33-year-old Patrick Sharp just won his third Stanley Cup in six years with the Chicago Blackhawks. He’s also likely won something else: a permanent trip to another team this summer.
Tuesday night, ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun went on Montreal’s TSN 690 and had a discussion about the Blackhawks and their difficult cap situation. According to ESPN, the team has a little more than $66 million committed to 13 players next year. That includes the first year of identical eight-year, $84 million contract extensions for Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews.
With next year’s cap expected to be $71 million, the Hawks have little wiggle room to fill out the roster, especially because they want to re-sign restricted free agent forward Brandon Saad. Moving Sharp would free up $5.9 million the Hawks could spend elsewhere. LeBrun believes Chicago will shop Sharp during the offseason and he could end up on the Washington Capitals.
Wednesday night, the Caps and Rangers played another brilliant hockey game, which came in a series full of brilliant hockey games. Every game in the series was close, so it was appropriate that game seven would be decided in overtime.
10:18 into the extra period, there was a faceoff in the Rangers zone. Hall of Fame broadcaster Mike Emrick decided that this was his moment to say something poignant– something to capture the moment– the tension of the game, the drama of the sport, and the anxiety of its nervous fans.
After the Capitals nearly came back from a 4-1 deficit in game six, Alex Ovechkin assured the media the Capitals would go to New York and win game seven. They did not, but Ovi did everything he could. He scored Washington’s only goal, throwing a game-high six shots on net. In the end, it wasn’t enough. After the game, Ovechkin spoke to reporters in a hushed tone. The game clock above his locker was frozen on the moment the Capitals’ season ended.
Braden Holtby lay on his back, looking straight up at the ironic Madison Square Garden ceiling. In 73 regular season games, Holtby anchored the Washington Capitals. He did the same for 13 postseason games, offering up one of the best playoff performances by a goaltender ever. In Wednesday’s game seven, he made 37 saves. But goalies — even great ones like Holtby — can’t stop everything. There was nothing he could do to prevent Derek Stepan‘s overtime winner, the goal that ended the Capitals season. After the game, Holtby, still clearly shaken, spoke to the media.
Lubomir Visnovsky leaves the game after being checked by Tom Wilson in the second period. (Photo credit: Bruce Bennett)
Last season, searching to make an impact as a rookie with limited ice time, Tom Wilson got himself into a lot of trouble, often making questionable hits and dropping the gloves whenever he got the chance. He finished the season with the seventh highest number of penalty minutes in the NHL. Now in his second season, and sometimes skating top line minutes under new head coach Barry Trotz, Wilson has moderated his game, becoming less of a wrecking ball and more of an agitator. In game four, however, the wrecking ball was back.
With Lubomir Visnovsky attempting to corral a loose puck behind his own net, Wilson came flying in, delivering a massive shoulder to chest blow. While Visnovsky was ravaged by the hit, the check appeared clean. The puck was there, Wilson never left his feet, and he hit Visnovsky square in the chest. Nevertheless, the refs took umbrage with the hit, calling Wilson for a change. The Islanders were outraged.
“He’s an idiot,” Islanders forward Kyle Okposo said of Wilson, according to the New York Post. “That guy runs around, he hits reckless. He jumps, leaves his feet. There’s no place for that.”
On Wednesday night Dmitry Orlov concluded his conditioning assignment in Hershey. The Russian defender has been out all season while rehabilitating the wrist injury he suffered in the World Championship last May.
In three games with Hershey, Orlov had three assists and six shots. He seems to have his heavy, booming slap shot back. Over the weekend, Orlov tallied two primary assists on the power play, just by rifling the puck on net.
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.