Boston vs Toronto: Battling the Bruins
The Maple Leafs are getting three days much needed rest after tackling 6 games in 9 days with a record of 3-3. Despite a solid 20-30 minute effort on the Leafs part, they still fell to Phoenix in another unfortunate home loss. To date, the Leafs have had ten home games in the First Niagara Center (disregarding the “home” game in Helsinki) and their record doesn’t quite reflect the home ice advantage they should have. With a 4-6 First Niagara Center Record, their away record (also disregarding the game in Berlin) shines at 6-2. The Leafs have not lost a game that has gone into overtime or a shootout to date this season. Unfortunately for a team with that kind of home record, the fact that 9 out of the next 11 games are home is a bit scary (and not in the scary good way).
The next game the Leafs vs the Boston Bruins and though the time to really retaliate was that Saturday, they still have a point to make. Miller is still sidelined and the Bruins are on an 8 game hot streak that should fitfully end on Wednesday out of spite. The Leafs have some bad news however, not including the momentum the Bruins have coming into the game — but really, the team is undefeated in Novemeber and I hate that idea.
According to John Vogl, the upper-body injury reported after the game is likely a wrist/hand injury which will be evaluated tomorrow (Monday). I’m not sure when the injury occurred, but it’s a disappointment to think of losing Myers since he’s began to step up his game after the healthy scratch. It doesn’t help that Mike Weber is out, also with an upper body injury from the Devils game and Cody McCormick hasn’t played since the shootout win over Montreal. If Myers is unfit to play against the Bruins, we’ll probably be seeing TJ Brennan who was called up after Weber’s injury but did not see any ice time. Brennan has yet to play in his first NHL game but in 17 games with the Rochester Americans, he has 7 points (3 goals, 4 assists) and a plus/minus of -3.
After five seasons in the NHL, Ilya Kovalchuk again returns overseas. 35-year-old forward waited for his “free agency” and, despite his fairly solid hockey age, aroused serious interest among overseas bosses
Ilya left the NHL in 2013, having 417 goals in 816 matches, and the average number of pucks per game (0.511) is the 18th in the history of the league – even Ovechkin and Stemkos are behind. Every team that is interested in Kovalchuk this summer is taking a certain risk. Ilya has not played in the NHL for five years, and signed contracts with age-hockey players can be a heavy burden for the club, since it will be impossible to redeem such a contract with a “discount” for the salary ceiling.
Until July 1, Kovalchuk formally is not a free agent, but already with might and main communicates with the teams. Clubs that are ready to take Ilya for a one- or two-year contract are quite a lot. A kind of example for leadership teams is the contract, which a year ago signed with Toronto, another well-known veteran Patrick Marlo, who was offered a three-year agreement worth $ 6.25 million per year. Perhaps Kovalchuk will be more compliant in terms of salary, because it is extremely important for him to get into a strong team. “If it were money, he would just stay in the KHL,” said one NHL team leader on anonymity.
We offer our list of the main contenders for the 17th issue.
Los Angeles Kings
“Kings” wooed Kovalchuk back in 2010, when he left the plain-looking “Atlanta”, in which otrubil five years. Then the Californians were very close to signing a contract with Ilya, but he eventually chose the East Coast and chose the option with the “New Jersey”. Today, the leadership of “Kings” is making a new attempt to get a Russian – the team is trying to change and get rid of the heavyweight style that allowed it to win two Stanley Cups, but ceased to be relevant.
Last season the “Kings” had very unhappy things in terms of effectiveness and a common attacking game. By the number of abandoned washers, “Los Angeles” was on the 16th place in the league, the effectiveness of the majority – on the 17th, and the gap between the best scorer of the team, Angers Kopitar and any other player of the team was a whole abyss (31 points). “Los Angeles” is necessary to drive forward, and it is no accident that the “kings” invited Kovalchuk to a personal conversation. “Surely they showed an interest in Jeff Skinner and Max Pachoretti. With Kovalchuk they are also trying to come to an agreement, “noted well-known columnist Elliott Friedman.
Kucherov finally scored! And Marchant again licked his rival
“Have you seen our first link?” – this journalistic phrase, addressed to the top three of the attack of “Tampa” during the third match of the series, very accurately expressed the mood of many fans. The main stars of the attack from the “lightning” – Nikita Kucherov, Stephen Stamkos and JT Miller – remained silent throughout the series, and the support forces were loaded with the burden of effectiveness. Kucherov for three games of the second round did not score a single point, Stamkos scored twice, but one of the pucks was framed by a throw in an empty net.
“Of course, we want to score points, we want to bring more benefits to the team. Everything goes wrong, as we are used to. There are no qualitative moments, and when something appears, the opponent plays very confidently. When you can not score, you need to compensate for this with other aspects of the game. I think that our link is well defended, we are not bad at face-offs. At this time of the year, it is not so important who scores. We want to win, and the whole team scores goals, “Stemkos shook his head, but this time he and Kucherov managed to remove the shroud of failure.
For “Lightning” it all started quite well. Already in the fifth minute of the meeting, the best player of this series, Braden Point, opened the scoring after a spectacular solo passage and sluggishness of the defenders on the patch, and then came the time of Nikita Kucherov. The Russian, who looked extremely inexpressive during the three previous games, used the removal of the giant Zdeno Hara for throwing the puck, and scored his first goal in the series. The puck turned out in the style of Ovechkin: forward struck a powerful throw in touch after a convenient transfer to the right circle of face-off.