s funny how things work out. Last summer there were a few teams that kept creeping into the experts Stanley Cup champion predictions—the Chicago Blackhawks and, to a lesser degree, the Philadelphia Flyers. The Blackhawks and Flyers took very different routes to the Stanley Cup Finals. For the Hawks, their high-powered offense and stingy defense paved the way for their regular season and subsequent playoff success. As for the Flyers, their inclusion in the Stanley Cup Finals came in spite of a coaching change, numerous injuries and with the benefit of hard work, fighting through adversity and a little thing called lady luck. Regardless of the way these team have arrived in the Stanley Cup Finals, it’s safe to say both of these teams deserve to be here. Chicago enters the Stanley Cup Finals as the prohibitive favorites with a
The consensus pick in this years Stanley Cup Finals seems to be that the Chicago Blackhawks will make quick work of the Philadelphia Flyers with many prognosticators predicting the Hawks will take the series in five or six games. A quick look at the regular season standings reveals that the Hawks finished 24 points ahead of the Flyers, scored nearly a half a goal more per game and gave up about 0.30 goals more per game than the Hawks did. On special teams, the Flyers owned the superior power play with the Hawks emerging form the regular season with the better penalty kill. The Western Conference is widely believed to be the tougher Conference to play in, which only furthers Chicago’s numbers, which were amongst the very best in the NHL. If we have learned anything this playoff season it’s
Numerous media outlets are reporting that Steve Yzerman will be announced as the Tampa Bay Lightning’s General Manager at a 3:00 p.m. news conference this afternoon. Yzerman had been working with the Detroit Red Wings as an executive. Most recently, he served as Team Canada’s general manager at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. He will leave Detroit for what can only be described as a great situation in Tampa. The Tampa situation does not come without it’s challenges but, given his resume and accomplishments, Yzerman’s should be able to solve them. In Jeff Vinik, the Tampa Bay Lightning finally boast an owner who is both stable and has deep pockets. Vinik, who bought the Lightning on March 3, 2010, has stated on many occasions that he is committed to recapturing the winning ways of the Lightning and to make the
It’s always very tough predicting the Conn Smythe Trophy winner before the Stanley Cup Finals are over, yet here I am, about to type out a very bold prediction. That’s right folks, Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger is going to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as the NHL’s most valuable player to his team in the playoffs—and here’s why… First off, without question, given their terrific efforts throughout the playoffs there is/are more than one player worthy of the Conn Smythe Trophy. Chicago Blackhawks forward Jonathan Toews seems to be the odds-on favorite with Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith and Hawks goaltender Antti Niemi getting serious consideration as well. On the Flyers side, a case could be made for Captain Mike Richards (who has been tremendous), and, before he got injured, goaltender Brian Boucher was a serious candidate. As much as
Rickard Wallin, Carl Gunnarsson and Jonas “The Monster” Gustavsson all had strong showings for Team Sweden in the 2010 IIHF World Hockey Championships and will add more hardware to the Leafs organization which already boasts three silver medals from the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
Jonas Gustavsson played nine games in the tournament and boasted