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Stanley Cup Playoffs 2013 – Day 39

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!

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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.

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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.

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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:

Pittsburgh     at     Boston     8:00 PM EST

Comments

  1. says

    I think it’d be an outrage if Byslma was let go. He did appear saddened, shaken and I’ll say “beaten” at the post-game news conference but it is what it is. The team just isn’t playing as a team and like Corey Perry in the Ducks vs. Wings series, Evgeni Malkin is getting shut down. This is not the coaches fault – Boston is just playing better team hockey – it happens. I love Dan as a coach – if they get drop him it’d be a real shame.

  2. TomW says

    One often sees a coach of a generally successful team being fired if, after several years, they seem unable to translate regular-season success into a Stanley Cup. One needn’t look further than Vancouver right now for an example. At some point ownership questions what must be done to take a good team to the next level, and replacing a coach is generally a lot easier than replacing a line-up, and there aren’t any salary cap implications.

    In the case of Dan Bylsma, one cannot say that his team has fallen short – having won a Stanley Cup very recently – as justification to terminate him in the quest for someone to get the Penguins to the next level. There are 30 teams, and the salary cap has brought about a certain measure of parity in the league. No matter how good you are, you’re not going to run the table year after year.

    Of greater concern to the Penguins should be the fragile body of their all-world captain, Sid Crosby. For all the attempts of the NHL to prop him up as the Second Coming of Gretzky, I think the comparisons were premature and completely unfair. When healthy, he’s generally fantastic. The stat sheet bears that out. But the game is a lot more physical now than when the Great One graced the ice, and we may never see that kind of sustained offensive punch ever again.

    But something that caught my ear in Crosby’s interview after Game 3′s overtime loss to the Bruins convinces me that this year’s Penguins squad probably isn’t going to make this much of a series.

    “I think if we play the same way, we’re gonna get our chances and we’ve got to trust that. I thought we generated more scoring chances than them, and probably deserved better this game. I think the whole game we felt pretty comfortable with our play. I think we felt like it was just a matter of time before we were gonna be able to get it, and unfortunately we didn’t…”

    The Penguins have lost all three games to the Bruins. You simply CAN’T be “comfortable” with your play if it has been insufficient to register a win. And you certainly don’t want your captain saying so. If they can be comfortable with a best effort which still results in a loss in the Conference Finals, and have no higher gear to switch into, then the series is already over.

    With regard to making coaching changes for failing to win the Cup, one exceedingly successful team over the years isn’t making any noise about following suit. During the just-concluded 14-season run of the present incarnation of the Pacific Division, the San Jose Sharks qualified for the playoffs 13 times. During that span they won the division title six times and placed second another four, yet never won the conference title nor contended for the Stanley Cup (even as the other two California teams both accomplished this feat in 2007 and 2012 respectively). If ever someone might become a scapegoat for a team’s inability to hoist something other than a division banner to the rafters, it’s talented Sharks coach Todd McLellan. But General Manager Doug Wilson seems committed to McLellan’s leadership, and frankly, if the team ever did let him go, there would be a long line of other teams ecstatic to pick him up.

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