Greetings from wet, dreary Philly. Happy Playoffs.
For the majority of the regular season Alex Ovechkin was considered by most to be the best player in the league and the clear MVP favorite. Now that he's starting to exhibit signs of the classic Philadelphia choke job, is he still the MVP everyone thought he was?
Hey John, not sure about the Philly choke job but no question Ovechkin is, in the words of Caps coach Bruce Boudreau, pressing. I suppose that's why writers vote before the playoffs as any of the awards would be colored one way or the other by playoff performances. Last year you could perhaps understand Ovechkin's nervousness and his ultimate lack of production but come year two the safety net is gone. It'll be interesting to see how he answers the bell starting tonight.
Do you think the OT win last night tips this series in the Devils favor or are win in for a long series regardless?
King, now both teams have won in the other's building which is always a key factor. I still the 'Canes will get back in this one but the Devils are proving to be much more diligent than their play late in the season suggested.
Big Time Caps fan here Isn't it a little to early to say Ovechkin and choke in the same sentence. He was tops in 3rd period goals this year and if he goes out tonight and nets 2 goals, he will have 4 points thru 3 games. I think its a little to early for Ovie and choke in the same sentence, what do you think? Lets Go Caps!!!!
Agreed Dustin but time's a wasting for Ovie and the Caps.
The Bruins are winning 2 games to none so far. Do you think the Canadians have a chance to come back and win the series?
Chris. No. None. The Bruins have too much going on both physically and offensively and the Habs have too little going on.
It seems over the last 5 games, Lundqvuist has raised his game to another level. Is this a wave the Rangers can ride all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals?
Historically we've seen it done. Patrick Roy in '86 and '93 taking average teams to Cup wins. But before we start printing Ranger Cup final tickets let's see how or whether they can close out the Caps. They will then draw Boston and the Bruins are for real. As fine as Lundqvist has been I still think it's too much to ask the Rangers to do much more than they have already.
Why is the media so willing to criticize Ovechkin yet they weren't willing to criticize Malkin for not showing up in the finals last year? Datsyuk did not score consistently in the playoffs for his first few years either and now he's a force. Aren't we being a little quick to judge OV?
Well, Malkin did get savaged pretty roundly in many quarters during the finals but your point is well taken. Datyuk did take a couple of years evolve into the top playoff performer he is now. And this is Ovechkin's second go-round. Of course if you're keeping score at home Sidney Crosby managed to lead his Pens to a Cup final in his second playoff year.
Best playoff beard ever is ...
Lanny McDonald. Oh that was a mustache. John Tonelli.
Hi Scott! In Philly Claude Giroux has been compared ( in style ) to the great Forsburg! What are your thoughts on that matter?
I heard that a couple of times in the press box Sunday. Heady praise, obviously, and he's matured very quickly especially after being sent down to the minors at the start of the year. That pass to Simon Gagne yesterday was pretty special and he's tough to knock off the puck and doesn't mind mucking around in the corner. Just like Forsberg.
Any truth to the rumor that Ovechkin is Russian for Alex Rodriguez?
No. Although it might be Russian for Joe Thornton. Ouch.
So the Wings look pretty good...do you think they were just a little bored at the end of the regular season?
Not sure if bored is the right term but maybe just restless waiting for the first round. As it turns out they've drawn the easiest match-up in a Columbus team that has played hard but has no answer for the Wings' firepower. And guess Chris Osgood still can turn it on come playoff time.
How come nobody, except Pierre LaBrun seems to be giving any credit to the Rangers with the two wins? Yeah, the Caps had the puck most of the time but Like Pierre said the 72 shot statistic is misleading. Most of those shots were from the outside, and Lundqvist didn't have to make any spectacular saves in game two (although he needed a friend in the post and cross bar a couple times). It isn't ALL the Caps not doing what the Caps can do. Playoff hockey is completely different than regular season and NY was plain better prepared for it in games 1 and 2. Does that mean that the Caps won't win game 3? Absolutely not. If they make the right adjustments and NY doesn't do the same on the fly it will be a blowout. NBC isn't doing it, Vs isn't doing it, and you guys aren't doing it. Give the Rangers credit for the two wins. They deserve it.
Dan, you bring up a good point and my good friend and colleague Pierre LeBrun made a great point about the sacrifices the Rangers are making to get the job done.
Burny, how are ya? If San Jose goes the way of the first tee this time next week, is it time for some of their core to bid farewell? Thornton looks tenative, and Nabby is now just a game over .500 in the playoffs. Obviously SJ won't rebuild, but there has to be changes. Thornton could fetch them a tidy sum of players, though I know more often then not it's heresy to deal a legit top 10 player in his prime. What say you?
Dan, wouldn't it be ironic if the Thornton-less Bruins went to a conference final or beyond before Thornton and his star-studded Sharks ever made it out of the second round? Hard to move Thornton but it will definitely put the Sharks management in a bind. Can't blame the coach this time around so what do you do? Of course they could win four straight and be hosting a parade at the Shark Tank in six weeks. Or not.
San Jose in 4?5?6?7? Why is it everyone is saying we are stealing wins, that we dont deserve?
Jonas, nice job last night. I suppose the fact you and your boys are getting outshot by a large margin and continue to take too many penalties might lead people to suspect the Sharks are losing games as opposed to the Ducks winning them. But as Al Davis likes to say, just win baby.
Do you see Fluery possibly being this generations Eddie Belfour ($1 billion)? He can look spectacular one night but then come back the next and let in "soft" goals. Also, why doesn't crosby look to shoot more?
Shea, I'm not really sure how many of the five goals he allowed yesterday were really Marc-Andre Fleury's fault. Deflections, crowds around the net, nice move by Jeff Carter. And after saving Game 2 for the Pens I'm willing to give him a little slack. Still, he should out-play Martin Biron every night.
Is it just me, or is Hockey back? I mean this is the most excited I have been for the hockey playoffs in years!
Think they're having any fun in Chicago? Or even in Columbus where they'll play their first-ever playoff game tonight? Or in Boston where beating the tar out of Montreal has only been a pipe dream for years. So, yes, James, I'm with you. Tons 'o fun.
So if Ozzy stays in Detroit till the end of his career and delivers at least one more cup in that span, think 30 is going into the rafters? Joe Lewis is a hard place to get your number hung up.
The jersey issue for the Wings will be one shared by the members of the Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee. If he wins another Cup (number four) and finishes in the top 10 in all-time wins it's going to be an interesting debate. The problem will also be who else do you put up if they win another; Lidstrom, Zetterberg, Datsyuk? It's like the old Oilers question, where do you draw the line in honoring greatness.
Who's typing for you today Scott? I've never seen you answer questions so quick!
Too much coffee.
Someone had better tell the Red Wings Columbus is planning to play their first-ever home playoff game tonight...
Oh yeah, tomorrow night. It's the extra days off that leave me easily confused.
How does Hiller 2009 compare to Giguere 2003?
Right now he looks more like Ilya Bryzgalov circa 2006. Let's see Hiller close the deal in the first round before we start pumping him up too much - as good as he's been in the first two games.
Haha now a real question. What do you make of Larry Quinn and Tom Golisano keeping Regier and Ruff? Rene Robert just publicly called them out.
I think it's understandable. The Sabres' suffered injuries to key players, Thomas Vanek and Ryan Miller, and I think that was rationale enough to give Regier and Ruff another shot. But like Doug Risebrough and Jacques Lemaire in Minnesota I think the leash is going to be pretty short in Buffalo next year. Too much talent in Buffalo to miss the playoffs three years in a row.
Rangers Caps game 3 tonight, who you got?
Caps 4-3 in overtime.
No Hawks/Flames questions?! How do you see the next two games playing out in Calgary?
Thanks goodness for you Adam. Pleased for Dale Tallon and the rest of the 'Hawk Nation. They waited a long time for this and the team delivered in dramatic fashion both nights. I think the Flames' defensive injuries are going to make it very difficult for them to come back in this series, even with the next two in Calgary. And then there's the ever disappearing Olli Jokinen. Maybe there was a reason none of his teams ever played a playoff game before.
What do you make of Brian Burke publicly coming out and saying he wants to trade for the number one draft pick? Is he just trying to bully the Islanders or maybe get Tavares to tell the Islanders he will not play for them
Always good theatre with Brian Burke and this will be a nice lead-in to the draft in June in Montreal. I think he figures there's little down side in saying what he wants. I think he can nab the second pick from Tampa because the Bolts are looking to shed salary but am doubtful Garth Snow will deal the number-one pick. He'd better not if he wants to keep his job. But even if he can't get it done there's really no down-side for Burke and it keeps the buzz going around his team.
Why doesn't Milan Lucic have the right to appeal his suspension?
The NHL's suspensions come after either a phone call or face to face meeting. During that time the player and team officials can make their case and then Colin Campbell, the dean of discipline, ruminates and makes his decision. Usually they tell the team right away which suggests that he's usually made his mind up before the call.
Scott - yesterday's hit by Kunitz on Timonen - say it was a Flyer hitting Gonchar, he would be suspended right now, right?
Lots of talk about the Kunitz hit today at the skate and I can assume that the way the NHL is ignoring my questions that this is not going to result in supplemental discipline. I don't think if it was Daniel Carcillo hitting Gonchar in a similar fashion the result would be any different. Hope not anyway. Timonen said he put himself in a vulnerable postion and the fact he played more than any other player yesterday was probably a mitigating factor, too.
Can anybody in the East beat the Brunis 4 out of 7?
Have we seen the last of Theodore in a Capitals jersey -- there have been whispers that he won't be back in Washington next year?
Not sure what the market is for a part-time netminder making $4.5 million even if it is just for one year. And if he doesn't return to the net this spring - and who knows how this will play out - that market will shrink to just about nothing.
Hey Scott! Don't you agree that I am in a "lose"- "lose" situation? If I play well and we win, I get zero credit because I have a great team in front of me, if I give up three goals and we lose, it is all my fault. Why wasn't Grany Fuhr looked at in the same way.
Chris, the good thing is that you seem to have to grips with your lot in life. Lots of money and three Cup rings buys you a lot of peace of mind. I think the Fuhr question is interesting but goes back to a different style of game when no one cared if you had a GAA of 3.50. Now the stats dominate how players are judged and that skews the bottom line which is always wins.
What would it take to get Gabby re-signed in MN?
Reggie, I think it took what just happened, the dismissal of Doug Risebrough. Interesting to see if the new GM, whomever that might be, can forge a better relationship with Gaborik and his agent.
Can the Flyers come back and win 3 more? Or will the Pens shrug off yesterday's performance and win it?
Rob, I still the think the Pens have enough to get out of this series. The pressure is still on Philly to win tomorrow night or risk seeing it end Thursday in Pittsburgh. Still think the Pens goaltending still gives them a big edge and both teams aren't backing down from the physical play. Should be fun.
Who is the team that has the best chance of coming back from 2 loses?
I think the Sharks can't be completely counted out yet. I know, two in a row at home isn't the best way to start a Cup run, but the Ducks still take too many penalties and they aren't as deep offensively. So I would say the Sharks. Didn't Carolina lose the first two games of their first-round series against Montreal in 2006?
Shouldn't Dallas just turn the page and say auf wiedersen to Zubov, Lethnien, and Modano? since they are getting old and not quite as productive.
I think for Lehtinen and Zubov it comes down to health; both can be more than productive when healthy; as for Modano when Brad Richards is healthy and with Mike Ribeiro Modano's role is pretty manageable. I say he sticks around for one more in the hopes of catching on with the U.S. Olympic team in Vancouver next February.
Scotty - what do you think of Wade Redden's play as of late? He's been playing much better defense now that the playoffs began? Is he worth the $6m+ he's getting tho?
Matt; agreed that Wade Redden is playing better. But a cynic would say he could hardly play worse. Let's see how he does moving forward but that contract is still a giant albatross for the Rangers for the next five years.
What do you see as Vancouver's ceiling in these playoffs? Isn't Luongo playing more impressive hockey than Lundquist or Hiller? Isn't he the leader that is going to drag that team along?
Jamie; A Canucks question, bravo. Must admit I thought the Blues had a real shot at upending Vancouver but Luongo has been so solid that the Blues have seemed to be chasing the Canucks for virtually the entire series, a series that looks like it's going to be over in a hurry. Hard to compare to Hiller and Lundqvist but when you don't lose it's pretty hard to complain.
Do you see Varlamov being a top goaltender in the NHL? I know it is very early but he has done well.
It's strange how few top Russian goaltenders there have been over the years. Nikolai Khabibulin is the only Russian netminder to lead his team to a Cup. But I think Varlamov has the tools to be a good one and not just because of his performance the other day.
Still think the Devils wont beat the Canes after winning on the road without their 29 goal scoring captain?
Bill, I admit the Devils are impressive. Let's see how it shakes down in Game 4 before we give them a pass to the second round.
Scotty, Would the Rangers have made playoffs had they not fired Renney? Which new aquistion has made the biggest impact; Tort, Avery, Andropov or Morris?
Great question. Like Dan Bylsma in Pittsburgh John Tortorella got an infusion of new blood with Antropov, Morris and Avery. Not sure you can single one out although Antropov's big goal the other day puts him at the top of the list. As for whether Renney could have guided this group in? Given the way the Panthers and Sabres folded down the stretch, can't see why he couldn't have.
Okay, over and out folks. Thanks for taking the time to drop by. See you next week.