NHL Off-Season Mayhem

NHL Off-Season Mayhem

The NHL season is over, with the Pittsburgh Penguins claiming Lord Stanley by winning the series 4-2 over the Nashville Predators. For once in my life, I was cheering on Pittsburgh. I have never been able to gain much respect for the Nashville club due to its dirty play and, let’s just say, not very classy fan base. In my opinion, it was the least desirable Stanley Cup Final that I wanted to witness. As I stated in a previous article, with upcoming changes for my Chicago Blackhawks, those changes have come and more are on the way. The inevitable trade with Scott Darling being traded to the Carolina Hurricanes for a 3rd round draft pick in the upcoming 2017 NHL Draft. I was very sad to hear about it, but at the same time, I was surprised by the return that Chicago did get, considering the return that Los Angeles Kings received by trading Ben Bishop to the Dallas Stars for a 4th round draft pick in this upcoming draft. There has already been another deal arranged, although not ofically announced with Trevor van Riemsdyk, and Marcus Kruger being sent to the new Las Vegas Golden Knights. Details of the arrangement have yet to be specified. One player at least will be taken by Las Vegas via the NHL Expansion Draft coming on the same day as the NHL awards presentation, which is June 21st. Here is a brief rundown of the laws of the day for the expansion draft: Las Vegas must select one player from all existing clubs totaling 30 players. They must select 14 forwards, 9 defensemen, and 3...
Legacy cemented: Penguins stay on top of hockey world with another Stanley Cup

Legacy cemented: Penguins stay on top of hockey world with another Stanley Cup

by USA Today All Sports Kevin Allen    The Pittsburgh Penguins, who won the Stanley Cup Final in six games, are the first team to win back-to-back titles since the Detroit Red Wings in 1998. USA TODAY Sports (Photo: Christopher Hanewinckel, USA TODAY Sports) NASHVILLE — Pittsburgh Penguins coach Mike Sullivan says a team cannot become the first NHL team in the salary cap era to win back-to-back Stanley Cup championships without bruising egos and hurting feelings. “We push them hard,” Sullivan said. “It’s not always warm and fuzzy.” But the agony of the journey was all forgotten Sunday when the Penguins downed the Nashville Predators 2-0 in Game 6 on the strength of Matt Murray’s 27-save shutout and Patric Hornqvist’s late goal. It is the franchise’s fifth Stanley Cup championship. Related: bathroom-bill-could-end-dallas-bid-to-host-draft This is a special team. This is a unique collection of talent. This is probably a team that deserves consideration to be called a dynasty. In the last 10 years, they’ve been to five conference finals and four Stanley Cup Finals, winning three of them. Related: a-friday-with-phil-mickelson-at-the-fedex-st-jude-classic MORE NHL: Penguins repeat as Stanley Cup champions Penguins’ Sidney Crosby wins back-to-back Conn Smythe trophies Penguins have become NHL’s newest dynasty Stanley Cup Final controversy: Predators’ goal waved off after quick whistle “We believe we have a unique chemistry within our room,” Sullivan said. “We think it’s a competitive advantage.” With Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin leading the way, the Penguins can dominate with talent. But it’s mental toughness that has carried them to two titles over the past 12 months. “Everybody kept saying ‘repeating is hard to do,’” Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford. “But no...
Game 3 of Stanley Cup Final nearly perfect for Predators and NHL

Game 3 of Stanley Cup Final nearly perfect for Predators and NHL

Kevin Allen , USA TODAY Sports With all of Nashville behind them, the Predators dominated Game 3 to win their first ever Stanley Cup Final game. USA TODAY Sports (Photo: Scott Rovak, USA TODAY Sports) NASHVILLE — Coaches will tell you that there is no such thing as a perfect team performance. But the Nashville Predators’ 5-1 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final may have come close to being a perfect win in terms of what it meant for the team, Nashville fans, goalie Pekka Rinne and the NHL. “It was electric here,” Predators forward Craig Smith said. This was the first Stanley Cup Final game ever played in Nashville, and even during warm-ups the lower bowl was packed with fans, all standing, all cheering and chanting with as much energy as you will ever witness at a sporting event. Rinne said when players came into the dressing room after warm-ups they were all telling each other that they had never seen anything like that. “And we were all aware how crazy it was outside,” Predators forward James Neal said. NHL officials have to be pleased with the outcome simply because it is very clear now that this could be a highly entertaining series featuring two energized fan bases. MORE: Predators claw back into Stanley Cup Final with Game 3 win over Penguins P.K. Subban on what Sidney Crosby said after Game 3: ‘He told me my breath smelled’ In Pittsburgh, Penguins shirts and signs are everywhere. In Nashville, the buzz about the Predators flows up Broadway. Talk of the Predators fills the honky-tonks....
Little sense to be made of Penguins’ Game 1 win over Predators in Stanley Cup Final

Little sense to be made of Penguins’ Game 1 win over Predators in Stanley Cup Final

by SI Top Stories ALEX PREWITT PITTSBURGH — Welcome, friend. Fancy a beer? Perhaps a catfish po’boy, provided your appetite didn’t dissolve after seeing all those piscine guts strewn across the ice? In any case, find a seat. Settle down. Digesting this funhouse mirror of a match might take some time. Let us begin at the end of Game 1 in this 2017 Stanley Cup Final, with the cherubic rookie raising both arms and PPG Paints Arena rattling back to life. Exactly 37 minutes had elapsed with Pittsburgh’s shot counter stuck on eight, and there must have been moments when even the defending champions felt like the drought would stretch into Tuesday morning. Then came Jake Guentzel, scoreless in his past eight, sprung into space and hoping to heave something—anything—onto Nashville netminder Pekka Rinne. Inside the left face-off circle, Guentzel reared back and fired. The puck screamed into the top corner, the entire building followed suit, and… Well, hold up. Let’s rewind, back to that eighth on-goal attempt, less an actual shot than Penguins center Nick Bonino arriving at the arcade with a sleeve of quarters and pulling the plunger on the pinball machine. “It’s funny,” Bonino said later, after his empty-net heave had clinched a 5-3 win and a 1-0 series lead, “you try to get the perfect shot off a lot. Then you just throw it at the net with one hand and it goes in…We’ll take ’em how we can get ’em, for sure.” Certainly Bonino banking the puck off Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm’s knee—and then past Rinne—with 17 seconds left in the first period applies....
Little sense to be made of Penguins’ Game 1 win over Predators in Stanley Cup Final

Little sense to be made of Penguins’ Game 1 win over Predators in Stanley Cup Final

ALEX PREWITT PITTSBURGH — Welcome, friend. Fancy a beer? Perhaps a catfish po’boy, provided your appetite didn’t dissolve after seeing all those piscine guts strewn across the ice? In any case, find a seat. Settle down. Digesting this funhouse mirror of a match might take some time. Let us begin at the end of Game 1 in this 2017 Stanley Cup Final, with the cherubic rookie raising both arms and PPG Paints Arena rattling back to life. Exactly 37 minutes had elapsed with Pittsburgh’s shot counter stuck on eight, and there must have been moments when even the defending champions felt like the drought would stretch into Tuesday morning. Then came Jake Guentzel, scoreless in his past eight, sprung into space and hoping to heave something—anything—onto Nashville netminder Pekka Rinne. Inside the left face-off circle, Guentzel reared back and fired. The puck screamed into the top corner, the entire building followed suit, and… Well, hold up. Let’s rewind, back to that eighth on-goal attempt, less an actual shot than Penguins center Nick Bonino arriving at the arcade with a sleeve of quarters and pulling the plunger on the pinball machine. “It’s funny,” Bonino said later, after his empty-net heave had clinched a 5-3 win and a 1-0 series lead, “you try to get the perfect shot off a lot. Then you just throw it at the net with one hand and it goes in…We’ll take ’em how we can get ’em, for sure.” Certainly Bonino banking the puck off Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm’s knee—and then past Rinne—with 17 seconds left in the first period applies. So does Evgeni Malkin...
Stanley Cup 2017: Predators vs. Penguins predictions

Stanley Cup 2017: Predators vs. Penguins predictions

The 2017 Stanley Cup Final will make history regardless of the outcome. The Pittsburgh Penguins could become the first team in 19 years to repeat as champions. The Nashville Predators, meanwhile, are looking to hoist their first Cup in the franchise’s 18-season existence. Nashville, the playoffs’ 16th seed, has dispatched the Chicago Blackhawks, St. Louis Blues and Anaheim Ducks, going 12-4 in the process. Pittsburgh has defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets, Washington Capitals and Ottawa Senators, needing two overtimes in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final to get the job done (and a Game 7 against the Capitals, too). MORE NHL: Stanley Cup 2017: Five burning questions for Penguins-Predators Final Predators, Penguins tangle in intriguing Stanley Cup Final Here’s how experts in the USA TODAY Network see the series playing out: Kevin Allen: Penguins in six. Without Ryan Johansen, who do the Predators use against Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin? The Predators have an edge in net, but the Penguins just defeated a goalie (Craig Anderson) who was playing as impressively as Pekka Rinne. The Predators’ defensemen are a talented group, but they won’t play the Penguins tighter than the Ottawa Senators did. Adam Vingan: Penguins in seven. The Predators have been incredibly resilient this postseason, winning 12 of 16 games without suffering consecutive losses or trailing in their previous three series. It comes down to the center battle. Nashville might not be able to handle Pittsburgh’s depth there without Ryan Johansen and potentially Mike Fisher. Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin could be too much to handle up front. Joe Rexrode: Predators in six. This looks like a...