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Stanley Cup Playoffs 2013 – Day 21

Day-21 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs:

INKTIME  on RINKTIME Observations and Random thoughts by Chris Madsen:

HOW TOUGH ARE HOCKEY PLAYERS?  If you weren’t familiar with the name Colin Greening prior to last night, chances are you are now.  It was Greening who poked a loose puck past Tomas Vokoun in double-OT to lift the Senators to 2-1 victory in Game-3 of the Eastern Conference semi-finals over the heavily favored Penguins.  But did you know that Greening had to have pieces of a composite stick removed from his face in stages–during and after the game???!!!

Apparently, Colin took a high stick to the face and team doctors immediately tried to remove fragments–some of them referred to as “large” during the 2nd Period, then cleaned out the remaining fragments AFTER the game.

What I found remarkable was how matter-of-factly Greening reacted to the entire ordeal: “You’ve got a lot of adrenaline going through your body…but they were just small pieces.”

And as for potting the GWG: “Obviously you kind of dream of that growing up playing in the garage or something — picturing you being able to score an overtime goal in the playoffs.”  Perhaps that old adage IS right…”Winning cures everything!”

THE PLAYERS WERE NESTLED ALL SNUG IN THEIR BEDS: Following their Second Round Opening Game loss to the Blackhawks, Red Wings Coach Mike Babcock felt the one thing he couldn’t coach his players on was getting some rest.  The Wings had just completed a hard-fought, 7-games series with the Ducks and fatigue was evident and subsequently addressed–by flying the team home.  This allowed players to sleep in their own beds, get their body clocks readjusted to the CENTRAL and EASTERN time zones and shelve Game-1 and focus on Game-2.  So, the Red Wings flew back to Chicago a few days later…suited-up Saturday…and proceeded to lay a whooping on the Hawks and even-up the Series at a game apiece.

On a much smaller scale, the Kings took advantage of playing not only in their own time zone–but in their own State–by busting out of San Jose after a disheartening OT loss on Saturday and re-grouping in a much more familiar environment.

”We were home at pretty much the same time as we would coming from Staples on a regular night,” center Anze Kopitar said. ”It’s a 50-minute flight, so it’s pretty quick. I think it’s good for us.”  The Kings will jet from SoCal to NoCal today, while the Blackhawks and Red Wings lace ‘em up tonight.

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AND WHILE WE’RE ON THE SUBJECT OF THE BLACKHAWKS, KINGS AND SENATORS: Daniel Alfredsson of the Ottawa Senators, Dustin Brown of the Los Angeles Kings and Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks have been declared as the three finalists for the 2012-13 Mark Messier NHL Leadership, which is presented to “the player who exemplifies great
leadership qualities to his team, on and off the ice during the regular season.”

Mark Messier solicits suggestions from club and League personnel and NHL fans to compile a list of potential candidates. However, the selection of the three finalists and ultimate winner is Messier’s alone…how about that!

Which of the three finalists would you choose?  Feel free to share your thoughts in the COMMENTS box below.

My choice:  TOEWS…now, if he would only score a goal in the Post Season!  It’s been awhile.

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UNTIL THE NEXT TIME WE LACE ‘EM UP AND HIT THE ICE!–Chris Madsen

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TONIGHT’S SCHEDULE:

Chicago at     Detroit     7:30 PM EST
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Stanley Cup Playoffs 2013 – Day 18

Day-18 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs:

INKTIME  on RINKTIME Observations and Random thoughts by Chris Madsen:

HOW TO LAND A SHARK IN :22 SECONDS:  After San Jose potted three straight goals to take a 3-2 lead over the Kings in the Third Period, the tide of this game had seemingly turned and the thought crossed my mind that perhaps the Sharks had shaken off the rust of a long lay-off between series and now we were about to see that same lean, mean killing machine we saw during the Opening Round against the Canucks.

But the Kings set the hook for disastrous turn of events, by forcing a tired Brad Stuart to take a tripping penalty with 2:41 to play and moments later teammate Marc-Edouard Vlasic inadvertently heaved the puck over the glass for a D-O-G penalty…giving the Kings a 2-man advantage.  Then a Captain did what a Captain is supposed to do–Dustin Brown swatted home a loose puck in a goal-mouth scramble to tie the game…and then, a mere :22 later…Trevor Lewis  sent Staples Center into a toal frenzy by completing an improbable comeback and securing a 4-3 victory and a 2-games-to-none series advantage.

However, the truth of the matter is that the Sharks have outplayed the Kings in 3 of the last 4 Periods of this series and the guy (Brad Stuart) who may have opened this flood gate, played one heck of a game (he had a goal and two assists).  Sometimes the game just doesn’t seem fair:  “I think 5-on-5, we were the better team,” said Stuart. ” We keep doing those kinds of things, we’ll get our wins. That’s what we have to do. We have to respond in that way. We’re being tested, and it’s about how we’re going to respond. The key for us is to come out and do a lot of the same things we were doing tonight.  We’ve got to put it behind us.  There’s two ways for us to respond. We can either fold up and say, ‘Oh, at least we tried,’ or we can say, ‘You know what? We can win.’ ”

Dustin Brown may very well concur:  “We’re happy with the result, but we have to play better. We can’t let it get to
that situation every night.”

Next stop—The Shark Tank!

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OFF THE SCHNEID:  In their decisive game-7 victory over Toronto, Patrice Bergeron decided to join the Post-Season party by finally scoring his first Playoff goal to tie the game…then another to win it in Overtime.

But remember, it was Brad Marchand who lead this Bruins team in scoring during the Regular Season and he too had failed to show up on the Score Sheet…until last night!  In fact the play went, Marchand to Bergeron,  Bergeron passed
across the slot to Marchand for Brad’s first of the Playoffs, a game winner, and Boston’s third straight Overtime victory–and this time, the Rangers were the victim, 3-2 in the Opener of the Eastern Conference Semi-finals.

New York Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist was the closest thing I’ve seen to the Kings Jonathan Quick on this night.  Yet even Henrik proved he was human:  “I kind of knew he was coming in the middle, but I was just too locked in on the puck.  Sooner or later when you face a lot of chances like that, you’re going to make a mistake.”

Now, be on the lookout for Marchand–who likes to score goals in bunches: “It’s always frustrating not to score, but there’s so many other areas of the game. It’s always nice to get the first one and you hope you just keep going.”

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OH, AND FOR YOU HOCKEY HISTORY BUFFS:  The B’s and Rangers last met in the playoffs in 1973 when NY won the First Round Series in five games.

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UNTIL THE NEXT TIME WE LACE ‘EM UP AND HIT THE ICE!–Chris Madsen

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TONIGHT’S SCHEDULE:

Ottawa at    Pittsburgh 7:30 PM EST