A few news, notes, and commentary on day off No. 2 from the Stanley Cup finals …
1. Alex Burrows should not have been suspended: There is no question in my mind that Burrows bit Patrice Bergeron, and I find the NHL’s explanation of “no conclusive evidence” laughable. However, I still do not feel he deserved a suspension. This is the Stanley Cup finals, and unless your illegal actions lead to the missing of games by an opposing player, you should not sit out. If Bergeron was out for a game or two, I would believe Burrows should be out as well. However, in this case, no suspension is warranted. I am surprised the league did not just say that, and then hand out a hefty fine. That is how I would have handled it.
2. Dan Hamhuis’ hip check on Milan Lucic was perfectly legal: I have heard more than a few Bruins’ fans spout off that Hamhuis’ hit was illegal. It was not. I watched the video a number of times, and it certainly looks like Hamhuis hip hit Lucic around the thigh/hip area. It was a great hit, and a clean hit. What hurts for the Canucks is Hamhuis is hurt and is “day-to-day”, meaning he might miss Game 2 Saturday.
3. David Krejci’s crosscheck in retaliation to Hamhuis’ hit was overblown: Krejci barely touched Hamhuis, and I do not even think it was worthy of a minor penalty, never mind the suspension for which some are calling. Krejci could have hit him hard, but let up – mainly because it appeared he realized Hamhuis might be injured.
4. What can the Bruins do about their power play? I may look at this more in depth tomorrow, but a simple
plan would be to get Tyler Seguin on and Mark Recchi off the power play. Recchi has zero power play points in the playoffs, despite logging nearly 50 minutes of power play ice. Seguin may be a defensive liability (though he is a plus-3 in the playoffs, which is likely skewed a bit by the Game 2 performance against Tampa Bay), but he can shoot, pass, skate, and create opportunities offensively, and that is what the Boston power play needs. No one has ever been able to replace Marc Savard on the power play – Seguin could be the guy who can do it. And, let’s face it, it can’t be any worse with Seguin than it has been!
5. The TV ratings were great: NBC reported that Wednesday’s Game 1 was viewed by 4.6 million viewers and that, in Boston, it topped Game 1 of last year’s NBA Final between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers. No surprise here, as you have two cities that are hockey crazy and two franchises that are well-known throughout North America. Many in Quebec are likely watching to see the Bruins lose (except perhaps for Bergeron’s family, friends, and neighbors), while I know there are a lot of Bruins fans in Southern Ontario. The fact that neither team has been here in a long time (Vancouver since 1994; Boston since 1990) has something to do with it as well, as does the fact that these are two very good teams with some dynamic personalities.
6. I hate to say it, but I miss Jack Edwards: Normally, I detest Jack Edwards, NESN’s play-by-play announcer. He provides far too much commentary, talks over the excellent Andy Brickley (who is supposed to do color), and generally is a homer to the nth degree. However, his playoff rants have become legendary, and I have to admit, they are entertaining (though usually foolish). I loved Greg Wyshynski’s view on Yahoo’s Puck Daddy blog asking for a Jack Edwards-only feed of each game of the Stanley Cup finals. His blog also includes a video link to Edwards’ latest rant on WEEI’s “The Big Show.”
7. Johnny Boychuk needs to pick it up: Everyone loves dumping on Tomas Kaberle, and deservedly so, as Kaberle has been an utter disappointment since being acquired from Toronto. But Johnny Boychuk has been worse. Boychuk makes bad decisions, especially without the puck, all the time. See Game 6 against Tampa Bay or Game 1 against Vancouver as examples. He has been on the ice for the last seven goals Boston has allowed, and should be nowhere near the ice on a penalty kill or late in a period or game.
8. Ryan Kesler was onside: Ryan Kesler showed why he is one of the game’s best young stars with his play to setup the Game 1 winner. He outworked Boychuck, who has foolishly stepped up at the blue line, to get the puck, and had the presence of mind to not only drag his skate, but then make a perfect cross-ice feed to Jannik Hansen. All the credit in the world to Kesler, who made a play a superstar is supposed to make at that point of the game.
9. Glad to see Sidney Crosby cleared to resume off-season workouts: Love him or hate him, Crosby is good for the game. He is dynamic, personable, and talented. The NHL is better served with him playing for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
10. Don’t move Detroit to the East: As a Red Wings’ fan, I would love it, as it would considerably decrease the number of 10 p.m. ET games I need to watch. However, moving Detroit is not in the best interest of the NHL. I think Nashville should move to the East in the Southeast Division, and then there should be a realignment of the divisions in the Western Conference. I’ll look more at that after the Cup is won.
As always, thanks for reading. Visit every day and leave your comments!
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Be sure to check out Boston Smarts, a guide to everything Boston – especially if you’re coming to town for Games 3, 4, and 6 of the finals.