Let's just jump right into this...
Last night saw the Conference Finals go the opposite way of the opening round of these playoffs as both the Flyers and Blackhawks won their games to take 2-0 leads in their series. For the Sharks, it was the more disheartening of losses, likely, because it was at HP Pavilion, and represents their 5th consecutive home loss in the conference finals...that is not how you make your first Stanley Cup Finals, boys. I believe Ghost would like a few words with you...probably in the comments.
In the east, the Canadiens still have yet to find a way to beat Michael Leighton, who recorded his second consecutive shutout in Philadelphia. Since Peter Laviolette called a timeout in Game 7 of the Bruins series, the Flyers have outscored their opposition an amazing 13-0, a franchise record. Danny Briere and Simon Gagne continued to lead the charge for Philadelphia. The series shifts back to Montreal on Thursday night and the Canadiens will need to feed off of that home crowd energy to get back into this one.
After the jump, a Canadian blogger fairly evaluates the Phoenix and Winnipeg situations, NHL scheduling questions, a third ownership group, USA Hockey failure and more...Yesterday, I got an email from Teebz who blogs for Hockey Blog in Canada asking me for my thoughts regarding a Winnipeg Free Press article. I've been avoiding linking to a lot of these articles because there's already been a fair bit of emotional drainage from Phoenix and Winnipeg residents in the comments here, but the WFP article was more interesting than most, and Teebz's analysis is pretty solid...
First, here's the WFP article from Randy Turner:
And here's Teebz's take with a quote or two from yours truly:
Hockey Blog In Canada: Growth Comes From Within
Again, don't want to rile up people's emotions too much and rehash those things we were talking about last week...but just thought this was a better analysis of real factors involved.
Why the NHL began conference finals with doubleheaders - Puck Daddy - NHL - Yahoo! Sports
A bit of an explanation as to why we had 2 doubleheaders and 2 blacked out nights for the conference finals...
Third ownership group talking to NHL, Glendale about Phoenix Coyotes - Phoenix Business Journal
This was up as a fanshot yesterday. Seriously, I have no idea anymore. As a friend pointed out on Twitter, perhaps Steve Jobs or Google is taking an interest...perhaps it is the guy from Montreal that kinda got involved last November. I'll just keep waiting for more official word, named sources and confirmations.
KuklasKorner : Hockey
Good news for the NHL as ratings numbers on VS. continue to be very positive.
Phoenix Coyotes Hockey on AZ Vibe " Dear USA Hockey, YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG!
Wow. What a mess USA Hockey has made at the 2010 IIHF World Championships in Germany.
And speaking of free agents, here's some stuff I'm borrowing from SBNation's Wild site Hockey Wildernewss regarding UFAs and RFAs. Very good stuff to know.
2010 NHL playoffs: League leaders - ProHockeyTalk - Hockey - NBC Sports
These were the numbers going into last night. Obviously Michael Leighton has assumed the role of Jaroslav Halak in this round thus far.
And a double-shot of Flyers-themed whimsy...
Send help now: I think I’m becoming a Philadelphia Flyers fan - Puck Daddy - NHL - Yahoo! Sports
Puck Daddy bleeding orange and black...surely you jest...
"The one guy that Jack Bauer could never take down." --Via NHLFlyers - Broad Street Hockey
And for those of you that are fans of 24. Jack Bauer photographed with a person after his own heart (and pain tolerance :)
Flyers-Canadiens are back in action Thursday night, while San Jose gets 2 nights to lick its wounds and attempt to bounce back on Friday.