Day-39 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs:
INKTIME on RINKTIME Observations and Random thoughts by Chris Madsen:
NO KEITH, NO PROBLEM: The game was there for the taking. The Blackhawks Norris trophy winning Defenseman, Duncan Keith, was relegated to the Press Box courtesy of a 1-game suspension…the Defending Stanley Cup Champions had a chance to pull even in the WCFS…and the Kings were hosting Game-4 of the series at Staples Center–where they had not lost since the month of March. So, add it all up and the Series shifts to Chicago dead-even, right? WRONG!
Despite scoring the first goal of the game, the Kings failed to show that killer instinct that made them a Champion and allowed the Hawks to overcome deficits–TWICE–en route to a 3-2 heart-breaker, to a go along with a not so subtle shove to the brink of elimination.
I thought Kings Coach Darryl Sutter made a very astute observation about how the absence of Duncan Keith really didn’t impact the Blackhawks approach to the game (around the 1:44 mark of this video):
Then again, it also doesn’t hurt when you have as fluid a skater and one that comes with the Hockey IQ of a Niklas Hjalmarsson–who was an impact player in this game from his opening shift. And Brent Seabrook found a way to elevate his all-star game to another level, and that spelled F-R-U-S-T-R-A-T-I-O-N for the Kings–especially in the 3rd Period when despite trailing by just a goal they could only muster TWO SHOTS!
GETTING FITTED FOR HORNS: “This is when heroes are made.”–Those inspirational words were uttered five weeks ago when the Playoffs started by Kings Captain Dustin Brown.
Unfortunately, the Playoffs are also a time when unflattering references to “dogs” and “goats” are made.
In a must win game, Dustin Brown and fellow star teammate Anze Kopitar were nowhere to be found on the score sheet. In fact, Brown has 1 goal in his last 9 Playoff games–and none in the conference final. While Anze Kopitar –who led the club in Regular Season scoring–has 1 goal in 13 Post-Season games, but none in this series versus the Blackhawks.
WHAT HAVE YOU DONE FOR ME, LATELY: Pittsburgh Penguins Head Coach Dan Bylsma is one of the youngest, most respected and most successful coaches in the NHL. Over the course of 4 seasons with the Pens, the 42-year old Bylsma has amassed a record of (201-92-25). Those 201 victories ranks second in team history to Eddie Johnston’s (232-224-60) all-time franchise record.
Yet checkout yesterday’s presser with Coach Bylsma, where it took roughly :50 to broach the topic of his future–considering his club is down 3-games-to-none to Boston in the Eastern Conference Final:
Now to Bylsma’s credit, he massaged his answer to focus more on the accountability of the team.
But this response: “I’m not coaching, don’t coach, have never coached for my job,” IMHO is a larger measure of the man.
And if the Pens would be foolish enough to listen to the media (there’s a joke in there somewhere), I am certain the Rangers, Canucks and Stars would be more than happy to scrap their current course of action to accommodate Mr. Bylsma.
UNTIL THE NEXT TIME WE LACE ‘EM UP AND HIT THE ICE!–Chris Madsen
|Pittsburgh||at||Boston||8:00 PM EST|