If Marty St. Louis’ performance over the past few days hasn’t put a smile on your face, then you’re a person void of any feeling. St. Louis, whose mother passed away suddenly last Thursday, played through what I’m sure must have been tremendous grief and sadness, helping the Rangers to victories in games five and six vs. Pittsburgh, even scoring a goal for his late mother yesterday evening. With that being said, I hope everyone who was able to took the time to thank their mother’s yesterday for everything they’ve done in the past. Never take you mom for granted, because one day suddenly she could be gone.
Rick Nash Overrated?
Speaking of the Rangers, they played two excellent contests against the Penguins in games five and six to force a game seven. The fanbase seems to have cooled down now, but when the Rangers were trailing 3-1 after game four, I was seeing a lot of finger-pointing in the Twitter world, with the many victim being Rick Nash. The backlash against Nash and his lack of scoring has led many to criticize his play, with some even suggesting he’s “overrated.” While Nash only have five assists so far in the playoffs, has he really been that bad? There’s a difference between playing poorly and being an on-ice liability, and playing well, but being snake-bitten when it comes to goal scoring, and Nash has been the latter. From what I’ve witnessed, he’s been playing a typical Nash-style game. A power forward who uses his size to shield the puck, who is creating scoring chances, as Nash leads the Rangers in shots with 51. He also hasn’t had any major turnovers or made poor decisions with the puck, nor has he been a defensive liability. If one word were to describe his play at the moment, it would be ‘unlucky,’ not ‘bad’ or ‘overrated’ by any means. Plus, it is not as if his teammates are racking up the goals either, as Carl Hagelin and Derrick Brassard are tied for the team lead in goals with four.
Then again, this could have been comments from a frustrated fan-base, as now that the Rangers have tied the series at 3-3, the heat on Nash has cooled down over the past few days.
Great Goaltending Stealing the Show
The major storyline though over the past week though may be the many outstanding goaltending performances. Ilya Bryzgalov has brought the Wild back to life, stymieing the Hawks in games three and four, and keeping it close for Minnesota in game five. The battle between Tuukka Rask and Carey Price in game four of the Habs vs. Bruins series gave us the game of the playoffs so far, as the two went save-for-save, taking a scoreless, yet very intense game into OT. “The King,” Henrik Lundqvist, may be the main reason why the Rangers have forced a game seven against Pittsburgh. Even when Marc-Andre Fleury was a brick wall in games 2-4, Lundqvist was keeping his team in the game, before totally shutting down the Pens’ scoring attack in games five and six, even after appearing to injure his shoulder in the second period last night. Finally, the highest ranked goaltending prospect today, Anaheim’s John Gibson, lived up to the hype, shutting out the Kings in game four, looking like a seasoned veteran in the process. Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau is so confident in the young Gibson, that he is starting him again for game five tonight.
Team Canada Loses to France at IIHF World Championship
Though not NHL playoff related, I wanted to briefly discuss Canada losing to France for the first time in 19 years at the 2014 IIHF World Championships. Though many were shocked by the outcome, Canada did deserve to lose as they played poorly, especially when it came to taking bad penalties. It still is a bit of a shock to lose to see Canada lose to France, but my main reaction is: “who cares?” While I know every player who suits up for their country must be feeling proud and honoured to do so, this really is a nothing tournament. Not one Olympian is playing for Canada, and the squad that is participating would maybe be Canada’s “C” or “D” level team at the Olympics. It really isn’t a best on best tournament (heck, even Finland lost to Latvia), but really is a team quickly thrown together of NHL’ers not in the playoffs, so the fact that Canada lost to France, or haven’t won a medal since 2009, doesn’t really mean anything in the end.
Photo credits to: zimbio.com, postcrescent.com, sportspyder.com, and kansas.com