First, I want to say hello to all the PensNation fans, and thank you for reading my first post. With that out of the way, let’s talk hockey!
Columbus Blue Jackets: As the countdown to the playoffs begins (only 12 days left), teams are scrambling for each coveted spot. One team who cracked the top eight last night was the Columbus Blue Jackets. Historically, Columbus has been horrible, but fans are starting to embrace #LUMBUS (yes, this is the hashtag that people have started using). Part of the newly found support for Columbus stems from the recent acquisition of Marian Gaborik from the NY Rangers and the fact that Sergei Bobrovsky is killing it between the pipes. Is this the same guy who got shown up by Ilya Bryzgalov? Somewhere in Philly fans are attempting to hide their tears.
Boston Bruins: In other news, last night’s Bruins vs. Sabres game played on fans emotions. Before the game began, the city of Boston honored 8 year old Bruins fan, Martin Richard, who died in the Boston Marathon bombings. A Martin Richard jersey was hung from the large Bobby Orr statue outside TD Garden and donations were collected for the Richard family.
Bruins players and fans joined in with a loud and proud rendition of the national anthem with teary-eyed players on the red line. Bruins Defenseman Andrew Ference spoke about the emotion of the night, “I think in the first shift everybody was choked up. I can’t remember being that emotional on the ice except for the last few seconds before we won the Cup. I think it’s about equal as far as emotions.” Ference went on to say that Boston fans are among the most resilient, “You know, they call themselves Mass-holes for a reason”. The game ended in a shootout (Sabres won, but Boston clinched their playoff spot) and all players skated out to center ice for a salute.
Stadium Series: Two days ago the NHL announced a tentative schedule for an outdoor “Stadium Series” and hockey fans went crazy on Twitter. Any reaction you could expect, I saw. Anger, depression, excitement, confusion… Each emotion clearly justified in 140 characters (yes, that was sarcastic). Personally I think the extra games are a good idea. Might as well have those games outdoors rather than inside, right? It will bring in more fans, and I don’t think it takes away from the uniqueness of the Winter Classic. You can read more about my opinions here (And yes, I did just link to myself- get over it).
Pittsburgh Penguins: When you are on the Penguins, you can accomplish anything. Last night, Pens D-man Doug Murray scored his first goal in over 145 games. You go Cranky!
Coaches Go Head to Head: Capitals Head Coach, Adam Oates thinks Alex Ovechkin should win the Hart this year. Let’s all take a moment and show our immense surprise. Yeah, I think that was about long enough. I have been trying to hold in my annoyance that Oates said anything about this, but now that Dan Bylsma has reacted, I am ready to strike. When asked if Ovechkin was the MVP, Oates’ original comments went like this, “I’m obviously very biased about that. So my answer would be, yeah, absolutely. Obviously, Sidney Crosby is another candidate, for sure… But I think you gotta factor in the fact that he’s missed a lot of games. That’s not really for me to say though.” Newsflash Oatsie, you are right- that is not for you to say. Disco Dan will shut you up. Bylsma came to Crosby’s defense by saying, “Adam Oates is the only person I’ve heard that didn’t think it was Sidney Crosby who was the most valuable player for the Hart Trophy, even though he has not played in the last stretch of games. What he’s been and how dominant he’s been and the consistency with which he did it over the games he played left no doubt in, I think, a lot of people’s minds.”
Ovechkin Plays Street Hockey: In other news about #8, Ovechkin took to the streets of DC to play hockey with local residents who were walking through Chinatown. Take a look at the video.
2014 NHL Cover Vote: The EA Sports NHL 14 Cover Vote is on the horizon with voting beginning on April 22nd. Like last year, each NHL team will have two players in the tournament. Some teams have announced who those players are, and for everyone else, we just have to wait. Here is a rundown of who is confirmed to be on the 2014 bracket:
- Carolina Hurricanes: Jordan Staal and Eric Staal
- Toronto Maple Leafs: James van Riemsdyk and Joffrey Lupul
- Chicago Blackhawks: Patrick Sharp and Duncan Keith
- Nashville Predators: Mike Fisher and Brandon Yip
- Columbus Blue Jackets: Sergei Bobrovsky and Brandon Dubinsky
- Winnipeg Jets: Evander Kane and Andrew Ladd
- Florida Panthers: Kris Versteeg and Brian Campbell
- Colorado Avalanche: Matt Duchene and Gabe Landeskog
- Minnesota Wild: Mikko Koivu and Nicklas Backstrom
- Edmonton Oilers: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Taylor Hall