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Friday, May 25, 2018

Oilers Make It Official -- Gulutzan, Yawney, Viveiros Join Coaching Staff

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President of Hockey Operations and General Manager, Peter Chiarelli, announced the Edmonton Oilers have hired Glen Gulutzan, Trent Yawney and Manny Viveiros as assistant coaches.

Gulutzan, 46, spent the past two seasons as head coach of the NHL's Calgary Flames. Gulutzan helped the Flames reach the playoffs in 2016-17 and accumulated a record of 82-68-14 in 164 games as Calgary's bench boss.

Prior to joining the Flames, Gulutzan was an assistant coach with the Vancouver Canucks in 2013-14 and served as the head coach of the Dallas Stars from 2011-2013. Gulutzan also coached the American Hockey League's (AHL) Texas Stars from 2009-2011 and led the Stars to the Calder Cup final in 2009-10. Gulutzan also coached the ECHL's Las Vegas Wranglers for six seasons, receiving ECHL Coach of the Year honours in 2005-06.

The Hudson Bay, Saskatchewan native played seven seasons of professional hockey in the West Coast Hockey League (WCHL) for the Fresno Falcons as a player/assistant coach, winning the championship in 2002. He also spent one season playing for Vassan Sport in Finland. Gulutzan played junior hockey for the Western Hockey League's (WHL) Moose Jaw Warriors, Brandon Wheat Kings and Saskatoon Blades from 1987-1992 and two seasons with the University of Saskatchewan Huskies.

Yawney, 52, brings 17 years of coaching experience with him, most recently serving as an assistant coach with the Anaheim Ducks for the past five seasons. In 2017-18, he helped guide Anaheim to a 100-plus point season for a fifth straight year and an 83.2 penalty killing percentage, ranking fifth in the NHL.

Yawney served as the Chicago Blackhawks head coach from 2005-2007 and served as an assistant coach for eight NHL seasons with three organizations (Chicago, San Jose and Anaheim). He also served as a head coach in the American Hockey League (AHL) for eight seasons with Norfolk and Syracuse, including being named "Minor Pro Coach of the Year" by The Hockey News in 2003-04.

A native of Hudson Bay, Saskatchewan, Yawney played 593 career NHL games with Chicago, Calgary and St. Louis, posting 129 points (27G, 102A) and 783 penalty minutes. Yawney also served as captain for Team Canada at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary. The Chicago Blackhawks originally drafted Yawney in the third round (45th overall) of the 1984 NHL Draft.

Viveiros, 52, led the WHL's Swift Current Broncos to a championship this season, defeating the WHL's two conference leaders (Moose Jaw, Everett) on route to capturing the Ed Chynoweth Cup and advancing to the Memorial Cup. Viveiros led the Broncos to a 48-17-7 record finishing in second place in the Eastern Conference and boasting a League best 29.4 power play percentage.

The St. Albert, Alberta native brings 11 years of experience with him, most recently with the WHL's Swift Current Broncos for the past two seasons, posting a record of 87-40-17. Viveiros coached in Europe from 2006-2016, leading Klagenfurter AC to an Austrian Hockey League championship in 2009. He also coached Austria's National Team for three years, including the 2014 Winter Olympics. After the Olympics, Viveiros coached ERC Ingolstadt of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL) as an assistant coach in 2014 and head coach in 2015.

Viveiros was originally drafted by Edmonton in the sixth round, 106th overall, in the 1984 NHL Draft and spent three seasons with the NHL's Minnesota North Stars (1985-1988), appearing in 29 games and posting 12 points (1G, 11A) and six penalty minutes. He spent 16 seasons in Austria, playing with Villach VSV, Lustenau EHC, Vienna and Klagenfurter AC. He also spent two seasons with SERC Wild Wings in the DEL. Viveiros played his junior hockey with the WHL's Prince Albert Raiders, capturing the 1986 Memorial Cup.

(Edmonton Oilers)

May 25th Stanley Cup Finals Morning Skate

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FIRST-TIME WINNER GUARANTEED AS VEGAS, WASHINGTON REACH CUP FINAL
After each winning their division during the regular season, the Golden Knights and Capitals will meet in a best-of-seven showdown to determine which club will win its first-ever Stanley Cup. Game 1 is set for Monday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas (8 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC, SN, TVAS).

* This marks the sixth Final in NHL history – and first in 11 years – to feature two clubs each chasing their first-ever Stanley Cup. Either the Golden Knights or Capitals will become the 19th active franchise to win the Cup.

* The Golden Knights and Capitals each earned their three series-clinching victories on the road, marking the first time in NHL history that two clubs reached the Final in that fashion. Vegas posted its last such win against the team with the best home record from the regular season (WPG: 32-7-2), while Washington clinched series on the road against two clubs that ranked among the top five in home wins in 2017-18 (PIT: 30-9-2 and TBL: 29-10-2).

* Including Vegas and Washington, 11 franchises in NHL history have won at least three consecutive series by clinching each on the road (17 total streaks). The Golden Knights are the sixth franchise in NHL history to earn each of its first three series-clinching victories while on the road, and the first to do so in one postseason.

* There are only two instances of a team clinching four series on the road in one postseason to win the Stanley Cup, and they occurred in consecutive years: the 2008 Red Wings and 2009 Penguins.



VEGAS CONTINUES REMARKABLE JOURNEY INTO STANLEY CUP FINAL

After eight months of unforgettable moments and uplifting performances for fans in a grieving city, the Golden Knights will aim to end their historic inaugural season by lifting the Stanley Cup. Vegas is the sixth team in NHL history to reach the Final in its first playoff appearance – and the third to do so in its inaugural season.

* The expansion Golden Knights, who had only one player under contract when the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs began, look to become the second team in NHL history to close their inaugural season as champions. The Toronto Arenas ended the first postseason in League history by winning the Cup on home ice, clinching the best-of-five series on March 30, 1918, with a 2-1 victory against the Vancouver Millionaires of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association.

* In addition to the Golden Knights and Arenas, only one other NHL club has reached the Final in its inaugural campaign: The Blues were swept by the Canadiens in 1967-68, when an expansion team was guaranteed a spot in the championship series.

* This marks the third straight year that a first-time finalist will compete in the Stanley Cup Final. The preceding 28 franchises to debut own an all-time series record of 11-17, including only one victory in the past seven tries – by the 2004 Lightning.

* Vegas is the 25th team in NHL history – and 13th since the four-round, best-of-seven format was introduced in 1986-87 – to win at least 12 of its first 15 games in a single postseason. Of the previous 24 teams to do so, 14 went on to capture the Stanley Cup (including four since 1986-87).



OVECHKIN AIMS TO ADD STANLEY CUP TO ALREADY IMPRESSIVE RESUME

Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin (11-11—22), who ranks second in playoff scoring behind teammate Evgeny Kuznetsov (11-13—24), looks to cap a milestone season by winning the Stanley Cup in his first trip to the Final.

* The 2017-18 regular season saw Ovechkin achieve career milestones in goals (600) and games played (1,000). His 13th NHL campaign also saw him reach the 40-goal mark for the ninth time – outdoors at the 2018 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series in Annapolis, Md., on March 3 – en route to capturing his seventh Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy.

* Ovechkin aims to become the third player in NHL history to score 600 career regular-season goals before hoisting his first Stanley Cup. Luc Robitaille won the Cup with the Red Wings in 2002 after compiling 620 goals, while Dave Andreychuk captained the Lightning to a championship in 2004 after scoring 634 times.

* Additionally, Ovechkin can become the 16th player in NHL history to play at least 1,000 career regular-season games before winning his first Cup – and second to do so with the team for which he has played at least 1,000 games (Steve Yzerman w/ DET). He also seeks to become the ninth player to have 1,000 career points before capturing his first Cup.

* If the Capitals win the series, Ovechkin (Moscow, Russia) would become the first Russian player to captain a Stanley Cup champion. Only two European-born and trained players have done so: Nicklas Lidstrom (Vasteras, Sweden) in 2008 with the Red Wings and Zdeno Chara (Trencin, Slovakia) in 2011 with the Bruins.


FLEURY CHASING FOURTH STANLEY CUP IN FIFTH TRIP TO FINAL

Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, a three-time Stanley Cup champion, is set to become the 19th goaltender in NHL history to represent multiple teams in the Final. The last netminder to do so was Dominik Hasek when he backstopped the Red Wings to a Cup win in 2002 after playing in the Final with the Blackhawks (1992) and Sabres (1999).

* Reaching the Final for a fifth time, Fleury owns a career playoff record of 74-54, including a 9-7 mark over the previous two postseasons to help the Penguins win back-to-back Cups in 2016 and 2017.

* Fleury, who registered every win during Pittsburgh’s championship run in 2009, can become the 11th goaltender in NHL history to have his name on the Cup at least four times – and the fourth of that group to win with multiple clubs.

* The 33-year-old netminder has played every second of every game for the Golden Knights this postseason, allowing two or fewer goals in 10 of 15 outings (12-3, 1.68 GAA, .947 SV%, 4 SO). Only three netminders in the past 18 years have been the lone goaltender of record during the postseason for a Cup-winning team: Boston’s Tim Thomas in 2011, Los Angeles’ Jonathan Quick in 2012 and Chicago’s Corey Crawford in 2013.



McPHEE REACHES FINAL IN FIRST SEASON WITH TEAM (AGAIN)

Architect of what is already the most successful expansion team in NHL history, George McPhee of the Golden Knights now sits four wins away from his first Stanley Cup, with only the Capitals in his way – a team for which he served as general manager for 17 seasons.

* McPhee was hired by Vegas on July 13, 2016, after serving as GM of the Capitals from 1997 to 2014, a tenure that saw him select 12 of 25 players who have played for Washington this postseason, including Andre Burakovsky – who scored twice in Game 7 on Wednesday – with his last first-round pick with the club (23rd overall in 2013).

* McPhee led Washington to seven division titles, one Presidents’ Trophy (2009-10), 10 postseason appearances and their only other Stanley Cup Final appearance in 1998 – his first campaign with the club. Only one other general manger in League history has reached the Final in his first season with different clubs: Bobby Clarke, in 1985 with the Flyers and 1991 with the Minnesota North Stars (losing both times).



STANLEY CUP FINAL GEOGRAPHY: DID YOU KNOW?

Nevada will become the 16th different U.S. state to host a Stanley Cup Final game since the NHL was founded in 1917-18, joining California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and Washington.

The District of Columbia and four Canadian provinces (Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec) also have hosted Stanley Cup Final games since the League’s founding.

This and That





Welcome to Friday.  Here are the usual weekly thoughts running through my muddled mind. As always, they come in no particular order.

--Will the 100th anniversary season of the Regina Pats come to an end with the team winning the Mastercard Memorial Cup?  If Sam Steel has his way, the answer is yes.

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Courtesy: Keith Hershmiller 

  I don't know about you, but if you have watched the tournament this week, the Pats captain in what is his last week as a member of the team has been the best player amongst the four teams.  He has taken his game to the next level and to some may be NHL-ready.   While next year is a long ways away, there are many reasons as to why the Sherwood Park, Alberta native could very well be a member of the Anaheim Ducks next season.  You can't tell me that Ducks scouts are grinning from ear-to-ear with the way Steel has played.

--The attendance or lack of attendance chatter at the Memorial Cup has been tiresome and truthfully it has been overblown.  At the end of the day, if you can't come up with the money for one game at the country's marquee sporting event that's up to you.  All I know is those inside the Brandt Centre have had a blast and despite what it has looked like on TV, 90 percent of the tickets have been sold which is a success in my books.

 What amazes me is the fact Queen City Sports and Entertainment knew they would take a financial hit and were fine with it.  Co-owner and tournament host committee chair Shaun Semple said even with a sellout in every game they would still lose money.  It makes you wonder then just why they would even consider bringing the event here because many would not have.  They paid a highly inflated price to get the Memorial Cup here because they were not going to be denied in bringing the 100th Cup to end the Pats 100th anniversary season.  They are thanked by people bitching, moaning and complaining.  Its laughable.  At the end of the day, you do what you want but organizers aren't bemoaning what has gone on or what's been said.  They know what they were getting into and they are happy with the way everything has gone down.  If it ends Sunday with Sam Steel getting the Memorial Cup, they'll be ecstatic and whether you have been inside the Brandt Centre or not, so will Pats fans.

  I completely understand those who say it's tough to bring their kids and yes, there should be a price for a kids ticket.  That being said, there aren't many places anymore that sell a kids ticket at a discounted price. Is that right? It isn't if you truly want to grow the game, but they aren't doing it at many other places in many different leagues so it's not a Regina thing.

  It has been great seeing people from across the country enjoying the hockey much like people enjoy a Grey Cup.  They aren't complaining about what they've been seeing, what they've been doing or what they've been spending either.    Once again, the moral minority speaks the loudest.

--Sportsnet has done a fantastic job with the tournament.  From Jeff Marek to Rob Faulds to RJ Broadhead and Sam Cosentino, they have put on a first-class show as one would expect.  However, I can't help but wonder if the Canadian Hockey League needs to go to TSN to get their product the exposure it would need.   Those who wonder about the weird start times can look no further than the Toronto Blue Jays.  In fact, there were many across the country who did not see the first period of the Pats-Swift Current game because for whatever reason they didn't have SN360 on their cable package.  That's a you-thing by the way.

The Jays and the NHL are Sportsnet's meat-and-potatoes.  There is no doubt about that.  However, a game in mid-May involving the Blue Jays should take a back seat to Canada's marquee junior hockey championship.  If you can put other Jays games on SN360 or SN1, you could have put the games they played against Oakland and the Angels this week at home on those channels as well.  With the Jays playing Thursday in the afternoon, it would have meant a 6 o'clock start time for the tie-breaker game had Swift Current beat Regina.  With the Jays game starting at 5 in Philly today, it means the semi-final starts at 8.   That problem wouldn't exist with TSN.

Considering the fact TSN does a great job with the World Juniors, this would be a natural tie-in.  Again, the production of Sportsnet and the job they do is not the issue.  It's the getting the game into your living room that is the problem.  That needs to be fixed because Sportsnet isn't doing the Canadian Hockey League any favours thanks to the Jays.

--The Stanley Cup was in town on Wednesday.  Many had their picture taken with the Cup and why not? Derek Meyers asked me on the Sportscage how old I was when I first saw the Cup.  I truthfully don't know the answer to that, but I know I have seen it many times and was in the building when th Oilers won their first Cup in 1984.  Whenever you see it, you get that warm, fuzzy feeling being a Canadian that has grown up on hockey with many of our heroes being guys whose name is on that trophy and who have skated around a rink with it held high.  I don't know if it will ever change for me and many others when you see it with your own two eyes.

--Rider training camp continues in Saskatoon. With the Memorial Cup happening, my focus has been on here and not Saskatoon but that will obviously change soon.   This "he has been impressive" and "he looks great" chatter is nice, but let's see you what you do when you're hitting someone in a different colour uniform and you are actually playing the game and not running a drill.  Until then, I wait to see who survives and who doesn't.   That being said, yes I am excited for the pre-season home game against Calgary on the 8th and you know I'm amped (like many of you) for the home-opener on the 15th against Toronto.

--When the Argos play the Ti-Cats in their first pre-season game, you could see Johnny Manziel against Noah Picton in a quarterback battle featuring a Heisman Trophy winner against a Hec Crighton Trophy winner. I would take Noah in that showdown right now because he knows the Canadian game and Johnny Football is just learning it.   I can't get into the Manziel-hype,  I still think those who believe he will turn the game upside down are wrong.  We will see.  What has been great though is seeing NFL'ers talk about the CFL and how it isn't a Mickey Mouse league.  Cris Carter said Manziel had better be prepared to eat some humble pie because it won't be a breeze.  He is right and he should know seeing he has watched his kid play for many years in the league.

--Washington and Vegas in the Stanley Cup final.  I didn't have that. Did you?  It still is hard to believe that a team that wasn't even in existence a year ago is competing for the Stanley Cup.  Can Ovie get his first or will the Knights complete this Cinderella story.  We will find out.  While I want to see Washington win because I'm not a fan of the Knights and the fact they were handed a competitive team right off the bat, I think they win. It just seems to be destined for that to happen.  If Washington wins, that monkey will be off of Ovechkin's back and he will officially go down as one of the best to play because he will have that Stanley Cup on his resume.  It will also be nice to see Washington win because of the Saskatchewan connections that they have with the likes of Braden Holtby, Barry Trotz and Chandler Stephenson.

--It has been interesting this week to hear the narrative surrounding Steven Stamkos and why he doesn't get more heat for not getting it done.  Stamkos has not gotten it done in Game 7's getting zero points in seven career games.  If that was Ovechkin, he would be roasted for it.   Truthfully, one has to look at Stamkos and ask why he isn't getting it done either.

--As an Oilers fan, you know I like what is being announced today.  The team will announce Saskatchewan boys Glen Gulutzan and Trent Yawney are joining another Saskatchewan boy--Todd McLellan--as assistant coaches with a 3rd assistant coach being Swift Current Broncos head coach and GM Manny Vivieros.   I have heard about Viveiros leaving since just after the WHL final started and was wondering when it would be announced.  Now that the Broncos are out, there is no better time.   That's a huge loss for Swift Current.  What he did in his time with that team is something well-known.  It will be tough to fill his skates.

--That's all I got.  It's going to be a great weekend of hockey at the Brandt Centre. Hope to see ya down there!

What Did You Miss Thursday?

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--A poll of CFL media personalities believe the Edmonton Eskimos will do what the Riders did in 2013 and win the Grey Cup on their home field. 23% of respondents picked Edmonton to win followed by both Calgary and Saskatchewan at 22 %.  Someone even believes the Montreal Alouettes will win the Grey Cup this year.  38 % of those asked say the Riders made the best off-season moves.   67 % say the Riders enjoy the biggest home-field advantage


--If Zach Collaros is playing for the Riders Sunday in Edmonton, he is not telling anyone.  Collaros would not say if he will be under center for part of the team's first exhibition game against the Eskimos when asked.  All he would say is its the coaches decision as to whether or not he will play.  620 CKRM's game-day coverage Sunday starts at noon with kickoff at 3. 


--What did you miss in the world of hockey?  Nothing!  The Stanley Cup Final doesn't start until Monday and it was a day off at the Mastercard Memorial Cup.  The host Regina Pats will play Hamilton tomorrow night in the semi-final. Acadie-Bathurst awaits the winner in Sunday's final.


--Chicago White Sox catcher Welington Castillo has been suspended for 80 games by Major League Baseball following a positive test for a performance-enhancing substance. The commissioner's office says he tested positive for E-P-O. It's a hormone that stimulates the red blood cell production and often has turned up in the test results for cyclists. 

-- Police took veteran N-F-L guard Richie Incognito to a Florida mental hospital after he allegedly threw weights and tennis balls at gym employees and another patron and told officers the government is spying on him. Boca Raton police released a report today detailing officers' interaction with Incognito after the incident. Incognito announced earlier this year that he was retiring from football after 11 seasons, the last three with the Buffalo Bills.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

May 24th Stanley Cup Playoffs Morning Skate


WEDNESDAY RESULT

Washington 4   Tampa 0


CAPITALS WILL FACE GOLDEN KNIGHTS IN STANLEY CUP FINAL
After 16 teams competed across three rounds, 79 games and three Game 7s – including Washington’s win on Wednesday to advance from the Eastern Conference Final – the Metropolitan Division champion Capitals will face the Pacific Division champion Golden Knights in the Stanley Cup Final which begins on Monday, May 28 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.



* This marks the sixth Final in NHL history to feature two clubs each chasing their first-ever Stanley Cup. Either the Golden Knights or Capitals will become the 19th active franchise to win the Cup.

* The Golden Knights and Capitals each earned three series-clinching victories on the road, marking the first time in NHL history that two clubs reached the Final in that fashion.

* The Golden Knights, backstopped by three-time Stanley Cup champion Marc-Andre Fleury (1.68 GAA, .947 SV%, 4 SO), became the third team in history to reach the Stanley Cup Final in their inaugural NHL season and the first to require three series wins to do so. No team outside of the Toronto Arenas in the NHL’s first season (1917-18) has won the Stanley Cup in the franchise’s inaugural campaign.

* The Capitals have reached the Stanley Cup Final for the second time in franchise history (also 4-0 L vs. DET in 1998). They have been led offensively by the duo of Evgeny Kuznetsov (11-13—24) and Alex Ovechkin (12-10—22), who sit first and second in League scoring during the 2018 postseason, respectively. 


* Vegas (2-0-0) swept the two-game season series between the clubs (WSH: 0-2-0). Fleury stopped all 26 shots he faced in a 3-0 W on Dec. 23 and the Golden Knights rallied from three separate one-goal deficits, led by 2-0—2 from Reilly Smith, in a 4-3 W on Feb. 4.

CAPITALS BLANK LIGHTNING IN GAME 7, PUNCH TICKET TO STANLEY CUP FINAL 

Alex Ovechkin’s goal 1:02 into the contest stood as the game-winning tally and Braden Holtby stopped all 29 shots he faced to record his second straight shutout as the Capitals won Game 7 to clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Final for the second time in franchise history (also 1998).

* The Capitals improved to 5-11 in Game 7s, including a 2-3 mark on the road. Washington played in its 11th Game 7 since the beginning of the 2008 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the most among all teams in that span.

* Washington became the eighth team to overcome a 3-2 deficit to win a Conference Finals/Semifinals series (since 1974-75) after splitting Games 1-4. The Penguins were the last team to do so, rallying past the Lightning in 2016 en route to winning the Stanley Cup.

* The Capitals improved to 8-2 as visitors in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs, outscoring opponents 36-20 in those contests. Washington moved within two road wins of matching the NHL record for most in a postseason.

* Evgeny Kuznetsov assisted on Ovechkin’s opening goal to extend his point streak to a franchise-record 10 games (6-9—15). He is just the seventh player in the last 20 years (since 1998) to register a playoff point streak of at least 10 games and the first since 2014, when Anze Kopitar recorded an equal run en route to capturing the Stanley Cup with Los Angeles (4-11—15 in 10 GP).

OVECHKIN AMONG ELITE PLAYOFF SCORERS
Alex Ovechkin, who eclipsed 600 goals and 1,000 games in 2017-18, will be making his Stanley Cup Final debut in his 13th NHL season. He aims to become the third player in NHL history to score 600 career regular-season goals before hoisting his first Stanley Cup (also Luc Robitaille in 2002 w/ DET and Dave Andreychuk in 2004 w/ TBL).

* Ovechkin scored his 58th career goal in the Stanley Cup Playoffs (116 GP). His 0.50 goals per game average in the postseason ranks ninth in NHL history among players to appear in at least 100 contests – all eight players ranked higher are members of the Hockey Hall of Fame.

* Ovechkin (12-10—22 in 19 GP), who captured his seventh Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy in 2017-18 after leading the NHL with 49 goals, moved within two goals of tying the Capitals franchise record for most in a postseason (John Druce: 14 in 1990).

* A key contributor to Washington’s 8-2 record on the road this postseason, Ovechkin leads all skaters in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs with 15 road points (8-7—15 in 10 GP).

* Since his postseason debut in the 2008 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Ovechkin ranks third in goals with 58 (116 GP), behind only Sidney Crosby (63 in 155 GP) and Evgeni Malkin (62 in 153 GP) over that span.

* In career Game 7 appearances, Ovechkin boosted his totals to 4-3—7 (11 GP). Only two active NHL players have scored more career Game 7 goals: Justin Williams (7) and Patrice Bergeron (5).

* Ovechkin opened the scoring at 1:02 of the first period, tied for the ninth-fastest goal to begin a Game 7 in NHL history. His tally was also the second-earliest winning goal in Game 7 history, behind only Montreal’s Jean Beliveau (0:14) in the 1965 Stanley Cup Final vs. CHI (4-0 W).

HOLTBY JOINS RARE COMPANY WITH SECOND STRAIGHT SHUTOUT


Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby, who also blanked the Lightning in Game 6 to avoid elimination, became the second netminder in franchise history to record consecutive shutouts in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He joined Olie Kolzig, who did so in Games 4 and 5 of the 1998 Conference Semifinals against the Senators.

* Holtby became the 27th different goaltender in NHL history to record a shutout in a Game 7 and just the fifth to do so to clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Final. Of those five goaltenders, Harry Lumley and Dominik Hasek also recorded shutouts in Game 6 of their respective series.

* Holtby improved to 3-4 in seven career Game 7 appearances (1.81 GAA, .934 SV%, 1 SO). Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist (6-2) is the only active NHL goaltender with more career Game 7 appearances.

* Holtby also improved his record to 8-5 in elimination games (1.73 GAA, .937 SV%, 1 SO) and his sixth career playoff shutout (all w/ WSH) moved him into a tie with Kolzig for the most in franchise history.

BURAKOVSKY SCORES FIRST TWO GOALS OF POSTSEASON
Capitals forward Andre Burakovsky scored his first two goals of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs (8 GP) to become just the second player in franchise history to score twice in a Game 7, joining Dale Hunter in the 1988 Division Semifinals vs. PHI.

* Burakovsky, who was drafted in the first round (23rd overall) by Washington in 2013, recorded 12-13—25 during the 2017-18 regular season, his fourth with the Capitals. Among his eight career postseason goals (44 GP) are three multi-goal performances: 2-0—2 vs. NYR in Game 4 of the 2015 Second Round and 2-0—2 at PIT in Game 6 of the 2017 Second Round.

* From a hockey pedigree, his father, Robert, was drafted 217th overall by the Rangers in 1985 and appeared in 23 regular-season games for the Senators in 1993-94 but never made an appearance in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.




What Did You Miss Wednesday?

 
Photo: CHL Images/Marissa Baecker

--It was the Sam Steel show at the Brandt Centre.  The Regina Pats captain tied a Mastercard Memorial Cup record with 5 assists as the Pats beat Swift Current 6-5 to avoid a tiebreaker.  The win eliminates the Broncos from the tournament and sends Regina to a semi-final against Hamilton Saturday night. Nick Henry had a hat-trick for the winners.

--The Washington Capitals are headed to the Stanley Cup Final.  The Capitals beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-0 to win Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final.  Andre Burakovsky had a pair for the winners while Braden Holtby stopped 29 shots to record his 2nd straight shutout. The Lightning, who were the NHL's highest scoring team, did not score a goal in just under 160 minutes against the former Saskatoon Blade netminder.  The Capitals have not been in the Stanley Cup since 1998.  The Stanley Cup Final will start Monday in Vegas.

--The New York |Rangers have a new head coach.  51-year-old David Quinn coached Boston University to four NCAA Tournament appearances in five seasons.

--The SJHL's Kindersley Klippers and Notre Dame Hounds are in need of a new head coach.  Geoff Grimwood resigned in Kindersley while the Hounds are looking for a new bench boss after Clint Mylymok stepped down to take a position as Head Coach and GM of the Maryland Black Bears of the North American Hockey League. The vacancies mean four teams are looking for head coaches as the Battleford Stars and Humboldt Broncos are also looking for new personnel.

--The NFL draft is heading to  Music City.
NFL team owners approved the Tennessee Titans bid to host the 2019 NFL Draft  in Nashville. The 84th NFL draft, which takes place April 25-27, 2019, will span across multiple landmarks in Nashville's historic downtown district.

-- Olympic curler Cheryl Bernard has been named the new president and chief executive officer of Canada's Sports Hall of Fame.
Bernard, who skipped Canada to women's silver at the 2010 Winter Olympics, takes on her new job next month.
Canada's Sports Hall of Fame is located in Calgary at WinSport's Canada Olympic Park.
It houses 100,000 artifacts in a dozen galleries and features 657 inductees across 66 sports.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

May 23 Stanley Cup Playoffs Morning Skate





STANLEY CUP FINAL BERTH ON THE LINE IN GAME 7
The Lightning and Capitals will face off in Game 7 tonight at AMALIE Arena in Tampa with the winner crowned the Eastern Conference champion and earning the right to face the Golden Knights in the Stanley Cup Final. Tampa Bay and Washington have never met in a winner-take-all contest and neither club has required a Game 7 this postseason.

* This marks the 33rd time in NHL history that a Game 7 will be required to determine a Stanley Cup finalist. Home teams own a 21-11 edge in the previous 32 such contests.

* This is the fourth consecutive year that the Eastern Conference Final has required a seventh and deciding game.

GAME 7 HISTORY: LIGHTNING

The Lightning hold a 5-2 record in Game 7s including a 3-0 mark on home ice. They will contest a Game 7 in the Eastern Conference Final for the third time in the past four years, having defeated the Rangers 2-0 in 2015 and lost to the Penguins 2-1 in 2016. In fact, the Lightning have required all seven games in each of their five appearances in the Conference Finals.

* The Lightning roster has a combined 78 games of Game 7 experience, including six players with at least five career victories in the winner-take-all scenario: Anton Stralman (7-1), Ryan McDonagh (6-1), Dan Girardi (6-2), Chris Kunitz (6-3), Braydon Coburn (5-2) and Ryan Callahan (5-2). All have recorded Game 7 wins over the Capitals with other teams.

* Four Lightning players have tallied a game-winning goal in a Game 7: Coburn, Girardi, Kunitz and Alex Killorn.

* The Lightning won the franchise’s only championship with a 2-1 victory in Game 7 of the 2004 Stanley Cup Final against the Flames. In that contest, Ruslan Fedotenko – who tied for the team lead with 12 goals that postseason – scored both goals and captain Dave Andreychuk, now Tampa Bay’s Vice President of Corporate and Community Affairs, was the first to hoist the Stanley Cup.

GAME 7 HISTORY: CAPITALS

The Capitals hold a 4-11 record in Game 7s including a 1-3 mark on the road. Washington will play in its 11th Game 7 since the beginning of the 2008 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the most among all teams in that span.

* The Capitals roster has a combined 67 games of Game 7 experience with Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin set to make their 11th career appearance, one shy of Boston’s Zdeno Chara (12) for the most among active NHL players. Patrick Roy and Scott Stevens (13 apiece) have the most Game 7 appearances in NHL history.

* Ovechkin and Backstrom have played each of their 10 prior Game 7s together, the most Game 7 appearances as teammates in NHL history.

* Washington’s Evgeny Kuznetsov, who enters the contest on a nine-game point streak (6-8—14), tallied the game-winner in the Capitals' most recent Game 7 victory, a 2-1 decision over the Islanders in the 2015 First Round.

GAME 7 TRENDS

Of the 171 all-time Game 7s in the Stanley Cup Playoffs:

* The team that scores first is 127-44 (.743), including a 1-1 mark in 2018.

* Home teams own a 100-71 (.585) advantage, including a 1-1 record in 2018.

* Forty-one have required overtime (24.2%). Home teams have a 21-20 edge.