Early takeaways from the 2021 Stanley Cup playoffs

The next year or two will be an exciting time for hockey fans in the Southeast. The Tampa Bay Lightning are already a Stanley Cup contender, the Carolina Hurricanes look like they have a fighting chance to get back to the playoffs, and the Atlanta Flames have a chance to get back into the thick of the playoff race.

The NHL playoffs are in their second round this year, and the first place team is the Nashville Predators. The Predators are hosting the Winnipeg Jets and the series is tied 1-1 after two games. The Jets are led by their top scorers, Blake Wheeler and Patrik Laine, who each have six goals. While the Predators have four goals from their starters.

The Stanley Cup playoffs begin this week and we’ve already got our first offseason winner of the year. The Montreal Canadiens have won the first championship title awarded to a team in their city in half a century, and it certainly feels good.. Read more about 2021 stanley cup playoffs format and let us know what you think.The 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs have entered the second round. There were expected results and shocking surprises – and a first-round loss against the Toronto Maple Leafs that, to be fair, probably falls into both categories. Here are 10 impressions of the playoffs so far, from wins to controversy to the incredible cacophony of fans in the stands. A year ago, I wondered if Nathan MacKinnon could become the best player in the world. (To be fair, the same can be said for Tampa Bay defender Victor Hedman). Connor McDavid fended off all uprisings for his throne during the regular season; but while he sits at home, McKinnon is trying to seize the crown again. That’s just six games, but McKinnon’s 2.17 points per game in the 2021 playoffs currently ranks seventh in NHL history for one season since 1967. The five names ahead of him are Gretzky or Lemieux. Even if he doesn’t score goals, he creates them. Like when he made sure the puck went into overtime on the power play: Just over his shoulder and Mikko Rantanen calls the game! This is your shot of the evening. NHL x @JagermeisterUSA pic.twitter.com/Jpj9923Rws – NHL (@NHL) 3. June 2021 It’s freezing at 5:55. You’ll see McKinnon roll and hustle against Vegas’ three penalties to defend the next one. McKinnon then found a free-standing Mikko Rantanen, who was now able to score thanks to McKinnon distracting the defenders. It is no coincidence that he is the favourite to win the Conn Smythe with a rating of -175. I didn’t have much respect for the legend of Cary Price. He won Olympic and World Cup gold with the Canadian All-Star teams. His regular season numbers have never been more impressive, especially in the deeper world of advanced statistics. Yet he finished third in our position rankings (voted on by general managers, coaches and players) and received the most praise in the annual NHLPA player poll. 41% of respondents named him the best goalie in the world in 2019-20. After seeing Price in the playoffs…. my bad. He’s fantastic. It’s one thing for his peers to say that Price is exactly the guy they want to see in the first round of the seventh. It’s something else to see his absolute talent in Game 7, where he was the best player on the ice against Toronto. And his reputation played a role in this series: Mitchell Marner talked about the Leafs’ lack of patience in offensive moments, probably because Price was so turned off. As of today, I swear I will never again make fun of the NHLPA for its relentless admiration of Cary Price. Although I think the Team Canada teams were very good, I could have at least won bronze behind them.

3. Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner –Trouble

The scariest thing about the loss against the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 7 was how bleak and inevitable everything seemed. They played to avoid the mistakes that had cost them in the previous two extension periods; and when they made two of those mistakes on Brendan Gallagher’s goal, the game could have ended there. They couldn’t handle the weight of history or the anxiety of the moment – not without Jake Muzzin, not without a healthy Nick Foligno, not without John Tavares, whose injury seemed manageable in Game 1 after three wins in a row for Toronto, but whose absence was felt hard in Games 6 and 7. Listening to Leafs management is a post-season tradition, as is Toronto’s shutdown. Team president Brendan Shanahan said we were missing a killer instinct and needed to fix that. He also said: I don’t think our depth was an issue. 2 Connected Put them together and you have an indictment of Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner. One goal in seven games between them is unacceptable. Marner has not scored in 18 consecutive playoff games, and that is unacceptable. During the regular season, the Leafs averaged 4.69 goals per 60 minutes when on the ice together. In the playoffs, that number dropped to 2.05 goals per 60. Those games in extra time would not have happened if Toronto’s best players had been up to the task in this series. Shanahan knows this and says the Leafs need to keep training them to play in these situations. But he also knows that it would be foolish to trade Marner – Matthews is untouchable – because he knows his history. Many of the Hall of Famers with multiple Stanley Cups went through the same thing with their teams early in their careers. And the teams that were smart enough to keep them and continue to nurture and develop them ended up benefiting. History will show that it is possible, he said. But it must be done. Assemble the team. Change of personnel. None of this matters if the team’s first line isn’t playing like it should when it matters most. The Leafs can’t win until Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner figure out how to lead them to victory. Point.

4. I did not miss the stretcher

With the advent of Rule 48 and some general changes in how the game is played and who plays it, there have been fewer stretchers in the NHL over the past decade. To see two of them already in the post season was totally unexpected. John Tavares’ injury in Game 1 against the Canadiens was one of the worst performances I can remember since being in the NHL. Jake Evans’ injury in Montreal in the first game against the Jets was troubling in another way. I hate that Mark Scheifele jerk. It’s a distant relative of the hit Dale Hunter gave to Pierre Turgion in 1993. Evans scored on an empty-netter. Scheifele got it in a text game with a charge. It was an unimportant play and a strike that should not have been thrown. Many have spoken out to say Scheifele is a great guy and not a bad player. The fact that he performed his check this way speaks volumes about his thinking at the time, as does the regret on his face as he left the ice. Summary: The next Recker I see this postseason will be too much. Mark Scheifele’s goal against Jake Evans was totally unnecessary. David Lipnowski/Getty Images

5. Flashes – Professional Assassin

I picked the Tampa Bay Lightning to beat the Florida Panthers in the first round for two reasons: Goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy and because they have guys in their team that make the play when it counts. The Lightning now have six playoff wins. They have five players with game-winning goals. They have 11 players who have scored at least one goal in the postseason. Each night, a different hero, a different path to victory. In a tournament where many teams were unable to play when it mattered – COUGH Toronto COUGH – the Lightning’s effective performances as a whole team are the foundation for championships, as we saw last season.

6. Somehow Charlie McAvoy has become an underrated.

When Boston Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy came into the league, the hype around him was unwavering. He finished fifth in the 2017-18 Calder Trophy voting and was considered the next great defensive player for the Boston Bruins. This respect doesn’t diminish, but it doesn’t grow like a snowball either. Due to injuries and poor offensive results, McAvoy doesn’t always come up in discussions of elite defenders. His best result at a Norris Trophy nomination is 10th place. Maybe that will change this post season. He has scored seven points in his first seven games and has a skating time of 26:48 per game. Brad Marchand said it best: He was always a great player. He could play at a young age, which of course requires a lot of talent and skill. But I think he’s getting more confident every year. He is much lighter, he understands the game much better in terms of space and time. He is a big, strong man with great skills and is an excellent skater. … I think all of this has allowed him to be a dominant player in this league, and he will be for a long time.

7. Garth Snow not getting enough credit

The regime of Lou Lamoriello and Barry Trotz has made the New York Islanders an annual contender, albeit with a high bottom and a low ceiling. But most of the players on that team came to the Islanders under a figure almost forgotten in recent memory – general manager Garth Snow. Among the players acquired by Snow: Jordan Eberle (interception), Nick Leddy, Cal Clutterbuck, Matt Martin, Casey Tsizikas, Josh Bailey, Anders Lee, Scott Mayfield, Adam Pelech, Ryan Pulock, Ilya Sorokin, Matthew Barzal and Anthony Bovillier. If the Islanders make it all the way, will his name be on the trophy?

8. Rulesfor novice goalkeepers

Isles fans, we have won another playoff. This is Koli. And I still can’t believe the fans were scanning Sorokin in the CHL. It has to stay that way. Thanks to all the fans, especially @Section_329. Just do it harder. Here’s a mishmash for your enjoyment. Good night, Isles family! #Isles pic.twitter.com/VVijs4iPcY – x – Isles x Cats (@IslesxCats) 27. May 2021 The Islanders have adopted the KHL saying in honor of rookie goalie Ilya Sorokin, and it’s the bomb. But I also love this Carolina song: NED sings in Carolina pic.twitter.com/SASIfj0yKo – JayOnSC (@JayOnSC) May 20, 2021 Most of the calls to the keeper are complex chants that reverberate around the arena. NED for Hurricanes fans! NED! NED! singing for Alex Nedeljkovic is different and wonderful.

9. Playoff hockey is unmatched at the top

One of the problems hockey has in attracting new fans is that its best form is not its typical form. If you attract a fan with the Olympics, he might not like the Stanley Cup playoffs. See them in the playoffs and they’ll wonder why the previous 82 games lacked the passion and intensity of the postseason. It’s been established: Game 1 of the Panthers against the Lightning and Game 2 of the Avalanche against the Golden Knights are the kind of games that draw new fans. They may not be in every series or postseason, but nothing in professional sports can match their exciting chaos. I would like to bottle it and spread it out so I can enjoy it Tuesday night on 44th. The regular season can digest.

10. Fans finally make a difference

Hearing the crowd roar again during the Stanley Cup playoffs is a long-awaited feeling of normalcy. This is how hockey should be, and this is how life should be. We’re not out of it yet, especially north of the border, but we feel like we’re getting there. After playing in huge arenas with built-in sound, you’ll see musicians find another piece of equipment and entertain the live audience again. It’s great to hear the cheers, screams and spontaneity of the crowd again. They take the best post season in sports and make it even more exciting. Welcome. Please don’t leave again. word-image-1674

Three things about Nazem Kadri’s appeal

1. I really don’t understand the outrage from some people who think Nazem Kadri’s eight game suspension is too long. It was a shot that an NHL player simply should not have taken ten years after the introduction of Rule 48, which specifically prohibits checking when the head is the primary point of contact, and that head contact could have been avoided. This was his sixth suspension, and in all cases it involved some form of contact with an opponent’s head. This seems to be the time when those calling for harsher penalties from the player safety department pat the backs of those who want the league to take concussion prevention more seriously, and then embrace those who want the book to be applied to repeat offenders. I don’t know if it has anything to do with Kadri’s popularity. I don’t know if it’s because the NHL has decided not to punish others – others is an understatement for Tom Wilson – in a satisfactory way, and so this punishment may not be satisfactory. I don’t know if this has anything to do with the general sentiment against DoPS in NHL fandom. Regardless, the social media reaction to this seemingly fact-based decision has been bizarre. word-image-4705 Post-game analysis and broadcast every night of the season by Barry Melrose and Linda Cohn. Watch ESPN+ 2. I’ve written before about the NHLPA’s role in encouraging and supporting repeat offenders, an organization that feels it must represent Kadri while supposedly representing the interests of the player he shot, the St. Louis defender. Louis Justin Falk. Faulk missed two games after the hit. The NHLPA argued that the Rule 48 disqualification – after Kadri himself admitted to violating the rule – should only last two games given Faulk’s absence from the series. The NHLPA argued that Kadri should only sit out four games for the hit, while he was suspended for three and five playoff games in his last two disqualifications. All three punches involve contact with the opponent’s head. He was disqualified for landing on Tommy Wingels in 2018 and colliding with Jake DeBrusk in 2019 – both times when Kadri’s Maple Leafs team played against the Boston Bruins. Eight games is a logical escalation of penalties. The NHLPA argued that the other two hits were intentional and malicious, while this hit missed by only a few inches – even though he bumped his shoulder against Faulk’s head. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman approved the suspension before Kadri appealed to a neutral arbitrator Friday: Even assuming Kadri did not intend to injure Falk, the check itself was intentional, excessive and unnecessary force was used, and there was reckless disregard for the safety of the opposing player. The fact that Kadri’s last three disqualifications were all in the playoffs worked against him in this case. The NHLPA has argued that playoff games count more heavily than regular season games, which is a common (albeit ill-defined) calculation in these situations. But because his last two suspensions were during the playoffs, that argument is moot. 3. Where I agree with the arguments of the NHLPA: The NHL needs to more clearly define its status as a repeat offender. Under current law, a player is considered a repeat offender within 18 months of the last incident that led to a disqualification. However, this is just a time limit used to increase penalties for a second suspension within 18 months. Otherwise, the offenders will continue to haunt us indefinitely. The CBA states that: Players who repeatedly violate the rules of league play will be penalized more severely for each new violation. Kadri is not suspended for 124 games or 25 months. The CBA does not provide that the passage of time reduces the effect of a player’s previous disciplinary action when a disqualification is imposed. Assuming that there are indeed cases in which a long period between disciplinary sanctions warrants leniency, that is not the case here, Bettman wrote, and it is difficult to argue against it. But perhaps no leniency should be exercised because of the time between disciplinary sanctions. Maybe this should be a policy. Like many things in the supplemental discipline process, this is a gray area that can be reviewed.

Winners and losers of the week

Winner: The Seattle Kraken. They didn’t get the first pick, which went to Buffalo, but the Kraken did get the second pick in the 2021 draft, giving them the second round pick. The Golden Knights got the sixth pick in 2017. I hope whoever chooses Kraken gets one of these awesome Zoom shirts. Loser: Anaheim Ducks. In the history of lottery losses, this one is not as painful as Sidney Crosby’s in 2005. But they still had to watch the expansion team beat them in the lottery, meaning they still haven’t picked a first or second round pick since they took Bobby Ryan as a consolation prize in the Crosby draft 16 years ago. Winner: Jim Neill. Jim Neill pic.twitter.com/2KNlXlYdkt – Nick Alberga (@thegoldenmuzzy) 2. June 2021 General manager of the Dallas Stars after his team missed out on promotion. The best reaction to the lottery since Connor McDavid’s look when the Oilers won. Loser: Player of the Year candidates McDavid, Auston Matthews and Sidney Crosby were in the running for the Ted Lindsay Award, given by the NHLPA to the player of the year. Since their teams were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs, the trio could be there now if there is one. word-image-4706 Play for $9,000 during the NHL postseason! Make your choice Winner: Jack Campbell. He was emotionally devastated after losing the Leafs Game 7. He described Brendan Gallagher’s poor goal as the worst goal of his career and generally regrets letting his team down. Dude, you went 17-3-2 in the regular season, saved the team from a goalie crisis and had a .934 save percentage in the postseason. This didn’t happen because of you. Loser: Fans who go too far Sport is an emotional outlet. If you want to boo and bully a player in the arena, that’s fine. It’s part of the job. The players understand this. But if you feel the need to express your hate on their social media – or, God forbid, that of their loved ones – or to ruin their lives because they threw the puck over the glass in the renewal or whatever, get out of the system, learn the boundaries, and try to have the emotional maturity to separate your reactions to entertainment issues from decency in real life. Don’t be poisonous. Winner: Mark Borovitsky Thanks to the Nashville Predators defenseman for being open about his mental health. Borowitzki said he suffered from OCD most of his career and took this season off from the NHL to deal with it. I hope to speak publicly and encourage other athletes to seek the help they may need and not feel alone or unable to ask for help, he wrote on Instagram. It’s a reminder that these athletes are role models, not only when they score a great goal or win a championship, but also when they use their platform to take on leadership roles in other areas of life.

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If you missed this message from your friends at ESPN…. Excellent article by Emily Kaplan on the CHL: from unraveling the myths about the league to an outlook.The Stanley Cup playoffs are in full swing. The Atlanta Thrashers, who have been reborn as the Atlanta Hawks, lead the Atlantic Division, and play the Washington Capitals in the first round. It also appears that the NHL has returned to the Soviet-era practice of the first-round matchups being determined by coin toss.. Read more about stanley cup finals 2021 date and let us know what you think.

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