Eastern semifinal games in review


Happy Cinco De Mayo (Marcelino is 1/64th Mayan).

Bolts in the conference final. B’s are close … but they won’t get ahead of themselves this time. Claude Julien is going to bring in a motivational speaker: The Most Interesting Man in the World, to tell them, “Stay Thirsty My Friends.”


1) Wow. Pierre McGuire really ripped a piece off of Alex Semin for packing it in, didn’t he? Good for Pierre. With Semin’s act, and Backstrom turning invisible, Alex Ovechkin was really on his own.

2) How cool is it to have a Gordie Howe Hat Trick in a playoff game, like Nathan Horton did for the B’s?

3) People are making a big deal out of Tampa Bay’s 1-3-1, and for good reason. But the thing that really separates the Lightnings is the power play — 12 PPGs already in the playoffs. Absolutely lethal.

4) In case you hadn’t heard, John Tortorella — who helped build this Tampa team — is undergoing the knife for the second year in a row. Last year it was a hip replacement, this year a knee replacement. He’ll be bionic soon.

5) Gee. Philly having goalie problems. Odd.

6) Sean Bergenheim=this generation’s Chris Kontos.

7) Actually, and this isn’t new or unique, but have you noticed how many goals are being scored by role players, third-line types?

8) Colie Campell’s kid has turned into a pretty darn effective hockey player, hasn’t he?

9) I love that they play “Louie, Louie” in Tampa when MiniMonster scores a goal.

10) Game over. Season over. … for the NHL and it’s Crosby-Ovechkin crush.

11) Pretty good night for the Bergeron boys in Boston and Tampa.

12) I’d love to know who came up with the stick salute, because it’s one of the coolest things in sports.

13) That Marchand kid in Boston has a lot of Ryan Callahan in him. And he reminds me, too, of the Little Ball of Hate.

14) I’ll be interested to see how the Lightnings handle a really physical team, because they haven’t yet. The Capitals weren’t nearly as physical vs. the Lightnings as they were against the Rangers.

15) I guess the countdown is on for the launch of Bruce Boudreau. He’ll have plenty of time to work on his vocabulary for the next time he stars in a reality show. … All the king’s horses, and all the king’s men …

16) Did you see Darren Pang get hit in the onions?

17) I don’t think the Flyers are coming back by any stretch of the imagination … but I’m certain that everybody, all these analysts, were saying the exact same thing last year.


Cartoon from the Washington Examiner.

AP photo/Chris O’Meara, above.


FYI, Mitch Beck has video from the Whale’s break-up day press conference on his Howlings blog.

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  1. Good morning, boneheads!

    Good luck to Torts, speedy recovery.

    And Happy Cinco De Mayo.

  2. Good Morning Heads, and yes, ilb, Happy Cinco De Mayo too! Now I want some Mexican food for breakfast! ( :

  3. great job by carp and by bolts.

    whats most surprising to me is the sharks are up 3-0 red wings. wtb? can this be the year for jumbo joe and the sharks not to choke? or just a set up for their biggest choke of them all?

  4. Wow – poking around the internet, EVERYONE is down on Ovechkin. I just don’t see it…getting bounced in four games is embarrassing for the Caps, but this has struck up all the “Crosby won this” and “Crosby won that” talk again. It’s just not the same situation! Crosby’s Penguins that won the Cup were an awesome team that he might not have even been the best player on. (see: Malkin) This year’s Caps team (outside of OV) looked like they gave up at the first sign of adversity. I guess the point of this rant is: I hate the talking heads. When they STILL feel the need to bring up Crosbyat this juncture…there’s a problem….

  5. TheMessiah94 on

    I may be in the minority here, but I really like Ovechkin. He gives 100% every game and you can tell he just really loves playing the game. Kind of feel sorry for him, because he’s always going to be compared to Skid.

    I think Humpty is out as coach, it’s going to be interesting what kind of system the new guy implements. I hope they go back to the offensive system, it sure was exciting to watch. Wonder what’s going to happen with Semin & Backstrom. Yikes.

    Go Lightning!

  6. Coach Sean on

    Morning All –

    I have already watched all 6 of the DVR’d Rangers games from this season – I sure hope MSG continues to show some of the sporadic Rangers in 60 – Summer is a LONG season without the boys from Broadway .

    I made a point several times this season that the Rangers, who were in dire need of a PP quarterback, should have got Marc Andre Burgereon from Tampa – who was still in the minors at the time. He would have made a difference on the pp much more than our loaner from Florida. While McCabe was game, he was clearly spent and not able to contribute much.

    Even MAB’s downside (+,-) aisde – he would have contributed to a putrid power play – and obviously, TB is really benefitting from his presence on the blue line –

  7. CTBlueshirt on

    I don’t really know what more Ovechkin could’ve done in this series, but the Internet would leave you to believe that it’s all his fault. Backstrom, Semin and Green deserve more than their fair share of the criticism perhaps even more than Humpty Dumpty since they’re the ones that are actually on the ice. Not sad to see the Caps swept, but I think this goes to show that it’s still a team sport and the playoffs are all about getting contributions from up and down the lineup.

    As much as I eschew a lot of the mythology surrounding sports, the Bolts did something right to appease the hockey gods (which we’ve discussed here) so congrats to them and I hope they represent the East in the final.

  8. CTBlueshirt on

    Coach Sean,

    I think MAB may have been an upgrade over McCabe for that partciular role but I also think Stamkos+St. Louis+Lecav+a big bodied Malone in front of the net is an upgrade over anything the Rangers throw out there as well.

  9. Coach Sean on

    CT Blue –

    Agree – there are glaring problems on the pp other than a QB – but still, MAB was I think the guy to get, IMHO, the best that was available for a fairly decent price.

    Interestlingly, watching the Bruins pp last night, I understand why they cant score – they have the same problem as the Rangers – No-One is in front of the net – and Kaberle simply wont fire the puck. So – they skate like crazy all over the ice, but no shots and no-one in front of the net – so , no points!

  10. OK folks

    Now we all know what a lovable bunch this past year’s Rangers are, all great fellows and they try so hard. But if nothing else, this playoffs has given stark examples time and again how lacking in basic talent these loveable grunts are, especially when it comes to puck handling. Their passing is superior, their anticipation is far better, and their overall comprehension of what it takes to perform at this level takes, in the way of basic talent. And the Rangers no gotta. Can you imagine how long the Rangers would have lasted with their little patty cake approach to a power play? Their refusal to go into the belly of the beast ( the crease) to obtain scoring? The continuous poor shooting when they do get the puck in the other zone? Their dainty wrist shots most of the time, and leery of unloading slaps when it is called for because they’re afraid of rebounds that might trap them? No..this team would be so embarassed out there at how quick they would have disappeared from sight. But never fear…this organization is primed for bringing back this same collection of merry men next season.

  11. MannyFried on

    Messiah – you’re not in the minority! I love Ovechkin too. The guy is a fierce competitor and in general he gave a great effort. He is really fun to watch. Hey, Dubinsky hugged him…so the players must respect him, too.

  12. #12 – Everyone also refers to the stick salute being a European tradition, but the first time I ever ran across it was when I covered Iona College’s hockey team and saw Army’s team do it after a win at Tate Rink circa 2002 or 2003.

    Do you hear that sound? It is a pin dropping in the Verizon Center.

  13. MannyFried on

    Good Point CT – Green. He had a horrible series. I don’t just mean a puck going off his skate. I mean terrible defense. Forgetting his man. Getting caught in dead zones. Just bad.

  14. CTBlueshirt on

    Coach Sean,

    I don’t disagree that MAB could have been a good pickup for the Rangers but at the same time I don’t think one player outside of an in his prime Gretzky/Lemieux/Orr could have really bettered the Rangers PP.

  15. Bill from Jersey on

    Hey everyone. Long time reader, first time poster. Thought I’d add my two cents to this conversation early in the morning.

    First things first: Carp, amazing job you do here. Thanks for giving me something to read every day. Much appreciated.

    Secondly, about the Rangers power-play: besides the obvious issue of not having a man in front of the net, the Rangers wait for the other team to set up defensively. As I watch other power-plays set up, the puck movement is very quick and precise. I would assume this comes from an overall talent level, but waiting for the opposing team to get in position is not going to score goals. I think it would benefit the Rangers if they practiced a “pass-pass-shoot” type of power-play (hopefully with sending someone like Boyle in front). In this NHL, if an opposing team has time to set up, more than likely shots are going to be blocked. And as Fran has stated, as well, hitting the net is also a good thing. 100% of shots that don’t hit the net don’t go in. Or something like that.

  16. You know Carp, I never could understand the “Stay thirsty my friends.” I mean, does he want me to drink the beer or does he want me to stay thirsty? Which is it? It can’t be both.

    The Flyers goaltending is a complete joke.

    The Caps weren’t as physical with the Lightning because they couldn’t catch them. You can’t hit a guy if you’re chasing him.

  17. MannyFried on

    Hey Bill! Post more often. Join us in this infantile world of hockey-dom.

    Puff-Puff-Give. Watch the Lightning PP and then become as good as that. We need 3 snipers to create more ice space and force the defense to respect our slappers.

    And Bill – Thank you for reminding me. I have not pounded the point home enough recently – Get Boyle in Front of the Net. He is a Huge Human. Come on!

  18. if you have some sought of skill and a good forecheck the caps can be beaten.

    unfotunately we had no skill and couldnt pull out those ot games

  19. MannyFried on

    Eric – we deserve a check in the mail from the Lightning and all others who beat the Caps. I think the Rangers really showed the league how to contain Ovie and then beat them. We deserve the credit for this round! Go Rangers!

  20. MannyFried on

    My friend who is a Caps fan just said this:

    Paul: “like I said though, I’d have rather have lost to the rangers when we were playing with everything on the line
    the lightning made us look like children in the deep end”

    People are insane.

  21. CTBlueshirt on


    I don’t think having points in 4 of 5 games vs the Rangers or 3 of 4 games against the Bolts means that Ovechkin was contained at all. He did his part, his tres amigos desaparecidos were more at fault.

  22. Bill from Jersey on

    Manny – Will do. Been waiting for an opportunity to post, but I couldn’t hash out an idea fast enough before someone typed it out.

    Besides the Rangers lack of top-line talent, the most glaring issue is the fact that they beat themselves. Going up 3-0 and losing in OT is not “on the road to a championship”, nor even on the road to championship contention. Although I don’t feel that a cure-all is necessary (Brad Richards), I do feel that acquiring someone young that can/will put up more than 40-50 points is a necessity. Hopefully Christian Thomas and Chris Krieder rise to the occasion on that.

  23. MannyFried on

    CT -I was referring to the regular season. He got us in the playoffs when a lot of other guys showed up to back him up.

  24. Carp, thanks for all you do. Totally enjoy your point of view. Good criticism along with praise.
    I agree with everyone who points to the anemic power play. They need to pass better, anticpate better, go into the front of the net and get more slappers on the net not just for the power play but all around. I do mean on net because all to often when they don’t it just comes out on the other side. I’m rooting for the Sharks. I just got a good friend in San jose interested in the Sharks. He went to a local restaurant and the whole place was into it. I can’t help but think the Ranger’s would have made it much closer if Callahan played. The lines would have been set and just his presence would have kept one of the softies out of the lineup.

  25. CTBlueshirt on

    Are you talking about the 4 games in the regular season where they did a good job to keep him pretty quiet? That didn’t really translate in the playoffs for the Rangers.

    Overall he still had a better than a point per game season, even if this was his lowest season in terms of production in his career. The biggest deficiency in his game during the regular season was on the PP, but that was a season long problem for the Caps in general. He changed his style when the team did.

    I really don’t think the problem is with Ovechkin at all.

  26. He was really good in this series. Wow. I never thought he was washed up. But I was still amazed at the level of his play.

  27. Oh an Green’s horrible defense and Right skate took a goal away from him.

  28. Teek, count me as a big Ovechkin fan. I like a superstar with a mean streak, a guy who dishes out as much, if not more than he takes it. And the guy competes.

    Cross Check, I think TMIMITW means, drink this beer then eat some pretzels, because these pretzels make me thirsty.

    Thanks, Bill. Stop by more often.

    Good morning, Sally!

  29. True Blue Mike on

    Green, Semin and Backstrom may have played horrible that series but i would love having all three on the Rangers. Well maybe not Semin but i would take Backstrom and Green

  30. True Blue Mike on

    Extremely. Just wondering because i seldom see posts from her and i was a bit confused. Thanks for clearing it up though.

  31. I assume Sally doesn’t post much because she has a real life. Much cooler than the rest of us!

  32. Earlier this morning I just briefly looked through some of the posts and decided to come back and defend Ovechkin. Now I have time, but I don’t need to defend him anymore. Most of us agreed, he isn’t a problem. In fact, I dare to say he was the only one yesterday who was still playing his heart out when the game was almost over. Caps’ other “stars” failed to show up. That is why they failed so miserably. Ovechkin isn’t only a monster as a hockey player, he is also good for the sport. Just look how respectful and sincere he was during the hand shake. He is still arguably the best player in the world.

  33. Perfectly said, Ilb. Perfect. He is a combatant and a warrior with all the grit and determination and respect you would want from a star player. He is also amazing. Just a horse out there.

    Also, he did that ESPN commercial where he was the spy. That was awesome.

  34. True Blue Mike on

    I was so sad watching Ovechkin take the puck from the back end, only to be swarmed by Lightning monsters and have no one to pass to. His facial expression with 7 seconds left in the game as he was sliding into the net actually made me feel bad for him. I hope he wins a cup soon.

  35. I’m McLovin that picture of Ovechkin!

    Putting the dislike for Craps aside, you gotta feel bad for Alex. I guess as a captain and as one of the best players in the league some blame is justified but as mentioned before, he is definitely not the problem.

    Can we get him somehow?

    no, thank you, Carp.

  36. I am not an Ovechkin hater. I am a fan. How can you not be in awe of him? He plays the game like no else. He is an amazing hockey player…

    Although, I think Orr’s nickname, OvechCANT, is hilarious! Haha!

    I agree that Green and, especially Backstrom, deserve their fair share of the blame. Backstrom is a 100pt+ player and he was invisible for most of the postseason…

    Semin has to get traded. If I am Caps fan, I would demand it. He is an example of a classic enigma…

    I suspect the Craps team will look very different next year….

  37. CTBlueshirt on

    I think Ovechkin is one of the best players in the world. I don’t know about the best. As much as I hate him for his personality, I still think Crosby might have an edge and that’s not even because the *teams* he’s played on have won a Cup or gold medal. Crosby utilizes the entire ice much better and I think makes better in game adjustments when things aren’t working for him. Datsyuk doesn’t put up quite the eye popping numbers but his overall game is light years ahead of Ovechkin’s and Lidstrom tends to get overlooked in general as the best player but it’s pretty rare where you can fault him for not playing a flawless game on both sides of the puck.

  38. IMO, Crosby is the best player in the world, and Datsyuk might be the most complete.

    But it’s like when there was Gretzky, Lemieux and Messier. Messier was third, but a lot of teams would have rather had him. Same for Ovechkin, who is a lot closer in style to Messier — though a better pure scorer, and not as good in some of the other areas, but a great, powerful skater and a vicious physical presence.

    And he cares, a lot more than a lot of other superstars.

  39. Ovechkin is the kind of guy you can build a team around and you would have a complete team with dominating potential.

    My Fiance will argue that Messier is the greatest player ever and Gretzky is a fancy boy who couldn’t lead or win without guys like Messier.

  40. Tough to argue that list, CTB. In my opinion, as a pure game breaker, he still has an edge.

  41. I would rank Malkin up there too, as one of the best players in the world, right there with Sid and Alex. IMO, he doesn’t get enough recognition for his talent..

    When he’s healthy, he is unstoppable…His play in the Pens Cup run was unreal…

  42. CTBlueshirt on

    What’s the cap max again, something like $12M? We need to frame this one a little bit.

    So no cap max, but a salary cap?
    Is it this year, at age 25 that he’s becoming a UFA?
    Are you assuming that teams like Detroit, Toronto, Montreal and the Rangers are available to bid?

    In a non-max, non-capped league with the biggest bidders opening up their wallets…I’d say he could get upwards of $15M per year, probably $18M or so.

  43. A lot of people give Crybaby all the credit for that Cup in 2009. But, the fact is, there’s no way he could have done it without Malkinstein…

    What I just wrote may be considered blasphemy in Canada :P

  44. Carps asks, “Put it this way, what do you think Ovechkin might get if he went UFA?”

    I bet Ovechkin would respond the same way Mickey Mantle did when The Mick reportedly said, “If I were playing today I’d do what Joe DiMaggio said. I’d go knock on the door at Yankee Stadium and when George Steinbrenner answered I’d say, ‘Howdy, pardner.'”

  45. No You hang up. No You hang up. No you hang up. No you hang up. No you hang up. No you hang up. No…….

  46. Ct Blue – I totally agree with you.

    As far as Ovi – he is the best I think overall player – Carp I agree that Crosby is a very obviously a great player, but I think that Ovi has more to give than we have even seen – someone said above that the reason the Caps were swept was because they could not catch the Lightening -that is absolutly correct – you cant be physical when someone is continously moving their feet – and I feel that is what got them into trouble. Give Ovi some different partners that contribute every time and I think you will see some hockey.

    Coach B definitely stays – that is not the issue in Washington.

    Thanks for the post Fran and Bill – well done

    See you all in Albany on the 21st of September? Rangers / Devils at the Times Union Center – Pizza and Beer after?

  47. wicky(grating PIBG)© (The game’s not over until somebody cries!!) on

    Morning ILB and all!!

    Its been a while..

    Who is sally?

    you are correct about talbot!

    Your fiance is correct! I think I married her sister my wife thinks the same thing about messier and gretzky.

    Why does everyone hate boudreau here so much?? He seems like a pretty straight forward and honest guy.

  48. Two of my favourite fallacies propogated by Penguins fans (out of several million):

    1. Max Talbot volunteering to get beaten up by Carcillo completely turned a series around (or did the Flyers just collapse in one game in a series they were always going to lose?)

    2. Ovechkin was “shut down” by Gill and Scuderi in that second round series (or did he get something like 8 goals, 15 points in a seven game series?)

  49. wicky(grating PIBG)© (The game’s not over until somebody cries!!) on


    thank goodness none of us were pens fans, LW would have just crushed us!

  50. I maybe wrong, but I don’t think Steinbrenner was owner when Dimaggio played. I believe that it was George Weiss the GM… but then again…. it was a long time ago, ( as the song went).

    I’d trade half the Ranger team for Ovechkin.

  51. Fran is correct – Steinbrenner didn’t buy the Yankees until 1973. I think the joke just meant that Steinbrenner was the current owner though. Before him CBS owned the Yankees.

  52. CTBlueshirt on

    I love how I read all the Pens fans comments mocking the Caps about how the Pens without Crosby and Malkin were able to win 3 games against the Bolts. Yet they say nothing about blowing a 3-1 series lead with the 7th game on home ice.

  53. Come’on who didn’t have those slow motion Six Million Dollar Man fights when they were a kid?


    i didn’t … in Ukraine, we played with hand made wooden soldiers in a pile of mud. Good times!

  54. CTBlueshirt on


    It’s Wade Redden duh. The slow motion part should have clued you off on that one.

  55. MannyFried on

    Sorry CT – I should have refreshed before I jumped all over your line!

  56. 5) Gee. Philly having goalie problems. Odd.

    -Heh Carp I believe the argument went something along the lines of “we don’t need Lundqvist. You can win a Cup with decent goaltending and a deadly offense”

    “really? why don’t you ask Philly about that”

  57. Here is another reason why the NFL lockout should last forever . . .

    Pittsburgh Steelers’ Rashard Mendenhall (Islam friendly NFL player) hearts bin Laden and twitted this:

    “It’s amazing how people can HATE a man they have never even heard speak. We’ve only heard one side…” which he erased later on the advice of Steeler PR flacks.

    This is the same schmuck who compared his multi-million dollar NFL contract with “slavery.” And is one of the NFL Players suing the NFL because they are not making enough multi-millions.

    Total disgrace!


  58. From Burnside: “Tampa suddenly a good team” – Suddenly? I’m pretty sure a lot of people had them beating the Caps. Lightnings = Monsters

  59. The Flyers played 10 playoff games this season. They changed their goaltenders during 6 out of those 10 games, lol. What do you think they will do during the offseason?

  60. wicky(grating PIBG)© (The game’s not over until somebody cries!!) on

    umm, change their goalie??

  61. Yeah, wicky, not a bad idea. But with their cap issues they will be able to afford to add Matt Zaba at best. Unless they unload a few contracts. But who is available?

  62. CTBlueshirt on


    Well I suppose you have to consider whether the Flyers are getting “decent” goaltending.

  63. wicky(grating PIBG)© (The game’s not over until somebody cries!!) on

    i could see them trading for nabokov from the fishies

  64. wicky(grating PIBG)© (The game’s not over until somebody cries!!) on

    or his rights somehow.

  65. wicky(grating PIBG)© (The game’s not over until somebody cries!!) on

    you are going to speak to the bruins according to carp?

  66. Wicky, I will make sure they stay thirsty, yes. As soon I get their number from Tiki :-)

  67. has Roloson been so good that no one can beat him? He’s 41 for pucks say! Tampa has lethal PP and they TRAP like CRAZY!

  68. where is bull dog line? would love to hear his theory on how ELITE goal tending doesn’t win you anythign in playoffs!

    can Niemi be considered ELITE? He is taking another team deep into the postseason! Both are great teams but still… not easy to do.

  69. LinCalPrustBoylahan24 on

    Good afternoon heads!!!!

    Get well soon torts… Geez carpy , he will be bringing you guys chocolates and flowers next season!!

    Semen really???? Jam worried he might be a Ranger
    next season ;-)

  70. Niemi is a bit overrated, in my opinion. I still stand by that. I’m not saying he’s a bad goaltender. He’s a capable goalie that can win with a good defense in front of him.

    You put him on the Islanders, the Panthers, or the Senators, and I can’t imagine them being any different than they are.

  71. MannyFried on

    I hope the Phylers win a game or two so we don’t have days upon days without hockey.

  72. wicky(grating PIBG)© (The game’s not over until somebody cries!!) on

    Goaltending is HUGELY important in the playoffs.

    The thing that gets confusing about goaltending in the playoffs, it isn’t the overall best goalie that gives you the edge, it’s the HOT goalie. If your goalie gets hot, you are going to do well. Sometimes the better goalies just aren’t the hot ones and a mid level talent goalie will get further in the playoff because they are on a hot streak as opposed to the top tier goalies.

    Having the top tier goalies in the regular season are NORMALLY what get you to the playoffs.

  73. CTBlueshirt on

    This is borderline disturbing that wicky and I have been agreeing about things for a couple of weeks now.

  74. wicky(grating PIBG)© (The game’s not over until somebody cries!!) on

    I think you have been okay, I just experience brief moments of clarity every so often!

  75. YOu know I mentioned earlier on that Chara’s skating style was unusual, because he doesn’t move his legs fast, and he reminded me of someone from years ago that I was trying to recall, and in that game the other night I got a look at his stride when he puts on the speed.
    ( and here speed is a relative term). He reminded me of Gordy Howe in his younger days. He always looked like he was out for a leisurely skate but when he got into stride he would out distance himself from pursuers.I think that what he (they) must have done )( do) is thrust deeper into the ice, because you could see the territory open up for them.

    When I have to go back into yesteryear to recall players I really feel my age. Those big time stars of years ago, were no where near the conditioning of today, but they could dish out punishment like you have no idea. Find out sometime, in the annals of the game about the Ted Lindsay stick duel in center ice between him and Bill Ezinicki that left both of them bloody and the ice along with them. It was like a scene from ancient Rome. The NHL doesn’t like to recall that..sort of pretends it didn;t happen. And Lindsay was one of the toughest hard nosed players I ever saw. That film Net Value really blows the whistle on those owners in those

    Jack Adams, Con Smythe The Norrises etc. what a bunch of bandits. (all in the Hall of Fame btw)

    Get hold of Ilb2001 he knows where it is I think.

    It’s being passed around the blog.

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