Hockey Hugs is a feature that celebrates the best in hugging from around the sport of hockey, because who doesn't love a good hug now and then? Have you seen a particularly good hug photo lately? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org or Tweet it to @HarrisonMooney . Welcome once again to hockey hugs, the Puck Daddy feature that's all about the love. We're into the second round of the playoffs, and it's a double-edged sword. On the one hand, the hugs just keep getting more and more meaningful the further into the postseason you go. On the other hand, the variety is beginning to dwindle. Fortunately, many of the teams remaining have characters you can't help but chuckle at. The San Jose Sharks, for instance, have the Wookiee Brent Burns. What's he howling? Why, he's swearing a life-debt to Marc-Edouard Vlasic, just like Chewbacca! Meanwhile, the Boston Bruins are led by, basically, the Iron Giant in a spoked B, so they're going to produce a lot of great big-guy-little-guy shots. Case in point, this photo, where Brad Marchand looks less like a teammate and more like a troll that rides around on his back. Coming up: more hugs, unsurprisingly. We've been doing this awhile now. You know how it works.
Jonathan Toews has no goals in the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs, through eight games. He had two last postseason, through seven games. He had one in seven games against Vancouver in 2011. In 2010, when the Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup, Toews had one goal in the final 11 games of their run to the championship. It was still good enough for the Conn Smythe. We’re no math majors, but Toews has four goals in his last 33 playoff games. During that span, defenseman Brent Seabrook has three goals. For context’s sake. Reader ‘Hollis 22’ is wondering why Toews doesn’t take flack for this drought: “If Alex Ovechkin was in that kind of drought, the hockey media would be in his face with torches and pitchforks. In contrast, Joe Thornton has 5 goals in his last 27 playoff tilts, yet he and Patrick Marleau are viewed as guys that crumble in the playoffs. “Why this stat hasn't made its way to the forefront of the Chicago-Detroit series is mind-boggling to me.” The line of Toews, Marian Hossa and Brandon Saad has two points in three games against the Detroit Red Wings, who lead their series 2-1. That came on a Marian Hossa power-play goal in Game 1, on which Toews earned an assist. Otherwise, they’ve watched Henrik Zetterberg’s line do to them what they did to Zach Parise’s line in the Minnesota Wild series: Shut them down, while generating their own offense on the counterattack. Which is why criticism of Toews’s postseason offense can be sort of tricky.
Brian Burke was the architect of the USA Hockey team that rode the hot goaltending of Ryan Miller all the way to overtime of the 2010 gold medal match in the Vancouver Olympics. He was the general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs then. Now, he’s out of a GM gig; according to Sportsnet 590 in Toronto, that’s the reason he won’t be back in the same capacity for Team USA in Sochi 2014. As reported on the “Brady and Lang” show by co-host Greg Brady, Burke will not be asked back as the team’s general manager. As Brady tweeted: “Burke was told, as suspected, USA Hockey wants a current NHL GM. [Nashville GM David] Poile a strong candidate. Burke definitely wanted the job - obviously he made a huge commitment to after his son's tragic passing. Might be a mistake by USA Hockey.” Burke’s son Brendan died in a car accident on Feb. 5, 2010; the Winter Olympic hockey tournament in Vancouver began on Feb. 13, 2010. Burke worked through his personal tragedy, which served as an inspiration for the American players. He also made some bold decisions at GM that helped Team USA earn silver: Most notably the addition of Chris Drury to the roster, as the veteran center had become a high-priced punchline for the New York Rangers. Drury was one of the team’s best players in the tournament, and rewrote the legacy of his latter years in the NHL. The notion that a general manager needs to be currently employed in the NHL to take the reins of Team USA seems a bit odd.
NEW YORK -- One of the universal truths in the Stanley Cup playoffs is that the teams that receive secondary scoring are usually the ones that win games and series.
NEW YORK -- Daniel Paille's goal with 3:31 left in regulation was the game-winner in the Boston Bruins' 2-1 win over the New York Rangers in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden.
Jersey Fouls is our ongoing exploration of the rules and etiquette for proper hockey jersey creation and exhibition. If you spot what you think may be a foul in your arena, email a photo to us at email@example.com for inclusion in future installment. Via reader Jenni comes this bro-tastic bro-dacious Jersey Bro, bro: Seen at a Charlotte Checkers game, this guy was REALLY proud of his "BROVECHKIN" jersey, and asked me to take a picture of him (and the Nutcracker) with his own camera as well. I can assure you, the Checkers were NOT playing the AHL affiliate of the Capitals... so that too, is a foul, in my opinion! Your opinion is correct. This is a Russian nesting doll of Fouls. (Also, it speaks to the power of the Foul that we didn’t even notice the albino cousin of Cookie Puss holding a bag of peanuts next to him.) We were curious if “Brovechkin” was an actual thing, and not just Mike Green’s daily greeting to his captain. We discovered it has an Urban Dictionary entry: “a bro who has dirty swag.” That bro should probably find a Laundromat. Anyhoo, there’s also “Brovechkin” gear available on sites like Bros Like These Shirts , in case you absolutely have the need to call attention to what a wide bro-cabulary you have. Vomit. (Coming Up: A George Parros mustache Foul; a hideous Tampa sweater; Toronto Maple Leafs Tribute jersey; Detroit Red Wings hate Frankenjersey; another Caps Foul; Revisionist Sweaters; and a rather crude ‘69’ jersey.)
As impressive as the Toronto Maple Leafs were in their playoff series against the Boston Bruins, Mikhail Grabovski had a different experience. The forward had just two assists and was a minus-10 for the Leafs – a performance that came after a 9-goal, 7-assist one in 48 games this season. I spoke with Grabovski about the Leafs’ playoff run; whether Game 7 was his worst loss of his career; his season under coach Randy Carlyle; his Datsyukian goal attempt; his incident with Max Pacioretty; and what the future holds. Q. Let’s start with a couple of thoughts about the season. GRABOVSKI: “The season turned to be positive overall. I wouldn’t say it was the best one for me or very successful, but it was certainly interesting, I gained a lot of experience.” Yet it ended in a big disappointment. If you were asked to describe what happened in a few words, what would you say? “I would say… You know, it is so difficult to describe it, very difficult to talk about it. It left a very bad feeling. But it was still an experience. It showed that as a team we are not yet ready to compete for the Stanley Cup. At the same time, we are almost there.”
Hello, this is a feature that will run through the entire season and aims to recap the weekend’s events and boils those events down to one admittedly superficial fact or stupid opinion about each team. Feel free to complain about it. No one is ever going to be totally happy with the ways in which the NHL's referees or officials make their decisions. We can all agree on that. If there's a game in which neither team is whistled for a penalty, both will likely complain that the refs missed calls on the other. If there's a game in which both teams receive 10 power plays, both will complain that the referees were overly harsh in doling out discipline. No one is ever especially happy with calls that go in between those two extremes, either, because unless you win, you aren't happy. And sometimes, even when you do win, you aren't happy. It's tough to know what, exactly, brought all this to a head in these playoffs. Alex Ovechkin complaining about a league-wide conspiracy in Game 6 after the end of Game 7; Jonathan Toews stamping his feet when his team got clobbered on home ice by its archrival; Sidney Crosby saying the league needs to institute video review for puck-over-the-glass calls; Jonathan Quick abusing officials because the Kings gave the Sharks a two-man advantage in overtime. Doesn't it strike anyone as being a bit much? No one likes to lose in October, let alone in the second round of the playoffs, and you might even say that the refs have made a bit of a spectacle of themselves in the last few games. The best thing a ref can do, the old saying goes, is not be noticeable, and things have admittedly gotten a bit out of hand in some instances. But nonetheless, can you imagine the eye-rolling or outright mockery in Chicago if Henrik Zetterberg had said the same things Toews did after they got creamed in Game 1? Or the uproar if Ryan Callahan of the lionized New York Rangers had complained about a conspiracy to push the series longer? Or the furor if Joe Thornton had done what Quick did after the Sharks gave up a similar late-game 5-on-3 advantage that allowed the Kings to tie Game 1? What it boils down to is being a sore loser.
BOSTON (AP) -- The Bruins know a huge deficit can disappear quickly. They overcame one to reach the second round of the playoffs.
Via Penguins WhoSay Besides being able to have their team advance out of the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the city of Pittsburgh has also made it possible to turn one of its buildings into a goal light. A Toronto Maple Leafs fan petition to turn CN Tower into a goal light for each playoff game didn't succeed. In Pittsburgh, however, it took a round, but the top of Gulf Tower will light up red every time the Penguins score in for the rest of the playoffs. Ian Walsh, an executive with Rugby Realty, who control Gulf Tower, met with the Penguins on Wednesday to discuss another idea when the goal light conversation came up. After figuring out a way to control the lights remotely, the plan was put into place for Game 2 on Friday. Here's a view from inside CONSOL Energy Center after Brenden Morrow's goal in Game 2: From the Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review : There was no test run, and Crosby's goal early in the first period on Friday night turned the Gulf Tower into a rotating red light for the first time. However, because there was still daylight when Crosby scored around 7:50 p.m., few people noticed. That was not the case about 30 minutes later when Crosby scored his second goal. A darker sky provided the perfect backdrop for the Gulf Tower to stand out. During the game, Wareham received word from Penguins employees that fans were posting photos of the rooftop goal-light on Twitter, but even he was surprised how quickly the idea became a success. The Penguins’ director of event presentation controls the lights via an iPhone and beginning with Sunday night’s Game 3, there will be 20 rotations of the lights for each goal scored, up from 15 used during Game 2. Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy