• Barry Trotz posts full page ad to thank the team and fans after getting fired. How can you not like this guy?

    Jason Kay
    Nashville Association Of Talent Directors Honors Gala

    It’s not tough to see why the David Poile and the Nashville Predators kept Barry Trotz behind their bench for 16 seasons. Aside from his proficiency at maximizing results, he is a classy and decent human being.

    Trotz underscored those character traits on the weekend when he took out a full-page ad in the Tennessean, thanking the organization and community for a tremendous ride.

    Predators’ play-by-play man Pete Weber, seen in the photo above, posted the ad in a Tweet.

    Read more

  • Why these ain’t your granddaddy’s San Jose Sharks

    Matt Larkin
    Torres

    “Just win, baby.” An effective expression for sports, as victories are what matter in the end, but it really doesn’t do the San Jose Sharks justice right now. They’re showing us a side of them we’ve rarely if ever seen not just because they’re winning, but because of how they’re winning.

    Remember that vintage L.A. Kings period, when they silenced the SAP Center crowd with two rapid first-period goals, when Jonathan Quick looked absolutely unstoppable, turning aside all 15 shots? And remember the Kings’ humiliating 7-2 defeat, in which Quick was a sieve and an emotionally rattled Kings team saw captain Dustin Brown ejected? Hard to believe it all happened in the same night. And if the Sharks end up on a long, glorious run this spring, we may look back at April 20 as the night they went from prey to predators in the Western Conference.

    On a stacked San Jose team, the catalysts were actually the grinders. Make no mistake: the likes of Raffi Torres and Mike Brown won Game 2.

    It looked as though the Kings were about to do their thing, with Quick’s trademark athleticism the dominant story. I even posted this now-humiliating tweet after the first period:

    OOPS. Embarrassing, sure, but the prediction came from a familiar narrative. The veteran team with the world’s best clutch goalie was in classic bounce-back road mode and the Sharks’ fragile pysche after years of chokejobs would keep them from coming back. After all, they were 2-23 lifetime when trailing by two or more goals after the first period of a playoff game.

    Then the murderer’s row of Brown, Torres and Justin Braun happened in the second period, giving San Jose the lead and sparking an unbelievable onslaught of seven unanswered goals. Here’s Torres with the equalizer:

    The Sharks’ stars, Patrick Marleau, Joe Pavelski, Joe Thornton and so on, showed up on the scoresheet by game’s end, but they didn’t do the heavy lifting this time.

    And that’s why this Sharks team looks far more dangerous than any recent memory or, well, ever. We saw the marquee players take over for five consecutive goals in Game 1, This time, it was the grinders. Champions in the NHL are true teams in that they find more than one way to win, with more than one group of players.

    Love Torres or hate him, he’s at his absolute best for the Sharks right now. He showed a goal-scorer’s touch on the tying goal and he threw his weight around with almost reckless, but not too reckless abandon. He was in Kings defenseman Matt Greene’s head. He and linemates Mike Brown and Andrew Desjardins were out there when Dustin Brown got ejected. And Torres literally poked the Kings right down to the final buzzer. As the horn in San Jose sounded, Torres was on the ice antagonizing Trevor Lewis. Torres did it all in shockingly productive 11 minutes and 43 seconds.

    The message Torres and his linemates, who earned all three stars, sent goes beyond Game 2 and may define San Jose’s entire season. “We won’t be intimidated by a championship team. Better yet, we’ll absolutely mop the floor with that team for two games straight. We’ll be in their heads, not vise versa.”

    The Thornton, Marleau and Boyle years are transitioning to the Pavelski, Logan Couture and Tomas Hertl years. Marc-Edouard Vlasic has become one of the top defensive defensemen in the game. And the Sharks’ role-players are looking like the crucial difference makers always heralded when teams sip champagne from the Cup in late spring.

    It’s only two games, but the Sharks could not have been more emphatic in their statement. Everything we’ve seen in these young playoffs says this is a new breed.

    Matt Larkin is an associate editor at The Hockey News and a regular contributor to the thn.com Post-To-Post blogFor more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazineFollow Matt Larkin on Twitter at @THNMattLarkin

  • You make the call: should Tampa Bay’s disallowed goal have counted?

    Subban-Killorn (Photo by Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images)

     

    The Montreal Canadiens deserve full credit for their Game 3 win – and their 3-0 series lead – against Tampa Bay, but if you’re a Lightning player, coach or fan, you’ve got to wonder if things would have taken a different turn had Ryan Callahan’s goal with less than five minutes left in the second period counted instead of being waived off for goalie interference.

     

     

    I, like most people, thought at first that the goal should have counted, but after digging into Rule 69.3 (after reading a tweet from former NHL referee turned TSN analyst Kerry Fraser), I started to waiver.

    Rule 69.3 states… Read more

  • Canadiens’ pre-game 3-D light/laser show was pretty friggin’ awesome

    Canadiens

    On the heels of the Quebec League’s Halifax Mooseheads’ incredible light show from last week, the Montreal Canadiens rolled out their own must-see laser/highlight-projection production prior to Game 3 against the Lightning. From classy tributes to electrifying entertaining, no one, and I mean no one, does pre-game like the Habs.

    If you tuned in late, here it is…

    Read more

  • If the Bruins have found their mojo, they might be unstoppable

    Jason Kay
    Detroit Red Wings v Boston Bruins - Game Two

    It’s not unusual for championship-caliber NHL teams to take several days, maybe even a couple weeks, to find their playoff identity.

    For the Boston Bruins, it’s become a bit of a trend.

    In 2011, when they eventually trounced the field to win their last Stanley Cup, they struggled early against the sixth-seed Montreal Canadiens, coming within an overtime goal of a first-round exit.

    Read more

  • Seabrook suspended 3 games. Would it be more in regular season?

    Jason Kay
    Chicago Blackhawks v St. Louis Blues - Game Two

    We sure hope the time of year had nothing to do with the length of suspension the NHL handed Brent Seabrook.

    The Chicago defenseman got three games for charging and interference, not to mention knocking David Backes into a different dimension during Game 2 of the St. Louis-Chicago game the other night.

    Fair enough. The NHL department of player safety explains its decision in the video below. That Seabrook is not a repeat offender factors into the punishment.

    But too often we hear that because it’s the playoffs, when more is on the line, disciplinarians modify the suspension. That is, one playoff game equals two or three regular season games, giving the offender, ostensbily, a lighter sentence..

    The problem with that thinking is the same holds true for the victim – in this instance, Backes and Blues.

    Time of year should not matter. When the stakes are higher, so are the consequences and the perpetrators should be held fully accountable.

  • Can Flyers keep relying on Emery?

    Jason Kay
    Philadelphia Flyers v New York Rangers - Game One

    Like the boxers he so much admires, Ray Emery has pulled himself off the mat and given the Philadelphia Flyers a chance, maybe even a good one, of succeeding in their first round series against the New York Rangers.

    While Emery wasn’t solely to blame for Philly’s Game 1 egg in Manhattan, he didn’t help. Sure the offense was non-existent, the team took undisciplined penalties and their overall compete level was too flat.

    But Emery failed to come up with big saves in the third period when he was most needed as the Rangers exposed a flaw in his game: diminished lateral movement.

    Read more