The Pittsburgh Penguins game wasn’t the only thing on TV last night, apparently. Nevertheless, the Penguins clinched their 15th consecutive playoff berth with a 5-4 OT win over the Washington Capitals on Thursday night. Washington also clinched, and the Philadelphia Flyers were officially, mercifully, eliminated. There is plenty of other news we will get to below, but none more amazing than 49-year-old Jaromir Jagr, who led the Czech team he owns to a playoff victory and back into the top Czech league.
Pittsburgh Hockey Now: The Penguins clinched their 15th consecutive playoff appearance by beating the Washington Capitals, 5-4 in OT.
PHN+: It was a fun Penguins game to watch, though it was one they will want to improve upon. The full analysis and Penguins report card.
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I’m not old as long as Jaromir Jagr is still playing. That’s the rule…even though it has been 30 years since that toothy kid used the Parkway East as an Autobahn and watched soap operas to learn English while he helped the Pittsburgh Penguins to their first Stanley Cup. Mario Lemieux was in his mid-20s, so too were Mark Recchi, Kevin Stevens, Ulf Samuelsson, Tom Barrasso, Bob Errey and Phil Bourque. Ron Francis was 28, and Paul Coffey was a ripe old 29-years-old.
Sportsnet: Jagr’s team won their B league and will be elevated to the top Czech league next season.
Anyone else up for a road trip next August when the top Czech league begins play?
NHL News, National Hockey Now & the East Division
Sportsnet: Here’s the Ipad story that Bob Errey referenced on the Penguins TV broadcast on Thursday. How coaches and players are using the little tablets during the game.
Also, they’re now over $1000?!
NYI Hockey Now: The New York Islanders have been struggling, but they snapped out of it and beat the New York Rangers, 4-0.
The East Division playoff field is almost official. Now it’s about seeding. The Penguins and Capitals are tied at the top, but the Capitals have one game in hand.
Philly Hockey Now: The morning tear-jerker. Have your hankies ready. The Philadelphia Flyers have been officially eliminated from playoff contention.
The Flyers were exposed. They started well, but as other teams dialed in, they couldn’t keep up. Kevin Hayes was a semi-healthy scratch on Thursday, too. There’s going to be some reckonings on Broad Street.
Boston Hockey Now: The Boston Bruins were applauded for a trade they DID NOT make.
TSN: The Dallas Stars are considering going to 100% fan capacity for the playoffs.
Wow, that’s a big step, isn’t it? If we get enough folks with the vaccine, that won’t be an issue, but if we stop at 65-70%, people will get sick (and the virus will keep mutating, potentially beating the vaccines). That’s a lot of trust in your fellow man to have done the right thing. It just takes just one person to infect many.
Colorado Hockey Now: The Avalanche are coasting toward the playoffs. That’s not a good thing.