Hope you had a good Easter! Here's the latest...
- If not for a massive 51 save game by Jonathan Quick, the LA Kings would be finished and the draft picture would be coming into focus. This is what we know so far:
The Rangers will be picking 15th overall because they had the least amount of points of the teams that made the playoffs and they were eliminated in round one. Oiler faithful are cheering for Montreal, Buffalo and Chicago and obviously cheering against the Kings. The way the draft order works is that if Montreal, Buffalo and Chicago all made it to the Conference Finals, they would pick later in the draft than the Kings even though they finished the regular season with fewer points than LA. Unlikely though that may be, if it were to happen it would mean that the pick the Oilers receive would be 16th overall. Any time one of these teams makes it to the third round, the LA pick moves up a spot. As it is though, the pick will probably be 19th overall, unless by some horrible miracle the Kings manage to advance to the Western Conference Final.
- Things have finally started to calm down after a string of 5 suspensions in twelve days. Some could argue - and with some truth - that Raffi Torres should have been suspended a second time for his hit on Brent Seabrook. However, it may turn out that no suspension was the best thing that ever happened to the Hawks. Does it help them more to have a grinder like Torres out of the series, or to have him in the series to serve as motivation? Interestingly, a Torres hit on Michalek in the Oilers' 2006 cup run changed the complexion of that series in favor of the Oilers. The Hawks, who have proven that they have the mental fortitude to win a Stanley Cup, rallied around the Torres hit and now they are poised to be the second team in two years to come back from a 3-0 deficit.
- The Oklahoma City Barons' season is over. The Barons lost 4-1 this afternoon to Hamilton, ending their short playoff run. Still, just the fact that the Barons made the playoffs is a positive, and they also managed to win two of the three games at home. The thrill of winning playoff hockey should help to arouse the interest of potential fans, and the ones who were at the home games will probably be back next year.
- I get the feeling that Aaron Ward is going to end up in coaching at some point. His analysis on TSN has been insightful and in-depth, and most teams would like to have a 3-time Stanley Cup Champion steering their defence. Ward is a winner, and as such I'm sure he'll want to win again. His playing days may be done, but his chances to win another Cup may not be...
- Ryan Strome's Niagra Ice Dogs got crushed on the shot clock on Saturday 45-24, but the score was kind to them in a 3-2 overtime loss. Mississauga is up 2-1 in the series, which will continue Monday. Strome has just one assist in the three games and a minus-1 rating. Strome has 11 points in 12 playoff games, which may see his ranking come back down to earth somewhat.
- Jonathan Huberdeau's St. John Seadogs are up 2-0 in their series against the Lewiston MAINEiacs. Huberdeau has scored one goal in the series so far and he's a minus-1. Huberdeau has 22 points in 11 playoff games. The series continues on Tuesday.
Next time we'll have a look at the best players available if the Oilers don't move up with LA's pick. Who might still be there at 19th, and who do the Oilers need most?
Until next time..!