The 2013 NHL season has come to an end and an impressive push down the stretch by our beloved Isles has secured them the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference. For the first time since 2007, the New York Islanders will play post-season hockey and compete for Lord Stanley’s Cup.
However, the real challenge lies ahead for the Islanders, as they will take on the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round of the playoffs. The Penguins basically ran circles around the rest of the Eastern Conference during the lockout-shortened 2013 season, finishing in 1st place with 72 points. (Photo Credit: Beauty Playin 'Eh/Flickr)
The 2013 NHL season is no longer an 82 game marathon, but instead is a 48 game dash to the finish line.
Will teams that had multiple players skating in Europe fair better? Will veteran squads win because they will have fresh legs all season long? Only the next few months will tell.
Here are my Eastern Conference power rankings.
1. Pittsburgh Penguins – A healthyEvgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby will lead Pittsburgh deep into the Stanley Cup playoffs. The addition of veteran goalie Tomas Vokoun gives Coach Dan Bylsma a solid option if Marc-Andre Fleury falters.
Naturally gifted, fluid skater, exceptional puck handling, and devastatingly accurate shooting are some of the greatest aspects of top NHL players.
Conversely, lazy, unmotivated, self centered, and poor locker room presence are the worst possible aspects of an NHL player.
With a light load of free agent talent, it is no shock that a player who encompasses all of the descriptions above still remains unsigned. Alexander Semin is easily the most intriguing free agent of the entire 2012 free agent class. In 469 regular season games Semin has acquired 408 total points (197 goals and 211 assists). In comparison Zach Parise, now of the Minnesota Wild, has 410 points in 502 reg...
The playful metaphor that was used by The Checking Line at the beginning of the season is the only thing playful about the NHL Discipline Office these days. It has become once again the mainstay of controversy in the NHL playoffs. Fining coaches unnecessary amounts for comments made, yet allowing player safety issues to be countered by useless fines. The NHL has lost its hold on itself and there is only one thing to truly blame, its own media.
The most perfect example of this, recent comments made by New York Rangers head coach John Tortorella. Why is this, the perfect example? Well that can be answered by just checking the NHL web site. Coach Torts&rsq...
The stage has been set, and the opponents have been decided: the Philadelphia Flyers (47-29-9) will be facing the Pittsburgh Penguins (50-29-6) in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Based on games played by both teams on Thursday night, Pittsburgh will end the season in 4th place and the Flyers in 5th in the Eastern Conference.
The New York Rangers clinched the East with a win over the Flyers on Tuesday night.
On Saturday, the Flyers and Penguins will meet in Pittsburgh for the last game of the regular season. It will be a preview of the playoff series to come, and will likely be an interesting game, based on the last matchup between the teams.
Hard hitting, desperation saves and a little bit of extra-curricular activities sprinkled in.
Perhaps, it was a look at what the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals has in store for the Flyers and Penguins. 60 minutes of full throttle hockey with the addition of the playoffs, and the hockey world will be in store for another classic Flyers/Penguins series.
Sunday afternoon's battle - as well as one more game next Saturday afternoon to finish the season - was a preview of the almost inevitable 4/5-seed match up between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.
The Chicago Blackhawks (22-9-1) go into Pittsburgh on Tuesday evening to face the Penguins with a 7-0-1 record in December, and looking to collect their sixth straight road win. Not counting preseason match-ups, Chicago and Pittsburgh usually only face off once per year, so there's always anticipation around their games.
As the Blackhawks continue their hot streak of games, the team has gained a lot of confidence, and it is showing in their play. Solid, consistent effort across all three periods is becoming more frequent, and Sunday night's game saw the fourth line chipping in offensively as well. The team has consistently flirted with the top spot in the league and cur...
59 seconds of icetime was all it took before the hockey world knew that “Sid the Kid” was not merely healthy – he was officially back.
Taking a pass from Pascal Dupuis at centre ice at the start of his second shift, Pittsburgh Penguins Captain Sidney Crosby flew into the offensive zone like a man possessed once the puck arrived on his blade. After blowing the doors off of helpless defenceman Andrew MacDonald, he fired a backhander with a level of speed and accuracy that outweighed many players’ best shots on their forehand, making no mistake in rifling the puck into the upper portion of rookie Anders Nilsson’s net.
Preview: The New York Islanders are returning home after a Florida road trip where the team experienced more sun than fun. It was a trip which saw two games, two losses, and a continued futility to achieve secondary scoring. Not the recipe for success this season drawn up by coach Jack Capuano and GM Garth Snow, and not what the team envisioned after jetting off to a 3 – 1 start.
The Pittsburgh Penguins head into Long Island for the first half of a home-and-home series against the Islanders playing some of the best hockey in the league. Despite missing all-world talents in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, the Penguins just keep winning. ...