Bruce Garrioch - June 12th, 2013
Last Round: 2-0
Playoff record:: 9-5
Stanley Cup Final
So, this is it. The final round.
The Boston Bruins vs. the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup final starting Wednesday night at the United Center.
Well, this one should be simple. This one should be easy.
The Hawks were the best team in the league. They’ve come through a tough playoff and ready to take it to the next level.
Not so fast folks.
The Bruins showed the Pittsburgh Penguins you can have all the assets in the world but it doesn’t mean a thing. The Pens were beaten by a better team and beaten in every aspect of the game at the same time.
The Bruins have Tuukka Rask. The Hawks have Corey Crawford. Neither has done it before. That could be the difference in this series. Goaltending could be what it’s all about here. In that corner, I’m taking Rask.
I saw it first hand at the East Final. Rask was outstanding.
Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg are a force to be reckoned with and that could be a lot for the Hawks to handle. I like Marian Hossa and wouldn’t mind seeing him with another Cup as well.
I will take the Bruins in 6. The physical force will be out the talented Hawks with Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith. Another parade in Beantown this spring.
Let’s get yours. Bobby please lead the proceedings.
Bruce Garrioch - May 31st, 2013
Second Round Results
Right: Chicago and Boston
Wrong: Los Angeles and Pittsburgh
Playoff record: 7-5
Third Round Picks
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Boston Bruins: After struggling to get by their first round opponents, the Penguins and Bruins finished off the Senators and Rangers easily in Round 2. Nobody has a rest advantage _ both have had a week off. The Penguins have all the big names. The Bruins have all the balance and the physical attributes. The Bruins will hit Pittsburgh players every chance they get. That will be the challenge for the Penguins: Can they handle the physical play of the Bruins? Goaltending will be key. In that department, I will take Tuukka Rask. Pick: Bruins in 6.
Los Angeles Kings vs. Chicago Blackhawks: The Hawks were able to shake loose and score an incredible comeback from a 3-1 deficit vs. the Red Wings in Round 2. The Kings didn’t have it much easier, it took them seven games to beat those pesky San Jose Sharks. The challenge for Los Angeles will be simple: Can they handle the scoring threats the Hawks have? Hard to say. The best goalie remaining in the playoffs is the Kings’ Jonathan Quick. Can’t describe his style, but he gets the job done. My thinking is the Hawks prevail because they just have more depth through the lineup. Pick: Hawks in 6.
There you have it: A Stanley Cup final between two Original Six teams. Let’s make our picks. Bobby, I’d like you to start of the proceedings. I want Kev, Choker, Pav, Dennis, Vis, Mike, and OD to chip in is as well.
Bruce Garrioch - May 25th, 2013
Got home from Pittsburgh this afternoon.
Not doing that drive again for Game 7 won’t bother me. Hotel rooms I had booked were cancelled this moring. The Senators were lucky to force a Game 5 in the first place.
The Senators had a good season. They didn’t look good in the end. Beaten by a better team. The best team in the East.There will be changes. There always are. Guillaume Latendresse is gone. Peter Regin will be thanked. Jim O’Brien has a year left but he should be as well. Time to move on. Same defenceman Mike Lundin.
All are interchangable parts. Not sure what they should do with Andre Benoit. He is a UFA. He’s fine. He isn’t a worldbeater. He gets the job done. If he can get more money elsewhere he should do it.
Patrick Wiercioch will be fulltime next year if he can stay healthy.
I think Daniel Alfredsson will be back.
These are just some initial thoughts after an eight hour drive from Pittsburgh. It will be Boston and Pittsburgh in one semi-final.
Once the other is settled I will put up my picks for the next round.
Covering the Senators in the playoffs again was fun.
Great matchup with Montreal. Overmatched against the Penguins.
Lessons learned. Seems late though. We went straight from the lockout to the season. Suddenly it is late-May.
Don Brennan - May 24th, 2013
PITTSBURGH – It’s cool and cloudy. Not very summer-like.
Still, it feels like the Senators season is coming to a close.
The Pittsburgh Penguins are just too strong. Too experienced. Too deep. And they want a break before the conference finals.
“It’s a must win every game in the series,” Kris Letang said this morning. “Tonight is a must win for us. We don’t want to give them any life, to get back in the series. So we’ve got to bring our best game.”
If they needed any extra motivation, the Penguins are 0-6 when trying to close out a series at home.
They’ll be out to change that this evening.
“We haven’t won one at home,” said coach Dan Bylsma. “We’ve had an opportunity to close out on the road (in the past) and taken that opportunity. It’s a situation right now where we feel like we have three wins and we don’t necessarily feel like they’ve come easy. We’ve played our best road game and maybe our best game and lost in Ottawa, in Game 3. So we bounced back and won a tough game in Ottawa in Game 4, and now we’re coming home with an opportunity. I think our team knows exactly how important to get this opportunity is, to get the fourth win and try to do that right here as soon as possible, and not look at his as being three more games. We have one game right in front of us, and it’s important to have that mentality and mindset for us tonight.”
Don Brennan - May 22nd, 2013
Paul MacLean is playing a hunch by suiting up Mark Stone for Wednesday’s crucial Game 4 against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
A hunch that Stone can step in and help offensively like he did when he was parachuted into the Senators-Rangers first-round matchup last spring.
You’ll remember that Stone’s first NHL game was the fifth of the series against the Rangers. The Senator won it 2-0, with Stone setting up Jason Spezza for the game winner and Spezza adding a an empty netter to seal the matter.
It would be the last game the Senators would win.
Stone didn’t play Games 6 and 7 of the series, as MacLean inserted Jakob Silfverberg in his place. Silfverberg did not produce a point.
“It’s a pretty similar scenario for me, coming into a series almost half over,” Stone said after the morning skate Wednesday morning. “I’m excited to be a part of it. Just looking to produce at the best of my ability.”
Stone, who saw 8:43 of ice time that night, will replace Cory Conacher and play on a line with Spezza as the Senators try to even their series with the Penguins.
A huge point producer as a junior with the Brandon Wheat Kings, the 6-foot-3, 200-pounder had a strong second half of the season with Binghamton during this, his first year as a pro.
I think he would have had a shot with Ottawa earlier in these playoffs if he were a left winger – where the Senators are not as strong – and not a right-handed shot who has always played the right side.
With his size, he’ll be better equipped to handle the battles in front of the net than Conacher. But as a mediocre/slow skater, can he keep up to the fast-paced second-round play.
That’s the big question.
“Obviously it’s fast hockey,” said Stone. “These guys look like they play pretty fast, but at the same time I think the way our team plays, it slows them down a fair bit. We’re very good, sound defensively. We play as a five man unit. Definitely helps with individual play.”
Spezza said Stone “has that natural calm demeanor about him” that helped lead to his success in one intense playoff game last year.
The two of were watching from the press box together while Spezza worked his way back from injury and Stone waited for his chance.
Can any chemistry they have developed strike twice?
“Obviously he’s a fantastic player,” said Stone. “He’s a guy you want to give the puck to whenever you can. He makes plays, he makes things happen pretty much every time he steps on the ice. If there’s anybody you want to get the puck to, you want it to be on his stick.”
Spezza will be a key for the Senators in Game 4. Clearly, MacLean is hoping that putting Stone in the lineup can help speed up the progression of his big centre.