Playoff hockey is finally upon us, so grow out that mullet or beard or both (if you really want to be female-repellent) and get ready to witness some of the most intense and exciting competition since the 2011 NCAA women’s basketball tournament (just kidding). This year the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks squeezed through the regular season on the last day to capture the eight seed in the Western Conference, thanks to our friends in Minnesota.
This will be the third year in a row that the Blackhawks have to face the Vancouver Canucks, but the first time they will face in the Conference Quarterfinals in the history of the two franchises. The Hawks have annihilated the ‘Nucks’ cup chances in the semifinals both years. But can they do it once more, as an eight seed?
Click here to see the preview
All times are Eastern
Let the games begin! Click here to see the rest of the schedule for the other teams.
UPDATE: According to the NHL, game six has been changed to a 7:30 pm ET start time.
Cry your little heart out, Woywitka
“And the Dallas Stars’ season will end in Minnesota…”
Who thought that this would be a Hawks’ fans’ favorite sentence at the end of the season? The defending Stanley Cup champions rejoiced today after suffering a vital 4-3 loss to the rival Detroit Red Wings, only to see their playoff lives wake up from the dead as the Minnesota Wild ousted the Dallas Stars with a 5-3 victory. The Hawks have now claimed the number eight seed in the wild Western conference and are set to face off against the number one seed Vancouver Canucks. Can the Hockey Gods will us to our third playoff defeat of the Canucks in as many years? Only time will tell. Look for a preview soon.
In the meantime, I’ll leave you with this:
First column: Games played, then wins, losses, OT losses, points (in bold), and ROW
As of right now, the Blackhawks are in a tight race coming down to the last game of the season with both the Anaheim Duck and Dallas Stars. The Ducks hold the 7th seed while the Hawks hold the 8th seed. Both teams have 97 points. The Stars are sitting just behind the Hawks and Ducks with 95 points. All three teams have a game remaining. The Ducks take on the Los Angeles Kings tonight at 9:30 central, all eyes should be on this game. However, if all three teams somehow end up with 97 points (which would mean a Ducks’ loss tonight and a Blackhawks’ loss tomorrow followed by a Stars’ win), the 7th and 8th seeds will end up going to the teams who meet the sufficient tiebreaker procedures. Here’s how they work:
The first tiebreaker is basically the greatest amount of games won, called ROW (wins in regulation plus overtime; shootout victories are excluded). As of right now, the Ducks have the most ROW with 42 compared to the Hawks 38 and the Stars 37, clinching them a playoff spot no matter what. They’re going to finish either 6th, 7th, or 8th no matter what happens tonight.
Can the captain lead us to the promised land once more?
A Dallas win and a Hawks loss would put both teams at 97 points and 38 ROW, therefore resorting to the second tiebreaker, head-to-head points. Therefore, the Hawks would need at least to get to overtime against Detroit in their final game of the season to put them ahead of Dallas by one point. Dallas holds the second tiebreaker against the Hawks, as they have six points (three wins head-to-head) while we have only three points (one win and an overtime loss).
A final observation: If the Hawks do in fact lose to Detroit in game 82, Dallas would have to win in either regulation or overtime. If their game with the Minnesota Wild goes to a shootout and they win, they would have the same amount of points as the Hawks (97), but would still have 37 ROW to our 38. Good lord, this is going to be an epic regular season conclusion!
As first reported via Yahoo!’s Puck Daddy blog, there are pictures of Marty Turco making bets with a Montreal Canadiens fan during the Blackhawks’ 2-1 overtime loss on April 5th. The photo above clearly shows Turco either giving or taking money from a fan, so there’s no doubt that the story is factual. Here’s how it went down:
According to a Canadiens’ season ticket holder named Robert (audio below), he bet Turco $5 after Michael Cammalleri’s first goal of the game that the Hawks would not tie up the game. Turco accepted, and eventually won the $5 when Patrick Kane scored to tie it up at 1-1. Robert handed Turco a bill with the words “Habs Rule” on it.
However, the betting did not cease.
Turco and the fan bet double-or-nothing on the second period, triple-or-nothing on the third period, and then in overtime Robert gave Turco five-to-one odds that the Hawks would not win. Turco accepted the bet, and eventually had to pay the fan $25 after P.K. Subban’s rocket to win the game for the Canadiens. One of the five $5 bills given to the fan was the same one exchanged in the earlier bet, but with this written on it:
Funny stuff. Not sure how much truth there is to what Turco wrote on the bill, considering he hasn’t started a game since Feb. 11. Turco does gain a ton of credit as a cool guy in my book, though. How many opposing players would actually do this with a fan, let alone respond to one?
Another question is whether Turco will be disciplined by the NHL for his actions. Exhibit 14.2 of the NHL CBA states that “Gambling on NHL game is prohibited.” Granted, commissioner Gary Bettman is not nearly as tyrannical as other commissioners like the NBA’s David Stern or the NFL’s Roger Goodell, so I would be shocked if there was harsh discipline or even a large fine.
Here is the audio of the fan who bet Turco, via the radio show “Game Points with Matthew Ross” on Team 990:
Top Play: Tyler Colvin throws out runner for double play
This was clutch for the Cubs at the time, even though they ended up losing 5-4 to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Also note how Geovany Soto face checks Jaramillo during the tag. Priceless.
Runner-up: Brent Seabrook destroys Steve Downie
Got to show some love for Brent Seabrook for this great hit on cheap-shot artist Steve Downie. Love seeing Downie trying to get into a scuffle only to be shrugged off like a fly.
Top Play: John Mayberry Jr. hits a walk off single to win game for Phillies
Nothing better than seeing a pinch hitter get the job done when his team needs him most.
Runner-up: Corey Crawford saves lead to Kane goal
This is two-way hockey at it’s finest.