Usually, I cannot watch playoff hockey for at least a few weeks after the Pittsburgh Penguins are eliminated. No, I don’t suffer from the same letdown or raw emotions that fans go through (I’m jealous). Usually, by the end of the Penguins season, I’m sick of hockey for a while. Not this year! I am eating up these rivalry series with a big ol’ spoon.
In the Daily: Montreal used an electric atmosphere to beat Toronto to force Game 7, David Pastrnak showed up in a suit that would make a matador jealous then scored a hatty, Seth Jones will test free agency, and Penguins coach Mike Sullivan is safe, according to Sportsnet reporter Elliotte Friedman.
Pittsburgh Hockey Now: Yep, Mike Sullivan is expected to be back as the Pittsburgh Penguins head coach.
Really, Sullivan being safe shouldn’t be news, but here we are, and lots of people were firing lots of arrows hoping to hit a target.
Jake Guentzel, who didn’t score a goal until Game 6 and didn’t have any at even strength, made perhaps the biggest admission of the Penguins clean-out day: “I let a lot of people down.”
National Hockey Now & NHL
A media friend asked on Saturday–what is National Hockey Now?? Simply, NHN is the umbrella company for all of our Hockey Now sites, from San Jose to New York and all points in between. And–we have a HUGE expansion announcement coming on Tuesday. Game changer.
Boston: David Pastrnak arrived at TD Garden in a white matador suit, then popped a hat trick to embarrass the New York Islanders 5-2.
New York: The Islanders were backing off the Perfection Line, leaving gaps, and–get this–wanting interference penalties. They were FAR from perfect.
After catching a lot of flak from Islanders fans who began every sentence with –“Well what about the Penguins…”– wanting interference penalties is amusing to me. Yep, that’s a penalty, should be a penalty, and should be called. Officials allow the team that interferes to have a distinct advantage to “let the boys play.”
Sportsnet: Ole, Ole Oleee! Ole! Ole! The Montreal Canadiens made news by allowing 2500 fans into the Bell Centre, squandered a 2-0 third period lead, and still forced Game 7. Ole! Ole! Ole!
Toronto should be glad there won’t be too many, if any fans, in ScotiaBank for 7. The pressure would be suffocating. If Toronto loses, just stand back and watch the world burn.
Columbus Blue Jackets d-man Seth Jones won’t re-sign before free agency. The top-tier rearguard is willing to test the waters and could be the latest big name to bolt.
Columbus–the city, the fans–have done everything right, but there is still something missing.
TSN: The Canadian team which wins the North Division will get to stay in Canada. Darren Dreger reports the NHL expects a travel exemption to be in place to allow a U.S. team to come and go.
Florida: The Panthers had a disappointing end. They lost to a (probably) better team (Tampa Bay), but they gave Tampa all it could handle. Joel Quenneville reflected on the season on locker clean-out day.
San Jose: Hey Johnstown fans, remember Archie Irbe? The goaltender, most known for his stints in Carolina and San Jose, had a great conversation with our folks in San Jose.
Vegas: Max Pacioretty didn’t take the morning skate for Game 7 on Friday, then he showed up in a big way for Game 7 against Minnesota.
Colorado: The Colorado Avs have what it takes to beat Vegas in Round Two, but can they?
Later Sunday morning, I’m hopping a flight to Denver to cover that series for our National Hockey Now outlets. I’ll continue our Pittsburgh Penguins coverage, too, but I’m going to miss Indy. That chaps me (no wifi on Frontier. Cmon folks, it’s OK to have one amenity), but it’s a sacrifice for the business.
It should be a great time. But Indy… Car races are so much the same in this era–every week, the same drivers have a close finish for TV ratings. The cars are designed that way. But–there was a time when the Indianapolis 500 was about technological advancements. Before cars were equalized for better TV viewing, one car usually dominated the Indy 500. And we enjoyed the greatness. Heck, rearview mirrors were invented by Ray Harroun in the very first Indy 500 in 1911. Harroun and his brightly colored yellow “Marmon Wasp” averaged nearly 90mph over the famed brick pavement.
Never before did Indy have a remotely close finish. Winners were coronated as usually the best (or luckiest) man and machine.
But–in 1982, two cars made 500,000 people go bonkers, and venerable broadcaster Jim McKay lost his marbles. It remains one of the great sports broadcasts and finishes of all time. It made me an Indy fan and a Rick Mears fan.
My son was born just before Memorial Day, 1997. When we brought him home from the hospital, the first thing he and I did as father and son was watch Arie Lueyendyk win the ’97 race. Of course, my son was two days old. He didn’t say much, but I’m sure he enjoyed it.
“There’s time to catch him … I’ve never seen anything like it!” I watch this every year, and someday, I’ll show my buddy, little Leo (my two-year-old grandson, who loves cars). Have a watch. Enjoy.