A rapid fire account of a few things happening around the league:
The Los Angeles Kings welcome the Phoenix Coyotes to STAPLES Center for game 3 of the Western Conference Finals. May not be an arms wide open welcome after game 2 saw a pair of boarding penalties and a knee-to-knee hit. Oh, and a pretty good slash from Coyote’s goalie Mike Smith . Out of it all, only Martin Hanzal took a game suspension from league disciplinarian after his boarding of King’s Captain Dustin Brown. It seems Brown is a thorn in the Coyotes side, being hit form behind, taking a nice shot to the back of the leg, and netting 1 goal and adding 2 assists in the series thus far. If the Coyotes want to stay in this series, or even have the slightest opportunity for a comeback (doubtful), they need to keep their emotions in check and channel their aggression in the form of goals.
Jumping to the other Conference, big news about Marian Gaborik of the New York Rangers being benched last night. Gaborik, who made a couple of bad plays that resulted in a game tying New Jersey Devil’s goal, was benched for much of the third period. Benched for roughly 13 minutes, Gaborik saw less ice and the Rangers saw a loss. Call me what you want, but Gaborik is tied for the second highest point total on the team for the playoffs. If you ask Philadelphia Flyer’s goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, we are only “human”, and mistakes happen. Chalk it up for another tally of why I dislike Head Coach John Tortorella, and why I think the Stanley Cup Contender talented New York Rangers will not win until they get rid of him. Try and compare this to the Nashville Predators or the Washington Capitals and I believe you will fail to see a direct connection.
The Collective Bargaining Agreement between the league and the NHLPA is still getting nowhere. The agreement expires in less than 4 months, and from the outside looking in, it seems like neither side is doing anything. Perhaps a poker-face like mentality, show no signs of good or bad, but at some point the sides need to start talking. Armageddon would be another lockout, a worse-case scenario perhaps miss a little bit of pre-season and hopefully no regular season games, and a best case scenario that the two sides realize that an average fan makes nowhere near the amount of the dollars the two sides will eventually fight over; hence we don’t care about your frivolous disagreements. Figure it out, shake hands and let us enjoy the sport we love.