We're only one day away from the start of Montreal's playoff campaign, guys! I'm so pumped that I actually had trouble sleeping last night. (Evidently, I'm eight years old.) In an attempt to make the time as bearable as possible between now and puck drop at 7:00 ET tomorrow, I've assembled some fine playoff-oriented links from around the hockey world. Enjoy!
Habs News and Analysis
- There's not much roster news to report. Yannick Weber joined Colby Armstrong and Jeff Halpern on a fifth line at practice so I'm guessing that these three will all be scratched in favour of Moen, White, Prust, and Tinordi. Also of note is that the Canadiens enter the postseason with five players without NHL playoff experience: Max Pacioretty, Jarred Tinordi, Brendan Gallagher, Alex Galchenyuk and Raphael Diaz.
- Adnan over at Silver Seven takes a look at potential line matchups for the Habs-Sens series. He notes that over the past four games Paul MacLean appears "to want certain defencemen out against specific forward lines." Adnan predicts Methot-Karlsson to matchup against Plekanec, Gonchar-Cowen to match up against Eller, and Phillips - Wiercioch/Gryba to match up against the Desharnais line.
- Here's an in-depth preview of the Western Conference Quarterfinals from the fine folks over at Fear the Fin.
- In his preview of the Leafs-Bruins series, Cam Charron notes that "the Boston Bruins are good at all of the things that the Leafs are good at [truculence, penalty killing, a scoring first line, good goaltending], and they are also good at the things the Leafs aren't good at [puck possession]." Overall, Charron picks the Bruins to win in five, which is very generous to the Leafs.
General NHL News and Analysis
- I don't want to stereotype, but Southern California television stations seem to have trouble covering hockey. Last night, with the Los Angeles Clippers - Memphis Grizzlies game starting and the Kings-Blues game in overtime, Fox Sports West/Prime Ticket, a regional broadcaster of both the Kings and Clippers, decided to show the two games in split-screen. This was done in spite of the fact that the Clippers-Grizzlies game was available nationally on TNT while the national broadcast of the Kings game (on CNBC) was blacked-out in Southern California. Kings fans and big celebs Alyssa Milano and Wil Wheaton were not pleased with the coverage. Ken Fang over at Awful Announcing has the details.
- John Kelly and Darren Pang had one of the calls of the year in response to Alexander Steen's overtime shorthanded winner in game one of Kings-Blues series.
- Lighthouse Hockey's PGI has created a user manual for the eighth seeded New York Islanders' bandwagon. Highlights include an on-board computer system powered with technology from Computer Associates.
- Backhand Shelf's Ellen Etchingham feels that dread is the central emotion of playoff hockey. When describing the sensation of facing consecutive elimination games, she had the following to say: "Surviving one elimination game only to face another tomorrow is like finally getting over strep throat only to come down with explosive diarrhea."
- Andrew Bucholtz over at Awful Announcing breaks down the broadcasting style of Donald S. Cherry for the uninitiated. Bucholtz calls Cherry "the Canadian Skip Bayless", which I don't think is quite fair. I feel that sincere beliefs underwrite Cherry's opinions and that this sincerity is not present in the views of the contrarian Bayless. For any readers out there familiar with these two blowhards, I'd love to hear what you think.
- Jussi Jokinen, who Carolina traded to Pittsburgh for a conditional sixth or seventh-round draft pick after retaining salary, will fill in for the injured Sidney Crosby on the Penguins top line between Jarome Iginla and Pascal Dupuis. Considering that Mike Brown, Jerred Smithson, and Davis Drewiske were all acquired for fifth or fourth-round picks, the value that Pittsburgh was able to extract from Carolina, in hindsight at least, is remarkable.
- Speaking of Pittsburgh, the 2013 Penguins' regional television ratings place them as one of the most watched "local teams" in the United States. They draw a 12.56 Nielsen Rating on Root Sports which is higher than the Boston Red Sox regional ratings during their 2007 World Series run. David Rogers over at Awful Announcing has the scoop.