The Blackhawks eliminate the Red Wings, updates on the Kings, Bruins and Penguins, reaction to the Rangers firing coach John Tortorella, and more.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES/DETROIT NEWS: Brent Seabrook scored in overtime as the Chicago Blackhawks downed the Detroit Red Wings 2-1 to take their best-of-seven conference semifinal four games to three. The Blackhawks will meet the defending Stanley Cup champion LA Kings in the Conference Final starting Saturday. There was some controversy late in the third period as an apparent winning goal by Niklas Hjalmarsson was waived off due to a questionable penalty call. It was a tough loss for the Red Wings, who blew a 3-1 series lead, but the performance of several first- and second-year players provides optimism for the future.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Considering the Red Wings weren’t supposed to make it as far as they did, it was a positive ending for what otherwise would’ve been considered a disappointing season. As for the Blackhawks, they showed their resolve and character -which had been questioned earlier in the series – by overcoming that 3-1 deficit to advance to the Conference Final.
LOS ANGELES TIMES: A brief look at how the Blackhawks and Kings will match up in the Conference Final.
BOSTON GLOBE: In the upcoming Boston Bruins – Pittsburgh Penguins series, Bruins forward Jaromir Jagr is returning to his roots, facing off against the club with which he began his long NHL career.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jagr is the only active NHL player remaining from the last time the Bruins and Penguins faced each other in the Conference Final back in 1992. Some of my readers probably weren’t even born then.
TRIBLIVE.COM: Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury is ducking questions about his future with the club, which have arisen due to his losing his starter’s role in the playoffs to Tomas Vokoun.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fleury probably doesn’t like the situation, but he’s going to be a good team player and not rock the boat. He’ll wait for a chance to get back in net at some point this spring. As for his future, that’s up to GM Ray Shero, who’ll worry about it when the playoffs end.
AZCENTRAL.COM: The Phoenix Coyotes ongoing ownership issues are preventing GM Don Maloney from re-signing coach Dave Tippett to a new contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the ownership problem is finally resolved before the end of June, be assured re-signing Tippett will be the priority for Maloney.
SUNSENTINEL.COM: Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon hopes the player he selects with the second overall pick in this year’s entry draft can jump into the Panthers lineup and contribute next season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nathan MacKinnon or Jonathan Drouin, come on down!
GRANTLAND: ESPN 30 for 30 shorts presents: “Cutthroat”, documenting the night NHL goalie Clint Malarchuk nearly died after his carotid artery was slashed during a game.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The injury footage is gruesome, but the story of Malarchuk’s recovery and treatment for PTSD is well worth watching.