Senior Travis Boyd leads Minnesota to the NCAA Tournament (Photo: Brian Ekart)
With all six conference tournaments ending last Sunday, the field for the NCAA Tournament is set. This weekend, the top sixteen teams are divided in four single-elimination regional tournaments whose winners will face each in Frozen Four semifinals in Boston on April 9. The championship game will be played on April 11.
We got a lead from Evgeny Namestnikov, who we hired as a scout for us over in Russia. He said come over to watch this young man who he liked a lot, who he coached.
The Maple Leafs hired Namestnikov, a former NHL player and father of current Tampa Bay Lightning forward Vlad, to scout for them while working as an assistant coach for Soshnikov’s Atlant. This went mostly unnoticed in North America, but Russia’s top hockey reporter Alexei Shevchenko, after confirming Namestnikov’s double affiliation, referred to situation as “awkward.”
I think what the Leafs did was an unfair practice and requires an NHL investigation regarding its legality and possibly prohibiting it in the future.
Defenseman Christian Djoos, drafted by the Capitals in the seventh round of the 2012 draft, is set to join the Hershey Bears. Djoos’ SHL season ended as Brynas was swept by regular-season champs Skelleftea.
This year, several NHL teams including the Capitals’ opponent tonight, Buffalo, have been awful. Two potential superstars will be avaliable at this year’s draft: Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel. Fans of those teams want to lose.
Waiter in Buffalo learns who I cover.
"Can you guys beat us tonight so we can get the No. 1 pick?"
Washington Capitals’ first-round pick Jakub Vrana scored two goals, including the eventual game-winner, as his Linkoping defeated HV71 in their first game of the SHL playoffs, 3-2. Vrana, who had problems finding the net late in the regular season with just three points in eleven games since the beginning of February, had his first career multi-point postseason game as a pro.
With just a few days left before a trade deadline, managers around the NHL are comparing their teams to the rest of the league and looking for the pieces needed for a playoff run. With the new playoff format, it’s especially important to overmatch the division rivals you are likely to face early in the postseason.
The Caps, despite sitting just fourth in the Metropolitan division, keep up with the teams above them in most statistical categories. But there is one area in which they are struggling: the second line.
When asked about the growth of hockey in the DC Area over the last decade, Bettman marveled at the job both Alex Ovechkin and Ted Leonsis have done. Seconded.
“It’s the Ovechkin era and there’s an era that’s a little bit longer than that one and I would call that the [Ted] Leonsis era,” Bettman said beaming. “I think Ted’s ownership of this franchise has been nothing short of phenomenal in terms of how the community has been engaged and in terms of how fans have connected with and interacted with this franchise; the stability of ownership and management has been very important.”
Then it got weird. Bettman credited (I think) definitely-not-Washington Capital Evgeni Malkin.