Posts tagged hockey
Alex Ovechkin finally brings home Lord Stanley's Cup
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After 43 years, the Washington Captials are finally Stanley Cup champions, defeating the Vegas Golden Knights in 5 games to capture their first Stanley Cup.

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The Caps were led by their big 3 forwards in Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Nicklas Backstrom, the top three point scorers in the playoffs this year. Kuznetsov led the playoffs in points with 32 and Ovechkin led all players with 15 goals. Goaltender Braden Holtby allowed just 8 goals in the last four games after letting in 6 goals in game 1. He took off after being benched for the first two games of the playoffs and carried his solid form throughout the playoffs.

It wasn’t just the high-end players who performed for the Capitals. Role players like Devante Smith-Pelly and Lars Eller may have been further down the depth chart but they each had strong playoff performances with 7 goals each, including the game-tying goal in game 5 by Smith-Pelly and the game winning goal by Eller.

The Golden Knights are one of the greatest stories in the history of the NHL and one of the best in sports history. This loss will not detract from their historic season in any way and fans everywhere should applaud this group of players for making it so far.

Reilly Smith was the Knights’ top scorer with 6 points this round while Tomas Nosek pitched in with 3 goals in the series. Two big disappointments for the team were top line forwards William Karlsson and Jonathan Marchessault, who combined for just 1 goal and 5 points in the series. The biggest disappointment, however, came from goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. When you look at the entire playoffs, you will see how truly dominant Fleury was for Vegas, but the Final was a different story though as his save percentage was below .900 for every single game against Washington. He came crashing down to Earth hard, making it virtually impossible for Vegas to combat the hot form the Capitals were in.

 (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

 (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

The Washington Capitals have dealt with a lot of heartbreak the past dozen years. When you have a generational superstar like Alexander Ovechkin leading your team, the sky is the limit. Unfortunately, as all sports fans know, the playoffs are unpredictable and sometimes luck just isn’t on your side. The Capitals didn't need any luck this year; they just worked harder than everyone else and their elite skill made them almost unstoppable.

That concludes another NHL season filled with drama, skill and some major history. It will be hard to beat this year, but when it comes to sports, anything is possible. Just ask Vegas. And Conn Smythe winner Alexander Ovechkin.

Stanley Cup Playoffs conference final preview
(Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports)

(Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports)

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Washington Capitals
Season Series: 2-1 TB

The Washington Capitals take on the Tampa Bay Lightning as two of the most talented lineups face off. The Capitals finally conquered their demons in the Pittsburgh Penguins with a 6-game series win last round. Their first round started horribly with two home losses but a switch to Braden Holtby was a huge change and they haven’t looked back since. The Tampa Bay Lightning have rolled through the first two rounds by beating the New Jersey Devils and Boston Bruins in 5 games each. The games haven’t all been one-sided blowouts but their playoffs have started just like their season did as they were dominant.

Alex Ovechkin will look to make the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in his illustrious career and has led this team through two tough opponents with 8 goals and 15 points. John Carlson leads all players with 10 powerplay points in the playoffs. The Lightning offense is very balanced and led by their two superstars in Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos. The surprise for them has been Brayden Point with 10 points in 10 games for the team while Andrei Vasilevskiy has been lights out at home for the team.

The Capitals and Lightning both display elite powerplay units and the team who lacks discipline may be on the fast track to an early exit. Washington has been known to disappoint and fall apart with this core but after finally beating the Penguins, this could mean big things for the team. That being said, the Lightning have such a strong balance with their team and a return to their early season form may make them unstoppable.

(TREVOR HAGAN / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

(TREVOR HAGAN / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

Winnipeg Jets vs. Vegas Golden Knights
Season series: 2-1 VGK

The Winnipeg Jets take on the Vegas Golden Knights in a matchup nobody would’ve predicted to happen here at the conference finals. The Jets dismantled the Minnesota Wild before engaging in a grueling 7-game series against the Nashville Predators. The Knights completely shut down the LA Kings in the first round before taking down the Sharks in 6-games.

The Knights top line guided them in this series with Jonathan Marchessault, William Karlsson and Reilly Smith combining for 25 points in round 2. Marc-Andre Fleury continued his stellar play with 2 more shutouts against the Sharks as his save percentage is an astounding .951 with a 1.53 Goals Against Average.

The Winnipeg Jets are the best Canadian team since the 2011 Vancouver Canucks and will also look to climb into the Finals. Mark Scheifele leads the league in goals in these playoffs with 7 more this round. Blake Wheeler led the league in assists in round 2 with 9 helpers while Dustin Byfuglien leads all defensemen with 13 points in these playoffs. Connor Hellebuyck has provided very strong goaltending for the team and has been proven to have the clutch gene.

The battle between the Jets high end powerplay and the Golden Knights elite penalty kill will be an interesting battle. Both these teams have never been here before so the nerves will be hitting both sides hard, it will be interesting to see which group of experienced players pull ahead. Fleury could use his ring-winning ways to lead the charge for the Vegas along with their amazing top line. Or the Jets could build off of solid goaltending to boast their high-powered offense that overwhelms the resilient Vegas squad.

What 2 Watch: Thursday May 10th

We don't have any basketball until Sunday. What the fuck am I gonna do with my life for the next three days?

While I try and maneuver my way through this thing called 'Life without the NBA', there's some pretty high stakes games on tonight, including a Game 7 in the NHL, a possible sweep in the Bronx, and Tiger and Phil teeing off at TPC. Enjoy your Thursday!


Boston Red Sox v. New York Yankees
7pm EST, MLB Network, MLB.TV, MLB At Bat app

The Evil Empire is back on top. The Yankees have won 17 of 18 and go for the sweep of the Red Sox tonight in the Bronx. It's been late hits from Aaron Judge in game one and Brett Gardner last night that have given the Yanks the edge. Now CC Sabathia goes for win #240 and a series sweep of their rivals.


(John Woods/The Canadian Press)

(John Woods/The Canadian Press)

Winnipeg Jets v. Nashville Predators, Western Conference Semifinal Game 7
8pm EST, NBCSN, NBC Sports App

Thanks to an unusual playoff alignment in the NHL, the two best teams in the Western Conference are playing in the semis. The Jets are trying to make their first Western Conference Final since Winnipeg got their hockey team back a few years ago. The Preds have unfinished business after losing in the Stanley Cup Final last summer, and a Game 7 L at home would crush a lot of spirits in Smashville. Look out for Winnipeg's Dustin Byfuglien, Nashville's PK Subban and Filip Forsberg in this one.


Minnesota Twins v. Los Angeles Angels
10pm EST, FS1, Fox Sports GO, MLB.TV, MLB At Bat app

The Twins take a five-game winning streak into Anaheim to face the Orange County Angels. Jose Berrios (3-3, 3.98 ERA) meets Mike Trout for the very first time as Minnesota looks to break even with the Indians in the AL Central. Garrett Richards (4-1, 3.93 ERA) is red hot coming off of his best outing of the season against Seattle last week.


San Francisco Giants v. Philadelphia Phillies
1pm EST, Facebook

The Phillies go for the four-game sweep in this matinee affair. It would be their fourth of the season, their third at home where they're 14-5. Two teams over .500 and you can watch them while you dodge your family's desperate attempts to get your attention. Fun fun fun!


The Players Championship
1:52pm EST, Golf Channel, ESPN+

TPC at Sawgrass is the biggest non-major of the PGA Tour season, and while golf usually isn't appointment TV for me, it is when Tiger Woods is playing. You factor in he's teeing off with Phil Mickelson? Some mid-afternoon golf just turned into really good background noise for ya boy.


West Ham United v. Manchester United
2:45pm, NBCSN, NBC Sports App

Man U heads to East London in need of a point to secure the second spot in the Premier League table. There awaits former gaffer David Moyes, who got sacked 10 months into his stay at Old Trafford in 2014. Current Man U manager Jose Mourinho has a lot to figure out about his lineup before the summer transfer window opens.

NHL Midseason Awards

Hart Trophy (MVP) - Current pick: Connor McDavid (EDM)

(Jason Franson/The Canadian Press)

(Jason Franson/The Canadian Press)

This may come as a surprise to some as Tampa Bay's Nikita Kucherov is most people`s choice and a tough 2nd for me, but Connor McDavid is truly the most valuable player and best player in the league.

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The Hart trophy for MVP often involves some weighing between the “most valuable” player and the player having the best season. Kucherov is having the best season but given the Lightning also have strong candidates for Vezina and Norris too, McDavid is far more valuable. New York Islander John Tavares should also get some consideration as he leads the league in even strength points just ahead of McDavid and has led his team to a higher place in the standings. While Tampa Bay has the best record in the league, some may be skeptical of how much the team relies on Kucherov with stars at each position as well. His points lead is largely due to power play effectiveness, and McDavid offers better possession and even strength stats along with being the most critical part of a team.

Norris Trophy (Top Defenseman) – Current pick: John Klingberg (DAL)

There are a number of decent candidates here without one truly sticking out. Klingberg is the points leader among defensemen but that’s not the only reason he's here. He is tied with St. Louis' Alex Pietrangelo for most points at even strength with 22, two ahead of LA's Drew Doughty, who is also a strong contender.

According to Corsica, Klingberg also has the highest CF% among these three as well as Ottawa's Erik Karlsson and Tampa's Victor Hedman who round out my top five. Doughty may be the better’s choice as the voters seem to love him even when he’s not doing that great but this year he warrants high praise. Erik Karlsson may have had a rough December but he is still the best defenseman in the league and could make a late charge for the trophy. Klingberg has been the best offensively and stable enough defensively to get the nod.

Vezina Trophy (Top Goalie) – Current pick: Andrei Vasilevskiy (TB)

This feels like an easy pick but goalies can rise and decline rapidly without warning, so trusting a young net minder like Vasilevskiy is a little risky. But his play to this point has been outstanding. Best even strength save percentage by 10 points over the next starters while also leading the league in shutouts with six.

The Blackhawks' Corey Crawford and Columbus' Sergei Bobrovsky offer similar cases of great even strength goaltending being dragged down by their teams’ poor penalty killing while LA's Jonathan Quick has enjoyed a resurgent season, along with the best save percentage on the penalty kill and solid even strength numbers. Vasilevskiy’s play of late has really propelled him past the other goalies and he is my choice now.

Calder Trophy (Best Rookie) – Current pick: Brock Boeser (VAN)

This has emerged as a two horse race and it is a very close call right now. Brock Boeser and the Islanders' Matthew Barzal are neck-and-neck as we hit the halfway point of the season. Boeser has 21 goals (fourth in the league) and has more total points but Barzal edges Boeser slightly when it comes to even strength points. Barzal also has better possession stats and advanced metrics favour him to Boeser.

A key advantage is that Boeser is more valuable to his team than Barzal. While Barzal has had a great season, he is fourth on the team in points as they also have an MVP candidate in Tavares. On the other hand Boeser leads his team in points by a margin of 10 and has been with two sets of linemates so far. Voters favour the goal scorers and in this case the player more valuable to his team too.

Jack Adams Award (Best Coach) – Current pick: Gerard Gallant (VGK)

This was the easiest choice for me to make. I’d wager almost everybody has Gallant pegged as the Jack Adams frontrunner right now.

Jon Cooper’s Lightning have the best record in the league and John Hynes has turned the Devils into something solid but there’s really no contest. I mean it’s almost unbelievable what the Vegas Knights team has done AS AN EXPANSION TEAM!!! This team was configured primarily of players left off teams protected lists. Their only really big free agent signing left for Russia. Yet here they are with the second best record in the league (!!!). Granted, some players they obtained were quality pieces that should’ve been protected - like Jonathan Audy-Marchessault and Nate Schmidt -but it is still surprising to pretty much everybody involved in hockey I’m sure even their fans wouldn’t have expected this. The team has gone through fie goalies but still held firm. Gallant deserves a ton of credit for how he’s been able to orchestrate this Cinderella story.