• 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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  • Johansen helps Columbus win first playoff game ever

    Ryan Kennedy
    Ry-Jo

    Midway through the season, Ryan Johansen was sitting in the dressing room after a morning skate when I asked for an interview. I had interviewed Johansen as a prospect and he was always polite, but today he was confident and jovial. He slapped the bench and invited me to sit down beside him for the brief chat. That was new.

    But as he proved in the Game 2 double-overtime win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, Johansen has hit his stride and is playing like a star in the making. Johansen had a goal and an assist in Columbus’ first playoff win in franchise history, a 4-3 triumph iced by Matt Calvert on a scramble in front of the Pittsburgh net.

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  • Milan Lucic fined $5,000 for cheap, unpenalized groin slash on Danny DeKeyser

    Rory Boylen
    lucic-185677962

    As the second period of Friday’s Game 1 between Boston and Detroit wound down, Milan Lucic gave Danny DeKeyser a nasty slash to the groin from behind. The Red Wings defenseman dropped to the ice and Lucic was not penalized.

    But he was fined $5,000 for the infraction Saturday and discussed it with the media after practice. He did not call DeKeyser a chicken. Read more

  • Getting Jarome Iginla a Stanley Cup would be “a great honor”

    Ryan Kennedy
    Jarome Iginla Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

    Back in 2001, the Colorado Avalanche had a chance to win the franchise’s second Stanley Cup in six years. Cornerstones such as Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg, Patrick Roy and Adam Foote already had their names on the chalice, but the addition of future Hall of Famer Ray Bourque the year before had given the crew extra incentive. Bourque, the longtime Boston Bruins stalwart, saw his dreams crash down in 2000 when Dallas eliminated Colorado in the Western Conference final. But he still wanted that elusive Cup, so he came back to Denver for one more season and his teammates instituted “Mission 16W,” a.k.a. Get Bourque his Cup. As a greying veteran he finally hoisted the trophy after a harrowing seven-game series against New Jersey and the iconic moment was his forever.

    Fast-forward to present day and gaze upon the situation of Jarome Iginla. Like Bourque, he toiled for years with a franchise that came close, but could not grasp Stanley’s prize. Then the window closed, and despite the noblest of intentions to go down with the ship, Iginla was finally dealt away from his beloved Calgary Flames so the erstwhile captain could earn his championship ring. And like Bourque’s, Iginla’s first attempt went sideways. He joined Pittsburgh via trade, only to see the Penguins maced by Boston in the conference final. This summer, he decided to join the ones who beat him, and now the Bruins have a little added incentive to win their second Cup in four years.

    “With ‘Iggy,’ he’s had a phenomenal career, he’s one of the best to ever play the game, and it would be a huge accomplishment if we could win,” says left winger Brad Marchand. “It would be a great honor to be part of that, but we’ve got a long way to go.”

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  • Proof that referees prone to making even-up calls in the playoffs

    (Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHL)

    Playoff pressure. Players feel it. Coaches try to control it. Fans freak out over it. And according to a recent study, referees can crack under it.

    Michael Lopez, a doctoral student in biostatistics at Brown University, and Kevin Snyder, an assistant professor of sport management at Southern New Hampshire University, assessed the frequency of even-up calls in their paper, “Biased Impartiality among National Hockey League Referees,” published in the International Journal of Sport Finance. Lopez and Snyder found that referees exhibit what they call “biased impartiality.” Meaning, referees subconsciously try to make games as balanced as possible to achieve a perception of fairness.

    Nothing nefarious there. The problem is referees may make even-up calls that unfairly balance the number of penalties between teams, and this can actually affect who wins. So despite their best attempts otherwise, refs often have a huge impact on playoff games.

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