Greetings all. Pretty terrific way to start the playoffs, no? Overtime, blown leads, controversial calls. And we're just two days in. So, where were we?
Which team in a 0-1 hole has the most hope?
Dennis; I think it might easier to ask what teams down 1-0 have little or no hope. The Senators looked outclassed although that may be nerves from their kids. The Caps are going to have to find a way to generate more chances as they did late in their game Thursday but I think the Bruins are too much for them. The rest? Wouldn't be at all surprised to see the other five series evened up at 1-1 that's how tight they are.
If the Kings win tonight, is it time to stick a fork in the Canucks?
Bobby; I don't think you can ever count out a team as talented as the Canucks after just two games if it shakes down that way. Better question might be do you stick a fork in Roberto Luongo if the Kings win again?
One of the more underrated goalies proved his worth last night. Does Antti Niemi keep it up?
Allen; Not sure Niemi is really under-rated as he has struggled to find his consistency this season. But he was real good last night especially early in overtime when the Blues dominated puck possession time. Still think the Blues hold an edge in that department and that we'll see that as the series moves along.
Scott, Devils get started tonight! Not a chance they take the Panthers lightly, right? How do you see this series shaking out?
JD; Not with Pete DeBoer getting ready for his first playoff series and against his former team no less. I picked the Panthers but that is a minority view given how well the Devils played through the second half of the season. For me the big question marks are with Martin Brodeur, what he brings to the table on the eve of his 40th birthday and whether the Panthers can squeeze more offense out of a line-up that should be more dynamic than we saw over the last month of the regular season.
This week, The Toronto Star ran the headline "Vancouver Canucks could be NHL's most despised team." Your comment?
Sean; Maybe the folks at The Star didn't listent to Peter Laviolette, Mike Milbury and John Tortorella voice their views on the Pittsburgh Penguins. And I think the Canucks have worked this season to dispel the notion they are whiny, divers, etc. Of course anyone who watched them lose Game 1 would have trouble believing they've been very successful.
how do you like the flyers chances to win tonight
ryan; If they play like they did in the last two periods Wednesday pretty good. I think the Penguins will be doing a lot more of trying to keep the puck away, though, which is how they built that 3-0 lead. Great move to keep Ilya Bryzgalov in when it might have been easier to make a switch just to change things up in Game 1 and he was solid over the final two periods/overtime. If he keeps that up it's going to be a lot more pressure on Marc-Andre Fleury to match him save for save.
I'm all about "let em' play" style of hockey when it comes to the playoffs, but the idea is consistency more than anything. I can deal with the missed offsides, missed icings on close touches... that's human and it's such a fast game.So is Shea Weber given a "warning" (plus some cash out of his pocket) instead of a suspension because of who he is? If a top penalty guy in the league like Zac Rinaldo did the same thing, especially slamming his head into the glass, he's gone for 5 games.I know it's a little different because Rinaldo has been suspended prior, but there's a huge double standard taking place here.
Ryan; I thought the league dropped the ball again on this one. No way to rationalize that play as part of the game. It was dangerous and reckless and Weber should have been gone for a game at least. How does anyone around the league have any idea what the league's standards are for supplemental discipline. They don't. That's a shame.
Do you think we should see a change with the Pens powerplay? They have been very lackluster using the 4 forwards mentality when the power play seemed fine with Malkin, Neal, Kunitz and 2 defenseman. And what is wrong with a Crosby, Staal, Dupuis 2nd PP line?
Brian; I think you'll see the Pens tinker with two units each playing a minute or so to see if they can get something going.
Any concern from a Rangers perspective that Ottawa scored two late goals to make it a lot closer and give them confidence into Game 2?
Jason; Oh I wouldn't think so. The Sens will obviously try and keep that late-game momentum going into Game 2 but at that stage of the game with a 4-0 lead the Rangers were on cruise control.
Do you think the leage was wrong to "admit" the blown call on the Briere goal? Why did the league all of the sudden change it's stance on not commenting on the officiating?
Kyle; The evidence was pretty compelling that the call was blown and the league has in the past owned up to mistakes like the clock incident at Staples Center earlier this year against Columbus. Brooks Orpik said the linesman came over right away and said, look, I missed it, now let's move on. No sense pretending it didn't happen.
Can you blame Holtby for being aggressive and taking a bad angle in OT? It cost him, but I like his confidence.
Mike; We were talking about his confidence last night watching that game and one of my colleagues insisted he is the guy that's ultimately going to be the Caps' goalie of the future. I thought it was a nice performance by him and that goal was unfortunate as I'm sure he'd like to have it back. Still, a pretty good blast from Mike Kelly. Curious to see how he (Holtby) responds in Game 2.
Hi Scott - If the Flyers can go on to beat the Penguins, does that on the door for the Bruins to go on to the finals? They seem to own the Flyers the past couple of years and even though the Rangers handled them pretty easily this year, I would feel pretty good facing them in the playoofs. Thanks
John; Not sure it opens the door and while that might be a better matchup than playing the Pens if the Flyers do move on they're going to be more than a handful for whomever they play. I put the Rangers, Boston, Pittsburgh and Philly in the same uppe echelon of the Eastern Conference.
Do you think that, without D. Sedin, Vancouver can make a deep run in the playoffs or do they need him on the ice?
Andy; Given how little offense was generated by the Canucks in Game 1 I think the simple answer is no. The problem is that the Kings with Jonathan Quick and their stingy defense are going to put scoring chances at a premium. And without their best pure goal-scorer if Daniel Sedin can't return, that ups the pressure on the rest of the line-up.
I was on the fence before last night, after last night I have trouble believing in the Blues this year. How about you?
Jason; I think we have a tendency to over-analyze Game 1s because there is generally a lot of discussion, predictions etc. before any series begins. But it's such a small sample size and the game was so tight I don't think you can draw anything from it other than they lost a close one. Now, if they drop two at home get back to me.
Hey Scott, my colleagues and I were discussing the possibility of a Flyers/Kings Finals. Your thoughts on that match-up and on how much of a field day the media would have with the intrigues of that series given the Flyers retooling this season by trading Richards and Carter away?
Dan; Wouldn't like the travel much but talk about storylines. Lots of road to travel before that happens though.
How do you forsee Game 2 playing out in the NSH/DET series? Will the Wings retaliate against Weber or Rinnie? If not, do you see significantly less penalties being called than in Game 1 ?
Elliot; That's not really the Wings' style to try and goon it up. And at the risk of trotting out an old cliche the best revenge will be for Henrik Zetterberg to light up Pekka Rinne with a couple of goals. As for the penalties, these are two of the most disciplined teams in the league, I'll be shocked if the penalty totals don't drop dramatically in Game 2.
Hi Scott, thanks for chatting. Looking at the field, who do you think is the dark horse out of either the east or west that could make a run to the finals?
Rob; I really believed you could make a case for all eight teams in the Western Conference to make a long run this spring. But I continue to be wildly impressed with Mike Smith and how he's playing in Phoenix. That was a terrific hockey game last night and Smith, whose career looked completely on the rocks a year ago now, gives Dave Tippett's squad tremendous confidence. Even when the 'Hawks tied late the Coyotes didn't miss a beat. So I would say that's a team I'm thinking could be in for it's first-ever long playoff run.
Jason - As a Sharks fan, I feel like the Blues outplayed us last night. Underlying and advanced statistics prove it. The series is far from over. Looking forward to some more great hockey!
How do you think the pens respond tonight after the collapse in game 1? Thanks
Shane; I think you'll see a more even performance from the Pens tonight. Curious to see if the tweaks to the Pens PP will bear fruit. Flyers only had the one chance in Game 1 so likewise curious to see if they get more looks and how the Pens, who are so good on the PK in general, respond.
A couple of questions about Radim Vrbata's status for the Coyotes and just heard from 'Yotes masterful PR man Rich Nairn and they're calling it 'day to day' which doesn't help much but there you go.
Totally not playoff related, But with Brent Sutter's departure, who does Calgary go with behind the Bench next season?
Rob; Big choice for Jay Feaster. Does he go traditional and hire a guy like Craig MacTavish or his old pal Bob Hartley (he's still got another year on his deal to coach in Zurich) or does he go for a young guy and hope he gets a Dan Bylsma, Guy Boucher type. Maybe a guy like Jon Cooper who's got Norfolk of the AHL playing like a machine.
Hi Scott,Now I am a flyers fan and I'm curious to know how a portion of this league still does not belive in the flyers. they have great talented veterans mixed with a lot of yout that just keeps coming at you. I know pittsburgh is skilled but no one outside of philly is giving them a chance to win this series. any thoughts on why?
Andrew; I think it's more a function of looking at the Pens' depth/skill down the middle and their experience factor as opposed to dissing the Flyers when so many people predicted the Pens would win the series. Maybe some of us underestimated how mature the Flyers' rookie corps is. They've been terrific.
What is your favorite Playoff arena? I traveled to CONSOL for game 1 and came away impressed with the volume, and the fans waving the towels was a nice effect, but I love the see of orange and outright hostility of Philly. I'd imagine Winnipeg would be cool in the future as well.
Norm; Montreal is a pretty special place in the playoffs. The in-game stuff the Habs' staff does is always really well done and tasteful. Love Philly and the anthem and the vibe in there. And the United Center in Chicago is deafening. And love the song; Chelsea Dagger? Maybe it's having spent lots of time at Mellon Arena still haven't quite got used to Consol yet.
I don't know who Mike Kelly is but Chris Kelly scored the winning goal for the Bruins last night.
Todd; Good catch. Chris Kelly. Mike Kelly used to be the GM of the Windsor Spitfires back in the day.
Wouldn't u agree that Kings have a legitimate two lines that can score against the Canucks, while they only have one. Kesler is inconsistent and hasn't scored in his last 13 games. Also Richards completely outplayed him.
zubin; One of the reasons lots of people liked the Kings to upset the Canucks was the way their offensive depth was improved with Jeff Carter coming over. Still, as Game 1 showed with Dustin Penner getting involved, you can't just have even two lines going, have to get production from everywhere. Doesn't have to be every night but as the Bruins showed last spring, everyone has to step up at some point.
My name is being floated as a candidate for the Montreal GM. How do you say "career suicide" in French? I'd like to be an NHL GM, but that seems like too much of a mess in too big of a pressure-cooker for a first job, agree?
Ron; I think the Habs are doing their due diligence and casting a wide net in talking to people. But I honestly don't see them hiring either a GM or a coach that isn't a Francophone. You'll get your shot but I doubt it'll be in Montreal (and you're right, there are lots better places to start than with the Canadiens).
With Kevin Lowe hiring Brent Sutter to coach Canada at the World championships, and Tom Renney twisting in the wind for a couple of weeks without a new contract, is there a possibility the Oilers could be looking at Sutter as their new head coach?
Derek; Given how little Brent Sutter has accomplished in his two NHL head coaching stints I would be surprised if that's what the direction the Oilers go if they let Tom Renney go. I think they need someone dynamic and younger if they do make a change as opposed to recycling a guy like Sutter.
Chances the Pens-Flyers series heads back east at 1-1?
Jake; I say 65-35. Flyers are historically not very good in Game 2s (not that any of that matters really but it is what it is).
7 games played 5 commercial free OT periods. I love this time of year!
Drew; Amen. Amazing how the game just feels different in overtime and a huge part of that is not having the built-in stoppages for commercials. Nothing like OT in the playoffs although I will say it's better watching it than having to write it on deadline.
Do you see any series ending in a sweep?
Rob; It's so hard to predict after just one game. You never know when a team is simply going to crumble as we saw last year when Detroit steamrolled the Coyotes. After Game 2 I think you'll have a better sense of whether teams like Ottawa or Washington are going to have enough push-back to draw out those series.
I'm worried about my Blues. They looked horrible down the stretch and couldn't hold the one goal lead last night like they did most of the season. Talk me off the ledge. Please.
Brandon; This is Ken Hitchcock's time of year. He'll get that team ready to roll again. Lots of nerves for a lot of guys in that Blues room. I think you'll see them generate more offense in Game 2. That said, the Sharks were so good at the very end of the regular season you knew they weren't going to represent a cakewalk for the Blues.
enough of the Briere offsides....their 3rd goal should have been icing. so we're even
Bill; I was surprised it really wasn't more of an issue for either team. Pens didn't really complain about it and the Flyers were like, hey, it happened, can't take it back. Probably the best way to deal with something like that. Stuff happens.
Can you believe that i scored in a game. I still don't believe it myself. Do you think i can score again in this series?
Dustin; Easy big guy. Let's not get crazy here. But sure, why not? Goodness knows you didn't waste them in the regular season.
Any chance that Quick could win the Hart and not the Vezina? Has that happened before?
Andy; I'd have to check but I am doubtful. And I don't think he can catch Malkin for the Hart. He might nudge Henrik Lundqvist out of both the Vezina and some significant Hart love, though.
Okay folks. As always thanks for stopping by. Enjoy those games. Let's do it again next week.