Oskar Osala's shot leads to a score on the rebound, in the opening game of the River Rats Round 1 playoff series in Albany, NY Wednesday night. (anyone else notice some traffic in front of the net?) (Thanks to sandpiper for the photo!)
Playoff hockey: Round I
First off, a great playoff hockey news source you may not have bookmarked yet is right around the corner. The people who oversee all things NHL Hockey for SBN are working round the clock to keep this site, the Stanley Cup Playoffs Quarterfinal Round : from SB Nation, up-to-date with all the latest and best posts from our network friends who cover the teams who haven't been eliminated. (And we here at Canes Country don't feel left out of the party; not at all. :sniff sniff:)
Looking beyond that one-stop-shop, I've linked a few of the better stories on the playoffs today:
Our favorite hockey blog gurus Bob and Cory took a look back on the season earlier this week with some of our colleagues over at From the Rink. They also had a chance to name their upset picks. Spoiler: Bob went way out on a limb and named the Red Wings over the Coyotes. (This was of course before they began throwthesnake)
Confirming my theory that no matter how good life is for them, some people are always crying foul: Avs, Habs call bulls**t on Coyotes ‘cinderella story’ label | Intent to Blow Members of the Colorado Avalanche and the Montreal Canadians held a joint press conference Friday morning to formally call boloney on hockey writers.
After the jump I've got a few links grouped by playoff series, plus looking at what's up in Albany, Raleigh and even Helsinki this week.
Plekanec has his 'Jagr' moment vs. Capitals after goalie insult - Puck Daddy Maybe not quite like Scott Walker winning it for the Canes in overtime, but still a rich sports story.
Ovechkin Held In Check by Habs It was the first time in Ovechkin’s NHL career that he had a game with zero shots and zero points.
Mike Wise - For the Capitals, Game 1 of Stanley Cup playoffs doesn't mark crisis, but is cause for concern The night of living dangerously went on for more than three hours -- 12 minutes past 10 p.m., when Tomas Plekanec finally beat José Theodore -- before the Capitals' carelessness finally caught up with them.
It's not exactly panic time yet, but up at Japers' Rink they're bringing out the big guns to figure out how this possibly could have happened. Are the Caps Caught in a Trap? - Japers' Rink A look at the Capitals' troubles in dealing with Montreal's trapping defense.
Here's a video of one fan's post-game reaction. The Caps' fans are this uptight after only one game? Imagine where they'll be if they make it to the finals! Twitter / Greg Wyshynski:
LOL. RT @Sean_Leahy Caps fan doesn't appreciate the TSN camera on him after the OT goal http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wOYiuUkcYTY
Speaking of Twitter, (and the idea of premature capitulation) one of my favorite feeds is the The NHL Rulebook. Here's one of their gems today:
Don't overreact to one game. We won't actually know who'll win a series until midway through the first period of game two.
Penguins vow to up ‘hatred level' against Senators - The Globe and Mail Pittsburgh looking for answers after lacklustre Game 1 loss to underdog Ottawa
Interesting observation about the Western Conference from a former Hurricane: Kevin Bieksa: One player, so many coaches If Andrew Alberts draws that assignment, it won't be easy. He admits the trade-deadline transition from the Eastern Conference has been taxing because you can't hit what you can't catch. "It's a little quicker and more skilled in tight areas around the net and in the corners," said Alberts." It was an adjustment for me and it's getting to be a little more fun."
Video: Green Men of Vancouver, your current playoff MVPs - Puck Daddy So worth the click! (at a number of levels)
For news on the Hurricanes,
You won't find a better place to look in the off-season than here at Canes Country for coverage of veterans, contract negotiations, prospects and the upcoming draft. Unless you go overseas, where they nabbed this interview with Jussi Jokinen:
Jokinen spoke with the Finnish press about his selection to play for Team Finland at Worlds and you can read it with some effort via Google translator: Jussi Jokinen gold hunt with a clean slate - Ice Hockey World Cup 2010 Germany - Savon Sanomat : Jussi Jokinen says to leave a clean slate Ice Hockey World Championship tournament. Olympic team suddenly dropped Jokinen believes that he and head coach Jukka Jalosen there is no resentment. Neither Tuomo Ruutu nor Joni Pitkanen are available due to injury.
Actually here's the Canes official announcement: Jokinen, Whitney to Play in World Championship - Carolina Hurricanes Carolina Hurricanes forwards Jussi Jokinen and Ray Whitney will represent their countries at the 201 IIHF World Championship in Germany.
The Hurricanes' Paul Branecky had this season retrospective late this afternoon: Difficult Season Leads to Bright Future - Tracking the Storm Blog From high expectations to bitter disappointment to renewed optimism, the 2009-10 season had a little bit of everything.
The River Rats eked out a win in their first game versus the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton [baby] Penguins Wednesday night and Game 2 will start at 7pm tonight. Most amazing Rat Fact for today is that the Rats have not won a playoff series since 1997-98. With the influx of NHL-level talent as the Canes' call-up headed back to Albany Monday, the chances to change that should be improving rapidly.
In today's story, Deep roster enables Rats to employ balancing act up front - timesunion.com, Rats beat writer Pete Dougherty kindly lists the forward lines Coach Jeff Daniels is sending out on the ice tonight:
The Record Blogs: On The Fly: River Rats' balance paying off More great analysis of the team's personnel and what Daniels has to say about the strategy against the Penguins.
From the enemy press: Pens want to reduce Rats’ net front game | The Times Leader, Wilkes-Barre, PA As the Albany River Rats skated to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins net front relentlessly during Wednesday’s Game 1, it was like the Penguins were looking in the mirror.
Wilkes-Barre will change goalies for Game 2 - timesunion.com Pittsburgh goalie Brad Johnson had flu-like symptoms, so Thiessen will back up Marc-Andre Fleury in Friday night’s game against Ottawa.
Jerome Samson eyes room to shoot -- Times Union - Albany The Penguins obviously focused on Samson in their attempt to neutralize the Rats, and that aspect worked. If you missed it, this feature went up yesterday on the Rats' scoring leader Samson follows orders to breakthrough season - NHL.com: Albany's Jerome Samson took coach Jeff Daniels' words to heart and enjoyed a breakthrough season in 2009-10 with 37 goals.
Here's the recap for Game 1: Rats win a thriller - Times Union and this observation was music to my ears: All of the Rats' goals were the result of going to the net. Micfliker's goal came on a rebound of Oskar Osala's shot. Dodge stuffed in a rebound of Terry's shot for his first goal, and Osala provided a screen for McBain's slap shot after Micflikier cleanly won a face-off in the Wilkes-Barre zone.
The Hockey News: The Straight Edge: Top 10 mock draft based on team needs Should the Oilers take Hall or Seguin? What will follow after the Big Two? We look at team needs and make their first round selection accordingly. (already promptly linked by C-Leaguer this afternoon in a fanpost here - if you're looking for some discussion).
This ran before the lottery was announced on Versus Tuesday night. I've linked it again for you to review at your leisure. Bob McKenzie: TSN survey ranks Hall as the top prospect The NHL Central Scouting Bureau released its final rankings last week and tabbed Plymouth Whaler centre Tyler Seguin as the No. 1 prospect for the 2010 entry draft. Well, we have found some people who think otherwise. Seven of them, to be exact.
Taylor Hall excited about NHL Draft Lottery results Just one day after the Edmonton Oilers won the lottery and secured the top pick in June's NHL Entry Draft, top prospect Taylor Hall discussed how the ping-pong balls fell with the media.
More endless draft research source material at the NHL VideoCenter: The Draft Channel. (and yes, linking this does make me feel very much like your street dealer)
Let's not forget to thank our lucky stars that Jim Rutherford is in our corner when you consider the monumental Season Fail of the Toronto Maple Leafs who finished 29th in the standings, but had already traded their first round pick to the Bruins in the Phil Kessel deal last fall. (Ditto for the 2011 first round pick). Here's one Leaf's fans contribution to the growing library of Google search videos that we've been playing around with here.)
....and other prospects
Preds On The Glass: Hobey Baker Winner Blake Geoffrion Signs with the Nashville Predators Imagine A Hobey Baker winner and professional hockeyboy from Brentwood, Tennessee. (But then his grandfather is credited with "inventing" the slapshot.)
The Hurricanes's 2009 second round pick Brian Dumoulin and his Boston College Eagles won the NCAA Championship last weekend. Better yet, 18-year-old freshman Dumoulin was one of two NCAA D-men named to the All-Tournament team Inside College Hockey | NCAA All-Tournament Team
And from his hometown press, another closeup on this local boy making Maine proud: Dumoulin working to keep his focus | Maine Sunday Telegram As Boston College heads to the Frozen Four, Brian Dumoulin of Biddeford is determined to be prepared.
Off season planning
Chip Alexander devotes some ink to next season with: Canes hope youth fuels team in fall - NewsObserver.com Paul Maurice said he wants to get back to the "Carolina Hurricanes identity" next season.
Decisions await Canes veterans - NewsObserver.com Jim Rutherford can't say for sure if Rod Brind'Amour will play next season for the Carolina Hurricanes, which got picked up by Craig Custance at The Sporting News.
Craig Custance: Brind'Amour Faces Decision on Retirement - The Grinder - Sporting News The Hurricanes also have a decision to make on another veteran, Ray Whitney, who at 38 remains a productive player.
Goaltender Performance vs Salary, 2005-09 - Behind The Net Adds to the growing body of research that picking goalies is hard.
Burke already focusing on next season for Leafs - NHL.com - Ice Age There is plenty happening among NHL teams not in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. In Toronto, the emphasis already is on the 2011 playoffs.
Other tales of Hockey Human Interest
Here's a Q&A with one of the blogosphere's brightest stars in NHL coverage: Get to know your sportswriter: Greg Wyshynski (Puck Daddy) | The Goal Crease. Today was also the second Anniversary of his very popular hockey blog.
Hockey night in Liberia: NHL jerseys everywhere in war-torn nation 'We don’t know the game,' Joe Peters admits, wiping sweat off his cheek. 'But the jerseys are very fine Here's the photo gallery.