What a weekend of hockey we have ahead of us. Five of the eight first-round series have gone the distance, and we thus get to watch five Games 7.
Meanwhile, on the homefront, the New York Islanders have offered essentially no updates since Lou Lamoriello fired Barry Trotz. As you were.
- The B-Isles played a thriller of a Game 2 against Charlotte on Thursday night, falling behind 4-0 in the first period before storming back. However, Zac Dalpe finished a hat trick with his double-overtime winner, so now the B-Isles are on the brink and have to win all three of the final games of the series to advance, all on the road. [CT Post]
- Dan wrote about how Trotz immediately endeared himself to The Island in a way perhaps no other coach or player has before. [LHH]
- Former Isles coach Doug Weight, now an NHL Network analyst, said with regard to Trotz, “I know something else is going on.” Hmm, cryptic! Not clear whether he said it to mean that he actually knows something or if he is just saying “ah, there must something else going on.” [Newsday]
- Kevin Kurz plays detective and deduces from Lou’s statements and history that Mike Babcock ought to be the speculative frontrunner for the Isles job. If that actually comes to fruition, can we still laugh at the Babcock-clapping shadow puppet meme? [The Athletic]
- This Day in Isles History: David Volek! (1993). And on May 13, the Islanders won Game 3 of the ‘82 Cup Final and Game 1 of the ‘80 Cup Final.
- Stan Fischler recounts a moment with his son during Game 1 of the 1982 Stanley Cup Final. [Maven’s Memories]
- William Dufour and his Saint John Sea Dogs were eliminated in the first round of the QMJHL playoffs, but they will host the Memorial Cup next month, which means they automatically qualify. [Prospect Report]
Last night’s NHL scores include the Panthers finally closing out the Capitals to win their first playoff series since 1996. Also, the Rangers forced Game 7 with a goal in the final ninety seconds thanks to a Tristan Jarry-Game 5-double OT-style gaffe from Louis Domingue, and the Stars stifled the Flames to force Game 7, as well.
- On Thursday night, four Games 6 led to the three Games 7 we’ll have tomorrow. The only team not to force Game 7 was the highly touted Minnesota Wild, who, as written by their beat writer, “never fail to disappoint when it matters most.” They rolled over and died after Nick Leddy scored the first goal for the Blues. [The Athletic]
- Turns out that dressing an ice-cold and pissed-off Cam Talbot in an elimination game was a poor coaching move. [The Athletic] And now the Wild have a goaltending controversy on their hands. [The Athletic]
- Problems that Jay Woodcroft appeared to repair have been the culprit for the Edmonton Oilers, which is a big reason why they cannot beat the Los Angeles Kings. [TSN]
- The Flames have been leaning on their veterans for inspiration in crunch time. [TSN]
- Jacob Trouba managed to avoid a hearing, let alone any supplemental discipline, for his headshot of Sidney Crosby. [TSN] Crosby, dealing with a concussion, missed Game 6, and who knows his availability for Game 7. [NHL]
On that note, I know that the current interpretation of the rule focuses on intent, specifically whether the hitter intended the head to be “the principal point of contact,” but it’s high time we interpret it to impose strict liability on hitters. They have to be responsible for their sticks, and any time they high-stick an opponent (besides on a follow-through), they’re strictly liable for it: Refs call accidental high-sticks all the time. Why shouldn’t head hits be the same way? Players will adapt their hits—they did it pretty successfully when they weren’t allowed to target heads anymore. They can do it again, and it won’t eliminate hitting. Get mad at me in the comments.
- Auston Matthews, Connor McDavid, and Igor Shesterkin are the finalists for the Hart Trophy. [NHL]
- The Cancuks confirmed that Bruce Boudreau will return next season, so scratch him off your shortlist. [Canucks]
- Shane Wright says that he “deserves” to be the no. 1 overall pick this July. [NHL]
- A Senators mailbag in which it was made clear that the now-fired Pierre McGuire was hired in Ottawa by the late Eugene Melnyk. Also, an update on Travis Hamonic. [Sportsnet]
- Paul Bissonnette says his TNT co-host Wayne Gretzky still parties with the crew until 5:00 a.m. Gotta say that Biz—even though I found him annoying prior to his joining TNT—has been the straw that stirs the drink on that desk. He loosened them all up from day one, and it has been by far the most entertaining hockey intermission we’ve seen. [NY Post]