The 97th Memorial Cup is in the books and it ended in spectacular fashion. We all know it takes a team to win such a trophy, but some individuals naturally stood out. Here’s a look at the players who made the biggest impressions on me during my time in Quebec City.
Heading into Game 5 of the AHL’s Western Conference final, the series between the Utica Comets and Grand Rapids Griffins was tied 2-2, but the Comets had the opportunity to put the Griffins on the brink of elimination with a victory. And with the series set to shift back to Utica for Game 6, that’s exactly what the Comets — and the stick of Jacob Markstrom — did.
With the Comets in control of the game early thanks to first-period tallies from Wacey Hamilton, Hunter Shinkaruk and Bobby Sanguinetti, it looked like Game 5 was firmly in Utica’s grasp. Though Griffins right winger Mark Zengerle had broken up the Comets’ scoring and had Grand Rapids within two, the two-goal spread gave Utica some insurance.
If it weren’t for Markstrom, however, Griffins blueliner Ryan Sproul would have made the contest much closer. Less than five minutes into the second period, Markstrom made a reaching stick save to deny Sproul’s shot at a nearly wide-open net. Check it out: Read more
QUEBEC CITY – Thanks to Anthony Cirelli’s two goals, including the overtime marker on a rebound against Kelowna, the OHL’s Oshawa Generals are Memorial Cup champions. Battling a Rockets team with two Canadian world junior gold medallists and a player who spent the first half of the season in the NHL, it came down to the undrafted rookie center and goaltender Ken Appleby, who has been snubbed countless times in his junior career.
The Toronto Maple Leafs’ recent hiring of former Detroit Red Wings’ coach Mike Babcock continues to raise questions over the impact his arrival will have upon their off-season plans. Of particular interest is how it could affect the future of captain Dion Phaneuf, who was pursued by the Red Wings earlier this season.
MLive.com’s Ansar Khan reports the Wings could revisit their interest in the 30-year-old Phaneuf this summer, but the Leafs’ coaching change could take the blueliner off the market. Khan notes that Babcock, during his introductory press conference last week with the Toronto media, claimed to be a fan of Phaneuf and praised his work ethic. Read more
Once it got to overtime, few expected Monday evening’s contest between the Anaheim Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks to go anything less than one full overtime period. Shockingly, however, it was over almost as soon as it started – 45 seconds in, Matt Beleskey had won the game.
The series had already seen double- and triple-overtime contests, so Game 5 had that special “Here we go again” feel to it. That wasn’t the case, though.
While Beleskey’s tally was a quick strike that left some fans waiting to get back to their seats in time to catch the overtime and some watching at home hearing the contest end from in front of the refrigerator, it’s far from the quickest overtime-winner in NHL playoff history. All-time, it ranks as the 33rd fastest overtime marker and it’s not even the quickest this post-season.
Here are the five fastest overtime winners: Read more
It appears as if Grand Rapids Griffins center Louis-Marc Aubry is going to be suiting up for Game 2 of the Western Conference final against the Utica Comets, but that might be hard to believe after watching the hit from behind he laid on defenseman Bobby Sanguinetti.
Aubry was charging into the Comets’ zone late in the third period of Sunday’s Game 1 between Grand Rapids and Utica, catching up to Sanguinetti as he turned back to retrieve the puck. Almost at the moment Aubry caught Sanguinetti, the defenseman went to put on the brakes and turn back the other way and Aubry followed through with a hit that flattened Sanguinetti: Read more
We know our four teams for the Memorial Cup now. Thanks to Oshawa’s ousting of Connor McDavid and the Erie Otters, the Generals will represent the OHL, joining Kelowna of the WHL, plus Quebec (the hosts) and Rimouski in the QMJHL. So who is favored to win it all? Ah, that’s a thorny question in a tournament that often surprises. But let’s take a look at what you should know about the four worthy squads in contention.
In May 2013, coach John Tortorella was let go by the New York Rangers. One year later, May 2014, he was fired by the Canucks following one season behind the Vancouver bench. Now, in May 2015, news comes that Tortorella is looking at getting back into the league as a coach as early as next season.
According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, Tortorella is looking to get back into the game, and it wouldn’t come as much of a surprise if he was trying to do so as early at the 2015-16 campaign. With several coaching vacancies throughout the league, it would make sense that Tortorella’s name comes up at this time. Read more