Welcome to the first edition of Puck77’s newest feature, Clearing the Puck! Here we will take a weekly look at the world of hockey! Everything from the NHL to the World Championships!
Since this is the first iteration of “Clearing the Puck”, a brief explanation seems appropriate. What we’re going to be doing at Puck77 is putting out a weekly recap. There are going to be observations, summaries and some cool things that we noticed around the web from the NHL and the world of hockey from the last week. There will be 10 points every Saturday morning. Included will be links to articles from our website as well as many others to help fill you in on some of the best hockey and NHL content from around the web.
So why are we calling the weekly review “Clearing the Puck”? Well it’s fairly simple. We want to clear the news from the week. We want to give you a recap of all the important news and notes from the week. Much like clearing the puck during a hockey game gives you a chance for a fresh start, we want this weekly feature to give you a fresh look at the weeks biggest and best news and content from everything hockey. As evidenced by point number seven today, not everything is going to be serious, hard hitting news. We will take a look at the lighter side of the game as well!
Without further ado, welcome to the inaugural edition of Clearing the Puck!
San Jose takes game 7, again not without controversy!
Again. In the first round, a San Jose Sharks comeback in game seven of the first round against the Vegas Golden Knights. That comeback was propelled by a controversial game misconduct cross-checking penalty on Cody Eakin. After watching the replay, it was evident that the officials made a call on the result of the bad fall Joe Pavelski took, rather than the infraction itself.
This time it was an offside challenge on a goal that seem to have tied the game at two and would have swung all momentum in the Colorado Avalanche‘s favour. While many complained about the call because it was overturned even though it was impossible to see on the early 2000s webcams they use in the boards along the blue lines. Gabriel Landeskog going off for a line change may have had his skate blade an inch offside, it wasn’t called during play and it didn’t affect the play in the least. He was actively getting off of the ice.
Tweet and video courtesy of @AltitudeTV
As seen in the video above, it’s almost irresponsible to overturn a call when the camera is a pathetic excuse for technology and the call on the ice was a goal. However, could this be karma? The reason we have the highly divisive offside reviews in the first place is because Matt Duchene was a mile offside and scored on the break-away. Not all goals are equal and the hockey gods picked an unfavourable time to pay the Avalanche back for the drama the offside reviews have caused.
Tweet courtesy of @Ken_stapon
The Jerks meet the Jerks!
The “Bunch of Jerks” have been waiting for a while as they swept the New York Islanders. The “Big Bad Jerks” won a hard fought battle against the Columbus Blue Jackets. That gives us an “All-Jerks” Eastern Conference final of the Carolina Hurricanes against the Boston Bruins.
Game one went down on Thursday night with the Bruins earning a 5-2 victory in a game largely dominated by the Hurricanes and won by the Boston power play. This should be a great series as the contrasting styles will likely make for entertaining hockey. Will we have the fast, up-and-down game with depth scoring that Carolina loves or will we end up with the slow, cycle game dominated by the Bruins top-line and power play?
Puck 77’s Christopher Highe issues a storm warning on the Hurricanes here and James Kelly explains why the Bruins can wether the storm here.
Started from the bottom now we’re here!
The St. Louis Blues have made it to the conference finals! This is the same team that was tied with the lowly Ottawa Senators for dead last in the NHL on January 1st. They collected more points since the new year than any team in the NHL, including the Tampa Bay Lightning.
While there are many things that changed in the new year, a coaching change and a change in net were the drivers in the Blues ascension to Stanley Cup contenders. A statistical look at the rise of the Blues was done by Puck 77’s Tony Ferrari. You can take a look at how both basic and analytical statistics helped change the course of the Blues season here.
NHL Draft Rankings Season is in Full Swing!
With about six weeks until the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, many sites and prospect writers have released their personal ranking of the prospects. You can catch the Puck77 rankings here. Many of them are not mock drafts, they are rankings. Teams may draft based on positional need or personal preference in their own rankings. Listed below are some of the rankings from some of the most well known and some of the underrated prospect writers on the web!
Dobber Prospects Cam Robinson
The Athletics Scott Wheeler
Rogers Sportsnet’s Sam Cosentino
The Hockey Writers Ryan Pike
TSN’s Craig Button
For some under the radar rankings, check out the rankings of any of these prospect writers and amateur scouts.
Sam Stern, Tony Ferrari, Ben Brown, Alex (@Kotkanemo) and Wally Mazurek
Kappo Kakko is Good
The IIHF World Championships began on Friday. Kappo Kakko, the second ranked prospect by most, is one of the best players in the Finnish roster and he put in what’s sure to be one of the best goals of the tournament in his first game. He displayed his size, skill and speed on the play. The only problem was that it was against a scrub of an opponent. Canada.
Tweet courtesy of @StevenEllisTHN
Kakko would add a second goal later in the game as Finland prevailed 3-1 over Canada. A disappointing performance for the Canadians was overshadowed by a dominant performance of a player not yet drafted. It’s safe to say the New York Rangers are getting steal at the second overall pick!
Jack Hughes is Good
While he didn’t register a point, Jack Hughes has proven that he is able to play against men. His size wasn’t an issue in this game or the pre-tournament games. Today he was even able to show off some of the skill that has driven him to the top of many rankings.
Tweet Courtesy of @HayyyShayyy
Even though the puck didn’t get to the back of the net, the flash of brilliance from Jack Hughes was surely a sign of things to come in this tournament and his NHL future.
Tweet Courtesy of @DevilsInsiders
Vladimir Putin is still “Good”
Is Putin a hockey god? Yes. Can he be stopped? Definitely not.
Tweet Courtesy of @TheScore
I will never get tired of watching Putin’s magic mitts. Forget Pavel Datsyuk, the real “Magic Man” is Vladimir Putin. His greatest trick is making defencemen run away when he’s got the puck and goalies move out of the way of the puck for fear of being hurt because he shoots so hard. Hockey Hall of Fame 2020?
Upset Central at the IIHF Worlds
For those in North America, the Canadian and American hockey teams are always expected to compete. Regardless of the tournament, regardless of the importance level, the Canadian and American fans are expected to win every tournament. Both teams lost in disappointing fashion today.
Canada looked flat almost from start to finish, they were outshot 27-21 and they didn’t look particularly dangerous. This could be a factor of not preparing for the tournament as most of these players were on a playoff roster within the last few weeks. The Finnish roster is made up of largely players from European leagues and features no current NHLers.
The USA suffered a disappointing loss to Slovakia, 4-1. While Jack Hughes seemed to play well against men, no one on the USA roster looked dangerous for prolonged periods of time. Putting three consecutive offensive zone shifts together virtually never happened for the Americans and they suffered the loss because of it. Both the Americans and Canadians need to turn it around or they will likely be having a short, disappointing tournament.
Surprise Liiga Champs!
Tweet Courtesy of @JokkeNevakainen
After a dream playoff run in the Liiga (Finnish top-level Hockey), HPK benefitted from a dream run of their own as well as some mediocre play by the heavily favoured Kärpät. Not expected by many to advance to the finals, let alone win it, HPK showed that every once in a while, the David beats Goliath.
Tweet Courtesy of @JokkeNevakainen
The Ottawa 67s falter without DiPietro
The Ottawa 67s of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) looked to be unstoppable in these playoffs. They had swept every opponent they’ve met in the playoffs and looked absolutely dominant. That was until star goalie, and Vancouver Canucks prospect, Michael DiPietro went down with an injury. Since then, the 67s have lost 3 straight. They will have to fight for their lives as they face elimination tomorrow (Sunday, May 12th) and will look to force a game seven without their star netminder.
Tweet courtesy of @SportingNewsCa
Thankful it wasn’t an Achilles injury as many had feared after watching the video, the Canucks prospect reportedly has a high ankle sprain. The likelihood of him returning this season is low, but not impossible if the 67s can force their way into the Memorial Cup tournament.
BONUS POINT: Thank you from Puck77!
Today’s final point is a bonus 11th point. It’s simply to say thank you from the entire team at Puck77! We’ve grown so much over our first season! We originally started our small hockey blog with just our founder, Josh Tessler, pumping out content for you to enjoy. We’ve now grown to cover the entire NHL and we also have you covered everywhere from the CHL to Liiga, from NHL draft rankings to Prospect deep dives.
The team at Puck77 is grateful for every single person who has visited the site and read our work. We have a good group here and we look forward to having you along for the ride through the rest of the playoffs, the draft and free agency. We will be around all summer looking at the moves made by every team, the hockey tournaments in the summer and everything else in the world of hockey.
You guys are the reason we do what we do! You’re feedback means the world to us and we appreciate it all. Negative, positive, neutral, we appreciate it all! So from the bottom of our hearts here at Puck77, THANK YOU!
Statistics and information provided by the NHL, Hockey Reference and Elite Prospects
Feature image courtesy of Nikos Michals