NHL Blog Beat – Thursday, April 18, 2013.

More playoff watch commentaries, making the case for Antti Niemi for the Vezina and Brandon Saad for the Calder, recalling Wendel Clark’s brief tenure with the Islanders, and more.

The most terrifying photo in NHL history.

The most terrifying photo in NHL history.

PUCK DADDY: Greg Wyshynski updates us on his NHL Playoff Death Watch. BTW, that photoshopped picture of Commissioner Gary Bettman’s face onto the body of the character of Death (left) from the Ingmar Bergman classic “The Seventh Seal” is more frightening than Death itself.

SBNATION: Brandon Worley on the debate over which player (Sidney Crosby or Alexander Ovechkin) deserves the Hart Trophy this season. In my opinion, Crosby deserves it. No offense to Ovechkin, but until Crosby’s injury, he was not only playing some of the best hockey of his career, but doing so consistently since the season began, showing no signs of slowing down, and doing it with lesser linemates than Ovie.

GRANTLAND: Sean McIndoe on why you should root for a Maple Leafs-Canadiens playoff series. Given how badly the Habs have played of late, and how the Leafs dominated the Canadiens this season, it could shape up to be a short series.

BATTLE OF CALIFORNIA: Making the case for San Jose Sharks goalie Antti Niemi to win the Vezina Trophy.

COMMITTED INDIANS: Tab Bamford makes a good case for Chicago Blackhawks forward Brandon Saad to win the Calder Trophy as NHL rookie of the year.

BLUE SEAT BLOGS: Reflecting on the aftermath of the Rangers-Blue Jackets trades on deadline day.

SMASHVILLE 24/7: Ryan Porth on the potential end of the Nashville Predators-Detroit Red Wings rivalry by the latter’s move to the Eastern Conference next season.

LIGHTHOUSE HOCKEY: Remembering Wendel Clark’s brief tenure with the NY Islanders.