This week, I take a look at the fall of both top-seeded teams.. I also highlight Steve Yzerman’s return to Hockey Town and some key playoff roster moves.
This past Tuesday saw perhaps the most-stunning upset in NHL playoff history. The Tampa Bay Lightning, who won 62 games in the 2018-19 regular season, were swept decisively by the red-hot Columbus Blue Jackets, who outscored them 19-8 in the process.
Regular season success provides no guarantee for the postseason; as factors such as solid goaltending and special teams can power an underdog past the favorite in a seven-game series. Since the award was introduced in 1986, seven President’s Trophy winners have lost in the first round. Tampa Bay, however, becomes the first recipient to be swept in their opening series. Here are the top five most shocking first round playoff upsets, since the expansion era began in 1967.
In this week’s edition of Blake’s Takes, I give my two cents on the impact of the Nikita Kucherov suspension and look forward at a potential playoff matchup. I also show some love to an unloved team and predict another award.
Yesterday, the Chicago Blackhawks placed third in the 2019 NHL Draft Lottery. Picking third overall never gets a generational talent like Connor McDavid or Sidney Crosby, who always go first overall. But picking third overall is still high enough to get a good — or even great — hockey player.
Ever since the NHL instituted a draft in 1963, the Chicago Blackhawks have picked third-overall a total of five times. And in some years, the Blackhawks didn’t even have to play poorly to pick so high in the draft. Some of these third-overall draft picks fared better than others. Here is a look at how well the Blackhawks did with third place in the draft.
Sixteen wins. This is what it takes to win the hardest trophy in sports. Although regular season success is often used by analysts to predict post-season play, only one President’s Trophy winner has taken home the Stanley Cup this decade, the 2012-13 Chicago Blackhawks. Sometimes, the wear and tear of an 82-game regular season proves to be too much. The team which raises the cup in June must have enough mental and physical resolve, and undoubtedly some luck, to power itself through two months of grueling hockey. Below are the five teams that have the personnel and coaching to seriously contend for the Stanley Cup.
For this week’s Blake’s Takes, we look at the effect of our lottery-bound teams will have on next season. I also make my next award prediction and examine one more unloved team.
Time is Running Out for These Veteran NHL Players to Win the Stanley Cup
Even if the song “Fly Like an Eagle” by the Steve Miller Band was before your time, you still probably recall the first line of the song:
Time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’
Into the future…
Time gets away from us, and the next thing you know, the young first-round draft pick you cheered for is now a grizzled old veteran, vying for one last shot at winning a Stanley Cup. Such players, known as “Old Men Without a Cup,” are making perhaps their last attempt at winning a Stanley Cup Championship before calling it a career.
Here is a look at the oldest player from every 2019 playoff-bound team who has not won a Stanley Cup Championship. In our hearts, we’d like to see all of them win, but in the end, only one will. Who on this list are you pulling for?
Get Free Upper Deck Cards at NHL Games
During the 2018-19 season, 17 different NHL teams, as well as three American Hockey League teams, will give away Upper Deck hockey cards. While these giveaway cards look similar to 2018-19 Upper Deck Series One Hockey cards, there are some differences that make these cards unique enough that they will appeal to player collectors, team collectors, or completest nuts like me.
For example, the silver foil is removed and replaced with standard ink. So, all team logos are in full color instead of silver, while the silver “swirlies” at either side of the logo are replaced with a dominant color from the team’s uniform. The Upper Deck logo is also de-silvered, and printed in color. However, the most interesting change is that some of these cards use different photos than what was used on the standard 2018-19 Upper Deck Series One Hockey card.
The first arena giveaway will be at the Anaheim Ducks game on Friday, November 23. The promotion will visit seven other NHL teams — and possibly several others — plus two AHL teams. Here is information on every team that is giving away these unique hockey cards, and how to get them. Continue reading “Every 2018-19 Upper Deck Hockey Card Arena Giveaway”
One goal. One Chris Kunitz knuckle puck over Craig Anderson’s blocker in double OT of game 7. This is how close the Ottawa Senators were from a surprise berth in the 2017 Stanley Cup Finals. Two years later, the team could not be on a more different path, poised to finish last in the league standings. Dispassionate fans, declining revenue, and the departure of star players all raise questions surrounding the franchise’s future in Ottawa.
Don Cherry, host of Hockey Night in Canada’s “Coaches Corner,” along with Senators owner Eugene Melnyk, have entertained the idea of relocating the team. Were this to happen, only one location makes sense, and that is Quebec. Fans in this city long for the return of the Nordiques, and its proximity to Montreal makes for a classic, francophone rivalry.
The Stanley Cup Playoffs are just one week away. Half of the league will endure grueling weeks, or months of extra hockey if they are fortunate, while the other half will hit the golf links early. Whether a team misses the postseason by a single point, or 20, the question remains the same: what must the franchise do differently to contend next season? In a league increasingly defined by parity, coaching turnover in the NHL is among the highest in the four major North American sporting leagues. I expect this offseason to be no different. Here are five coaches hanging on to their jobs by a thread.