Bruins’ Marchand, Blueshirts’ Carcillo add color to playoffs with their cartoonish villainy

Brad Marchand (Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

The first round of the 2014 NHL playoffs hasn’t ended, but we’ve already seen a little bit of everything, including high-scoring games, low-scoring games, dirty hits and a series sweep. But the post-season is always more fun when fans have an old-fashioned villain on whom they can focus their disgust. And this year, they’ve got a couple gems who are so proudly roguish, they might as well twirl their moustaches while cackling with glee: Boston’s Brad Marchand and the Rangers’ Daniel Carcillo.

Carcillo and Marchand are arguably the NHL’s most talented agitators. Both willingly wear the hate of the opposition and their fans. And both were in prime rabble-rousing form Tuesday night. Marchand absorbed a knee-on-knee hit to his left knee and came up favoring his right leg, drawing criticism from fans and media who accused him of faking an injury.


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Dan Carcillo scores and has hilarious stare down with Philadelphia fans

Dan Carcillo

Professional antagonist Dan Carcillo didn’t play in either of the first two games for New York against Philadelphia, but we’re sure glad Rangers coach Alain Vigneault dressed him for Game 3 in Philadelphia.

Carcillo, who’s played 33 of his 38 career playoff games in a Flyers uniform, had taken a hooking penalty midway through the third period when his Rangers led 3-1. It set the table for the Flyers to get back into it, but after they failed to convert on the man advantage, Carcillo increased the lead to three – and rubbed the city of Philadelphia’s face in it.

There is just so much hate to love in this clip: Read more

Why Martin St-Louis doesn’t deserve the Lady Byng

st-louis

For Ryan O’Reilly to be passed over for the Lady Byng Trophy this season would require members of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association to blunder almost as badly as they did last year when they made Alexander Ovechkin an first-team all-star at both left and right wing.

O’Reilly plays big minutes – 24th in the league in 5-on-5 ice time per game – against the opponents’ best lines and led the league in takeaways, all the while only getting two penalty minutes this season. In his 72nd game, he broke his stick on a faceoff against Logan Couture and kicked the puck back to his defenseman before being called for playing with a broken stick. O’Reilly led his team in goals, logged more ice time than any other forward on the team and manages to get the puck away from his opponents without going on the wrong side of the rulebook. Read more

Oral History: The 1994 New York Rangers Cup run

Rangers Cup

With a grumpy, gun-for-hire coach, a swap of Hall of Famers and ‘The Guarantee,’ New York’s drought-ending season was one for the ages

WITH MATT LARKIN AND RONNIE SHUKER

 

1. NOWHERE TO GO BUT UP

The 1991-92 season made the New York Rangers a force in the NHL again. A slew of aggressive moves by GM Neil Smith brought superstar Mark Messier to Broadway. ‘The Moose’ led the Rangers to the Presidents’ Trophy and won the Hart Trophy as league MVP. The 1992-93 campaign, however, was a massive step backward. After a season marred by injuries, the Rangers missed the playoffs.

BRIAN LEETCH, D: It was a disaster of a year, the year before. I know for me it was. I had a couple injuries, one on the ice, one off the ice (a broken ankle from falling while getting out of a taxi). The team had high expectations going into that and everything just snowballed in the negative direction. So it made for a real long off-season. Not a lot of fun.

NEIL SMITH, GM:  Yeah, we missed the playoffs, but not because our team wasn’t as good. It was because of injuries, a coaching change (Roger Neilson out, Ron Smith in), there’s a lot of things that went wrong. So we missed the playoffs, but it was an aberration. That’s why I hired Mike Keenan as soon as that season ended.

MARK MESSIER, C: No person wins any team championship by themselves. The only way you win is to have everybody feel that it’s their responsibility or priority to do as much as they can for the team. In that regard, my focus never changed from any year, whether it was the first year I played or the last year. I came in with the same focus of trying to galvanize the team to the best of my ability, to make sure everybody felt important and a part of the solution, and that year was no different.

MIKE RICHTER, G: The prior championship was in 1940 and you hear, “OK, so it was 49 years, then 50 years, then 51,” then it ends up being 54 years. Each year it ends up getting a little louder and a little more embarrassing, and you say, “Well, OK, I wasn’t here the last four decades.” But you own it because it’s your organization and your job to change that history as quick as you can.

LEETCH: It wasn’t like you were trying to follow in the Montreal Canadiens footsteps and keep a tradition of being successful, and “Why haven’t you won in four or five years?” It’s a different type of pressure. It’s a great opportunity. That’s how I always looked at it. You’re in a big city and you have the chance to be on a team that does something special.

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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.

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Top 10 clutch performers in the playoffs

(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images Sport)

Come crunch time, these are guys who find that extra gear when the pressure gets ramped up in the 
post-season. Here are the top 10 skaters you can count on to come through in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

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Rumor Roundup: Martin Broduer, Brad Richards and Mikhail Grabovski buzz

(Photo by Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images)

Long-time New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur is leaning toward returning next season, but it remains to be seen if it’ll be with the Devils. Brodeur wouldn’t rule out another season with the Devils, but acknowledged their priority is re-signing Cory Schneider, who supplanted him as Devils starter. Schneider is eligible for unrestricted free agency in 2015.

If the Devils cannot re-sign Schneider to a contract extension this summer, NJ.com’s Randy Miller believes they should trade him and re-sign Brodeur. The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch suggests the Pittsburgh Penguins as a destination for Brodeur, in order to mentor Marc-Andre Fleury. Garrioch also notes the New York Islanders need a goalie.

If Fleury suffers another playoff meltdown, the Penguins could be in the market for a new starting goalie, not a mentor. As for the Islanders, Newsday’s Arthur Staple reports they’ll be in talks with current starter Evgeni Nabokov. He could return in a backup role if they land a younger, experienced starting goalie via trade or free agency this summer.

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Stanley Cup playoff preview: Round 1

Stanley Cup

Welcome to the first round of the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs and the beginning of a new format. No longer will teams be seeded from 1-8 in their conference, but instead will have to play out of their division first. Teams are no longer re-seeded after the opening round and will face the other winner in their division in the second round.

THN gets you prepared for the action, which will start Wednesday, April 12. Below is our introduction to each series, insider analysis from CBC’s Kevin Weekes and TSN’s Jeff O’Neill, and THN’s prediction.

And be sure to vote on our poll: Who do you think will win the 2014 Stanley Cup?


EASTERN CONFERENCE

BOSTON BRUINS vs. DETROIT RED WINGS
Introduction: A classic Original Six matchup welcomes the Detroit Red Wings to the East side of the playoff bracket and it won’t be a warm reception. The Bruins are the most complete team in the East and asserted their dominance by going through the East with a 12-4 record last playoff season. But the Wings are also an unfortunate draw for Boston. If any team, no matter its drawbacks, is capable of a shocking upset, it’s the experienced Red Wings machine. Just last season, Detroit upset Anaheim in the first round and took Chicago all the way to Game 7. This season, Gustav Nyquist should be even better for them. Read more