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Pittsburgh's Kris Letang to attend NHL hearing for head shot against Washington's  Marcus Johannson. 

Letang's hit occurred during the Pens 2-1 win over the Capitals in Game 3 last night in Pittsburgh.

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Earlier in this series, in Game 1 in Washington, the Capitals & ex-Penguin Brooks Orpik leveled Pittsburgh's Olii Maata with a similar hit and was suspended for two games.

General NHL News & Views / Re: Round 2: Stars (C1) vs. Blues (C2)
« on: May 02, 2016, 05:33:50 AM »
St. Louis  4   Dallas 3  OT   Series tied at 1 game apiece.

St. Louis' David Backes was the hero, as his overtime goal gave the Blues the victory.  Thanks in part to Dallas' Antoine Roussel, whose penalty in that OT gave St. Louis the power play and the opportunity to score.

St. Louis goaltender Brian Elliot, who finished with 31 saves on the game, was excellent in the OT, making several key saves giving the Blues a ohance to stay alive. 

On the other side of the fence, Dallas starter Kari Lehtonen wasn't so sharp after allowing three goals on five shots early in the game and was replaced by backup Antii Niemi.

Game 3 is Tuesday in St. Louis.

Source!    CBCsports,  TSN

San Jose  3   Nashville  2.   Sharks lead series 2 games to 0.

Leave it to Sharks' Captain Joe Pavelski to score the important goal, and that's exactly what he did, as San Jose took a comfortable series lead.
Pavelski's goal in the third period sealed Nashville's fate for the night,

Though the Predators did a good job in shutting down San Jose's top line, there was no mistaking the top line for what it was--- too dangerous to let it out of sight in these playoffs.  The Predators were taught that lesson with the score tied at two,

Be on your guard or else, risk it.  And Captain Pavelski made short work of it.

Better luck in Nashville, Predators.

Game 3 goes Tuesday in Nashville.

Source:  Sportsnet

Pittsburgh  2   Washington  1.  Series tied at 1 game apiece.

Ex-Washington Capital Eric Fehr, scored with a little over four minutes in regulation time to give Pittsburgh the victory.

The resilient Penguins were without defenceman Oli Maata, who was levelled by Capitals defenceman and ex-Penguin Brooks Orpik.  Maata did not return to the game, leaving Pittsburgh short on defence.

Kris Letang, the Pens stalwart, merely played more minutes on the backend, and the rest of his teammates played as the group that's been winning for most of the year, oftentimes with injuries to key players.

This time, it was not a game Pittsburgh wanted to lose again.

Game 3 is Monday in Pittsburgh.

Source:   Sportsnet

The Toronto Raptors will  play the Miami Heat, also coming off a Game 7 victory (over the Charlotte Hornets).

Game 1 starts Tuesday in Toronto.

Toronto   89   Indiana  84.  Raptors win series 4 games to 3.

R-e-1-i-e-f!   Success in winning a Game 7, something not too existent of late in the Raptors franchise history.

Led by much-criticized All-Star DeMar DeRozan, who up to now was having less than stellar performances in this playoff round unlike the regular season  where he dominated game by game, DeRozan racked up 30pts., in helping the Raptors stay ahead of the Pacers right up to the final buzzer.

Toronto got contributions from their other struggling AIl-Star Kyle Lowry, with 11 pts., & 10 assists on the night.  The scrappy Lowry was all over the Pacers defensively, in tandem with other Raptor teammates Patterson, Byombo, Powell,  Joseph, Valenciunas & Carroll all providing bench depth and strength on the court, making it particularly miserable for a Pacer named George.

This was a game in which the Raptors played it right, taking the lead from the get-go.  Having 29,000+ raucous supporters backing you completed the package.

"I hear so many people talking about the Toronto curse and all this but, man, if you play basketball and you play at a high level, I told plenty of fans, I told plenty of media that this is a different team," said Carroll. "We have a different mindset. This is a team thatís going to go out and leave it on the court and thatís what we did tonight."

DeRozan did. The Raptors followed his lead.

They did it.  Finally.

Fifteen years in the making.

Great job, Raptors!

Way to go!!!

Take your pick: Laine or Matthews...

(Article written before the Draft Lottery)

Matthews spent the past hockey season competing against men in the Swiss-A League. He scored 24 goals and 46 points in 36 games for the Zurich Lions. His playoffs were less stellar, as the team was swept in round one. Matthews did however, contribute three assists in those four games.

Heís an incredible talent who has all the skills needed to not only thrive, but survive in the NHL. Heís strong around the net and is able to use his size and weight to his advantage. Heís got a powerful shot and also makes great decisions in regard to his puck handling abilities.

He had a fantastic regular season in Switzerland as a player who wasnít drafted yet. It was a unique move, but one that showed maturity and a desire to challenge himself. Matthews will also get a chance to prove he should remain number one by playing on the United States Menís National Team at the upcoming World Championships.

Laine is a 2016 World Junior champion. He also captured all-star honours at the tournament. This year he can also add 2016 Liiga champion and playoff MVP to his impressive and growing resume.

The powerful Finnish winger has been on an absolute tear and is seen in some scoutsí eyes as the true number one pick of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. He has a bullet for a shot, heís got the size and is extremely fast.

The young Finn is on the verge of stardom. No one is sure what his ceiling will be in the NHL, but the initial signs are extremely promising. He has also been invited to play for the Finnish team at the World Championships and will get the chance to prove he can hang with some of the best in the NHL.


...the Maple Leafs...will take Matthews. Thatís not a knock against Laine in any way, rather, it boils down to the position they both play.

Matthews is a centre. A big, skilled, number one centre is among the most coveted positions in the NHL. This is exactly the type of player the Leafs have been missing since the departure of former captain, Mats Sundin.

The Maple Leafs have a glut of wingers itching to make the NHL. Laine would be an extremely strong prospect and a huge part of the rebuild, but a centre like Matthews is extremely hard to find.

Main Leafs Hockey Talk / Re: 2016 NHL Draft Lottery
« on: May 01, 2016, 03:52:50 AM »
The Leafs are very happy with the Draft Lottery outcome and potential choice...

Shanahan would not reveal who the Maple Leafs would select, but he certainly didn't hold back when asked to provide some analysis of the projected top choice, center Auston Matthews...

"He's obviously a player who has played a lead role his whole life," Shanahan said. "He has good size, plays center, and I feel like he can score from the perimeter. But he also has a knack for going to the net and banging in some garbage goals home as well. He's definitely someone who has earned the right to be where he is today."

"It was nerve-racking watching it," Matthews told "I have a lot of mixed emotions but am excited to be part of it. I'm excited and relieved and it's nice to have clarity. But the draft is still a ways away."

"This is a great piece, but I wouldn't put too much pressure on any one player; this is a team game and we play a team style and the more players you can get of a high caliber that's a good thing," Shanahan said. "I think we have a good idea who the player is (that we will select). We'll discuss and confirm some of the things we already know, but I don't think there's any real need for us to reveal [the selection] now.

"I can say our scouts were very pleased with this result."

Main Leafs Hockey Talk / Re: 2016 NHL Draft Lottery
« on: April 30, 2016, 08:28:06 PM »
WE'RE #1 !!!

Main Leafs Hockey Talk / Re: 2016 NHL Draft Lottery
« on: April 30, 2016, 08:22:45 PM »
So happy for the Leafs.  Whew!

Main Leafs Hockey Talk / Re: 2016 NHL Draft Lottery
« on: April 30, 2016, 08:17:35 PM »
Here we go.........

Blue Jays defeat Rays 6-1.  Aaron Sanchez (2-0) used his fastball & curveball to stymie Tampa Bay batters, while leadoff hitter Michael Saunders hit two home runs alongside Josh Donaldson & Ryan Goins with one each.

Roberto Osuna got the save.

BTW  Saunders OPS is now at .983.


Indiana 101  Toronto 83 .  Series tied at 3 games apiece.

Turnovers, turnovers, and more turnovers. (Sigh)  What will it take for the Toronto Raptors to finally win a playoff round?

Not since the year 2001, fifteen years ago, that the Raptors franchise won a (second round) playoff series.  Those were the days of the "Vinsanity" (Vince Carter), of Antonio Davis & Mo Pete, of Tracy McGrady & Chris Bosh, of Jose Calderon et al.   But that was then, and this is now, nearly two decades of failing to win a playoff round since that VInce Carter attempted his three point shot,  that banged the rim and ended the Raptors chance for a Game 7 second round win ... yes, it was that long ago...

...circa 2016.  The Raptors, having finished second in the East Conf. just slightly behind the Cleveland Cavs, setting an all-time franchise record for wins, backed by All-Stars DeBozan & Lowry, excellent bench depth in Patterson, Joseph, Powell, Carroll, etc... what gives?

Just as the Raptors lcoked solid and in charge of Game 6 in Indiana, with a comfortable lead at the half, the root fell in, so to speak  The Pacers scored 61 pts. in the second half while the Raptors responded with a measly 39.  To add to the misery, Toronto's offence all but dried up, and the defence...well, there wasn't any...except for turnover after turnover, disorganized play, etc....

...enough said!  The only hope Toronto fans have is if your team wakes up and faces the music, so to speak.  We can only hope and wait ...

Game 7 goes Sunday in Toronto.

Source:   Sportsnet,  CBCSports 

Enjoy LA Demar.  Take your 3/13 shooting with 1 assist and 4 turnovers and porous defense with you.

Win or lose, Masai is absolutely nuts if he signs him to a max deal.

Oh, I'm certain L.A. will beckon.  In fact, unless I'm incredibly offbeat here, isn't it's so possible that DeRozan does not have his mind (set) on these playoffs?  The way he's played up to now,  one would think he's dreaming of L.A. already. 

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