NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 6, 2012.

Panthers clinch first  playoff berth in 12 years, Flyers eliminate Sabres, Penguins down Rangers, Sharks get controversial win over Kings, Coyotes clinch playoff spot, Avalanche and Stars eliminated from contention, Red Wings and Predators jockey for fourth overall, Brodeur sets another record, and Blackhawks to start playoffs on the road.

MIAMI HERALD: The Florida Panthers lost to the Washington Capitals 4-2, but thanks to the Philadelphia Flyers downing the Buffalo Sabres, clinched their first playoff spot in 12 years. It was a costly win for the Capitals, however, losing goalie Michal Neuvirth to a leg injury.

PHILLY.COM: The Flyers edged the Sabres 2-1 which eliminated the latter from playoff contention, but the Pittsburgh Penguins win over the NY Rangers ensured the Flyers won’t finish higher than fifth overall.

PITTSBURGHLIVE.COM: The Penguins’ 5-2 victory clinched the fourth overall seed for them, as Marc-Andre Fleury tied Tom Barrasso’s team record for most wins (226). The game was not without controversy, as Rangers coach John Tortorella ripped the Penguins post-game after Rangers center Derek Stepan was sidelined by a knee-on-knee hit from Pittsburgh defenseman Brooks Orpik.

Clowe interferes with play from bench.

MERCURYNEWS.COM: San Jose Sharks forward Ryane Clowe’s controversial playing of the puck from the bench detracted from the Sharks 6-5 shoot out win over the Los Angeles Kings. Both teams clinched playoff berths in the game.

ARIZONA REPUBLIC: The Stars loss clinched a playoff berth for the idle Phoenix Coyotes.

DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche’s playoff hopes were dashed with a 5-2 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

NEW YORK POST: The Detroit Red Wings hopes for the fourth seed in the Western Conference are dwindling following a 2-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils. Petr Sykora netted his 20th goal of the season, while Martin Brodeur surpassed Patrick Roy with his 14th 30-win season.

THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators ensured they’ll finish no lower than fifth overall with a 2-0 win over the Dallas Stars, effectively ending the Stars playoff hopes.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: The Blackhawks will begin the playoffs on the road following a 2-1 shootout loss to the Minnesota Wild.

Islanders win over the Jets, Ducks win over Oilers, Bruins win over Senators and Lightning loss to Maple Leafs covered in “Canadian Corner”.


  1. We’ve all been complaining about the referees, but how in all creation do two men completely miss a player on the bench playing the puck. This is the height of incompetence.
    Congrats to the Panthers and ‘Yotes. Buffalo’s season was over when they failed to react to Lucic and went into a tailspin. All that money Pegula spent meant nothing.

    • “Buffalo’s season was over when they failed to react to Lucic and went into a tailspin. All that money Pegula spent meant nothing.”

      The Sabres have no excuses for missing postseason play. They lost too many games from December through February, including a five-game losing streak during their seven-game road trip. Several players did not step up to score. The Sabres turned the puck over in their zone too often. Darcy Regier failed to acquire the top scoring center for the fifth straight season.

      Changes need to be made at the top. Darcy Regier’s contract is up. The Sabres have an opportunity to invest in a new GM who can bring in the players to win the Stanley Cup. Lindy Ruff’s tenure should be determined later.

  2. GM, I agree with you on the hit -funny thing, Miller’s buddy Gaustad was on the ice and all he did was dance – never reacted to Lucic’s hit at all under a day or so later. Buffalo’s lack of leadership was very evident at that moment. I also think injuries played a big part – while I realize other teams suffered injuries – the Sabres didn’t have a Malkin or Neal to step up – we had Roy, Stafford, Leino who were mediocre at best. In addition, the team didn’t gel the first half and at times our D was all over the place. I’m not cutting excuses and there are still some tweaks to be made – but I think Darcy is heading in the right direction – call up of Foligno, trade of Kassian for Hodgeson, Gragnani for Sulzer, and Gaustad for a #1 draft pick – all are looking good right about now. Package one of our mediocre players with a draft pick and it opens a few doors on obtaining a player with leadership, grit and skills – someone like a Getzlaf, Brown, Ryan or a Clowe or Downey. Not the year I expected, but we did salvage some things that we can build upon for next year.

  3. @Steve I do like the pieces you pick up near the deadline. I think Hodgson will be a nice player and the way they put in the effort at the end of the year is a positive. If Myers can get his game back and Leino earn his cash, you shouldn’t be a bubble team next year. Good luck.

  4. i don’t disagree with the idea that a lack of response to Lucic’s hit on Miller was a turning point in Buffalo’s season but if they’re trying to address the lack of response i don’t think trading away all your bigger players is the way to do it. Hodgson had a decent season on a pretty good team where he played behind two Art Ross winners and last years Selke winner. he faced 3rd and 4th line checkers and as we’ve seen it’s not that easy for him to do the same where he’s playing a bigger role. Regier seems to have a problem with overvaluing players (Leino, and Erhoff) and then overpaying them, are Buffalo winters really that bad?

  5. Gameon – you must be a “Leaf’s fan” or at least of Burke. I understand what you are saying, but you have to admit – Darcy did get a #1 pick for Gaustad, a mediocre “tall” player who changed his style of play from one that used to be physical to one that relies on others to work the boards, corners and stand for the team. Essentially, Darcy traded a third(generous)/fourth line center with seventy-one career goals in 479 games, who’s faceoff win percentage is in decline and becomes a UFA at the end of the season for a 1st round pick which packaged with one of our soft “Core” players can be really attractive to other teams opening the door to acquiring a veteran player who has leadership and skills. In my opinion – Darcy made the best deals at the trade deadline – getting the most bang for his buck.