Tuesday, June 11, 2013


Stanley Cup Playoffs-2013

Action in the Stanley Cup playoffs continues to heat up after every round. One of the most interesting facts pointed out to me recently is that the four semi finalists-Pittsburgh, Chicago, Boston, and Los Angeles, are the last four winners of the Stanley Cup. No matter who wins, it hasn’t taken long to become a repeat winner. Chicago Cubs fans have been waiting almost a century for a World Series title!

It appeared as if the Penguins were going to walk into the finals, as they began their series with the Bruins. That all changed quite dramatically. The Bostonians jumped on the Penguins last Saturday night, behind some fine goaltending from Tuukka Rask. In a bit of a nasty tilt, the Bruins blanked the Penguins 3-0.

Early in the second period, Matt Cooke was assessed a major penalty for checking from behind, and was also given a game misconduct. Many of you either saw the play, or have seen the replay. The main problem that I have with the call, and other similar calls, is that the Bruins player, Adam McQuaid, heard Cooke’s footsteps, looked over his shoulder to see what was coming, and turned his face toward the boards. He anticipated Cooke’s arrival, and his team was awarded the power play for his manoeuvre.

Cooke has gone through a series of changes in his play the past few seasons, simply to stay in the game. His reckless style jeopardized his career, and he served several suspensions. He knew what was at stake, and he reacted to the situation. As reported in Bruce Arthur’s column in The Ottawa Citizen, Cooke noted: “I had to change from the outset, change my outlook on how I approached the game; otherwise, there was no chance that I was going to have success. I think that before, you’re so focused on trying to find that line and where to be, and whether it’s on it, or before it, or across it, and there’s risk involved in that. I had to put myself in a position to get there, and now I don’t have to do that. Being a useful, honest player-that’s hopefully how I’m remembered.”

“Cookie” had 21 points in the regular 48 game season, with 8 goals. He spent 36 minutes in the penalty box. In only 12 playoff games, he has already been assessed with 33 minutes in penalties. Has his play changed? Not significantly. Is he being monitored a little more carefully? Likely. Has he been unlucky, as in the case with McQuaid? Definitely. Cooke did not receive a suspension on the play, and will skate for the remainder of the playoffs.

Andrew Shaw, another feisty type, continues to be a fan favourite in Chicago. The Hawks won both of their home games against the Kings, and are in the driver’s seat heading for the west coast. In the second game, Shaw snapped the first goal of the game past Jonathan Quick to give the Hawks a great start. It was his fourth goal in this year’s post season play, and he has added three helpers. But it is his devil-may-care attitude that excites the fans in the “Madhouse” in Chicago. By the way, he has accumulated 39 minutes in the “sin bin” thus far in the playoffs!

Brad Richardson has played in nine of the Kings’ post season games. He is used in all situations, and is most effective killing penalties, because of his outstanding skating ability. “Richie” would love to be able to show Lord Stanley’s mug to the folks in Belleville once again, as he did last summer. The Kings always play well at home, but are now 1-7 on the road in their last 8 games. A road win is a must to make it to the finals.

By this time next week, we will have the finalists. Hopefully, they will be able to wrap up the season before the first day of summer. Time for the beach.

James Hurst


June 3, 2013.





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