The Rangers complete the upset of the Penguins, the Blackhawks eliminate the Wild, updates on the Kings & Ducks, Bettman visits Seattle and more.
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS/PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW: Brian Boyle and Brad Richards scored while Henrik Lundqvist made 35 saves as the New York Rangers completed their rally from a 3-1 series deficit to upset the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1, eliminating the latter in seven games.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to the Rangers, whose comeback was overshadowed in this postseason only by the LA Kings overcoming a 3-0 series deficit to knock off the San Jose Sharks in seven games.
As for the Penguins, ownership can’t double down again this summer. Changes are necessary and will be coming. Five years after winning a Stanley Cup and seemingly poised to win more championships, the Penguins have come up small in the playoffs.
The likeliest change could be behind the bench, as the coaching staff could become casualties. Forget about moving Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, they’re not going anywhere, and Kris Letang’s heart condition alone could be enough to hamper his trade value (as could his new, expensive contract). I also doubt they’ll trade or release Marc-Andre Fleury, as he only has one season left on his contract and wasn’t the scapegoat this time. I do see them attempting to bolster their defensive grit and speed, and perhaps hiring a coach (hello there, Barry Trotz) who’s more defensive-minded.
TAMPA TRIBUNE: Thanks to the Rangers advancing to the Conference Finals, the second-round pick in this year’s draft they sent to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Martin St. Louis trade become a first round pick.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to the Blackhawks, who march on to the Conference Finals for the fourth time in six seasons. A heartbreaking defeat for the Wild, but they have nothing to be ashamed about. They threw a scare into the defending champs by pushing this series to six games, and Game Six was one of the most thrilling I’ve ever seen. The Wild have once and for all dispelled the myth they play a dull, plodding defensive style. With their rising young players they’re only going to get better.
LOS ANGELES TIMES: Helene Elliott reports LA Kings GM Dean Lombardi hopes his club can find its consistency on time, while Lance Pugmire reports Anaheim Ducks forward Mathieu Perreault praised coach Bruce Boudreau for getting his team to believe in itself.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Game 6 between the Kings and Ducks goes tonight in Los Angeles.
NOTE: The latest on the Boston Bruins-Montreal Canadiens series can be found in “Canadian Corner”.
KING5.COM: NHL commissioners Gary Bettman and Bill Daly recently traveled to Seattle to meet with the city’s top two elected officials. The meeting was apparently a “meet and greet” but there’s nothing brewing regarding a possible expansion to Seattle.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bettman recently said the league has no plans to expand right now but you’ve gotta figure a franchise in Seattle in the near future is a strong possibility, especially if they can sort out their arena issues.
STLTODAY.COMs: The Blues have hired former Carolina Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller as an assistant coach.