Getting to the top, as Colorado Avalanche and Tampa Bay Lightning did, requires talent, structured coaches and leaders who make the right staff moves at the right time. But it also takes a little luck to some extent.
When I watch the Lightning, I can’t help but think that Ondrej Palat was unmasked by the team in the latest Seattle Kraken expansion draft. He was available, but the 32nd NHL team opted for Quebecer Yanni Gourde instead.
A great choice, mind you. I love Gourde for everything he brings to the track.
On the other hand, it must be admitted that Palat has been the dark hero of the Lightning since the beginning of the playoffs. Also on Friday night, it is he who scores the winning goal in the third period to allow the Lightning to stay alive and thus deprive the Avalanche of a third Stanley Cup in their history.
TOEWS AND NICHUSKIN
Then, when it comes to luck, we also add the acquisitions of Valeri Nichushkin and Devon Toews by the Colorado Avalanche.
I say lucky because they exceeded all the expectations placed on them at the time of their acquisition. Recall that Toews was acquired by the New York Islanders for two picks in the second round and is now the playmate of Cale Makar in the first couple in defense.
For his part, Nichushkin had signed a free agent contract with the team in 2019.
After two decent seasons, this year he exploded and became the player he should have become when he was chosen 10th overall in the 2013 draft by the Dallas Stars.
He will also be an unpaid free agent and have the opportunity to break the bank. I’m sure he wants to stay in Denver and the Avalanches want to keep him too. Whether they will be able to get along well in the long run remains to be seen.
VASES AND KUEMPER
On the other hand, Andrei Vasilevskiy’s work in Lightning net has absolutely nothing to do with luck!
Whenever the Lightning takes a goal, it seems that the slope is insurmountable for the Avalanche. Imagine how mentally difficult it must be for Colorado to tell themselves they have to score two goals against Vasilevskiy if they want to win.
It is almost impossible to beat him on a free throw. It always takes a bounce or detour to outsmart it.
On the other hand, Darcy Kuemper is not as solid in the net for Avalanche.
It goes without saying that he feels the pressure to live up to his Russian counterpart in Lightning. When you know that the opposing goalkeeper is in full possession of his means, you don’t want to be the one who gasps and causes his team to lose.
However, on Friday night, the goal he gave to Jan Rutta in the first period should never have entered. Especially not in the Stanley Cup final, when you only need one win to lift the big trophy.
– Kevin Dubé interview
Echoes of Bergie
Several coaches have found jobs in the NHL in recent weeks, starting with Paul Maurice with the Florida Panthers. I hope that the latter does not try to change the identity of this team, which is focused on attacking. I trust him, he has enough experience. I also really like the signings of Bruce Cassidy with the Vegas Golden Knights and Luke Richardson with the Chicago Blackhawks. In Cassidy’s case, the pressure is on him because the Golden Knights have to win soon. One thing is certain, he knows how to manage champions as he did it masterfully in Boston with Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak.
… and the bad one!
On the other hand, hiring John Tortorella leaves me breathless. For me it’s a disaster on the part of the Flyers. Tortorella finds himself with a team that probably will not make it to the playoffs and will want to prove once again that he is the master on board. I don’t understand this decision by CEO Chuck Fletcher but, on the other hand, I imagine that the latter is doing everything knowing full well that he will be the next to be fired if things don’t get better. Philadelphia. This kind of news makes me sad every time for guys like Bob Hartley or Patrick Roy, who are just waiting for a call back to the NHL. Despite everything, we continue to trust outdated coaches like Tortorella.
I like the new way of counting points in the Memorial Cup tournament. From this year we give three points for a win in regular time, two for a win in extra time and one for a loss. I think that’s what the NHL will eventually adopt as well. Additionally, the Canadian Hockey League introduced the three-on-three overtime period in the preliminary round to the tournament. Another idea for NHL leaders to think about. It is absolutely inhumane to ask players to play two or three overtime five-on-five.