There are many qualities the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks have in common, from superstar goalies who have waited in the wings for their chance to lead their teams deep into the playoffs to exceptional depth at every position and well-respected captains ready to do anything to win. They also have, perhaps most importantly, management with a ton of roster patience.
This is the Hockey section.
The city of Boston was torn apart in April, shocked by the actions of two men in the Boston Marathon bombing. In the months following, sports fans and Beantown residents in general have rallied, their support for each other exemplified in the 2013 Stanley Cup run of the Boston Bruins – the embodiment of the toughness and spirit of the city. This is destiny. This is sports.
The Ottawa Senators might not be the most decorated NHL franchise of our generation, but that doesn’t take away from the organization that team captain Daniel Alfredsson has built from the ground up. With 17 seasons under his belt, including 13 wearing the C, Alfredsson has risen to the occasion as one of the sport’s greats.
Whether it’s the typical grinding marathon or this year’s furious sprint, every point earned during the regular season is gained with the hope of not just making the playoffs, but securing home-ice advantage. The Presidents’ Trophy is valuable not because anyone truly cares who won the regular season, but because it ensures the ever so important advantage in every round of the playoffs. This year, more than in year’s past, we’re seeing why it makes such a difference.
Down 3-0 to the Boston Bruins, the New York Rangers are in a tight spot as they head into Game 4 at Madison Square Garden Tuesday night. After blowing a third period lead in Game 1 then being embarrassed in Game 2, the pressure is on the Rangers who looked like they were a small step from making the final at the end of last season. Can they claw their way back from the brink?
By now you’ve probably seen the circus act that was Game 3 between the Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens. Myriad opinions abound about the tactics used and the actions undertaken in that game, with some fans revelling in the “old-time hockey”-style of play, while others, such as Ken Campbell from The Hockey News, have denounced it. Is this what happens when the “code” takes precedence over the NHL rulebook?
The New York Islanders are showing everyone what kind of team they have the potential to be in the near future. With the exception of Game 1 when the Islanders were blown out of the CONSOL Energy Center by a final score of 5-0, they have matched the Pens goal-for-goal and outshot the top-ranked team in the Eastern Conference 78-58 in Games 2 and 3. If they were playing against any other team, they could easily be leading the series.
With fewer than eight months until the puck drops on the Olympic hockey tournament in Sochi, Russia on February 8, 2014, it is still undecided whether or not NHL players will be making the trip to represent their home countries. The NHL along with the International Olympic Committee and International Ice Hockey Federation have been making progress, but work still remains to be done, mainly hammering out details on travel and insurance, to see whether or not NHL players will participate as they have done since 1998.
Steve Ott has been a called a lot of things over the course of his career, but among them has been the word “tough”. However, the longtime pest and current Buffalo Sabre made headlines recently by making perfectly clear his displeasure with the fans in his own building that boo his team. Does he, does any one, have the right to criticize a home fan base booing the on-ice product that he and his teammates are producing?
There’s something to be said for face-offs in hockey. But, then again, you already knew that. In a sport where puck possession is the name of the game, one who rules the face-off circle is considered king. Joe Scaringi takes a good, romantic and at times tragic, look at how one draw in particular sent an entire NHL playoff run crashing down.