An exciting Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final between the Bruins and the Blues is in the books, and off-ice news is starting to pick up less than a month out from the NHL Entry Draft. More of both, please and thank you.
It seems that Boston has broken The Curse of the Sweep, in that they cannot be swept out of the Cup Final. They can still lose the series, though, which I suppose would continue the curse.
- It was covered in this space yesterday, but Noah Dobson’s Rouyn-Noranda Huskies won their first ever Memorial Cup. Here is the Islanders’ site’s write-up on Dobson winning his second straight Memorial Cup, one of very few players in history to win two consecutive Memorial Cups with two separate CHL teams. [Islanders]
- And here is what we’ve learned from the Huskies’ Cup win, including that the NHL’s site believes Dobson won’t get a chance at third straight Memorial Cup because he’ll be in the show next year. That would be nice! [NHL]
Now that we’ve determined what the best save of this past Islanders season was, it’s time to vote on the best block of the season. Scott Mayfield is responsible for half of the four choices. [Islanders]
- The Sound Tigers lured all-time great AHLer Chris Bourque last offseason, but turns out he’ll be moving on to Germany for the upcoming season. So now, Bridgeport has lost its leading scorer from this season, on top of losing longtime forward Connor Jones. [Soundin’ Off]
- Michael Fornabaio points out two things that happened during the most recent game of the AHL’s Western Conference Final game between the San Diego Gulls and Chicago Wolves that have never happened during a Sound Tigers game: a goal credited to a goalie, and putting a goalie back into an empty net on the fly. [Soundin’ Off]
Cup Final Notes
The Bruins prevailed in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, coming back after going down 2-0 to the Blues on home ice. The first period started with a Bruins push from their crowd, but Jordan Binnington and St. Louis withstood it long enough to take a lead. They got a boost of their own with the lead and Binnington’s puck-handling skills stifled the Boston forecheck through the end of the first.
A bad giveaway early in the second put St. Louis up two, but the Bruins got a flukey goal past the Blues’ goalie and poured it on from there. Binnington did well to prevent the game from getting out of hand, but St. Louis had no answer for Boston’s onslaught and the game seemed as done as it was once the Bruins took a lead. They added an empty-netter for good measure to take a 1-0 series lead going into Game 2 on Wednesday night.
- The Blues were again without rookie defenseman Vince Dunn, but rookie forward Robert Thomas did play despite an undisclosed injury, and got crushed, arguably charged at, by Bruins defenseman Torey Krug. [ESPN]
- Boston defenseman and Long Island’s own Charlie McAvoy, who had the game-tying goal last night, is hoping for a chance to lift the Cup in the next few weeks. The young lad grew up a Rangers fan, though, so here’s hoping he does not get that chance. [Newsday]
- When David Backes was captain of the Blues, Alex Pietrangelo, his heir to the captain’s throne, was his assistant, and the two are still very close friends. Not over the next few weeks, though. [The Athletic] Unrelated to the story, but Backes took a pretty nasty cross-check to the face from one-season-teammate Joel Edmundson that Edmundson was quite incredulous about, and was lucky not to get called for a second penalty for sticking Backes in the head again while he was on the ice. Edmundson also got victimized on the game-winner; he had a rough go of it last night.
- Whichever goalie hoists the Cup, be it Binnington or Tuukka Rask, he will have played fewer than 50 games in the regular season. NHL teams are recognizing they have the most success when they use a 1a-1b goalie rotation; it allows the 1a to be fresh for the playoffs. [The Athletic]
- Because both teams do a great job of preventing goals, in part because all the goalies have been so good, we shouldn’t expect a very high-scoring Final. [TSN]
Not the Islanders Nor the Final
- They’ve been rumored to be a match for a while now, but it appears that the Oilers and Dave Tippett have finally come to an agreement for him to be Edmonton’s next head coach, Lord help him. [Yahoo]
- A video showing Washington center Evgeny Kuznetsov in a hotel room near a couple of lines of what is, ostensibly, cocaine has surfaced on the interwebs and Kuznetsov denies ever using the drug, saying the video is from after last season’s Cup win and that he left the hotel room after realizing what was going on. The Capitals are investigating the matter. [Yahoo]
- The Wild are off to a rocky start to an important summer after Phil Kessel killed his trade there — the report is that he doesn’t see a Cup-contending roster there, which is problematic for a team that is trying to make itself over without totally rebuilding. Not to mention, they’ve likely pissed off Jason Zucker after having him included in two failed trades and having that information get out into the public. If GM Paul Fenton really wants to sell low on Zucker, Lou Lamoriello should be all over him. [The Athletic]
- The NHL Scouting Combine began yesterday in Buffalo, and presumptive top two picks Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko are ready to shine. [NHL]
- The NHL will be continuing its Global Series in the 2019-20 season: the Blackhawks will play a German team and the Flyers will play a Swiss team in separate exhibitions before opening their regular seasons against each other in Prague; then, in November, the Sabres and Lightning will play a set of games against each other in Sweden. In between the two European sets will be the return of the Heritage Classic outdoor game between the Flames and Jets in Regina, Saskatechewan. [NHL]
- The league is not currently focused on forming its own women’s league, Gary Bettman indicated in his annual pre-Cup Final “State of the League” media availability. It is concerned, however, with the blown hand pass call in the Sharks’ Game 3 Western Conference Final win, though Bettman is hesitant to add more review. [Sportsnet]
- Two and a half years ago, Craig Cunningham collapsed on the ice and nearly died after going into cardiac arrest before a game with the AHL Tucson Roadrunners, the Coyotes’ affiliate. He survived, though had a leg amputated, and is now a scout with Arizona. He misses playing, but he’s happy to be where he is today. [The Athletic]
Happy Birthday Mr. Barzal
Mathew Barzal’s birthday was on Sunday. Happy 22nd and thank you for all you do for this franchise.