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					               SPORT-SCAN                                                 DAILY BRIEF
                                                                 NHL 4/29/2012
         Boston Bruins                                                             New Jersey Devils
628877   Deep-rooted belief                                               628908   Devils Tinker With Lines for Game 1
628878   Bergeron went to great pains                                     628909   Politi: Martin Brodeur a constant in net for Devils while Flyers
628879   Seguin surgery is likely                                                  shuffle through goaltenders
628880   Don’t expect any holes in net                                    628910   Devils' Patrik Elias and Zach Parise agree: Jaromir Jagr still
628881   Bruins would be wise to keep core intact as Pats did                      amazing at 40
628882   Tyler Seguin’s game grows                                        628911   Devils know it's about to get rough against Flyers in second
                                                                                   round
         Buffalo Sabres                                                   628912   Sports hot topic: Can Devils stop Flyers' Claude Giroux?
628883   Foligno hits his stride                                          628913   Devils shake up lines for series against Flyers; split up Zach
                                                                                   Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk
         Chicago Blackhawks                                               628914   NHL playoffs hot topic: Who's making it out of the Eastern
628884   United Center plans retail space                                          Conference semifinals?
                                                                          628915   NHL Playoffs Preview: Philadelphia Flyers vs. Devils
         Columbus Blue Jackets                                            628916   NHL Playoffs Preview: Rangers vs. Washington Capitals
628885   Mason’s slide puts Jackets in quandary                           628917   Northjersey.com : Sports : Pro Sports : Pro Hockey : Devils
                                                                          628918   Devils vs. Flyers: 5 keys to the series
         Dallas Stars                                                     628919   Staying disciplined is Devils' main goal against gritty Flyers
628886   Heika: Lehtonen, 6 other Stars, seek feel for playoffs at        628920   NJ Devils' Zach Parise moving to second line as Peter
         world hockey event                                                        DeBoer shakes things up on eve of Philadelphia Flyers St
628887   Heika: Stars' Lehtonen hopes world hockey event leads to         628921   Devils may split up Ilya, Zach vs. Flyers
         playoff-time toughness                                           628922   The matchups
                                                                          628923   Devils may split up Ilya, Zach vs. Flyers
         Detroit Red Wings
628888   Red Wings' Danny Cleary faces knee surgery after rough                    New York Rangers
         season                                                           628924   Kreider Lifts Rangers to 3-1 Win Over Capitals
628889   Red Wings final grades: No 'A's', team gets 'F' for playoffs     628925   Rookie Continues His Rise, Taking Rangers Along
628890   NHL roundup: Ex-Wing Whitney nets winner for Coyotes             628926   Kreider Speeds Into a Vital Role
628891   Red Wings' Joey MacDonald expects to avoid back surgery          628927   NY Rangers rookie Chris Kreider gives Blueshirts shot in the
         and be ready for start of next season                                     arm in Game 1 win over Washington Capitals
                                                                          628928   NY Rangers' Ruslan Fedotenko raises game for playoffs in
         Florida Panthers                                                          victory over Washington Capitals in Game 1 of Eastern
628892   Clean-out day somber for Florida Panthers                        628929   NY Rangers rookie Chris Kreider breaks third-period tie to
628893   PACK 'EM UP: Florida Panthers Clear Out Lockers, Head                     lead Blueshirts to 3-1 win over Washington Capitals
         into Offseason                                                   628930   Injured Boyle, Dubinsky sit out Game 1
628894   Battered but undaunted Florida Panthers vow to advance           628931   Crucial penalty kill fuels Rangers
         even further next season                                         628932   Injured Boyle, Dubinsky sit out Game 1
                                                                          628933   Rookie Kreider scores game-winner to beat Capitals
         Los Angeles Kings                                                628934   As usual, Lundqvist makes key stops for Blueshirts
628895   It's plodder's day for Kings' Matt Greene                        628935   Rangers take Game 1 from Capitals with strong third period
628896   Defense answers for Kings in series-opening win                  628936   Northjersey.com : Sports : Pro Sports : Pro Hockey :
628897   Kings win series opener at St. Louis, 3-1                                 Rangers
628898   KINGS 3, ST. LOUIS 1: Behind Quick, L.A. takes opener,           628937   Rangers beat Caps, 3-1, in Game 1 of Eastern semifinals
         improves to 5-1 in postseason                                    628938   Caps' Holtby accepts blame for Game 1 loss
628899   JILL PAINTER: If we know anything about these Kings, it's to     628939   'Kid' Kreider bringing Rangers goals, energy
         expect the unexpected                                            628940   Caps' style has left them without much offense
628900   KINGS NOTEBOOK: Players embrace the excitement                   628941   Rangers finally get faceoff advantage
628901   Penner postgame quotes (April 28)                                628942   Game anything but quiet for Lundqvist
628902   Sutter postgame quotes (April 28)                                628943   Fedotenko plays key role as defensive forward
628903   NHL official comments on King hit                                628944   Kreider scores winner as Rangers beat Capitals
628904   Sutter postgame quotes (April 28)                                628945   Rangers-Capitals Game 1 in review
                                                                          628946   Rangers grind out Game 1 win over Capitals
         Nashville Predators                                              628947   Rangers' Dan Girardi, Ryan McDonagh keep Capitals' star
628905   Nashville Predators hope to avoid 0-2 start against Phoenix               under wraps
         Coyotes                                                          628948   Rangers notebook: Brandon Dubinsky, Brian Boyle sit out
628906   Blue Jackets-turned-Coyotes want payback vs. Nashville                    injured
         Predators
628907   Nashville Predators' Kevin Klein admits break affected Game               NHL
         1 effort                                                         628949   Firm Hand Guides Young Team in Aftermath of Tragedy
                                                                          628950   A First Round Filled With Close Games and Surprises
         Ottawa Senators                                                          Washington Capitals
628951   Sens’ feel-good factor results in win in ticket sales, too      629002   2012 NHL playoffs: Capitals surrender upper hand to
628952   Sens can't wait to get going again                                       Rangers with 3-1 loss in Game 1
628953   2011-12 final Sens report card                                  629003   Braden Holtby: ‘I had a tough time getting into the game’
628954   Sens' Winchester concussed again                                629004   Game 1: Rangers score twice in 90 seconds to fuel 3-1 win
628955   York: Sens have plenty to be proud of                                    over Capitals in series opener
628956   Plenty of work ahead for Sens GM                                629005   Braden Holtby unflinching as Capitals enter second round
628957   Will Alfie's kid's tears sway decision?                         629006   Henrik Lundqvist on Caps: ‘We really want to beat this team’
                                                                         629007   Hardly tested by Rangers in Game 1, Braden Holtby still
         Philadelphia Flyers                                                      struggles
628958   Flyers Notes: Flyers' Couturier next will try to slow Devils'   629008   Green’s gaffe opens door for Capitals’ loss to Rangers in
         Kovalchuk                                                                Game 1
628959   Inside the Flyers: Flyers may show that offense wins
         championships, too                                                       Websites
628960   Flyers hoping for a quick start against Devils                  629009   FOXSports.com / Kings effectively sticking to "Sutter's Law"
628961   Flyers-Devils Series Breakdown                                  629010   CNN/Sports Illustrated / Hitchcock's strategy a mystery
628962   The Giroux 14 vs. the Kerr 15                                   629011   CNN/Sports Illustrated / Second round series breakdown:
628963   Phil Sheridan: A new chapter in Flyers-Devils rivalry                    Rangers (1) vs. Capitals (7)
628964   Rinaldo Blog: Day 18                                            SPORT-SCAN, INC. (941) 484-5941 phone (619) 839-3811 fax
628965   On Brodeur, the series, the odds
628966   Devils up next for Flyers in Round 2
628967   Giroux more interested in Stanley than Hart
628968   Old home week for N.J. native van Riemsdyk
628969   Flyers want to keep Brodeur out of their heads
628970   Flyers Sunday and furniture
628971   Flyers should outlast the Devils
628972   Flyers-Devils/By the numbers
628973   Round 2, Flyers vs. Devils: Jersey may bring out best in
         Flyers
628975   Hillary: Final preparations for Devils complete
628976   Almost 40, Brodeur still a threat to Flyers
628977   JVR gearing up for more ice time vs. Devils
628978   Cubs' Dempster visits Flyers at practice
628979   Signs point to Game 1 return for Grossmann
628980   Hartnell, Flyers aware of skilled Devils offense
628981   Bryzgalov is staying focused
628982   How they match up
628983   Age of the goalie
628984   Devils still haunt the Flyers

         Phoenix Coyotes
628985   Glendale edges toward Phoenix Coyotes deal
628986   Phoenix Coyotes' Mike Smith survives Nashville Predators'
         onslaught in Game 1
628987   Phoenix Coyotes need 'Prime Line' to continue to deliver vs.
         Nashville Predators
628988   Thrill of violence a growing problem for NFL, NHL

         St Louis Blues
628989   Blues fall in Game 1 and lose Pietrangelo
628990   Timely goal for Kings' Greene
628991   Kings serve notice they're a royal pain
628992   Pietrangelo injury tough blow for Blues
628993   Blues notebook: Backes looks for balance
628994   Backes hopes to step up against Kings
628995   Kings get big short-handed goal to help knock off Blues in
         second-round playoff opener
628996   Hard hit ends Pietrangelo's night

         Tampa Bay Lightning
628998   Bolts need long-term answer at goalie
628999   Add Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas to talk about options
         for Tampa Bay Lightning

         Toronto Maple Leafs
629000   Leafs coulda, shoulda signed Stamkos

         Vancouver Canucks
629001   Canucks: no worries about Roberto Luongo's predicament?
628877     Boston Bruins                                                            “Defensively, we had a good series,’’ Chiarelli said. “Offensively, we didn’t
                                                                                    score at the times we had to score. I think we could have. So I think that’s
                                                                                    an area we’ll have to improve. We’ll figure that out as the summer goes
Deep-rooted belief                                                                  along.’’

Heading into the offseason, Bruins know lineup strength comes in numbers            Chiarelli was confident in his returning No. 1 line of Lucic, Krejci, and
                                                                                    Horton. He knew Seguin would improve and could fill the second-line spot
                                                                                    vacated by Mark Recchi.

By Fluto Shinzawa                                                                   But given how Holtby and Washington’s airtight net-front play stymied
                                                                                    Boston’s attack, it’s clear the Bruins will be in the market for forward help
                                                                                    heading into 2012-13.
It was not lost on Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli that some of              Finding top-six help won’t be easy. The July 1 free agent market is thin. The
Washington’s key players in Game 7 - Joel Ward, Mike Knuble, and Matt               Bruins will have better luck targeting bottom-six reinforcements.
Hendricks - are some of their biggest and toughest blue-collar boys.
                                                                                    Their first priority is to address the goaltending situation. If they move
Such is the template Chiarelli has always had in mind when assembling his           Thomas after his no-trade clause expires July 1, they can allocate part of
Black-and-Gold rosters.                                                             his $5 million annual cap hit toward re-signing Tuukka Rask or acquiring
                                                                                    more forwards. If they decide to keep Thomas, they won’t have as much
“You saw Washington’s third and fourth lines,’’ Chiarelli said during Friday’s
                                                                                    free cash - not that Chiarelli, or any GM, has much clarity on that front.
breakup day at TD Garden. “Those are some big, heavier guys. The Wards,
the Hendrickses, the [Troy] Brouwers - those guys lean on you. Over a               The cap is currently $64.3 million. If this were an ordinary offseason, teams
seven-game series, when the teams are close, it makes a difference.                 could expect the ceiling to rise based on projected league revenue. But the
Maybe there’s one play where our D pulls up because he knows he’s got               collective bargaining agreement is scheduled to expire Sept. 15. There is
220 pounds coming down on his left shoulder.’’                                      no telling what the next CBA will dictate with regard to the cap, contracts,
                                                                                    buyouts, or otherwise.
The rough-and-tumble stuff might have been the difference-making element
last year. The Bruins flattened Vancouver’s skilled players and imposed             “I have to be careful,’’ Chiarelli acknowledged. “I have to try and crystal ball-
their will on the Canucks en route to winning the Stanley Cup.                      gaze a little bit on where we think it will end up. So I have to be cautious as
                                                                                    far as summer additions.’’
This season, it might have been one of the elements that swung the favor in
Washington’s direction. In Game 7, Hendricks scored the opening goal                The Bruins will attempt to re-sign Kelly, their No. 3 center, and Campbell,
when the ex-Bruin tipped a John Carlson shot past Tim Thomas. In                    their fourth-line pivot. But they could let Rolston and Paille walk. Pouliot, a
overtime, Thomas stopped Knuble’s first shot, but couldn’t recover to turn          restricted free agent, will require a raise. At this point, Thornton and Caron
back Ward’s follow-up bid.                                                          are the only bottom-six forwards under contract for next season.
The skilled forwards were a wash. The Bruins didn’t get much pop out of             “It’s been an absolute pleasure playing with those players the last two
Milan Lucic and David Krejci. The Bruins limited Alex Ovechkin to two               years,’’ Thornton said of Paille and Campbell. “I wouldn’t be where I am - as
goals.                                                                              far as a contract and coming back - without those two guys. I bought them
                                                                                    dinner, so they know that, too. I’m very fortunate that I played with two guys
Both defenses were stout. Washington’s Carlson and Karl Alzner were just
                                                                                    that are probably third-liners on 20 of the 30 teams, I’d say. Us being the
as steady as Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg.
                                                                                    fourth line on this team shows our depth. I hope they’re back. I really do. I
In net, Braden Holtby was a touch sharper than Thomas.                              love playing with them.’’

But late in the series, the Capitals’ third and fourth lines outplayed their        Chiarelli did most of his major restructuring two summers ago and during
counterparts. In the playoffs, when just one goal separated the clubs, the          the 2010-11 regular season. Despite a first-round exit, Chiarelli believes the
difference between the plumbers played a part in Washington’s victory.              Bruins can chase for the Cup again next year. As such, other than a
                                                                                    possible Thomas trade, only tweaks will take place.
“You need depth,’’ Shawn Thornton said. “Last year was the same thing. To
have success, you need depth. It doesn’t come from the top three guys all           “Certainly, we’re not going to do anything to make over this team,’’ Chiarelli
the time. You need depth to be successful also. It was tight. Both sides had        said. “You hear me talk about parity in this league. Our first-round loss in
depth going through. Their fourth line’s a pretty skilled fourth line, if you can   seven games this year could be another Stanley Cup Final next year. It’s
call it a fourth line. You can flip a coin between their bottom six, depending      that close.’’
on who’s going that night. I think everyone gets that nowadays. You need
                                                                                    Boston Globe LOADED: 04.29.2012
depth.’’
As usual, injuries played a role in one club advancing and the other
cleaning out its lockers.
Luck was with the Bruins last year. Other than Marc Savard’s career-ending
concussion, the Bruins were blessed with good health. In the Stanley Cup
Final, they were able to survive Nathan Horton’s concussion. Rich Peverley
assumed a first-line role. Tyler Seguin filled in on the third line. Thornton
rounded out the fourth line with Daniel Paille and Gregory Campbell.
There was no such fortune this season. The absence of Horton, who last
played Jan. 22, left the Bruins without one of their two power forwards. In
Games 6 and 7, Patrice Bergeron (strained oblique) had, by his estimation,
only 60 percent of his capabilities.
The Bruins could never recover from the trickle-down effect. Peverley is
most effective on the third line, but he had to assume second-line
responsibilities, including most of the faceoffs. The No. 3 line of Benoit
Pouliot, Chris Kelly, and Brian Rolston wasn’t as strong in the second half
of the series.
Thornton was a healthy scratch for Games 6 and 7. The Bruins had to
dress Jordan Caron because they weren’t sure whether Bergeron could
finish either game.
The depth that had proved pivotal for the Bruins last year couldn’t come
through again.
628878     Boston Bruins


Bergeron went to great pains
Oblique and nose injuries in series


By Barbara Matson


Bruins center Patrice Bergeron finally revealed it was an abdominal injury
that nearly knocked him out of the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs
against the Capitals.
“It’s a torn or strained oblique in my abs, my core,’’ Bergeron said Friday
before the Bruins went their separate ways for the summer, “so anything
that was moving my arms or working my feet touched my core.’’
Bergeron has not had an MRI, but said no surgery will be required, just rest.
He had a similar injury in 2007 and missed 2 1/2 weeks of the season.
“If it was the regular season, I wouldn’t have played,’’ Bergeron said. “It
needs rest. It’s just time, but we didn’t have that.’’
The injury surfaced in Game 3 against the Capitals. Bergeron took a couple
of tough hits in that game, one from Alexander Semin that broke his nose,
and one from Alex Ovechkin that hurt, but Bergeron said the hits were not
the cause of the injury. In Game 5, the injury was aggravated and Bergeron
was in too much pain to play in the third period.
“Somewhere in the second period, it was just on my own, twisting to make a
pass, and that’s when it really hurt,’’ Bergeron said. “It wasn’t even like a hit.
From that moment on, it was pretty painful.’’
Bergeron, named a finalist for the Selke Award, given to the NHL’s top
defensive forward, said he was playing at about 60 percent of his ability in
the final two games. Bergeron’s faceoff success rate of 59.3 percent was
second best in the league during the regular season, so his inability to take
draws hurt.
“It was just hard to battle,’’ he said, “reaching out and trying to battle with
people when my arms were at full extension. And I couldn’t get to full
speed, it was always there.
“It’s the core and when you play hockey, the core is everything.’’
There were discussions behind the scenes about whether Bergeron’s 60
percent was worth more than the 100 percent of a less-talented player.
“It’s something we talked about,’’ he said. “The last thing you want to do is
hurt your teammates. At the same time, the first thing on your mind is to be
there for your teammates. It’s a pretty tough decision.
“I went out for warm-up and I thought I could still help.’’
When Bergeron said he could go in Game 6, coach Claude Julien made a
game-time decision to sub Jordan Caron for Shawn Thornton on the fourth
line. Caron’s versatility gave the team a better option for replacing Bergeron
if he couldn’t continue.
And still, Bergeron had a tantalizingly close scoring chance in overtime in
Game 7, but couldn’t corral a bouncing puck by the left post. Bergeron said
it was the bounce, not the sore core, that prevented him from scoring.
General manager Peter Chiarelli later said, “Patrice would never say this,
but I believe that last chance in OT, it was that he couldn’t stretch out the
arm. He was in a lot of pain.’’
In the end, Bergeron picked up two assists in the series.
He expected more. After the Game 7 loss, he appeared stunned. Friday, he
looked forlorn. He was having exit interviews when he expected to be
preparing for the next round.
“I was not ready to talk to you guys about this right now,’’ Bergeron said.
“It’s really early and we’re not used to that. There’s going to be a lot of
thinking going on in the next few months.’’
Boston Globe LOADED: 04.29.2012
628879     Boston Bruins                                                         as I thought I would. It was tough to tell the trainers. But I felt like I had to.
                                                                                 We just looked further into it. It’s not something you can necessarily play
                                                                                 through. It’s not smart to. Hopefully, I can play for many more years. I didn’t
Seguin surgery is likely                                                         want to jeopardize that.’’

Forward played with detached hand tendon                                         The Bruins missed McQuaid’s stability on the third pairing. In Game 7, the
                                                                                 No. 3 duo of Greg Zanon and Mike Mottau were on the ice for Joel Ward’s
                                                                                 winning goal.

By Fluto Shinzawa                                                                Wait and see
                                                                                 Brian Rolston will become an unrestricted free agent July 1, and the 39-
                                                                                 year-old has not decided whether he will play next season.
In short order, Bruins forward Tyler Seguin will likely undergo surgery on his
left hand. On March 15, in the first period of the 6-2 loss to the Panthers,     “It’s up in the air, pretty much, right now,’’ Rolston said. “We’ll see how it
Seguin suffered a detached tendon.                                               goes. It’s only a couple days out of the playoffs here.’’

Upon suffering the injury, team doctors informed Seguin that he couldn’t do      Rolston was one of three deadline-day acquisitions, along with Zanon and
further damage to the hand by playing. They told him, however, that it           Mottau. If Rolston plays another year, the two-time Bruin said he’d like to
would be painful to continue. Naturally, Seguin played.                          re-sign with Boston. While Rolston gives the Bruins versatility on the wing
                                                                                 and at center, it’s unlikely the club would bring him back.
“If you can bear the pain, bear the pain,’’ Seguin, with a smile, recalled
being told. “That’s kind of how I rolled with it.’’                              Bearing gifts

It wasn’t the first or last time Seguin played through discomfort. In Game 7     Every player walked out of the dressing room carrying a gift from Zdeno
against the Capitals, it wasn’t comfortable for Seguin to throw a second-        Chara. The captain presented each of his teammates with a framed photo
period hit on Nicklas Backstrom, which caused a turnover. Seconds later, it      and a game summary from his 1,000th career game, March 24 against the
wasn’t fun for Seguin to muscle through John Carlson and Karl Alzner,            Kings. “I love every guy we have in this room. I’m very proud to be their
Washington’s best shutdown defensemen.                                           teammate,’’ Chara said. “It’s just something for them to have. I felt it was a
                                                                                 special day in my career.’’ . . . Milan Lucic was held without a goal in the
But by doing those things, Seguin’s reward was the team’s only goal, which       playoffs. When informed of the heat Lucic has taken from fans for his
he scored by diving and slapping a loose puck over the goal line.                performance, linemate David Krejci had a quick retort. “It’s [expletive],’’ he
                                                                                 said. “He didn’t score. But he was still trying. He was trying to help as much
Everybody knew Seguin could score the skillful goals, like he did in
                                                                                 as he could. Obviously, he wanted to put the puck in the net. It didn’t
overtime of Game 6 when he dangled around Capitals goalie Braden
                                                                                 happen. That’s the way it goes. I know him. He wants to win so bad. He put
Holtby. It was never guaranteed, however, that the 20-year-old would find
                                                                                 his heart on the line every night. That’s all you can ask.’’ . . . Chiarelli
the appropriate battle level to fight for loose pucks and engage in the big-
                                                                                 confirmed that Chara suffered a broken nose in Game 6 when he was high-
boy areas.
                                                                                 sticked by Alex Ovechkin . . . Game 7 on the NBC Sports Network
Prior to his Game 6 winner, Seguin made the crucial steal to set up Andrew       averaged 1.32 million viewers nationally, making it the most-watched first-
Ference’s third-period goal. In the defensive zone, Seguin stripped the puck     round game since 2000.
from Alexander Semin and broke the other way. Holtby stopped Seguin’s
                                                                                 Boston Globe LOADED: 04.29.2012
sharp-angle shot, but Ference scored on the rebound.
From how Seguin shone late in the first round, it was clear that the
instruction he’s received from Claude Julien and the rest of the coaching
staff has taken hold.
“I thought I had a pretty good series,’’ Seguin said. “Obviously, I couldn’t
find much production in the first five games. But I thought I was playing
decent and well. I was still doing a good job in my D-zone and the neutral
zone. I thought I was competing well.
“In Games 6 and 7, it started paying off a bit more. I thought I was finally
bearing down on my chances and not gripping my stick too hard. I guess it’s
nice to finish off the way I did. Maybe too little, too late.’’
As a second-year pro, Seguin led the Bruins in scoring (29-38-67). He will
be entering the third and final year of his entry-level contract. Based on his
development, the Bruins are expecting an even better season.
“He’s on the path to being a star in this league,’’ general manager Peter
Chiarelli said. “Claude’s talked about his two-way game. His maturity away
from the ice has grown in leaps and bounds. It’s kind of cool to watch a
young kid develop like that off the ice, too.’’
McQuaid improving
After missing the first round because of a concussion, defenseman Adam
McQuaid believes he’s recovering and on track for next season.
“I’m feeling much better,’’ McQuaid said. “I feel like myself again. I’m
obviously happy about that. But it was certainly difficult watching.’’
McQuaid suffered the injury March 29 during a 3-2 shootout loss to the
Capitals. Jason Chimera belted McQuaid into the end boards, causing the
concussion and opening a cut above his left eye. Because of the cut,
McQuaid’s eye swelled shut.
McQuaid missed the next three games. McQuaid returned for the second-
to-last regular-season game against the Senators April 5, but was limited to
only 7:00 of ice time after suffering post-concussion symptoms.
“Nothing in particular that I can pinpoint,’’ said McQuaid, when asked if
something had happened during the Ottawa game. “I wasn’t feeling as well
628880     Boston Bruins                                                             “We’re two days off of losing out of the playoffs in a time period where I
                                                                                     thought we’d still be playing until the middle of June, so I haven’t put too
                                                                                     much thought [into the future],’’ said Thomas. “The future will work itself out.
Don’t expect any holes in net                                                        I don’t even know what I’m going to do over the next few days.’’

Thomas and Rask are likely to return                                                 Rask has recovered from a lower abdomen/groin strain suffered March 3
                                                                                     against the Islanders, and is hopeful he and the Bruins can come to terms
                                                                                     on a new deal.

By Nancy Marrapese-Burrell                                                           “It’s a big summer for me, I don’t have a contract yet,’’ said Rask. “We’ve
                                                                                     got to figure that out and then be ready to have a good season next year.’’
                                                                                     He said he definitely wants to remain a Bruin.
Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas expected to still be playing. Instead, he and
his teammates spent Friday saying goodbye at TD Garden after being                   “I’ve always said that I like it here and I want to come back,’’ said Rask, who
eliminated by Washington Wednesday night.                                            said it would be fine with him if he and Thomas were a tandem again. “I
                                                                                     think there is a clear plan. Everybody has been talking about it for a long
“It’s sunk in now,’’ said Thomas. “All things considered, we had a pretty            time now. It’s not about the money, it’s more about what’s good for
good year that the guys should be proud of. It was an amazing run that we            everybody. I think we have a great group of guys and the organization is
had that won [the Stanley Cup] and it entails afterwards a lot of things and a       great. I don’t see why anybody wouldn’t want to be here. In my case, the
short summer. We went right into a very long season and we had adversity             same thing. I love it here, we just have to make things work, that’s all.’’
throughout that season.
                                                                                     Boston Globe LOADED: 04.29.2012
“Having said that, we stuck together and got it done to come up second in
the Eastern Conference, and we were one bounce away from going to the
second round and seeing what we could make happen after that. I think the
guys should be proud of the effort they brought all year, they gave all they
had.’’
Thomas will enter the final season of his contract in 2012-13 with his no-
trade clause expiring July 1. General manager Peter Chiarelli said he
expects to have both Thomas and Tuukka Rask, a restricted free agent, on
the roster come training camp, quelling any speculation that Thomas could
be traded in the offseason.
“I view it pretty much the same way as I saw it going into last summer,’’ said
Chiarelli. “The difference being that Tuukka obviously didn’t play toward the
end because of his injury. For me, there’s no uncertainty there with regard
to him being back and healthy.
“I’ve seen speculation of moving a goalie and all that stuff, but I’m certainly
not inclined to do that. Tim didn’t have, statistically, the year he had the
year before, but I thought he had a very good year. We have if not the best,
one of the top two or three goalie tandems in the league.’’
At 38, Thomas said he feels healthy and intends to spend the offseason
working out. Two summers ago, Thomas spent his time rehabbing from hip
surgery. Last offseason was very short because of the Cup run.
“With this extra time here, I’m going to spend it improving myself physically
and in any area that I can figure out,’’ said Thomas. “I’m one of the lucky
here who is leaving the season with no injuries and in good health.
Mentally, the last 20 months have been a long run, but all things considered
I think I held up pretty well.’’
Thomas believed the Bruins had what it took to become the first repeat
champion since the Red Wings in 1998.
“I think this team showed their character during the Stanley Cup run and
win, and I think they showed it this year,’’ said Thomas. “They gave all they
had and it just didn’t end up being enough this time.’’
Thomas said he isn’t one who spends a lot of time ruminating about his
future.
“I’m happy,’’ he said. “I’m on a great team with a great coaching staff. I
know it’s a year later, but we just won that Cup together and that is very
special. I did the best I could. On and off the ice, I tried to do what I felt was
right and I tried to prepare myself as much as possible to do the best job I
could possibly do on the ice, which is when it’s obviously the most important
as a professional athlete.’’
Some in the media have made note of Thomas referring to his teammates
as “they’’ rather than “we,’’ and concluded that Thomas perhaps was
expecting to play for a different team next season. He said that isn’t the
case.
“I’m trying to give them credit without giving credit to myself because they
deserve a huge amount of credit, so don’t read too much into the ‘they’, ‘us’
please,’’ he said. “This is a special group of guys that bodes well for the
future of the Boston Bruins.’’
It appears Thomas will be very much a part of that.
628881     Boston Bruins                                                          oblique muscle and seems constantly underrated except when the high cost
                                                                                  of his absence is obvious. If both return to form and young Tyler Seguin
                                                                                  blossoms, their offensive concerns could be solved internally, especially if
Bruins would be wise to keep core intact as Pats did                              they retain several potential free agents, most specifically Chris Kelly.
                                                                                  In a league so competitive that no team has repeated as champion since
                                                                                  1998 and seven of the past nine Stanley Cup winners failed to advance
By Ron Borges | Sunday, April 29, 2012 | http://www.bostonherald.com |            beyond the first round the following season, one must be cautious about
Boston Bruins                                                                     dismantling a playoff team in pursuit of one that can go deeper into the
                                                                                  playoffs than these B’s managed.
                                                                                  “Certainly we’re not going to do anything to make over this team,” Chiarelli
In 2003, Bill Belichick faced a moment similar to the one staring Peter           said. “You’ve seen some guys that are going to challenge, but on the major
Chiarelli in the face this morning. How Belichick handled it may be a             change front, I’m not looking at doing anything on that front, but I would like
blueprint for how the Bruins general manager should approach this                 to add some pieces.”
offseason.
                                                                                  Take it from Bill Belichick, sometimes you don’t have to trade the old car
Coming off the disappointment of being knocked out of the NHL playoffs in         away for a new model. Sometimes all you need do is fine-tune the engine
the opening round one year after bringing home the Stanley Cup, the Bruins        and keep your brakes intact.
now face many questions. Should they unload their able but 38-year-old
goalie Tim Thomas as he enters the final year of his contract in favor of         Boston Herald LOADED: 04.29.2012
goalie-in-waiting Tuukka Rask? Do they need to make wholesale changes
to a power play that has been powerless much of the past two seasons and
alarmingly so for two straight years in the playoffs?
Do they need to invest big money in a scorer like Zach Parise, who played
for coach Claude Julien in New Jersey and could become a free agent on
July 1? Certainly the left winger’s 31 goals and 38 assists would be a
welcome addition to the Bruins front line, but would his expected $8 million
salary be welcomed in Jeremy Jacobs’ boardroom?
If a change up front doesn’t involve Parise, is someone else out there who
could significantly improve the scoring punch of the only team to have six
players ring up 20 or more goals last season?
These are all questions Chiarelli must wrestle with this summer, and
although the sports are different, the Patriots’ approach after following their
2001 Super Bowl season with a 9-7 record that left them out of the playoffs
is enlightening.
It would have been easy for Belichick to dismiss the Super Bowl year as an
aberration and make major changes to a team that failed to make the
playoffs the following season. He fought off the notion of using a wrecking
ball and instead mixed in a trade for aging nose tackle Ted Washington,
added one key free agent with the signing of safety Rodney Harrison (who
the Chargers let go believing he was on the down side), and released
Lawyer Milloy in a blockbuster move just before the start of the ’03 season
after he refused a paycut.
There were several reinforcements from the draft (Asante Samuel, Ty
Warren and Eugene Wilson, who had a short career but that season
memorably stabilized the secondary when he stepped in for Milloy in the
second week of the season) but no major excavation projects. With small
alterations and two veteran additions that did not at the time seem as
significant as they proved to be, Belichick completed construction of a team
that won the next two Super Bowls.
Chiarelli sounded Friday like a man headed in the same direction.
He was not insistent that his team had simply been unlucky and thus
needed no alterations, but he also did not talk like someone thinking a
major shakeup was required to contend. That seems a wise viewpoint.
While intent on re-signing Rask, Chiarelli said he was not looking to unload
Thomas either. That might be gamesmanship, politics or political
correctness, but unless he knows he can use the $5 million he would save
on the salary cap to a very good end if he traded Thomas, the wise course
is to stand pat there.
“I know I’ve seen speculation about moving a goalie and all that stuff, but
certainly I’m not inclined to do that,” Chiarelli said. “Tim didn’t have
statistically the year he had before but I thought he had a very good year.
We have, if not the best, one of the top three goalie tandems in the league.”
This is wise in part because of Rask’s checkered injury history and partly
because Thomas is a battle-tested goalie. Certainly he was not the puck
stopper he was a year ago, but who could be? This past season he had his
ups and downs, but his ups remain high and last for protracted enough
periods to indicate there is a lot of game left in him.
As for scoring, although there was an obvious drought in the playoffs, it
should not be ignored that the Bruins were without Nathan Horton and
playing with a severely limited Patrice Bergeron, who struggled with a torn
628882      Boston Bruins                                                               play in his sophomore season — tops for Bruins forwards, but 85th in the
                                                                                        league — while averaging 2:26 of ice time.
                                                                                        Does he believe he can become that half-wall presence through which the
Tyler Seguin’s game grows                                                               man-advantage flows?
Secondseason one to build on                                                            “That’s what I’m hoping for,” Seguin said. “It’s still a lot different from
                                                                                        juniors, but the power play, that was my go-to a lot of times. Here in the
                                                                                        NHL, there’s still that learning factor and finding spots on the ice. That’s
By Steve Conroy | Sunday, April 29, 2012 | http://www.bostonherald.com                  only going to come with more experience.”
| Boston Bruins
                                                                                        And as Seguin is proving, he’s a willing student.
                                                                                        Boston Herald LOADED: 04.29.2012
There were ups, there were downs and there was one notable misstep for
Tyler Seguin.
But now that the dust has settled, the 20-year-old Bruins forward and those
in charge of his development can look back on 2011-12 and feel that his
second NHL season was a step forward for this future franchise
cornerstone. No, Seguin did not have the breakout season that he
appeared on the verge of back in December, but he did lead the team that
won the Stanley Cup last June in scoring with 67 points. And while there
were times when he did take a circuitous route to the puck, he displayed
more grit than outsiders knew at the time.
Seguin is most likely headed to the operating table to repair a detached
tendon in a knuckle on his left hand, an injury suffered in a March 15 game
against the Florida Panthers, but he stayed in the lineup. He scored the
overtime game-winner in Game 6 against Washington and then got the B’s
into overtime of Game 7 when he scored a big-boy goal, knifing between
the Capitals’ top defense pair of Karl Alzner and John Carlson to jam home
a loose puck.
It was all part of Seguin’s maturation as an NHL player and proving himself
to his teammates.
“Coming into this year was really about my compete level, my battling and
my (defensive) zone,” Seguin said Friday as the B’s cleared out of the
Garden for the offseason after being eliminated from the playoffs by
Washington. “I think I still have a lot of growing to do. If I can get stronger,
especially in the core area, it’s only going to improve my battling skills.
That’s my main focus this summer. I just think with more games played,
being around the team and showing that I can improve, I really want to do
all of the above to show the guys that I want to be a part of this team.”
Coach Claude Julien, who doles out the rope conservatively to his young
players, was pleased with the progress of Seguin’s two-way game.
“You look at the goal that (defenseman Andrew) Ference scored in Game 6
— the result of Tyler backchecking the puck away from (the Capitals’
Alexander) Semin,” Julien said. “A couple of times you even saw him diving
to break up a play defensively. He’s committing more and more to a (two-
way game) than people are recognizing. I think he’s becoming a really good
player. The one thing we don’t want to take away is his offensive talent and
his skill, and we’ll always push for that to be the first and foremost thing
from his game. But for him to be able to add that to his game was really
impressive for me this year and I’m extremely proud and pleased with the
way he handled this year.”
But on Dec. 6, 2011, we were reminded that Seguin still has growing up to
do. That day, he never made it down to a morning meeting in Winnipeg
and, for that, he found himself in the pressbox for that night’s game against
the Jets. It was not the first such transgression, but the organization chose
to go public at that time.
“Hopefully, you’re not gong to see anything like that again,” Seguin said. “In
general, it’s just part of the growing up and maturing process. A lot of
people think it’s all about the on-ice stuff, but there’s a lot of off-ice stuff that
comes into it.”
General manager Peter Chiarelli said it’s all part of the process.
“He has his moments, you probably see some of his moments on the
Internet once in a while,” Chiarelli said jokingly, referring to Seguin’s bare-
chested celebration after the Cup win. “But we whack him after that and he
comes back smiling and he’s figuring it out. He’s a good kid and he’s a
really good player.”
The biggest deficiency in the Bruins’ game since they lost center Marc
Savard to concussions has been the power play. They miraculously
survived that problem to win the Cup last year, but it helped cost them this
year’s series against Washington. Seguin had 5-10-15 totals on the power
628883     Buffalo Sabres                                                           "He's the kind of player that fit right in up here."
                                                                                    Foligno's roll continued after the Sabres' season ended. He tied for the
                                                                                    Rochester lead with two goals and three points during the three-game
Foligno hits his stride                                                             series against the Toronto Marlies.
Rookie can't wait to get going again after season in which hard work helped
him earn call up to Buffalo where he became a big hit with his physical and
offensive game


By John Vogl


Marcus Foligno had to be careful. It was just minutes after the season
ended with an American Hockey League playoff sweep, so there were a
couple of disappointed teammates nearby. He didn't want to make it seem
like he was happy.
The topic of discussion, though, was his future. There's no way to contain
the giddiness when it comes to that. The Buffalo Sabres' fastest-rising
prospect, if he even qualifies for that term anymore, has such a bright future
that it takes over even a bummed-out dressing room.
"It's tough to say that you're excited for next season, but I'm ready to go,"
Foligno said last week in Rochester. "It's just tough that the playoffs went
the way they did, but I see a great opportunity ahead. I'm excited for it."
He's got plenty of company. Foligno's transformation from hard-hitting
project to first-line material was arguably the highlight of the season in
Buffalo. He brought scoring, passing, physical play, tireless effort and a
positive attitude to the Sabres, and it was all done in just a 14-game debut.
The visions of what he might be able to accomplish 82 games a year for
years to come have the organization energized.
"I remember when he got drafted and came to the prospect camps, he's
improved so much since then," said Tyler Ennis, Foligno's center in Buffalo.
"Maybe originally we thought he was just going to be a big banger, but he
worked hard on controlling the puck and making plays. He's rounded his
game out so much that he's now an all-around guy.
"He can score. If it's necessary that what he needs to get going for a game
is just bang and maybe fight someone, that's what he can do. It's cool that
he can kind of do everything."
Foligno became an overnight sensation in Buffalo, but few success stories
happen in a day. Since being drafted in the fourth round in 2009, Foligno
has been determined to get better. He grew from raw long shot to world
junior tournament stud. During this first pro season, the 20-year-old
developed from possible contributor in Rochester to vital piece of the
Sabres' second-half surge.
"It wasn't magic or anything," Rochester coach Ron Rolston said. "All of
those young guys we have in the organization have great attitudes and they
work extremely hard after practice and in the weight room. They have that
mind-set that they want to get better every day."
Foligno has already mapped out his next area of improvement. The 6-foot-
2, 215-pounder wants to increase his reaction time and his first few strides.
"As a big guy, if can you beat guys off the wall, you're going to be much
more effective out there," he said. "I know I can get the puck down low and
do stuff, and that's all weight training and getting stronger on the legs and
stuff like that. Just the reaction time I think I've got to work on that.
"The biggest thing they said in Rochester is it's going to be development.
That's what I felt I took a lot of strides in is just developing myself as the
player the Sabres want me to be and the way I wanted to play, too. I know
that I've got a lot to learn to play the game, but I feel that in one year I made
a lot of strides. I've got to be pretty happy about that."
He can be happy about his numbers, too. Following a March 10 call up,
Foligno had six goals and 13 points in 13 games. The left winger combined
with linemates Ennis and Drew Stafford to record an astounding 21 goals
and 49 points.
"I'm hoping he has a great summer and comes ready to go because we
could have a future line there for next year," Stafford said. "His biggest
asset is he does the little things. He moves the puck. He can make those
little plays. Not only can he use his size and strength to win a battle on the
wall, he can get the puck in his feet and kick it up to Enzo so me and him
can go on a two-on-one and score.
628884     Chicago Blackhawks                                                    customer base. But the United Center has yet to prove itself a catalyst for
                                                                                 an entertainment district like the renowned Wrigley Field scene.
                                                                                 Many fans head east on game nights, taking advantage of West Loop
United Center plans retail space                                                 establishments that offer shuttles to and from the United Center. Capturing
                                                                                 those customers will require a unique atmosphere, says retail broker Greg
                                                                                 Kirsch, a principal at Newmark Grubb Knight Frank who lives near the
By Ryan Ori and Micah Maidenberg                                                 arena.
                                                                                 “You have to make the environment persuasive, because you're basically
                                                                                 starting from scratch,” Mr. Kirsch says. “It's got to be done right. Uninspired
Not far from the Michael Jordan statue, the United Center's owners hope a        design would assure failure.”
$75 million to $85 million retail development soon will take flight.
                                                                                 Chicago Tribune LOADED: 04.29.2012
Chicago Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf is leading a venture that plans to build
260,000 square feet of restaurants, bars, a team store and event space in
the sprawling parking lot east of the arena, according to documents
obtained by Crain's. Chicago Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz would be part
of the venture, which could include team offices, parking, a terrace and a
green roof.
The new retail structure on the H Lot would be connected to the east side of
the Madhouse on Madison with an atrium-like entrance similar to the one at
Wisconsin's Lambeau Field, home of the NFL's Green Bay Packers.
The privately funded development would be another step in the West Side
neighborhood's evolution from a gritty area where people venture only for
Bulls and Blackhawks games to one where more people want to live and
have fun.
“We live by a sea of parking lots,” Ald. Walter Burnett Jr., 27th, says.
“People who live in the neighborhood would rather have a structure and
businesses because it would enhance the whole community.”
Through a spokesman, Messrs. Reinsdorf and Wirtz decline to comment.
The documents, prepared by the Metropolitan Planning Council and first
presented to state legislative leaders in 2010, indicate the arena would add
four restaurants, four bars, a team store and event space. The proposal
was not revealed publicly at the time. But now, the United Center's owners
are getting ready to revive talks with city and state leaders, according to a
person familiar with their plans. The Metropolitan Planning Council report
estimated the project would create almost 300 jobs during construction and
more than 500 long-term jobs.
One potential stumbling block is whether the developers will have to help
fund a long-discussed Pink Line station at Madison and Paulina streets.
The new Morgan/Lake stop on the Green and Pink lines, scheduled to open
by June, cost about $38 million, according to a CTA spokeswoman. United
Center leadership also is expected to seek an extension of a 1989 state law
that currently caps its property taxes through 2017.
The proposal comes as the owners of the Chicago Cubs are seeking public
support for a massive renovation of Wrigley Field on the North Side.
Taxpayer subsidies for another private development owned by millionaires
likely would be controversial, as the city and state work to slash their own
budgets. The United Center was privately funded and its owners are not
believed to be seeking any city or state aid beyond an extension of the tax
cap.
Spokesmen for the Democratic General Assembly leadership—House
Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton—say there
have been no discussions about extending the arena's tax relief. But a
spokeswoman for House Republican Leader Tom Cross confirms his office
was briefed about a year ago.
Although he's heard speculation about the United Center retail project for
more than a decade, Mr. Burnett says no one from the Bulls or Blackhawks
has discussed it with him. He says he supports adding retail to an area with
a dearth of places at which to eat, drink and shop.
United Center events bring in at least 1.5 million fans each year for regular-
season games alone.
A 2010 study sponsored by Near West Side Community Development
Corp., an economic development agency, showed median income
increased by more than 16 percent over the past decade as the
neighborhood began to gentrify. But the median household income of
$19,938 still lagged the citywide figure of $49,290.
United Center events bring in at least 1.5 million fans each year for regular-
season games alone, the report says, demonstrating a ready-made
628885     Columbus Blue Jackets                                                   “Sometimes he looks at me and cringes and says, ‘I wasn’t a very good
                                                                                   goalie back then,’  ” Clark said. “But the results were there. Sometimes it’s
                                                                                   a mysterious thing.”
Mason’s slide puts Jackets in quandary                                             Columbus Dispatch LOADED: 04.29.2012


By Aaron Portzline


Three years ago, a popular discussion in NHL circles was: Which rookie
goaltender would you rather build a new franchise around, Steve Mason of
the Blue Jackets or Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators?Today, it’s not
much of a debate.
While Rinne’s steady play and the steady play around him have turned
Nashville into a perennial playoff club, Mason has bottomed out with some
of the worst statistics in the league, and the Blue Jackets haven’t come
close to making the postseason. As a result, Mason’s future — not only with
the Blue Jackets but as a viable NHL goaltender — has come into question.
This is a dicey topic for the Blue Jackets. Mason, who began shutting off
some reporters toward the end of the season, declined to be interviewed for
this story. General manager Scott Howson agreed to talk, but he wouldn’t
let goaltending coach Ian Clark do so.Here are the possibilities: • The Blue
Jackets could trade Mason, but it won’t be easy to find a taker for his $3.2
million salary next season. • They could put Mason on waivers and hope he
gets claimed by another club. If he clears waivers, the Jackets could send
him to the minor leagues.
• The Blue Jackets could buy out the remaining year on his contract,
allowing the two sides to part ways and Mason to become an unrestricted
free agent.
• The Blue Jackets could keep him as a backup.
The only option not being considered, Howson said, is maintaining the
status quo.
“We need a different look in goal,” Howson said. “We need better play from
that position. I told Steve in our exit interviews (this month) that we’re going
to have a different look at that position next year, but that right now, nobody
can predict what form that’s going to take.”
Who could have envisioned that it would come to this after Mason almost
single-handedly carried the Blue Jackets to their only playoff appearance in
2009? He won the Calder Trophy as the league’s top rookie (ahead of
Rinne) and came in second for the Vezina Trophy as the top goaltender.But
the first cracks in Mason’s foundation appeared the next fall, when he
arrived at training camp in less than ideal shape but had the swagger of an
NHL star. Sources told The Dispatch that coach Ken Hitchcock wanted
Mason to start the 2009-10 season in the minor leagues on a conditioning
assignment to help him get up to speed and to jolt his ego.
Blue Jackets management put a kibosh on the plan. Hitchcock, now coach
of the St. Louis Blues, would not comment on the report, but many saw it as
a turning point not only in Mason’s career but in Hitchcock’s control. He was
fired in February 2010. Mason was later signed to his current two-year
contact before the 2010-11 season. Many say that Mason is a decent
teammate, but he can be petulant and moody. Coaches — those here and
those long gone — have said he cuts corners during practice and workouts
unless kept under a watchful eye. He has been criticized for not taking
enough responsibility for goals given up on his watch, instead deflecting the
blame to teammates.
But in fairness to Mason, probably no NHL goaltender has seen more
breakdowns and blown assignments in front of him. He has played with 23
defensemen the past three seasons, making it difficult to develop chemistry
or pick up on tendencies.
But Mason hasn’t “stolen” enough games, either. In that span, he has been
pulled for poor play 20 times in 153 starts, most in the NHL. His save
percentage this season of .894 was the lowest of his career, ranking him
43rd out of 45 NHL goalies. It is the worst save percentage for any Blue
Jackets goaltender starting more than 15 games.
Nobody is sure where his game has gone. They only know that a really
good goaltender is in there, somewhere.
Earlier this season, Clark said he and Mason watched video from his
wondrous rookie season.
628886     Dallas Stars


Heika: Lehtonen, 6 other Stars, seek feel for playoffs at world hockey event


MIKE HEIKA


Maybe the most stunning item on Kari Lehtonen's résumé is that he's
played 344 NHL regular-season games but just two in the playoffs.
That's one of the reasons the Stars' netminder will be playing in the World
Championship this year, starting Thursday in Sweden and Finland.
"I want to get used to playing in May and extend the season, and that's
what you need to do ultimately when you play in the playoffs and go deep
there, so I think that will be great for me," Lehtonen said. "It's the same
thing probably as a playoff situation, because it's always goalie battles and
you try to be the better one. I think that'll be good for me to get that
experience again."
The Stars are hoping they will get similar boosts from having seven players
at the World Championship -- Lehtonen (Finland), Loui Eriksson (Sweden),
Jamie Benn (Canada), Alex Goligoski and Richard Bachman (USA), Philip
Larsen (Denmark) and Tomas Vincour (Czech Republic).
Dallas Morning News LOADED: 04.29.2012
628887     Dallas Stars                                                             when you’re watching other teams play in the playoffs, and that can be
                                                                                    frustrating, but it pushes you to work harder, too.”
                                                                                    IIHF World Championship
Heika: Stars' Lehtonen hopes world hockey event leads to playoff-time
toughness                                                                           When: Thursday-May 20
                                                                                    Where: Helsinki and Stockholm
MIKE HEIKA                                                                          Who: A mix of international and NHL players who are representing 16
                                                                                    countries.
                                                                                    What about the Stars? Seven are expected to participate — Kari Lehtonen
Maybe the most stunning item on Kari Lehtonen’s résumé is that he’s                 (Finland), Loui Eriksson (Sweden), Jamie Benn (Canada), Alex Goligoski
played 344 NHL regular-season games but just two in the playoffs.                   and Richard Bachman (USA), Philip Larsen (Sweden) and Tomas Vincour
That’s one of the reasons the Stars’ netminder will be playing in the World         (Czech Republic).
Championship this year, starting Thursday in Sweden and Finland.                    Website: You can check scheduling or follow results at www.iihf.com.
“I want to get used to playing in May and extend the season, and that’s             TV: NBC Sports Network will televise all of Team USA’s games and also
what you need to do ultimately when you play in the playoffs and go deep            will televise at least one semifinal game and the gold medal game.
there, so I think that will be great for me,” Lehtonen said. “It’s the same
thing probably as a playoff situation, because it’s always goalie battles and       Dallas Morning News LOADED: 04.29.2012
you try to be the better one. I think that’ll be good for me to get that
experience again.”
Because the Stars have missed the playoffs for four consecutive seasons,
they have to find any way they can to improve. Pacific Division rivals
Phoenix and Los Angeles have advanced to the second round of the
Stanley Cup playoffs, and that’s valuable experience for those teams.
The Stars are hoping they will get similar boosts from having seven players
at the World Championship — Lehtonen (Finland), Loui Eriksson (Sweden),
Jamie Benn (Canada), Alex Goligoski and Richard Bachman (USA), Philip
Larsen (Denmark) and Tomas Vincour (Czech Republic).
“In the case of some of these guys, they want to make a good impression
and get some international experience with the Olympics right around the
corner, and I think that’s all part of it,” Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk said. “In
the case of Kari, I think it’s important that he plays under that microscope
and backstops his country. I think it will be good for him.”
The country part is big for Lehtonen. He will be the most important person
for one of the host teams, and Finland has already been slotted as the
favorite to win. What’s more, he will return to his hometown of Helsinki and
the same arena where he led Jokerit to the 2002 Finish Elite League
championship.
“I don’t think that hurts, to go back after 10 years since I left, and to go back
to the same building,” Lehtonen said. “I think that will be pretty cool.”
While Lehtonen played just two playoff games with Atlanta in five seasons
and posted a 5.59 goals-against average and .849 save percentage to get
himself pulled from the lineup, he actually has a good history of postseason
play at different levels. He led Jokerit to the 2002 title by going 8-2 with a
1.73 GAA and .940 save percentage. He led the Chicago Wolves to the
AHL Finals in 2005 with a 10-6 record and a 1.71 GAA and .939 save
percentage.
And in 2007, he led Finland to the World Championship silver medal.
“If you saw him when he was young, you were just blown away,” said Stars
goaltending coach Mike Valley, who played in Europe. “He is so talented
and just so naturally gifted. And now, he’s mixing that talent with hard work
and experience, and you’re starting to see that he can be one of the best
goalies in the world.”
Lehtonen has always had that potential. He was taken second overall in the
2002 draft and has posted a 2.71 GAA and .914 save percentage in his
NHL career. In recent years, he has climbed the charts, moving from 19th in
the NHL in goals against (2.55) in 2010-11 to 10th (2.33) in 2011-12.
“You always try to get better, and I know that the past couple of years I’ve
been around 20-30 or 15-25 in the league,” he said. “I’d really like to get
into that top-10 elite goalie group, and I think I’m pushing towards that and
getting closer.”
Keeping that patience and persistence can be a problem at times, but that’s
why something like a trip to the World Championship can be such a good
thing.
“It is hard, and you do feel kind of silly sometimes, saying you want
something so bad and then it’s another whole year away,” he said of the
drive to make the playoffs. “But, it’s my job to do everything I can to be the
best I can be, and that’s what I’m committed to. There will be rough patches
628888     Detroit Red Wings


Red Wings' Danny Cleary faces knee surgery after rough season


By Helene St. James


Red Wings forward Danny Cleary plans to undergo knee surgery this week,
something in retrospect he wishes he'd done in November.
The 2011-12 season was Cleary's least productive since he joined the
Wings six years ago. He used that '05-06 debut to show he could be a top-
six forward, and went on to produce three 20-plus goal seasons. The Wings
had him penned in to play next to Pavel Datsyuk coming out of training
camp last fall, but Cleary suffered a rib injury during exhibition season,
which hindered his effectiveness even as he returned in October.
About a week after that injury cleared up, his left knee started bothering
him. "Looking back, I was hoping it would calm down," Cleary said. "It just
didn't."
Instead, it got progressively worse. Cleary received injections of gel to
reduce the pain of bone grinding against bone. He got his knee drained
numerous times to remove fluid buildup. Still he kept playing, trying to be a
physical, checking presence on the third line and help on the penalty kill.
"Listen, I tried as hard as I could," he said. "I did everything I could. It's hard
playing on one leg. I walked with a limp since November. So the games
were really hard."
Cleary, 33, said the surgery will take care of "significant issues -- tears,
loose cartilage, bone-on-bone, lot of fluid. The buildup of fluid was a major
issue. I'm hoping to get it resolved."
Cleary has become, as general manager Ken Holland put it, "a Red Wing,"
meaning Cleary is looked upon as part of the team's core fabric, someone
who sets a positive example for the younger players. He also is counted on
for scoring, and his 12 goals and 33 points in the regular season were far
below expectations. He has had some big performances in the playoffs, and
his inability to really be a factor this season hurt the Wings against the
Predators.
When he spoke about the situation last week as the Wings cleaned out their
lockers, Cleary said that in hindsight, he should have had surgery in
November; at that time, even with the standard 6-8 weeks of recovery, he
would have been back around the All-Star break.
Instead, he'll have four months to recover and rehabilitate. His sense of
humor, at least, has not been impaired; when a TV reporter asked Cleary if
there was a chance he might not play again, Cleary laughed and said:
"That's a little drastic."
Detroit Free Press LOADED: 04.29.2012
628889     Detroit Red Wings                                                     71 games. Was fine in a limited role in the playoffs, even contributing a
                                                                                 goal.
                                                                                 Valtteri Filppula
Red Wings final grades: No 'A's', team gets 'F' for playoffs
                                                                                 B: Broke through with a personal-high 23 goals and 66 points in the regular
                                                                                 season, finally playing like a star. He didn't show the same dominance in
By Helene St. James                                                              the playoffs, reverting to more of an outside game. Had just two assists
                                                                                 against Nashville.
                                                                                 Johan Franzen
The Red Wings judge themselves on how they perform in the playoffs, and
as coach Mike Babcock said a week ago Friday after the team was                  D: Led the team with 29 goals and a plus-23 in the regular season, then
bounced in the first round by Nashville, losing a series, 4-1, "isn't close."    followed with one goal in the playoffs, when the puck went in off his skate.
                                                                                 Immensely talented, but capable of doing more given his size and skill.
Essentially, as a group, the Wings flunked. They couldn't succeed
offensively against Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne, and failed                 Darren Helm
defensively because of some doozy mistakes. The stars didn't deliver, and        B: Had a tough start, then got going in December and January. His energy
neither did the role players. About the only thing that did work was the         is infectious, and he's a huge reason for the PK's success. He overcame a
penalty kill, and it's rare to see a Stanley Cup champion crowned thanks         knee injury in March to play 3 minutes in the playoffs before getting hurt.
solely to having shut down the opponent's power play.
                                                                                 Tomas Holmstrom
I combined regular season and playoffs into one final grade, because how
poorly the Wings fared in the playoffs defines this season more than the         C: Scored 10 of his 11 goals on the power play, otherwise taking shifts as a
fact they were leading the NHL with 67 points at the All-Star break. As a        fourth-liner. Isn't able to be a top-line guy anymore, which limits his
team, the Wings get an A for the first half, a C for the second half, and an F   effectiveness. Had a goal and an assist in the playoffs.
for the playoffs.
                                                                                 Jiri Hudler
Can't come out of the playoffs having won one game, none at home, and
find many positives, but guys like Valtteri Filppula and Jiri Hudler had         B: Had a great regular season with 25 goals and 50 points, adapting to
outstanding regular seasons, while Henrik Zetterberg was the team's best         playing a net-front role and finding a home playing with Henrik Zetterberg.
player against Nashville after a regular season that was unremarkable until      Was one of two Wings to score twice on Pekka Rinne in the playoffs.
the last six weeks.                                                              Drew Miller
Pavel Datsyuk, meanwhile, gets measured against the fact he had to deal          C: Continued to show progress, contributing 14 goals among 25 points as a
with facing Nashville's dynamic defensive duo of Shea Weber and Ryan             mainstay on the third line. Wasn't nearly as effective after losing Helm as
Suter. And veteran Todd Bertuzzi, who was playing hurt down the stretch,         his center, and struggled in the playoffs.
gets his playoff grade bumped for taking on Weber, who is a 6-foot-4 tank
of a 20-something, to send a message when the NHL failed to do so.               Jan Mursak
How things went for the 2011-12 Red Wings was summed in a nutshell by            C: Had a broken ankle the first half, then came back and had a hard time
captain Nicklas Lidstrom four days after it all ended. "We felt that we had a    keeping up. He's supposed to be a grinder, an energy guy, but he doesn't
good team, and I thought we did play well during the regular season. In the      set himself apart despite his speed or ability to forecheck. Was a healthy
playoffs, we didn’t get up to our standards. We didn’t play well enough to       scratch in the playoffs.
beat a very good Nashville team. That stinks."
                                                                                 Gustav Nyquist
Here are the final grades:
                                                                                 B: Impressed with his heads-up play after being called up late in the regular
Forwards Justin Abdelkader                                                       season. So good he got to play some on the top line, and subbed in after
                                                                                 Helm was injured in the playoffs. He's expected to be a regular next
C: Took a step forward in the regular season with a career-high eight goals      season.
and 22 points, and showed himself adept as a center/left wing. Struggled in
the playoffs and didn't provide much of the physicality the Wings so badly       Henrik Zetterberg
needed.
                                                                                 B: Was slow out of the gate, and didn't heat up until the last third of the
Todd Bertuzzi                                                                    season, when he pumped 34 points into the last 30 games to finish as the
                                                                                 leading scorer with 69 points. Followed that by being the team's best player
B: Started the season on the third line, then got moved to top line where he     in the playoffs.
helped jump-start Pavel Datsyuk. Had 14 goals and was plus-23. Didn't
have any points in the playoffs, but full marks for being the one to fight       Defensemen Jonathan Ericsson
Weber.
                                                                                 C: Finished the regular season with a career-high plus-16 and cut his
Danny Cleary                                                                     penalties to 47 minutes. He was reliable on the penalty kill. Had no points
                                                                                 and was minus-one in playoffs.
C: Between a rib injury and a steadily worsening left knee, he spent most of
the season injured and on the third line, where he had 33 points. Skated         Jakub Kindl
better in playoffs, delivering hits and helping the PK, but didn't produce
offensively.                                                                     C: Tailed off after a solid first half and didn't play with the physical edge the
                                                                                 Wings want to see from him. Could be gone next season. Didn't appear in
Pavel Datsyuk                                                                    the playoffs.
B: A slow start segued into a much better middle, then knee surgery in           Niklas Kronwall
March. He finished with 67 points in 70 games. Few can contain this puck
magician, but Weber and Suter made life hard on him in the playoffs.             C: Had a good season with a career-high 15 goals, but his minus-two after
                                                                                 82 games was the first time he has finished with a negative rating. Not his
Patrick Eaves                                                                    usual physical self in the playoffs, minus-two again.
INC.: Was fighting to be a regular in rotation, then suffered season-ending      B: Had a great first half, but missed 11 games with a sore ankle in the
injury in late November.                                                         second half. He still finished with 34 points, and a plus-21. Hampered by
                                                                                 the ankle, he didn't have any postseason points for the first time in 20
Cory Emmerton                                                                    years.
B: Entered the season having made the team by default but still needing to       Kyle Quincey
prove himself as a regular. Pretty solid performance overall with six goals in
D: Got thrown into a bigger role after being acquired Feb. 21 and struggled
with the transition. Didn't have a good playoffs, especially in Game 5, when
his turnover led to Nashville's first goal.
Brendan Smith
B: Contributed one goal and seven points in 14 games, showing his
offensive instincts and why'll he be a regular next season, though he needs
to cut down on some of his risk-taking. Didn't play in the playoffs.
Brad Stuart
C: Had a solid regular season, playing his usual physical, stay-at-home
game while still contributing six goals and 21 points. Was a minus-five in
the playoffs, but his one assist was setting up Game 2's game-winning goal.
Ian White
C: His plus-minus rating was dazzling the first half of the season, but he
looked more pedestrian the second half after losing Lidstrom as a partner.
Good passer and offensive instincts, but not great in his own zone.
Goaltenders Ty Conklin
D: Struggled more than he succeeded in the regular season, was waived,
then brought back up because of injuries, winning consecutive games for
the first time. Didn't play in playoffs.
Jimmy Howard
B: Great first half that led to his first All-Star Game appearance. Spent most
of the second hurt. He didn't have good numbers in the playoffs (2.64 GAA,
.888 save percentage) but his skaters hung him out to dry on numerous
goals.
Joey MacDonald
B: Got pushed to the minors by Conklin when the season began, then came
up and played steadily, going 8-5-1 with a 2.16 goals-against average and
.912 save percentage before being sidelined in mid-March by a bulging
disk.
Coaching staff Mike Babcock & Co.
C: Babcock and his assistants had the team cruising along the first half, in
position to make a run at the Presidents' Trophy. Injuries ravaged the team
in March, and overall the second half was marked by losses (seven
victories the last 22 games). The overarching story of the regular season
was the failure of the power play (16.1%, 22nd in NHL) and an inability to
win on the road (17-21-3). One victory in the playoffs speaks for itself.
Detroit Free Press LOADED: 04.29.2012
628890     Detroit Red Wings


NHL roundup: Ex-Wing Whitney nets winner for Coyotes


Detroit Free Press News Services


GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Former Red Wing Ray Whitney scored 14:04 into
overtime, and the Phoenix Coyotes survived another late goal in regulation
to open the Western Conference semifinals with a 4-3 victory over the
Nashville Predators on Friday night.
Phoenix was 33-1 when leading after two periods during the regular
season, but has struggled to close out playoff games. The Coyotes allowed
four tying third-period goals against Chicago in the first round and did it
again, giving up Martin Erat's goal on a power play with 4:42 left.
Despite spending most of the third period and overtime in their own zone,
the Coyotes won their first second-round NHL playoff game ever when
Whitney slipped a backhander between Pekka Rinne's pads after a face-off
in Nashville's zone.
Game 2 is Sunday in Phoenix.
Super stoppers: Two long-time have-not franchises that took off after
switching coaches midseason are among the last eight standing in the
Stanley Cup playoffs.
Ken Hitchcock of the St. Louis Blues and Darryl Sutter of the Los Angeles
Kings both have top-shelf goaltending and the two stingiest defenses
overall.
Both teams dispatched their first-round opponents in five games, too, with
relentless styles of play. That leaves plenty of time to prepare for Game 1 of
the Western Conference semifinals tonight.
The biggest stars are in the net. Kings goalie Jonathan Quick is a finalist for
the Vezina Trophy, set a franchise record with a league-leading 10 shutouts
and had a 1.59 goals-against average in the first round while allowing just
eight goals in 172 shots. He shut out the Blues twice in the regular season.
The Blues can match that, even with one half of their goalie tandem. Brian
Elliott led the NHL with a 1.56 goals-against average in the regular season
and the last of his nine shutouts in that shootout loss to the Kings. Elliott
was better in the first round, stopping 98 of 103 shots after Jaroslav Halak
was sidelined with an injury believed to be an ankle sprain in Game 2.
More Details: NHL playoffs
No. 2 St. Louis vs. No. 8 Los Angeles
Kings lead, 1-0
Saturday: Kings, 3-1
Game 2: 9 Monday
No. 3 Phoenix vs. No. 4 Nashville
Coyotes lead, 1-0
Friday: Coyotes, 4-3 (OT)
Game 2: 8 tonight
No. 1 N.Y. Rangers vs. No. 7 Was.
Rangers lead, 1-0
Saturday: Rangers, 3-1
Game 2: 7:30 Monday
No. 5 Philly vs. No. 6 New Jersey
Series starts today
Game 1: At Philadelphia, 3:00
Game 2: 7:30 Tuesday
Detroit Free Press LOADED: 04.29.2012
628891     Detroit Red Wings


Red Wings' Joey MacDonald expects to avoid back surgery and be ready
for start of next season


Ansar Khan


DETROIT – Detroit Red Wings goaltender Joey MacDonald believes he will
not need back surgery this off-season and expects to be ready to play at
the start of training camp in September.
MacDonald hasn't been on the ice since March 14, when his back flared up
in a 4-0 loss at Anaheim. He has a slightly bulging disc, but it has
responded well to treatment.
“I had two injections (of cortisone) already, can see a big improvement,''
MacDonald said. “I can do another (injection) in 10 days.
“It's going in the right direction. I'm working out, doing stuff I wasn't allowed
to do for three weeks.''
MacDonald, who had back surgery in 2006, is hoping to put on his
equipment and get on the ice in the next week or so to test his back.
“I still believe if we would have continued on I would have been skating
probably within the next week or two (but not playing),'' MacDonald said.
“I'm going to stick around here for another 3-4 weeks. Before I leave I want
to be 100 percent, ready to rock.''
MacDonald, 32, has one year remaining on his contract ($550,000), which
is one-way (NHL-salary only), and is slated to be Jimmy Howard's back-up
next season.
MacDonald unseated Ty Conklin as the backup following a strong stretch in
February, after he was recalled from the Grand Rapids Griffins to replace
the injured Howard.
MacDonald won seven games in a row and went 8-5-1, with a 2.16 goals-
against average and .912 save percentage.
“Disappointed in the end, when I got hurt, but getting the opportunity to
come in and play a lot, put in tough situations, like when we had that home
streak going, I thought overall it was good,'' MacDonald said. “Even down in
Grand Rapids I thought I played well. Getting a chance up here to prove I
can be the second guy (was good).''
Kronwall to play in Worlds
Defenseman Niklas Kronwall will join Sweden for the World Championship,
which starts May 4 in Helsinki, Finland, and Stockholm, Sweden.
He is the 10th Red Wing confirmed for the tournament, joining Henrik
Zetterberg, Johan Franzen and Jonathan Ericsson (Sweden); Howard and
Justin Abdelkader (U.S.); Pavel Datsyuk (Russia); Valtteri Filppula
(Finland); Jakub Kindl (Czech Republic); and Tomas Tatar (Slovakia).
Michigan Live LOADED: 04.29.2012
628892     Florida Panthers                                                       • Madden said he will need nasal surgery after colliding with teammate
                                                                                  Tomas Kopecky during the first period Thursday. Madden has lacerations
                                                                                  under and above his blackened right eye as well as a number of stitches in
Clean-out day somber for Florida Panthers                                         his nose. Madden, who will be 39 on Friday, said he wants to continue his
                                                                                  NHL career.
                                                                                  “Having a collision with your teammate isn’t the way you want to go out,”
By George Richards                                                                said Madden, a veteran of 13 NHL seasons. “I feel I have some hockey left
                                                                                  in me and hopefully I’ll find somewhere to play next year.”
                                                                                  Miami Herald LOADED: 04.29.2012
The Panthers console their goalie Jose Theodore as they watch the Devils
celebrate their win in double overtime. The Florida Panthers play host to the
New Jersey Devils in Game 7 of their first round playoff series at the
BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise on Thursday, April 26, 2012.
Al Diaz / Staff The Panthers console their goalie Jose Theodore as they
watch the Devils celebrate their win in double overtime. The Florida
Panthers play host to the New Jersey Devils in Game 7 of their first round
playoff series at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise on Thursday, April 26,
2012.
One by one, the Panthers pulled into their training facility under dreary
conditions.
The soft rain and constant cloud cover was a fitting backdrop as the team
came to Coral Springs to meet with team management for the final time this
season. The players then lugged their prepacked, oversized bags to
vehicles out back and headed into the offseason.
Unlike last year, locker clean-out day wasn’t a foregone conclusion days
before it actually happened. Last year, the end of the season came
mercifully as the Panthers limped into last place in the Eastern Conference.
This time around, the Panthers packed up wondering what could have
been. One well-timed goal Thursday night (or even Friday morning) and
Florida would be playing Philadelphia in the conference semifinals right
now.
“This day is always tough, coming in and cleaning out your locker,” veteran
defenseman Ed Jovanovski said. “It’s always tough to say goodbye to the
fellows. As a group, there were a lot of positives. [Being] a goal away from
advancing is something to be proud of. But once you get a taste of it, you
want more. We’ll build from it.”
The Panthers have a number of personnel decisions to make, although
nothing close to what they had to deal with last summer.
Thanks to general manager Dale Tallon’s work last year, Florida has 17
players who played for the team this year under contract for next season
and holds the rights to four more. The Panthers also have prospects —
such as Jonathan Huberdeau and Jacob Markstrom — who could play here
next year.
Free agents include goalie Scott Clemmensen and forwards Mikael
Samuelsson, John Madden, Marco Sturm and Krys Barch.
• Defenseman Jason Garrison also is a free agent as his two-year deal is
up, and he will garner a big raise over the $675,000 he made last year.
Garrison had a career year with 16 goals after having seven combined over
the previous two seasons.
“Not one guy on this team doesn’t want to be a part of this,” Garrison said.
• Kris Versteeg, who is a restricted free agent, said he will have surgery to
repair his bothersome hip Wednesday in Nashville. Versteeg said he has
made it clear he wants to stay with the Panthers.
“I want a long-term deal,” said Versteeg, who scored a career-high 23 goals
this season. “I would be lying if I said I didn’t.”
• Tomas Fleischmann confirmed he played the final six games of the Devils
series with a broken left pinkie he sustained after being slashed late in
Game  1. Fleischmann scored an empty-net goal in Game2 but said he
struggled to control the puck because of the injury.
• Sean Bergenheim broke a bone in his foot after being struck by a shot by
Garrison in the first period Thursday. Bergenheim, using a walking boot
Saturday, didn’t come out of the game and played 30 shifts — 25 after
being injured — in the series finale.
“It’s no big deal,” Bergenheim said. “It’s a good time to be a hockey player. I
love the playoffs.”
628893     Florida Panthers                                                       “It was tough. You work all season for this and then you get an injury like
                                                                                  this in the playoffs,'' Fleischmann said.
                                                                                  --Sean Bergenheim broke a bone in his foot after being struck by a Jason
PACK 'EM UP: Florida Panthers Clear Out Lockers, Head into Offseason              Garrison shot in the first period on Thursday. Bergenheim, using a walking
                                                                                  boot Saturday, didn't come out of the game and played 30 shifts – 25 after
                                                                                  being hurt – in the series finale.
BY GEORGE RICHARDS
                                                                                  “[Garrison's] shot was going in the net but it hit me,'' Bergenheim said. “It
                                                                                  was pretty painful. The doctors gave me some pain medication and I was
                                                                                  able to play the game. But that's what the playoffs are all about. Guys play
One by one, the Panthers pulled into their training facility under dreary         in pain. It's no big deal. It's a good time to be a hockey player. I love the
conditions.                                                                       playoffs.''
The soft rain and constant cloud cover was a fitting backdrop as the team         --Madden said he will need nasal surgery after colliding with teammate
came to Coral Springs to meet with team management for the final time this        Tomas Kopecky during the first period Thursday. Madden has lacerations
season.                                                                           under and above his blackened right eye as well as a number of stitches on
                                                                                  his nose.
The players then lugged their pre-packed oversized bags to vehicles out
back and headed into the offseason.                                               Madden, who will be 39 on Friday, says he wants to continue his NHL
                                                                                  career.
Unlike last year, locker clean-out day wasn't a foregone conclusion days
before it actually happened. Last year, the end of the season came                “I hope it wasn't, especially after the way it ended,'' said Madden when
mercifully as the Panthers limped into last place in the Eastern Conference       asked if Thursday may have been his last game after 13 NHL seasons.
as coach Pete DeBoer was fired on a Sunday morning; the players returned
the following Monday to grab their stuff.                                         “Having a collision with your teammate isn't the way you want to go out. I
                                                                                  feel I have some hockey left in me and hopefully I'll find somewhere to play
SechampsphotoThis time around, the Panthers packed up wondering what              next year. My meeting went well with Dale and Kevin. We'll keep the line of
could have been. One well-timed goal Thursday night (or even Friday               communication open.''
morning) and Florida would be playing Philadelphia in the conference
semifinals right now.                                                             Miami Herald LOADED: 04.29.2012

“This day is always tough, coming in and cleaning out your locker,'' veteran
defenseman Ed Jovanovski said.
“It's always tough to say goodbye to the fellas. As a group, there were a lot
of positives. We were a goal away from advancing is something, yeah, to
be proud of. But once you get a taste of it, you want more. We'll build from
it.''
The Panthers have a number of personnel decisions to make, although
nothing close to what they had to deal with last summer. When the
Panthers cleared things out last year, only a handful knew whether they
were returning or not. This time around, most know their fate with the
Panthers.
Florida, thanks to GM Dale Tallon's work last year, has 17 players who
played for the team this year under contract for next season and hold the
rights to four more.
The Panthers also have prospects – like Jonathan Huberdeau and Jacob
Markstrom – who could play here next year.
One by one, players who are free agents said they would welcome a return
to the Panthers next season.
Those who are free agents include goalie Scott Clemmensen, forwards
Mikael Samuelsson, John Madden, Marco Sturm and Krys Barch.
“We talked about it a little bit and we'll see what the future brings,''
Samuelsson said. “If it happens, that Ibelievewould be great. If I doesn't, I'm
respectful of the decisions they make. Everything worked easy here. We
had a real positive atmosphere here.''
--Defenseman Jason Garrison is also a free agent as his two-year deal is
up and he will garner a big raise over the $675,000 he made last year.
Garrison had a career year with 16 goals after having seven combined over
the previous two seasons.
“I want to be here and I want to play here but it's not under my control. We'll
see what happens,'' Garrison said. “Not one guy on this team doesn't want
to be a part of this.''
--Kris Versteeg, who is a restricted free agent, said he will have surgery to
repair his bothersome hip on Wednesday in Nashville. Versteeg says he
has made it clear he wants to stay with the Panthers.
“I would like to get something done,'' said Versteeg, who scored a career-
high 23 goals this season. “I want a long-term deal. I would be lying if I said
I didn't.''
--Tomas Fleischmann confirmed he played the final six games of the Devils
series with a broken left pinkie suffered after being slashed late in Game 1.
Fleischmann notched an empty net goal in Game 2 but said he struggled to
control the puck because of the wrecked digit.
628894     Florida Panthers                                                      Dineen rarely criticizes his players publicly but he did take a shot at forward
                                                                                 Scottie Upshall, who had a non-productive, injury-plagued first season in
                                                                                 South Florida with five points in 26 games. Upshall, who played better in the
Battered but undaunted Florida Panthers vow to advance even further next         playoffs, is signed for three more years at $10.5 million.
season                                                                           "It wasn't a very good year for Scottie,'' Dineen said. "It was an up and
                                                                                 down season. When he was healthy we didn't get the production we would
                                                                                 like out of him to exploit the skill-set that he has, the shot and speed, so the
Harvey Fialkov                                                                   expectations will be a lot higher next year.'' …
                                                                                 Dineen praises Sameulsson

CORAL SPRINGS — Moving days are usually fraught with a sense of                  Dineen made it clear that he'd like the Panthers to re-sign Samuelsson, 35,
melancholy over the past and excitement to what lies ahead.                      who once his hernia was healed at midseason became a key ingredient to
                                                                                 the Panthers power play and a productive second line with Marcel Goc and
That was the general mood in the Panthers locker room at Saveology.com           Bergenheim.
Iceplex on a dank Saturday afternoon as the playoff beards were gone and
players were packing up for their offseason about a month earlier than they      "He will play a number of years because of that intelligence, the way he can
hoped to.                                                                        manage a game within his skill set,'' Dineen said.

"This day is always tough, coming in, getting stuff out of your locker,'' said   Goc will forgo a vacation to once again play for Team Germany in the
Panthers defenseman Ed Jovanovski, 35, the only active link on the               upcoming World Championships so he could play with his brother Sascha.
Panthers who played for the 1996 Stanley Cup finalist squad. "Saying
goodbye to the fellas is always a tough day but a lot of positives. Being a      Sun Sentinel LOADED: 04.29.2012
goal away from advancing is something we can be proud of, but once you
have a taste of it you want more.''
While everyone was still hurting from the sudden ending to the season in
Thursday's heartbreaking, double-overtime Game 7 loss to the Devils, they
also couldn't wait to return to continue the momentum of a franchise on the
rise.
"I believed we could make it past the first round and it's even tougher when
you saw all the determination from the players and the whole season is
decided by one goal,'' forward Tomas Kopecky said. "Next year we're going
to be even hungrier.''
But before the mostly international players dispersed to all corners of the
globe, they had their individual exit meetings with General Manager Dale
Tallon and coach Kevin Dineen to discuss the past season as well as their
uncertain futures.
The Panthers have six free agents to decide on, including key ones such as
defenseman Jason Garrison, forward Mikael Samuelsson and goalie Scott
Clemmensen, along with veterans John Madden, Krys Barch and Marco
Sturm.
"Always hard decisions that affect your long-term future,'' Dineen said. "We
work within a fiscally responsible framework that has to be respected.''
Kris Versteeg, coming off a career-high 23 goals and 54 points, is one of
four restricted free agents who's seeking a long-term contract after playing
with six organizations in five years.
"When you travel as much as I have I guess you're never quite settled,''
Versteeg joked.
But first Versteeg and several offensive cogs will require medical attention
before starting their vacations after revealing they had been playing with
serious injuries throughout the first-round series.
Versteeg is going to Nashville on Wednesday for hip surgery to repair an
impinged cist that has affected his mobility since late February.
"[The hip] affected pretty much everything … but I'm not making excuses
because when you do, that's where you get yourself in trouble,'' said
Versteeg, who scored only two goals in the final 18 games of the regular
season, but had three in the playoffs.
Tomas Fleischmann, the team's leading scorer in the regular season,
played with a broken left hand and pinky since Game 2 of the playoffs,
which explains why he was mostly invisible until being demoted from the
top line in Game 7.
"It was my shooting hand,'' said Fleischmann, whose only playoff goal was
an empty-netter. "It was tough, you work all season for the playoffs and
when you get there you get this injury and feel like you can't do much about
it.''
Sean Bergenheim, who added to his playoff lore with four more goals,
giving him 12 in 23 games, sustained a fractured left foot early in Game 7
on a shot by Garrison.
Dineen criticizes Upshall
628895     Los Angeles Kings                                                      "We're just trying to play good defense and hopefully that leads to some
                                                                                  chances," he said. "If we're playing our system the right way, then maybe
                                                                                  we get a couple of chances. We've been lucky to capitalize so far in the
It's plodder's day for Kings' Matt Greene                                         playoffs, but you've got to protect first before you start thinking about that."
                                                                                  The race might not always go to the swiftest skater, and the Kings' race is
                                                                                  far from over.
Helene Elliott
                                                                                  "It's definitely a great feeling to be able to chip in and help out a little bit, but
                                                                                  we've got a lot of work to do," Greene said. "It's fun right now, but it's a new
                                                                                  day tomorrow."
ST. LOUIS — Kings defenseman Matt Greene dashed up the right side
                                                                                  For Greene, tomorrow can't come lumbering along fast enough.
No, that's not accurate. The Michigan native plods more than he dashes.
                                                                                  LA Times: LOADED: 04.29.2012
OK. Greene, known for his rugged defensive play rather than his scoring
touch, darted toward the St. Louis Blues' net
No, that doesn't capture the spirit of the thing, either.
Greene himself came up with the best description of his pace in scoring the
short-handed goal that launched the Kings to a 3-1 victory over the Blues
on Saturday in the opener of their Western Conference semifinal series.
"Lumbered," he said. "Maybe that's it."
He's not the guy you'd pick to get to the net fastest, but somehow he was
there and in position to convert the rebound of a shot by Dustin Brown that
had been stopped by St. Louis goaltender Brian Elliott.
"You get there eventually," Greene said.
The tortoise beat the hares Saturday at Scottrade Center, with Greene
providing the winner on his first career playoff goal. It was also the first
short-handed goal by a Kings defenseman since Rob Blake scored one
against Calgary in 1993, the year the Kings made their only trip to the
Stanley Cup finals.
Almost scary, isn't it?
It's too early to predict what will happen in this series, let alone the Cup
finals, but the Kings are getting valuable contributions from unexpected
sources.
With their top line neutralized by the Blues on Saturday, winger Dustin
Penner and the defense corps provide their scoring. Penner fed an
onrushing Slava Voynov for the goal that brought the Kings even at 1-1 at
16:58 of the first period, and Greene trailed Brown up ice on the go-ahead
goal late in the second period. Penner also banked a shot off the boards
and into an empty net with 15 seconds left to clinch the Kings' sixth
consecutive road playoff triumph.
The short-handed goal was the turning point, and it was possible because
Greene made a good read.
"I just kind of got lucky on the play, following it up and took a chance at it.
That's definitely not drawn up," Greene said. "Brownie had a jump on his
guy and I was looking for a drop pass and maybe just more of a decoy. And
the puck was just laying there and I just tried to chip it."
And so he did. The colors of this series were expected to be black and blue,
not Brown and Greene, but that goal surprised the Blues probably even
more than it surprised Greene.
"Their D beat one of our forwards back up the ice," Blues Coach Ken
Hitchcock said of Greene, almost as if he couldn't believe it.
Greene on Saturday also displayed a rare talent: He drew smiles from both
Coach Darryl Sutter and goaltender Jonathan Quick.
Sutter is blunt and can be contrary with reporters, but he grinned like a kid
with a new toy when asked about Greene's goal.
"It was awesome to see Matt Greene go all the way, 200 feet, to the blue
paint to score," Sutter said.
Quick, whose strong first period kept the Kings afloat against the fast-
starting Blues, is polite in interviews but usually serious and unemotional.
But he couldn't help smiling while discussing Greene's goal-scoring feat.
"Good for him," Quick said. "He's blocked so many shots on the PK, it's
good to see him get one and put one in the net there."
Not that Greene expects to make it a habit. He said his short-handed goal
— the Kings' third in postseason play this spring — was almost an accident
and not by design.
628896     Los Angeles Kings                                                      Not that anyone can quite figure Penner out, teammates and coaches
                                                                                  included.
                                                                                  "Pens, for a guy who probably catches a lot of … stuff … but when he's on
Defense answers for Kings in series-opening win                                   his game, he's a pretty effective player," Brown said. "Especially against a
                                                                                  team like this. There's not many guys when he wants to play that can
                                                                                  probably match him physically.
By Lisa Dillman
                                                                                  "That was a great game by him. Now we need another one."
                                                                                  LA Times: LOADED: 04.29.2012
ST. LOUIS — Answer: Matt Greene, Dustin Penner and Jonathan Quick.
Question: Who happened to be three stars — in no particular order — in the
Kings' 3-1 victory over the Blues on Saturday in Game 1 of the Western
Conference semifinals?
Serious questions demand serious answers. Seriously.
This isn't some strange hockey quiz with Quick's name thrown in for a whiff
of credibility. Indeed, Quick was his usual (nearly) impenetrable self in
making 28 saves in the series opener and keeping the Kings from losing a
grip under early Blues pressure.
Sink or swim.
The same could be applied to Penner, who assisted on the Kings' first goal,
showing self-assurance and patience in the first period in setting up
defenseman Slava Voynov, who was pinching on the right side. It was
Voynov's first career playoff goal, tying the game 1-1. Then Penner
displayed a clever sense of geometry, scoring an empty-netter after he
banked it off the far boards with 14.2 seconds left.
In between those two Penner flashes was the defining moment of the
game. Greene, a defenseman's defenseman, scored his first career playoff
goal and the game-winner. It was a short-handed effort as he knocked in a
rebound off captain Dustin Brown's shot off a hard drive to the net.
"I've seen him score goals, but I haven't seen him jump up on a five-on-five
play in five years," Brown said smiling.
The eighth-seeded Kings have won their last six playoff games on the road,
including four from this post-season campaign, three from the Vancouver
series and Saturday night's win at Scotttrade Center against the second-
seeded Blues.
Penner acknowledged the bludgeoning effect of Greene's effort and the
overall impact. This was the Kings' third short-handed goal of the playoffs.
"If I'm on the other team, that's deflating," Penner said.
The goal came with 1:03 left in the second period and gave the Kings a 2-1
lead. St. Louis was on the power play after the Kings' Dwight King received
a two-minute minor for boarding Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo.
He went into the end boards and did not return to the game. The officials
did not see that Pietrangelo was cut under his chin and was bleeding.
"We were both going for the puck," King said. "He was going slow. I got
position on the inside of him … and I leaned on him. He was off balance
and fell."
Kay Whitmore, the NHL supervisor of officiating for the series, said the
officials did not see the cut.
"Their judgment of the degree of violence … they deemed it a minor
penalty, and that's why they called it a minor," Whitmore told a pool
reporter. "It's their judgment. They see the whole play unfold, and they
didn't deem, in this instance obviously, that King drove [Pietrangelo] into the
boards."
This was the first time the Kings have managed to win a playoff game
against the Blues; they were swept in two previous series. Then again, the
first one was in 1969.
"When you play Los Angeles, there's a price to pay to win," Blues Coach
Ken Hitchcock said. "There's a high price, and if we expect to win the next
game, we're going to have to pay a bigger price than the one we paid. And I
don't mean just physical play."
And then there's a seemingly rejuvenated Penner. His insurance goal was
his second of the playoffs and fourth point. The Manitoba native was his
usual amusing self about the bank shot.
"I wasn't aiming for that part of the boards," he said. "They curl a lot in
Manitoba. I practice a bit. We just didn't have men sweeping."
628897     Los Angeles Kings


Kings win series opener at St. Louis, 3-1


By Lisa Dillman


ST. LOUIS -- And the defense led the way ... at both ends.
Defensemen Slava Voynov and Matt Greene scored their first career playoff
goals to lead the Kings to a 3-1 victory over the Blues on Saturday night at
Scottrade Center in Game 1 of a Western Conference semifinal series.
Greene's goal, a shorthanded effort, put the Kings ahead for good, 2-1, with
1:03 remaining in the second period. The Kings didn't ice the victory until an
empty-net goal by Dustin Penner with 14.2 seconds left.
Penner was responsible for setting up Voynov's goal at 16:58 of the first
period, tying the game at 1-1.
Goaltender Jonathan Quick, again, kept the Kings in it, facing an early
barrage from the Blues, who dominated the first period. Quick faced 29
shots in the game.
[Update, 8:36 p.m.: David Backes, and not David Perron, opened the
scoring on a deflection of a shot by Alex Pietrangelo in the first period for
the Blues, who got 26 saves from goalie Brian Elliott.]
The victory gives the Kings a 4-0 road record in these playoffs. Game 2 is
Monday night in St. Louis.
This was the first time the Kings have won a game against the Blues in the
playoffs. In their two previous postseason meetings, the Blues swept the
Kings, in 1969 and 1998.
LA Times: LOADED: 04.29.2012
628898      Los Angeles Kings                                                        Greene scored his first career playoff goal in 36 games and earned just his
                                                                                     third point. He has 11 career goals in seven seasons.
                                                                                     Pietrangelo led all skaters with 16:26 of ice time the first two periods. He
KINGS 3, ST. LOUIS 1: Behind Quick, L.A. takes opener, improves to 5-1 in            had a cut on his chin in the locker room before trainer Ray Barile escorted
postseason                                                                           him away from reporters.
                                                                                     "It's a pretty good trade when their third line gets a penalty and our best
By R.B. Fallstrom, The Associated Press                                              player is out for the rest of the game," Backes said. "Hopefully he's back for
                                                                                     the next one.
                                                                                     "He doesn't sit there and embellish and wait for the medic unit to come out.
ST. LOUIS - Goals from unexpected sources put the Kings in position for              He's tough and he gets up and he skates off."
another road triumph. Jonathan Quick - no surprise there - made them
stand up.                                                                            Both teams snapped lengthy droughts in the series in the first period.

Matt Greene scored his first career playoff goal short-handed late in the            Backes' deflection at 9:16 ended Quick's shutout streak of 1:05:38 against
second period and rookie Slava Voynov also got his first of the playoffs as          St. Louis, dating to Feb. 3 when the Blues won 1-0 on a goal by Jamie
the Kings beat the St. Louis Blues 3-1 in the opener of a Western                    Langenbrunner. The Blues also scored first for the fourth time in six games
Conference semifinal series Saturday.                                                in the postseason.

"It's definitely a great feeling to be able to chip in and help out a little bit,"   David Perron made contact halfway up the shaft on a wrist shot by
Greene said. "But we have a lot of work to do."                                      Pietrangelo from the point, and Backes altered the course of the puck again
                                                                                     that beat Quick between the legs.
Quick, who shut out the Blues twice in the regular season, made 28 saves
and is 5-1 in the postseason with a 1.55 goals-against average. He was at            Quick shut out the Blues twice in the regular season and allowed eight
his best in the first period, when he charged out from the crease to stuff a         goals on 172 shots in first round.
backhander by B.J. Crombeen and also stopped a wraparound attempt by                 Voynov tied it at 16:58 as the Kings capitalized on a giveaway by
Patrik Berglund.                                                                     defenseman Barret Jackman, who lost a battle for the puck with Penner.
"It was a great win," Quick said. "We get to enjoy it for five minutes and then      Elliott couldn't cover the ground in time after Penner's cross-ice feed as
focus on Monday."                                                                    Voynov, whose eight goals tied for the NHL lead among rookie
                                                                                     defensemen, scored his first point of the playoffs.
Game 2 is Monday in St. Louis.
                                                                                     Elliott and Jaroslav Halak each shut out the Kings in the regular season,
The Blues could be without defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, who didn't play in           and the goal ended a dry spell of 1:47:47 since Willie Mitchell scored Nov.
the third period after getting his head driven into the boards by Dwight King        22 in a 3-2 victory at St. Louis.
behind the St. Louis net on the penalty that led to the short-handed goal.
                                                                                     LA Daily News: LOADED: 04.29.2012
Coach Ken Hitchcock seemed to indicate Pietrangelo had concussion
symptoms, but said he couldn't concern himself with that right now.
"I don't want to get into whether he's going to play or not play," Hitchcock
said.
"Everybody saw the hit. We all know what the injury is. If he's not in, then
somebody else gets to jump up.
"I've got bigger issues than replacing Petro. We need much more
commitment from our top players."
Dustin Penner added an empty-netter for the Kings, who were 3-0 on the
road while taking down the President's Trophy-winning Vancouver Canucks
in five games in the first round. The Kings were the eighth seed in the
conference but won the season series 3-1.
"No one gave us a good chance against Vancouver, I don't think," Kings
captain Dustin Brown said. "I doubt very few people are giving us a chance
against the Blues. It's up to us."
David Backes opened the scoring on a deflection in the first period for the
Blues, the No. 2 seed in the West and the top remaining seed in the
conference.
St. Louis also lost the opener of the first round in double-overtime against
San Jose, before recovering to win four in a row. Hitchcock said play
dropped off after the first period.
"We kind of took a rest and they stayed going and that's the result," Backes
said. "We didn't get enough traffic after that, didn't win enough battles and
the result is we're digging out of another hole here."
Brian Elliott made 26 saves for the Blues, who had a franchise-record 30
home victories during the regular season. The Blues were handicapped in
the third period by being on the penalty kill for six consecutive minutes, the
first four a double-minor high sticking on T.J. Oshie followed by a delay of
game on Kevin Shattenkirk for flipping the puck over the glass.
Brown scored two short-handed goals in the first round against the Canucks
and set up the go-ahead goal with just over a minute left in the second
period. Shattenkirk overskated the puck after Backes won the draw in the
offensive zone, and Brown beat Shattenkirk to the net where Elliott made a
tough save but left Greene with an easy tap-in.
628899      Los Angeles Kings                                                    Hey, that's no surprise, either. The Kings have had trouble scoring all year.
                                                                                 The penalty kill unit, on the other hand, has been solid. It killed a cross-
                                                                                 checking penalty by Mike Richards 50 seconds into the game.
JILL PAINTER: If we know anything about these Kings, it's to expect the
unexpected                                                                       "Killing the penalty in the first period was key," Sutter said.
                                                                                 After Greene's goal, Quick stood tall and so did the Kings. St. Louis couldn't
                                                                                 find the net, even after it pulled goalie Brian Elliott with about a minute left.
By Jill Painter                                                                  The Kings didn't disappoint and got Penner's goal to boot.
                                                                                 The Kings have won six consecutive road playoff games and they've scored
ST. LOUIS -- Nothing the Kings do in the NHL playoffs should surprise you        three short-handed goals in the playoffs.
one bit.                                                                         Feign your surprise.
Except for the part where defenseman Matt Greene was lumbering (his              Jarret Stoll was the hero after scoring the game-winner to close out the
words) down the ice after Dustin Brown had grabbed a loose puck.                 series in Vancouver. Greene was the hero this time, even though this
Greene trailed and was right there for the rebound off Brown's miss. He          wasn't his bread-and-butter routine.
scored his first career playoff goal in short-handed fashion, marking just the   "I've seen him score goals, but I haven't seen him jump up on a PK," Brown
second time in Kings history a defenseman scored a short-handed playoff          said. "He made the right read. It's hard to see him jump up 5 on 5. To have
goal.                                                                            him jump up and get a short-handed goal is huge for us."
"Those were long odds in Vegas for sure," Kings winger Dustin Penner said        A pair of unlikely defensemen scored goals for the Kings. Quick did his
of Greene's goal.                                                                usual thing. And the Kings won on the road.
Greene knows his role, but he saw an opening and it paid off early in the        Just another day in another team's office.
third period of the Kings' 3-1 victory over the Blues on Saturday in Game 1
of the Western Conference semifinals in front of a sellout crowd of 19,391       "It's about belief in yourself, your teammates and the style you play,"
at ScottTrade Center.                                                            Penner said. "It's knowing you're going to get a huge save, block and timely
                                                                                 goal."
"That was a speed play up the edge, with Matt Greene going all the way,"
Kings coach Darryl Sutter said, pausing at the mere recollection to laugh        Don't be shocked by the Kings' playoff prowess anymore. Unless you see
out loud.                                                                        Greene streaking down the ice at an arena near you.
Penner scored an empty-netter with 14 seconds left to secure the Kings'          LA Daily News: LOADED: 04.29.2012
road win over the Western Conference's second-seeded Blues, who were
terrific at home all season. The Kings have six consecutive road wins dating
back to the regular season.
None of this would be possible without the stingy play of Kings goalie
Jonathan Quick, who made 28 saves on 29 chances. No surprise there for
the Vezina Trophy finalist.
"No one gave us a chance against Vancouver, so I doubt very few people
gave us a chance against the Blues," Brown said. "We have a confidence
and a belief in our team. We won one game (Saturday).
It's going to be a long, grinding, physical series.
"As long as we have belief in this room, that's all we need."
The Kings limped into the playoffs and earned the No. 8 seed, but they've
found their rhythm in April. The last two weeks of the season were like
playoff games.
They upended top-seeded Vancouver in five games and just beat the
seemingly unbeatable Blues in St. Louis.
Asked if people shouldn't be surprised by the Kings' playoff run anymore,
Quick scoffed: "People can think whatever they want."
Quick and the Kings weathered a storm of 13 shots in the first period. David
Backes knocked in a shot with a high tip to give the Blues a 1-0 lead at
9:16.
St. Louis seemingly was on the Kings' end of the ice the entire period.
Asked how they got out of that, Sutter kept it simple by saying,
"Composure, eh?"
Defenseman Slava Voynov scored on a one-timer to tie the game at 1-1 at
16:58 to relax the Kings between periods. The teams played to a scoreless
tie in the second period and, after Greene's goal in the third gave them a 2-
1 lead, the Kings had chances to put the game out of reach.
The slow-scoring Kings had a four-minute power play on a
high-sticking penalty by T.J. Oshie that drew blood near Colin Fraser's left
eye. He pointed to his eye to make sure officials caught the blood.
Four minutes, and the Kings didn't score. Six seconds later, the Blues put
the Kings on the power play again at 10:29, this time on a delay-of-game
penalty.
Still, no score.
628900      Los Angeles Kings


KINGS NOTEBOOK: Players embrace the excitement


By Jill Painter,


ST. LOUIS - The Kings haven't been in this position in 11 years, so who
could blame them if they were nervous before Saturday's Game 1 of the
second round of the Western Conference playoffs?
"I don't think anyone is nervous, but I can only speak for myself," center
Anze Kopitar said. "It's excitement more than anything else."
Nerves showed in the first period as the Blues scored at 9:16 on a David
Backes tip-in, and the Blues were on the Kings' end of the ice most of the
period. But Slava Voynov scored the equalizer at 16:58, however, as the
Kings settled into an offensive rhythm.
It's been six days since the Kings wrapped up the series against
Vancouver, and they've had plenty of time to think about their surprising
victory over the Canucks in Game5.
Asked if he was nervous, Kings coach Darryl Sutter said before the game:
"You try to make sure (you're not) because you don't want to have players
like that. You remember as a player how you felt.
"You're just young. It's the same."
Captain Dustin Brown watched Phoenix's Game 1 overtime win over
Nasvhille on Friday.
Brown, asked to gauge whether the Kings were confident, excited or
nervous, said: "Probably all three. We've been sitting around waiting. It's an
exciting time of year.
"A lot of series have already started, so you watch those and you're ready
to go."
The Kings were thrilled about the win over Vancouver, but they had that
feeling
down the stretch, too.
"We probably gained some confidence (from the Vancouver series), but a
lot of us had confidence going in," Brown said. "Knocking off the top seed
gave us added confidence, but everybody understands that (St. Louis) a
different type of beast."
Weather warnings
While fans were inside and outside the Scottrade Center just before
Saturday's game, sirens sounded to signal tornado warnings and the sky
was pitch black at 6:30 p.m. local time. A couple of hours earlier, the area
was saturated with rain and hail.
Sights and sounds
Beer was sold outside the arena before the game, just in case folks couldn't
wait to purchase beverages until they were inside the building. ... Despite
the rain, a band played outside under a tent, although it wasn't a blues
band. ... People were outside the stadium seven hours before the game
with signs indicating a need for tickets.
Also ...
Most of the St. Louis Cardinals attended the game hours after beating the
Milwaukee Brewers, with reliever Kyle McClellan showing up clad in a
Backes jersey. Shortstop Rafael Furcal and right fielder Carlos Beltran
attended their first hockey game. ... The Kings have won six in a row on the
road in the playoffs dating to last season.
The Associated Press contributed
LA Daily News: LOADED: 04.29.2012
628901     Los Angeles Kings


Penner postgame quotes (April 28)


Posted by Rich Hammond


Dustin Penner’s postgame thoughts…
(on the game…)
PENNER: “Obviously it was a tough start. They came in and took it to us
pretty hard. They were over the top of us, and Quickie made a huge save
on our first shift as a line. Then we killed off the ensuing power play, which
was a huge turning point. There were a few turning points in the game, but
that was one early, because that could have really tipped the scales in their
favor. But we got a timely stop and timely goals.’’
(on whether he was trying to bank in his empty-net goal…)
PENNER: “I wasn’t aiming for that part of the boards. I knew that both of the
D had come over to my side, so I didn’t want to leave it in the neutral zone.
We curl a lot in Manitoba, so I’ve practiced a bit. We just didn’t have the
men sweeping.’’
(on the keys to winning on the road in the playoffs…)
PENNER: “Special teams and PK. I’d say that’s number one, when you
don’t allow the other team to get confidence on the power play and you
score three shorthanded goals. If I’m on the other team, that’s deflating. It’s
the same guy doing it. Brownie is the main catalyst on that. He’s tenacious
out there on the PK. It’s almost like he enjoys it more than 5-on-5 or the
power play sometimes. That’s been a success. And obviously Jonathan
Quick.’’
(on Matt Greene’s goal…)
PENNER: “That’s a huge goal for us, and that’s what playoffs are about. It’s
about timely goals, and guys who don’t usually score who are stepping it
up. We watched the play unfold from the bench. We saw Greener coming
up from behind them. Brownie could have dropped it to him and driven to
the net or left it at Elliott’s feet. Greener saw an opportunity. That’s a risky
play, but it paid off.’’
LA Kings Insider: LOADED: 04.29.2012
628902     Los Angeles Kings


Sutter postgame quotes (April 28)


Posted by Rich Hammond


Darryl Sutter’s postgame thoughts…
(on Matt Greene’s shorthanded goal…)
SUTTER: “We talk about pressure as much as we can on the penalty kill, in
certain situations. It was awesome to see Matt Greene go all the way down
[laughs], 200 feet right to the blue paint and score.’’
(on whether he thought the Blues looked “flat’’ in the second and third
periods…)
SUTTER: “I couldn’t really tell you. I thought they came out exactly the way
they wanted to come out, with the building the way it always is in St. Louis.
They had lots of energy early. I thought killing the penalty, for us in the first
period, was probably the biggest thing, the biggest difference in the game.’’
(on Jonathan Quick’s big early saves…)
SUTTER: “I think both teams are accustomed to having great goaltending.’’
(on his message to the Kings after the Blues’ strong start…)
SUTTER: “Composure, right? You’ve been practicing Xs and Os and
watching it (on video) for five days. You’re not going to always have the
lead and you’re not going to always have the momentum. Keep it settled.’’
(on what he thought of Dwight King’s hit on Alex Pietrangelo…)
SUTTER: “I thought it was a two-minute penalty.’’
(on how surprising it was to see Greene going forward on his goal…)
SUTTER: “We try to get our D to be as active as they can be when we have
control out of the puck. I was probably surprised to see him that far out.
Where he scored from, it was just a short rebound goal. Good for him.’’
(on keeping the Blues’ power play off the scoreboard, in the regular season
and Game 1…)
SUTTER: “We know how good they are, and we know how good they were
last series. We just try to find ways. I don’t think there’s magic to it. Quite
honestly, 0-for-17 (on the power play) has no bearing on it. It’s about
tonight. It’s like us not scoring on the power play. I’m sure they want to get
better at it and I’m sure we want to get better at it.’’
(on what he wants to see more from the Kings’ power play…)
SUTTER: “Finish the opportunities they had. They had some pretty good
looks, guys like Carter and Drew. They’ve got to finish for you.’’
(on taking time off the clock with the third-period power plays…)
SUTTER: “You’re more concerned, with the skill level on the other side,
(them) doing the same thing we did shorthanded.’’
LA Kings Insider: LOADED: 04.29.2012
628903     Los Angeles Kings


NHL official comments on King hit


Posted by Rich Hammond


The NHL released the following interview, provided by a pool reporter, from
officiating supervisor Kay Whitmore regarding Dwight King’s hit on St.
Louis’ Alex Pietrangelo in the second period. King received a two-minute
boarding penalty and the Kings scored a shorthanded goal on the ensuing
Blues’ power play. Pietrangelo, who went head-first into the glass on the
play, did not return to the game.
Question: What did the officials see on Dwight King’s hit, and what went
into the decision to give King a two-minute minor?
WHITMORE: “Their judgment of the degree of violence … they deemed it a
minor penalty and that’s why they called it a minor. It’s their judgment. They
see the whole play unfold and they didn’t deem in this instance obviously
that King drove (Pietrangelo) into the boards. It was a hit, he was in a
vulnerable position, but they didn’t deem it violent enough to call a major.”
Question: As far as the aftermath, Pietrangelo being cut, did that warrant a
five-minute major?
WHITMORE: “In these situations, if a player is cut to the face, and it’s
visible right away, instantly, they’ll call a major … in most cases. In this
case, they didn’t see the cut, the small cut, under his chin from what I’ve
been told until up to a minute or so after when they were over by the bench.
So it was a delay, a period of time that went by, and it’s tough for them to
go over and say, ‘It’s a major now’ … because they didn’t see it after the
scrum. He got off the ice. There was no visible blood. If it was running down
his forehead or his cheek, it’s automatic. It’s a major game-misconduct. In
this instance, they didn’t see it initially right away. They didn’t see the blood
running down his chin, in his beard … one of those things.”
Question: Do you expect the play to be reviewed?
WHITMORE: “I expect Brendan (Shanahan)’s group watches, as do our
guys in Toronto … every goal is reviewed, every hit is reviewed. So I don’t
see this any different than any other hit in the playoffs up to this date. So
I’m sure if something more needs to be done with it, Brendan and his group
will be taking a look at it.”
LA Kings Insider: LOADED: 04.29.2012
628904     Los Angeles Kings


Sutter postgame quotes (April 28)


Posted by Rich Hammond


Darryl Sutter’s postgame thoughts…
(on Matt Greene’s shorthanded goal…)
SUTTER: “We talk about pressure as much as we can on the penalty kill, in
certain situations. It was awesome to see Matt Greene go all the way down
[laughs], 200 feet right to the blue paint and score.’’
(on whether he thought the Blues looked “flat’’ in the second and third
periods…)
SUTTER: “I couldn’t really tell you. I thought they came out exactly the way
they wanted to come out, with the building the way it always is in St. Louis.
They had lots of energy early. I thought killing the penalty, for us in the first
period, was probably the biggest thing, the biggest difference in the game.’’
(on Jonathan Quick’s big early saves…)
SUTTER: “I think both teams are accustomed to having great goaltending.’’
(on his message to the Kings after the Blues’ strong start…)
SUTTER: “Composure, right? You’ve been practicing Xs and Os and
watching it (on video) for five days. You’re not going to always have the
lead and you’re not going to always have the momentum. Keep it settled.’’
(on what he thought of Dwight King’s hit on Alex Pietrangelo…)
SUTTER: “I thought it was a two-minute penalty.’’
(on how surprising it was to see Greene going forward on his goal…)
SUTTER: “We try to get our D to be as active as they can be when we have
control out of the puck. I was probably surprised to see him that far out.
Where he scored from, it was just a short rebound goal. Good for him.’’
(on keeping the Blues’ power play off the scoreboard, in the regular season
and Game 1…)
SUTTER: “We know how good they are, and we know how good they were
last series. We just try to find ways. I don’t think there’s magic to it. Quite
honestly, 0-for-17 (on the power play) has no bearing on it. It’s about
tonight. It’s like us not scoring on the power play. I’m sure they want to get
better at it and I’m sure we want to get better at it.’’
(on what he wants to see more from the Kings’ power play…)
SUTTER: “Finish the opportunities they had. They had some pretty good
looks, guys like Carter and Drew. They’ve got to finish for you.’’
(on taking time off the clock with the third-period power plays…)
SUTTER: “You’re more concerned, with the skill level on the other side,
(them) doing the same thing we did shorthanded.’’
LA Kings Insider: LOADED: 04.29.2012
628905     Nashville Predators


Nashville Predators hope to avoid 0-2 start against Phoenix Coyotes


Josh Cooper


Predators Coach Barry Trotz says Game 2 against the Coyotes here today
won’t be the first adverse situation his team has faced this postseason.
There was Game 3 in Detroit, which Trotz called a make-or-break moment
in that first-round series. The Predators and Red Wings were tied 1-1, and
Nashville never had won a playoff game at Joe Louis Arena.
“(We were) thinking it would be a real tough task and it was,” Trotz said.
It was indeed difficult. But the Predators emerged with a 3-2 victory thanks
to the acrobatics of goaltender Pekka Rinne, and they went on to win the
series in five games.
Now, for the first time this postseason, the Predators are down in a series,
having lost Game 1 to the Coyotes in overtime on Friday. It makes earning
a split of the first two games that much more vital.
“We just have to keep going,” defenseman Shea Weber said. “Everyone
knew it wasn’t going to be easy.”
Unlike past editions of the Predators, this team didn’t have to scrap and
claw just to make the playoffs. A strong January and February put Nashville
in position to coast into the postseason.
It’s been awhile since they’ve truly faced a must-win type game.
“We don’t want to go down 2-0,” forward Nick Spaling said. “We have to
focus on getting this one.”
The Predators have won a Game 1 before and lost a series. They’ve never
come back from losing the first game in a best-of-seven situation.
But this time feels somewhat different. The Predators outshot the Coyotes
25-7 in the third period and overtime of Game 1, after a few correctable
mistakes earlier led to goals by an opportunistic opponent.
“We’re just looking at a few things we can do better,” forward Mike Fisher
said. “Obviously we did some great things. We got some chances we didn’t
bury. Defensively, we had a few lapses, and that was the game. We’ll be
much better in Game 2. We feel good about ourselves.”
In some ways, the Predators sounded similar to the Blackhawks after their
Game 1 overtime loss to the Coyotes in the first round. Chicago outshot
Phoenix 45-34.
The Blackhawks were confident that they would figure out the Phoenix
rope-a-dope style. They didn’t, however, and were eliminated in six games.
The Coyotes don’t exactly take a lot of pride in the style that’s gotten them
this far, but it is working. It’s also something the Predators do on a
consistent basis — move into their defensive shell, rely on their goaltender
and score on limited chances.
“I don’t think we had a really good game except the first two periods,”
Coyotes forward Martin Hanzal said. “(Goaltender Mike Smith) was
outstanding, and that’s what we count on right now. We have plenty of room
to improve and be better.”
For Nashville, the improvements involve limiting costly mistakes — such as
the defensive lapse that led to the third Phoenix goal, or the missed faceoff
coverage on the game-winner.
“They’re opportunistic. They have a great goaltender. They play a lot like
us,” Fisher said. “We’ve seen it. We know what to expect.”
Tennessean LOADED: 04.29.2012
628906     Nashville Predators


Blue Jackets-turned-Coyotes want payback vs. Nashville Predators


Josh Cooper


When the Coyotes defeated the Predators in Nashville’s home opener on
Oct. 13, 2011, the game didn’t carry much meaning to Rostislav Klesla at
the time.
The defenseman, who made his NHL debut in 2001, had won many road
games in his career.
Little did he know, however, it was a watershed moment. Klesla, formerly
with the Blue Jackets, hadn’t won in Nashville since April 3, 2006.
The Coyotes employ five former Blue Jackets who, knowingly or
unknowingly, are trying to exact a little payback in this playoff series against
their former rivals in the Central Division.
“We couldn’t win there for four years. It was kind of strange,” said Klesla,
whom the Coyotes acquired via trade from the Blue Jackets last year. “You
get those streaks now and then. Some teams play not as well at some
places, so it’s just part of the sport.”
The other Blue Jackets-turned-Coyotes are Gilbert Brule, Antoine Vermette,
Ray Whitney and Raffi Torres. Coyotes development coach Dave King is a
former Blue Jackets head coach.
“We didn’t do so well. … I don’t know if we won in their building,” said Brule,
who played parts of three seasons with Columbus. “Their team has
changed quite a bit since then.”
Nashville’s team has changed, but its dominance of Columbus has never
wavered. The Predators went 5-0-1 against the Blue Jackets this season.
They are 49-14-6 against the Jackets all-time.
“They were always such a consistent team that they kind of had our number
in Columbus,” Klesla said. “Maybe they had that kind of confidence they
were going to beat us.”
In Game 1 against the Predators on Friday, the Coyotes’ top three scorers
were former Blue Jackets. Whitney notched the game-winner, Klesla scored
a goal and Vermette registered an assist, was plus-1 and won 63 percent of
his faceoffs.
But are the former Blue Jackets really out for revenge?
“When you’re looking for payback, you’re not going to think about it too
much,” Klesla said. “It has been a while. You want to win games for
whoever you’re playing for.”
Tennessean LOADED: 04.29.2012
628907     Nashville Predators


Nashville Predators' Kevin Klein admits break affected Game 1 effort


Josh Cooper


Predators defenseman Kevin Klein, his Mohawk hairstyle and his surprising
offensive contributions were attention-grabbers in the first-round series with
the Red Wings.
Klein scored two goals, added an assist to lead Nashville defensemen in
scoring and had a big blocked shot in Game 3.
Klein lost a bit of that luster in the Game 1 overtime loss to the Coyotes on
Friday.
He was a minus-2, took his first penalty since Oct. 29 — the Coyotes
scored on the power play — and appeared to have some trouble re-
engaging after a week without playing a game.
“If you make a mistake, it’s going to show out there no matter who you are.
It’s one of those things,” Klein said on Saturday. “(Six) days off, you’re a
little out of sync with how quickly the game is moving. As the game went on,
I felt better.”
It was tough to fault Klein for the two Phoenix scores when he was on the
ice. On Mikkel Boedker’s goal, he played the two-on-one the right way.
Klein let goaltender Pekka Rinne take the shooter (Boedker) while he took
the other Coyotes player.
Klein expects to bounce back for Game 2 today.
“We had (six) days off and were trying to get back in the swing of things,”
Klein said. “They came out and played pretty well in the first (period). As the
game went on, we got more comfortable and played better. Expect a faster
game come tomorrow.”
Bouillon’s offense: There’s something about playing in Jobing.com Arena
that boosts Francis Bouillon’s offensive production.
The Predators defenseman scored his first goal of the regular season in the
building on March 12. His previous regular-season goal was also here, on
Nov. 3, 2010.
In Game 1 on Friday, Bouillon was arguably Nashville’s best defenseman.
He played 20:55 and was a plus-2. Some of this production could be
attributed to playing with defensive-minded Hal Gill.
“He’s a great guy behind me, and I have a lot of confidence when he’s with
me on the ice. He has a lot of experience, too,” Bouillon said. “It doesn’t
matter who I play with, though. If I’m going to jump in the play, I’m going to
try to do it.”
Faceoff work: With the Predators winning only 41 percent of the draws in
Game 1, the centers took part in faceoff drills at the end of practice on
Saturday.
Forward Mike Fisher lost a crucial draw to Martin Hanzal, which led to
Phoenix’s game-winner.
“All their centermen are really good. They do a great job,” Fisher said. “We
have to find ways to battle and get some more wins and be better in that
area.”
Saving late: The Coyotes lost another third-period lead in Game 1. It was
their fifth time doing that in seven playoff games.
Said goaltender Mike Smith: “We didn’t play our best game, obviously. We
stuck with our game plan for most of the two periods, but I think we can
improve closing games out still.”
Tennessean LOADED: 04.29.2012
628908     New Jersey Devils                                                      Parise buzzes around the net, but Ponikarovsky is bigger and throws
                                                                                  himself around to keep the puck in the Devils’ zone to create more chances.
                                                                                  Meanwhile, Parise joins Elias, the veteran playmaker, and Zubrus is that
Devils Tinker With Lines for Game 1                                               line’s punishing forechecker.
                                                                                  “The numbers I’m sure are not great from the first round — we’re trying to
                                                                                  create more five-on-five chances,” Zubrus said. “We needed to find more
By DAVE CALDWELL                                                                  offense from the top six in five-on-five. We have to grind it out. We have to
                                                                                  find ways to get the job done.”
                                                                                  The Devils won Game 7 against the Panthers in the second period of
NEWARK — Alexei Ponikarovsky, a 227-pound left wing who gives the                 overtime at 12:17 a.m. Friday, then flew home and took the day off. When
Devils some heft, found a white mesh jersey, not a gray one, at his locker        they arrived at the rink on a sleepy Saturday in Newark, the lines had been
before practice Saturday. He has been in the N.H.L. long enough not to ask        changed. And the Flyers have not played in a week.
about the color of his jersey, just to put it on.
                                                                                  “It is the best team that’s left in the playoffs, in my opinion,” Elias said of the
A day before the Devils were to open their second-round playoff series            Flyers.
against the Flyers in Philadelphia, Ponikarovsky had been promoted to the
Devils’ top forward line, replacing no less a player than Zach Parise, the        But the Devils feel as if they have a chance. Twenty-two teams in the
team’s first-year captain and a tenacious goal-scorer.                            N.H.L. are done.

“It doesn’t change my game,” said Ponikarovsky, a ferocious forechecker           New York Times LOADED: 04.29.2012
who likes to win battles around the net. “I know what I have to do.”
While Ponikarovsky joined center Travis Zajac and Ilya Kovalchuk, Parise
was teamed with center Patrik Elias and Dainius Zubrus. Petr Sykora
replaced Ponikarovsky on the third line, which is centered by the rookie
Adam Henrique and includes David Clarkson.
Peter DeBoer, the Devils’ first-year coach, said after practice that he was
simply experimenting with his line combinations, adding, “I’m not really
married to the lines right now.”
That he is experimenting before the Devils take on the Flyers — who
scored 30 goals in six first-round games against Pittsburgh — indicates that
the Devils need to get more from their top two lines, which DeBoer called
“sporadic” in a series victory over Florida.
To counteract the high-powered Philadelphia offense, DeBoer appears to
be looking for tougher forechecking from his team, which scored 18 goals in
seven games against the Panthers. Elias’s line, which then included Zubrus
and Sykora, had just one even-strength goal.
“We weren’t really producing much five-on-five in the first round,” Elias said.
Later, Elias said of the team: “I think we have a real good group of guys.
We’re interchangeable.”
Philadelphia also had eight power-play goals against the Penguins — the
result of a careful strategy to play to the whistle and incite Pittsburgh into
retaliating, which led to penalties. The Devils, who gave up six power-play
goals to the Panthers, know they cannot be goaded into trouble.
The Devils’ best chance of beating the Flyers is to play five-on-five hockey
and to at least equal Philadelphia’s robust offense. Splitting Parise and
Kovalchuk may diminish the top line, but the switch may make the second
line more productive. “We need to get a lot of production to match their
depth,” Parise said.
The only line that DeBoer has not tinkered with is the fourth line, which is
centered by Stephen Gionta and includes the grinding wings Steve Bernier
and Ryan Carter. That line was a surprise in the Florida series, with those
players combining to score five goals.
DeBoer thought it was time to try different combinations on his top two
lines. Kovalchuk scored three goals against the Panthers, but two were on
the power play. Parise had two goals, one on the power play. Zajac was the
best player on the line, with three goals and three assists.
When Kovalchuk was asked why he thought DeBoer fiddled with the lines,
he said: “Why not? I think Pete knows better, and we’ve got to be ready for
anything.”
DeBoer said, “Any kind of change is refreshing and gives different players
around them a different jump and a different look.”
The addition of Ponikarovsky gives the Devils’ top line a different look. The
Devils acquired the 32-year-old Ponikarovsky, a 10-year N.H.L. veteran
from Kiev, in a Jan. 20 trade with the Carolina Hurricanes, with whom he
had been something of a disappointment.
Ponikarovsky had seven goals and a minus-12 differential in 49 games with
Carolina, but he had seven goals and a plus-9 differential in 33 games with
the Devils. He had two assists and was a plus-2 in the series against the
Panthers.
628909     New Jersey Devils                                                       understands that, at this stage in his career, this could be his last shot at a
                                                                                   championship run.
                                                                                   If it is, then the Devils could soon find themselves in the same position as
Politi: Martin Brodeur a constant in net for Devils while Flyers shuffle           the Flyers, looking everywhere to find the next guy. Chances are, whoever
through goaltenders                                                                it is, he won’t last 20 years. Brodeur’s career, in durability and excellence, is
                                                                                   virtually unmatched in the history of the sport.

Steve Politi/                                                                      “Listen, age is inevitable,” his longtime teammate, Patrik Elias, said. “We’re
                                                                                   going to be forced down that path soon with Marty.”
                                                                                   But for now, it will be Brodeur vs. Bryzgalov, just like it was Brodeur vs.
As if stopping a frozen hunk of rubber 35 to 40 times a night wasn’t mentally      Hextall, and Brodeur vs. Snow, and Brodeur vs. Niittymaki, and Brodeur vs.
taxing enough, we made Martin Brodeur an unexpected contestant in a                … well, you get the picture.
special game show yesterday.
                                                                                   Star Ledger LOADED: 04.29.2012
Name Those Flyers Goaltenders!
Brodeur has faced 14 — not a typo — different Philadelphia goaltenders in
his 19-year Devils career. On the eve of another playoff series against the
Devils’ old rival, we put his memory to the test.
Could he name them all?
“Yeah, I can name most of them,” the always confident Brodeur said, before
embarking on a long journey through the odd collection of castoffs and
flash-in-the-pans he has stared down over the years.
He started with the Flyers goalie he has faced the most, Ron Hextall and
his Magnum P.I. mustache. Then he named Garth Snow, with his Stay Puff
Marshmallow Man pads. He rattled off Brian Boucher, who he faced in two
memorable playoff series, and two names that are a mouthful in Antero
Niittymaki and Roman Cechmanek. He even came up with a few — Michael
Leighton? Jeff Hackett? — that even some team officials probably have
forgotten.
When he finally gave up, Brodeur had come up with 12 of the 14. Not bad
at all. He also had identified the reason for this exercise, with the second-
round series against the Flyers and their latest goaltender — Ilya Bryzgalov
— starting this afternoon at the Wells Fargo Center.
Because, if you’re looking for reasons why the Devils have three Stanley
Cups since 1995 while the Flyers haven’t won one since “Jaws” was in
theaters (the first time), you start with the goalies.
The Devils have had Marty.
The Flyers have had …everybody.
“That’s a big-market team that will pay the market to win,” Brodeur said,
“and no matter how they did it, (goaltending) has always been that missing
piece.”
For the record, he believes they’ve finally found their guy in Bryzgalov, even
if most of Philadelphia would have begged to differ during the season. The
Flyers gave the Russian the biggest contract in franchise history — nine
years, $51 million — and the results have been mixed.
He did go 15-6-3 in the second half of the season with a 1.84 goals-against
average after some early struggles, but he alternated between very good,
wildly erratic and non-competitive (see the Game 4 meltdown) in the first-
round series against the Penguins.
So once again, the Flyers don’t know what they’re going to get from a
goaltender in the playoffs. That hasn’t always mattered in the history of this
series — Robert Esche, after all, beat the Devils in five games in 2004.
But if Brodeur plays like he did in the two overtimes against Florida in Game
7, the Devils should have an edge in the most important position. Which,
given the Flyers history, is hardly unusual.
“It’s a lot of goalies to the one,” Brodeur said. “But I think signing Bryzgalov
could slow that down for a while. Regardless of what people think of him, I
think he’s a really good goalie. He’s got the size, he’s got the natural ability
to play the game that I really like.”
Brodeur has had a mixed bag in the playoffs so far. His save percentage
(.922) and goals-against average (2.06) are solid, and he set a NHL record
with his 24th postseason shutout. But he was also yanked when the Devils
blew a three-goal lead in Game 3, and the Devils struggled holding leads
throughout the series.
He will turn 40 next Sunday, but there will be no celebration — just Game 4
at the Prudential Center. He wants to come back next season, but he
628910     New Jersey Devils


Devils' Patrik Elias and Zach Parise agree: Jaromir Jagr still amazing at 40


Rich Chere


Patrik Elias was a 14-year-old kid back in what was then still
Czechoslovakia when Jaromir Jagr made a splash with the Pittsburgh
Penguins in 1990-91.
But Jagr, now a member of the Philadelphia Flyers, was never an idol for
Elias.
“I really wasn’t aware of anybody until I was 17 years old when I started
traveling with the national team,” Elias said. “Then I came to and played in
Kladno, where he’s from, and I heard everybody talking about him. He won
those two Stanley Cups right from the get-go.
“I didn’t look up to him. I really never had anybody like that except my
brothers. But, sure, I can understand who others did. Just look at his
accomplishments. Look at his stats. It’s amazing what he’s done for many
years and he’s still doing it.”
Jagr, 40, is the all-time scoring leader among Czech-born NHL players with
1,653 points in 1,346 games. Elias, 36, ranks secons with 894 career points
in 1,042 games.
In the first round against the Pens, Jagr had seven points (one goal, six
assists).
“I’m not surprised, a guy with his size and strength,” Zach Parise said. “He
looks likes eight years younger than he is. He’s still playing really well.”
Defenseman Bryce Salvador, slashed on his left arm by Florida’s Kris
Versteeg in Game 7, said he feels okay for the next round. He was able to
come back and play in that game.
“Initially it didn’t feel good,” Salvador said. “It was one of those things where
I could tell it wasn’t broken so I knew I wasn’t going to do any damage to it
and I was able to play. Pain is relative, right?
“I just kind of look forward now. It didn’t feel good at the time but right now
everything is good. When you just shoot the puck off the glass all the time
you don’t have to feel your hands, do you?”
What does he expect from the Flyers?
“Philly plays a hard game. In-your-face, finish your check. That’s hockey,”
he said. “I don’t really over-analyze it any more than that. I think it’s going to
be a good series. We match up really well against each other. If I was a fan,
it would be a good series to watch. They have a big, fast team and so do
we.”
Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov allowed just one goal in four appearances
against the Devils this season (two shutouts).
“He’s been up and down but we know he can pout some good games
together,” Martin Brodeur said.
Ilya Kovalchuk has played with the unpredictable Bryzgalov.
“This was his first season in Philly. It’s a diffrerent market than Phoenix, so
there’s a lot of pressure on you,” Kovalchuk said. “It seems like he’s settled
now and is playing well. I don’t think he played that bad against Pittsburgh
and they have a great offense.”
Star Ledger LOADED: 04.29.2012
628911     New Jersey Devils                                                     “It’s the second round. It’s not going to get any easier,” Kovalchuk said. “We
                                                                                 know Philly well and what to expect. At home they’re a little tougher than on
                                                                                 the road. Whoever is going to control their emotions better is going to win
Devils know it's about to get rough against Flyers in second round               because there are a lot of dirty plays involved.”
                                                                                 This is where it likely will get nasty.

Rich Chere                                                                       “I don’t think we’ll have any problems matching them physically,” DeBoer
                                                                                 said. “You just have to do it whistle to whistle. You can’t get into the stuff
                                                                                 away from the puck and after the whistle.”

The road to the Stanley Cup gets bumpy on the stretch that goes through          Star Ledger LOADED: 04.29.2012
south Philadelphia.
It can rattle the best teams, as the Pittsburgh Penguins were reminded, and
often leaves the game’s most-skilled players happy to begin their summer
vacation without needing casts or crutches.
The Devils know exactly what they will face when they open their second-
round playoff series against the Flyers Sunday afternoon at the Wells Fargo
Center.
“We know the kind of game they want to play and you can’t fall into that
trap,” coach Pete DeBoer said today before a bus ride down the New
Jersey Turnpike. “Pittsburgh did and they’re at home watching.”
The Flyers eliminated the Penguins in six games, provoking and then
punishing Sidney Crosby and his teammates by scoring 12 power play
goals.
“They got rattled,” Patrik Elias said. “They got out of their element with all
the stuff going on—fighting, cheap shots behind the play, all the vocal stuff
and off-the-ice stuff.
“Good coaches like Larry Robinson and Jacques Lemaire always told us
don’t give them any reasons to use something against you, whether it’s
words or any kind of a moment on or off the ice.”
Sounds easy, but the Devils weren’t able to stay out of the penalty box in
the first round against the Florida Panthers. They gave up nine power play
goals, including two in Game 7 that erased a 2-0 lead and almost cost them
the series.
“Listen, we’re big boys. You cannot let your ego take over,” Elias said. “We
have one goal here and that’s to win four hockey games against these guys
and we’re going to do it by trying to fight them or slash them, hook them or
be in the box more than them.
“Nobody says we’re going to shy away. We have a lot of big guys here who
can play physical, but we have to be smart about it because that’s their
style of hockey. It always has been.”
DeBoer changed his lines in practice today, splitting up Zach Parise and
Ilya Kovalchuk.
Alexei Ponikarovsky took Parise’s spot with Kovalchuk and Travis Zajac
while Parise skated with Elias and Dainius Zubrus. Petr Sykora was
dropped to the third line.
“We’re moving some guys around. I don’t know if those are the
combinations we’ll play or not,” DeBoer said. “I’m not really married to lines
right now. We just wanted to try some different things in practice.
“I think any kind of change is refreshing and gives players around them a
different jump and a different look. We’ve won a lot of games over the last
month with the lines we’ve had, so I haven’t made any decisions there.
Anytime you make changes you usually get a positive reaction.”
The Devils scored 18 goals in seven games against the Panthers. The
Flyers scored 30 in six games against the Penguins.
“Look at the last round. Our line had one goal and Travis’ line had one
even-strength goal,” Elias said. “We’re going to try to play five-on-five with
those guys and be more productive as a team.”
Parise joked that he wouldn’t have Kovalchuk to protect him. After Zac
Rinaldo slew-footed Parise on Feb. 4, Kovalchuk went after the Flyers’
rookie before Brayden Schenn unwisely stepped in and lost a one-punch
fight.
“I’m sure it will be physical. We’re expecting that,” Parise said. “They’re
definitely a more physical team than Florida was.”
The Devils are prepared for a familiar scenario.
628912     New Jersey Devils


Sports hot topic: Can Devils stop Flyers' Claude Giroux?


NJ.com Staff


Philadelphia coach Peter Laviolette called Claude Giroux the best player in
the world after the Flyers beat Pittsburgh in the first round of the NHL
playoffs.
Whether or not Giroux actually is the best in the world is debatable, but his
talent is not. Giroux led all players in the playoffs with six goals, 14 points
and a plus-6 rating in the first round after a 28-goal, 65-assist regular
season. Against the Devils this season, Giroux had four goals and three
assists in six games.
For the Flyers fans out there, is he the best in the world? Can he be
stopped?
And for the Devils fans, how worried about Giroux are you? What if the
Flyers find a way to get Giroux matched up against Anton Volchenkov or
the Devils' penalty kill is just as woeful as it was vs. Florida? Can the Devils
stop Giroux? If so, how? Drop down to the comments section to discuss.
Star Ledger LOADED: 04.29.2012
628913     New Jersey Devils


Devils shake up lines for series against Flyers; split up Zach Parise and Ilya
Kovalchuk


Rich Chere/


The Devils, who open the second round of the playoffs against the Flyers
Sunday afternoon at the Wells Fargo Center, practiced today in Newark
before heading to Philadelphia.
Shaking up his line for the series against the Flyers, Devils' coach Pete
DeBoer moved Zach Parise off the Travis Zajac-Ilya Kovalchuk line and put
Alexei Ponikarovsky in that spot.
All healthy players skated, including defenseman Bryce Salvador, who was
slashed on the left arm by Florida's Kris Versteeg in Game 7.
The new lines:
Zach Parise- Patrik Elias- Dainius Zubrus
Alexei Ponikarovsky-Travis Zajac- Ilya Kovalchuk
Petr Sykora-Adam Henrique- David Clarkson
Ryan Carter- Brian Gionta- Steve Bernier
Extras: Eric Boulton and Cam Janssen
Defense:
Andy Greene-Mark Fayne
Bryce Salvador-Marek Zidlicky
Anton Volchenkov-Peter Harrold
Extra: Adam Larsson
The Devils will not stay in Philadelphia between Games 1 and 2. They will
return home and practice in Newark on Monday before going back to Philly
that afternoon.
The broadcast schedule:
Day Date Location Television Radio Time
Sun. Apr. 29 at Philadelphia NBC Bloomberg 1130 AM 3:00 PM
Tue. May 1 at Philadelphia NBC Sports Network Bloomberg 1130 AM 7:30
PM
Thu. May 3 at New Jersey NBC Sports Network SportsRadio 66 WFAN
7:30 PM
Sun. May 6 at New Jersey NBC Sports Network SportsRadio 66 WFAN
7:30 PM
Tue.May 8 at Philadelphia NBC Sports Network Bloomberg 1130 AM TBA
Thu.May 10 at New Jersey TBA SportsRadio 66 WFAN TBA
Sat.May 12 at Philadelphia TBA TBA TBA
*If necessary.
Star Ledger LOADED: 04.29.2012
628914    New Jersey Devils


NHL playoffs hot topic: Who's making it out of the Eastern Conference
semifinals?


NJ.com Staff


What will the Eastern Conference Finals matchup be?
The Atlantic Division has three of the four teams remaining in the Eastern
Conference, and it just so happens they are all NJ.com teams, though,
admittedly, we focus for most of the season on the Devils.
So Devils, Flyers, Rangers fans, here's your chance to have it out and
make your best guess and argument as to why your team is going to be
playing in the conference finals.
Will the Rangers be facing the Flyers or Devils for the right to play in the
Stanley Cup Finals? Or will the winner of Flyers/Devils host the Washington
Capitals?
Vote in our poll to the right and then drop down to the comments section
below to duke it out and tell us what you think.
Star Ledger LOADED: 04.29.2012
628915     New Jersey Devils


NHL Playoffs Preview: Philadelphia Flyers vs. Devils


Mike Vorkunov/


No. 5 Philadelphia Flyers (47-26-9, 103 points) vs. No. 6 Devils (48-28-6,
102 points)
Begins Sunday in Philadelphia
SEASON SERIES
Flyers won, 3-2-1
KEYS TO THE SERIES
The power play. The Devils had the best penalty kill in NHL history this
season but allowed nine PP goals to the Panthers. The Flyers converted 12
of 23 PP chances. If the Devils can’t shape up, they will be at a severe
disadvantage.
X-FACTOR
Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur. Philadelphia has a deeper set of forwards
and the most dangerous player in this series in Claude Giroux. Not to
mention, the Flyers aren’t coming off of a double-OT Game 7. Brodeur will
need to cover for the Devils’ slim margin for error.
Star Ledger LOADED: 04.29.2012
628916       New Jersey Devils


NHL Playoffs Preview: Rangers vs. Washington Capitals


Mike Vorkunov/


No. 1 Rangers (51-24-7, 109 points) vs. No. 7 Washington Capitals (42-32-
8, 92 points)
Begins today at Madison Square Garden
SEASON SERIES
Split, 2-2
KEYS TO THE SERIES
Rangers RW Marian Gaborik. He was essentially MIA against Ottawa,
scoring in the opener, then disappearing. After averaging 3.4 shots per
game in the regular season, he had just 13 in seven games. He’s going to
have to return to being an ace scorer.
X-FACTOR
Capitals G Braden Holtby. He was sterling against the Boston Bruins,
putting up a 2.00 GAA and .940 save percentage. But will he be just a one-
round wonder? Once again, he’ll have to be the equal of the star goalie
opposing him.
OUR TAKE
Rangers in seven. This will be a low-scoring series with both finding
difficulty finding goals last series but the better goaltender advances.
Mike Vorkunov: mvorkunov@starledger.com; twitter.com/Mike_Vorkunov
Star Ledger LOADED: 04.29.2012
628917      New Jersey Devils


Northjersey.com : Sports : Pro Sports : Pro Hockey : Devils


Tom Gulitti


Net stability
Martin Brodeur will start in his 178th consecutive postseason game for the
Devils today. The NHL record streak began with Game 1 of the 1994
Eastern Conference finals against the Rangers and has covered four trips
to the Stanley Cup Finals and three championships.
Over that time, the Flyers have gone through 12 different starting
goaltenders in the playoffs – Martin Biron, Sergei Bobrovsky, Brian
Boucher, Sean Burke, Ilya Bryzgalov, Roman Cechmanek, Robert Esche,
Ron Hextall, Michael Leighton, Antero Niittymaki, Garth Snow and John
Vanbiesbrouck. Brodeur believes the Flyers have finally found their answer
in net, though, with the colorful Bryzgalov, who signed a nine-year, $51
million contract as a free agent last summer.
"There was always that little missing piece that for everybody was
goaltending because there was so much movement," Brodeur said. "I think
they solidified themselves doing what they did with Bryzgalov. A lot of
people have different opinions about him, but I think in the long run they’ll
be fine with him."
What slash?
Devils defenseman Bryce Salvador tried to keep a straight face as he
claimed he had no knowledge of being slashed on the left wrist by Kris
Versteeg in the first OT of Thursday’s game.
When asked if he would definitely play today, Salvador asked, "Is there
something I should be worried about?"
Versteeg received a two-minute minor for slashing and Salvador was in
obvious pain as he left the ice. He went to the Devils’ locker room for a few
minutes but returned to finish the game.
"I just went to get a skate fixed," he claimed.
Briefs
DeBoer wouldn’t commit to dressing the same lineup as he used in all
seven games against Florida, but rookie D Adam Larsson, LW Eric Boulton
and RW Cam Janssen looked like the extra players again during Saturday’s
practice. … D Nicklas Grossmann, who missed the past two games of the
Flyers’ first-round series with a suspected concussion, practiced Saturday
and is expected to play today.
Bergen Record LOADED: 04.29.2012
628918     New Jersey Devils


Devils vs. Flyers: 5 keys to the series


Tom Gulitti


1. Get to Ilya Bryzgalov: The Devils hardly challenged the unpredictable
Flyers goaltender in scoring just once on 76 shots on him during the regular
season (over three starts and one relief appearance).
2. Martin Brodeur: He was a difference-maker in Game 7 in Florida and will
have to be again throughout this series.
3. Andy Greene, Marek Zidlicky, Peter Harrold: The Flyers will dump the
puck in and try to punish the Devils' three puck-moving defensemen
physically. Playing through that will be pivotal.
4. Scoring depth: Devils coach Pete DeBoer put Ilya Kovalchuk and Zach
Parise on separate lines Saturday hoping to get more out of his second line.
5. Maintain discipline: The Flyers' agitators will make that difficult, but taking
foolish penalties could be costly against a Philadelphia power play that
scored 12 goals in the first round. —
Bergen Record LOADED: 04.29.2012
628919     New Jersey Devils


Staying disciplined is Devils' main goal against gritty Flyers


By TOM GULITTI


NEWARK — Having finally exorcised their first-round playoff demons, the
Devils will have to deal with a potentially nastier foe in the second round —
the Philadelphia Flyers.
These Flyers who will host the Devils for Game 1 of the Eastern
Conference semifinals this afternoon at Wells Fargo Center are merely a
shadow of the Broad Street Bullies of the 1970s as far as their goon
quotient, but at least some of their forefathers’ malicious nature remains in
their DNA.
The Devils know they must maintain their discipline no matter what is
thrown at them or suffer the same fate as Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh
Penguins, who lost their composure at times in being ousted by the Flyers
in the first round.
"Obviously they’re known for provoking and doing stuff behind the play, but
that’s why we have to be really disciplined," Devils center Patrik Elias said
Saturday. "Our main goal is to win the series, win four games, and we’ve
got to do everything in our power to do so — take a shot, take a slash,
whatever. Just be disciplined."
The Devils talked a lot about staying disciplined in the conference
quarterfinals against Florida, too, and their inability to do so nearly cost
them the series. The Panthers’ power play lit up the Devils’ penalty kill,
which set a NHL post-expansion record for success in the regular season,
for nine goals in the seven-game series.
The Flyers’ vaunted power play had even more success against
Pittsburgh’s penalty kill, scoring a team-record 12 goals. So, the Devils will
need to do better than just talking a good game about discipline in this
series.
"We know the kind of game they want to play, and you can’t fall into that
trap," Devils coach Pete DeBoer said. "I think Pittsburgh did and they’re at
home watching."
Still fresh in the Devils’ memories is a five-game first-round loss to the
Flyers two years ago in which they failed to score an even-strength goal in
the last three games. Their power play also let them down, scoring just four
times on 32 opportunities.
On the other hand, the Flyers’ power play accounted for eight of their 15
goals in that series.
"I think special teams will be important," Devils captain Zach Parise said.
"They play a physical style of hockey. They draw penalties. They take
penalties. So, our PK has got to be better this series, and when we get
chances on the power play, we’ve got take advantage."
Playing with discipline does not mean the Devils won’t be able to play
physical, though. It’s a given that the physical level of this series will be
exponentially higher than what the Devils saw in the first round against
Florida.
The Penguins were not only goaded into being short-handed 23 times in the
series but also into violent actions that resulted in suspensions for James
Neal, Craig Adams and Arron Asham.
"I don’t think we’ll have any problem matching them physically," DeBoer
said. "You’ve just got to do it whistle to whistle. You can’t get into the stuff
away from the puck and after the whistle."
"I think whoever controls their emotions better, that team is going to win
because it’s playoff hockey," Ilya Kovalchuk said. "There’s a lot of different
stuff involved — a lot of dirty plays involved that you’ve got to find a way
how to not take penalties."
Bergen Record LOADED: 04.29.2012
628920     New Jersey Devils


NJ Devils' Zach Parise moving to second line as Peter DeBoer shakes
things up on eve of Philadelphia Flyers Stanley Cup playoff series


By Kristie Ackert


For over a month, Zach Parise had walked into the Devils’ locker room and
found the same white practice jersey, signifying his spot on the top line,
waiting for him in his stall. Through the end of the regular season and the
first round of the playoffs, he could look to his left and right and see Travis
Zajac and Ilya Kovalchuk putting on the same colored jerseys.
On Saturday, the captain walked in and found a red jersey in his stall. On
the eve of the sixth-seeded Devils’ Eastern Conference semifinal series
against the No.5 Flyers, Devils coach Peter DeBoer was shaking things up
— or at least trying to.
“Our fourth line generated a lot of offense,” DeBoer said of the Devils’
seven-game series against the Panthers. “I thought our top two lines, it was
a little sporadic. Throughout the series we’ll try some different things.”
The Devils went 3-3-0 against the Flyers in the regular season, but after
watching Philadelphia’s offense explode in the first round, DeBoer is
searching for more offensive production heading into Game 1 Sunday
afternoon in Philly.
His team averaged 2.57 goals per game in the first round, but may need to
score more if it is to advance out of the second round of the playoffs for the
first time since the Devils won the Stanley Cup in 2003.
The Flyers averaged 5.0 goals a game in their 4-2 first-round series win
over the Penguins behind center Claude Giroux. He was the NHL’s leading
scorer in the first round with six goals and 14 points.
DeBoer said he isn’t committed to the new lines, but is willing to change
things up to try to match the Flyers’ depth and production.
On Saturday, he started by splitting up his two top goal scorers in the
regular season, Parise (31 goals) and Kovalchuk (37), by shuffling the left
wings on the Devils’ top three lines.
Parise, who had four points and two goals in the first round, moved down to
the second line with Patrik Elias and Dainius Zubrus. Alexei Ponikarovsky
(two assists) moved up from the third line to play with Zajac, who led the
Devils in the first round with three goals and three assists, and Kovalchuk
(three goals, two assists).
Petr Sykora, who had one assist playing on the second line, dropped down
to the third line.
Parise said the moves surprised him “a little bit” but that he understood
them.
“We should be good. We (switched lines) before,” Parise said. “We need to
get a lot of production to match their depth.”
New York Daily News LOADED: 04.29.2012
628921     New Jersey Devils                                                       Bryce Salvador said he thought Kris Versteeg broke his left wrist with a
                                                                                   slash in Game 7 Thursday. He returned to finish that game and said there
                                                                                   are no issues. ... Of Jaromir Jagr playing at age 40, Elias said, “I’d like to.”
Devils may split up Ilya, Zach vs. Flyers                                          ... The Devils have lost their last two series against Flyers, each in five, in
                                                                                   2010 and in 2004.
                                                                                   New York Post LOADED: 04.29.2012
By MARK EVERSON


More PHILADELPHIA — The shakeup would be as big as it gets among the
Devils, if Pete DeBoer goes through with separating Zach Parise and Ilya
Kovalchuk. It’s even bolder on the heels of their first playoff triumph in five
years.
DeBoer wouldn’t promise to open the second round against the Flyers this
afternoon with his two biggest guns on different lines, but the shuffled
pieces believe it.
“I don’t know if these are the combinations we’ll play tomorrow or not,”
DeBoer said. “I just wanted to try something with Parise in practice.”
DeBoer replaced left wing Parise with Alexei Ponikarovsky alongside Travis
Zajac and Kovalchuk, while Parise bumped Petr Sykora from the line with
Patrik Elias and Dainius Zubrus.
The obvious intent would be to juice up the Elias’ line and give the Devils a
more spread-out attack.
“We scored well 5-on-5. We outscored Florida almost 2-1 (13-6), so we had
some good things,” DeBoer said. “But there’s always room for
improvement.
“Our fourth line generated a lot of offense. Our top two lines were a little
sporadic,” he added. “Throughout the series we’ll try different things until we
get everybody going.”
Kovalchuk scored three goals, Parise two in the seven-game triumph over
the Panthers. Elias, the franchise’s record regular season and playoff
scorer, had two goals and no assists in the seven games. Elias is too good
a player, too important an offensive factor to let wither.
“I have no answer,” Elias said. Zubrus did.
“I don’t think it’s a secret that our fourth line was probably our best 5-on-5,”
Zubrus told The Post. “Our line didn’t do enough 5-on-5 and I don’t think
[Zajac’s] line did much 5-on-5. We need to be better.”
Captain Parise said he was surprised about the shift.
“A little bit, yeah. We won the series,” Parise said. “At the same time, we
have to get more production. “Everyone played well in the first round. If they
weren’t scoring, they were doing other things well and that was great to
see. But we need to get a little more offense. That might have something to
do with it.”
Kovalchuk said the message he received is clear.
“I think I’m just going to shoot more,” Kovalchuk told The Post. “Playing with
Zach, we were overpassing the puck.
“This might be one reason Pete separated us.”
Whether DeBoer goes through with it today, he reopened the possibilities
this yet-underachieving offense offers.
“Why not?” Kovalchuk said. “Maybe get some guys going.”
DeBoer himself sounded ready to make the move that seems justified —
and proactive one.
“Any kind of change is refreshing and gives players different jump and a
different look,” DeBoer said. “That doesn’t mean we’re going to make a
change. We’ve won a lot of games over the past month with the lines we
had. I haven’t made any decisions.
“But any time you make changes, you usually get a positive reaction.”
DeBoer’s theory balance that against Page 1 of the mythical coach’s playoff
manual that says ‘”Don’t Mess It Up.”
The Flyers will have been off a week since ousting the Stanley Cup-favorite
Penguins in six.
“I hope they’re a little stale and we pick up where we left off,” DeBoer said.
628922     New Jersey Devils                                                       PREDICTION
                                                                                   The Devils showed some moxie in blowing 2-0 leads and winning in OT in
                                                                                   the final two games of the first round. But those blown leads must be a
The matchups                                                                       coach’s biggest concern. The Flyers took care of better already. FLYERS in
                                                                                   SIX.

By MARK EVERSON                                                                    New York Post LOADED: 04.29.2012



More PHILADELPHIA — Time’s up. The Devils’ biggest guns have had
long enough to deliver what’s required, and if they don’t suddenly emerge
as world-beating scorers, they’re not beating the Flyers.
The Devils are sure to be tested physically by the Flyers, and though they
must stand up to the Phillystines, they will have to punish them on the
power play.
The Devils’ defense had trouble enough with Florida’s Kris Versteeg and
Sean Bergenheim, now it must contend with the first-round’s runaway top
scorer, Claude Giroux, who had six goals and eight assists in a shocking
six-game victory over the Cup-favorite Penguins.
Claude Giroux
The Flyers, notably Scott Hartnell, will press those Devils defensemen. Like
the Panthers, the Flyers figure on working over the Devils’ right
defensemen.
Jersey will need more from its big stats than it got in the first round — Ilya
Kovalchuk (three goals, two assists) and Zach Parise (two goals, two
assists). And it would be optimistic for the Devils to count on getting such
great production (five goals) from the fourth line against Florida.
Kovalchuk and Parise must score plenty, or their first trip to the second
round in five years will be a short one.
Here’s a look at this series:
FORWARDS
No one else had a first-round like Giroux, who made Simon Gagne obsolete
in Philly. Jaromir Jagr still has flashes of his magic, mostly passing now,
while Danny Briere has played bigger than he is. Rookies Braydon Schenn,
Sean Couturier and Matt Read made significant impact, while Wayne
Simmonds may have been the best Flyer against the Devils this season.
The Devils are loaded up front, and now Kovalchuk and Parise with be split
in hopes of igniting Patrik Elias, the franchise’s all-time playoff and regular-
season scoring leader. ADVANTAGE: EVEN.
DEFENSE
The Devils are trying to win the other way, with a wealth up front, but
without the Big Three D that brought three Cups. It hasn’t worked yet. The
franchise let out a collective shudder when Bryce Salvador, their stopper,
needed attention on his slashed wrist Thursday. Andy Greene was a hero
against Florida, but don’t think the Flyers didn’t notice. New Jersey’s crew
are competent, but not awesome. Meanwhile, the hype machine has been
boosting Philly’s Braydon Coburn, though it’s way overblown for an average
D-man. Matt Carle may have had an average season, but he still is the
Flyers’ reliable one. Kimmo Timonen, Nicklas Grossman, Pavel Kubina and
Andreas Liljas give combine for the edge. ADVANTAGE: FLYERS.
GOALTENDING
Ilya Bryzgalov had it all over the Devils this season, 3-for-3 on one total
goal-against. Martin Brodeur, who turns 40 next Sunday, was 1-3 against
the Flyers this season, and 0-0 in six last season. Brodeur is 2-8 in his last
10 playoff games against the Flyers. EDGE: Even.
SPECIAL TEAMS
The Devils should be better, but haven’t been. Philly led the first round with
an astounding 12-for-23 (52.5 percent) on the power play, while allowing 9-
in-29 (67 percent) is the flip side of playing Pitt. The Devils went 5-for-25,
but only could kill 18 of 27 (66.7 percent) against Florida. EDGE: FLYERS.
COACHING
Pete DeBoer won his first playoff series after missing postseason all three
years he was in Florida. He’s well-prepared and well-versed, but the Devils
kept blowing leads all season and through the first round. Peter Laviolette
has his Stanley Cup ring from Carolina, and that victory over Pitt didn’t hurt
his reputation. EDGE: FLYERS.
628923     New Jersey Devils                                                       Bryce Salvador said he thought Kris Versteeg broke his left wrist with a
                                                                                   slash in Game 7 Thursday. He returned to finish that game and said there
                                                                                   are no issues. ... Of Jaromir Jagr playing at age 40, Elias said, “I’d like to.”
Devils may split up Ilya, Zach vs. Flyers                                          ... The Devils have lost their last two series against Flyers, each in five, in
                                                                                   2010 and in 2004.
                                                                                   New York Post LOADED: 04.29.2012
By MARK EVERSON


PHILADELPHIA — The shakeup would be as big as it gets among the
Devils, if Pete DeBoer goes through with separating Zach Parise and Ilya
Kovalchuk. It’s even bolder on the heels of their first playoff triumph in five
years.
DeBoer wouldn’t promise to open the second round against the Flyers this
afternoon with his two biggest guns on different lines, but the shuffled
pieces believe it.
“I don’t know if these are the combinations we’ll play tomorrow or not,”
DeBoer said. “I just wanted to try something with Parise in practice.”
DeBoer replaced left wing Parise with Alexei Ponikarovsky alongside Travis
Zajac and Kovalchuk, while Parise bumped Petr Sykora from the line with
Patrik Elias and Dainius Zubrus.
The obvious intent would be to juice up the Elias’ line and give the Devils a
more spread-out attack.
“We scored well 5-on-5. We outscored Florida almost 2-1 (13-6), so we had
some good things,” DeBoer said. “But there’s always room for
improvement.
“Our fourth line generated a lot of offense. Our top two lines were a little
sporadic,” he added. “Throughout the series we’ll try different things until we
get everybody going.”
Kovalchuk scored three goals, Parise two in the seven-game triumph over
the Panthers. Elias, the franchise’s record regular season and playoff
scorer, had two goals and no assists in the seven games. Elias is too good
a player, too important an offensive factor to let wither.
“I have no answer,” Elias said. Zubrus did.
“I don’t think it’s a secret that our fourth line was probably our best 5-on-5,”
Zubrus told The Post. “Our line didn’t do enough 5-on-5 and I don’t think
[Zajac’s] line did much 5-on-5. We need to be better.”
Captain Parise said he was surprised about the shift.
“A little bit, yeah. We won the series,” Parise said. “At the same time, we
have to get more production. “Everyone played well in the first round. If they
weren’t scoring, they were doing other things well and that was great to
see. But we need to get a little more offense. That might have something to
do with it.”
Kovalchuk said the message he received is clear.
“I think I’m just going to shoot more,” Kovalchuk told The Post. “Playing with
Zach, we were overpassing the puck.
“This might be one reason Pete separated us.”
Whether DeBoer goes through with it today, he reopened the possibilities
this yet-underachieving offense offers.
“Why not?” Kovalchuk said. “Maybe get some guys going.”
DeBoer himself sounded ready to make the move that seems justified —
and proactive one.
“Any kind of change is refreshing and gives players different jump and a
different look,” DeBoer said. “That doesn’t mean we’re going to make a
change. We’ve won a lot of games over the past month with the lines we
had. I haven’t made any decisions.
“But any time you make changes, you usually get a positive reaction.”
DeBoer’s theory balance that against Page 1 of the mythical coach’s playoff
manual that says ‘”Don’t Mess It Up.”
The Flyers will have been off a week since ousting the Stanley Cup-favorite
Penguins in six.
“I hope they’re a little stale and we pick up where we left off,” DeBoer said.
628924     New York Rangers                                                         "Two mistakes cost us in goals," Ovechkin said. "We talk about how we
                                                                                    have to play much better and we have to step up. It's only one game.
                                                                                    (Monday) it's going to be a new day, and we have to stay tight."
Kreider Lifts Rangers to 3-1 Win Over Capitals                                      Derek Stepan made a crisp pass out of his end to Kreider. Capitals
                                                                                    defenseman Mike Green aborted a trip to the bench and raced to get back
                                                                                    into position, but Kreider ripped a drive past Holtby before Green could stop
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS                                                             him.
                                                                                    "We need to be more aggressive," Green said. "We were a little bit on our
                                                                                    heels."
NEW YORK (AP) — Chris Kreider is six games into his NHL career and
days shy of his 21st birthday.                                                      Kreider changed his game plan because he was at the end of an
                                                                                    exhausting shift.
And yet the Stanley Cup playoffs are anything but overwhelming for the
newest New York Rangers forward who has quickly become a hit on                     "There was an opening, so I thought I'd hit it, and Stepan made a nice
Broadway.                                                                           pass," he said. "The minute I got it, I would usually try to take that to the
                                                                                    net, but I had to pull up since I was so tired. I was just trying to get it on
Kreider scored the go-ahead goal and then set up Brad Richards' insurance           net."
tally 90 seconds later in the third period to lift New York to a 3-1 victory over
the Washington Capitals on Saturday in the opening game of the Eastern              Holtby said he was fooled by Kreider's release on the shot.
Conference semifinal series.
Kreider, who earlier this month helped Boston College win the NCAA                  Then Kreider foiled the Capitals with a pass.
championship, scored the second goal of his NHL career — and these                  Richards dived to keep the puck in the Washington end at the left point and
playoffs — and he did it at the perfect time to give the Rangers a 2-1 lead         then took a feed from Kreider from along the side boards. Richards made a
7:00 into the third.                                                                shifty move in front of Holtby and put a shot past him to make it 3-1.
Both Kreider's goals have been playoff game-winners. He also had the                Washington nearly got that one back, but Green's long drive was deflected
deciding marker in New York's Game 6 victory at Ottawa when the Rangers             by teammate Nicklas Backstrom off the post soon after.
played the first of two potential elimination games in the first round.
                                                                                    The Capitals had grabbed momentum with only 5.1 seconds left in the
"I'm kind of at a loss for words," Kreider said. "I'm just trying to keep my        second period and silenced the rocking crowd when Chimera took a cross-
head down and work hard. Whether or not the puck goes in, I'm just trying           crease pass from Brooks Laich and deftly sneaked the puck between
to play the same role I play every night and be consistent and be                   Lundqvist's pads.
defensively reliable."
                                                                                    Chimera has quieted the Garden crowd before. He netted the winning goal
Kreider got into the Rangers lineup only because fellow rookie Carl Hagelin         in double overtime of last year's Game 4 that gave the Capitals a 3-1 series
was suspended for three games when he elbowed Ottawa captain Daniel                 lead en route to a victory in five games. His latest goal knocked out the
Alfredsson in Game 2. Kreider's play kept him on the ice even after Hagelin         remaining buzz created by Anisimov's series-opening tally with 7:22
returned, and he is just one goal off the team lead through eight games of          remaining in the second.
the playoffs.
                                                                                    "That could have hurt us big time, but we came in here, regrouped, talked
Despite not yet playing a regular-season game, Kreider is already hearing           about staying patient and just let the game come to us," Lundqvist said.
his name celebrated at Madison Square Garden. He is the first player to win         "Coming from that Game 7, such an emotional and big win, it was important
an NCAA title and make his NHL debut in that year's playoffs since John             for us to regroup and start all over. This team doesn't give up much so we
Byce did it with Boston in 1990.                                                    have to be smart with pucks. They kind of wait for mistakes, so the key for
"It's a surreal experience," said Kreider, whose birthday is on Monday —            us is not to make too many."
the same day as Game 2. "I got goose bumps, obviously. I was really tired           Anisimov's goal was reminiscent of the one scored by Stephane Matteau
after the goal, but I didn't feel so tired when they started chanting."             that ended the 1994 Eastern Conference finals against New Jersey, the last
Richards made it a two-goal lead off a feed from Kreider, and gave a two-           time the Rangers won the Stanley Cup. Matteau was in attendance
fisted punch into the glass behind goalie Braden Holtby to celebrate his            Saturday and was shown on the center ice video board — flashing his
third goal of the playoffs. It marked the first time that Washington trailed by     championship ring — just moments before Anisimov made it 1-0.
two goals in the playoffs.                                                          NOTES: New York has won Game 1 in five of its past eight series. The
Henrik Lundqvist earned the win, and needed to make only 17 saves to do             Rangers are 31-11 when winning the opener, including six of the past
it. The Rangers mustered just 14 shots on Holtby, but scored on two in a            seven. ... The Rangers managed only eight shots through two periods,
row to put the game away.                                                           compared to 13 for Washington, and just three were recorded by forwards.
                                                                                    ... Eminger, who logged 4:25 of ice time in four shifts, missed the previous
Artem Anisimov scored in the second period for the Rangers, who played              19 games because of an injury sustained on March 15 against Pittsburgh.
without injured forwards Brian Boyle and Brandon Dubinsky. Boyle missed             ... Washington won three road games in its first-round series against
his third straight game because of a concussion sustained in Game 5 of the          Boston. All seven games of that series were decided by one goal.
first-round series against Ottawa. Dubinsky was hurt in the third period
Thursday night when New York edged the Senators 2-1 to win Game 7.                  New York Times LOADED: 04.29.2012

Defenseman Steve Eminger returned from injury to fill in, and saw limited
action as a forward.
Jason Chimera scored the lone goal for the Capitals to tie it 1-1 in the
closing seconds of the second period. Washington was coming off a seven-
game victory over Boston in the first round.
The Rangers are trying to exact a measure of revenge against the Capitals,
who eliminated New York from the playoffs last year and in 2009. The
seventh-seeded Capitals have won four of the six previous postseason
meetings, and they split four regular-season games this season against the
East's top-seeded team.
Capitals star Alex Ovechkin felt the brunt of the venom from the fans, who
booed him and sent derisive chants in his direction several times during the
game.
628925     New York Rangers                                                       bit too far forward. With those players out of position, Kreider was left wide
                                                                                  open for Stepan’s long, accurate pass.
                                                                                  “It’s part of hockey,” Capitals Coach Dale Hunter said, refusing to blame his
Rookie Continues His Rise, Taking Rangers Along                                   defensemen. “It happens.”
                                                                                  Ovechkin promised that the Capitals would bounce back. “It’s only one
By JEFF Z. KLEIN                                                                  game,” he said. “Monday, it’s going to be a different game and it’s going to
                                                                                  be a new day.”
                                                                                  Richards seemed to agree. “We won Game 1 last time” against Ottawa, he
The fans at Madison Square Garden were on their feet, roaring Chris               said, “and it ended up being a war. We expect it to be once again.”
Kreider’s name. Kreider, a rookie forward who was still on his parents’
cellphone plan when he joined the Rangers from Boston College three               SLAP SHOTS
weeks ago, had just taken a perfect stretch pass from Derek Stepan and            Forwards Brandon Dubinsky (leg) and Brian Boyle (concussion) did not play
blasted a 43-foot slap shot past Washington goalie Braden Holtby.                 on Saturday. To help fill the void, Steve Eminger suited up for the first time
Kreider’s goal broke open what had been a gridlocked game, giving the             since March 15, when he sprained his right ankle. Eminger, usually a
Rangers a 2-1 lead over the workmanlike Washington Capitals in the first          defenseman, took four shifts on the fourth line alongside John Mitchell and
game of the Eastern Conference semifinals.                                        Mike Rupp.

“It was a surreal experience — I got goose bumps,” Kreider said about             New York Times LOADED: 04.29.2012
hearing his name chanted by the crowd. “I was really tired after the goal,
but I didn’t feel so tired when they started chanting.”
One and a half minutes later, Brad Richards scored from close range to
make it 3-1, and that was how it ended Saturday afternoon. Kreider got an
assist, continuing an excellent start to his brief N.H.L. career.
Richards, the statesmanlike veteran, and Kreider, the new kid with two
goals — both of them game-winners — in his first six games, may have
been the Rangers’ best forwards over the second half of their seven-game
win over the Ottawa Senators in the opening round, which ended with
Thursday night’s 2-1 victory at the Garden. They were superb again a day
and a half later in a game that was occasionally tedious. The Capitals
played a slogging style of hockey throughout their first-round upset of the
defending champion Boston Bruins, winning it in overtime of Game 7. Every
game in that series was decided by one goal, the first time that has
happened in the N.H.L.
Except for a stretch of 2 minutes 54 seconds, the Capitals and the Bruins
were tied or separated by one goal for the 448 minutes of play in the series.
The Capitals had a two-goal lead for 2:54 against Boston, so after
Richards’s goal, they were down by more than one for the first time in the
playoffs.
The passing and shooting lanes were so clogged that both goalies, the
Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist and the Capitals’ Holtby, often had little to do.
Lundqvist faced 18 shots; Holtby, himself a rookie in this postseason when
first- and second-year players have taken starring roles, faced only 14. The
Rangers also bottled up the Capitals. Alex Ovechkin was limited to one shot
on goal and had two others blocked.
“We tried to keep him to the outside and also make him defend a little bit,”
defenseman Ryan McDonagh said. “If we can tire him out doing that,
maybe he won’t have that extra burst of speed to rush down on us.”
The Rangers struck first, 12:38 into the second period. Artem Anisimov
scored on a wraparound after coming from behind the net with Washington
defenseman Mike Green draped over his back. The play was started by
Ruslan Fedotenko, who fought off two Capitals against the end boards to
win the puck and get it to Anisimov.
Earlier in the period, Fedotenko was brilliant in helping to kill off a two-man
disadvantage while Marc Staal and Brandon Prust were in the penalty box.
Fedotenko first blocked a shot from Ovechkin, then dived to break up a
centering pass in front of the Rangers’ net and clear the puck down the ice.
While the Rangers were still one man down, he dived to intercept a break-in
pass at the blue line, destroying a Washington two-on-one rush.
“That’s why he’s got two Stanley Cups tattooed on his back,” Coach John
Tortorella said. Fedotenko won the Cup with Tortorella’s 2004 Tampa Bay
Lightning team, and again with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2009.
The Capitals tied the score with just four seconds left in the second period.
Jason Chimera tipped a perfect saucer pass from Brooks Laich between
Lundqvist’s legs. But it did not throw the Rangers off.
“There wasn’t much said about it in the dressing room between periods,”
Richards said. “Sometimes, you line back up and just start over.”
That set the stage for Kreider’s goal. The Capitals’ Green was trying to
change on the play, and his defense partner Roman Hamrlik was playing a
628926     New York Rangers                                                       After the game, Richards was asked if he had any idea Kreider would
                                                                                  become so important to the Rangers.
                                                                                  “No, not really,” Richards said. “This is a pretty high level he’s jumped into.
Kreider Speeds Into a Vital Role                                                  It shows you his learning curve, shows you his hockey I.Q. I didn’t expect
                                                                                  that to happen.”

By CHRISTOPHER BOTTA                                                              Neither did the Capitals.
                                                                                  New York Times LOADED: 04.29.2012

When Chris Kreider scored to break a 1-1 tie in the third period on
Saturday, he did not just electrify the crowd at Madison Square Garden. At
a convention of collegiate hockey coaches in Naples, Fla., Jerry York
pumped his fist and smiled.
 “I was a very proud coach,” said York, Kreider’s coach at Boston College
until three weeks ago, when the Eagles defeated Ferris State for the
N.C.A.A. championship. “I’m here at a hotel with a bunch of my peers and
the Rangers have so many recent college players — Derek Stepan, Ryan
McDonagh, Carl Hagelin. My guy Chris scores a goal. How can you not feel
incredible about that?”
Kreider, who signed with the Rangers three days after winning the college
title, has had that effect lately. Ever since Coach John Tortorella called him
“an interesting cat” during the Rangers’ first-round series with Ottawa,
Kreider has demonstrated what he was talking about.
Along with some scratching and clawing, Kreider has used his speed to
become a vital factor in the Rangers’ title hopes. On Saturday, Kreider
broke a 1-1 tie with a goal seven minutes into the third period and assisted
on Brad Richards’s goal 90 seconds later.
“He’s showing us something more and more every night,” Richards said of
Kreider.
In just his sixth game in the N.H.L., Kreider found himself making the
interview rounds minutes after the Rangers’ victory.
“The entire experience is pretty overwhelming,” said Kreider, who turns 21
on Monday.
But he has not been overwhelmed between the singing of the national
anthem and the sound of the final horn, which is what Tortorella alluded to.
Kreider’s demeanor in the locker room is the same calm he exhibits on the
ice.
“He didn’t say much when he first got here,” defenseman Dan Girardi said.
“I’m sure he wanted to be the quiet kid, just trying to fit in. But we’ve
encouraged him to say what’s on his mind, to ask any questions he may
have.”
As a result, said McDonagh, Kreider “started asking a lot of questions.”
Kreider appeared bashful when these comments were relayed to him. He
grinned a lot but didn’t say much as he sat in his locker-room stall, wearing
the Broadway Hat — given by his teammates to the lunch-pail hero of the
game — for the first time.
“This was only my sixth game, but I feel like I’ve been around a lot longer,”
Kreider said. “I guess it feels that way because of all the help I’ve had.”
He regularly exchanges texts with York, who is not as surprised about
Kreider’s rapid ascent as just about everyone else.
“You have to remember, he didn’t come from the University of Nowhere,”
York said. “Chris played in two world junior championships for Team USA
and was a part of two N.C.A.A. titles with us. But you do have to give him
credit for stepping into the biggest market in the country and not just looking
comfortable, but excelling.”
York is not alone with his Boston College pride. After Kreider’s third-period
star turn, Parker Milner, his goaltender at Boston College, wrote on Twitter:
“Are you kidding me, Kreids. Word is they are chanting Kreider at MSG.”
The chant could become a custom this spring. In a tight game, Kreider’s
ability to create space for himself with speed is crucial. At the end of the
second period, there were a total of 45 hits recorded in the game — 25 by
the Rangers, 20 by the Capitals. At the same time, there were a combined
21 shots on goal by the teams — 13 by the Capitals and 8 by the Rangers.
One play made the difference in the third period. Kreider received a pass in
the neutral zone from Stepan, skated into the offensive end and blasted a
slap shot by Braden Holtby, the Capitals’ goalie.
628927     New York Rangers                                                      They dig, they block shots, they have the best goaltender in the league.
                                                                                 Now they also have a Mack truck who skates like the wind.
                                                                                 That might come in handy.
NY Rangers rookie Chris Kreider gives Blueshirts shot in the arm in Game
1 win over Washington Capitals                                                   New York Daily News LOADED: 04.29.2012


NEW YORK DAILY NEWS


It’s been a crazy ride for Chris Kreider, straight out of Boston College and
into the fire. Three weeks ago he was a strapping 20-year-old kid, winning a
second NCAA title and hanging out in Beantown with his buddies,
wondering what happens next.
The first-round draft pick signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the
Rangers, and then on Saturday he was staring into a scrum of reporters at
the Garden, wearing the black, floppy Broadway Hat that sits atop the head
of the Ranger hero of the day.
“I knew a little about him, but I didn’t know he was built like a Mack truck
and could skate like the wind,” Dan Girardi said of his new teammate. “He’s
out there skating so fast, so powerfully, we’re lucky to have him.”
Practically all by his lonesome, Kreider broke open Game 1 of the Eastern
Conference semifinals against the Caps, a 3-1 victory for the Rangers that
took quite a while to get started. Both teams came out with Game 7
hangovers and the Rangers only managed 14 shots on goal the whole day.
Seven minutes into the third period, none of that mattered. Kreider,
flagging, found some open space on the ice, took a pass in stride from
Derek Stepan and beat another rookie, Braden Holtby, for a 2-1 lead from
near the top of the left circle.
“I was gassed, at the end of my shift,” Kreider said. “I don’t normally take
slap shots. I would usually take that to the net, but I had to pull up since I
was tired. I was just trying to get it on the cage.”
He got it on the cage, in the net. As if that weren’t enough, he fed Brad
Richards near the right side of Holtby for the clincher 90 seconds later.
A goal, an assist, an accelerated dream come true. The Garden crowd, flat
and nearly asleep during the first period, came alive to chant his name after
that big goal.
“It was a surreal experience,” he said. “I got goose bumps. I was really tired
after the goal, but didn’t feel so tired when they started chanting.”
This has been one of the smoothest, quickest transitions for a college
player that anyone can remember around here. John Tortorella was so
impressed with Kreider at the start of the playoffs, he immediately trusted
him with significant minutes at key moments. He scored the winner in Game
6 against the Senators. He was out there skating Saturday for more than 15
minutes against the Caps in only his sixth NHL game, showcasing
remarkable physical skills and uncanny intuition.
“What he’s getting, he deserves,” Tortorella said of Kreider’s ice time. “We
just want his instinctiveness and speed, just want him to play. It’s real good
stuff for a kid.”
Before Kreider joined the Rangers, Tortorella had a meeting with the team
to ask the players to give the newcomer a break. It isn’t easy for the new kid
in class, stealing minutes from veterans.
“We talked about the situation he’s coming into, how difficult it would be,”
Tortorella said. “It’s a hard situation for a kid, and both the team and him
have handled themselves well. He’s just a quiet, unassuming kid.”
He’s just a colt, a cub, yet Kreider is learning on the fly with incredible
dexterity. He was practically silent at first around his teammates, humble
and deferential. Now he asks some questions when he has them, directs a
lot of them at Ryan McDonaugh, another young American on the team.
“I kept my mouth shut, minding my own business,” said Kreider, who
already has a World Junior championship on his resumé. “I haven’t had a
whole lot of time to think about all this.”
He spoke with the Broadway Hat on his head, with the digital recorders and
cameras in his face, and you got the feeling Kreider will be around New
York doing things like this for a long time to come. Unlike the Knicks, who
look done in the playoffs before they even started, the Rangers appear
settled in for the long haul.
628928     New York Rangers


NY Rangers' Ruslan Fedotenko raises game for playoffs in victory over
Washington Capitals in Game 1 of Eastern Conference semifinal series


By Peter Botte


John Tortorella continues to praise veteran winger Ruslan Fedotenko’s
ability to step up his game in postseason play, and for good reason.
With penalty-killing forwards Brian Boyle (concussion) and Brandon
Dubinsky (lower-body injury) scratched for the Rangers’ 3-1 Game 1 win
Saturday over Washington, Fedotenko had an active game, including a key
blocked shot on Alexander Ovechkin in the second period to help kill off a
two-man advantage and the remaining Washington power play.
“We basically benched him (for two games) near the end of the year, and
that was part of our conversation with him. We knew how important he was
going to be in the playoffs and had to get him ready for that,” Tortorella
said. “Even in the last series (against Ottawa), he does a lot of little things
that a lot of people don’t see. . . . But that’s why he has those two tattoos on
his shoulder.”
Fedotenko’s tattoos depict the two Stanley Cup championship teams he
played on — Tampa Bay under Tortorella in 2004, and Pittsburgh in 2009.
“Every moment is big in playoffs . . . and defense is priority number one,”
Fedotenko said.
ARTEM, ARTEM, ARTEM!
The 1994 Stanley Cup hero Stephane Matteau received a rousing ovation
when shown on the Garden scoreboard in the second period. And minutes
later, Artem Anisimov channeled Matteau’s wraparound overtime goal
against the Devils that catapulted the ’94 Blueshirts into the Finals.
Anisimov, who swept around the net and jammed the puck past Braden
Holtby to open the scoring at 12:38, asked reporters for details of the
Matteau goal after the game.
“I have seen that (replay),” Anisimov said. “But I want to know more.”
INS AND OUTS
Before the game, Tortorella replied “No updates” to three different
variations of questions regarding Boyle and Dubinsky before abruptly
ending his 19-second media session.
Anisimov centered Fedotenko and Brandon Prust, while defenseman Steve
Eminger rejoined the lineup for the first time since suffering a sprained
ankle March 15. He played only 4:25 over four shifts, mostly as a winger on
the fourth unit alongside Mike Rupp and John Mitchell.
CAPPED OUT
Tortorella already is beyond tired of questions about how the Caps
eliminated the Rangers from the playoffs in two of the last three seasons.
He cut off one postgame query in that regard, saying, “I know a bunch of
you are (writing about that), but that’s a bunch of crap.”
New York Daily News LOADED: 04.29.2012
628929     New York Rangers                                                        on the ice. The mental part of the game as far as him trying to make a
                                                                                   difference every shift, that’s really good stuff for a young kid.”
                                                                                   New York Daily News LOADED: 04.29.2012
NY Rangers rookie Chris Kreider breaks third-period tie to lead Blueshirts to
3-1 win over Washington Capitals in Game 1


By Peter Botte


New York sports history is littered with both stars and unknowns who are
transformed into local legends with outstanding performances in
postseason play.
For someone who never even has appeared in an NHL regular-season
game, Rangers rookie Chris Kreider is quickly becoming the latest athlete
to find out about that phenomenon.
Kreider, a student-athlete who won a NCAA title at Boston College barely
three weeks ago, heard his last name ringing through the Garden on
Saturday after he loosened a tight knot – and emboldened an even tighter
home crowd – with his second game-winning goal of the playoffs in the third
period. He also added a key assist to propel the Rangers to a defensive-
minded 3-1 victory over Washington in Game 1 of their second-round
playoff series.
“I’m kind of at a loss for words,” said the soft-spoken Kreider, who doesn’t
turn 21 until Monday. “I’m just trying to keep my head down and work hard.
Whether or not the puck goes in, I’m just trying to play the same role I play
every night and be consistent and defensively responsible.
“But,” he then added, “it has been a surreal experience.”
Kreider took advantage of a faulty change by Caps defenseman Mike
Green to bury his second goal in six playoff games since John Tortorella
inserted him into the lineup in Game 3 of the Rangers’ seven-game ouster
of Ottawa in the first round.
Kreider collected a feed from linemate Derek Stepan and ripped the puck
past Washington goalie Braden Holtby at 7:00 of the third, prompting
deafening chants of “Kreider, Kreider” from the home crowd.
Kreider, who said he “got goose bumps” during the chanting, also had a
hand in extending the lead to 3-1 just 90 seconds later. He freed the puck
off the wall to set up Brad Richards for a stuffer at the left post at 11:30.
“Poise is obviously a big part of it. It’s probably the most important part of
how he’s handled himself,” Richards said of Kreider, who donned the famed
Broadway Hat afterward as the star of the game. “He’s not overwhelmed by
anything. The second part is his legs, where you can get that speed and
use that size. Hopefully, he can keep it going.”
If he does, the Rangers figure to be hard to stop, even though their seven-
game war of attrition against Ottawa forced forwards Brian Boyle
(concussion) and Brandon Dubinsky (lower-body injury) to be scratched for
Game 1.
Not even 48 hours after vanquishing the pesky Sens, the Blueshirts and
much of the sellout crowd seemed lethargic in a feeling-out first period in
which the Rangers managed just four of their playoff-low 14 shots. But led
by battle-tested Ruslan Fedotenko up top, the Rangers roused the crowd by
killing off 34 seconds of 5-on-3 time and the remaining power play midway
through the second. Henrik Lundqvist also made perhaps the finest of his
17 saves, getting his left arm on a blast by Alexander Semin before the
puck glanced away off the crossbar.
A few minutes later, Artem Anisimov swept around Holtby’s net and stuffed
the puck home for his first of the playoffs to open the scoring at 12:38. The
Rangers appeared as if they’d make it to the second intermission nursing
the 1-0 lead, until Jason Chimera snuck the puck between Lundqvist’s pads
with 3.5 seconds remaining.
“I really liked how we responded after getting scored on there,” Tortorella
added. “That’s been our team all year.”
Of course, the top team in the Eastern Conference didn’t include Kreider
until mid-April, but the team’s 2009 first-round pick has continued to make a
believer out of his coach and the already adoring Garden faithful.
“There are a number of things we’ll end up working with him on, but this
isn’t the time of year to do that,” Tortorella said. “We just want his instincts
and speed, and then just go out and play. But forget about what he’s doing
628930     New York Rangers


Injured Boyle, Dubinsky sit out Game 1


By BRETT CYRGALIS


With Rangers coach John Tortorella continuing his terse and contentious
handling of the media, he said Saturday morning there was “no update” on
either of his injured forwards, Brian Boyle or Brandon Dubinsky.
So it took until warm-ups before the Rangers’ 3-1 win in Game 1 of the
team’s Eastern Conference semifinal against the Capitals that it was clear
neither would be playing. Instead, Steve Eminger, normally a defenseman,
rejoined the lineup and played on the fourth line with John Mitchell and Mike
Rupp.
“In meetings after [Friday’s] practice, there was an idea, it was kind of
50/50,” Eminger told The Post about when he found out he was going to
play. “On the way to the rink [yesterday] morning, I prepared like I was
playing. When I got to the rink, my number was on the board.”
Eminger, who played 4:25, had not played a game since Jordan Staal fell
on his right ankle and sprained it during a game against the Penguins on
March 15. The 28-year-old, 10-year veteran had never played forward in a
game during his stops at four other teams before the Rangers.
“It was definitely different. You see the game [different] and you’re playing
the game at a different feel,” said Eminger, who was drafted by the Capitals
in the first round (12th overall) in 2002. “Your concept, system-wise, that
changes. But your aggression, your sacrifice, that doesn’t change.”
Stu Bickel, who played some forward for the Rangers this season, stayed at
his blueline position with partner Michael Del Zotto. It’s unclear if either
Boyle or Dubinsky will be available for tomorrow night’s Game 2.
They get the assignment every game, so it was no surprise that Rangers’
defensemen Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh were on the ice almost every
time Capitals’ superstar Alex Ovechkin stepped over the boards.
The shutdown blueline pair held Ovechkin in check, allowing him just one
shot, two attempts blocked and two shots missed in 21:03 of ice time.
“We tried to stay up in his face and not give him too much room to wheel
around with the puck,” Girardi said. “He’s going to have chances when he’s
coming down the wing and you try to keep him to the outside. If he does cut
to the middle, you pass him off to your partner and take his space away
there and try to make his life hard.”
The Rangers power play, which went 5-for-32 (15.6 percent) in the seven-
game first-round series against the Senators, struggled in going 0-for-4 over
6:27. They had a big chance with 2:12 gone by in the third period and the
game tied 1-1, but managed to get just one shot on net.
After struggling at the faceoff dot during the Senators’ series, the Rangers
won 52 percent of the draws, taking 26 of the 50. It was more impressive
with one of their best faceoff men, Boyle, out.
New York Post LOADED: 04.29.2012
628931     New York Rangers


Crucial penalty kill fuels Rangers


By BRETT CYRGALIS


More It was a game in which it seemed as if one goal was going to stand
up, like one mistake would be the downfall.
So with just under eight minutes gone by in the second period, the game
scoreless and the Rangers already a man down, it seemed as if that
mistake came with a boarding penalty from Brandon Prust.
It was Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinal, and now the
dangerous Capitals were going on a 5-on-3 advantage in hopes of taking
the first lead of the series.
“It was a key point of the game,” coach John Tortorella said after his team
won it, 3-1. “Feds came up big. They all did.”
“Feds” is Ruslan Fedotenko, who sacrificed his body on a one-timer from
Capitals sniper Alex Ovechkin just 10 seconds into the two-man advantage,
blocking a shot and creating a clear. Just 20 seconds later, Ryan Callahan
blocked a shot from Mike Green, and the 5-on-3 was thwarted.
“It could be a big moment, every one,” Fedotenko said. “It was a great kill
and we take the momentum going further.”
The momentum continued when, just over four minutes later, Fedotenko
held control of the puck below the Capitals net, fed it to Artem Anisimov,
and he wrapped around and stuffed one under Braden Holtby for a 1-0
lead.
“I knew our line was changing, so I was just trying to hold on to the puck
and wait for my partners,” Fedotenko said. “I saw Artie there, so I just
wanted to give it to him and go to the front of the net. He brought it to the
net and it went in. It was not a pretty goal but it was effective.”
Said Anisimov: “Because I see two defensemen in the corner, and nobody
in front, that means bring puck to the net. Lucky bounce.”
Fedotenko has had an up-and-down season under Tortorella, with whom he
won a Stanley Cup in 2004 while playing for the Lightning. At times, he
pushed to be a top-six forward, and at times, he was a player on the fringe
of the roster.
Yet down the stretch, the 33-year-old Ukrainian, who played his 96th career
playoff game, has proven to be a valuable asset.
“When we basically benched him at the end of the year, part of the
conversation with him was we knew how important a role he was going to
play for us now,” Tortorella said. “We needed to get him ready for that.”
With his huge blocked shot and his assist on the goal, Fedotenko’s worth
was shown clearly as the Rangers took control of the series.
“It’s a game of millimeters,” Fedotenko said. “It’s one of those things,
sometimes it works out great, sometimes it doesn’t work out as good. Right
now, we are able to be in a positive light.”
New York Post LOADED: 04.29.2012
628932     New York Rangers


Injured Boyle, Dubinsky sit out Game 1


By BRETT CYRGALIS


More With Rangers coach John Tortorella continuing his terse and
contentious handling of the media, he said Saturday morning there was “no
update” on either of his injured forwards, Brian Boyle or Brandon Dubinsky.
So it took until warm-ups before the Rangers’ 3-1 win in Game 1 of the
team’s Eastern Conference semifinal against the Capitals that it was clear
neither would be playing. Instead, Steve Eminger, normally a defenseman,
rejoined the lineup and played on the fourth line with John Mitchell and Mike
Rupp.
“In meetings after [Friday’s] practice, there was an idea, it was kind of
50/50,” Eminger told The Post about when he found out he was going to
play. “On the way to the rink [yesterday] morning, I prepared like I was
playing. When I got to the rink, my number was on the board.”
Eminger, who played 4:25, had not played a game since Jordan Staal fell
on his right ankle and sprained it during a game against the Penguins on
March 15. The 28-year-old, 10-year veteran had never played forward in a
game during his stops at four other teams before the Rangers.
“It was definitely different. You see the game [different] and you’re playing
the game at a different feel,” said Eminger, who was drafted by the Capitals
in the first round (12th overall) in 2002. “Your concept, system-wise, that
changes. But your aggression, your sacrifice, that doesn’t change.”
Stu Bickel, who played some forward for the Rangers this season, stayed at
his blueline position with partner Michael Del Zotto. It’s unclear if either
Boyle or Dubinsky will be available for tomorrow night’s Game 2.
They get the assignment every game, so it was no surprise that Rangers’
defensemen Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh were on the ice almost every
time Capitals’ superstar Alex Ovechkin stepped over the boards.
The shutdown blueline pair held Ovechkin in check, allowing him just one
shot, two attempts blocked and two shots missed in 21:03 of ice time.
“We tried to stay up in his face and not give him too much room to wheel
around with the puck,” Girardi said. “He’s going to have chances when he’s
coming down the wing and you try to keep him to the outside. If he does cut
to the middle, you pass him off to your partner and take his space away
there and try to make his life hard.”
The Rangers power play, which went 5-for-32 (15.6 percent) in the seven-
game first-round series against the Senators, struggled in going 0-for-4 over
6:27. They had a big chance with 2:12 gone by in the third period and the
game tied 1-1, but managed to get just one shot on net.
After struggling at the faceoff dot during the Senators’ series, the Rangers
won 52 percent of the draws, taking 26 of the 50. It was more impressive
with one of their best faceoff men, Boyle, out.
New York Post LOADED: 04.29.2012
628933     New York Rangers                                                      “Jumping into this level straight from school, I didn’t expect this,” the
                                                                                 alternate captain said. “The way he’s done this is evidence of his hockey
                                                                                 IQ.”
Rookie Kreider scores game-winner to beat Capitals                               One day soon he might use his IQ to string together intelligent superlatives.
                                                                                 For now, though, this will do.

By LARRY BROOKS                                                                  New York Post LOADED: 04.29.2012



This was Chris Kreider late Thursday night, responding to a question about
how it felt to have played such a significant role in the Rangers’ seven-
game opening round victory over Ottawa that propelled his team into the
Eastern semifinals fewer than three weeks after leaving Boston College as
a junior:
“Maybe if I had a little time I’d be able to throw a few more intelligent
superlatives at it,” said the 20-year-old winger, who had scored the winner
in Game 6 in Ottawa and was so assertive in Game 7. “But right now, it’s
just crazy.”
The Saga of the Can’t Miss Kid from Boxford (Mass.) grew even crazier
yesterday afternoon.
Rangers rookie Chris Kreider, playing in just his sixth NHL game, all in the
playoffs, beats Capitals goalie Braden Holtby to put the Rangers ahead to
stay in yesterday’s 3-1 win over the Capitals at the Garden.
It was Kreider who broke through the bumper-to-bumper traffic of a 1-1 tie
to blow a 30-foot wrist shot past Braden Holtby at 7:00 of the third period
just 90 seconds before setting up Brad Richards for another score to lift the
Blueshirts to a 3-1 victory over the Capitals at the Garden and 1-0 series
lead. The best-of-seven continues here tomorrow night.
“I’m kind of at a loss for words,” Kreider, who just three weeks to the day
earlier had been playing and winning the NCAA championship game, said
this time. “I’m just trying to keep my head down and work hard.”
The winger, who broke to the middle when Mike Green went for a change
and ripped the puck home after taking a headman feed on his tape from
Derek Stepan, is a low talker, in dramatic contrast to the noisy “Kreider …
Kreider” chants that reverberated through the big room on Broadway after
he had scored.
“It was a surreal experience. I got goose bumps obviously,” said Kreider,
who entered the lineup in Game 3 against Ottawa after Carl Hagelin was
suspended. “I was really tired after the goal but didn’t feel so tired when
they started chanting.”
Kreider scored his second pro goal on what was just the Rangers’ 11th shot
of the match. Indeed, the Rangers had just four shots in the first period, not
one from a forward, and merely eight shots through 40 minutes, three from
forwards.
This Gridlock Alert affair produced little artistry. Both teams blocked 15
shots, both clogged the middle and protected the house. The Blueshirts
finished with 14 shots and Washington with 18 against Henrik Lundqvist in
addition to a handful of attempts that clanged off the posts and crossbar.
But this is exactly the style of hockey the Rangers — who played without
both Brian Boyle and Brandon Dubinsky — expect throughout the series.
“We’re going to remain patient and stick to our structure,” Richards said.
“It’s very important that we stick to it and not lose our composure.”
The Rangers did exactly that when Jason Chimera scored with just 3.5
seconds remaining in the second to negate the 1-0 lead the Blueshirts had
gained on Artem Anisimov’s wraparound at 12:38, soon after a penalty kill
of 3:27 that included 34 seconds of playing two-men down.
Maintaining composure has proved every bit as much an asset for Kreider
as his legs. It had to be daunting to join an NHL team on the cusp of the
playoffs that had finished first with a group that had been together for
months.
“I talked to the team before he came in about how it was going to be a hard
situation for him to come into a tight group that had done the things we did,”
coach John Tortorella said. “I think both parties have handled it well.”
There was intense speculation before Kreider signed the day before the
playoffs, but Richards admitted he paid it scant heed.
628934        New York Rangers                                                   “I try to approach it the same way so when I’m out there, I have the same
                                                                                 feeling now that I have during the regular season,” Lundqvist said.
                                                                                 “He showed up at the start of the season with the same steely-eyed focus
As usual, Lundqvist makes key stops for Blueshirts                               you see in all the great ones. It doesn’t really matter what point it is in the
                                                                                 season,” Ryan McDonagh said. “Every time he knows he’s playing he’s so
                                                                                 focused, it drives everybody to match that intensity and that preparation.
Steve Serby                                                                      You could see it here in the playoffs — he hates to give up goals, and we
                                                                                 want to try and help out our best to make sure it doesn’t happen.”
                                                                                 Capitals goalie Braden Holtby is just 22 years old, poised beyond his years,
You can play the way the Rangers play, with much more will than Gretzky-         but yesterday he was flappable.
esque skill, with patience as a virtue, when you have Henrik Lundqvist
standing defiantly in front of your net, and the other guys do not.              “It’s a tough game to stay into, mentally-wise, and I didn’t do a good enough
                                                                                 job of it,” he said.
It is no easy thing when you carry the hopes and dreams of New York City
on your shoulders with expectations higher than the Stanley Cup that was         He had never played Broadway in the second round of the playoffs: an
hoisted over Mark Messier’s head that magical 1994 night when “1940”             apoplectic sea of blue, waving white towels, a thunderous chorus of “Let’s
became a distant memory.                                                         go Rangers” early and often.

Henrik Lundqvist does not buckle under the weight.                               There will be nights when Tortorella’s fire will not scorch the pride and
                                                                                 passion inside his Rangers, and Lundqvist (18 saves) will have to save
He is the singular reason why these young Rangers believe, why New York          them. He didn’t need to save the Rangers yesterday.
believes there can be another Miracle on 33rd Street.
                                                                                 “We hit a few posts and their goalie was good,” Capitals coach Dale Hunter
GOOD TO BE KING: Henrik Lundqvist makes a save and protects himself              said. Better than Holtby, who heard a serenade of “Holtby Sucks, Holtby
from Marcus Johansson during the Rangers’ 3-1 victory over the Capitals          Sucks.” That’s when the Garden wasn’t chanting “Henrik, Henrik” after
yesterday in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals at Madison              several of his more difficult saves.
Square Garden. Post columnist Steve Serby said the Rangers are fortunate
to have such a clutch player as Lundqvist.                                       He will be hearing that sweet sound again. And maybe for a while.

Neil Miller                                                                      New York Post LOADED: 04.29.2012

GOOD TO BE KING: Henrik Lundqvist makes a save and protects himself
from Marcus Johansson during the Rangers’ 3-1 victory over the Capitals
yesterday in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals at Madison
Square Garden. Post columnist Steve Serby said the Rangers are fortunate
to have such a clutch player as Lundqvist.
This is a pugnacious, tenacious team that takes on the personality of coach
John Tortorella. It’s a team that can give you a different hero every night,
even a wunderkind named Chris Kreider, the soft-spoken, unassuming pup
out of Boston College who scored the game-winner in the second period on
a 30-foot slap shot — and rejoiced on his knees and pumped his arms
when he did — who ignited the Rangers’ 3-1 Game 1 win yesterday over
the Capitals.
When someone asked him whether he can maybe be Jeremy Lin II,
Kreider, who said he got goosepbumps when the Garden chanted his
name, simply shook his head from a seat inside his locker.
The veteran Lundqvist said he know there is a long way to go.
“I think both teams know that one mistake could be the difference, so you
just have to play smart all the time,” Lundqvist said.
But one mistake against these Rangers is often sudden death. When you
have the good fortune to have a big-game artist such as Lundqvist in your
net, the man who wears the “C” on his chest for the Rangers, Ryan
Callahan, can feel every bit as comforted as the captain of the Yankees,
Derek Jeter, feels when CC Sabathia is asked to be the stopper in a big
game. Every bit as comforted as the Giants with Eli Manning at the end of a
Super Bowl.
“It means everything in the NHL to have probably the best goalie, and one
of the best players in the world,” said Brad Richards, another key member
in this Rangers’ run .
The Rangers led 1-0 when Brooks Laitch, storming in from Lundqvist’s left,
fed across ice to Jason Chimera past a diving Dan Girardi, and it was 1-1
with 3.5 seconds left in the second period.
“As a goalie, you start thinking about how big of an impact a goal can have
on the game,” Lundqvist said. “I stayed patient and tried to wait for the shot
— he just beat me.”
No one else could.
“If he sees a shot,” Alex Ovechkin said, “he’s going to save it.”
The Vezina should belong to Lundqvist, glove hand down. But he hasn’t
hoisted the Stanley Cup. Mike Richter has hoisted the Cup. His teammates
will never buy the argument that Lundqvist needs a championship to
validate his greatness. But others, of course, will.
628935     New York Rangers                                                          Even though the Rangers had just eight shots, it appeared as if they’d bring
                                                                                     the lead into the intermission but Jason Chimera got behind Girardi and
                                                                                     tapped in a Laich right wing saucer feed at the left post with just 3.5
Rangers take Game 1 from Capitals with strong third period                           seconds on the clock.
                                                                                     New York Post LOADED: 04.29.2012

By LARRY BROOKS


More Less than 48 hours later, there was little of the drama and desperation
in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference seminfinals at Madison Square
Garden that had marked Game 7 of the first-round.
Still, the Rangers who had beaten back the Senators’ challenge in a thrilling
2-1 contest Thursday, were able to celebrate after persevering 3-1 against
the Capitals off a strong third period to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-7
series that continues Monday night.
Entering the third period with eight shots, the Rangers got the victory when
Chris Kreider, The Can’t Miss Kid from Boston College, ripped a 30-foot
wrister past Braden Holtby in converting a headman feed from Derek
Stepan at 7:00, just 1:30 before Brad Richards scored on a Kreider feed.
REUTERS
Chris Kreider (C) celebrates his goal with Michael Del Zotto (L) and Ryan
Callahan in the third period of the Rangers' 3-1 win over the Capitals.
The Rangers played without Brian Boyle, who missed the final two games
of the Ottawa series after being concussed by Chris Neil’s NHL-sanctioned
headshot in the third period of Game 5, and Brandon Dubinsky, who
suffered a leg injury that kept him off the ice for the final 11:08 of
Thursday’s Game 7 victory over the Senators.
Artem Anisimov skated between Ruslan Fedotenko and Brandon Prust on
the third line as he did down the stretch Thursday, and Steve Eminger, a
defenseman by trade who’d been sidelined with a sprained ankle since
March 15, rejoined the lineup as the fourth-line right wing. Stu Bickel, who
played up front a half-dozen games during the season, remained on the
blue line.
This is the third playoff meeting in four years between the clubs, with the
Capitals knocking out the Rangers in seven games in the 2009 first round
before delivering a first-round five game KO last year.
The Rangers were the seventh seed in 2009 and the eighth seed last year.
“It’s the past and you try not to think about it, but it’s hard,” Henrik Lundqvist
said. “They knocked us out two years. We really want to beat this team.”
Six Rangers remain from the 2009 club that blew a 3-1 lead in the 2009
Water Bottle first-round series — Lundqvist, Marc Staal, Dan Girardi, Ryan
Callahan, Dubinsky and Anisimov, who was recalled from the AHL for
Game 7 after Blair Betts was concussed in Game 6 by Donald Brashear.
Seven current Capitals including Alex Ovechkin, Mike Green, Alexander
Semin, Nicklas Backstrom, Brooks Laich, John Erskine and Jeff Schultz
played in the 2009 series for the club that lost in seven in the following
round to the Penguins.
Neither team generated much offense at all through a first period in which
the Rangers had four shots on net against the rookie Holtby (one in the final
13:29) and all were recorded by defensemen, with Ryan McDonagh
credited with three and Marc Staal with the other.
The Capitals had six shots against Lundqvist, three on a power play
midway through the period after Staal was cited for interference. The
Rangers could not muster a shot in 2:27 of PP time.
The match remained tight throughout a second period during which the
Rangers killed 3:27 of consecutive Washington power play time that
included 34 seconds in which the Rangers were down two men when Staal
was cited for holding at 6:26 and Prust for boarding at 7:53.
The Rangers, who’d gotten their first shot from a forward when Stepan sent
one on Holtby at 200, took a 1-0 lead at 12:38 when Anisimov came out
from behind and wrapped one through the goaltender’s five hole.
Anisimov beat Green in a battle to come out to Holtby’s left after Fedotenko
gained control in a one-on-one with Roman Hamrlik below the goal line,
freeing the puck for No. 42.
628936       New York Rangers


Northjersey.com : Sports : Pro Sports : Pro Hockey : Rangers


Andrew Gross


Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin was held to one shot in 21:03 and his top
line, with Brooks Laich and Troy Brouwer, had a combined three shots.
Defensemen Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi, along with Marc Staal, saw
the bulk of the ice time against Ovechkin.
"We just have to create more opportunities to find rebounds and make
some traffic in front of the net," Ovechkin said.
Meanwhile, Ruslan Fedotenko was an unsung defensive stalwart,
particularly for his penalty killing with the Rangers down two men.
"Defensive priority is No. 1," said Fedotenko, who tied Ryan Callahan with a
team-high three blocked shots. "I felt like Washington played a similar
game. They kept everything to the outside."
Carbon copy
Artem Anisimov's wraparound goal at 12:38 of the second period bore
some resemblance to Stephane Matteau's legendary double-overtime
Game 7 winner against the Devils in the 1994 Eastern Conference final.
Ironically, Matteau was in attendance Saturday and introduced to the
Garden crowd during the stoppage just prior to Anisimov's goal.
No worries
Laich hit Brad Richards with an unpenalized crosscheck as Richards
celebrated his goal at 8:30 of the third period. Richards was asked if the
late hit annoyed him.
"Not when I score," Richards said. "That's great. You can do whatever you
want."
Briefs
Steve Eminger returned to the Rangers' lineup after being out since March
15 with a sprained right ankle. Normally a defenseman, Eminger played
4:25 on four shifts as a fourth-line wing. … Callahan was credited with a
game-high eight hits.
Bergen Record LOADED: 04.29.2012
628937     New York Rangers                                                     The Rangers broke through the defensive stalemate to take a 1-0 lead on
                                                                                Artem Anisimov’s wraparound goal at 12:38 of the second period on their
                                                                                seventh shot.
Rangers beat Caps, 3-1, in Game 1 of Eastern semifinals                         “If you look at their first-round games against Boston, you saw it was pretty
                                                                                apparent that they don’t give you a lot of room out there,” Rangers
                                                                                defenseman Marc Staal said.
By ANDREW GROSS
                                                                                The Capitals eliminated the defending Stanley Cup champion Bruins in the
                                                                                first round with all seven games being decided by one goal.

NEW YORK – The snug Broadway Hat, the Rangers’ so-ugly-it’s beautiful           “They don’t shoot a lot,” said Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who made
way of signifying their best player, hugged Chris Kreider’s head as he sat at   17 saves. “They stay back and wait for mistakes.”
his locker, facing a crush of media wanting to know what it was like to hear
his name chanted at Madison Square Garden.                                      The Capitals tied the game at 1 with 3.5 seconds remaining in the second
                                                                                period when Jason Chimera redirected Brooks Laich’s arching pass through
 “I think my favorite word is ‘surreal,’Ÿ” said the Rangers rookie, who’ll      Lundqvist’s pads off an odd-man rush.
celebrate his 21st birthday on Monday. “That’s a good way to sum it up. I’m
surprised. I didn’t expect this. I guess I didn’t have expectations.”           But the Rangers killed off all four Capitals’ power plays, including holding
                                                                                them without a shot on a 33-second five-on-three advantage in the second
Kreider’s second goal in six NHL games was again a winner and he added          period.
an assist as the top-seeded Rangers broke open a defensive battle with two
third-period goals to defeat the seventh-seeded Capitals, 3-1, in Game 1 of     Bergen Record LOADED: 04.29.2012
their Eastern Conference semifinal Saturday afternoon.
The teams combined for just 32 shots, but the Rangers scored twice in a
span of 1 minute, 30 seconds to earn their third straight playoff win after
rallying from a 3-2 series deficit against No. 8 Ottawa in the first round.
Game 2 against the Capitals is Monday at the Garden.
Three stars of Game 1
1. Chris Kreider, Rangers
Rookie notches his second goal in six games and both have been game-
winners. Also adds an assist.
2. Brad Richards, Rangers
Continues to have a strong postseason with his third goal on a strong move
to the crease while also taking 24 faceoffs.
3. Ruslan Fedotenko, Rangers
Blocks three shots and is the team’s best penalty killer<p>
“We talked about how they’ve changed their style; they’re not run-and-gun
anymore, we know they’re going to play a tight, checking game,” Rangers
defenseman Ryan McDonagh said. “That’s playing right into our style.”
The Rangers were without both center Brian Boyle (concussion), who
resumed skating Friday but missed his third straight game after a hard hit
from the Senators’ Chris Neil in Game 5 of the first round, and left wing
Brandon Dubinsky (lower body), injured on a third-period check from the
Senators’ Zack Smith in Thursday’s Game 7.
But the 6-foot-3, 230-pound Kreider’s addition — he was signed just prior to
the start of the first round after leading Boston College to its second NCAA
title in three seasons — has brought speed and scoring to the Rangers’
lineup.
“It’s a great performance,” said Brad Richards, who took Kreider’s feed and
beat Braden Holtby (11 saves) to the short side from the post to make it 3-1
at 8:30 of the third period.
“Poise is obviously a big part of it,” Richards added. “He’s not overwhelmed
by anything.”
Kreider scored the winner at 7:00 of the third period, taking Derek Stepan’s
feed and beating Holtby with a slap shot.
“I was tired at the end of a long shift,” said Kreider, who played 15:22,
starting on the second line with Stepan and Ryan Callahan, though he also
saw time with Richards and Marian Gaborik. “I was pretty surprised it went
in. I don’t usually take slap shots.”
The sellout Garden crowd responded by chanting, “Krei-der, Krei-der.”
“It was kind of a surreal experience,” Kreider said. “I got goose bumps.”
Still, there were few exhilarating moments as both teams played a grinding
style.
The Rangers managed just five shots in the game’s first 31 minutes, and
none of their four first-period shots were taken by a forward.
628938     New York Rangers


Caps' Holtby accepts blame for Game 1 loss


By MARK HERRMANN


Braden Holtby, the goalie, said the Capitals lost because of "crucial parts of
the game." And he pointed directly at the most crucial part: the fellow in
front of his team's net.
The 22-year-old from a little town in Saskatchewan, who spent most of the
season in the minors before becoming a sensation in the first round of the
Stanley Cup playoffs, said it was a challenge for a goalie to stay focused in
a game with little action (32 total shots by the two teams).
"And I didn't do a good enough job of that," he said after a 3-1 loss to the
Rangers Saturday in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series.
"Both of those goals in the third are goals I'd like to have back."
He knows that his inexperience is an invitation to scrutiny whenever the
Capitals lose. Dale Hunter, his coach, said that isn't fair. "He's always hard
on himself. But he gave us a chance," Hunter said. "That's all you can ask
of a goaltender. We didn't capitalize on our chances."
Holtby had no choice but to consider Saturday's performance -- three goals
allowed on 14 shots -- a chance to grow.
"You remind yourself of certain things you've got to do," he said. "The
biggest thing is to remind yourself to not think that if they come down here
and score, it's going to be the end of the world. You've just got to play every
shot the same.
Then he added, "It's hard to do."
Newsday LOADED: LOADED: 04.29.2012
628939     New York Rangers                                                        So is everyone else.
                                                                                   The Kid is here.
'Kid' Kreider bringing Rangers goals, energy                                       Newsday LOADED: LOADED: 04.29.2012


By ARTHUR STAPLE


The Rangers have The King.
Now they also have The Kid.
Chris Kreider sat at his locker, a nervous grin flashing across his face and a
ridiculously misshapen black fedora sitting awkwardly on his head. He was
trying, in his low-talker style, to explain why he's six games into his NHL
career and he's scoring gigantic goals, such as the one he rifled past
Braden Holtby seven minutes into the third to snap a 1-1 tie and send the
Rangers on their way to a 3-1 Game 1 win over the Caps.
"It's just hockey," he said, not even believing his words himself. "It's the
same game it's always been."
Kreider, 20, acts as if he's trying not to disturb anyone with his sotto voce
responses. He plays as if he's been a Ranger all his life, not just for a
whopping 19 days.
It took him a few days to get adjusted, then a few games to get used to the
NHL playoff pace. Perhaps, with the benefit of hindsight, John Tortorella
could send Brendan Shanahan a nice fruit-and-cookie basket to thank the
NHL's disciplinarian for suspending Carl Hagelin for three games after the
opening round's Game 2, which allowed Kreider to see any playoff ice time
at all, but that's for another time.
Kreider gained more confidence and more ice time in Game 6 against the
Senators and scored his first goal, off a pretty feed from Derek Stepan, who
is about 10 months older than he is. That one was the winner in the stay-
alive Game 6 in Ottawa.
Two nights later, in a roaring Game 7 at the Garden, Kreider earned even
more of Tortorella's trust and forced the turnover that became Marc Staal's
opening goal. Kreider was on the ice late in that 2-1 win, turned loose to
use his speed to hound opposing defensemen the way that Hagelin had
since early in the regular season.
And Saturday, Kreider used that speed to skate on to a neat flick from
Stepan and blast the winner past Holtby.
Two goals, two playoff game-winners in a span of six days, and then a nice
feed off the side boards to Brad Richards for the clincher 90 seconds later.
"Kinda crazy," The Kid said of hearing his name chanted at a packed
Garden. He's a Massachusetts kid, but anyone hearing that kind of love
from 18,200 fans can call the Garden home.
Marian Gaborik is struggling to find even an ounce of room to operate, goal-
less in seven straight games. Ryan Callahan is hitting every white jersey in
a wide radius, but he hasn't been depositing goals with regularity either.
Opponents know the ethos of these Rangers, that they will grind you into
dust and outwork you for goals. They are getting to know Kreider, who turns
21 Monday and is tied atop the playoff leader board for game-winning goals
at a time of the year when winning games is the only stat that matters.
"We showed him our team concept, but then we just wanted him to go
play," Tortorella said of Kreider's joining this successful team as the playoffs
began. "We have some other things we want him to learn, but this isn't the
time of year to do that. We want his instinctiveness, his speed . . . Forget
about what he's doing on the ice. The mental part of the game, trying to
make a difference on every shift, he's done that real well."
He has made a difference, quite clearly. Kreider gives the Rangers another
dangerous forward, a real threat to score when their top guys are bottled
up. He also has helped make Stepan, who was invisible for the first four
games against the Senators, one of the Rangers' best playmakers now.
Wearing his sopping uniform and the "Broadway Hat" that the Rangers
picked up in Europe nearly seven months ago to award to the team's star of
the game, he endured wave after wave of questions. Kreider said it's still
new to him.
"He's probably asking more questions before his sixth game than he did
before his first," Ryan McDonagh said. "He's learning fast."
628940     New York Rangers


Caps' style has left them without much offense


By MARK HERRMANN


Alex Ovechkin's name resounded off the walls and ceiling of Madison
Square Garden. Well, his nickname did, anyway. Rangers fans taunted him
with a chant of "Oh-Veeeee." They delighted in the fact that his full name
never was called by the public address announcer for a goal or assist.
The Capitals superstar had no goals and was credited with only one shot in
his team's 3-1 loss in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. From
the Washington perspective, it was more "Oy vey!" than "Oh-Veeee." Then
again, this is the team's new look.
Caps coach Dale Hunter has been complimented for bringing discipline to
the once high-powered, freewheeling team after he replaced Bruce
Boudreau on Nov. 28. And that discipline -- especially on defense -- helped
them win a taut seven-game series against the defending champion Bruins,
with each game decided by one goal and the finale decided in overtime.
The downside is that the Capitals' new style can produce a plodding game
like Saturday's, in which the Capitals had only 18 shots and the Rangers
14. Washington had a good day for only 3.5 seconds, at the very end of the
second period.
"We had our chances and we didn't bury them. We hit a few posts and their
goalie was good," Hunter said.
Ovechkin said, "We know how to play against this team. I think in the first
period we played pretty well, we just didn't have luck to score a goal. The
second, that was a lucky goal in front of [goalie Braden] Holtby. We felt
pretty good about ourselves going into the third. Unfortunately, we made
mistakes and it cost us the game."
It's a bit of a bad cycle for the Capitals: They play a certain way now to cut
down on mistakes. But because of the way they play, they have trouble
overcoming whatever mistakes they do make.
"On offense, we just have to create more traffic and be able to find a
rebound," Ovechkin said.
The question is, can they do that?
Ovechkin totaled a career-low 65 points this season, way down from a run
of four 100- point seasons in a five-year span. Defenseman Mike Green
(seven points in 32 games) is not the offensive force he used to be, either.
"I was not very impressed with our game," Green said after having been
beaten by Artem Anisimov's wraparound in the second period and having
been caught on an attempted change for Chris Kreider's deciding goal in
the third. "We've got to be more aggressive," he said.
Jason Chimera, the only Capital to score a goal (on a beautiful angular, full-
speed pass from Brooks Laich with 3.5 seconds left in the second), put it
simply: "We've got to get in their zone to create more pressure. Any time
you spend time in your zone, bad things happen."
Chimera also looked on the bright side, mindful that the Capitals, in both of
their high-scoring and big-defense modes, have come back in playoff
series. "We're good," he said. "They didn't win all four games today. We're
not comfortable, we wanted to win the game, obviously. But we can come
back."
Newsday LOADED: LOADED: 04.29.2012
628941      New York Rangers


Rangers finally get faceoff advantage


By STEVE ZIPAY


The Rangers couldn't match the Ottawa Senators in the faceoff circle, and
without centers Brian Boyle (concussion) and Brandon Dubinsky (lower-
body injury) in Game 1 against the Capitals, coach John Tortorella was
concerned.
After all, they finished on the short end in faceoff-winning percentage in five
of the seven games in the conference quarterfinals against Ottawa.
As it turned out, the Rangers not only won their third consecutive game,
they won 52 percent of the draws. Brad Richards was 12-for-24, Derek
Stepan 7-for-14, Artem Anisimov 4-for-7 and John Mitchell 3-for-4. "I
thought we did well in the faceoffs, which were worrisome going into
tonight," Tortorella said.
Rather than spare forward John Scott, who was obtained at the trade
deadline from Chicago, Tortorella used seven defensemen. Steve Eminger,
who hadn't played since March 15, when he severely sprained an ankle,
was inserted as a fourth-line forward and played 4:25.
Prust angry at call
Brandon Prust was fuming about the boarding call that created a five-on-
three power play for the Senators in the second period. He was asked if
anybody was happier than he was after the Rangers killed it. "Yeah," Prust
said. "The ref."
Richards likes tradeoff
Brooks Laich decked Brad Richards from behind with a late crosscheck
after his score, but Richards -- who leads the Rangers in playoff scoring
with six points -- wasn't that annoyed. "Not after a goal,'' he said. "They can
do whatever they want."
Ice chips
Ryan Callahan had eight hits and is the playoff leader with 38 . . . Each
team was 0-for-4 on the power play . . . Derek Stepan, who fed Chris
Kreider for his game-winning goal, has a three-game point streak (1-4-5) . .
. Marian Gaborik was awarded the second assist on Richards' goal but
hasn't scored a goal in seven games . . . Ryan McDonagh, who assisted on
Artem Anisimov's goal for his first career playoff point, led the Rangers with
four shots . . . It was the Capitals' first game in the last eight that wasn't
decided by one goal.
Newsday LOADED: LOADED: 04.29.2012
628942     New York Rangers


Game anything but quiet for Lundqvist


By ARTHUR STAPLE


The 18 shots by the Capitals in Game 1 could say that Henrik Lundqvist
had a quiet game.
But that statistic would be giving false information.
Lundqvist had a few of his usual huge stops among his 17 saves and got
some help from the metal around him. Three Caps shots hit the post and
one went off the crossbar.
Lundqvist being Lundqvist, the Hart Trophy nominee was much more
concerned about the Caps' lone goal, Jason Chimera's redirection through
Lundqvist's legs with 3.5 seconds left in the second period that tied the
score at 1.
"It was tough coming in [the locker room] after two. Your brain starts going a
little 'I should have stopped that,' " he said. "We went out in the third and
took charge and didn't sit back."
His biggest stops of the night came with the aid of the iron -- Nicklas
Backstrom's short-side try on an early Caps power play that Lundqvist got
enough of with his shoulder to direct it off the post and wide, and then
another shoulder save, this time on Alexander Semin at the end of a Caps
power play that followed their 34-second two-man advantage in the second.
That shot went off Lundqvist, off the crossbar and out of play, keeping the
game scoreless.
The Rangers did dictate the pace in the third, giving the Caps any room
only after taking a two-goal lead. Lundqvist, who has allowed five goals in
his past four games, has been locking the door late. The only third-period
goal he's allowed in the last six games was the controversial score by
Jason Spezza late in Game 6's 3-2 win over the Senators.
"Hank came up big," Marc Staal said. "He makes the saves we need him
to."
Newsday LOADED: LOADED: 04.29.2012
628943     New York Rangers


Fedotenko plays key role as defensive forward


By ARTHUR STAPLE


When John Tortorella sat down Ruslan Fedotenko for two games in late
March, the coach told the veteran that he still would be needed in the
playoffs, a time when the 33-year-old winger has had a tendency to shine.
"That's why he's got those two tattoos on his shoulder," Tortorella said of
Fedotenko, who has a pair of Stanley Cups inked on him, one for the 2004
win with the Lightning, the other for the 2009 win with the Penguins. "We
knew he'd be important for us now."
Fedotenko led the charge in Saturday's Game 1, his attention to detail
second to no Rangers teammate in the 3-1 win over the Capitals.
With Brian Boyle (concussion) and Brandon Dubinsky (lower body) out, the
Rangers were missing two of their key two-way forwards.
Fedotenko filled the void particularly well during a 34-second 5-on-3 for the
Caps 7:53 into the second, blocking Alex Ovechkin's blast, then corraling a
pass into the slot and clearing the puck to get the Garden crowd roaring in
what had been a tight, scoreless game.
"Every moment can be a big one," said Fedotenko, who got the puck in
deep and fed Artem Anisimov for the game's opening goal at 12:38 of the
second. "When you get two men down, you know what you need to do."
In that case, as one of the two forwards on the ice and at the side of the
triangle where Ovechkin was lurking, it was important for Fedotenko to keep
an eye on No. 8 and keep his positioning for a block or a stick-check.
"He's got that one-timer there," Fedotenko said. "He's a shooter and they're
obviously trying to get it to him. We kept the triangle as tight as possible, we
didn't overextend and we ended up successful."
These Rangers have their fans well-trained, and everyone in the building
knew what the kill meant in such a tight game.
"It definitely got them into it and got the fans behind us," Marc Staal said. "It
got the bench going pretty well, too."
Fedotenko has had these sorts of moments before. In last year's first-round
loss to the Caps, Fedotenko had a huge Game 4, contributing a pair of
assists in a game the Rangers lost in double overtime. His days of being a
clutch scorer -- he had the Cup-winning goal for Tortorella's Lightning in
2004 -- may be behind him, but what he brings to the table now is equally
valuable to his coach.
"He does a lot of little things that people don't see," Tortorella said.
Fedotenko also has the right perspective after 97 career playoff games.
"It's a game of millimeters out there," he said. "It's just about taking seams
away and playing smart. Sometimes you do that and it works, and it worked
for us tonight."
Newsday LOADED: LOADED: 04.29.2012
628944     New York Rangers


Kreider scores winner as Rangers beat Capitals


By STEVE ZIPAY


From his body language, Chris Kreider was clearly frustrated. Just before
the seven-minute mark of the third period in a tight game to open the
Rangers' Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Washington
Capitals Saturday, he made a rookie mistake.
"I was a little slow and threw a really weak pass trying to rim it around
behind the net, and they jumped up ice," Kreider said. "And I'm not the best
backwards skater, so it wasn't a good play at all."
But the rush stalled and Kreider pivoted and sped back down ice to receive
a long pass from Derek Stepan. He whacked a 43-foot slapper past
goaltender Braden Holtby on the stick side to break the tie. The Madison
Square Garden sellout crowd chanted his name, and the goal sparked the
Rangers to a 3-1 victory in the first game of the best-of-seven series.
"I think the release kind of fooled me a bit," said Holtby, who was
spectacular in the first round when the Capitals kayoed the defending
champion Boston Bruins. "I don't really know why. It was a nice-placed
shot, you have to give the guy credit. But from that far out, I'd like to have it
back."
Brad Richards scored his third goal of the postseason just 1:30 later on the
12th shot on Holtby and the Rangers shut down the Capitals the rest of the
way. Game 2 is Monday night at the Garden.
Neither team generated much offense in the matinee -- there were a total of
32 shots -- but a terrific penalty kill with the game scoreless in the second
turned the momentum toward the Rangers, who advanced to the second
round by beating the Ottawa Senators in Game 7 on Thursday.
The Rangers held off the Capitals during a 34-second five-on-three after
Marc Staal and then Brandon Prust were sent off. The Garden shook every
time the Rangers cleared the zone. In the dying moments of the power play,
Henrik Lundqvist got his left arm on Alexander Semin's rising shot, just
enough for the puck to hit the crossbar, one of the biggest of his 17 saves.
"Huge kill," Staal said. "A couple big blocks and Hank made some saves,
got the crowd into it, brought some emotion to the bench."
The Rangers grabbed a 1-0 lead on Artem Anisimov's wraparound with
defenseman Mike Green draped on him at 12:38. "Nobody was in front, so I
brought the puck to the net and got a lucky bounce," Anisimov said of his
first goal of the playoffs.
But Jason Chimera's re-direction of Brooks Laich's pass tied the score with
3.6 seconds left in the second. Said Lundqvist: "Your brain starts [thinking
about] if I should've stopped that. The important thing is we went out in the
third and took charge and didn't sit back. Coming from Game 7, such an
emotional and big win, it was important for us to regroup and start all over."
And that's what happened.
"Right from the faceoff, we got the forecheck going, kept the pucks below
the hashmarks and played a simple game," said Ryan McDonagh as he
and Dan Girardi limited Alex Ovechkin to one shot.
"We tried to stay up in his face and not give him too much time to wheel
around," Girardi said.
The Rangers prevailed despite missing two centers: Brian Boyle, who
suffered a concussion on a hit from Ottawa's Chris Neil in Game 5, and
Brandon Dubinsky, who suffered a leg injury on a check from Zack Smith in
Game 7.
"It's going to be a grind," coach John Tortorella predicted. "But we're just
going to play our game. We're not changing anything."
Newsday LOADED: LOADED: 04.29.2012
628945      New York Rangers                                                    that’s silly. But I still don’t get how they plan to have four guys above the
                                                                                circles sometimes on the power play. Or even three. The really good PPs in
                                                                                the NHL don’t do that.
Rangers-Capitals Game 1 in review                                               12) I’m sure Capitals fans are ready to go into panic mode on Braden
                                                                                Holtby, who gave up some questionable goals while making 11 saves. He
                                                                                wasn’t terrible, and he could easily be very good in Game 2 and beyond.
Posted by: Carp –                                                               But now that Michael Neuvirth is healthy enough to be the backup, the
                                                                                controversy would be natural. And if Holtby does get knocked out, I’m not
                                                                                sure that benefits the Rangers, who went from Jose Theodore to Semyon
                                                                                Varlamov in ‘09 and lost, then to Neuvirth in ‘11 and lost.
Thoughts:
                                                                                13) Ryan Callahan, still playing with a bad hand/finger (probably a break)
1) I don’t know why I always feel this way, maybe because I’ve seen so
                                                                                looked like he was playing Bugs Bunny hockey in the first period. Like there
many series go this way, but I still expect it to be 1-1 after two games.
                                                                                were three or four Callahans out there at a time.
2) Game 1 probably didn’t seem as close as it really was, but it was. The
                                                                                14) Even with Laich, one of the really good faceoff men in the league on
Capitals didn’t get a lot of chances, but we saw what they can do with their
                                                                                one side, and no Boyle or Dubinsky on the other, the Rangers were 26-24
chances on the goal they got, and the pipes they hit, and some of the saves
                                                                                on draws. Go figure.
Henrik Lundqvist had to make. It was yet another game—what is that,
seven in a row for the Rangers?—that could have gone either way. I think        My Three Rangers Stars:
the Rangers were the better team, but not by a landslide, and the Capitals
sure didn’t give them much, either.                                             1) Chris Kreider.

3) Chris Kreider. You hate to make a judgement after so few minutes in so       2) Ruslan Fedotenko.
few games, but man does this kid look like the deal. And you know that
when John Tortorella talks about how he’s earned his ice time, as every         3) Ryan McDonagh.
player on his team must, it sure makes you believe the coach thinks he’s        Sioux-per-man’s Three Rangers Stars:
the deal, too. Has shown some physical play, some lights-out speed, some
touch in close, some savvy along the wall, some defensive responsibility,       1) Chris Kreider.
some ability to pass, some nose for pucks near the net, some good hockey
instincts and now two different shots—wrister and slapper. Both for GWGs        2) Brad Richards.
in the last three games. Wow. Didn’t look too bad with the hat, either. Does    3) Artem Anisimov.
anybody still think Glen Sather should have included him (and other top
young players and a No. 1 pick) in the offer for Rich Nash? (ps, another        Rockland Journal News: LOADED: 04.29.2012
pretty cool pass from Derek Stepan on this GWG.)
4) It was pretty clever of the crowd doing the 8:08 countdown and Ovechkin
chant like the Alfredsson chant. Also thought this crowd, even though it was
quiet at times, really understood what was going on. I mean, they cheered
broken-up passes, good forechecks, clears, penalty kills … a lot of subtle
stuff. Like the old days.
5) Sometimes when I see him carry the puck, pass it, shoot it, I think that
Marc Staal would be a really good forward. And, seriously, I don’t mean
he’s not good on D. I just think his puck skills are underrated. And that
maybe Tortorella’s right. Maybe he will add more offense to his game. He’s
been good in a bunch of games in a row now.
6) Which brings us to the No. 1 pair, of which Staal was a member pre-
concussion. Yes, Dan Girardi got trapped late in the period for the 1-1 goal
with 3.5 seconds left, and that shouldn’t happen. I’m not sure what else
occurred on that play. Nevertheless, Girardi was a beast again, and Ryan
McMonster was amazing. How about the play where he pick-pocketed
Alexander Ovechkin and drew the penalty. Not much better than that. Made
some really good plays in the offensive zone, too.
7) Dale Hunter’s team plays more boring hockey than the Rangers, for
those who think the Rangers are boring (if you’re bored by winning). A lot
different than the Capitals teams we’ve seen in playoffs past. That said, I’m
not sure the Capitals can outplay the Rangers at the Rangers’ game for
seven games. I just don’t know if the get the same buy-in up and down the
lineup. And I think that tilts even more toward the Rangers if Brian Boyle
and/or Brandon Dubinsky get back into the lineup
8) Speaking of Hunter, did Brooks Laich’s late cheapshot from behind on
Brad Richards after Richards scored the clinching goal remind you just a
little bit of Hunter’s all-time cheapshot on Pierre Turgeon?
9) Richards was really strong again. Gotta say, the guy is clutch (almost
hate to use that word for obvious reasons)ith the late hit on Richards
reminded me of Hunter on Tuegeon
10) Speaking of reminding, and I know we discussed this yesterday, how
about Artem Anisimov scoring that wraparound, which was nearly identical
to the Stephane Matteau goal, moments after they showed Matteau,
flashing his ring, on the big board? And don’t forget, Anisimov was in that
spot only because Boyle and Dubinsky were out. Just as Ruslan Fedotenko
might have been on that 5-on-3 kill because Boyle and Dubinsky were out.
11) The Rangers, to me, are so good 4-on-4 and so bad sometimes 5-on-4.
Maybe they should just leave a player in the defensive zone to retrieve it
when the penalty killers clear it and play 4-on-4 in the offensive zone. OK,
628946     New York Rangers                                                       “Forget about what he’s doing on the ice,” Tortorella said. “The mental part
                                                                                  of the game as far as him trying to make a difference every shift, it’s real
                                                                                  good stuff for a young kid.”
Rangers grind out Game 1 win over Capitals                                        Rockland Journal News: LOADED: 04.29.2012


Rick Carpiniello


NEW YORK — Game 1 of their second-round playoff series against the
Washington Capitals was a case of the Rangers looking in the mirror, and
looking in the rear-view mirror.
In the Capitals — the new Dale Hunter-coached Capitals — the Rangers
saw a team that plays the way they play. And by being able to recall all the
lessons they’ve learned all season — about playing that way, about
patience, about sticking with it and grinding it out — the Rangers won
Game 1, 3-1 at the Garden Saturday.
“All year we’ve been playing games like this, so it’s definitely going to help
us going forward,” goalie Henrik Lundqvist said. “Going into the third period
(tied 1-1), we know what we have to do, and that’s a good feeling to have in
the room. There were so many games this year, we went out with a one-
goal lead and took charge and played the right way.”
The Rangers got a second-period goal from Artem Anisimov — who was
centering the checking line with Brian Boyle (concussion) and Brandon
Dubinsky (leg) out. They got third-period goals from rookie Chris Kreider,
who scored his first Garden goal, his second game winner in the last three
games, and an assist; and from Brad Richards, on just 14 shots against
rookie goalie Braden Holtby.
Otherwise, they did what they do.
“It’s going to be a very patient series,” Richards said. “They’re going to play
just like that. We can’t lose our composure and try to do too much; believe
in each other, trust that we’re all going to help each other out, and see
where it goes.
“You can see them blocking shots. They’re a lot like us. No fear to go down
and clog up the middle of the ice.”
Quite a turnabout by Hunter’s Caps, the team that as the No. 1 seed
eliminated the eighth-seeded Rangers last year. They still have all that skill,
led by Alex Ovechkin, who was shut down by Dan Girardi and Ryan
McDonagh. But they play like the Rangers.
Anisimov scored on a wrap-around, but the Capitals got a break, trapping
Girardi in deep for a 2-on-1 goal from Brooks Laich to Jason Chimera (who
scored the back-breaking double-overtime goal in Game 4 last year) with
3.5 seconds left in the second period.
Ruslan Fedotenko, who assisted on the Anisimov goal, had two blocks and
a clear during a Capitals 5-on-3 in the first — in a spot where Boyle was
missed.
“It was a huge kill; 5-on-3s are tough,” defenseman Marc Staal said. “Feds
makes a couple of huge blocks, Hank makes some saves, and we got it
killed off. That got the crowd into it and brought some emotion to our
bench.”
In the third, Kreider took a pass from red-hot Derek Stepan and caught
Washington defenseman Mike Green turning toward the bench for a
change. Kreider used his speed to burst away and slapped a shot past
Holtby, went to his knees in celebration, and was met with his first “Kreider”
chants at the Garden.
He said he probably wouldn’t have used the slapper if he hadn’t been tired
at the end of his shift, and he was annoyed with himself about a play he’d
made earlier in the shift where he failed to get a puck deep.
Richards then took a pass from Marian Gaborik, backed off the Caps’
defense and stepped in to score the clincher 1:30 later.
Rangers coach John Tortorella said that Kreider, as all of his players do,
earned his ice time (15:22).
Before Kreider signed on April 10, Tortorella met with the players, told them
how difficult it would be for Kreider, coming to a team that had that kind of
season. Then he showed the 20-year-old some basics on the team concept
and tried to not fill his head with too much, and told him to just go play.
628947     New York Rangers


Rangers' Dan Girardi, Ryan McDonagh keep Capitals' star under wraps


Josh Thomson


NEW YORK — The crowd counted down in unison, ticking off one second
at a time. Madison Square Garden wanted to tell No. 8 in white just what it
thought about him and figured the eight-minute mark of each period would
suffice.
Those jeers that showed Alex Ovechkin in Game 1 paled in comparison to
what he faced in Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh. The top defensive pair
locked up Washington’s dangerous star, helping limit him to just one shot
on goal in the 3-1 Rangers win Saturday.
“We’ve faced him for the last six years in the regular season, and two of the
last three years in the playoffs,” Girardi said. “We know his game, but we
never know what he’s going to do out there. He’s a really talented guy. We
always have to make sure we’re on our toes.”
Girardi’s old partner, Marc Staal, joined the act, wrestling Ovechkin to the
ice in front of Henrik Lundqvist’s crease. But Staal said he and the rest of
the defense rely on the forwards to slow the Russian before he ever
reaches them.
“I think we were forechecking well,” Staal said. “It slows him down in the
neutral zone. When our forwards are doing their job, it makes it easier for
us to stay up and limit their time and space.”
McDonagh (25:04) and Girardi (24:38) drew as many shifts opposite
Ovechkin as possible. They logged more ice time in Game 1 than any other
Rangers and left the winger frustrated.
McDonagh stopped one Ovechkin foray between the circles late in the
second period and drew a penalty when Ovechkin tripped him.
Ovechkin had six goals and seven assists in 12 previous playoff games vs.
the Rangers. Both series were Capitals victories, and the defense knows it
must keep him quiet to remain in control of the series.
“We talk about trying to do it in fives. It’s not just solely the defensemen who
are out against them,” McDonagh said. “We know when he’s out there he
likes to get his speed going. If we can cut him off in the neutral zone before
he gets his legs going, it will only help our chances.”
Rockland Journal News: LOADED: 04.29.2012
628948     New York Rangers


Rangers notebook: Brandon Dubinsky, Brian Boyle sit out injured


Josh Thomson


NEW YORK — Despite returning to practice Friday, Brian Boyle missed his
third straight game as he recovers from a concussion. And he had company
in street clothes for Game 1.
The Rangers also scratched another of their top defensive forwards,
Brandon Dubinsky, who suffered a knee or ankle injury in the third period of
Game 7 against Ottawa.
Even with two of their top centers out, the Rangers still earned a slight edge
on faceoffs. They won 26 of 50 against the Capitals in Game 1 after posting
the worst faceoff-win percentage among playoff teams in the first round.
“I thought we had a good day on faceoffs, which was a little worrisome
going into tonight,” coach John Tortorella said. “Everybody contributed. I
thought (the fourth) line gave us some shifts also. It’s a grind, and we found
a way to win.”
That included Steve Eminger, who returned to the lineup for the first time
since suffering a right ankle sprain on March 15. The defenseman actually
skated all four of his shifts as a fourth-line winger, logging 4:25 of ice time.
Eminger could’ve just kept the seat warm for Boyle and Dubinsky, although
Tortorella issued no update on either player’s status.
Fedotenko’s ‘D’ gets an ‘A’: With the crowd quiet and their offense quieter,
the Rangers were forced to kill a 5-on-3 midway through the second period
of a scoreless game. Perhaps no player was deemed more responsible for
ejecting life into the Garden than Ruslan Fedotenko.
The veteran forward continued to find his form on the heels of a late-season
benching. He slid to block a dangerous shot in the slot and later cleared the
puck to help kill the power play.
“That’s why he has two tattoos on his shoulders as far as Stanley Cups,”
Tortorella said. “He’s very good in those little situations, and he was
certainly big tonight.”
Holtby struggles: Braden Holtby looked nothing like the man who ended
Boston’s Stanley Cup reign. The Capitals’ goaltender surrendered three
goals on just 14 shots in Game 1, including odd-angle scores off the sticks
of Artem Anisimov and Brad Richards.
“It’s a tough game to stay into it mentally,” Holtby said of the lack of action.
“I didn’t do a good enough job of it.”
The 22-year old moved up from the minors for the last game of the regular
season because of injuries to Tomas Vokoun and Michal Neuvirth. He went
on to post a .940 save percentage in the first round that included a Game 7
overtime win in Boston.
“He was good,” Capitals coach Dale Hunter said. “Holtby gave us a chance
to win. That’s all you ask for from your goalie.”
Neuvirth, who beat the Rangers in last year’s conference quarterfinals, has
dressed as Holtby’s backup the last four games.
Around the rink: Ironically, Anisimov’s wraparound goal to start the second
period almost immediately followed a video-board cutaway to 1994 hero
Stephane Matteau, whose iconic wraparound beat the Devils in double
overtime of Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals. … The Rangers had
just four shots on goal in the first period, but none by their forwards. …
They are 31-11 in series when winning Game 1.
Rockland Journal News: LOADED: 04.29.2012
628949     NHL                                                                    stars Alexei Kovalev, Alexei Yashin, Darius Kasparaitis and Nikolai
                                                                                  Khabibulin.
                                                                                  He acknowledged that fewer of his players had reached such heights in
Firm Hand Guides Young Team in Aftermath of Tragedy                               recent years, a result of the decline in athletics in Russia in general since
                                                                                  the fall of the Soviet Union as well as the changing realities of Russian
                                                                                  hockey. Still, one of his protégés, Alexander Semin, scored three goals for
By MICHAEL SCHWIRTZ                                                               the Washington Capitals as they toppled the Boston Bruins in the first round
                                                                                  of the N.H.L. playoffs.
                                                                                  Players and colleagues say that Vorobyov embodies a vintage Russian
YAROSLAVL, Russia — After three decades coaching Russian hockey,                  coaching style — call it Soviet — that is quickly disappearing with the
Pyotr Vorobyov is not easily daunted.                                             increasing infusion of commercialism into athletics. Rather than recruit
                                                                                  players, he prefers to raise them as in Soviet times, when players could
This is the second article in a series that will examine the effort to rebuild
                                                                                  remain with one club from childhood to retirement and coaches were like
Yaroslavl Lokomotiv, the elite Russian hockey team whose players,
                                                                                  fathers. He likes to hang lines of inspirational poetry in the locker room —
coaches and support staff were killed in a plane crash in September.
                                                                                  Pasternak and Goethe are favorites — that he says are meant to make
Its roster restocked with players from the club’s junior squad, Yaroslavl         players thinking beyond athletics.
Lokomotiv reached the second round of the playoffs.
                                                                                  A Roster's Rebirth
A product of the Soviet sports machine with the face and disposition of an
                                                                                  Veteran Coach Leads the Transition
intensely focused bulldog, Vorobyov, 63, has a reputation as something of a
miracle worker for his ability to bring flagging teams back.                      This is the second article in a series that will examine the effort to rebuild
                                                                                  Yaroslavl Lokomotiv, the elite Russian hockey team whose players,
But as he recently sat rinkside cradling a cup of coffee and reflecting on his
                                                                                  coaches and support staff were killed in a plane crash in September.
career, it was clear that the last seven months had taken a toll.
After the plane crash last September that wiped out the roster of Yaroslavl
Lokomotiv, Vorobyov was given the task of reviving one of Russia’s most           “When they are so invested in sports, sometimes they forget that there are
successful professional hockey franchises using players selected primarily        other things in life,” he said. His methods, he said, are “considered old-
from the club’s junior squad. The team of 18- to 22-year-olds, still grieving     school, but I don’t think so; I don’t see anything bad in the old approach.”
the loss of friends and mentors, was thrust into pro competition, while
Vorobyov was forced into the role as coach and therapist.                         On the ice, he can be uncompromising and callous, former colleagues said,
                                                                                  barking commands and severely reprimanding players for mistakes.
“It was a terrible season,” Vorobyov said, his gravelly coach’s bark fading to
a mumble. “There was just this crazy depression. We didn’t start the season       “He is one of the best coaches in Russia, of course, but it is not very easy
off too poorly, but there was a sense that their heads were not in it. It was a   to work with him,” said Leonid Vaisfeld, who was the general manager of
lot of pressure.”                                                                 Lada Togliatti when Vorobyov coached there in the early 2000s.

After the tragedy, few expected a movie-script comeback for Lokomotiv. To         “My strongest memory is from when I first arrived,” Vaisfeld said. “It was at
aid the transition to pro-level play, the team dropped out of Russia’s top        a game and a player made some kind of mistake, and he swore so fiercely.
league, the Kontinental Hockey League, and played a partial season in the         I told him that it was just one mistake, but he said, ‘We do not make
Vysshaya Hockey League, Russia’s equivalent of the American Hockey                mistakes.’ ”
League. But the inexperience of Vorobyov’s players proved a hindrance.
                                                                                  Vorobyov’s methods have yielded results. When he first coached Yaroslavl
“I sensed that at times in the heat of battle, their physical strength was        for the 1996-97 season, he led the team, which was then called Torpedo, to
lacking,” he said. “It’s not that they were afraid. It’s just, men are men, and   its first post-Soviet national championship. As the coach of Lada Togliatti in
my guys, well, we’ll be celebrating a birthday, and I’ll ask how old they are     2006, he lost 16 top players amid severe financial problems. He replaced
and they tell me, 18, 19, 20. No teams have such young players.”                  them with players from a reserve of young players he had been training and
                                                                                  won the International Ice Hockey Federation’s Continental Cup that year.
Even so, Lokomotiv played to capacity crowds, finishing third in its division
by winning percentage. The team made it to the second round of the                “Pyotr Vorobyov is in no way a firefighter or a lifeguard,” Dmitri Erykalov, a
playoffs, a testament in part to Vorobyov’s skills as a coach. He is              sports commentator, wrote in an article last year for the online news agency
considered one of Russia’s foremost specialists in molding young talent,          Championat.com. “Rather, he is a builder who raises monumental and
and his players have frequently gone on to successful careers in the N.H.L.       solidly built homes out of brick.”

Now his task will be to guide Lokomotiv as the team prepares to return to         With Lokomotiv, he has had the added task of dealing with players shocked
the K.H.L. in September. Not all of the current roster will make it that far.     by tragedy. But this does not mean that he went any easier on them.
Over the summer, the team plans to recruit veteran players from Russia
and abroad. Vorobyov said that at least eight of the current players would        “He worked us as he did before” the plane crash, said Maksim Zyuzyakin,
remain, though that will depend in part on his ability to prepare them in the     the team’s captain. “I think this was the right thing to do. It focused us,
off-season.                                                                       diverted our attention to hockey.”

“This is a transitional period,” he said. “I have my work, and I’m going to do    Zyuzyakin said he hoped to be among the players to move up to the K.H.L.
what I think is necessary.”                                                       next season. If he does, he will have to leave Vorobyov behind. The team’s
                                                                                  management announced this month that Tom Rowe, an assistant with the
Vorobyov exudes the gruff obstinacy of someone who has frequently faced           Carolina Hurricanes, would take over as the coach of Lokomotiv. Vorobyov
adversity and come out on top. He grew up the seventh of eight children           will coach Lokomotiv’s newly created minor league team, which will serve
from a poor Moscow family in a country still reeling from World War II. He        as a way station for players who need to hone their skills before advancing
began his hockey career using a pair of modified speedskates and sticks           further.
his father and brothers made for him. But he was good enough to catch the
eye of Soviet scouts at a time when young athletes were recruited with an         It is a job that seems to suit him.
intensity and prejudice that these days might make pros buckle.                   “The guiding principle of my work is this,” he said. “If I have a choice
After a modest career as a forward on a number of Soviet teams, he                between an experienced player and a young one, I prefer to take the young
became a coach in 1980, earning fame with Dynamo Riga and Dynamo                  one. A young player has a fresh psychology, recovers faster and has the
Moscow, two Soviet-era powerhouses. But he is best known for his skill            potential for growth.”
with younger players, whom he has a habit of evaluating by vintage.               “Many don’t like this, especially the experienced players,” he added.
“Seventy-two was a good year for defense, and on offense we had good              During the off-season, Vorobyov says he plans to spend some time relaxing
’73s,” he said, referring by date of birth to a crop of players he led to the     in Miami, where he has an apartment, but not before heading to Britain.
world under-20 championship in 1992. That team included the future N.H.L.         There he will carry the Olympic torch on part of its route to London for the
                                                                                  Summer Games, as part of a tribute to the fallen members of Lokomotiv.
New York Times LOADED: 04.29.2012
628950     NHL                                                                    move for the rebound. The puck quickly bounced to Ward, who put it into
                                                                                  the net, eliminating Boston.
                                                                                  Watching in the TSN studios in Toronto, the former N.H.L. referee Kerry
A First Round Filled With Close Games and Surprises                               Fraser was adamant that the goal should not have been allowed. He wrote
                                                                                  about it on his blog the next day.

By JEFF Z. KLEIN and STU HACKEL                                                   “Knuble was not pushed, shoved or fouled by a defending player so as to
                                                                                  cause him to come into contact with Thomas,” he wrote. “It matters not if
                                                                                  the contact on Thomas by Knuble was deemed to be deliberate or
                                                                                  incidental other than a minor penalty that might result.”
The unpredictability of the Stanley Cup playoffs was evident in the
competitiveness of the opening round, which included a dethroning of the          Fraser cited Rule 69.1 on goaltender interference, which states that “a
champion Boston Bruins.                                                           goalkeeper should have the ability to move freely within his goal crease
                                                                                  without being hindered by the actions of an attacking player.”
Of the 48 games played in the first round, 32 were one-goal decisions, or
67 percent. That’s a better pace than the playoff record, 63 percent, set in      He called that rule the “most difficult call to make for the on-ice officials” and
2007. Sixteen first-round games went to overtime, breaking the record of 15       suggested that referees were also reluctant to enforce it because it can be
from 2001.                                                                        unpopular.

Teams were either tied or separated by one goal for 82.8 percent of total         Fraser renewed his plea that video review be used to assist referees on
playing time.                                                                     goalie interference, writing, “It takes much less courage to make the call
                                                                                  after looking at a video review, and the right call will ultimately be made.”
All five games in the Chicago-Phoenix series went to overtime, tying the
record for most in a series.                                                      Calls and noncalls on goalie interference have plagued the N.H.L. for years.
                                                                                  The league tried to remedy the problem for a short time in the 1990s by
And for the first time, each game of a seven-game series — the Boston-            prohibiting attacking players from entering the goal crease unless the puck
Washington matchup — was decided by a single goal. The Capitals’ 2-1              was there.
overtime victory Wednesday meant that for the 12th consecutive season
there would be no repeat champion.                                                After Dallas won the Stanley Cup in 1999 on an overtime goal in Buffalo
                                                                                  that should have been waved off because Brett Hull had entered the crease
Experience May Not Count                                                          before the puck, the league did away with that rule, but the problem has yet
                                                                                  to be solved.
So many perceived truths about the playoffs were disproved in the first
round. The team with the better regular-season record won only four of            Fraser’s suggestion would be a big step in that direction.
eight series. The record of home teams was 18-30, including 1-2 in Game
7s.                                                                               New York Times LOADED: 04.29.2012

Another myth exploded over the last three weeks: playoff experience helps.
In the first round, the team whose players had more cumulative playoff
experience lost seven of the eight series.
At the end of the regular season, Chris S. Roberts, a writer of the blog Litter
Box Cats, which tracks the Florida Panthers, added up the career
postseason games played for each player on the active roster of the 16
playoff teams. Now, with the first round completed, these are the results:
Detroit (1,495 games of playoff experience) lost to Nashville (608). San
Jose (1,076) lost to St. Louis (486). Boston (951) lost to Washington (553).
Pittsburgh (918) lost to Philadelphia (821). Vancouver (893) lost to Los
Angeles (490). Chicago (867) lost to Phoenix (547). And Ottawa (555) lost
to the Rangers (434).
The only more-experienced team to win a series was the Devils (882), who
beat Florida (742), but they needed a second overtime period in Game 7 to
do it. Then again, the Devil who scored the winning goal was Adam
Henrique, a rookie.
According to Roberts’s calculations, the Rangers have the fewest playoff
games under their belts, so if inexperience helps, they are in great shape.
Case in point: Carl Hagelin, the rookie who drew 38-year-old Sergei
Gonchar into a tripping penalty with 37 seconds left in Thursday’s game,
crippling the Senators’ last hope in Game 7.
And Chris Kreider, a 20-year-old rookie, was on the ice to kill off the final
seconds of the Rangers’ 2-1 victory, alongside the second-year players
Derek Stepan, 21, and Ryan McDonagh, 22.
A Tough Call
The winning goal in the Boston-Washington series by the Capitals’ Joel
Ward was not without controversy, beyond the torrent of racist Twitter
messages unleashed by disappointed Bruins fans referring to Ward, a black
Canadian. (By Friday morning many of those Twitter users had deleted their
accounts after a strong backlash.)
On the play itself, Capitals forward Mike Knuble drove to the net with the
puck and tried a backhand shot in front of Boston goalie Tim Thomas.
Thomas made the save and Knuble’s momentum forced him to make
contact with Thomas, driving him back in the goal crease and unable to
628951     Ottawa Senators                                                        And some new products that the team has created have been successful,
                                                                                  particularly new all-inclusive ticket packages. The Senators converted a
                                                                                  storage space underneath the seats into a VIP lounge where food and
Sens’ feel-good factor results in win in ticket sales, too                        beverage are served as part of a ticket package. These new premium
                                                                                  offerings are almost sold out.
                                                                                  “We’re now trying to find ways to do another of those somewhere in the
By Mark Sutcliffe, The Ottawa Citizen April 28, 2012                              building,” says Leeder.
                                                                                  The only threat to a highly successful offseason is the fact that the league’s
                                                                                  agreement with its players expires in September. If negotiations don’t go
The surprising success of the Ottawa Senators this season has put the             well, it won’t matter how many tickets the Senators have sold for October,
business department of the hockey team in its strongest position in five          because games could be cancelled due to a work stoppage.
years. In fact, the Senators could achieve a long-term goal of 13,000
season tickets an entire year ahead of schedule.                                  In the meantime, the Senators’ front office is doing all it can to capitalize on
                                                                                  a season when the hockey team outperformed expectations, something it
Cyril Leeder, the president of the hockey team, says that from a business         hasn’t done in a long time.
perspective, the Senators are in better shape now than in any offseason in
team history other than 2007, the year the club went to the Stanley Cup           Mark Sutcliffe writes about business, sports and running for the Citizen.
final.
A crucial ingredient is the fact that the team earned a playoff spot in a
season when few people predicted they would. And despite Thursday                 Ottawa Citizen LOADED: 04.29.2012
night’s disappointing loss, the Senators earned marks for almost upsetting
the top team in their conference in the first round.
“We exceeded the public’s expectations,” Leeder says. “But that’s only one
factor. They like this team better than our other teams. They like the group
of players. They like watching them. They like the style that they play.”
That style of play is a product of rookie coach Paul MacLean, who allows
offensive players more licence than most of his predecessors, and
personified by Erik Karlsson, the third-year defenceman who has been
nominated for the Norris Trophy and brings a brand of exciting play unlike
almost any the Senators have had before.
There are many questions about the team to be answered in the offseason,
including whether or not Daniel Alfredsson will retire and whether other key
players including Karlsson, a restricted free agent, will be re-signed. But
Leeder says the Senators are on pace to achieve a stretch target of 13,000
season tickets, a level they’ve reached only once before, and a goal that a
year ago they established for the 2013-14 season.
The Senators have already added 1,100 new season tickets since
February. Leeder says to add 2,000 new subscribers in one year would be
“huge,” but that’s a possibility this year.
Also, the team has already renewed 80 per cent of this year’s season-ticket
holders for next year. Considering the final renewal rate last year was 83
per cent, that’s an extremely strong start.
“We’re likely going to get that to 90 per cent,” says Leeder.
That would put the Senators within striking distance of their high-water mark
of 13,000, which they reached in the 2007-08 season, in large part because
of the team’s long playoff run the previous spring.
But there’s a much different dynamic this time.
“When we went to the finals, people were buying because they wanted
playoff tickets and they bought season tickets at the same time,” says
Leeder. “People are buying now because they really like the team and the
direction it’s heading. They can see it’s a team that they’re really going to
like to follow.”
What a difference a year makes. At the end of last season, the Senators
had 10,000 season-ticket holders. The team had missed the playoffs for the
second time in three seasons and had just traded away star players such
as Mike Fisher in a rebuilding effort.
Despite hitting the reset button, the Senators increased season tickets by
13 per cent this season.
But it wasn’t just the team’s lineup that was recalibrated last year, but fan’s
expectations. Instead of seeing a first-round loss as a disappointment, as it
did four years ago, the public clearly views this year’s team as one that
overachieved.
Leeder says there is other evidence that the rebuilt team has sparked
renewed excitement. The Senators are getting more requests for
promotional partnerships with clients such as Subway. They’re also selling
more ads for their local television broadcasts.
628952     Ottawa Senators                                                         He also beat up Rangers tough guy Brandon Prust and was second on the
                                                                                   team in hits (to Jared Cowen) with 27, including the one that sidelined the
                                                                                   New York MVP, Brian Boyle, for the rest of the series in Game 5. Looking at
Sens can't wait to get going again                                                 it now, maybe Neil was even a bigger star than Anderson. Rangers fans
                                                                                   didn’t chant derogatory remarks at the Ottawa goalie in Game 7. Neil didn’t
                                                                                   actually hear them singing that he’s an “a--hole” or them shouting “f--- you
                                                                                   Neil," but was informed of their vindictiveness by Alex Auld, the team’s
By Don Brennan ,Ottawa Sun                                                         third-string goalie who was watching from the stands. “It’s an honour,
                                                                                   almost,” Neil said with a grin Saturday. “Makes you feel like you did your
                                                                                   job.” ... Kyle Turris is going to have a much better summer this year than he
There are variations of a quote made famous by the late comedian William           did last. All he really needs to focus on is getting bigger and stronger —
Claude Dukenfield — better known as W.C. Fields — and Saturday on                  starting with the month he’ll spend working out Senators conditioning coach
locker clean-out day at Scotiabank Place, Paul MacLean unwittingly                 Chris Schwarz before going home — rather than his standing with his team,
paraphrased one of them.                                                           as was the case before camp with the Phoenix Coyotes. “I’m already
                                                                                   counting it down. I can’t wait,” said Turris, who will have a heavy leg up on
“Wouldn’t we all like to be in Philadelphia?” said the Senators coach.             the Senators’ second-line centre job. “I’m going to be ready to go, that’s for
                                                                                   sure.” Asked if he expects he’ll have Alfredsson as his right winger again,
Ah, yes, by eliminating the Rangers, his team would have been staring at a
                                                                                   Turris said: “I sure hope so. He’s a guy that does so much for everybody on
seven-game series starting on the road Sunday against the Flyers, and
                                                                                   this team. He gives everybody confidence, he’s one of the best leaders in
from there a path leading to the Stanley Cup final against a team that has
                                                                                   the game, he’s just such a nice person. All that and not talking about his
never before won it.
                                                                                   hockey ability. He’s one of the best players in the game. I’ll be begging him
Alas, it was not to be.                                                            to come back.” ... Peter Regin (remember him?) hopes to have a spot on
                                                                                   the roster as well. A restricted free agent who played just 10 games before
Still, so excited about the start of next season are Senators that some of         having his second season-ending operation on the same shoulder, Regin is
them, like Nick Foligno, wished training camp began “in a couple of weeks.”        positive he can return to being the player he once was. “It was a different
                                                                                   injury this time. It wasn’t the same,” said Regin, who was supposed to be
Truth of the matter is, no one knows when the door will open for players to        the Senators’ second-line centre this season. “I guess I was just unlucky
report.                                                                            that it was the same body part on the same side, so it looked bad that way.
“We hope that we can make things happen, and be here and start on time,”           I’m confident, the doctors are confident, so it shouldn’t be a problem.” ...
Jason Spezza said of the obstacle that is a yet-to-be signed, new collective       Zenon Konopka’s back problems were so bad he couldn’t finish the warmup
bargaining agreement. “As players, there’s nothing really unreasonable that        before Game 6 and was a definite “doubtful” for Game 7. Konopka, who still
we’re looking to change. We’re pretty happy with the state of the game, and        leads all NHLers in playoff faceoff percentage (70.7) of those who have
I think the league should be pretty happy with the state of the game too. All      taken at least 75, refused to miss either. “Couple of mornings I couldn’t get
the ratings are up, seems like the numbers are up and everybody’s doing            out of bed,” he said. “The trainers were working on me around the clock. I
well financially, team-wise.                                                       spent more time with (trainer) Gerry (Townend) than anyone else in my life,
                                                                                   my girlfriend included. He did an amazing job. It’s something I’ve preached
“We don’t know what they’re going to come at us with, though, either.              my whole life. You do everything you can in the playoffs to win a series. I
There’s some things we have to be hard-lined about and there’s some                really didn’t want to miss a game.” ... Konopka can become an unrestricted
things we can’t budge on, that’s dealing with our health and guaranteeing          free agent and reiterated that he’d “love” to be back. “It’s the ugly part of
we play a lot of games. If they come after certain things, it could be tough.      hockey that I don’t like,” he said of contract talks. “Guess that’s why I have
But we feel like the game is in a really good state, and we should be able to      an agent.” ... Matt Carkner, also UFA-eligible, didn’t have as much luck
figure things out, without getting in to a stoppage. That’s the last thing the     convincing the team he could play Game 7 through a knee injury. “I was
players want and I imagine the owners feel the same way.”                          kind of in a position to do some drastic things to play in Game 7 or to save
                                                                                   myself for the next series,” he said. “I wanted to do anything I could. We
Ditto, and no doubt you’re saying ditto, too.                                      made an executive decision, together I guess. They wanted me to be there
                                                                                   for the second round.” ... Will Filip Kuba be back? “I have to sit down with
As for the Senators, there’s no guarantee that the promise shown in 2011-
                                                                                   my agent and think about what the options are,” he said. “I’d like to be here
12 will carry over. As worried about a winter of no NHL you might be,
                                                                                   next year.” Judging by an e-mail citing his importance to the team yours
MacLean has his own fears.
                                                                                   truly received from his agent earlier this season, the contract demand will
“I feel good about the fact I can coach in the league and we’ve had                be way more than the Senators will want to meet .. Spezza is well aware of
satisfaction, so I guess I give myself credibility that I can do this,” he said,   the criticisms for the team’s failure that are being directed his way. Frankly,
after unselfishly conveying his belief that the leadership provided by Daniel      they’re way over top, but he can take them. “I understand my position on
Alfredsson, Spezza and Chris Phillips was more responsible for the                 the team and understand with it comes a lot of scrutiny,” he said. “I feel I
Senators' success this season than his own doing. “But now the hard part is        can look at myself in the mirror and know I gave it my all. I feel like I leave it
to do it again.                                                                    out on the ice. I feel there’s areas I can grow as a player, but it takes time.
                                                                                   I’m trying to get better every day, and because I’m always pushing myself to
“I remember when I scored 30 goals for the first time, and I was all pumped        get better you can block out the criticism that comes at the end of the year.
up about it and an old guy, Floyd Thomson, said ‘Oh yeah? well now you’ve          There’s only one team that doesn’t get criticized, and that’s the team that
got to do it again.’                                                               wins.” ... Spezza offered to play for Team Canada at the world
                                                                                   championship, but was told the squad is already set. Alfredsson hasn’t
“I feel the same way today. That’s a motivator for me, and it also scares me
                                                                                   decided if he’ll represent Sweden. Erik Karlsson would, if he can get some
to death. Because I know how hard it is, and it’s hard to do. But I’m looking
                                                                                   details finalized. “It’s a great honour and something I want to do,” he said. “I
forward to it, and I’m excited about September, of getting back for training
                                                                                   have no contract and the insurance part is a little tricky. If we can work
camp and getting started again
                                                                                   around that, it’s going to take a lot to say no.” .. And then there’s Kaspars
“But I’m also scared to death.”                                                    Daugavins, who is heading home to Latvia and then just going to show up
                                                                                   at the tournament Wednesday. “I told them before, I’ll always play for the
Cross your fingers that the millionaires can agree on how to split up the          national team,” he said. “Nobody has called me yet, but I’m just going to
money you’re putting in their bank accounts, as well as get over any other         arrive. That’s how it works in Latvia. It’s not like we have any players.
stumbling blocks that could jeopardize the commencement of the 2012-13             Everybody wants to come pretty much comes. We have like 25 players
campaign                                                                           playing around the world, so it’s like if everybody comes, they come. If
                                                                                   nobody shows up, it’s like, ‘oh, he doesn’t want to play.’ Normally they’ll
THIS AND THAT: At least 10 players were requested by the media, and                send out a letter to the team, that officially I’m invited. But I’m just going to
when one of them was speaking on the makeshift podium, Craig Anderson              show up.” Daugavins is also without a contract and there there’s no
left the building in his toque and with his sticks and bag. What does it say       indication if the Senators want him back. “I’m just happy I played here this
about the series MVP for the Senators that nobody asks to talk with him? ...       year, any games,” said Daugavins, who wound up playing in 65 for Ottawa,
Speaking first was Chris Neil, who was the team’s second-best player               while scoring five goals, six assists and playing an instrumental penalty-kill
against the Rangers. Neil had the overtime winner in Game 2, assisted on           role. “At the start of the year I signed a contract and I didn’t have much
the Sergei Gonchar goal that sent Game 4’s eventual win into OT, and               belief in myself anymore, that I’m going to make it. Said I’d fight for a job,
scored the first goal in Game 6 that the Senators were unable to build on.         give it a last chance. It worked out, I got an opportunity and I thought I
played well. Obviously it hurts not playing the last playoff games. It sucks to
be in the stands and watching guys do it (and) you can’t help. It definitely
doesn’t help me getting a contract, either. But I’m going to see what they
offer me. I really want to come back and play here. I don’t want to go to
Europe. I like it here.” His teammates would want him back, too, as
Daugavins was one of the most popular players in the room.
Ottawa Sun LOADED: 04.29.2012
628953     Ottawa Senators                                                     Jim O'Brien: C+ First-round pick that had been written off. Stepped in mid-
                                                                               season and was strong role player.
                                                                               Jesse Winchester: C+ Needs summer off to recover from concussion-like
2011-12 final Sens report card                                                 symptoms. Has role when he’s healthy.
                                                                               Ben Bishop: B Helped to keep them afloat when Craig Anderson got hurt in
By Bruce Garrioch ,Ottawa Sun                                                  March.
                                                                               Paul MacLean: A Took team nobody expected to win and ended up one
                                                                               victory short of second round.
The final marks are in and the Senators have received a passing grade.
                                                                               Bryan Murray: A Made all the right moves in rebuild and then acquired C
Picked to finish last in the Eastern Conference, the Senators thumbed their    Kyle Turris from Phoenix.
noses at the pundits’ predictions and returned to the playoffs after a one-
year absence before losing to the No. 1-seeded New York Rangers.               Ottawa Sun LOADED: 04.29.2012

Unlike last season, fans aren’t disappointed with the Senators, they’re
disappointed for the club. They’ve been left with promise and hope for next
year.
Peter Regin missed most of the season with shoulder issues (incomplete
grade) and soon-to-be-UFA Matt Gilroy (a D-student) didn’t do much, so
they aren’t listed.
Here are the final grades on a surprising season:
Jared Cowan: B+ Showed a lot of maturity a lot of nights. He just needs a
little more consistency. He’s only 20.
Erik Karlsson: A+ Seventy-eight points and trip to the playoffs. A dream
season. He’ll cash in with a big contract.
Chris Phillips: B+ Veteran had the bounce-back season the Sens needed.
Showed he can still contribute.
Filip Kuba: B Upcoming UFA likely won’t be back next season. Was a
strong partner for Erik Karlsson.
Matt Carkner: C+ Had to play a platoon role and struggled to stay healthy.
Should be kept as a UFA.
Sergei Gonchar: B Veteran showed leadership in run to playoffs. A
candidate to be dealt in the off-season.
Alex Auld: D Little-used backup must win a few games and be more reliable
when given an opportunity.
Craig Anderson: A Heavily counted on, he helped lead this club to the
playoffs.
Chris Neil: B+ Throws his weight around, shows leadership and can score.
Kyle Turris: B Acquired from Phoenix, he showed he can shoulder the load
as No. 2 centre behind Jason Spezza.
Milan Michalek: B+ Inconsistent playoffs aside, his 35 goals were a career-
best. Needs to do more of same in 2012-13.
Daniel Alfredsson: A+ Captain showed he has a lot of hockey left.
Contributes strongly on and off the ice.
Kaspars Daugavins: C- Went from playing important minutes to not being
able to get into the lineup in the playoffs.
Colin Greening: B Not a bad rookie season and he could become a 20-goal
scorer. Works hard all the time.
Zack Smith: C+ If the Senators bring back Chris Kelly as a UFA, it will be
interesting to see where Smith fits in.
Bobby Butler: F Six goals. Was brought here to add offence and didn’t do it.
Don’t tell me he played well defensively.
Jason Spezza: A Had a great regular season. If Alfredsson doesn’t return,
‘C’ needs to be placed here.
Erik Condra: C+ Can’t be counted on for offence. Smart, does a lot of little
things that help a team have success.
Nick Foligno: B- Strong playoff, needs to bring consistency every night if
he’s going to be a second-line winger.
Zenon Konopka: C+ Wins important faceoffs, competes. Upcoming UFA
gives it all he has.
628954     Ottawa Senators


Sens' Winchester concussed again


By Bruce Garrioch ,Ottawa Sun


Jesse Winchester needs a break.
The Senators winger won’t be spending any time thinking about hockey for
the next little while after admitting Saturday that he missed the final two
games of Ottawa’s first-round playoff series against the Rangers because
of a concussion — his second of the season.
Winchester suffered his first concussion on Dec. 20 on a hit from then-
Sabre Paul Gaustad.
Winchester said Saturday he may have come back too early from his first
concussion.
“It’s unfortunate. I can’t change it. I’m just trying to stay positive,” said
Winchester. “(Rest) more than anything is what I need right now. I’m not a
concussion expert or anything like that.
“I wanted to come back more than anything. Maybe I ignored some signs or
something. I just wanted to play. This was the most fun year and I missed
three-quarters of it. You can’t do anything about it now, but maybe I just
need some down time.”
Ottawa Sun LOADED: 04.29.2012
628955     Ottawa Senators                                                        this organization has a lot to look forward to because the future looks very
                                                                                  bright.
                                                                                  Ottawa Sun LOADED: 04.29.2012
York: Sens have plenty to be proud of


Jason York, Ottawa Sun


The surprising and inspiring season for the Senators has finally come to an
end.
I have to be honest. As a former player, I know how difficult it is just to
make the playoffs and the hard work and dedication that each player puts
forth on a yearly basis is incredible.
After watching the Senators-Rangers series end the way it did, it is
tremendously frustrating as a player to lose a series you very well could
have won.
The Senators carried most of the play, but in the end, they came up just a
little short to a Rangers team that stuck to a very simple yet effective game
plan of blocking shots and relying on their goaltender.
As much as the Senators have to be proud of, I’m sure many are kicking
themselves after seeing what unfolded in the Eastern Conference with
Pittsburgh and Boston bowing out early.
The Senators have a lot to look forward to and although they only played
one round in the post-season, the difference in intensity and emotion that
this team got to experience — especially the younger players like Erik
Karlsson, Jared Cowen, Kyle Turris and even Jakob Silfverberg, will be
invaluable moving forward .
The regular season and how it is played is so much less intense than the
playoffs and when young players get to be part of that early in their career,
the dividends paid back can be exceptional.
Looking back on the 2011-12 season, Karlsson was obviously the biggest
and most pleasant surprise.
He’s got my vote for the Norris Trophy and moving forward he should
continue to get better and better.
His point output was low in the playoffs, but overall his compete level and
his ability to move the puck up the ice was still outstanding.
Jared Cowen, like any young defenceman, had some lapses from time to
time during the regular season and in the playoffs, but all things considered,
he was excellent this season.
With Karlsson and Cowen leading the way, the Senators’ future on the blue
line looks good.
Chris Phillips and Sergei Gonchar, who both stepped up in the post-season,
will be back next season to add a veteran presence.
Filip Kuba had a tremendous bounce-back season and I would think at the
price he could get on the open market this summer, he will not be back.
Matt Carkner stepped up big time in the playoffs and proved that he
deserves to stay in Ottawa after battling a knee injury for most of the year.
Up front, the big question is: Will Daniel Alfredsson return?
Only time will tell, but it looked to me like the 39-year-old captain had a lot
of fun this season and still has lots to give as a player.
He was the team’s best player in Game 7 against the Rangers, and I’m sure
he will take his time and see how he feels mentally and physically, but my
gut tells me he will be back.
Jason Spezza, who always seems to be a lightning rod in this city, was a
leader from start to finish for the Senators.
He finished fourth in league scoring and in a series where 40-goal scorer
Marion Gaborik of the Rangers looked invisible, Spezza, along with Milan
Michalek and the rest of the Senators forwards cannot and should not be
blamed for the lack of offence in a series that was dominated by world-class
goaltending, desperate shot blocking and hard-nosed defensive hockey that
made creating offence extremely difficult.
In the end, the Senators should be disappointed they lost, because you
never when the opportunity will come around again. But moving forward,
628956     Ottawa Senators


Plenty of work ahead for Sens GM


By Bruce Garrioch ,Ottawa Sun


Bryan Murray has to get down to business.
As the Senators were preparing to head their separate ways on locker
clean-out day at Scotiabank Place, the club’s GM was already planning for
next year with plenty of tasks on his plate this summer.
While Murray was proud of what the club accomplished, knows you can’t
rest on your laurels. So changes have to be made.
Among the tasks on his plate:
Asked by the Sun what needs to be improved, Murray said the club needs
to add a defenceman and, perhaps, a Top 6 forward to play with Kyle
Turris. “Our goaltending was really solid, we’ve got depth there, no question
some decisions have to be made on the blueline. Offensively on the
blueline, we’re really good,” said Murray. “We have to find out if one of
these (UFAs) we have will come back and be solid or do we have to go get
another guy? Up front, we’re always looking for somebody to step in and
score goals. That line with (captain Daniel Alfredsson) played with Turris, if
we had one more guy that could score consistently or be a 20-to-25 goal
scorer would make our team different.”
It was noted winger Nick Foligno plays on the left side of Turris and Murray
admitted Foligno has to be better next year. “That is exactly what I asked
Nick (Saturday), ‘Are you going to be that guy? Are you going to be that guy
that improves this summer strength-wise, getting up and down the ice a
little better?’ He thinks he can, so I’ve challenged him a little bit in that
area.”
Getting a decision on Alfredsson’s future is key. The two met but Murray
didn’t ask for a timetable on whether he’ll retire or not. “It will be a daily
question I know,” said Murray. “I’ve told him that I don’t think there’s any
question he’s one of the best players on our team if not the best forward.
He showed that in Game 7 again. I’m trying to discourage him like all heck
from retiring ... He smiled and said, ‘We’ll talk later.’ I don’t have a gut
feeling. I’m just going to wait. I’m going to try to call him every day and bug
him to stay.”
Signing restricted free agent D Erik Karlsson. The belief he’s going to be
demanding a contract in the $6.5-$7.5 million per-season range, but Murray
isn’t concerned. “I’m not worried about Erik. We’ll get a deal done. It’s not
going to be hurried up by any means,” he said. “We’ll talk over the next few
weeks, probably to his agent to start. There’s no immediate demand. We’re
not playing for awhile.”
Murray has to make a decision on UFA D Filip Kuba, D Matt Carkner and C
Zenon Konopka. It’s believed all three would like to stay, but Murray wasn’t
prepared to make any commitments. In Kuba’s case, he’d have to take a
paycut from the $3.7 million he made this season. “I’ve indicated to each
one of them we’ve already talked about them, we have a plan, but until I get
a chance to talk to their agent and get a feel of where they want to be, I
don’t want to really go there,” said Murray.
Murray is willing to go shopping on July 1 if it will speed up the process of
improving the team. “I’ve talked to (owner) Eugene (Melnyk), if there’s an
opportunity, he’s been very fair in the past and will be going forward. If we
can help ourselves, and make the right decision, I can’t imagine he’ll be
anything other than positive in doing that,” said Murray. The club isn’t sure
they’ll sign all their RFAs (Peter Regin, Jim O’Brien, Kaspars Daugavins,
Karlsson and Foligno). “Nope. Not automatically, no. There’s some
decisions there as well,” said Murray.
Sounds like there’s a lot on the table.
Ottawa Sun LOADED: 04.29.2012
628957     Ottawa Senators


Will Alfie's kid's tears sway decision?


By Bruce Garrioch ,Ottawa Sun


The tears of an eight-year-old kid could sway Daniel Alfredsson into playing
another season for the Senators.
And if that’s the case, fans owe Hugo, the Senators captain’s oldest son, a
huge thank you.
As the Senators cleaned out their lockers Saturday at Scotiabank Place,
Alfredsson didn’t shed any light on his future.
But his four children may have a preference.
“I’m sure the kids would like to see me play another year. There’s no
question,” said Alfredsson, 39. “They love being part of it here, in the locker
room and coming to games.
“My son once told me when I did an interview for the all-star game, ‘Are you
going to play next year?’ I told him, ‘I don’t know, we’ll see what happens.’
He kind of started crying. I didn’t know he was that emotional about it.
“I said, ‘What’s wrong?’ and he said, ‘Then I won’t be able to go in the pool
in the locker room.’ He’s worried he won’t be able to come down if I retire.
Those are factors I’ll think about. Right now, it’s a lot of disappointment in
losing out and you need time to reflect and get that feeling that you want to
get in the gym again and do it with a purpose.”
Alfredsson said if he does return he’ll honour the final year of his contract at
$1 million. He didn’t give a timetable on when he might make a decision.
While Alfredsson said publicly during the all-star weekend in January he
was leaning toward returning, he needs to make sure he wants to go
through the difficult regimen of off-season training.
“I’d like to take a step back. I haven’t talked to my wife to say I’m going to
do this or that,” said Alfredsson, who may play for Sweden at the world
championships partially because the preliminary round is in Stockholm. “I’ve
just left it to make that decision after. I don’t know myself and I guess it’s
hard.
“I see all these comments: ‘Is he leaning one way or another?’ I don’t know.
I know I need have that desire to get ready for another year. If you don’t, it
will be a very frustrating year for me, personally, just going through the
motions. You have to bring everything you have to the table to be honest
with the team and with yourself. This league is way too good to go out and
go through the motions.”
Alfredsson’s teammates are urging him to return.
“I just might force him to come back for one more year,” said Chris Neil.
“(Alfredsson) was awesome all year. As everyone else could see, he was
still an elite player, he’s a game-changer, he scores big goals when
needed, he’s a leader ... he leads by example.
“For me, playing my whole career with him, I want to see him come back. I
think he’s got lots left in the tank, not just for one more year, a few more
years left in him. He was rejuvenated this year and it was fun to see. He’s
always trying to get better and make the people around him better. That’s
what a leader does and that’s what a captain does.”
Alfredsson said it was an enjoyable season.
“If you don’t have fun, that kind of makes the decision for you,” said
Alfredsson. “I said numerous times this year it’s been a lot of fun. I’ve really
enjoyed it. There’s been some tough years before this.
“Playing the way we did and coming together as a group the way we did
was great. There was some really memorable moments as well, personally,
and for the team. There’s a lot of good things I’ll remember.”
Plenty of people hope he’ll make more memories ... wearing a Senators
jersey.
Ottawa Sun LOADED: 04.29.2012
628958     Philadelphia Flyers


Flyers Notes: Flyers' Couturier next will try to slow Devils' Kovalchuk


By Frank Seravalli


Sean Couturier and the Flyers' checkers dispatched one zany and talented
Russian in the first round.
Now, after a week to catch their collective breath, Couturier and his
linemates Max Talbot and Eric Wellwood will have another uber-crafty
Russian in Ilya Kovalchuk to exhaustively shadow in this first-to-four
Eastern Conference semifinal matchup between the Flyers and Devils.
The fact that Couturier's crew was able to hold Evgeni Malkin, the likely
Hart Trophy winner as the league's MVP and a 109-point scorer, to just five
points at even strength was probably the key to the series.
The matchup with Kovalchuk, on paper, is decidedly less daunting.
Unlike Malkin, Kovalchuk has never led the league in scoring, even though
he is better than a point-per-game player for his career. Unlike Malkin,
Kovalchuk has not won a Stanley Cup, and this is the first time in his career
that he has advanced past the first round of the playoffs.
Also unlike Malkin, Kovalchuk doesn't get frustrated with physical play - and
he's tougher to coerce into undisciplined penalties. Kovalchuk even
destroyed Brayden Schenn in a fight on Feb. 4.
"There's going to be a lot of hits and a lot of physical play," Couturier said
Saturday. "This team likes that kind of stuff. That's why it was good for us to
use this week to recharge the battery and refocus."
Couturier got a chance to go up against Malkin twice in the final week of the
season. He tested Kovalchuk twice in March in a home-and-home series.
The only difference is that now Kovalchuk will have former 67-point scorer
Travis Zajac, who missed most of the season with an Achilles injury, back
on his line.
"Their first two lines are really good," Couturier said. "They have a lot of
skill, they're fast, they can compete hard. We're going to have to
outcompete them."
In 2010, the Flyers held Kovalchuk to two goals in a five-game series win in
the first round. It's a good bet that if Couturier can frustrate Kovalchuk half
as much as he did Malkin, the Flyers will be in every game.
"I think he's in the zone," Danny Briere said. "He was marvelous in the first
round. He got used to that role really quick, coming down the stretch in the
regular season. He's been in that mind-set probably for the last month and
a half now."
JVR's roots
James van Riemsdyk grew up in North Jersey less than 25 miles from
Newark's Prudential Center, but he never cheered for the Devils. Instead,
the 22-year-old grew up pretending to score on Martin Brodeur in his
driveway in a Rangers shirt.
Unlike in the first round, his family and friends will get to see more of van
Riemsdyk, who skated just 14 minutes, 17 seconds combined in Games 5
and 6 against Pittsburgh compared with his regular season average of
15:10 per game. He is expected to start the series on a line with Briere and
Jake Voracek.
Philadelphia Inquirer / Daily News LOADED: 04.29.2012
628959      Philadelphia Flyers                                                  Now the Flyers will face a New Jersey penalty kill that set an NHL
                                                                                 postexpansion (after 1967-68) regular-season record by snuffing out 89.6
                                                                                 percent of the power plays it faced.
Inside the Flyers: Flyers may show that offense wins championships, too          The Flyers seem unfazed. Maybe it's because Florida's power play was 9
                                                                                 for 27 (33.3 percent) against New Jersey in the quarterfinals. Or maybe it's
                                                                                 because they think their six days between games won't disrupt the power
Sam Carchidi                                                                     play's Round 1 rhythm. "We had a lot of quality practice time this week on
                                                                                 it," winger Wayne Simmonds said, "and I think it should actually help it."
                                                                                 For the resilient Flyers - whose 4.33 goals-against average in this year's
Oh, they help, no question. And the Flyers wouldn't mind if goalie Ilya          playoffs is next-to-last among the 16 qualifiers - the power play was their
Bryzgalov somehow came close to matching his stunning regular-season             calling card in Round 1. If that happens for three more series, Bryzgalov
numbers against New Jersey - a 0.29 goal-against average (gulp) and .987         won't have to be the main focus.
save percentage (double gulp) - in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
                                                                                 And, yes, he'd be happy with that.
But for folks to dismiss the Flyers' Cup chances because their defense has
been glaringly inconsistent this season, well, that would be foolish.            Inside the Flyers: Flyers-Devils Matchups

The Flyers, partly because of an inordinate amount of injuries to their          Here are the probable lineups for Sunday's Eastern Conference semifinal
defensemen, finished 20th in the 30-team NHL with a 2.74 goals-against           opener between the Flyers and New Jersey Devils at the Wells Fargo
average in the regular season. Bryzgalov, whose game has alternated              Center:
between hot, cold, scorching, and chilly, had a 3.89 GAA in the team's
impressive first-round win over the Cup-favorite Penguins.                       DEVILS

The Flyers overcame the defensive woes by averaging an eye-opening five          LINES
goals per game.                                                                  1. LW Zach Parise (31 goals in regular season),
All of which brings us back to our opening misconception about defense           C Travis Zajac (2), RW Ilya Kovalchuk (37).
and goaltending.
                                                                                 2. LW Petr Sykora (21), C Patrik Elias (26),
Those qualities are important, but not necessarily required to drink from the
famous silver bowl.                                                              RW Dainius Zubrus (17).
Consider: In the last 20 seasons, 10 of the Cup champs have had defenses         3. LW Alexei Ponikarovsky (14), C Adam Henrique (16), RW-David
that finished in the top five during the regular season.                         Clarkson (30).
But . . .                                                                        4. LW Ryan Carter (4), C Stephen Gionta (1),
In that same time frame, 12 of the last 20 Cup champs have finished in the       RW Steve Bernier (1).
top five in offense, including the Peter Laviolette-coached Carolina
Hurricanes of 2006. The 'Canes had the league's third-best offense and           DEFENSE PAIRINGS
18th-best defense that season.                                                   1. Bryce Salvador (plus-18) and Marek Zidlicky (minus-6).
Jaromir Jagr was a young, mullet-haired star when he helped the Penguins         2. Mark Fayne (minus-4) and Andy Greene (minus-3).
win consecutive Stanley Cups in his first two seasons, 1991 and 1992. The
1991 Penguins were second in the league in offense, 18th on defense. The         3. Anton Volchenkov (plus-3) and Peter Harrold (even).
'92 team had the NHL's best offense and defensively was 20th out of 22
teams.                                                                           GOALIE

We bring this to your attention because as the Flyers get ready to host the      Marty Brodeur (31-21-4, 2.41 GAA, .908 SP).
New Jersey Devils and start the conference semifinals Sunday afternoon,
                                                                                 FLYERS
most say they need to tighten things up defensively.
                                                                                 LINES
Yeah, that would help. But is it mandatory to advance? We think not.
                                                                                 1. LW Scott Hartnell (37 goals in regular season),
In other words, if Bryzgalov plays somewhere between his lost-in-the-
woods stage of late October and his lights-out play in March, the Flyers         C Claude Giroux (28), RW Jaromir Jagr (19).
should be fine.
                                                                                 2. LW James van Riemsdyk (11), C Danny Briere (16),
The Flyers are a team with arguably more depth than any of the NHL's final
eight. They are a team that can roll four lines and not have a major drop-off    RW Jakub Voracek (18).
in any of them, a team that can continue to advance by continuing to be in
                                                                                 3. LW Matt Read (24), C Brayden Schenn (12),
attack mode.
                                                                                 RW Wayne Simmonds (28).
New Jersey is defense-oriented and doesn't have the firepower to match
the Flyers. That said, the Devils are more offense-minded than in recent         4. LW Max Talbot (19), C Sean Couturier (13),
years.
                                                                                 RW Eric Wellwood (5).
When you think of New Jersey, you think of a team "that plays a trap. But
with this new coach, they are a little more aggressive than that," said Flyers   DEFENSE PAIRINGS
forward Max Talbot, who had three goals, including two shorthanded, in the
series win over the Penguins. "They're going to have an aggressive               1. Braydon Coburn (plus-10) and Nick Grossmann (plus-5).
forecheck, and their defense will attack by joining the rush. They had great     2. Kimmo Timonen (plus-8) and Matt Carle (plus-4).
[penalty killing] the whole season. Special teams, like every playoff series,
will be a big factor."                                                           3. Erik Gustafsson (plus-12) and Andreas Lilja (plus-9).
Ah, special teams. They played the biggest role in the Flyers' upset of the      GOALIE
Team That Was Supposed to Win the Stanley Cup.
                                                                                 Ilya Bryzgalov (33-16-7, 2.48 GAA, .909 SP).
The Flyers' power play, capitalizing on pristine passing and crashing the
net, was a ridiculous 12 for 23 (52.2 percent) in the opening-round series.      Philadelphia Inquirer / Daily News LOADED: 04.29.2012
Against a Penguins team that finished third on the penalty kill in the regular
season.
628960     Philadelphia Flyers                                                      to treat him like just another regular goalie, and have to find a way to get
                                                                                    pucks through him."
                                                                                    Philadelphia Inquirer / Daily News LOADED: 04.29.2012
Flyers hoping for a quick start against Devils


By Sam Carchidi


The New Jersey Devils, survivors of a double-overtime thriller Thursday in
Florida, will still be on a "rush" when they open the Eastern Conference
semifinals against the Flyers on Sunday afternoon at the Wells Fargo
Center.
At least that's the opinion of high-scoring Flyers center Claude Giroux.
"They're still in that rush. We've had to cool down and regroup," said
Giroux, whose team hasn't played since clinching the series against
Pittsburgh last Sunday. "At the same time, it could be a good thing that we
had time to rest. It's going to be intense right off the bat. The first period is
going to be huge for us."
New Jersey, seeded sixth, needed overtime to win Games 6 and 7 against
third-seeded Florida. They won Game 7 when rookie Adam Henrique
scored early in the second overtime.
The fifth-seeded Flyers will be trying to shake off the rust early in the game,
while the Devils will attempt to carry momentum from their series-clincher
into Game 1.
"Our start is huge," defenseman Matt Carle said after Saturday's practice in
Voorhees. The Devils "are going to be feeling good about winning a Game
7, and we have to be ready to match their intensity. We've had a solid week
of practice where we haven't really been in that game atmosphere. But I
think these last couple days we tried to ratchet it up and get mentally
prepared and know what to expect Sunday afternoon."
Danny Briere, who centered a new line during Saturday's practice, said the
Flyers have to be prepared to play a less wide-open style than in Round 1.
The conference semifinals against the Devils "will be a little more like
playoff hockey. We have to realize the series against Pittsburgh was a little
bit out of character, and we can't expect the same kind of hockey," Briere
said, mindful his team scored 30 goals in the six games against the
Penguins. "What I want to see is us get an early lead, much better than we
did early in the series against Pittsburgh."
The Flyers won the first two games in Pittsburgh despite getting into 3-0
and 2-0 holes.
Both teams made line changes at their practices Saturday. Was it done just
to make their opponent's preparation more difficult, or will the teams
actually change their lineups Sunday?
The Flyers flip-flopped Briere and Matt Read. At practice, Briere centered
James van Riemsdyk and Jakub Voracek, while Read played left wing on a
unit with center Brayden Schenn and right winger Wayne Simmonds.
As for the Devils, they altered three lines, perhaps as a smoke screen or
perhaps to get more balance.
There is one spot where the Devils won't make a change: goaltender. Marty
Brodeur, the future Hall of Famer, will be in the nets and will try to redeem
himself for a poor showing against the Flyers in the 2010 playoffs.
Brodeur was especially effective in the series-winning, double-overtime
triumph in Florida.
"I mean, he's Marty Brodeur. We saw what he did in Game 7," Briere said.
"You've got to throw as many pucks as you can at him."
Briere said you can make a case for Brodeur or Patrick Roy being "the best
goalie that's ever played."
"I'm not a goal scorer, so I don't pay too much attention to the other goalie
too much," defenseman Matt Carle said with a chuckle. "I know he
struggled a little bit last year, but he seems to be back on his game this
year. It seemed like they tried to rest him a little more, and maybe he's a
little more rested for the playoffs. He can steal games."
"He's broken all the records and it's pretty impressive, but at the same time
we're working to move on, so we can't stop at that," Briere said. "We have
628961     Philadelphia Flyers                                                     Flyers: They've had a week off, but it may have been more important to get
                                                                                   injured players rest than to worry about the adverse effect of a high-flying
                                                                                   team going off the tracks because of time off. The Flyers need to remain
Flyers-Devils Series Breakdown                                                     patient, as the series will look entirely different from the one with Pittsburgh.
                                                                                   Devils: The Prudential Center, mostly empty in the regular season, isn't
                                                                                   exactly a tough place to play. Devils coach Pete DeBoer is making his first
By Frank Seravalli                                                                 foray into the playoffs after three mediocre seasons in Florida.
                                                                                   Edge: Flyers.

FORWARDS                                                                           Philadelphia Inquirer / Daily News LOADED: 04.29.2012

Flyers: The Flyers scored an incredible 30 goals in the first round. It would
be a mistake to think scoring at that extraordinary clip will continue against
a scrappy New Jersey team. The Flyers have the playoffs' top scorer in
Claude Giroux (14 points), but their scoring production from secondary
players such as Wayne Simmonds and Matt Read was relatively quiet.
Devils: New Jersey has a lethal triumvirate of their own in Ilya Kovalchuk,
Zach Parise, and Travis Zajac. Sean Couturier's line will likely try to shadow
them again. But where the Devils are sneaky is in players like David
Clarkson, who finished with 30 goals and 138 penalty minutes this year. Old
friend Patrik Elias, a stalwart from the Devils' Stanley Cup years, followed
up a 78-point regular season with just two goals against Florida. Rookie of
the year candidate Adam Henrique added his first two playoff goals when
they counted most, in Game 7, including the double-overtime series
clincher.
Edge: Flyers.
DEFENSE
Flyers: Suddenly, the Flyers defense seems to be rounding back into
shape. Andrej Meszaros, who hasn't played since March 1 because of
lower-back surgery, isn't likely to be ready until the middle of the series, but
he could provide a huge boost. The week off had to do wonders for Kimmo
Timonen's own wonky back and Nick Grossmann's concussion symptoms.
That rookie Erik Gustafsson performed so admirably in Game 6 is just a
bonus.
Devils: The Devils stuck with the same six defenders for all seven games
against Florida. Marek Zidlicky, acquired from Minnesota in late February, is
probably the Devils' top overall defenseman. New Jersey allowed 17 goals
in seven first-round games.
Edge: Flyers.
GOALTENDERS
Flyers: Which Ilya Bryzgalov will show up? Against Pittsburgh, that varied
from game to game. But if he plays anything like the unflappable brick he
was in Games 5 and 6, allowing just one goal in the last 90:07 of the series,
the Flyers will be in fine shape. Yes, the Flyers blocked 40 shots in front of
him, but Bryzgalov dusted himself off after a shaky Game 4 and prevented
the series from going the distance.
Devils: Martin Brodeur is riding into the second round off a stellar
performance to close out the Panthers in Game 7. Brodeur looked like the
Brodeur of old in South Florida last Thursday night, but he is still a shell of
his former self. He turns 40 on May 6. His stats were nearly equal to
Bryzgalov during the regular season, which is saying something,
considering Bryzgalov's horrid first five months.
Edge: Even.
SPECIAL TEAMS
Flyers: In a word, the Flyers' power play in the first round was ridiculous,
connecting on 12 of 23 opportunities (52.2 percent) and tormenting what
was the NHL's third-best penalty kill from the regular season. The Flyers
also chipped in with three shorthanded goals in the first three games,
relegating the Penguins' power play to just an even standing.
Devils: The good news for the Flyers is that New Jersey's penalty kill, which
set a modern-day league record for allowing just 27 goals in the regular
season, wasn't nearly up to snuff against Florida. The Devils allowed nine
goals on 27 power-play attempts. New Jersey's power play was a relatively
pedestrian 5 for 25 (20 percent).
Edge: Flyers.
INTANGIBLES
628962       Philadelphia Flyers                                                  April 22    Wells Fargo       W 5- 1       1       2   3
                                                                                 0             0          0
                                                                                     Totals                      6       8          14   2
The Giroux 14 vs. the Kerr 15                                                    1             0
                                                                                 Philadelphia Inquirer / Daily News LOADED: 04.29.2012
Posted by Bob Vetrone Jr.


As the Flyers kick off their second-round series against the Devils Sunday,
we take a look at how Claude Giroux's 14-point first-round performance
compared to the Flyers' record of 15 set by Tim Kerr in 1989. Their game-
by-game totals are below.
Notable:
♦ Kerr had two of the Flyers' four game-winning goals in the series. Giroux
had none, although his tally 32 seconds into Game 6 could have just as well
counted as one.
♦ Kerr had points on 15 of the Flyers' 31 goals in the series, Giroux on 14 of
30.
♦ The two combined for just one goal in the Game 1s, but ...
♦ They combined for nine points in the Game 2s as each had a hat trick.
Kerr squeezed his three goals into an 11:23 span of the first period. Giroux
had two in the second period and sealed the deal with an empty-netter.
♦ Each player had a point on the Flyers' first goal of games four times.
♦ Kerr, battling a broken thumb, failed to record a point in the following
series as the Flyers managed just eight goals is a six-game loss to the
Canadiens.
TIM KERR (1989 Patrick Division Finals)
Date         Site        Result     G            A       Pts.        PP
SH           GW
 April 17    Pittsburgh            L 3- 4        1         0        1
1             0         0
 April 19    Pittsburgh            W 4- 2        3         0        3
2             0         1
April 21      Spectrum             L 3- 4 (ot)             0            2
             2            0         0          0
 April 23    Spectrum              W 4- 1        2         0        2
2             0           1
 April 25    Pittsburgh            L 7-10        2         2        4
0             0         0
 April 27    Spectrum              W 6- 2        2         0        2
0             0           0
 April 29    Pittsburgh            W 4- 1        0         1        1
0             0         0
    Totals                         10        5             15       5
0            2
CLAUDE GIROUX (2012 First Round)
Date         Site        Result     G            A       Pts.       PP
SH           GW
 April 11    Pittsburgh            W 4- 3 (ot)             0            0
0             0         0           0
 April 13    Pittsburgh            W 8- 5        3         3            6
1             1         0
 April 15    Wells Fargo           W 8- 4        1         1            2
0             0          0
 April 18    Wells Fargo           L 3-10        1         1            2
1             0          0
 April 20    Pittsburgh            L 2- 3        0         1            1
0             0         0
628963     Philadelphia Flyers                                                     Laviolette gives the Flyers their biggest edge in this series. That's no knock
                                                                                   on DeBoer. He may be a great coach, but he's certainly a less experienced
                                                                                   one. After three seasons in Florida, he just coached in his first postseason
Phil Sheridan: A new chapter in Flyers-Devils rivalry                              series, defeating Kevin Dineen, another playoff rookie.
                                                                                   Going into it, DeBoer told the Newark Star-Ledger that he didn't "think
                                                                                   things change, coaching-wise, in the playoffs. That thing you hear - 'This
Phil Sheridan                                                                      guy's a playoff coach, that guy isn't' - I don't buy it."
                                                                                   There is a huge difference, and it becomes more pronounced as you
                                                                                   progress toward the Cup. Laviolette is a proven, exceptional playoff coach.
These are not your father's New Jersey Devils, even if guys your father's          He has won one Cup and come within two wins of a second. He has
age will figure prominently in the Flyers' second-round series.                    managed injuries and goaltender meltdowns, 3-0 leads and 0-3 deficits, and
                                                                                   everything in between.
Jaromir Jagr was the fifth pick in the 1990 NHL entry draft. Martin Brodeur
was the 20th pick. Both of them will be Hall of Famers. All things                 Now he has the Flyers moving toward another trip to the conference finals.
considered, they should probably be in the Hall of Fame already. Instead,          And that's something that never gets old.
they are still playing.
                                                                                   Philadelphia Inquirer / Daily News LOADED: 04.29.2012
That year, the Flyers took Mike Ricci one spot ahead of Jagr. Ricci had a
good career with four organizations. It ended in 2007. Derian Hatcher,
taken by the Minnesota North Stars (yes, it was two franchises ago for the
Twin Cities), finished up with the Flyers in 2008. Flyers third-round pick
Chris Therien is still with the team - as a broadcaster. His playing career
ended in 2006.
But here are Jagr, his NHL career resurrected with the Flyers, and Brodeur,
still effective after 18 NHL seasons, preparing to meet in a playoff series 22
years after being drafted.
"Same draft," Jagr said after Friday's practice in Voorhees. "That's going to
be special. He's going to turn 40 and I'm 40. We'll see what happens."
Fittingly, most of the history between these two teams is also ancient. It was
12 years ago that the Devils came back from a three-games-to-one deficit
to eliminate Eric Lindros (of the 1991 draft class) and the Flyers in the
Eastern Conference Finals. That is an eternity in any professional sport, but
especially this one.
In the more recent and more relevant history, the Flyers crushed the Devils
in five games to start their run to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2010. Brodeur
was outplayed by Brian Boucher in that series, which saw Claude Giroux
take his first postseason steps toward becoming a superstar.
Brodeur will turn 40 on May 6, the day of Game 4 in Newark. He is still a
very good goalie. He no longer carries the same mystique, however. He's
good but human. Since winning his third Stanley Cup in 2003, Brodeur's
playoff record (and therefore the Devils' playoff record) is 20-28. That
includes twice being eliminated by the Flyers.
The Brodeur mystique derived partly from playing behind the Devils'
stultifying defensive system. Their neutral zone trap was as difficult to watch
as it was to play against. Based on the line of questioning of Peter
Laviolette and the players after the Devils emerged as their next dance
partner, the perception of the Devils hasn't changed. The Devils, on the
other hand, have changed very much.
First-year coach Peter DeBoer favors a more aggressive, attacking style.
It's not quite as aggressive as Laviolette's, perhaps, but Devils defensemen
can now sometimes be found venturing into the offensive zone.
So the expectation shouldn't be for the kind of freewheeling thrill ride the
Flyers experienced against Pittsburgh in the first round. That should never
be the expectation in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
"That was a once-every-10-years kind of thing," Danny Briere said.
But that doesn't mean this series has to be one tug-of-war after another,
either. If it is, it would mean the Flyers adjusted to the Devils' style of play
rather than dictating their own.
"We're going to need to play the same way," Giroux said.
The series the Devils just completed against Florida resembled Flyers-
Penguins only in that it was played on ice. There wasn't nearly the speed or
space or star power. The Flyers went skate-to-skate with Crosby and
Malkin and Letang and were better - at times, markedly better. Their
approach should be to force the Devils to keep up with them, not to slow
down and try to win tighter games.
In classic Laviolette fashion, all questions about styles or strategy were
deflected. But it is Laviolette's job to make sure his team stays in character
and imposes its will on the Devils. It is a job he has done very well in his
three seasons here.
628964     Philadelphia Flyers


Rinaldo Blog: Day 18


Posted by Frank Seravalli


It’s been a ridiculously long week.
I love coming to the rink, it doesn’t matter if there is a game next week or a
game the next day. It’s just another day at the office. I think everyone just
likes being here, we’re a really tight group overall. When practice and
workouts are over, we go hang out with each other anyway.
Once we got our opponent on Thursday, it’s crunch time again. We’ve been
working and preparing to start fine-tuning some things.
It’s good for us that we’ve played the Devils so many times this year. We
know their players, we know their system, we know what they’re capable of.
For the record, Brad Mills is the Devils player I’ve fought. We went twice in
the preseason (once in NHL, once in AHL) and also one last April in the last
week of the AHL regular season.
To pass the time this week, five of my buddies came down from Hamilton,
Ontario, and they’ve been hanging out all week. They got to meet a few of
the guys – Tom Sestito and Harry Zolnierczyk – and they’ve been loving the
shopping. For them, there is no tax on clothing, unlike in Canada.
That makes a huge difference. Them kids love to shop.
We’ve gone out to dinner a few times. I took them to P.F. Changs on Friday
night, that was their first time there, and that was really cool. They loved it.
Other than that, we hung out and watched the other Game 7’s this week.
We had a good time. But now it’s back to work.
Philadelphia Inquirer / Daily News LOADED: 04.29.2012
628965       Philadelphia Flyers


On Brodeur, the series, the odds


Posted by Sam Carchidi


Is New Jersey’s Marty Brodeur making his Final Tour?
Brodeur, arguably the best goalie in NHL history, will turn 40 during the
Flyers-Devils series. He hasn’t said this will be his last season, but he
hasn’t said it won’t be, either.
Brodeur was the difference in the Devils’ 3-2 double-overtime win over
Florida in Game 7, and he is a player - make that a LEGEND - whom the
Devills will rally around as the series takes shape.
For the Flyers, who had lots of success against Brodeur in the 2010
playoffs, the key is to do what they did in the quarterfinal series win against
Pittsburgh: Traffic, traffic, traffic.
The Flyers attack in waves - does any remaining playoff team have four
more dangerous lines? - so Brodeur and his defensive-minded team will
have their hands full.
Pick: This will be a tougher series than a lot of people think. Flyers in six.
Your pick?
Breakaways. Against the Devils, Ilya Bryzgalov has allowed one goal on 76
shots…..Bovada in Las Vegas lists the Blues as the surprising Stanley Cup
favorite at 15/4, followed by the Rangers and Flyers (both at 9/2) and
Nashville (5/1), which lost its opener to Phoenix Friday in overtime…..The
odds are 14/1 for a Stanley Cup Final between the Flyers and Flyers West
(Los Angeles)…..According to TicketNetwork.com, the price range for
tickets on the secondary market for Sunday’s Flyers-Devils opener is $106
to $238…..Flyers coach Peter Laviolette on the fierce rivalries in the East:
“You could throw into a blender _ the Rangers, the Penguins, the Devils,
the Flyers _ and pull out any two, and there’s something there, I think.” Add
the Caps to that mix.....The Flyers will practice in Voorhees Saturday at 11
a.m. It is free and open to the public....The Flyers will return home after
each game in Newark and practice in Voorhees.
Philadelphia Inquirer / Daily News LOADED: 04.29.2012
628966     Philadelphia Flyers                                                     “No, it doesn’t matter,’’ he said. “I would play the Rangers. It doesn’t matter
                                                                                   who we play at this time. They’re all going to be tough. I would have
                                                                                   welcomed playing against the Rangers and the extra motivation what
Devils up next for Flyers in Round 2                                               happened this season, the Winter Classic. Not having beaten them in a
                                                                                   game, I would have welcomed that. Maybe next round, we’ll see.’’
                                                                                   Burlington County Times LOADED: 04.29.2012
By Wayne Fish


Jake Voracek has only been a Flyer for one season but he’s already seen
enough of the Philadelphia-New Jersey Devils rivalry to know it’s rather
personal.
Obviously, Voracek doesn’t know much about the famous Claude Lemieux
goal that helped end the Flyers’ 1995 season in the conference finals or
Scott Stevens’ big hit on Eric Lindros to turn the momentum the Devils’ way
in the 2000 conference finals.
And someone might have to tell Voracek that the Flyers exacted some
revenge in early-round play in the 2004 and 2010 postseasons.
But now it’s 2012 and the Flyers and Devils will meet again, this time in the
conference semifinals.
That matchup came about when the visiting Devils knocked off the Florida
Panthers 3-2 in double overtime on Thursday night in Game 7.
The Flyers and Devils split six games this season and just about every one
of them was a trench war. This series should be no different.
“They’re a very tough team to play against,’’ Voracek said. “A grinder team,
they play very good defense and a lot of skill on the top lines. (Patrik) Elias,
(Ilya) Kovalchuk, they’re pretty dangerous players.’’
The teams finished just a point apart in the standings, the Flyers securing
fifth place with 103 points.
As Voracek noted, the Devils play tough defense and this series could be
billed as the Flyers, who scored a franchise-record 30 goals vs. Pittsburgh,
going against a New Jersey defense that held the Panthers to about two
goals per game.
But New Jersey can score, too. The top line of Kovalchuk, Zach Parise and
Travis Zajac is about as good as any in the NHL.
Of equal concern to the Flyers might be whether they can maintain the
edge they built in the Pittsburgh series against a team coming off a tough
seven-game series.
“That really falls on some of the older guys in this locker room,’’
defenseman Braydon Coburn said, “and how we prepare is a reflection of
how we practice. We have to get that. When you come to practice you have
to be ready and you have to be sharp. That’s a focus and a thing where we
have leaders in this room to make sure we are ready.’’
Coburn said it’s difficult to maintain an emotional high when there’s a week
off. Don’t forget, this is the longest break in the schedule since last
September.
“That’s why we’ve been skating every day and working hard, to get ready
for that first game,’’ Coburn said. “You get emotionally ready for the game,
you get so excited, but it is definitely tough when you don’t play for a week.
You almost forget.’’
Pavel Kubina said he played three Game 7s in his career and doesn’t
remember any of the opponents being off for a week.
“There are pluses and minuses on both sides,’’ Kubina said. “The good
thing is, guys can heal and you get guys back. The second round is special.
You battle and you get back into the game and get your legs back.’’
Regardless of the foe, it promises to be a difficult task.
“Anybody who makes it to the final game is a good opponent,’’ coach Peter
Laviolette said. “They had to do something right to knock off somebody.
When the No. 2 seed in the conference (Boston) doesn’t move on, it means
the no. 7 seed did something right and played well. There will be no easy
opponents.’’
There was talk that the Flyers were relieved to have dodged a bullet with
the Rangers’ colors on it but Danny Briere contested that theory.
628967     Philadelphia Flyers                                                   The 1990 NHL draft is considered one of the greatest in NHL history.
                                                                                 Among the players taken: Owen Nolan, Petr Nedved, Keith Primeau, Mike
                                                                                 Ricci (Flyers), Derian Hatcher, Keith Tkachuk and Doug Weight.
Giroux more interested in Stanley than Hart
                                                                                 Only two players from that draft are still active in the NHL and they're
                                                                                 playing against each other Sunday: Jaromir Jagr, selected fifth overall by
By Wayne Fish                                                                    Pittsburgh in '90 vs. Martin Brodeur, selected 20th overall by the New
                                                                                 Jersey Devils.
                                                                                 Brodeur will go down as one of the top five goaltenders of all time and Jagr
Those six words tell you all you need to know about Claude Giroux and            figures to land no worse than top 10 among all players.
what he's about.
                                                                                 Burlington County Times LOADED: 04.29.2012
When the three finalists for the Hart Trophy (most valuable player) were
announced on Friday, Giroux's name was not among them.
While there may have been a perceived slight in some quarters, each of the
finalists are worthy candidates.
Steven Stamkos popped in 60 goals (even though Tampa Bay didn't make
the playoffs), goaltender Henrik Lundqvist performed brilliantly and carried
the Rangers to the top of the Eastern Conference and Pittsburgh's Evgeni
Malkin scored 50 goals and won the National Hockey League overall
scoring title.
Still, Giroux enjoyed an amazing season and scored 93 points, the most
since Eric Lindros in the late '90s.
Keep in mind, voting by the Professional Hockey Writers' Association was
completed as the regular season ended, so Giroux's 14 points in Round 1
against Pittsburgh did not receive consideration.
"I'm happy with my year,'' Giroux said after Saturday's practice at the Skate
Zone. "It doesn't matter if I got that trophy or not. Obviously it would have
been nice but I'm worried about other stuff right now.''
Giroux says he's more interested in winning the Stanley Cup right now, not
getting caught up in individual recognition.
Goalies available?
The word bouncing around the league after the first round is that both
Boston goalie Tim Thomas and Vancouver's Roberto Luongo will be
available this July.
Luongo was benched for the final three games of the Canucks-L.A. series
and now that the No. 1-seeded team is gone from the playoffs, look for
Luongo to wind up somewhere else.
Ditto Thomas, who appears to have worn out his welcome.
One interesting development in Boston's first-round ouster: At least Thomas
won't have to worry about boycotting the White House next season.
Knuble still kicking
Just when many were calling it the end for Mike Knuble, the ex-Flyer comes
up huge in Washington's Game 7 against the Bruins. Knuble set up the
winning goal by Joel Ward, allowing the Caps to move on to the second
round against the Rangers.
Recently, Knuble was in town and told me that he wants to keep playing
next year. He still has a passion for the game. Wouldn't it be cool if the Red
Wings picked him up for one last season? It's the team Knuble started with
and won a Cup with (over the Flyers) in 1997.
Funnier by the minute
With Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, you never know if he's trying to be funny
or it just happens that way.
The media absolutely cracked up the other day over his answer to a
question about playing for Peter Laviolette.
"Huh?'' he said. "I don't have flash cards for that one.''
Hockey's Twitter world lit up like a Christmas tree over that one.
Bryzgalov has instituted a policy of not talking about his own play. So
reporters try every trick under the sun with loaded questions, hoping that he
might slip and talk about himself.
So far, the Russian has stayed one step ahead of the TV, radio, newspaper
and blog people.
Sole survivors of great draft
628968     Philadelphia Flyers


Old home week for N.J. native van Riemsdyk


By Wayne Fish


VOORHEES — Does it get any better for a Jersey boy than to be a Flyer
and play against your home state’s team?
James van Riemsdyk was all smiles on Saturday and the Middletown native
had good reason for the good mood. He grew up learning the game in the
Garden State and, even though he was a New York Ranger fan (shhh, he
doesn’t want the whole world to know that) at the time, there were a fair
amount of Devils fans in his shore stomping grounds.
Now, in just his third season in the NHL, he gets to play the Devils for a
second time in the postseason (the first occasion was his rookie campaign
in 2010).
“I’ve had a lot of buddies send me texts that they’re either going to be at the
games, either Philly (starting Sunday, 3 p.m., Wells Fargo Center) or Jersey
(starting Thursday, Prudential Center),’’ he said after Saturday’s practice.
“So it’s a nice thing for me to be so local here and have a lot of people I can
share this run with.’’
Van Riemsdyk, who now has a few games under his belt after missing
seven weeks with a broken foot, wants to have some impact on the series
vs. New Jersey. He’s got family and friends watching his every move so he
has plenty of motivation.
“My dad is going to be at every one of the games in this series,’’ van
Riemsdyk said. “He’s pretty fired up that he can come to all of them.’’
Dempster drops in
Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Ryan Dempster, in town for the Phillies
series, dropped by the locker room on Saturday to visit old friend Danny
Briere.
The two met while Briere played for the Phoenix Coyotes and the Cubs did
spring training nearby.
A number of Flyers had their picture taken with the accomplished hurler, a
native of British Columbia, Canada, who has a strong interest in hockey.
“I know Danny and Claude (Giroux) and I’m really pulling for them,’’
Dempster said. “So it’s exciting for them, to see them move on to the next
round. I’m looking forward to them beating the Devils.’’
Dempster, who turns 35 in May, says he was a big Pelle Lindbergh fan
growing up.
“I don’t know why I took to goalies,’’ Dempster said. “I remember watching
him and (Ron Hextall) and those Flyers teams in the late ‘80s. Lots of great
memories.’’
New lines . . . maybe
Coach Peter Laviolette experimented with some new lines on Saturday. He
moved Briere off the line with Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds and
over to Matt Read’s spot with JVR and Jake Voracek.
The Claude Giroux-Scott Hartnell-Jaromir Jagr and Max Talbot-Sean
Couturier-Eric Wellwood units remain intact.
Laviolette wouldn’t confirm if the new lines will be implemented in Game 1.
Burlington County Times LOADED: 04.29.2012
628969     Philadelphia Flyers                                                    The series breakdown:
                                                                                  Offense: The Flyers picked up goals from 13 different players in the first
                                                                                  round, tying a franchise record. They probably won’t get close to that in this
Flyers want to keep Brodeur out of their heads                                    series. Florida only managed 17 goals in seven games. But the Flyers
                                                                                  might be able to exploit their power play against a suddenly average Devil
                                                                                  penalty kill. Edge: Flyers
By Wayne Fish
                                                                                  Defense: New Jersey has always been known for its attention to defense
                                                                                  and that’s what got it past the Panthers. New Jersey’s top line of Ilya
                                                                                  Kovalchuk, Zach Parise and Travis Zajac is also its best checking line. The
It’s not like the Flyers have never beaten Martin Brodeur in a big moment         Flyers will have to tighten things up as they did in Game 6 vs. Pittsburgh.
before.                                                                           Edge: Devils
It just seems that way.                                                           Goaltending: As well as Bryzgalov played against the Devils this year,
                                                                                  Brodeur has far more experience in big-game situations. Edge: Devils
The Devils goaltender has enjoyed more than his share of success against
the Flyers over the past 18 years and now, about to turn 40 this week, he’s       Special teams: The two teams are virtually even after one round in penalty
still a formidable obstacle in Round 2 competition beginning Sunday, 3            killing but the Flyers’ power play is clicking at an astronomical 52.2 percent.
p.m., at the Wells Fargo Center.                                                  Edge: Flyers
Brodeur can still perform at a high level, as was exhibited in a seven-game       Coaching: This one isn’t close. Peter Laviolette has a Stanley Cup ring and
elimination of Florida in the first round.                                        much more experience than Peter DeBoer. Edge: Flyers
And he’s saved some of the best work of his career for the Flyers: His nine       New lines . . . maybe
regular-season shutouts against Philadelphia are the most by any goalie in
NHL history and nearly double the second-place guy (Jacques Plante, five).        Coach Peter Laviolette experimented with some new lines on Saturday. He
                                                                                  moved Briere off the line with Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds and
Brodeur was the winning goalie vs. the Flyers in the 1995 and 2000 Eastern        over to Matt Read’s spot with JVR and Jake Voracek.
Conference finals.
                                                                                  The Claude Giroux-Scott Hartnell-Jaromir Jagr and Max Talbot-Sean
The Flyers have returned the favor the last two times the teams have met,         Couturier-Eric Wellwood units remain intact.
in 2004 and 2010. But there’s no question Brodeur is a threat to the Flyers’
long-range plans in this postseason.                                              Laviolette wouldn’t confirm if the new lines will be implemented in Game 1.

“We have to treat him like he’s just another regular goaltender,’’ Danny          Burlington County Times LOADED: 04.29.2012
Briere said after Saturday’s practice. “We have to find a way to get pucks
through him.’’
The numbers during the regular season go more in favor of the Flyers’ Ilya
Bryzgalov than Brodeur. Bryzgalov was 3-0 vs. the Devils, including one
shutout. Brodeur was 1-3 vs the Flyers.
“You think about what you can do against him, how you can beat him,’’
Briere said. “But you don’t think about who the goalie is or the aura around
him. In my mind, he’s the best goalie who ever played, if not Patrick Roy.
“He’s broken all the records. It’s impressive but at the same time we’re
there to move on. We can’t stop at that.’’
Matt Carle doesn’t get paid to put the puck in the net but as a defenseman,
he’s developed an appreciation for what Brodeur has been able to do.
“He’s proven time and time again what he’s capable of and he’s probably
the best who’s ever played,’’ he said. “That’s not something you want to
take lightly.
“But it doesn’t really change the way we want to play. You want to get
pucks and bodies to the net, no matter who you are playing against. He can
steal games, he’s done it throughout his entire career.’’
Coach Peter Laviolette has seen enough of Brodeur over the years to know
there’s potential for short-term greatness in a series such as this.
“He’s a good goaltender. You look at his numbers in the (Florida) series
right now, he’s a good goalie,’’ Laviolette said. “He’s been a good goalie his
whole career. You have to give him a tremendous amount of credit.
“I think he’s one of the greats of the game and we have our work cut out for
us. It’s going to be difficult generating offense.’’
Briere was asked for his keys to the series.
“I think for us, one of the keys is being patient, not losing focus,’’ Briere
said. “They’re a team that plays well defensively, they don’t give you much.
The key is not to get frustrated. We were able to do that to Pittsburgh in a
different way.’’
The Flyers realize that the 30 goals they scored against Pittsburgh was a
playoff anamoly. They probably won’t get close to that against the semi-
trapping Devils.
“We have to realize the series against Pittsburgh was a little out of
character,’’ Briere said. “We can’t expect the same kind of hockey. If we
don’t score eight goals in the first game, we can’t get frustrated because it’s
probably not going to happen against a team like Jersey.’’
628970     Philadelphia Flyers                                                    Oct. 8: Flyers 3, DEVILS 0
                                                                                  Nov. 3: Devils 4, FLYERS 3 (shootout)
Flyers Sunday and furniture                                                       Jan. 21: Flyers 4, DEVILS 1
                                                                                  Feb. 4: New Jersey 6, FLYERS 4
By Wayne Fish                                                                     March 12: Devils 4, FLYERS 1
                                                                                  March 13: Flyers 3, DEVILS 0
What: Game 1, New Jersey Devils vs. Flyers in the Eastern Conference              Home team in caps
best-of-seven semifinals.
                                                                                  Past playoff meetings 1995 conference finals: Devils in six 2000 conference
When: 3:05 p.m.                                                                   finals: Devils in seven 2004 conference quarterfinals: Flyers in five 2010
                                                                                  conference quarterfinals: Flyers in five
Where: Wells Fargo Center
                                                                                  Burlington County Times LOADED: 04.29.2012
Tickets: Limited number. Call 215-218-7825.
TV/Radio: NBC/WIP 610-AM.
What to watch: Flyers are just about full strength, as are the Devils. Flyers
will have the advantage of rest but how much is too much? The Devils
rallied from a 3-2 deficit against Florida to win Game 7 on the road. It’s only
the second time the Devils have done that — the other time coming against
the Flyers in the conference finals in 2000.
Special teams
Power play: FLYERS, 1st (12 for 23, 52.2 percent); Devils, 6th (5 for 25, 20
percent).
Penalty kill: FLYERS, 13th (9 for 29, 69 percent); Devils, 14th (9 for 27,
66.7 percent).
Depth charts
FLYERS
Goaltenders
1. Ilya Bryzgalov
2. Sergei Bobrovsky
Defense
1. Kimmo Timonen-Matt Carle
2. Braydon Coburn-Nick Grossmann
3. Andreas Lilja-Erik Gustafsson
Forwards
1. Scott Hartnell-Claude Giroux-Jaromir Jagr
2. James van Riemsdyk-Danny Briere-Jake Voracek
3. Matt Read-Brayden Schenn-Wayne Simmonds
4. Max Talbot-Sean Couturier-Eric Wellwood
DEVILS
Goaltenders
1. Martin Brodeur
2. Johan Hedberg
Defense
1. Marek Zidlicky-Bryce Salvador
2. Peter Harrold-Anton Volchenkov
3. Andy Greene-Mark Fayne
Forwards
1. Ilya Kovalchuk-Zach Parise-Travis Zajac
2. Alexei Ponikorovsky-Adam Henrique-David Clarkson
3. Dainius Zubrus-Patrik Elias-Petr Sykora
4. Ryan Carter-Stephan Gionta-Steve Bernier
2011-2012 Flyers vs. Devils
628971     Philadelphia Flyers


Flyers should outlast the Devils


By Wayne Fish


Now comes the tough part: Trying to pick winners when both teams have
already proven themselves in the first round.
However, after a not-so-stellar 4-4 mark in the first round (OK, who saw
L.A. or Washington coming?), it can only go up from here.
Here’s how Round 2 should look:
EAST
No. 1 New York Rangers vs. No. 7 Washington Capitals: (one game
already played) Right now, Ranger goaltender Henrik Lundqvist is just
about the hottest commodity in the NHL. Caps showed grit ousting Boston
but the Rangers appear to be on a mission. Rangers in five games.
No. 5 Flyers vs. No. 6 New Jersey Devils: Whichever team can spend the
least amount of time in the penalty box should win this series. New Jersey’s
penalty kill, the best in the regular season, fell to 66.7 percent against
Florida. Meanwhile, the Flyers scored 12 of their 30 goals vs. Pittsburgh on
the power play. Flyers in six.
WEST
No. 2 St. Louis Blues vs. No. 8 Los Angeles Kings: (one game already
played) It’s going to be a chess match between Blues coach Ken Hitchcock
and three of his former Flyers players — Justin Williams, Mike Richards and
Jeff Carter. Blues have more balance. Blues in six.
No. 3 Phoenix Coyotes vs. No. 4 Nashville Predators: (one game already
played) The Coyotes are looking mighty good right now, are well coached
and have a hot goaltender in Mike Smith. Still, Nashville’s overall balance
and best defensive pairing in the NHL — Ryan Suter-Shea Weber —
should prevail. Predators in seven.
Burlington County Times LOADED: 04.29.2012
628972     Philadelphia Flyers                                                     /n
                                                                                   2011-2012 FLYERS vs. New Jersey results:
Flyers-Devils/By the numbers                                                       1. Oct. 8: FLYERS 3, New Jersey 0 (at N.J.)
                                                                                   2. Nov. 3: New Jersey 4, FLYERS 3 (shootout, at Phila.)
Wayne Fish                                                                         3. Jan. 21: FLYERS 4, New Jersey 1 (at N.J.)
                                                                                   4. Feb. 4: New Jersey 6, FLYERS 4 (at Phila.)
 When: 3:05.                                                                       5. March 12: New Jersey 4, FLYERS 1 (at N.J.)
 Where: Wells Fargo Center.                                                        6. March 13: FLYERS 3, New Jersey 0 (at Phila.)
 Tickets: Limited number. Call 215-218-7825.                                       /n
 TV/Radio: NBC/WIP 610-AM.                                                         Past playoff meetings:
  What to watch: Flyers are just about full strength, as are the Devils. Flyers   1. 1995 conference finals: **New Jersey in six games.**
will have the rest advantage but how much is too much? The Devils rallied
from a 3-2 deficit against Florida to win Game 7 on the road. It’s only the       2. 2000 conference finals: **New Jersey in seven games.**
second time the Devils have done that – the other time coming against the         3. 2004 conference quarterfinals: **FLYERS in five games.**
Flyers in the conference finals in 2000.
                                                                                  4. 2010 conference quarterfinals: **FLYERS in five games.**
 /n
                                                                                  Burlington County Times LOADED: 04.29.2012
 Special teams:
  Power play -- FLYERS, 1st (12 for 23, 52.2 percent); Devils, 6th (5 for 25,
20 percent).
 Penalty kill -- FLYERS, 13th (9 for 29, 69 percent); Devils, 14th (9 for 27,
66.7 percent).
 /n
 Depth charts
 FLYERS
 Goaltenders
1. Ilya Bryzgalov
2. Sergei Bobrovsky
Defense
1. Kimmo Timonen-Matt Carle
2. Braydon Coburn-Nick Grossmann
3. Andreas Lilja-Erik Gustafsson
Forwards
1. Scott Hartnell-Claude Giroux-Jaromir Jagr
2. James van Riemsdyk-Danny Briere-Jake Voracek
3. Matt Read-Brayden Schenn-Wayne Simmonds
4. Max Talbot-Sean Couturier-Eric Wellwood
NEW JERSEY
Goaltenders
1. Martin Brodeur
2. Johan Hedberg
Defense
1. Marek Zidlicky-Bryce Salvador
2. Peter Harrold-Anton Volchenkov
3. Andy Greene-Mark Fayne
Forwards
1. Ilya Kovalchuk-Zach Parise-Travis Zajac
2. Alexei Ponikorovsky-Adam Henrique-David Clarkson
3. Dainius Zubrus-Patrik Elias-Petr Sykora
4. Ryan Carter-Stephan Gionta-Steve Bernier
628973     Philadelphia Flyers                                                      EDGE: Flyers
                                                                                    Goaltending
Round 2, Flyers vs. Devils: Jersey may bring out best in Flyers                     Bryzgalov is all the pre-series rage since he was 3-0 with an 0.29 goals-
                                                                                    against average and .987 saves percentage. He stopped 75 of the 76
                                                                                    Devils shots he faced during the season.
By ROB PARENT                                                                       Doesn’t mean that will translate to this series, though.
                                                                                    Brodeur, who will turn 40 during the series, has lost an anticipatory step in
VOORHEES, N.J. — Get ready, Flyers fans, for anything but a second-                 the crease. That means he’s merely very good instead of great.
round cruise against the New Jersey Devils.                                         But with the way the Flyers played against the Penguins and especially the
The first order of duty should be ignoring any trendy projections by the TV         way their power play has been heating up (52 percent success ratio in the
hockey experts: That Paul Holmgren has suddenly risen to the ranks of               first round), Brodeur is going to give up his share of goals. That means
general genius for his summer rebuilding job; that the Flyers are favorites         Bryzgalov just has to worry about playing better than he did against the
for their first Stanley Cup championship since before Holmgren was a                Penguins.
player.                                                                             EDGE: None.
Amazing, the admiring experts say, how a Flyers team that trades two of its         Intangibles
best forwards, one of which was the team captain, is rolling into the Eastern
Conference semifinals against those old Devils from up the turnpike.                The Flyers have home ice in this series, which usually doesn’t mean a
                                                                                    whole lot, though it seemed to matter in Game 6 against the Penguins. ...
What’s true is that Holmgren’s trades of Mike Richards and Jeff Carter and          Behind the bench, Florida castoff Peter DeBoer is getting a lot of credit for
Peter Laviolette’s insistence on employing a torturous system have turned           the sixth-seeded Devils’ terrific season (102 points, just one behind the fifth-
the Flyers into a young, fast and ferociousl forechecking team that’s               seeded Flyers). Peter Laviolette has a ring. ... On special teams, the Flyers
frequently fun to watch. Except when they slow down or turn the puck over,          have an edge in power play, but that’s only if Timonen can keep his back
of course.                                                                          loose. … And speaking of injuries, Kovalchuk was greatly slowed by an
And these Devils, they know all about jumping on Flyers turnovers. It’s not         injury late in the Devils’ series with the Panthers.
only that they made an art of it down through the years, it’s that they still do    EDGE: Flyers
it well when these neighborly rivals get together.
                                                                                    THE PICK: Flyers in seven.
In truth, these teams are very alike. Both thrive off one line of pure skill, one
line of opportunistic scorers and a group of checking line studs that make          Delaware County Times LOADED: 04.29.2012
life easier for a substandard defensive group.
Then there’s the dueling goalies: The Devils still pin their fortunes on a
nearly 40-year-old Martin Brodeur, while the Flyers are forced to rely on a
$51 million human puzzle of Ilya Bryzgalov.
They’ll supply plenty of sidebar story lines. Overall, this playoff match, the
fifth in the history of the Jersey Turnpike hockey rivalry, should make for an
intriguing and long series that won’t be as slow-paced as the slow-witted
prognosticators say it will be.
Forwards
There’s plenty for the Flyers to worry about when the Devils’ top line of
Travis Zajac, Zach Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk takes the ice. But expect third
line center Sean Couturier, last seen hounding Evgeni Malkin into
distraction, to pick Parise as his new dance partner.
If Couturier and Max Talbot are as effective against the Devils as they were
against the Penguins, the Devils are in trouble. Of course, the Flyers have
to stay disciplined, because Parise and Kovalchuk are two of the most
opportunistic neutral-zone thiefs in the league. Other Devils Patrik Elias and
David Clarkson are also good at that game, and overlooked Alex
Ponikarovsky scored more against the Flyers than any other Devils forward.
With all that talent to counter, Peter Laviolette was experimenting with
different lines at practice this week. That might be because Danny Briere’s
second line was overmatched at times against the Penguins, and the Flyers
really need a solid second scoring line behind Claude Giroux, Jaromir Jagr
and Scott Hartnell.
Expect Briere to start with Wayne Simmonds and Jake Voracek, but James
van Riemsdyk would likely be moved there if lack of offense becomes an
issue.
EDGE: Give it to the Devils, but not by much.
Defense
Nick Grossmann’s anticipated return from a concussion will help, but only if
his gimpy knees are better, too. If so, expect Pavel Kubina to be enlisted as
a seventh defenseman while Erik Gustafsson starts in the top six. Another
question is whether Kimmo Timonen’s back issues will continue to hamper
him.
While injuries threaten to undercut the Flyers’ defensive efforts, it’s a real
Achilles’ heel for the Devils. If the Flyers’ rolling lines stay up to speed, a
group led by Mark Fayne, Bryce Salvador and Anton Volchenkov will be
hard-pressed to protect Brodeur.
628974     Philadelphia Flyers                                                      EDGE: Flyers
                                                                                    Goaltending
Round 2, Flyers vs. Devils: Jersey may bring out best in Flyers                     Bryzgalov is all the pre-series rage since he was 3-0 with an 0.29 goals-
                                                                                    against average and .987 saves percentage. He stopped 75 of the 76
                                                                                    Devils shots he faced during the season.
By ROB PARENT                                                                       Doesn’t mean that will translate to this series, though.
                                                                                    Brodeur, who will turn 40 during the series, has lost an anticipatory step in
VOORHEES, N.J. — Get ready, Flyers fans, for anything but a second-                 the crease. That means he’s merely very good instead of great.
round cruise against the New Jersey Devils.                                         But with the way the Flyers played against the Penguins and especially the
The first order of duty should be ignoring any trendy projections by the TV         way their power play has been heating up (52 percent success ratio in the
hockey experts: That Paul Holmgren has suddenly risen to the ranks of               first round), Brodeur is going to give up his share of goals. That means
general genius for his summer rebuilding job; that the Flyers are favorites         Bryzgalov just has to worry about playing better than he did against the
for their first Stanley Cup championship since before Holmgren was a                Penguins.
player.                                                                             EDGE: None.
Amazing, the admiring experts say, how a Flyers team that trades two of its         Intangibles
best forwards, one of which was the team captain, is rolling into the Eastern
Conference semifinals against those old Devils from up the turnpike.                The Flyers have home ice in this series, which usually doesn’t mean a
                                                                                    whole lot, though it seemed to matter in Game 6 against the Penguins. ...
What’s true is that Holmgren’s trades of Mike Richards and Jeff Carter and          Behind the bench, Florida castoff Peter DeBoer is getting a lot of credit for
Peter Laviolette’s insistence on employing a torturous system have turned           the sixth-seeded Devils’ terrific season (102 points, just one behind the fifth-
the Flyers into a young, fast and ferociousl forechecking team that’s               seeded Flyers). Peter Laviolette has a ring. ... On special teams, the Flyers
frequently fun to watch. Except when they slow down or turn the puck over,          have an edge in power play, but that’s only if Timonen can keep his back
of course.                                                                          loose. … And speaking of injuries, Kovalchuk was greatly slowed by an
And these Devils, they know all about jumping on Flyers turnovers. It’s not         injury late in the Devils’ series with the Panthers.
only that they made an art of it down through the years, it’s that they still do    EDGE: Flyers
it well when these neighborly rivals get together.
                                                                                    THE PICK: Flyers in seven.
In truth, these teams are very alike. Both thrive off one line of pure skill, one
line of opportunistic scorers and a group of checking line studs that make          Delaware County Times LOADED: 04.29.2012
life easier for a substandard defensive group.
Then there’s the dueling goalies: The Devils still pin their fortunes on a
nearly 40-year-old Martin Brodeur, while the Flyers are forced to rely on a
$51 million human puzzle of Ilya Bryzgalov.
They’ll supply plenty of sidebar story lines. Overall, this playoff match, the
fifth in the history of the Jersey Turnpike hockey rivalry, should make for an
intriguing and long series that won’t be as slow-paced as the slow-witted
prognosticators say it will be.
Forwards
There’s plenty for the Flyers to worry about when the Devils’ top line of
Travis Zajac, Zach Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk takes the ice. But expect third
line center Sean Couturier, last seen hounding Evgeni Malkin into
distraction, to pick Parise as his new dance partner.
If Couturier and Max Talbot are as effective against the Devils as they were
against the Penguins, the Devils are in trouble. Of course, the Flyers have
to stay disciplined, because Parise and Kovalchuk are two of the most
opportunistic neutral-zone thiefs in the league. Other Devils Patrik Elias and
David Clarkson are also good at that game, and overlooked Alex
Ponikarovsky scored more against the Flyers than any other Devils forward.
With all that talent to counter, Peter Laviolette was experimenting with
different lines at practice this week. That might be because Danny Briere’s
second line was overmatched at times against the Penguins, and the Flyers
really need a solid second scoring line behind Claude Giroux, Jaromir Jagr
and Scott Hartnell.
Expect Briere to start with Wayne Simmonds and Jake Voracek, but James
van Riemsdyk would likely be moved there if lack of offense becomes an
issue.
EDGE: Give it to the Devils, but not by much.
Defense
Nick Grossmann’s anticipated return from a concussion will help, but only if
his gimpy knees are better, too. If so, expect Pavel Kubina to be enlisted as
a seventh defenseman while Erik Gustafsson starts in the top six. Another
question is whether Kimmo Timonen’s back issues will continue to hamper
him.
While injuries threaten to undercut the Flyers’ defensive efforts, it’s a real
Achilles’ heel for the Devils. If the Flyers’ rolling lines stay up to speed, a
group led by Mark Fayne, Bryce Salvador and Anton Volchenkov will be
hard-pressed to protect Brodeur.
628975     Philadelphia Flyers


Hillary: Final preparations for Devils complete


Staff


Final preparations were underway at the Flyers practice facility on
Saturday.
The Flyers will face a much different team than their previous opponent
when they take on the Devils at 3 p.m. on Sunday.
Throughout their years of Stanley Cup glory, the Devils were known for their
defensive-oriented style of play.
While Peter Laviolette would not comment on their system or his, lines were
different just over 24 hours to game time. Braydon Schenn centered Wayne
Simmonds and Matt Read. Danny Briere was on a line with Jake Voracek
and James van Riemsdyk.
Goaltender Martin Brodeur has led the Devils to three Stanley Cup
championships, and he is the NHL's all-time leader in goalie wins and
shutouts.
The Flyers have tremendous respect for Brodeur, and some for more
reasons than one.
"As a French Canadian I grew up watching him and Patrick Roy," Max
Talbot said.
Pavel Kubina and Andrej Meszaros were paired up at the teams final
practice before Sunday's Game 1. Laviolette rarely discusses his lineup
changes. But it's more than likely Kubina and Meszaros, who is still working
his way back from surgery will be the odd pairing out.
Comcast SportsNet.com LOADED: 04.29.2012
628976     Philadelphia Flyers


Almost 40, Brodeur still a threat to Flyers


Staff


VOORHEES, N.J. – New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur will turn 40
on May 6, the same day as Game 4 of the Devils' upcoming Eastern
Conference semifinal series against the Flyers.
He’s older and slower, no longer the same lights-out Brodeur of the early
2000s, but the Devils’ netminder is still among the best in the league – and
he’ll be one of the biggest challenges the Flyers face as they attempt to
defeat New Jersey and move on in the postseason.
“He’s a good goaltender,” coach Peter Laviolette said. “You look at his
numbers in the series right now, he’s a good goalie. He’s been a good
goalie his whole career. You’ve got to give the guy a tremendous amount of
credit. He’s one of the greats of the game, so we’ve got our work cut out for
us. It’s going to be difficult generating offense.”
Brodeur struggled a bit during the 2011 season, but returned this year with
a vengeance. He finished the Devils’ seven-game series against the Florida
Panthers with a .922 save percentage, 2.06 goals-against average and a
shutout.
The Flyers know he can’t be overlooked.
“Probably if not the best goalie that's ever played, in my mind, him and
Patrick Roy are right up there,” Danny Briere said. “Everything he's done, all
the records he's broken, it's pretty impressive. At the same time, we're there
to move on. We can't stop with them.”
During his 19-year career, Brodeur was awarded the Vezina Trophy (for the
NHL’s best goaltender) four times, brought home three Stanley Cups and
participated in nine All-Star games. No other goaltender in the history of the
game has more shutouts against the Flyers than Brodeur’s nine.
This season, Brodeur was 1-3 against the Flyers, but his .905 save
percentage and 2.26 goals-against average against them are nothing to
scoff at.
“He's proven time and time again he's a very capable goalie,” Matt Carle
said. “One of the best, arguably the best to ever play. Not something you
want to take lightly.”
Facing the Devils’ legend is particularly notable for Flyers winger James
van Riemsdyk, who grew up following Brodeur’s career as a young hockey
player in central New Jersey. Van Riemsdyk has a younger brother who
used to play on a team with Brodeur’s son, and struck up a relationship with
him because of it.
That said, all friendships temporarily go on hold when players on opposing
teams meet in the playoffs, and that’s exactly how JVR views the series
against the Devils.
“Anytime you get on the ice, no matter who you’re playing against, you kind
of throw all that out the window,” he said. “It’s obviously a cool thing, but at
the same time, you’ve got to do your job, and I’ll be doing my job.”
Van Riemsdyk’s job – and those of his teammates – won’t differ much from
the Flyers’ first-round series against Marc-Andre Fleury and the Pittsburgh
Penguins. The Flyers will still push to get pucks past the Devils’
defensemen, they’ll still try to hit the net from all angles.
They’ll just be facing a netminder who’s capable of stealing games as they
do it.
“We don’t change our plan too much based on the opposition,” Laviolette
said. “Minor tweaks and stuff like that, but it’s not like we’re going to change
our identity of who we are. Pretty much set in stone with the Philadelphia
Flyers.”
Comcast SportsNet.com LOADED: 04.29.2012
628977     Philadelphia Flyers                                                    Bryce Salvador-Marek Zidlicky
                                                                                  Andy Greene-Mark Fayne
JVR gearing up for more ice time vs. Devils                                       Anton Volchenkov-Peter Harold
                                                                                  Marty Brodeur
TIM PANACCIO                                                                      Johan Hedberg (backup)
                                                                                  Comcast SportsNet.com LOADED: 04.29.2012
Nothing is ever set in stone with Flyers coach Peter Laviolette.
Quite often, his starting line to open a game changes the next shift out.
So it’s hard to make much of his line switch-ups in practice Saturday as the
Flyers prepare to face the New Jersey Devils on Sunday in Game 1 of the
Eastern Conference semifinals.
Yet it appears safe to say that James van Riemsdyk, who returned late in
the Pittsburgh series from a broken foot and played sparingly, is gearing up
for more ice time against the Devils with a new line.
Danny Briere lost Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds. They are now
skating with Matt Read with Schenn in the middle.
Briere will start the series between JVR and Jakub Voracek.
Briere’s former line was pretty sharp in the Penguins series with eight goals.
This isn’t about them, however. It’s about getting JVR’s feet moving now
that his healed left foot (fractured) is stronger.
Laviolette needs to utilize JVR’s speed on a unit where puck possession is
pretty much guaranteed.
Recall JVR only played 7:30 in Game 5 and 6:46 in Game 6 against the
Penguins after missing the final 19 games of the regular season. The object
was to work in him gradually. JVR played on a couple different units that
series.
Laviolette went into “Secret Squirrel” mode when asked about his lines for
this series.
“No comments on lines,” he said, adding, “if you want to run with that
[theory on change] you are more than welcome to; just leave me out of it.”
Van Riemsdyk was also reluctant to talk about it.
“We’ll see how it shakes out tomorrow,” he said. “I’ve played with pretty
much everyone in the room here. You know what to expect with playing
with different guys over the year. You do what you do best and hopefully, it
works.
“We have a lot of great players on this team. It’s tough to say you wouldn’t
enjoy playing with anyone, really. Whatever coach decides the lines will be,
we are ready to go.”
Briere seemed a little disappointed to lose his former mates, but he knows
this is about JVR and not them.
“It doesn’t really matter,” Briere said. “I have pretty much played with
everybody all year long. To me, it’s not a big change. I don’t think it has
anything to do with the way Brayden was playing.
“I thought our line, apart from the two games we lost, was very good the
whole series. Or the games we won. We’ll see. There are always changes
in the course of a game. Peter has options there.”
JVR was a very strong player in last year’s playoffs with seven goals in 11
games. The coaching staff would like to see that happen again.
“This is the time of year when its really exciting,” van Riemsdyk said. “I love
playing in these pressure games. It’s an exciting time. I feel better on the
ice. And look forward going from there.”
Devils lineup
Here is New Jersey’s expected lineup. Keep in mind the Devils changed
three of their four lines on Saturday.
Alexei Ponikarovsky-Travis Zajac-Ilya Kovalchuk
Zack Parise-Patrik Elias-Dainius Zubrus
Petr Sykora-Adam Henrique-David Clarkson
Ryan Carter-Stephen Gionta-Steve Bernier
628978     Philadelphia Flyers


Cubs' Dempster visits Flyers at practice


Staff


VOORHEES, N.J. – Don’t tell Patrick Kane or Jonathan Toews, but
Chicago Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster is a Flyers fan.
Dempster, in town for the Cubs’ series against the Phillies, stopped by
Flyers practice Saturday morning at Skate Zone to catch up with his old
friend Danny Briere and watch the team prepare for Game 1 against the
New Jersey Devils.
Chatting with players in the locker room after practice, Dempster was
wearing a Flyers jacket, too.
“Any chance during the season I get to watch a buddy of mine practice, it’s
exciting for me,” Dempster said. “I’m a big hockey fan, great to see these
guys preparing for a big game tomorrow.”
Dempster won’t be pitching against the Phillies this weekend, but he will be
at the Wells Fargo Center on Sunday for the first game of the Flyers’
Eastern Conference semifinals.
“Anytime I can get to a hockey game, it’s awesome to be able to get out
there and watch a game,” he said. “It’s something that I admire, never
having the skill to be able to do it – I kind of skate like Happy Gilmore. It’s
nice to sit there and watch these guys. I have such admiration for what they
can do on the ice.”
A native of British Columbia, Dempster grew up a fan of the Vancouver
Canucks. But like many hockey fans, he had a second-favorite team, too.
And for whatever reason, Dempster said, the Flyers have long been his.
“I was a big Pelle Lindbergh fan,” he said. “I don’t know why I took to
goalies, I just remember watching him and watching the Flyers in the late
‘80s with Hextall and stuff like that. Lots of good memories.”
Comcast SportsNet.com LOADED: 04.29.2012
628979     Philadelphia Flyers


Signs point to Game 1 return for Grossmann


TIM PANACCIO


Nicklas Grossmann worked with usual partner Braydon Coburn at
Saturday’s rather short Flyers practice.
That’s another sign the big Swede will re-enter the lineup for Game 1 of the
Flyers-Devils series on Sunday.
Grossmann has been sidelined with a concussion, missing Games 5 & 6
against Pittsburgh. He admits it has been so long since he last was
concussed. He’s not certain how he is supposed to feel to know he is 100
percent ready to go.
“I don’t know at this point, we’ll see,” he said. “It feels good to be on the ice.
I haven’t talked to the doctors yet. I don’t want to make any conclusions yet.
I feel better every day and try to take it a day at a time.”
Grossmann also admitted he needs some hard, physical contact, as well.
He’s had only light contact in practice.
“Yeah, exactly and it’s tough to say if I am ready today or a week or
whatever,” he said.
Based on the lineup at practice, the defense looks like this:
Kimmo Timonen-Matt Carle
Erik Gustafsson-Andreas Lilja
Grossmann-Coburn
Comcast SportsNet.com LOADED: 04.29.2012
628980     Philadelphia Flyers                                                       “How they get through the neutral zone and how we defend it is definite
                                                                                     strategy and its something that I am not comfortable talking about in front of
                                                                                     the cameras.”
Hartnell, Flyers aware of skilled Devils offense                                     Hartnell says the Flyers shouldn’t change too much, anyway, from what has
                                                                                     made them successful.

TIM PANACCIO                                                                         “You look at teams' tendencies and all that kind of stuff, what they try to do
                                                                                     themselves, but as much as you look at them, the focus is more on us, how
                                                                                     we play, how we start games,” Hartnell said.

Scott Hartnell admits he was taking notes on some of the other playoff               “We gotta focus on what we gotta do. This is the best time of the year. You
series this week while the Flyers were waiting for their second round                look and there's only eight teams left fighting for that Cup and it's us versus
opponent to be decided.                                                              Devils right now. We're not worried about anything else and we've got to go
                                                                                     after them.”
Was there anything he learned about the New Jersey Devils, who visit
Wells Fargo Center on Sunday afternoon in Game 1 of the Eastern                      Not a fan of polls
Conference semifinals?
                                                                                     Bovada in Vegas has the Flyers as a 5/2 favorite to win the Stanley Cup,
“I can't reveal that information ... the secrets that I learned [Thursday] night,”   second only to St. Louis which is a 15/4 favorite to win.
Hartnell smiled. “We know that they have a lot of skill. Their top line can
score, their power play is dangerous ... like every other team that made it to       These betting lines don’t mean much to Flyers coach Peter Laviolette.
this point.                                                                          “None of that stuff really factors for us,” he said. “That’s what you guys go
“They also have one of the best goalies who's ever played the game. We're            and pick. whether you pick us as a favorite or not we really don’t view it.”
going to have our hands full and it's going to be exciting.”                         He said any of the four Atlantic Division clubs – Rangers, Penguins, Flyers
You hear the word “Devils” and you immediately think of Marty Brodeur in             or Devils – are capable of winning the Eastern Conference.
goal and skilled forwards such as Zach Parise, Patrik Elias, and Ilya                “They are all part of the top eight teams in the league,” Laviolette said.
Kovalchuk.                                                                           “New Jersey was two or four points behind the Penguins. I’m not sure how
Parise led all scorers in the six regular season games against the Flyers            that translates into a heavy favorite.
with three goals while Kovalchuk had the most points with eight.                     “They finished one point behind us. I’m not sure how that translates into a a
Yet lesser-known types were just as dangerous on this low-scoring Devils             heavy favorite, either. I don’t think it matters. Two teams are going to go out
squad. Kurtis Foster and Alexei Ponikarovsky each had two goals in the               and play hockey and the team that does best moves on.”
season series.                                                                       And if you are wondering about a Flyers East vs. Flyers West matchup with
Who worries you?                                                                     the LA Kings, it’s a 14/1 longshot.

“Probably Kovalchuk or Parise, I'd say,” Hartnell admitted. “Both of them are        Comcast SportsNet.com LOADED: 04.29.2012
game-changing players. Both of them skate and work hard both ends of the
ice.
“Parise is hungry around that net. He's always fighting for pucks. He's
quick. He does everything well. He's one of the guys we're definitely going
to have to worry about when he's on the ice.”
On the other side of the puck, Flyers centerman Claude Giroux led the team
in goals (four) and points (seven) against the Devils this season. Wayne
Simmonds was second with three goals and five points.
“I didn’t even know that,” Giroux said. “It doesn’t matter who the team is. In
the playoffs, you need to kind of adjust your game and find a way to kind of
beat their defense.
“I think the boys are pretty excited that we’re finally going back to work, and
hopefully we can play the same way.”
Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said he’s not looking to change anything from
the series against the Penguins, other than getting a better start in games,
especially, the series opener given the Flyers will have had a full week off
between series.
The prolonged layoff has given Kimmo Timonen a chance to allow his
bruised foot to heal, plus allowed fellow defenseman Nicklas Grossmann a
full 11 days to recover from a concussion.
Both were back practicing in the latter part of the week with the Flyers.
“I like the fact that we had a couple defensemen that had been out of the
lineup on the ice practicing ... I feel like we could have some depth there,”
Laviolette said.
“Seeing those two guys out practicing ... any time you get guys back and
they practice with you and stay for the full amount of time, those are
positive things.”
Grossmann is expected to start in Game 1.
One thing the Flyers will be aware of is how Kovalchuk likes to hang out in
neutral ice waiting for breakaway passes. He did that repeatedly against the
Flyers this season.
“When it comes to speaking about the opponent and what we need to do I
will probably keep all of that in house,” Laviolette said.
628981     Philadelphia Flyers


Bryzgalov is staying focused


RANDY MILLER


VOORHEES — There were no one-liners, no wise cracks and no quotes at
all coming from Ilya Bryzgalov leading into the Flyers’ second-round playoff
series with the New Jersey Devils.
Asked to do an interview on Friday, Bryzgalov refused. He was low key and
didn’t do any talking on Saturday, either.
Regardless, his teammates figure Bryzgalov is in the right frame of mind for
this Eastern Conference semi-final because he stopped 75 of 76 shots in
three starts and one relief appearance against New Jersey this season.
“It’s always reassuring when your goalie feels good against certain teams,”
said Flyers center Danny Briere. “Matchups are sometimes very key in the
playoffs, depending on how you feel against certain opponents. Knowing
that Bryz has played good all year, that’s a big plus.”
Against the Devils this season, Bryzgalov is 3-0 with 0.29 GAA, .987 save
percentage and two shutouts.
Bryzgalov wasn’t at his best in the first round of the playoffs, allowing 22
goals in five full games and almost half of a sixth, but the Flyers ousted the
Pittsburgh Penguins in a six-game series in which neither team played
much defense. A silver lining is that Bryzgalov was better in his last two
games.
“We have a lot of confidence in Bryz,” Flyers center Claude Giroux said.
“He’s a veteran and knows what he has to do out there. Defensively, we
have to do a better job in front of him, and I think we will.”
• Line changes: The Flyers made changes to two of their four lines for
Saturday’s practice.
Briere, their second-line center, skated with right wing Jakub Voracek and
left wing James van Riemsdyk instead of Brayden Schenn and Wayne
Simmonds. Schenn switched from second-line left wing to third-line center
on a line with Wayne Simmonds playing right wing and Matt Read at left
wing.
• Special visitor: Injured Chicago Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster, in town for a
series with the Phillies, took in Saturday’s practice and spent a few minutes
afterward chatting with Briere, an old friend.
A British Columbia native, Dempster has followed hockey his entire life.
Dempster hopes to head from Citizens Bank Park after Sunday’s game to
Wells Fargo Center.
“It’s something that I admire, never having the skill to be able to do it,"
Dempster sai“d. "I kind of skate like Happy Gilmore.”
• Hot hand: Voracek picked up his offense in the playoffs with two goals and
seven points in six games against Pittsburgh after managing 18 goals and
49 points in 78 regular-season games.
Courier-Post LOADED: 04.29.2012
628982     Philadelphia Flyers                                                     they play Kovalchuk too much for playoff hockey. He averaged almost 26
                                                                                   minutes a game against Florida. You can get away with that in the regular
                                                                                   season where the intensity is not as high, but it's much more difficult to do
How they match up                                                                  that in the playoffs.
                                                                                   INTANGIBLES

Peter Laviolette                                                                   Discipline could be a factor in this series and the Devils are going to have to
                                                                                   use that to their advantage, but the Flyers are going to make it challenging
                                                                                   for them. The Flyers took a lot of penalties this year, but they also drew a lot
                                                                                   of penalties. New Jersey has a couple of flat-footed defensemen that the
Stanley Cup                                                                        Flyers should be able to force into taking hooking and holding penalties if
                                                                                   they use their speed.
Former Flyers winger Keith Jones is an NHL television analyst for the
Flyers, NBC and NBC Sports. A resident of Chamong, Jones broke down                KEITH JONES’ PREDICTION:Flyers in 5
the Flyers-Devils’ second-round playoff series for the Courier-Post.
                                                                                   Courier-Post LOADED: 04.29.2012
FORWARDS
The Flyers have a definite advantage with the depth that they have with all
four lines being able to score and the youth mixed in with guys who have
been clutch in the playoffs in the past ... guys like Claude Giroux and Danny
Briere. The Devils forwards are top heavy with the Ilya Kovalchuk-Travis
Zajac-Zach Parise line. That's a very talented line that the Flyers will have
to key on, but I do think something that they can use to their advantage is
Kovalchuk plays as much as he does. The Devils' fourth-line guys came up
huge against Florida. They really scored more of the Panthers' big goals
than their top guys, and I think that really bodes well for the Flyers.
DEFENSE
It looks like Nick Grossmann is back from a concussion and that changes
everything for the Flyers defense. From a Flyers prospective, you have to
hope he's rearing to go and not limited because he will be a key guy along
with defense partner Braydon Coburn trying to shut down that Kovalchuk
line. Like Grossmann, Coburn is a horse out there. The Devils have Bryce
Salvador, Anton Volchenkov, Andy Greene on their defense ... names that
don't jump off the page. The strength of the Devils' defense is shot-blocking
and clearing the front of the net. Overall, I don't think the Devils are as
strong as the Flyers on the blue line and they're going to have problems
with the Flyers offense.
GOALTENDING
If Ilya Bryzgalov plays for the Flyers like he did in the last two games of the
Pittsburgh series, that will be enough. It is a good thing that Bryzgalov
played well against the Devils this season. I absolutely think that should
help in the confidence department for him. Martin Brodeur has been
consistent for the Devils, but he's about to turn 40 and I don't think he's at
the point in his career now where he's going to steal a series. Brodeur did
show some holes against Florida. He was very good in Game 7 and won
Game 6 in overtime, too, but there's still some reason for concern if you're a
fan of the Devils. His games played were down the last two seasons and I
think that's definitely better than the alternative, but I'm not 100 percent
convinced that translates into playing better than he did a couple seasons
ago when the Flyers beat New Jersey in a first-round playoff series in 5
games.
DEVILS’ POWER PLAY VS. FLYERS’ PENALTY KILL
The Devils' power play in a lot of ways is one dimensional the way it runs
through Kovalchuk, but can be an issue for the Flyers. They have assistant
coach Adam Oates running it, and he's very good at coming up with
schemes or wrinkles in the defensive kill, but I still think the Flyers' PK can
come up big.
FLYERS’ POWER PLAY VS. DEVILS’ PENALTY KILL
The Devils' PK was No. 1 in the league all season, then fell apart against
the Panthers and it's not going to get any easier against the Flyers, who
scored 12 power-play goals against Pittsburgh. Based on the first round,
you would give the Flyers the edge. Based upon the body of work in the
regular season, it would be even. The Devils need to have their regular-
season PK to be successful.
COACHING
Peter Laviolette was a Stanley Cup champion with Carolina and went to the
2010 Finals with the Flyers, and Devils coach Peter DeBoer just won his
first playoff series, so there's a decided edge there based on playoff
success in the past. DeBoer is sharp and will challenge Laviolette to be at
his best. I like DeBoer's fight and his ability to make adjustments. I like that
he went with his fourth line a lot in the Devils' series against the Panthers,
and it proved him to be right. One thing I worry about with the Devils is that
628983     Philadelphia Flyers                                                       Brodeur does play like he’s a mere mortal more than he used to, and the
                                                                                     Flyers will not go into this series feeling the same as they probably would
                                                                                     have if they were facing the New York Rangers, who rode hot goaltending
Age of the goalie                                                                    from Henrik Lundqvist to beat them six times in six tries this season.
                                                                                     “If we just stick to our game and put pucks to the net and create traffic,
                                                                                     everything will fall in place,” Simmonds said. “Brodeur’s like any other good
RANDY MILLER                                                                         goalie in this league. If you take his eyes away, then he can be beat.”
                                                                                     True, but Brodeur has managed to avoid and look around screens in
                                                                                     playing a lot of great hockey against the Flyers over the years, some since
VOORHEES — An old Flyers’ nemesis is getting old.                                    allowing 15 goals in five games during the 2010 playoffs.
His hairline has pushed back and rows of wrinkles bloom across his                   In his only game against the Flyers during his injury-riddled 2010-11
forehead when he speaks.                                                             season, Brodeur shut them out. This season, he had a 2.26 GAA in four
                                                                                     starts, three of them losses largely because the Devils were blanked twice
His belly is a little bigger, his movements a tad slower.
                                                                                     and scored once in the other with Ilya Bryzgalov in goal for the Flyers.
His face probably would have a touch of gray if one of the NHL’s greatest of
                                                                                     For his career, Brodeur is 45-30-9 with 2.47 goals-against average and nine
the greats didn’t buck tradition and grew a playoff beard.
                                                                                     shutouts in 85 career regular-season games against the Flyers.
Martin Brodeur, a North Jersey transplant from the Montreal suburbs, has
                                                                                     “It was always tough to score against him,” said Jagr, who celebrated his
been away from home so long that you have to pay close attention
                                                                                     40th in February. “If somebody stays on the top for such a long time ...
nowadays to hear even a hint of a French-Canadian accent.
                                                                                     that’s what’s great about him because you have to adjust. It’s totally a new
This ole’ goalie who is showing some age turns the big 4-0 next Sunday,              generation of people, different thinking, different game. If you don’t change,
and this momentous birthday will include a night party at Prudential Center          you cannot play.”
with about 17,600 admiring friends.
                                                                                     How much longer Brodeur plays is a question that can’t be answered right
The Flyers will be there, too, for Game 4 of an Eastern Conference                   now. He’s in the final season of a six-year, $31.2 million contract that as
semifinal that begins at 3 p.m., today in their building.                            recently as last fall appeared might be his last.

If the Flyers have their way from now until then, they’ll be party crashers by       Not anymore.
blowing out candles to the Devils’ season. And while they’re at it, they’d be
                                                                                     “I’m having fun,” Brodeur recently told the New York Post. “I feel differently
spoiling a big day for Brodeur, who has had his share of them on the ice
                                                                                     about it now than I did in the summer or the start of the season. It’s not 100
with more goaltending victories and shutouts than anyone, plus three
                                                                                     percent, but I’m definitely leaning toward coming back next year.”
Stanley Cups on his work resume.
                                                                                     The Flyers are OK with Brodeur coming back, but will work like the dickens
“I don’t think it’s the right time to appreciate his greatness,” Flyers right wing
                                                                                     over the next 10 days to two weeks to give him a longer summer vacation.
Jakub Voracek said. “It’s the Stanley Cup playoffs. I respect Brodeur as a
                                                                                     Their motto is one the Phillies once used in the Larry Bowa managing era:
goalie. He’s one of the best, but we’re playing against him.”
                                                                                     Bring it on!
Brodeur and the Flyers have been long-time sparring partners, squaring off
                                                                                     “Brodeur is a great goalie and he’s going to be in the Hall of Fame someday
108 times over the last two decades, 23 of them coming in four previous
                                                                                     ... three Stanley Cups,” Flyers rookie Matt Read said. “But you can score on
playoff series, each team winning twice.
                                                                                     him. You just have to do the right things and go to the right areas and make
“It’s going to be special, that’s for sure,” said Flyers right wing Jaromir Jagr,    sure he doesn’t see the puck.”
like Brodeur a member of the 1990 draft class. “He’s going to turn 40 and
                                                                                     Courier-Post LOADED: 04.29.2012
I’ve already turned 40.”
As a younger man, Brodeur took out the Flyers twice on the way to two of
his Stanley Cups, beating the Flyers in the 1995 Conference Finals in six
games and 2000 Conference Finals in seven.
The Flyers got even in their last two postseason meetings, 2004 and 2010
first-round series that were over in five.
Brodeur wasn’t himself being badly outplayed in the 2010 postseason by
Flyers goalie Brian Boucher, and two years later he appears to be in the
twilight of his great career.
Brodeur’s 2.45 and 2.41 goals-against averages the last two seasons are
higher than his 2.23 career mark, his .903 and .908 save percentages lower
than his .913 lifetime.
He also played just 56 games in 2010-11 and 59 this season after being
above 70 games 11 times in the previous 12 seasons.
Staying healthy has been an issue, too, for Brodeur, who missed games the
last two seasons with elbow, knee, ankle and shoulder injuries.
His age showed in Game 3 of the Devils’ first-round series against the
Florida Panthers, too, when he blew a 3-0 lead, allowing three goals on 12
shots and was pulled for Johan Hedberg, his often-used backup the last two
seasons.
This led to media and fan talk that Brodeur was finished.
He wasn’t. In his next game, he looked like he’d found the fountain of youth
blanking the Panthers for his record-setting 24th career playoff shutout, one
more than Patrick Roy. Brodeur later won Game 6 and Game 7 in overtime,
allowing two goals in each on a combined 61 shots.
“He’s still a good goalie,” Flyers right wing Wayne Simmonds said. “He
makes unbelievable saves at times.”
628984     Philadelphia Flyers                                                    Yeah, Crosby has replaced Stevens as the most disliked player in all of
                                                                                  Philadelphia sports and the Penguins-Flyers rivalry is the best in Philly pro
                                                                                  sports, but the Devils were once, well, the demons here.
Devils still haunt the Flyers                                                     And, demons never seem to go away.
                                                                                  Courier-Post LOADED: 04.29.2012
Kevin Callahan


Before the Penguins rivalry, there were the Devils. Before Sidney Crosby
was the villain, there was Scott Stevens.
This second-round series with New Jersey might not look as juicy on paper
and in the minds of the fans who will flock to the Wells Fargo Center this
afternoon as the opening round against Pittsburgh, but there is a heated
history as thick as John Milton’s Paradise Lost and a bucket of bad blood as
deep as the underworld between the Flyers and the Devils.
After all, the Devils still spook the Flyers with Eastern Conference final wins
over Philly in 1995 and 2000 on the way to winning the Stanley Cup.
Younger Flyers’ fans, of course, won’t remember the Devils employing the
draining and despised defensive zone trap between the blue lines to derail
Eric Lindros in the first two playoff meetings between these New Jersey
Turnpike rivals in ’95 and ’00 .
The young fans who now inhabit Xfinity Live for games might only
remember the Flyers deposing of the Devils in 2004 and 2010 in the
postseason. So, they might feel the Devils are a mere toll collector in the
Eastern Conference semifinals on the road to meeting the Rangers in the
conference finals.
But, remember, these two old rivals split six games during the regular
season. And, this series isn’t as simple as just dropping the puck because
of the devilish past.
Indeed, the Orange and Black old timers who understand just how hot the
rivalry with the Devils was a decade ago certainly are hesitant to anoint the
Flyers a date in the Eastern Conference finals against the Rangers, who
must get by the Capitals anyway.
So, look for this to be a tougher series than Pittsburgh when the Flyers
zoomed to a 3-0 start before finally sweeping aside the pesky Penguins in
Game Six. Yes, this Devils series looks too hauntingly familiar and to go the
distance because of a masked guy from the Flyers’ past.
Devils goalie Martin Brodeur haunted the Flyers during their Cup runs and
could turn back the clock as well as shots one last time.
Brodeur did turn back 43 of 45 shots in Game Seven against Florida in the
first round, so he isn’t done quite yet.
What the Flyers and their fans don’t have to worry about anymore are the
defensemen in front of Brodeur. Not only is Stevens long gone, but so are
Scott Niedermayer and Ken Daneyko. They collectively tormented the
Flyers and Lindros.
But, although the dreaded and feared Stevens, Niedermayer and Daneyko
aren’t there, the memories are still as vivid as the orange on the Flyers’
sweaters and as dark as the black trim.
Back in 1994-95, with Lindros, John LeClair and Mikael Renberg forming
the Legion of Doom, the Flyers won their first division title in eight years.
They beat Buffalo in five games in the first round and swept the defending
Stanley Cup champion Rangers in the conference semifinals. All that stood
in the way to their first Stanley Cup in two decades were the Devils.
New Jersey sent the favored Flyers packing in six games en route to
winning their first Cup.
Then, in 2000, the Flyers were up 3-1 in the conference finals against New
Jersey, Lindros returned to the ice for the first time in over month from
another concussion for Game Six. The Devils forced a deciding game and
Lindros was knocked out by Stevens in Game Seven on a heinous hit at
center ice in front of a stunned crowd in Philadelphia.
The 2-1 loss was just the second time the Flyers lost a playoff series up 3-1
in games while the Devils went on to win their second Stanley Cup. Lindros
never played another game with the Flyers. Stevens held the title of Public
Enemy No. 1.
628985     Phoenix Coyotes                                                        Without the team, a Glendale-commissioned analysis estimates the city
                                                                                  could lose millions if the team leaves and the city is stuck paying off $262
                                                                                  million in arena debt, including principal and interest.
Glendale edges toward Phoenix Coyotes deal                                        At a council workshop last week, Deputy City Manager Jim Colson said a
                                                                                  city-commissioned analysis by TL Hocking & Associates projected Glendale
                                                                                  could expect to bring in an average of $15.7 million annually over a 20-year
By Lisa Halverstadt                                                               lease with Jamison and $6.5 million without the Coyotes.
                                                                                  Hocking's projections have been far more dire in the past.

As the Phoenix Coyotes shed past struggles and skated into the second             A 2009 study the consultant completed for Glendale assumed all city sales-
round of the playoffs, a first since the team moved to Arizona, a Glendale        tax hauls at Westgate and fees from the arena would halt if the team left,
City Council majority informally agreed to its own new reality.                   adding up to a $500 million loss for Glendale over 30 years.

Glendale's chief negotiator told the council last week that any deal with a       Arizona Republic LOADED: 04.29.2012
new Coyotes owner will require millions of taxpayer dollars each year.
Keeping the team in Glendale means shouldering the cost of managing
Jobing.com Arena, where the team plays, City Manager Ed Beasley said.
This comes at a time when the city has seen its reserves depleted and
faces a $35 million shortfall in next year's operating budget.
As fans celebrated the Coyotes' most successful season in Arizona, four of
seven Glendale council members directed staff to move forward with a deal
that could include the city paying a future Coyotes owner $17 million next
year to manage the city-owned arena.
Any negotiated deal would have to return to the council for a formal vote.
Beasley previously said he expected such a deal by the end of the month.
The team's on-ice success and former San Jose Sharks President Greg
Jamison's bid to buy the team have buoyed hopes that a deal to keep the
team will finally get done.
City staff say Jamison's reported 20-year deal would be crucial for
Glendale, which counts on hockey visitors to generate sales-tax revenue
that helps pay its arena debt.
It's not the deal the city originally envisioned.
The initial deal had Glendale borrowing $180 million to open the arena near
Loop 101 and Glendale Avenue in 2003.
Former Coyotes owner Jerry Moyes paid to run the team and the city-
owned arena. Several years in, Moyes told Glendale it wasn't working. He
asked city officials for at least $12.5 million in annual assistance, according
to court filings, but Glendale never agreed. Beasley repeatedly said
concessions were not up for negotiation.
Moyes' eventual response was to file the team into bankruptcy in May 2009.
Glendale and the National Hockey League have sought a new owner ever
since.
When the NHL bought the team at the bankruptcy auction in late 2009, it
asked Glendale for $25 million to help pay the costs of running the team
and arena.
That's now the established fee potential buyers believe it will take to
operate the team, Beasley told the council at Monday's budget workshop.
The arena management fee is now "the price of the team" for Glendale,
Beasley said.
Beasley has said Jamison has agreed on a $17 million arena management
fee for next year.
City budget proposals show the city would expect to pay Jamison $20
million annually until the 2017 fiscal year, when the bill would drop to $15
million.
Mayor Elaine Scruggs said that's a cost she now sees as a subsidy to cover
team losses.
"We signed up for a totally different arrangement," Scruggs said.
Councilwoman Joyce Clark disagreed.
"It is obvious that the only model that will work is some sort of management
fee paid by the city," Clark said.
Clark and council members Yvonne Knaack, Steve Frate and Manny
Martinez agreed it was the best option for Glendale. The city will be forced
to pay its debt whether the team stays or goes.
628986     Phoenix Coyotes


Phoenix Coyotes' Mike Smith survives Nashville Predators' onslaught in
Game 1


By Sarah McLellan –


It wasn't until after goalie Mike Smith left the ice and removed his gear that
he understood just how much pressure he survived to lead the Coyotes to a
4-3 overtime win in Game 1.
"In the third I didn't even realize we were getting outplayed that badly,"
Smith said. "I just stayed in the moment and worried about the next shot.
After the game was over, I think my wife told me we only had one shot in
the third. I didn't really know that, but I was just worried about what I had to
do and not worried about anything else."
The Coyotes had one shot in the third compared to 16 for the Predators, but
the onslaught of chances became tougher to stop in the overtime when
Smith lost his stick for a brief time after it was knocked away by
defenseman Francis Bouillon.
"I'd just rather the defense keep their stick," Smith said. "That way the puck
can get out of our end. I practice that with (goalie coach Sean Burke) just
without a stick. It doesn't happen very often but when it does, you have to
be comfortable when you're put in that situation."
All that tense action forced Smith to bend his head on an ensuing faceoff in
the Predators' zone and when he looked up, the game was over.
"I actually just put my head down for a second to take a deep breath," Smith
said. "I look up, and the Wizard (Ray Whitney) is celebrating in the corner. I
think my heartbeat went from 150 to 200 in a matter of seconds, but it's
obviously exciting to win in overtime."
Review time
Always seeking ways to improve, coach Dave Tippett pinpointed the subtle
areas of the game as where the Coyotes underperformed in Game 1.
Winning puck battles and finishing clearing attempts is what Tippett's
system needs to have success.
"It's first play out of your own zone, or a play on the wall that gets your
attack going -- a lot of plays like that," Tippett said. "Probably the last thing I
was thinking about was a goal. Execution to make the game efficient, and in
the third period our game was the farthest thing from efficient. We were
chasing and when you do that, you just defend too much."
More power needed
After the Coyotes' power play converted on its first chance against the
Predators, it appeared the unit had been revitalized in time to have an
impact on a series that could be dictated by special teams.
But the Coyotes couldn't relay that execution to their next two chances,
finishing 1-for-3.
"You gotta keep pounding away at it," Tippett said. "Not every power play is
going to be successful. But the one thing you want to do is make sure
you're executing and doing things right that if you don't score, at least you
got some momentum off of it."
Movement helped the Coyotes on winger Radim Vrbata's goal. That forced
the box of Nashville defenders to react, opening up passing and shooting
lanes.
"They play aggressive, too, so you have to be on-point with your pass and
get moving around and getting their guys to get out of position,"
defenseman Keith Yandle said. "We just gotta do a better job of being
sound with the puck."
Arizona Republic LOADED: 04.29.2012
628987       Phoenix Coyotes                                                     These type of numbers are only divisible by one and itself, which is the
                                                                                 case for 11 (Hanzal), 13 (Whitney) and 17 (Vrbata).
                                                                                 Arizona Republic LOADED: 04.29.2012
Phoenix Coyotes need 'Prime Line' to continue to deliver vs. Nashville
Predators


By Sarah McLellan


Out of all the constants that have emerged for the Coyotes during the
playoffs, including overtime thrillers and third-period collapses, none have
been more appreciated by the Coyotes than the play of goalie Mike Smith.
His handiwork not only constructed a first-round win, but he was clutch in
Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals with 24 stops in the third
period and overtime in helping the Coyotes to a 4-3 win over the Nashville
Predators.
This isn't a new trend -- this is the Smith standard.
"A hot goalie plays one good game, two good games," coach Dave Tippett
said. "I think you've seen more than that from Mike."
But to remain competitive against the Predators and have a chance to
snatch a 2-0 series lead in the best-of-seven set Sunday in Game 2, the
Coyotes will need more than stellar goaltending from Smith.
They need timely offense, and who better to deliver that than the Prime Line
of Ray Whitney, Martin Hanzal and Radim Vrbata.
"It's good to have support back there like that because if we make some
mistakes, he will take care of it," Vrbata said. "But again, you don't win too
many rounds or too many games like that. You have to be better up front."
The top trio for the Coyotes combined for two goals in Game 1 of the
Western Conference semifinals, and that type of production needs to
become another one of those constants for the team to survive the depth of
the Predators.
"I think that every game," Vrbata said. "It doesn't matter but during the
playoffs, you talk about injuries, you talk about what's going on with the
team and all you want to do is help the team in every way you can. We won
the first round, so nobody's looking at who scored the goals, who's playing
what. But of course, you're counted on to score some goals. Hopefully it
was a good start."
Not only was it just the second game the line played together in the
postseason, but it also appeared the health of Hanzal and Vrbata has
improved after both were injured in Round 1.
"Those couple days off helped everybody, and everybody got better health-
wise," Vrbata said.
The line was able to strike on the power play when Vrbata found an open
shot while Hanzal screened Predators goalie Pekka Rinne. On the winner in
overtime, Whitney scored after a faceoff win by Hanzal that moved the puck
to the front of the net.
"It's just the chemistry between me, Vrby and Whits," Hanzal said. "We've
been playing pretty much three years together almost. They have great
skill; they're smart players. I like to make room for them."
Hanzal's efficiency with those gritty responsibilities -- setting screens,
winning puck battles along the walls, drawing defenders in with his size -- is
what allows Vrbata and Whitney the time and space to operate.
When Hanzal was out of the lineup in the first-round, Vrbata and Whitney
had a combined three points. In Game 1 against the Predators, the Prime
Line registered four.
"If you go on track record or what we expect of them, the offense and points
they created during the season, that's a big factor for us," Tippett said. "To
see them contribute and come up with a couple big goals for us, that's
moving in the right direction."
Prime time
The Coyotes' first line, which features wingers Ray Whitney and Radim
Vrbata and center Martin Hanzal, earned the nickname of the Prime Line
because the jersey numbers of all three players are prime numbers.
628988     Phoenix Coyotes                                                      That was after Troy Aikman predicted a bleak future for the sport:
                                                                                "I believe, and this is my opinion, that at some point football is not going to
                                                                                be the Number1 sport," Aikman told the Los Angeles Times. "You talk about
Thrill of violence a growing problem for NFL, NHL                               the ebbs and flows of what's popular and what's not. At some point, the TV
                                                                                ratings are not going to be there."

By Dan Bickley,                                                                 What do they see that rabid fans do not? A day when kickoffs are
                                                                                completely abolished, as Patriots coach Bill Belichick and Giants co-owner
                                                                                John Mara have both forewarned? A league where quarterbacks can't be
                                                                                touched? A league that becomes so concussion-proofed that it loses its
Lawyers love the NFL. Plaintiffs are coming out of the woodwork. And of all     appeal?
the former players suing the league for negligence, Kurt Warner has an
interesting case.                                                               Do they fear congressional interference, governments that may one day
                                                                                deem the sport unsafe at any speed? Or is it a cultural awakening, a new
The former Cardinals quarterback was one of a few players explicitly            generation of parents that fear the consequences and steer their children
targeted in the Saints' bounty program, where knocking opponents out of a       away from the most dangerous games?
game was cause for celebration and financial reward, where a former New
Orleans coach implored his defensemen to "kill the head."                       It seems absurd at a time when football rules, when NHL playoffs sizzle,
                                                                                when violence sells like never before. But it's also how America began to
Kill the head. Imagine the impact of those words inside a courtroom, in the     shake its dependency on tobacco. We're smarter now. We know the
midst of a concussion epidemic.                                                 damage involved.
"I would never do the lawsuit thing," Warner said. "Unless I knew someone       Would we ever say the same thing about one of our major sports?
took a cheap shot at me for that sole purpose, and I don't believe that
happened."                                                                      Arizona Republic LOADED: 04.29.2012

As a devout Christian, Warner believes in forgiveness. He believes in
football, so much that he's a principal investor in the Elite Football League
of India, banking that his sport "can lift the entire culture of a country."
But in America, the game is changing. Concussion epidemics in the NFL
and the NHL have put both leagues on legal alert. In the first round of the
playoffs, the Coyotes' Raffi Torres was suspended 25 games for sending a
player to the hospital with a head injury, an absurdly long penalty by
anyone's standards.
By contrast, the NBA was forced to discipline Metta World Peace -- the loon
formerly known as Ron Artest -- for concussing James Harden with an
elbow to the head. Just like Torres, the villain was a repeat offender with a
bad reputation, once instigating one of the worst nights in NBA history. And
yet World Peace received only a seven-game suspension, a penalty
Commissioner David Stern described as "severe."
So what gives?
"I think it was time for someone to step up and put the clamps down," said
Flyers star Danny Briere, a former member of the Coyotes. "This guy
(Torres) has been dangerous. And for the safety of other players around the
league, it's not good to see.
"In talking with the players around the team and around the league, I think
everybody is pretty much on the same page. It felt like it was time for
someone to do that, to come down with a big suspension on this guy."
Just like the NFL, which has gone to extreme measures to protect its
players and project an image of dire concern, the NHL is trying to send a
similar message to the public: We don't condone all the violence we sell.
In other words, Torres hit the wrong guy at the wrong time.
When it comes to legal repercussions, hockey might be spared some of the
headaches afflicting the NFL. The majority of NHL players carry a deep
reverence for the game and its traditions, respecting the sport too much to
ever sue the sport.
Still, this is a workplace that allows bare-knuckle fighting. A sport where
three enforcers died in the summer of 2011, and many live barbaric,
tortured lives. How long before early on-set dementia and civil lawsuits
becomes part of the hockey parlance?
In both leagues, the popularity of violence presents a dilemma. Football has
been America's favorite sport for 46 years running, and the game has never
been more popular. Some 159 million people watched the Super Bowl.
Another 25 million watched the first round of the 2012 NFL draft,
representing an 18 percent increase for a non-event where half the players
selected won't ever see the field.
The numbers are staggering.
Yet Diamondbacks managing general partner Ken Kendrick recently said
he'd prefer to own a baseball team, saying "the NFL is going to face
incredible challenges with the violence in their game, and the health
hazards it has created for players."
628989     St Louis Blues                                                           At 9:16 into the period, Backes beat Quick with Perron and Pietrangelo
                                                                                    assisting for a 1-0 advantage. The Blues were 3-0 in the playoffs when they
                                                                                    scored first, but that trend would be in question after the Kings tied the
Blues fall in Game 1 and lose Pietrangelo                                           score 1-1 late in the first period on a goal by defenseman Slava Voynov.
                                                                                    The Blues' Barret Jackman was stripped of the puck in the corner by
                                                                                    Penner, who fed the puck through the slot to Voynov. With McDonald
By JEREMY RUTHERFORD                                                                stretched out to break up the shot, Voynov beat Elliott with 3:02 left in the
                                                                                    first period.
                                                                                    St Louis Post Dispatch LOADED: 04.29.2012
After a raucous start, with the Blues showing no signs of a six-day layoff,
the fact that they were still in striking distance late in regulation didn't seem
plausible.
The Blues surrendered a short-handed goal to Los Angeles late in the
second period, learned that they had lost their best defenseman to a
possible head injury as they started the third period and then took three
consecutive penalties before 10½ minutes elapsed in the final frame.
Although the club had life, coming within a whisker of tying the score in the
closing minutes, the Kings' 3-1 victory seemed destined following a stretch
of Blues' miscues that sent the team to a Game 1 loss Saturday at
Scottrade Center.
Dustin Penner scored an empty-netter in the waning seconds, helping LA
improve to 4-0 on the road in the postseason. The Kings will hold a 1-0 lead
in the best-of-seven series when it resumes Monday at Scottrade Center.
The Blues, who picked up their lone goal of the game from David Backes,
were 0 for three on the power play and are 0-17 with the man-advantage
against the Kings this season. The shots Saturday were even at 29-29.
The Blues will lament their mistakes, but fans continue to stoke over the
referee's decision to call a minor penalty — instead of a five-minute major
— on Los Angeles' Dwight King after his hit on Alex Pietrangelo in the
second period.
The penalty put the Blues on the power play, but the Kings took a 2-1 lead
with its third shorthanded goal of the postseason.
King, the brother of former Blue D.J. King, pushed Pietrangelo into the
boards behind the Blues' net. Pietrangelo went head-first into the boards
and lay on the ice momentarily. He rose to his feet and skated off under his
own power. The defenseman returned to the game briefly on the power
play, but then ushered himself to the locker room before the end of the
period.
The Blues were six for 18 on the power play in their first-round win over San
Jose, but they entered the game Saturday night without much success
against Los Angeles this season. The club was 0 for 14 in the regular
season against the Kings and that trend continued in Game 1 of the
playoffs.
But with a 1-1 score, the Blues had their third power play of the game.
Backes won a face-off in the offensive zone, but Dustin Brown, who had
two shorthanded goals in the Kings' first-round win over Vancouver,
pounced on the puck and began a breakaway.
Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk attempted to flag down Brown, who
got off a shot that was stopped by Brian Elliot with his right leg. Elliott
appeared unaware of where the puck lay, and in that split second, Los
Angeles defenseman Matt Greene knocked in a rebound for the Kings' first
lead with 1:03 left in the second period.
After an even first period, after which the score was 1-1, the Blues were off-
kilter for most of the second period. They gave up two odd-man rushes
midway through the frame, and after outshooting the Kings 6-0 early in the
game, the club fell behind 17-16 in that department.
Blues fourth-line center Scott Nichol had a wide-open look at the net with
3½ minutes left in the second period, but shot high. Less than a minute
later, the offense had a two-on-one break involving Jamie Langenbrunner
and B.J. Crombeen, but the play was broken up by Greene.
The 2-1 deficit after the second period was made more difficult to digest
after Pietrangelo didn't return for the start of the third period. The club
announced that he was "being evaluated and questionable to return."
The turn of events came after the Blues showed no rust, playing a strong
first period against Los Angeles, which received immediate help from
goaltender Jonathan Quick. The Blues outshot the Kings 6-0 in the early
going, but Quick turned away a shot by Andy McDonald on the doorstep
with his right leg.
628990     St Louis Blues


Timely goal for Kings' Greene


By TOM TIMMERMANN •


It was no surprise late in the second period to see Dustin Brown of the
Kings charging down the ice with the puck on a Blues' power play. The
Kings were one of the best teams in the league this season when down a
man, scoring nine short-handed goals, and in the first round of the playoffs,
they had two goals, both by Brown, against the Canucks.
The big surprise, however, was what happened after Blues goalie Brian
Elliott stopped Brown's shot. There was defenseman Matt Greene, who had
four goals this season, 11 in his seven-year NHL career, to chip in the
rebound. That goal put the Kings up 2-1 and changed everything as Los
Angeles went on to win 3-1 and take Game 1 of their Western Conference
semifinal Saturday.
"I've seen him score goals, but I haven't seen him jump up on a PK though,"
Brown said. "That was the surprising part for me. It's a huge goal, and
obviously he made the right read. It's hard to find him jumping up five on
five, to have him jump up and get a timely goal shorthanded is huge for us."
"It's awesome to see Matt go 200 feet to the blue paint and score," said
Kings coach Darryl Sutter, chuckling at the improbability of it. "I was
surprised to see him that far up. Where he scored from, just a short
rebound goal, right? Good for him."
The Kings' penalty kill, which ranked fourth in the regular season, hasn't
allowed the Blues a power-play goal in 17 attempts this season, and
Saturday the short-handed goal took that one step further. The Blues
struggled to get shots when they had a man advantage, and if that doesn't
change it could be a short series.
"When you don't allow the opposing team to get confidence off the power
play," forward Dustin Penner said, "if I'm the other team, that's deflating."
On the other side, getting a goal from someone like Greene is also big.
"That's what the playoffs are about," Penner said. "Timely goals and guys
who usually don't score who are stepping up. We watched the play unfold
from the bench and saw Greener coming up from behind. ... He saw an
opportunity. That's a risky play but it paid off."
The goal came with 1:03 to play in the second period, just after Dwight King
had gotten 2 minutes for slamming Alex Pietrangelo into the boards. Off a
face-off in the Kings' end, Brown took the puck and raced up ice, with Kevin
Shattenkirk in pursuit. Brown held him off long enough to get off a shot that
Elliott blocked, but Elliott slid into his net after making the save. Brown and
Shattenkirk went behind the boards and the next person to get to the puck
was Greene, who chipped it in before Elliott could recover.
"I just kind of got lucky on the play, following it up," Greene said. "I took a
chance at it, nothing that's drawn up. Brownie had a jump on his guy and I
was maybe looking for a drop pass. Maybe be more of a decoy. The puck
was sitting there and I just tried to chip it."
The Kings have had only one other short-handed goal by a defenseman in
franchise history, by Rob Blake in 1993.
"Other than our goaltending, our PK has probably been the strongest area
of our game all year," Brown said. "We're really comfortable in the way we
PK and it helps when you have pairs that PK together. (Anze Kopitar) and I
have been together for four or five years now; that goes a long way in
reading the play and adjusting off each other pretty seamlessly. ... Right
now, sometimes you find teams relaxing a bit on the power play and that's
where you can jump on them."
"We're just trying to play good defense and hopefully that leads to some
chances," Greene said. "I think if we're playing our system the right way we
get some chances. We've been lucky to capitalize so far in the playoffs, but
you've got to protect first before you can start thinking about that."
St Louis Post Dispatch LOADED: 04.29.2012
628991      St Louis Blues                                                       "I thought it was a two-minute penalty," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said.
                                                                                 Of course he did.
Kings serve notice they're a royal pain                                          Referees Stephon Walkom and Eric Furlatt were negligent in their duties.
                                                                                 So much for all of the NHL's meaningless gunk about protecting players.
                                                                                 Kay Whitmore, an on-site NHL supervisor, said the refs didn't think King
Bernie Miklasz                                                                   drove Pietrangelo into the boards. He also said the refs didn't see the blood
                                                                                 on Pietrangelo's face.

The Blues and the Kings began their Western Conference semifinal series          Apparently they can't see ... anything.
under ominous circumstances. There was a minor earthquake in Los                 I don't know if these buffoons should be forced to undergo an eye exam or
Angeles on Saturday morning, and a dangerous and damaging late-                  ordered to submit to a polygraph test.
afternoon storm gusted through downtown St. Louis, blasting the city.
                                                                                 After Pietrangelo picked himself up, Walkom went over to near the Blues
Tornado sirens went off, and nervous fans called loved ones at home to           bench to inspect the victim. This usually means the ref is trying to determine
check on their safety and get reports on the threatening weather. The            if a more serious penalty is warranted; if so, he can modify the initial two-
horrifying, menacing wind caused injuries and at least one death by              minute call and tack on more minutes.
slamming into a tent outside Kilroy's, a sports bar near Busch Stadium.
                                                                                 Though Pietrangelo was bleeding from a gash in his chin, Walkom skated
Earthquakes, tornado warnings, hail, squalls, driving rain and destruction. It   away and kept the two-minute penalty on the board. At this point the theme
was an atrocious way to begin this series pitting the Blues against the LA       from "Looney Tunes" cartoons should have been cranked up in the arena.
Kings. With all of the turmoil swirling near Scottrade Center, the hockey
game just didn't seem all that important.                                        King's irresponsible hit should result in an automatic suspension. This will
                                                                                 be the latest credibility check for Brendan Shanahan, the NHL's hopelessly
The competition is obviously and understandably vital to two hungry and          overwhelmed director of player safety.
fast-rising contenders, so the game went on. And a sellout crowd put the
worries aside to watch the first act of what should be a dramatic series.        Shanahan's job title may be the biggest oxymoron in pro sports, so the
                                                                                 Blues shouldn't count on additional punishment. And even if the NHL
The visitors from LA immediately made it known: their easy first-round           shocks St. Louis by suspending King, would it really matter? Not if the
elimination of No. 1 seed Vancouver was no fluke. The Kings are an               Blues have lost Pietrangelo for an extended stretch of time.
excellent team right now, buzzing with high-voltage energy and purpose.
                                                                                 The 6-3, 227-pound King, the brother of former Blues goon D.J. King, has
Unwavering after the Blues took an early 1-0 lead, the Kings quickly             no points in 72 minutes of ice time this postseason. Guys like King are
asserted themselves to seize a 3-1 victory that turned down the noise at         unskilled labor. You can find a Dwight King in any minor-league rink.
Scottrade.                                                                       Pietrangelo is an elite talent, an impact player. To the Blues, he's valuable
The Blues lost their edge and aggressiveness after a fast start. They were       and irreplaceable.
flat over the final two periods.                                                 So this little episode worked out rather swell for the Kings, eh?
"We kind of took a rest, and they stayed going," Blues captain David             Here's the harsh truth: King performed an extremely valuable service for his
Backes said. "The result is that we're digging out of another hole."             team by taking Pietrangelo out. In a league that's woefully short on brains
The Blues have been in this ditch before, losing Game 1 of the San Jose          and integrity, King will likely get away it.
series at home before sweeping the next four and winning in five games.          I would understand it if the Kings giggled during the post-game bus ride
But the Kings can match the Blues' youthful vigor and rigid defense.             back to the hotel. I have no idea if this was a planned hit, or a spontaneous
Los Angeles also employs the hottest goalie in North America, Jonathan           action. But either way, it was cunning.
Quick. Johnny B. Goode has been so terrific, the Kings might as well board       "He's probably our best player," Backes said of Pietrangelo. "And to see
up the front of the goal.                                                        him go out, and them get a two-minute penalty — that's a pretty good trade
This second-round series will be an enormous challenge for the Blues. After      when their third line (player) gets a two-minute penalty and our best player
losing a frustrating and often infuriating Game 1, the Blues have even more      is out for the rest of the game. It's unfortunate."
work to do. All they can do is regroup for Game 2 on Monday night at             LA opened the wound wider by scoring that shorthanded goal for a 2-1 lead
Scottrade.                                                                       with 63 seconds remaining in the second period. That pretty much sucked
"When you play Los Angeles, there's a price to pay to win," Blues coach          the air out of the arena. The Blues couldn't solve Quick in the third period,
Ken Hitchcock said. "There's a high price. If we expect to win the next          and the Kings added a late empty-netter to send the fans grumbling on the
game, we're going to have to pay a bigger price than the one we paid."           way to the parking garages.

The most disturbing aspect to this loss was an apparent head injury to           Quick stopped 28 of the Blues' 29 shots, making several stupendous saves.
Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, the young hockey prince of this city.         The Blues had multiple chances to expand on the 1-0 lead delivered on a
His all-purpose talent is the electric current that sparks the Blues at even     Backes deflection of Pietrangelo's shot from the right point, but Quick
strength, on the power play, and on the penalty kill. If the Blues have to       erected a one-man blockade.
overcome this deficit to overcome LA without No. 27, they're in jeopardy.        The anger over incompetent officiating and the hit job on Pietrangelo aside,
The way Pietrangelo went down and out was disgraceful. In a blatantly dirty      the Blues have themselves to blame for the Game 1 defeat. On the rare
and reckless hit, Pietrangelo was plowed from behind by the Kings' Dwight        occasions that Quick was down or slightly out of position, the Blues misfired
King. The gutless cheap shot drove the defenseless Pietrangelo, face first,      and couldn't finish chances.
into the end boards.                                                             A dreadful turnover by Blues defenseman Barret Jackman set up the Kings'
A bleeding and shaken Pietrangelo briefly participated in the ensuing power      first goal. The Blues were slow to react on the shorthanded goal. The Blues'
play, and was on the ice when the Blues gave up a shorthanded goal. But          power play was sloppy, and they took undisciplined penalties in the third
he soon disappeared into the runway and into the Blues' locker room late in      period. It was messy.
the second period. He didn't return, and his status for Game 2 is uncertain.     In a series where the goals will be as valuable as gold bullion, the Blues
The penalty on King? If you assumed he received a major penalty, a four-         can't afford to make foolish mistakes.
minute penalty, or a game misconduct, then you haven't followed the              They can't afford to lose Alex Pietrangelo, either.
hideously mismanaged NHL. This league is so devoid of leadership, the
only thing surprising is not seeing more players get maimed on the ice.          No one said this series would be easy, but losing the game and prince
                                                                                 Pietrangelo was an a tough, troubling start. Suddenly there's a darkness on
King received two minutes for boarding.                                          the edge of town, and it has nothing to do with the weather.
That's all, folks.
Read more: http://www.stltoday.com/sports/columns/bernie-miklasz/kings-
serve-notice-they-re-a-royal-pain/article_c330b7eb-3e2e-5e2f-9968-
391d48504d58.html#ixzz1tQ7zMBGW
St Louis Post Dispatch LOADED: 04.29.2012
628992      St Louis Blues                                                             "I thought it was two-minute penalty," Sutter said.
                                                                                       Blues coach Ken Hitchcock did not render an opinion. "They said it was a
                                                                                       two-minute penalty; that's what they said," Hitchcock said. Pressed to
Pietrangelo injury tough blow for Blues                                                expand, he added, "We'll let the league decide. We're more concerned
                                                                                       about the player right now."

By DAN O'NEILL •                                                                       The NHL office in Toronto is sure to be review the incident, as it does every
                                                                                       questionable play. Whether there were will be further penalties involved for
                                                                                       King remains to be seen. But it is clear how important Pietrangelo is for the
                                                                                       Blues.
The Blues lost the opening game of their Western Conference semifinal
series to the Los Angles Kings at Scottrade Center on Saturday. That in                He was third on the team in scoring during the season, with 12 goals and
and of itself is troubling for a team that was 30-6-5 at home during the               39 assists. He had three assists and was a plus-3 in the San Jose series.
regular schedule.                                                                      He also leads the team in minutes-played, while holding down lead roles on
                                                                                       the power-play and penalty-kill units. True, the Blues have been down 0-1
Then again, the Blues lost at home in Game 1 of their opening round playoff            in a series before this postseason. They have not been down 0-1 without
with the San Jose Sharks, a series they went on to win in five games. So               Pietrangelo.
there is light in the tunnel, a grain of salt to go with the bitter of a 3-1 defeat.
                                                                                       "If he's not in then somebody else gets to jump in, and that's just the way it
The loss of defenseman Alex Pietrangelo would be much more                             is in the playoffs," Hitchcock said. "It's not a six-month season, it's a six-
disconcerting.                                                                         week season. Somebody will have to step up and elevate their game, that's
                                                                                       what people do.
Pietrangelo was sent face first into the boards behind the Blues' net from a
push by Kings forward Dwight King late in the second period. In the                    "But I've got bigger issues than replacing Petro. We need much better play
immediate picture, the play proved crucial in the backfiring fortunes of the           from our top players, much more committed play from our top players, if we
game. King was given a two-minute boarding penalty with 1:13 remaining in              expect to move on."
the period and the teams knotted 1-1.
                                                                                       St Louis Post Dispatch LOADED: 04.29.2012
"I didn't try to put a lot of force into it, obviously," King said. "We were both
going for the puck, it was coming slow. I tried to position myself a little on
the inside of him and when I did that I leaned on him, and I guess he was
off balance and fell in.''
The Blues went on a power play, starting with a face-off in the Los Angeles
end. Kings forward Dustin Brown beat everyone to the puck and outraced
Kevin Shattenkirk down ice to move in on Brian Elliott. The Blues' netminder
made a sprawling save on Brown, but Kings defenseman Matt Greene also
out-sprinted the competition. He lifted the rebound over the prostrate Elliott
and muffled the crowd with a spirit-shattering short-handed goal.
Los Angeles took a 2-1 lead to the dressing room and never was
apprehended. It was the team's third short-handed goal this postseason,
which includes two in a series win over the Vancouver Canucks.
After King's hit, Pietrangelo stayed down briefly. He subsequently skated to
the bench, bleeding from a cut on the face. He then returned to the ice for
the ensuing, self-destructing power play. But the 22-year-old Blues
quarterback went to the "quiet room" during the intermission and did not
return.
Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said Pietrangelo would be further evaluated
overnight and his status would be updated today. Forward Andy McDonald,
who missed more than half the regular season with a concussion, didn't like
the look of things.
"He was in a dangerous area there, obviously," said McDonald, who also
took a shot to the head during the game — without a penalty called. "You're
four feet from the boards and you get pushed from behind, that's a scary
hit.
"I don't know... You don't want to see that type of hit. Hopefully, he's OK.
We'll have to wait and see."
Injuries to key personnel is familiar territory for the Blues. They began the
season without talented winger David Perron, who missed the initial 25
games due to lingering concussion symptoms. They lost McDonald for 51
games and lost Alex Steen for 39 games, both to concussion related
issues.
In the second game of the opening-round series with the Sharks, the team
lost starting goaltender Jaroslav Halak to an ankle injury. Halak remains out
for the first two games of the series with the Kings and his availability down
the road is uncertain. An additional loss of Pietrangelo would be substantial.
"Hopefully, he's back Monday, but if he's not, we've dealt with injuries all
year and someone's going to have to fill that void," said David Backes, who
got the Blues' only goal. "It's a big void and the responsibility will probably
have to be shared. But that's part of the game, injuries happen and we'll
have to fight through."
The sellout crowd at Scottrade reacted angrily to the minor penalty call,
suggesting they felt a more serious infraction was forthcoming. For his part,
Kings coach Darryl Sutter thought it was the proper call.
628993     St Louis Blues                                                           "We go into the game knowing that we have to play four (lines). Even if
                                                                                    we’re down a goal, we have to play four lines as deep as we can because
                                                                                    that’s the only way this thing works. We can’t go down to three (lines) early
Blues notebook: Backes looks for balance                                            in a hockey game and expect to win. We need the energy to keep rolling."
                                                                                    St Louis Post Dispatch LOADED: 04.29.2012

By JEREMY RUTHERFORD •


From a defensive standpoint, Blues captain David Backes had a credible
first round of the playoffs. Though he was a minus-3 in the five-game series
against San Jose, Backes was mostly responsible for holding the Sharks'
offense in check.
But facing a new opponent in the Western Conference semifinals, Backes,
a Selke Trophy finalist, was looking to be a more balanced contributor
against Los Angeles Saturday. He had just one point, a goal, in the five-
game series against the Sharks. In Game 1 Saturday, Backes matched that
output with the Blues' lone goal in a 3-1 loss to the Kings.
"I'm hoping to get back to that," said Backes, who led the Blues with 24
goals and tied for the team lead with 54 points in the regular season. "I was
on my heels a little bit too much in that first series. We're not really caring
about personal stats, but we're caring about what the team success is. We
got the job done in the first round without a ton of offensive contribution
from our line. That being said, we're going to need to step up and help the
team in both defensive and offensive ways here in the second round."
Blues coach Ken Hitchcock believes the power forward can be more
assertive offensively while continuing to be a reliable defender.
"The first thing he has to do is trust his linemates a little more and,
secondly, he's got to play more reckless ... he played safe," Hitchcock said.
"Playing against (San Jose's Joe Thornton) is no day at the beach. He was
a terrific player in our series, so David had his hands full.
"But the thing is, with as much as David plays on the power play and
penalty kill, sometimes five-on-five is a rest, and we want to get him past
that, where he's really contributing more five-on-five. We just want him to
trust his linemates and not have to be the safety net that he thinks he has to
be all the time."
Backes acknowledged that there's a fine line between offense and defense.
"It's kind of situational, who you're out against, time of the game, score of
the game ... that kind of dictates it," he said. "Against San Jose, we (had)
leads and we were just protecting them. But there are going to be times in
tie games when we need a goal and we're going to have to weight it on the
other side. There's a balance that needs to be found. I don't think it was
perfect in the first round. It was good, but we need to be great in order to
win the first series."
Backes expects to see a lot of the Kings' top line, centered by Anze Kopitar,
in the second round.
"Kopitar's got a speed element; ... he's one of the fastest guys in the
league," Backes said. "If you've seen me skate, I'm not. There's a physical
element on my side that needs to balance out his speed."
As far having more speed than Backes, Kopitar smiled and replied: "I
wouldn't say that. He's pretty fast too. Don't let him fool you."
Kopitar isn't the only Kings player aware of Backes' abilities.
"He does a lot of the little things right," Dustin Brown, Backes' Team USA
teammate at the 2010 Olympics, said. "You don't see him change his game
too much. That's why he's probably successful on a nightly basis. He's big,
he's strong and he knows a straight-line game, physical. ... He's just hard to
play against in general."
ICE TIME
After giving his fourth line as much 5 on 5 ice time as his third line in the
first round of the playoffs, Hitchcock continued the trend in Game 1 of the
second round Saturday. He expects that each of his bottom-six forwards,
however, will see more ice time against LA.
"LA is a little bit different," Hitchcock said. "They use third- and fourth- line
players to kill penalties more than we do. We use our top six forwards to do
a lot of our PK. So our third- and fourth- lines have to play a lot of minutes.
That’s just the way we’re built right now.
628994     St Louis Blues                                                          Belleville News-Democrat LOADED: 04.29.2012


Backes hopes to step up against Kings


By NORM SANDERS –


ST. LOUIS -- David Backes had just one goal in a first-round series win
over San Jose and the St. Louis Blues captain realizes he needs to be
much more involved against Los Angeles.
Backes tied T.J. Oshie for the team-scoring lead during the regular season
with 24 goals and 54 points. But the line of Backes, Oshie and David Perron
spent much of last series trying to handle San Jose's powerful No. 1 line led
by Joe Thornton.
"I think I was on my heels a little bit too much in that first series," said
Backes, who scored the Blues' lone goal Saturday in a 3-1 loss to the Kings
in Game 1. "We're not really caring about personal stats, but we're caring
about what the team success is. We got the job done the first round without
a ton of offensive contribution from my line.
"That being said, we're going to need to step that up and help the team in
both defensive and offensive ways here in the second round."
Backes screened Kings goalie Jonathan Quick on the Blues' first goal
Saturday, tipping in a shot by Alex Pietrangelo for his second goal of the
playoffs.
Not much was needed in terms of motivation before the opening puck drop
of the Kings series.
"If you need a speech before the first game of Round 2 when you've had a
week off, there's something wrong with your competitive nature," Backes
said.
Blues coach Ken Hitchcock offered an answer to what Backes can do to
find more success against the Kings.
"The first thing he has to do is trust his linemates a little more," Hitchcock
said. "Secondly, he's got to play more reckless. He played safe (against
San Jose) and playing against Joe (Thornton) is no day at the beach. Joe
was dialed in and was playing for his life; he was a terrific player in our
series so David had his hands full."
Backes had five shots in five games against the Sharks along with a plus-
minus rating of minus-3. He averaged just under 21 minutes of ice time per
game.
The other dilemma faced by the Blues is that Backes is such a reliable two-
way performer it's tough to keep him off the ice.
"Sometimes 5-on-5 with as much as Dave plays on the power plan and
killing penalties ... 5-on-5 is almost a rest," Hitchcock said. "We want to get
him past that, where he's really contributing more 5-on-5 because he's back
playing a little bit more reckless and not so careful."
Backes didn't become a Selke Trophy finalist because of his scoring, but
during the season he was able to tally goals and assists while still serving
as the leader of the Blues' shut-down line.
Kings coach Darryl Sutter admires Backes' approach to the game.
"I think he's one of the really good young captains in the league," Sutter
said. "He has an identity and it's a strong one, he's not afraid of playing both
sides of the puck and plays a 200-foot game.
"We're lucky we've got a couple centermen like that too, so hopefully we
can saw that off a little."
Backes was asked how to find that balance between offense, defense and
trying to win.
"It's kind of situational --who you're out against, time of the game, score of
the game, that kind of dictates it," he said. "Luckily in the series against San
Jose we were faced with leads and protecting them, making sure we took
care of it mostly on the defensive side. There's a balance there that needs
to be found."
"We need to be great in order to win this series."
628995     St Louis Blues                                                         goalie Jonathan Quick was screened on the shot by Backes with David
                                                                                  Perron also credited with an assist on the play.
                                                                                  It was Backes' second goal of the playoffs and ended a scoreless streak of
Kings get big short-handed goal to help knock off Blues in second-round           105 minutes, 38 seconds against the Kings dating back to Jamie
playoff opener                                                                    Langenbrunner's goal in the second period of a regular-season game on
                                                                                  Feb. 3.
                                                                                  Voynov tied it following a turnover by Blues defenseman Barret Jackman.
By NORM SANDERS –                                                                 Penner threaded a pass through traffic to Voynov, whose shot beat Elliott
                                                                                  for his first career playoff goal.
                                                                                  Pushing for the tying goal in the third period, the Blues hurt themselves with
ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Blues lost more than a hockey game Saturday            a pair of high-sticking penalties on Perron and T.J. Oshie. Oshie picked up
in their Western Conference semifinal playoff opener against the Los              a double-minor for drawing blood with a high stick on the Kings' Colin
Angeles Kings.                                                                    Fraser.
They dropped a 3-1 decision in the best-of-seven series and also lost star        "The two plays were careless," Hitchcock said. "The stick calls were
defenseman Alex Pietrangelo to a possible head injury on a hit from behind        careless."
into the boards late in the second period.
                                                                                  The Blues survived that glut of infractions by killing off eight minutes of
A short-handed goal by defenseman Matt Greene broke a 1-1 tie and                 penalties.
Dustin Penner added an empty-net goal for the Kings with 15 seconds
remaining.                                                                        "We spent a lot of that third period in the (penalty) box and when you're
                                                                                  trying to come back from a (one-)goal deficit, being in the box isn't going to
Kings Blues Hockey                                                                help," Backes said. "We got off our game a little bit there in the third period,
                                                                                  got a little disoriented and off our game plan. The result was a parade to the
"I've got bigger issues than replacing Petro," said Blues coach Ken
                                                                                  box, which is never good."
Hitchcock, whose team trails the series 1-0 with Game 2 set for 8 p.m.
Monday at Scottrade Center. "We need much better play from our top                Blues winger Alex Steen said it's going to take a much better effort Monday.
players, much more committed play from our top players, if we expect to
move on and win a hockey game on Monday.                                          "We need to find a way to play harder," Steen said. "We've got a good team
                                                                                  and a lot of depth, but we've got to play better than we did tonight."
"For me, that's a bigger issue than where Petro's at right now."
                                                                                  Only some big first-period saves by Quick kept the Kings from trailing by a
Pietrangelo suffered a cut on his left check after being hit into the boards      goal or two. In the second period it was Elliott's turn to shine, thwarting the
from behind by Los Angeles winger Dwight King with a minute and 3                 Kings on two big glove saves after defensive breakdowns in the St. Louis
seconds remaining in the second period. Pietrangelo, who played briefly           end.
after that before leaving the game for good, was being evaluated by the
Blues' medical staff for further injury.                                          In the end, the Blues did not match the Kings' effort in many areas.

King received a two-minute boarding penalty.                                      "When you play Los Angeles, there's a price to pay to win," Hitchcock said.
                                                                                  "There's a high price. And if we expect to win the next game, we're going to
"They said it was a two-minute penalty," Hitchcock said. "That's what they        have to pay a bigger price than the one we paid.
said. Why don't we let the league decide if there's anything there? We're
more concerned about the player."                                                 "We played a great first period, but then I thought we kind of exited the
                                                                                  game after that."
It was the sixth straight playoff road win for the eighth-seeded Kings, who
knocked off top-seeded Vancouver in the opening round.                            Belleville News-Democrat LOADED: 04.29.2012

Kings goalie Jonathan Quick improved to 5-1 in the playoffs, stopping 28 of
29 shots. Blues goalie Brian Elliott suffered his first postseason loss in five
games, making saves on 26 of 28 shots.
"(Quick) made a lot of great saves, but Ells made a lot of great saves as
well," Blues captain David Backes said. "We've got to bury some of those
chances."
The Blues also lost Game 1 of their first-round series to the San Jose
Sharks before roaring back to win the next four games and advance to the
Western Conference semifinals.
Greene's goal came just 10 seconds after the Blues were awarded a power
play after King shoved Pietrangelo into the boards from behind.
The Kings' Dustin Brown gained control of the puck off a faceoff and lugged
it to the other end. The rebound of Brown's shot was left hanging near the
goal and Greene was there to bang it past Elliott to put the Kings on top.
Hitchcock said one Blues forward fell down on the play and another was out
of position.
"Their defenseman (Greene) beat one of our forwards back up the ice,"
Hitchcock said. "We had the two guys covered over, but it was the third
guy... their defenseman jumped from the front of the net and beat our high
forward back up the ice."
After a goal by David Backes gave the Blues an early lead, the Kings tied it
with 3:02 remaining in the first period on goal by Slava Voynov.
The Blues were playing for the first time in seven days since finishing off the
San Jose Sharks, while the Kings hadn't played in six days after their first-
round series win over top-seeded Vancouver.
A shot by Pietrangelo from the right point was tipped in by Backes 9
minutes, 16 seconds into the game to give the Blues a 1-0 lead. Kings
628996      St Louis Blues                                                           While almost every one else is predicting a low-scoring series because of
                                                                                     the Blues and Kings' strong defense and goaltending, both coaches offered
                                                                                     a vastly different opinion Saturday before Game 1.
Hard hit ends Pietrangelo's night                                                    "I think this series is going to shock and surprise people, because I don't
                                                                                     think you can keep that standard up of one goal, one goal, one goal,"
                                                                                     Hitchcock said. "When emotion gets as high as it did, just like you saw
By NORM SANDERS –                                                                    (Friday) night, the legs get a little more rubbery and you see the players
                                                                                     play more on the move like you did last night.
                                                                                     "I think you're going to see more scoring chances because of it."
ST. LOUIS -- St. Louis Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo was shoved
from behind into the boards late in the second period Saturday by Los                Sutter said there's simply too many variables that enter into a playoff series.
Angeles forward Dwight King and did not return to start the third period.
                                                                                     "Anybody who says it's low scoring ... it's more imagination than anything,
The hit drew plenty of attention from Pietrangelo's teammates,                       right?" Sutter said. "How do you know? How do I know, how does anybody
overshadowed a 3-1 loss to the Kings in Game 1, and also prompted some               know? Injuries, officiating, top players, you know what? That impacts it all
interesting comments from the NHL supervisor of officials for this playoff           so much."
series, Kay Whitmore.
                                                                                     Cards support the Blues
Pietrangelo received a cut on his left cheek and was being evaluated for a
potential head injury.                                                               Many St. Louis Cardinals players attended Game 1, including Chris
                                                                                     Carpenter, David Freese, Rafael Furcal, Carlos Beltran, Kyle McClellan and
King received a two-minute boarding call on the play, although                       Jake Westbrook. During the third period, former Blues star Keith Tkachuk
Pietrangelo's head appeared to hit the boards and the infraction could have          was shown wearing a Pavol Demitra jersey while standing with Freese and
resulted in a double-minor or even a major penalty.                                  Carpenter.

"He's probably our best player and to see him go out, and then get a two-            Read more here: http://www.bnd.com/2012/04/29/2158142/blues-backes-
minute penalty (on King) ... that's a pretty good trade when their third-liner       hoping-for-better.html#storylink=cpy
gets a penalty and our best player's out for the rest of the game," Blues
captain David Backes said. "It's unfortunate, but hopefully he's back for the        Belleville News-Democrat LOADED: 04.29.2012
next one."
Did King deserve more than two minutes?
"(Pietrangelo) doesn't sit there and embellish and wait for the medic unit to
come around or anything," Backes said. "He's tough and he gets up and
skates off."
Whitmore said the referees, Stephen Walkom and Eric Furlatt, apparently
did not see any blood when checking Pietrangelo after the play.
"In these situations, if a player is cut to the face, and it's visible right away,
instantly, they'll call a major ... in most cases," Whitmore told a pool
reporter. "In this case, they didn't see the cut, the small cut ... until up to a
minute or so after when they were over by the bench."
Whitmore said it would be tough to make a different call after the initial one
had been made.
"He got off the ice," he said. "There was no visible blood. If it was running
down his forehead or his cheek, it's automatic. It's a major game-
misconduct. In this instance, they didn't see it initially right away. They didn't
see the blood running down his chin, in his beard ... one of those things."
Whitmore said in the judgment of the officials, "It was a hit, he was in a
vulnerable position, but they didn't deem it violent enough to call it a major."
Blues coach Ken Hitchcock didn't see it quite the same way, although the
play will likely be reviewed by the NHL league office.
"Everybody saw the hit, so we all know what the injury is and we'll just wait
and see," Hitchcock said, perhaps referencing a potential head injury. "We'll
see how it goes and see how he feels and then we'll evaluate it. If he's not
in, then somebody else gets to jump up. That's just the way it is in the
playoffs, you've got to figure it out."
The Blues felt there should have been a stiffer penalty.
"I obviously think it's a dangerous hit," Blues winger Alex Steen said. "I'm
going to leave it at that. ... We'll see how he's doing. That's one of their guys
going after our top defenseman."
Blues winger Andy McDonald, who missed 51 games with a concussion
earlier this season, did not like the play, either.
"I just saw him go down and it looked like a dangerous hit," McDonald said.
"What are you going to do? He's in a scary position going into the boards
there. ... Hopefully he'll be OK to play the next game."
Coaches downplay
defensive series
628997      St Louis Blues                                                           While almost every one else is predicting a low-scoring series because of
                                                                                     the Blues and Kings' strong defense and goaltending, both coaches offered
                                                                                     a vastly different opinion Saturday before Game 1.
Hard hit ends Pietrangelo's night                                                    "I think this series is going to shock and surprise people, because I don't
                                                                                     think you can keep that standard up of one goal, one goal, one goal,"
                                                                                     Hitchcock said. "When emotion gets as high as it did, just like you saw
By NORM SANDERS –                                                                    (Friday) night, the legs get a little more rubbery and you see the players
                                                                                     play more on the move like you did last night.
                                                                                     "I think you're going to see more scoring chances because of it."
ST. LOUIS -- St. Louis Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo was shoved
from behind into the boards late in the second period Saturday by Los                Sutter said there's simply too many variables that enter into a playoff series.
Angeles forward Dwight King and did not return to start the third period.
                                                                                     "Anybody who says it's low scoring ... it's more imagination than anything,
The hit drew plenty of attention from Pietrangelo's teammates,                       right?" Sutter said. "How do you know? How do I know, how does anybody
overshadowed a 3-1 loss to the Kings in Game 1, and also prompted some               know? Injuries, officiating, top players, you know what? That impacts it all
interesting comments from the NHL supervisor of officials for this playoff           so much."
series, Kay Whitmore.
                                                                                     Cards support the Blues
Pietrangelo received a cut on his left cheek and was being evaluated for a
potential head injury.                                                               Many St. Louis Cardinals players attended Game 1, including Chris
                                                                                     Carpenter, David Freese, Rafael Furcal, Carlos Beltran, Kyle McClellan and
King received a two-minute boarding call on the play, although                       Jake Westbrook. During the third period, former Blues star Keith Tkachuk
Pietrangelo's head appeared to hit the boards and the infraction could have          was shown wearing a Pavol Demitra jersey while standing with Freese and
resulted in a double-minor or even a major penalty.                                  Carpenter.

"He's probably our best player and to see him go out, and then get a two-            Belleville News-Democrat LOADED: 04.29.2012
minute penalty (on King) ... that's a pretty good trade when their third-liner
gets a penalty and our best player's out for the rest of the game," Blues
captain David Backes said. "It's unfortunate, but hopefully he's back for the
next one."
Did King deserve more than two minutes?
"(Pietrangelo) doesn't sit there and embellish and wait for the medic unit to
come around or anything," Backes said. "He's tough and he gets up and
skates off."
Whitmore said the referees, Stephen Walkom and Eric Furlatt, apparently
did not see any blood when checking Pietrangelo after the play.
"In these situations, if a player is cut to the face, and it's visible right away,
instantly, they'll call a major ... in most cases," Whitmore told a pool
reporter. "In this case, they didn't see the cut, the small cut ... until up to a
minute or so after when they were over by the bench."
Whitmore said it would be tough to make a different call after the initial one
had been made.
"He got off the ice," he said. "There was no visible blood. If it was running
down his forehead or his cheek, it's automatic. It's a major game-
misconduct. In this instance, they didn't see it initially right away. They didn't
see the blood running down his chin, in his beard ... one of those things."
Whitmore said in the judgment of the officials, "It was a hit, he was in a
vulnerable position, but they didn't deem it violent enough to call it a major."
Blues coach Ken Hitchcock didn't see it quite the same way, although the
play will likely be reviewed by the NHL league office.
"Everybody saw the hit, so we all know what the injury is and we'll just wait
and see," Hitchcock said, perhaps referencing a potential head injury. "We'll
see how it goes and see how he feels and then we'll evaluate it. If he's not
in, then somebody else gets to jump up. That's just the way it is in the
playoffs, you've got to figure it out."
The Blues felt there should have been a stiffer penalty.
"I obviously think it's a dangerous hit," Blues winger Alex Steen said. "I'm
going to leave it at that. ... We'll see how he's doing. That's one of their guys
going after our top defenseman."
Blues winger Andy McDonald, who missed 51 games with a concussion
earlier this season, did not like the play, either.
"I just saw him go down and it looked like a dangerous hit," McDonald said.
"What are you going to do? He's in a scary position going into the boards
there. ... Hopefully he'll be OK to play the next game."
Coaches downplay
defensive series
628998     Tampa Bay Lightning                                                  Tampa Tribune LOADED: 04.29.2012


Bolts need long-term answer at goalie


By ERIK ERLENDSSON


A perfectly laid out plan often gets tossed in the trash before it can be
executed.
Or at least, that's what appears to be the case in regards to the Tampa Bay
Lightning's seemingly endless search to find a long-term goaltender.
Rational thought led many to believe the trades made by Lightning general
manager Steve Yzerman prior to the deadline were done with a primary
focus in mind – acquire as many assets as possible and use them to work
out a deal with the Vancouver Canucks to acquire 26-year-old goaltender
Cory Schneider.
But that route seems to have hit a detour as Schneider – and not Roberto
Luongo – played in goal for Vancouver's final three games of a first-round
playoff exit to the eighth-seeded Los Angeles Kings. That move was a
changing-of-the-guard by the Canucks, and led to Luongo reportedly asking
to be traded during his exit interview with Vancouver management.
In the coming days, Luongo is expected to submit a list of teams he would
like to be traded to and you can bet Tampa Bay will be on that list as a
desired destination.
But will Luongo be on the Lightning's list?
Not likely as Luongo has 10 years remaining on a 12-year extension he
signed two years ago and is owed just more than $47 million. That's a long
commitment for Tampa Bay to take on considering it has a similar contract
with Vinny Lecavalier, and unless it was Lecavalier going the other way –
again, unlikely – Tampa Bay does not appear to be a match.
So, with Schneider seemingly no longer an option to pursue and Luongo
not a realistic option, where does Yzerman turn to solve the team's biggest
need this summer?
Here are some thoughts to ponder.
Tim Thomas – A growing sentiment coming out of Boston is Thomas played
his last game with the Bruins when they were eliminated by Washington in
Game 7 on Wednesday. Though he's 38, Thomas has only one year left on
his contract at $3 million (his cap hit is $5 million) which is not a big
commitment in either dollars or years. Should Boston look to move the two-
time Vezina Trophy winner, the Lightning will listen and possibly look to
reunite Thomas and former college teammate Marty St. Louis.
Tomas Vokoun – A pending unrestricted free agent has endured an up-and-
down season with Washington after signing a one-year, $1.5 million deal. A
return engagement doesn't sound likely and no doubt the 35-year-old would
like to land with a team that might contend for a playoff spot.
Jonathan Bernier – The former American Hockey League MVP is still
unproven at the NHL level and doesn't get a lot of playing time behind
Vezina finalist Jonathan Quick with 44 games during parts of three seasons
with Los Angeles. Bernier will be 24 at the start of next season and could be
the long-term answer in goal.
Josh Harding – A pending unrestricted free agent, Harding has put up
decent numbers in 117 career games with the Minnesota Wild posting a
.917 save percentage and 2.65 goals against average. At the age of 28 at
the start of next season, Harding might be entering his prime.
Anders Lindback – The 6-foot-6 Swede is an intriguing prospect and
certainly made an impression in a victory against Tampa Bay early in the
2010-11 season. But the 23-year-old has just 38 games at the NHL level
and even had a losing record (5-8) for Nashville this season. Though it
wouldn't cost much to acquire Lindback, it would be a risky move.
Riku Helenius – Thought to be a bust after Tampa Bay selected him 15th
overall in 2006 – he returned to Europe after two failed professional
seasons in North America – but he led his JYP team to a championship in
the Finnish Elite League this season posting a 1.73 goals against and .947
save percentage in 13 postseason games following a 1.64 GAA and .936
save percentage. There is no guarantee he'd be able to come over next
season, but it's an interesting prospect to ponder.
628999     Tampa Bay Lightning


Add Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas to talk about options for Tampa Bay
Lightning


By Damian Cristodero,


As if there wasn't enough intrigue around the Lightning's search for a No. 1
goaltender, one more name might be in the mix: Boston's Tim Thomas.
There is no indication this is the way Tampa Bay wants to go, and no
indication (other than sketchy reports out of Boston) the Bruins want to
trade Thomas, the 2010-11 Vezina Trophy winner with one year left on his
contract.
But practical arguments can be made both ways. The Lightning might see
Thomas as a short-term fix while waiting for permanent options after next
season. And the Bruins, with Tuukka Rask waiting to start, could get
something for Thomas before his contract expires.
Clearly, Tampa Bay would rather find a long-term solution this summer, but
there are no slam dunks among the presumptive targets.
Vancouver's Cory Schneider appears off the market, and Roberto Luongo
— because of a contract that has 10 years left and pays $6.714 million the
next six — is a nonstarter unless the Canucks want to trade for, say, Vinny
Lecavalier and his 11-year, $85 million deal.
Los Angeles' Jonathan Bernier and Nashville's Anders Lindback have
promise, but as backups they have just 86 NHL games between them. And
Josh Harding, the most intriguing name in a down year for pending
unrestricted free agents, hasn't been able to take the No. 1 job in four full
seasons with the Wild and has a history of injuries.
Another year of experience wouldn't hurt Bernier or Lindback, and the
potential pool of unrestricted free agents is a bit deeper in 2013, with
contracts expiring for Detroit's Jimmy Howard, Los Angeles' Jonathan Quick
and, dare we say it, Phoenix's Mike Smith.
Even Schneider is one year away from being unrestricted if he does not
sign long term.
If that is Tampa Bay's thinking, it needs a bridge through next season, and
that brings us back to Thomas. Yes, his $5 million cap hit is close to
Luongo's $5.33 million. The difference is Thomas' 2012-13 salary is a
manageable $3 million, which would leave the Lightning some flexibility to
make needed upgrades on defense. Plus, the investment would be for one
season, compared with a long-term commitment to Luongo.
There are road blocks, of course. Thomas, with a 2.36 goals-against
average and .920 save percentage this season, is 38, and Tampa Bay was
just burned trying to get one more season out of 42-year-old Dwayne
Roloson.
Thomas also has a no-trade clause through June 30. He could waive it, but
if not, Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman would have to be
creative. Yzerman's two first-round draft picks and four seconds, which
could be used as trade bait, will be gone after the June 22-23 draft.
The Bruins say they want to keep Thomas, who backstopped them last
season to their first Stanley Cup title in 39 years.
But let's say they are open to a trade and so, too, is Thomas, a teammate
of Tampa Bay's Marty St. Louis at the University of Vermont. Asked if he
would deal the No. 10 overall draft pick if the right situation came along,
Yzerman, speaking generally, said, "I'm open to anything."
Tampa Tribune LOADED: 04.29.2012
629000     Toronto Maple Leafs                                                       SCENE AND HEARD
                                                                                     Jose Bautista has done this before, even after he became the guy who
                                                                                     came from nowhere. In June 2010, in the midst of his miracle turnaround
Leafs coulda, shoulda signed Stamkos                                                 season, Bautista batted .179, knocked in only nine runs on four home runs.
                                                                                     So the fact he’s hitting under .200 and without power now, shouldn’t be
                                                                                     considered new. The question is: When does he get out of this slump and
By Steve Simmons ,Toronto Sun                                                        how long does it go on before it becomes a serious concern for the Blue
                                                                                     Jays? ... And, for the record, it isn’t just Bautista. Albert Pujols isn’t hitting
                                                                                     and neither is Prince Fielder (for power) ... Is Henderson Alvarez the new
                                                                                     Dave Stieb, only more tortured? Alvarez has 14 big league starts, a decent
We take you back to last summer, when no one, including the Maple Leafs
                                                                                     ERA and a terrific WHIP and just one career win. One year, Stieb threw 11
would make a restricted free agent offer to Steven Stamkos.
                                                                                     complete games, allowed 65 earned runs, and won just 11 games ... What’s
Now fast forward to today.                                                           the over-under on Travis Snider getting healthy, returning to the Blue Jays
                                                                                     and starting everyday in left field? I’ve got June 30 in the pool ... Alex
The Leafs have interest in the available goaltender Roberto Luongo. So               Anthopoulos kicked the tires on Michael Pineda but when he discovered the
does the Chicago Blackhawks and the Tampa Bay Lightning. Vancouver                   price of Brett Lawrie and more, he quickly lost interest. Imagine the reaction
would rather not do business with Brian Burke and Dave Nonis. That’s                 here had that deal gone down with Pineda out for the season with the
understandable. And they’d rather not do business with Chicago, a Western            Yankees ... The best team in baseball, the Texas Rangers, are coming to
Conference rival with a lot of history. Which lists the Lightning as the             town Monday. Wouldn’t it be nice if Toronto fans responded and showed up
morning line favourite to end up with Luongo.                                        for some mid-week baseball?
But what if the Leafs, for example, had made a ridiculous offer to Stamkos           NO DRAFT SHMAFT
last summer? Tampa would have been forced to match whatever it was for
franchise preservation. That alone would have put the Lightning at a                 Claude Giroux was drafted in 2006, nine picks after the Maple Leafs
competitive disadvantage salary wise. Most likely an outrageous Stamkos              selected Jiri Tlusty. Giroux was part of a terrific run of draft picks made by
contract would have put them out of the running for Luongo.                          the Philadelphia Flyers between the years of 2003 and 2007. Why do those
                                                                                     years matter here? Because in that five-year span, the Leafs traded away
Which is why you make RFA offers when the rules allow it. You do it, not             all five first-round picks they had (including the two players they selected,
always to get the player, but to injure the other team’s cap flexibility. The        Tlusty and Tuukka Rask) without anything to show for it in between. They
Leafs chose not to do it and that philosophical decision could end up biting         also traded away three of their five second-round picks, ending up with one
them should Luongo end up in Tampa.                                                  player of semi-consequence, Nikolai Kulemin for the 10 prized draft
                                                                                     selections over five years. This is significant now because the players
THIS AND THAT
                                                                                     chosen in those years are becoming important or have become important
An NHL executive on how Burke’s personal philosophies get in the way of              NHL players. In that time, the Flyers added Giroux, one of the five best
operating his hockey club: “If I’m a board member (of MLSE) I’d be clear             forwards in the game, along with Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, James
with Brian and I’d put him on notice. I’d ask: “Is it your job to win games or       VanRiemsdyk and Steve Downie, and that’s just with first round choices.
your job to make the rules? Which is it?” ... The goaltending muddle in              The current Maple Leafs administration, which traded picks away for Phil
Vancouver has taken the focus off the real Canuck issues: That this team,            Kessel, is responsible for what’s happened post 2008. But they are also
as it’s currently constructed, isn’t good enough to win a Stanley Cup. In the        paying the price for those who came before them.
Canucks’ last 12 playoffs games, their record is 4-8 with 15 goals for and 35
                                                                                     COACH CASEY AND 'THE PLAN'
against ... Two questions on any possible Toronto-Luongo deal: 1. Would
Mike Komisarek consider waiving the no-movement clause in his contract?              There is little doubt about the quality of work Dwane Casey produced in his
2. Would the Canucks take on that hefty short-term contract? ... It’s more           first year as coach of the Toronto Raptors. But at what price to the future of
likely Vancouver would have interest in someone like Matthew Lombardi,               the forever fledgling NBA franchise? While GM Bryan Colangelo talks about
who has one year left, and can still play a little ... Are the Denver Broncos        sticking to the plan on the whiteboard in his office, the plan could not have
now Canada’s team, with Edmonton owner, Pat Bowlen, Fred Fleming in                  included drafting as low as eighth, and possibly lower than that, for a team
the front office, and now two Toronto offensive linemen, Phillip Blake and           still so short in the talent department. There is a certain juxtaposition
Orlando Franklin, blocking for Peyton Manning ... Have to wonder if Mike             between losing and development and Casey’s Raptors won at least four
Ilitch, who checked out his own mortality by signing Prince Fielder, won’t           games too many this season. Had they managed four fewer wins, they
have his Red Wings take the same big-time philosophy this summer ... Lou             would have had a real shot at a Top 3 pick in the NBA Draft. Now, the
Lamoriello told me that Zach Parise isn’t going anywhere — “he’s a Devil”            future is more about chance than anything else. Yes, the Raptors have a
— but others believe Lamoriello is mistaken and Parise is hungry to test             fine coach in Casey and money to spend, but they needed a young star
free agency and sign on with a team with a real chance at winning the                from this draft and depending where they end up lottery wise, they might
Stanley Cup.                                                                         wind up trading the pick. It’s not written in the whiteboard in Colangelo’s
                                                                                     office but trading the pick was never part of any plan going forward.
HEAR AND THERE
Team Canada GM Steve Yzerman will have to bite his lip next summer and
                                                                                     OF DUSTIN McGOWAN AND HOPE
invite Mike Smith to the Olympic training camp, should Smith continue to
play this kind of goal for the Phoenix Coyotes. Smith, you may remember,             Maybe the words should never go together: Dustin McGowan and setback.
was waived by Yzerman last season, and then offered a pay cut to remain              Longshot might be a better word. For four years now, McGowan has tried to
in Tampa Bay. He declined and signed with Phoenix. Meanwhile, Tampa                  make it back as a big league starter of consequence and for four years just
needs a goalie ... Is it possible to win a Stanley Cup and be outplayed in           about everything that could go wrong, has. If McGowan wants to find some
80% of your games? If the Coyotes do it, then it becomes possible ... The            solace, maybe he could look to the Seattle Mariners this weekend and find
Boston Bruins won a Cup with Tomas Kaberle. Without him, they lost in the            inspiration in the story of relief pitcher, Steve Delabar. If you’ve never heard
first round of the playoffs. I know there is a punch-line in all this, but I can’t   of Delabar, you’re not alone. But his story is remarkable: Delabar was a
quite come up with one ... This confuses me: Both Randy Carlyle and Ron              29th-round pick who quit baseball after five pro seasons after not advancing
Wilson used Luke Schenn as their sixth defenceman. Now he’s chosen to                beyond the Class A level. His elbow had to be wired back together. He went
play for Canada at the world championship. So If he’s good enough to play            back to school to get his teaching degree but on the side he began throwing
for Team Canada, why was he getting sixth-man minutes with the Leafs? ...            and working out. Somehow, in his late 20s, his arm got stronger, his
Best round of the Stanley Cup playoffs is the first. Worst round of the NBA          velocity increased, and the kid who had nothing suddenly had something.
playoffs is the first ... I was 3-for-7 picking playoff series in the first round,   At 28, Delabar pitched out of the bullpen Friday night against the Jays as he
which killed my pool chances. Now I’m hoping to recover by picking the               has been pitching since late last season. McGowan should take note:
Rangers, Flyers, Blues and Predators in Round 2. Can’t do anything about             Anything in sports remains possible.
the pool, but maybe sooth the ego slightly ... Is there any way to cure the
cowardly, racist, anonymous, mean-spirited nature of Twitter and online              AND ANOTHER THING
commentary? The reaction to Joel Ward’s series-winning overtime goal was
                                                                                     When Dale Hunter was hired to coach the Washington Capitals, I instantly
despicable and yet sadly not unexpected.
                                                                                     called it a bad idea. Nothing against Hunter, but the history of junior
                                                                                     coaches going directly to the NHL is, well, spotty. While Hunter’s regular
season did nothing to change my mind, his playoffs certainly have. He has
done the near-impossible and changed the fight in the Caps. For that, he
should be acknowledged ... It’s simple, really. If the arena in Markham gets
built, Toronto will get a second NHL team. There’s too much real money
behind the plan to not see there is a Part 2 to the story ... The result may
look disappointing but Milos Raonic’s 7-6, 7-6 loss to world No. 6 David
Ferrer on clay is an impressive result for a player whose game is more hard
court ... I give up, can anybody explain why the CFL Draft is Thursday
afternoon? ... If you have goaltending, you can win without a first line
centre. Just ask the Coyotes, who have Martin Hanzal, Daymond Langkow,
Antoine Vermette and Boyd Gordon down the middle. The leading scorer in
that bunch scored 10 points fewer than Tyler Bozak ... Happy Birthday to
Curtis Joseph (45), Jim Benning (49), Andre Agassi (42), Reggie Miller (47),
Jonathan Toews (24) and Jerry Seinfeld (57) ... And hey, whatever became
of Mike Rogers?
Toronto Sun LOADED: 04.29.2012
629001     Vancouver Canucks                                                      If they want Vigneault to walk the plank, it's possible Gillis will go first
                                                                                  voluntarily because the GM has been unequivocal in his support for the
                                                                                  coach. Both have a year remaining on their contracts.
Canucks: no worries about Roberto Luongo's predicament?                           Apparently, no summit meeting has yet been scheduled between Gillis and
Schneider negotiations remain on hold and GM-coaching status is unclear;          the Aquilinis. So nothing is happening in the organization.
but hey, be happy                                                                 Gillis insisted Thursday that Luongo hasn't asked for a move nor provided a
                                                                                  list of teams for whom he would waive his notrade clause, and that the
                                                                                  veteran goalie is reflecting on his situation and will get back in touch with
By Iain MacIntyre, Vancouver Sun April 28, 2012                                   the GM "in a few days."
                                                                                  Gillis is also doing some reflecting. Until a decision is made on Luongo, the
                                                                                  Canucks can't proceed on Schneider, the 26-year-old who on July 1
There have been many revelations in the National Hockey League this               becomes eligible for restricted free agency and subject to predatory offer
season. Teams can win without scoring, rules change on the fly, arena             sheets from other teams. Schneider and agent Mike Liut aren't going to
score clocks don't track playing time, and if a headlock is good enough for       negotiate until the goaltending situation is clarified.
Hulk Hogan and Shea Weber, then damnit, it's legal for everyone.
                                                                                  And until a new contract for Schneider is signed, it would be foolish for the
But no revelation was as farreaching and surprising as the discovery that         Canucks to trade Luongo lest they end up with Eddie Lack as the starting
the font of all knowledge and understanding is neither the Dalai Lama,            goalie next year. Neither Schneider's contract nor a trade for Luongo is
Stephen Hawking nor Wikipedia, but, in fact, Philadelphia Flyers goalie Ilya      going to happen quickly over a cup of coffee. These are complicated
Bryzgalov.                                                                        transactions with many moving parts.
Through HBO's 24/7 documentary preceding the Winter Classic, we learned           They take time. Yes, the Canucks' season just ended. But already you can
from Ilya that you cannot shoot a tiger in China or the Chinese will shoot        faintly hear the clock ticking. Or is that a bomb? Don't worry, be happy.
you. And that the universe is big and the solar system small.
Or as Ilya told HBO: "Right now, I'm really interested in the universe. Like,
how it was created. Like, what is it?" And this led to his conclusion, in the     Vancouver Sun: LOADED: 04.29.2012
context of our planet's insignificance, that: "And you think we have
problems here on Earth that we worry about compared to, like ... nothing?
Don't worry, be happy."
OK, so maybe singer Bobby McFerrin is the font of all knowledge.
But what Bryzgalov taught everyone - and this is particularly important to
his followers in Vancouver - is that a 31-year-old goalie can command a
contract that runs for nine years and is worth $51 million. And he gets his
team into the second round of the playoffs.
Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo is 33. He has 10 years at an annual cap hit
of $5.33 million remaining on his contract. But the practical contract, in
actual dollars, calls for $40.28 million over the next six years. Bryzgalov's
deal, signed last summer, calls for $47.5million over the first seven years.
He will be 38 when the lucrative portion of his contract is paid out. Luongo
will be 39.
If Luongo, more accomplished than Bryzgalov, were an unrestricted free
agent on July 1, teams would be rushing to sign him just as the Flyers did
Ilya a year ago.
Of course, Luongo can't offer the same degree of wisdom and
existentialism that Bryzgalov imparts, but he sure as heck can win 35
games a year for the foreseeable future and get his employer to the Stanley
Cup playoffs.
And so the idea that his contract is so onerous the Canucks will be unable
to trade Luongo, which would clear salary-cap space and the goal crease
for Cory Schneider, is false.
The Flyers, after all, not only signed Bryzgalov but found money for him by
off-loading giant contracts attached to Mike Richards and Jeff Carter.
Granted, those players were 26, not 33, when Philadelphia general
manager Paul Holmgren remade and rebranded his team last June. But the
Columbus Blue Jackets' ability to flip Carter's contract again after a dismal
few months in Ohio was further proof that big tickets are still portable in the
NHL.
The bigger concern for the Canucks right now should not be whether they
can trade Luongo, but when.
Canuck coach Alain Vigneault was spotted Friday morning by observant
Sun reporter Elliott Pap getting on a plane at YVR. Probably not a threehour
tour. Literally and figuratively, Vigneault is checking out because the
Canucks are, for the moment, in paralysis.
General manager Mike Gillis made it clear at his post-mortem press
conference this week that nothing in the organization will proceed until he
meets with ownership. And while everyone wonders what the Aquilini family
thinks about Vigneault, whose record as the most successful coach in
franchise history and one of the best in the NHL somehow seems a poor
defence to his irrational critics, maybe we should wonder what Gillis thinks
about the Aquilinis.
629002     Washington Capitals                                                    conclusion of one outing against the Rangers, Washington had trailed for
                                                                                  20:18.
                                                                                  “I think in Boston maybe we spent a little too much time in our defensive
2012 NHL playoffs: Capitals surrender upper hand to Rangers with 3-1 loss         zone. Today I think it bit us in the butt,” Chimera said. “I think we got to take
in Game 1                                                                         care of the puck. But there’s a Game 2 coming up pretty soon.”
                                                                                  Washington Post LOADED: 04.29.2012
By Katie Carrera


NEW YORK — When the Washington Capitals are at their best, the
mistakes are minimal. It’s required precision for the patient, defensive-
oriented and low-scoring type of game they want to play. But when things
go awry, as they did in the third period of Game 1 against the New York
Rangers, it’s difficult to climb back.
From a miscommunication on a line change, a failed attempt to retrieve the
puck and lost coverage assignments, the miscues piled up and led to a pair
of Rangers goals 90 seconds apart that the Capitals wouldn’t overcome in a
3-1 defeat to open up this Eastern Conference semifinal series.
“One mistake, two mistakes cost us a goal, cost us a game,” said Alex
Ovechkin, who recorded just one shot on goal in 21:03 of ice time. “We
have to play much better and we have to step up in different level. It’s
unfortunate that we lost, but again, everybody knows it’s only one game
and [Game 2 Monday] is going to be different game. It’s going to be new
day and we have to regroup and stay tight.”
Throughout the first round against the Boston Bruins, Washington was
largely able to limit its errors. When it didn’t rookie netminder Braden Holtby
bailed them out. On Saturday Holtby (11 saves) openly admitted that he
didn’t have an acceptable performance, and that he had a tough time
engaging in the contest seeing as New York fired only 14 shots against him.
The Capitals’ defensive hiccups, though, are equally responsible for the
tallies.
Washington entered the final frame of regulation in a familiar place, tied 1-1
after goals by Artem Anisimov and Jason Chimera in the second. With just
more than 13 minutes remaining in the frame, Alexander Semin took a point
shot on Henrik Lundqvist (17 saves) that the netminder directed into the
corner. With the play seemingly deep in the New York zone, defenseman
Mike Green went to the bench for a change.
The play didn’t remain there, though. Instead, the puck rolled along the
boards and up the left wall, where Derek Stepan beat Marcus Johansson to
it and sent a pass to rookie Chris Kreider in the neutral zone. By the time
Green scrambled back to the play, the Rangers rookie had fired a shot that
put New York ahead 2-1.
Green, who was a team-low minus-2 in 21:45 of ice time, said nobody came
on to change for him.
“We thought he was going to keep it in and he was trying to make a change
and got caught up ice,” Coach Dale Hunter said. “Every game is a game of
mistakes out there. .  .  . Just part of hockey.”
Two shifts later, the Rangers struck again when top center Brad Richards
was afforded far too much time and space along the goal line.
Chimera and defenseman Karl Alzner both pursued Kreider along the left
side boards in the Capitals’ zone, so that when the puck popped free to
Richards he was left unguarded. The veteran pivot was allowed to skate
toward the net alone and thread a shot past Holtby before any other Capital
was even a stick length away from him.
While Hunter didn’t want to place blame on his 22-year-old goaltender, who
was critical to Washington reaching the second round, Holtby took a harsh
view of his own outing and said the two third-period tallies were shots he
could have stopped.
“Obviously I wasn’t real happy with it. It was a tough game, mentally wise,
and I didn’t do a good enough job tonight,” Holtby said. “Just crucial parts of
the game. Those goals in the third, those are goals that I’d like to have
back. But you can just tell. When you have a few low shots in the game,
you usually know that there’s not a flow. We weren’t making crisp plays and
whatnot. That’s what happened tonight.”
There was an unevenness to the Capitals’ game as they plodded along in
this sometimes excruciatingly slow-moving contest, but in addition to the
mistakes there was one noticeable change in tenor from the previous
series. After trailing for only 24:23 in seven games against Boston, by the
629003     Washington Capitals


Braden Holtby: ‘I had a tough time getting into the game’


By Katie Carrera


(John McDonnell/The Washington Post)In the first round of these playoffs,
Braden Holtby faced an average of 35.4 shots per game. In Game 1 of this
Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Rangers he saw just 14,
and the rookie netminder admitted he wasn’t as engaged in the contest as
he would have liked.
Holtby allowed three goals on those 14 shots as the Capitals fell, 3-1, to
New York.
“Obviously I wasn’t real happy with it. It’s a tough game to stay into it,
mentally-wise, and I didn’t do a good enough job tonight,” Holtby said. “I
think they had a tired group over there and we didn’t bring it tonight, myself
especially. I think I had a tough time getting into the game, not because of
the stakes, but just because of how the game went. I didn’t bring the level
up when I needed to and I’ll work on that for Game 2.”
Coach Dale Hunter and the rest of the Capitals didn’t place blame on the
22-year-old Saskatchewan native, but rather the defensive miscues that left
too much time, space and opportunity for the Rangers to maneuver.
“He’s always hard on himself. But the kid’s a battler,” Hunter said. “He gives
us a chance and we just didn’t capitalize on our chances.”
Those reassurances didn’t ease Holtby’s mind immediately after the game,
though. He said that staying on point in games when he faces fewer shots
is easier said than done.
“Just have to keep your mind in it. Find ways, remind yourself of certain
things you’re going to do,” Holtby said. “The biggest thing is to not get
upset….not start thinking that if they come down here and score that it’s
going to be the end of the world. You’ve just got to play every shot the
same. It’s hard to do, it’s easy to say, but that’s what you have to do.”
While it was by all accounts Holtby’s worst game of the postseason so far,
the Capitals aren’t worried about his ability to bounce back and respond to
the disappointing outing.
“He’s pretty tough on himself. He’s going to come back, he’s going to
prepare like he always does. And he’s going to want to be better,” Troy
Brouwer said. “ He’s going to expect more out of himself. We expect him to
be solid back there. It’s a tough building to play in front of. He’s going to
come bounce back. We know it.”
Washington Post LOADED: 04.29.2012
629004     Washington Capitals                                                  settle for shots from the outside. Caps didn't generate their first scoring
                                                                                chance until 12 min elapsed. Brouwer leads Washington with two chances.
                                                                                End 1st: Shots on goal are 6-4 Caps, hits are 15-11 Rangers, game is
Game 1: Rangers score twice in 90 seconds to fuel 3-1 win over Capitals in      scoreless. Ten shots total is to be expected, perhaps, the way these teams
series opener                                                                   are throwing their bodies in front of pucks. More important, coffee is empty
                                                                                so I’ll be back.

By Lindsay Applebaum                                                            17:54 1st: Rangers get their second power play, Ovechkin for tripping
                                                                                McDonagh after a takeaway.
                                                                                16:00 1st: Knuble and Ward working hard in the crease but can’t manage to
End regulation: That’ll do it for the Rangers, who take Game 1 from the         get the rebound past Lundqvist. Colleague Neil Greenberg says they now
Caps, 3-1, just 48 hours after beating Ottawa in seven.                         have had four scoring chances in 2 minutes after none through the first 13.

Despite the loss it was a strong effort for the Caps — they hit at least four   14:37 1st: Caps took four shots on that power play but leave with nothing to
posts and had some good chances, but just weren’t able to overcome their        show for it, except a Ovechkin breaking his stick on a one-timer.
few defensive miscues in a tight game (in what will no doubt be another
tight series).                                                                  12:55 1st: Backstrom rings one off the post.

Much more to come in a bit on the game, Holtby vs. Lundqvist and that           12:16 1st: Hendricks helps the Caps finally apply some pressure in the
killer 90-second span, so stay tuned.                                           offensive zone and draws a penalty in the process, Staal for interference.
                                                                                Might be a good time for Lundqvist to have to face some shots.
Official Neil Greenberg scoring chance update, end regulation: Final scoring
chances were 19-9 in Washington favor. Ovechkin and Johansson led team          7:56 1st: Through nearly eight minutes of the first period the Caps have
with three each.                                                                mustered just a single shot — by a defenseman, Alzner. Rangers have fired
                                                                                three on Holtby but they’ve been solid chances. They’re also spending a lot
Caps can't seem to get both good puck possession and goaltending in             of time in the crease, looking for deflections and opportunities to get under
same game.                                                                      Holtby’s skin.

17:52 3rd: Holtby comes off the ice as Caps make a final push here to climb     3:50 1st: Caps draw the first power play of the game, Rupp for goalie
back from a two-goal deficit.                                                   interference on Holtby, but they only get it for 27 seconds as Semin takes a
                                                                                very Semin-like slash at Callahan’s leg.
12:20 3rd: Ovechkin heads to the box for a too many men penalty, shortly
after MSG tells him in unison with exactly 8 minutes to go that he sucks.       3:00 1st: Forget everything below. Looks like Dale Hunter is trying to play
Fancy trollin’.                                                                 some mind games with the Blueshirts. Here’s how the Caps’ lines look after
                                                                                the first few shifts:
8:30 3rd: And exactly 90 seconds later, Brad Richards gets his third goal of
the playoffs, sneaking past Holtby to give the Rangers a two-goal lead.         Ovechkin-Laich-Chimera
Kreider gets the assist. 3-1 New York. And the fans at MSG, at course, are
chanting “HOLT-BY.”                                                             Johansson-Backstrom-Semin

7:00 3rd: With Mike Green headed to the bench on a line change, rookie          Hendricks-Beagle-Brouwer
Chris Kreider blasts one by Holtby to put the Rangers up 2-1.                   Knuble-Aucoin-Ward
2:12 3rd: Ovechkin gets his first shot of the game, then Semin goes             2:47 p.m.: Here’s the Caps’ lineup for Game 1:
#BadSasha and takes his second ill-advised penalty of the game, tripping
Stralman.                                                                       Forwards
Official Neil Greenberg scoring chance update, 2nd intermission: Caps           Ovechkin-Laich-Brouwer
extend their lead in chances to 13-6 through two periods. Rangers have just
two scoring chances that have not come within the first two minutes of a        Johansson-Backstrom-Semin
period.                                                                         Chimera-Beagle-Hendricks
Brouwer, Johansson, Semin and Knuble each have two chances. Ovechkin            Knuble-Aucoin-Ward
and Backstrom each have one.
                                                                                Defense
End of 2nd: Jason Chimera scores over Lundqvist’s stick after a beauty of a
saucer pass from Brooks Laich to tie the game at 1 with about 3 seconds to      Alzner-Carlson
go.
                                                                                Hamrlik-Green
That speedy line has been working well together — minus the fact the
Ovechkin has been held without a single shot through 40 minutes (two            Erskine-Wideman
blocked, one missed the net).
                                                                                Goal
17:40 2nd: Ovechkin and Staal get into it in front of the Caps’ net after the
                                                                                Holtby
whistle. Ovechkin paws him down easily. Shots are 11-8 Caps.
                                                                                Neuvirth
13:15 2nd: Marcus Johansson, driving to the net on a breakaway, gets
taken down by Stralman and slams into Lundqvist. The puck goes in but it’s      1:30 p.m.: In less than two hours, Washington begins the second leg of its
waved off, and no penalty.                                                      playoff campaign. The Caps may have faced (and beaten) the Rangers in
                                                                                three of the last four postseasons, but it’s a little different this time around:
12:38 2nd: Anisimov scores on a wrap-around, puts the Rangers up 1-0.
                                                                                the Caps are the underdogs, they’ve got a hot goalie, and they’ve been
10:00 2nd: Rangers kill off the 5-on-3 and the crowd at MSG is really           grinding out wins through team defense. The top-seeded Rangers, though,
getting into it. I’m glad somebody is.                                          still also have a hot goalie — and they’ve been one of the best teams in the
                                                                                East all season.
7:53 2nd: Caps get a 5-on-3 for 34 precious seconds as Prust goes off for
boarding Wideman. This would be a big moment in a scoreless, low-               Washington Post LOADED: 04.29.2012
shooting game. I believe it would.
6:26 2nd: Callahan with the lone shot of the period. Caps now go to the
power play after Brouwer draws a holding call on Staal.
Official Neil Greenberg scoring chance update, intermission: Caps lead in
chances 5-1. Rangers got their only chance in first two minutes then had to
629005      Washington Capitals


Braden Holtby unflinching as Capitals enter second round


By Katie Carrera


(Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post) In Game 7 against Boston,
netminder Braden Holtby found himself staring down an opponent. The
netminder had crosschecked Bruins forward Rich Peverley, who got up with
what appeared to be the intent of two-handed slashing the rookie
netminder.
As he’s done throughout his rise to prominence in these playoffs, Holtby
didn’t flinch. Holtby crossed his arms in front of his body and stood
motionless as Peverley skated toward him and stopped just short of hitting
the goaltender with his stick.
“I’ve taken my fair number of retaliatory penalties this year, so I think more
in my mind was not to do anything to put the team down,” Holtby said
Friday. “I wasn’t expecting that. I’m glad he didn’t hit me.”
In addition to his solid play in the first round, Holtby’s composure under
pressure was a steadying point for Washington. The team will need him to
maintain that poise against the Rangers and likely at least match Vezina
and Hart finalist Henrik Lundqvist in the second round.
But don’t expect Holtby, who stopped 233 of 248 shots he faced in the first
round, to treat this series or opponent any differently than any other he’s
ever faced.
“It’s still a hockey game. It doesn’t change much,” Holtby said. “Once you
start putting more pressure on yourself for being in the playoffs, that’s when
things go wrong. Just go with the flow right now. It’s just another hockey
game. Go on to play the game we’ve played forever and do whatever we
can to win.”
Holtby’s faced the Rangers twice in his young career, once at Verizon
Center and once at Madison Square Garden. The latter came in the 2011-
12 regular season finale on April 7, when he made 35 saves in a 4-1
Capitals win.
That contest helped Holtby familiarize himself with the details of Madison
Square Garden, which is dimly lit compared to most NHL arenas and simply
feels different with the way the stands pop up around the rink.
“Especially getting used to the lighting and whatnot, and the different
confines. It’s not exactly your typical building,” Holtby said. “It’s just a
different color in there. It’s almost a yellow. That’s the main thing. It’s still a
sheet of ice the same size as everything else.”
Washington Post LOADED: 04.29.2012
629006     Washington Capitals


Henrik Lundqvist on Caps: ‘We really want to beat this team’


By Katie Carrera


The Capitals have been the consistent source playoff frustration for the
New York Rangers under Coach John Tortorella. Washington booted the
blueshirts from the postseason in two of the previous three years (2009 and
2011), and while history has no real bearing on current outcomes, it’s
nothing if not a source of some motivation for the Rangers.
“You try not to think about the past, but it’s hard,” goalie Henrik Lundqvist
told reporters in New York Friday. “They knocked us out two years. We
really want to beat this team.”
Since 1990, the two squads have met five times prior to this Eastern
Conference semifinal that kicks off Saturday afternoon; the Capitals have
won four of them. The only exception was in 1994, the year New York went
on to win the Stanley Cup.
Don’t let fiery Tortorella catch you talking about what happened in the past,
though. Following the Rangers’ practice Friday, he called the history
between these two teams “irrelevant”.
With no morning skate it’s likely that both Tortorella and Coach Dale Hunter
will keep their lineup plans under wraps until warmups, but there are
definitely a few things to note from the Rangers’ side.
— Brian Boyle skated Friday for the first time since suffering a concussion
from a head shot by Ottawa’s Chris Neil. It’s uncertain whether Boyle, New
York’s shutdown centerman, might be able to return in time to have an
impact in this series.
— Unexpectedly missing from the same practice was Brandon Dubinsky,
who has been filling in for Boyle as center of the third line. Dubinsky
suffered an injury to his left leg early in Game 7 against the Senators
Thursday night.
If Dubinsky is unable to suit up it’s possible that defenseman Stu Bickel will
be shifted into an emergency forward role on the fourth line — a scenario
that Tortorella used a few times in the regular season as well — while Steve
Eminger would enter the lineup on defense.
— Unlike when the two teams met in 2011, the Rangers will have captain
Ryan Callahan in the mix against Washington. Callahan, the heart and soul
of New York’s lineup, is playing with an injured finger from blocking shot in
Game 6 of the first round.
Washington Post LOADED: 04.29.2012
629007     Washington Capitals                                                    back there. It’s a tough building to play in front of. He’s going to come
                                                                                  bounce back. We know it.”
                                                                                  Washington Times LOADED: 04.29.2012
Hardly tested by Rangers in Game 1, Braden Holtby still struggles


By Stephen Whyno


NEW YORK — Braden Holtby was used to a barrage of pucks. In the
Washington Capitals‘ first-round series against the Boston Bruins, the
young goaltender saw no fewer than 29 shots a game — and he thrived.
Then came Game 1 of the second-round series against the New York
Rangers on Saturday afternoon, and Holtby saw just 14 and wilted under
the lack of offensive pressure. He allowed three goals in the 3-1 loss, easily
his worst performance of the playoffs.
“Obviously, I wasn’t real happy with it,” Holtby said of his performance. “It’s
a tough game to stay into, mentally-wise, and I didn’t do a good enough job
tonight.”
Holtby admitted that he’d like to have do-overs on the Rangers‘ two third-
period goals that ultimately put the Caps into a 1-0 series hole. But he was
never really comfortable this time at Madison Square Garden.
“When you have a low [amount of] shots in the game, you usually know that
there’s not a flow,” Holtby said. “We weren’t making crisp plays and
whatnot. That’s what happened tonight.”
Jason Chimera and others decried the Caps’ lack of effort, as they were
unable to match the Rangers‘ intensity. That’s tough to get a grip on
considering New York just polished off the Ottawa Senators on Thursday
night.
“I think they had a tired group over there and we didn’t bring it tonight,
myself especially,” Holtby said. “I think I had a tough time getting into the
game, not because of the stakes but just because of how the game went. I
didn’t bring the level up when I needed to, and I’ll work on that for Game 2.”
Artem Anisimov’s opening goal went under Holtby’s arm, though it came
after the New York forward outmuscled Mike Green. Chris Kreider’s third-
period goal that broke the 1-1 tie was a blast following a defensive miscue
“I don’t know, that really surprised me. The release of the shot kind of
fooled me. I’m not really sure why; [he] put it just above my pad; it was a
nice-placed shot,” Holtby said. “Got to give the guy credit, but from that far
out I think I’d like to have that one.”
Brad Richards‘ insurance goal went five-hole after he had plenty of space to
maneuver.
“Richards, that was kind of my guy. I kind of let him go,” forward Jason
Chimera said. “That’s my fault on the third goal, so I think I take
responsibility for that.”
Even considering Holtby’s rough afternoon, teammates and coach Dale
Hunter did not throw him under the bus.
“Holtsy gave us a chance to win, and that’s all we ask from our goalie,”
Hunter said.
Right wing Troy Brouwer lamented the “high-quality opportunities” the Caps
allowed the Rangers to get, saying, “Holts was good again.”
Holtby knows he might need to adjust if the shot totals continue to be low in
this series.
“Just have to keep your mind in it. Find ways remind yourself of certain
things you’re going to do,” he said. “The biggest thing is to not get upset
with the fact that, [don’t] start thinking that if they come down here and
score that it’s going to be the end of the world. You’ve just got to play every
shot the same. It’s hard to do; it’s easy to say, but that’s what you have to
do.”
But the Caps have seen Holtby struggle and redeem himself before. See
his return to the NHL a month after allowing five goals to the San Jose
Sharks, and then Game 7 of the Bruins series after giving up four in Game
6 with the chance to eliminate Boston.
“He’s pretty tough on himself. He’s going to come back, he’s going to
prepare like he always does. And he’s going to want to be better,” Brouwer
said. “He’s going to expect more out of himself. We expect him to be solid
629008     Washington Capitals


Green’s gaffe opens door for Capitals’ loss to Rangers in Game 1


By Stephen Whyno


NEW YORK — A brutal change by Scott Hannan altered the course of the
playoffs for the Washington Capitals a year ago. It led to a Tampa Bay
Lightning overtime goal on the way to a sweep.
Mike Green’s brutal hesitation to get off the ice already cost them Game 1
at Madison Square Garden in a 3-1 loss to the New York Rangers on
Saturday afternoon. The Caps sure hope this change doesn’t portend the
same bad things in this second-round series.
“Every game is a game of mistakes out there,” coach Dale Hunter said.
“Just part of hockey.”
The Caps had the Rangers playing their style: Low-scoring, tight-checking
and the score tied up well into the third period.
Then Green and Roman Hamrlik got crossed up. Green started to shade
toward the bench for a change as the Rangers carried the puck up the nice.
The defenseman saw rookie Chris Kreider streaking down the right wing
and tried to get back, as his 38-year-old partner tried desperately to get
back into the play.
He couldn’t. Green was already late. Kreider got plenty of open ice and
blasted a shot past Braden Holtby to ignite a nervous Garden crowd.
“Yeah, I was going to the bench and nobody jumped, so I had to go back
and he had a step on [Hamrlik],” Green said. “He made a great shot from
just over the blue line.”
Dennis Wideman was waiting on the top of the bench. Hunter explained
that he thought the Capitals would keep the puck in the offensive zone and
were safe to change. Not doing so meant a different direction of the play.
Hunter put some of the blame on Hamrlik getting caught up ice, and the
veteran defenseman shouldered some of it himself.
“We kind of switched the sides; I end up on the right side and I was a little
bit confused. My bad,” Hamrlik said. “I have to stay back and take the guy
and he had lots of speed and just make a good play. That’s the mistakes
that cost us, and we have to be better.”
At that point, New York pounced. Leaving Brad Richards wide open at the
side of the net is usually a bad idea, and the star center took his time
finding a hole to put one past Holtby, who allowed three goals on 14 shots.
“Obviously, I wasn’t real happy with [my game],” the young goaltender said.
“It’s a tough game to stay into it, mentally-wise, and I didn’t do a good
enough job.”
This was not Green’s finest performance. He couldn’t hit the net as
Washington was desperately trying to put pucks on Henrik Lundqvist in the
final minutes, and he was outmuscled badly by Artem Anisimov on the first
goal of the game.
“Just got the net and it was either haul him down; [I] wasn’t able too and he
just spun through it and I couldn’t see where it went from there,” Green
said.
It went right under Holtby’s arm at 12:38 of the second. But Jason Chimera
was able to net the equalizer with 3.5 seconds left in the second period.
From there, the Caps seemed to have the Rangers right where they wanted
them. Hunter’s team likes living on the edge, using that to beat the Boston
Bruins in the opening round.
Saturday provided yet another example of how one blunder can be
disastrous.
“They’re a good defensive team and when we had guys jump up in the play
and we turned it over, then they had guys going the other way,” right wing
Troy Brouwer said. “Then they were able to get the puck in our zone and
cycle it around. Sometimes, when you’re taking chances, it’s going to bite
you.”
Washington Times LOADED: 04.29.2012
629009      Websites                                                              FOXSports.com LOADED: 04.29.2012


FOXSports.com / Kings effectively sticking to "Sutter's Law"


Jon Rosen


If there was ever a simple formula towards winning a playoff series, Darryl
Sutter could write a book about it. "Sutter's Law" would be the shortest book
ever written.
"Goaltenders, special teams, top players, unsung heroes and discipline," he
revealed in a memorable, pithy quote last week. "Write it down and don't
forget it."
The Kings are doing just fine in the unsung heroes department. Matt
Greene joined Dustin Penner, Trevor Lewis, Brad Richardson and the
handful of other players not named Dustin Brown, Anze Kopitar or Mike
Richards in etching out a clutch performance in what is closer to resembling
a playoff "run" for a team that won only its second playoff series in 19 years
last week.
Greene's shorthanded game-winning goal – in which he traveled the length
of the ice to chip in a Brown rebound over Brian Elliott's shoulder – was the
second shorthanded goal by a defenseman in Kings playoff history and the
first since Rob Blake in 1993.
"I think it was a speed play up the ice," Sutter said. "We talk about pressure
as much as we can on the penalty kill in certain situations, and it's
awesome to see Matt Greene go 200 feet to the blue paint to score."
It was Los Angeles' third postseason shorthanded goal and put an
exclamation point on a three-for-three penalty killing effort. Apparently this
team grades highly in Sutter's special teams criteria as well.
"Other than goaltending, it's probably been the best part of our game
consistently all year," Brown said about the team's shorthanded play. "We
have a good game plan, guys are really comfortable in playing that, and it
also helps that we've had some pairs here that P.K. together. Me and Kopi
P.K.'d together for five, six years, so it almost becomes instinct…we know
where each other are going to be. That's where it really helps – closing
down lanes and also on the other end of getting offensive chances."
As for the goaltending portion of Sutter's Law, the Kings once again
received a stellar performance by Jonathan Quick, who stopped 28 of 29
shots and was better than Brian Elliott across the ice, not that the Blues'
goaltender could be faulted in the slightest for his 59 minutes of effective
netminding.
While discipline was an issue for a short period of time when Dwight King
ran Alex Pietrangelo into the boards late in the second period – his hit
warranted a two-minute boarding minor, and it is possible that King could
receive a fine or in an unlikely event a one-game suspension – Los Angeles
was shorthanded only three times Saturday night. The Kings have received
fewer power plays than their opposition in only two of six playoff games
thus far.
The one area where Los Angeles could show some minor improvement is
under Sutter's "top players" criteria. While Brown has been a dynamic force
in all six playoff games, and Kopitar, Richards and Williams have provided
quality minutes in their two-way games that haven't completely been
reflected in their stats, there's still some room for Jeff Carter and Drew
Doughty to add their own contributions to the scoresheet and playoff effort.
Doughty has made tremendous strides in his defensive game, and while
Carter has spread out opposing matchups, he's still looking for his first goal
since March 20.
So how has the team been graded thus far in Sutter's five point plan? Early
returns have the Kings at 4-0 on the road and 5-1 overall in the 2012
Stanley Cup Playoffs.
"We probably gained confidence, but we were a pretty confident group
going in," Brown said. "I think a lot of players who have been in this room
for a while and have been playing together for a while, so we understood
the situation we were in. We also understand the type of team that we have.
Knocking off the top seed, Vancouver, obviously adds a little bit of
confidence, but I think we all understand that St. Louis is a different type of
beast, and it's going to be a real hard series."
629010     Websites                                                              After a faceoff win in his team's zone, Brown took the puck and sped down
                                                                                 the right side of the ice before putting a shot on net that Elliott stopped. But
                                                                                 nobody on the Blues seemed to think play would continue.
CNN/Sports Illustrated / Hitchcock's strategy a mystery                          Elliott left a rebound in the crease that a charging Greene put in the net, a
                                                                                 goal that nobody on the Blues seemed to think was possible because of
                                                                                 how long the puck lay unattended after the save. But it was still live -- and
Adrian Dater                                                                     Greene's recognition of that fact was largely why his team won.
                                                                                 "The puck was laying there, and I just took a chance and whacked at it, and
                                                                                 it went in. It was a lucky bounce," Greene told NBC.
Matt Greene scored short-handed late in the second period and Jonathan
Quick was strong in net as the Los Angeles Kings beat the St. Louis Blues        "'Brownie' made the play happen." The Blues have enough offense that
3-1 in the opener of a Western Conference semifinal series.                      they don't need to play like they did in Game 1. Does Hitchcock realize this?
                                                                                 If he doesn't, it will be a shame for a team that has everything you'd want.
You live by the one-goal-lead, sit-back-and-trap-it-up-from-there-sword --       But that's taking nothing away from a Kings team that is proving more
you die by the one-goal-lead, sit-back-and-trap-it-up-from-there-sword.          resilient than Henry VIII.
The St. Louis Blues were a victim of their own conservatism in Game 1 of         CNN/Sports Illustrated LOADED: 04.29.2012
their Western Conference semifinal series against the Los Angeles Kings,
who went into the Scottrade Center and beat the Blues 3-1 Saturday night.
The right team won this game -- the tape of which will not be submitted to
the Hockey Hall of Fame for viewing by future generations. It wasn't a very
good game really, one filled with too much checkerboard mechanical
decision-making and not enough pure playoff freelance hatred.
The Blues have fallen in love with a pullback method of hockey, and why
not? They finished second in the Western Conference using it, and you'll
never, ever catch me second-guessing Ken Hitchcock's mindset inside a
200x85-foot sheet of iced-over real estate.
But forgive this one observation of the kind of strategy that says:
"Get an early lead, and then just collapse your team around your goaltender
and play the percentages from there and you'll probably win the hockey
game."
It's too hard to play that way all the time.
Hitchcock has to believe one thing with this team of his: they're more than
capable of winning a game by three or four goals. It doesn't always have to
be up to the goalie and the defense to win in a lockdown mode just because
the offense gets an early goal.
That's why the favored Blues lost this one as the No. 2 seed on home ice.
They stopped doing the things that got them the lead in the first place. They
went into DEFCON 4 mode after David Backes' goal 9:16 into the first
period, but it was just too soon for that.
The Blues started playing like one goal was all they deserved to win by.
They went into a layered defense, predicated on a dump-it-in, get-a-
change-and-we'll-be-OK mindset.
Again, it was too soon for that.
The Kings' defense was treated to a more casual group of Blues forwards,
making it easier for it to get the puck to the red line, dump it in, and get a
good forecheck going from the forwards. It should have been the opposite,
but Hitchcock's group forgot about the hard forechecking part. The Blues
went to sleep, leading to the tying goal by Slava Voynov with 3:02 left in the
first period. Voynov slipped in down the weak side and one-timed the
crossing pass of Dustin Penner -- Dustin Penner -- for the equalizer past
Brian Elliott.
It's easy to say in hindsight you had a feeling the Blues might have already
cost themselves an easy Game 1 win by that point, but let's say it anyway:
the Blues cost themselves an easy Game 1 win at that point.
The Blues got 13 shots on goal in the first period, and 16 on Jonathan
Quick the final two. Why didn't they stick with the formula that got them the
lead in the first place? Maybe that's too easy a criticism.
The Blues, after all, did lose valuable defender Alex Pietrangelo late in the
second period after a high hit from Dwight King into the boards. We have to
wait to see if "Petro", arguably the best and most important player on the
Blues, is seriously hurt and might miss more time.
But the Kings capitalized on a more laissez-faire game plan from Hitchcock,
with the winning goal coming from defenseman Matt Greene with 1:03 left
in the second. Greene scored the goal, but Dustin Brown was the King who
made it all happen.
629011     Websites


CNN/Sports Illustrated / Second round series breakdown: Rangers (1) vs.
Capitals (7)


Adrian Dater


Key injuries: New York -- C Brian Boyle (concussion, indefinite);
Washington -- G Tomas Vokoun (groin, day-to-day).
Snapshot: Some teams just get out of the first round in expected, ho-hum
fashion and hope to get more energy from their next series. These two
clubs are most definitely not like that. The top-seeded Rangers needed
seven games to squeeze past No. 8 Ottawa, and the Capitals went the
distance, and then some, against defending Cup champion Boston. Both
series were terrific, with Washington's going to a couple levels better than
that.
We can automatically look to the goaltending match-up here as potentially
the most fascinating aspect of the series, maybe of any we'll see in the
playoffs from here on. Can rookie Braden Holtby come through again for
Washington? Or will Henrik "Just give me the Vezina now" Lundqvist prove
that the kid in the Caps' net was just a one-round wonder?
If this series had started a couple months ago, it would be easy to size it up:
the disciplined Rangers against the run-and-gun, defense-is-only-an-option
Capitals. No more. Dale Hunter has somehow gotten his troops to buy in to
the same kind of system that John Tortorella demands: defense first and
nothing fancy or chancy at the offensive end.
Personally, I'm not much of a "here's what happened in the past between
these teams" analyst because I don't think the past has much to do with
anything that will happen in playoff hockey. If that were usually the case,
the Caps would be home by now, and so would teams like Phoenix and Los
Angeles in the West. But here is one stat to think about: Washington is 8-4
against Lundqvist in the playoffs, with series wins in 2009 and 2011.
Lundqvist's saves percentage against them is .912, well below his usual
average. So does that mean the Caps come in confident against King
Henrik? Maybe, but certainly not overconfident. This is a different Rangers
team now, better in front of him in all parts of the game.
The Bruins were frustrated by Washington's shot-blocking, collapsing
defense in round one, and never really got their fast transition game going.
It will be harder for the Caps to do that with the Rangers, because New
York doesn't like to play that way. They'd rather collapse their D and block a
lot of shots and get opportunities off that. Which team will crack first and
maybe deviate from its preferred style? Neither will want to, so getting the
first goal in each game will be major in this series.
Spotlight's on: Alex Ovechkin. Sorry to pick the guy who already gets so
much pub, but if the Caps are going to the Eastern final, it figures they'll
need more from Ovie than they got in Round 1. Not that two goals and five
points in seven games against Boston was bad, but maybe we can all
agree that the Caps will need the point-per-game Ovie in this one. Then
again, with teammates such as Alex Semin and Nicklas Backstrom showing
their old form again -- and with a hot goalie in Holtby -- maybe not. But if
there is one player who has the talent to foul up Tortorella's checking
schemes by himself for a game or two, it's Ovechkin.
X-Factor for the Capitals: Mike Green. After an injury-plagued regular
season, he's looking good again. He played a strong series against Boston,
with a plus-5 showing and two points. His slapshot from the point is better,
and no doubt the Caps will need to get a power play goal or two or three to
beat the Rangers, who are so tough in 5-on-5 hockey.
X-Factor for Rangers: Marc Staal. Speaking of previously banged up D-men
who are playing better... Staal scored his first goal since February in
Thursday's Game 7 win over Ottawa. Like Green, he is big and mobile and
a key to how the Rangers get the puck out of their zone. He probably
doesn't have Green's skill set, but he can do good things at the offensive
end if given the chance.
The Pick: Capitals in six.
CNN/Sports Illustrated LOADED: 04.29.2012

	
  

				
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