Come back later for the Bruno Gervais report card. Meanwhile:
- TSN's "Off-Season Game Plan" takes a nice stab at addressing the Islanders' needs and prospects. Writer Scott Cullen mentions Kyle Okposo being thrust into a top-line role a little quickly -- something that is mildly echoed in this Copper & Blue look at forwards who played the toughest minutes the last two seasons.
- As tipped at Point Blank, the BU student newspaper reports Islanders 2008 pick (36th) Corey Trivino will be suspended by BU squad for an alleged alcohol incident that took place within 48 hours before a playoff game. [Update: Trivino says it wasn't alcohol; the coach called it "a related issue" to the brothers who were kicked off.] Trivino, 20, had a disappointing season and was already injured for the season at the time. It's funny, the different trajectories you see: Sometimes at 18 we expect a kid to carry a franchise; sometimes at 20 we just hope a kid learns the chance he has in front of him. Ah, college.
- I mentioned this when it was first posted, but if you skipped it because it's audio, Kyle Okposo's interview about the upcoming Worlds and his Islanders teammates is worth a listen. USA opens the tourney with host Germany this Friday. [Full schedule here]. The Capitals' Russian trio (Ovechkin, Semin, Varlamov) will play for Team Russia.
- Bettman speaks: Phoenix sure is going down to the wire (my words); 2010-11 cap still looks flat.
Another great night in the NHL playoffs, eh? Two enjoyable games that turned late in the third and weren't sabotaged by random penalties. Playoff links, thoughts and questions after the jump...
This is just looking like a fun series, with close games as expected. The B's appear to have the edge (in game play -- not just because they've pulled out two late winners for a 2-0 lead). Lots of fun 5-on-5 play.
I'm starting to pull for Boston simply because it's fun to watch Miroslav Satan scoring again (and because some Flyers punks are easy to hate). Can't believe Miro spent the winter skating at Iceworks and then steps in to be one of the B's go-to playoff scorers; he was on the ice for Milan Lucic's winner, too.
With Canucks-Blackhawks, I've no idea who to grudgingly "pull" for, but I do wonder if Joel Quenneville will repeat a postseason mistake I've seen him make a time or three: Going to the well too many times with stars, running his top-four D ragged, while exposing a weaker guy on the PK. Last night was pretty balanced considering he only had five D (Dustin Byfuglien was the sixth at first). But Brent Sopel logged 6:40 shorthanded, so...
... of course, if Vancouver can't figure out how to convert other than on 5-on-3's, it doesn't really matter if Sopel is logging serious PK minutes.
Regardless, the shorthanded goal by Patrick Sharp [video and analysis below], drawing Roberto Luongo into no-man's land, was brilliant.
Sharp Shortie: Three Fails and a Move
I just like how Sharp recognizes at that moment that he knows what Luongo does not: That Luongo's defensemen do not have a Sharp move to the slot covered, so Luongo can't afford to come out and challenge the way he did. And who are his "defensemen" in this scenario? Edler is the one who chases his man behind the net, Kesler is the backchecking forward who can't quite catch up to Sharp, and Ehrhoff is the guy who's so gassed (he gave the puck up at the point) that he can't even get back into the play.
Popular memes on the broadcasts: Faceoffs, faceoffs, faceoffs. Boston and San Jose have been winning 'em, Detroit and Philadelphia have not.
On that note, it's been popular around here to mention Manny Malhotra as a summer desire for the Islanders -- with good reason. In 102 postseason faceoffs, Malhotra has won 65.7%. I'm thinking he can name his price or get a healthy raise from a contender, so I bet that remains just our little dream.
And speaking of fantasy summer GM-ing, Volchenkov-alternative Zbynek Michalek sounds like a guy who will test the market.
Question: What series are you catching or enjoying most? I get bummed when it drops from 8 series to 4 for the second round, but so far the games are continuing to deliver. Any players sticking out as surprises or goats?