The Islanders announced they’ve signed right winger Chris Bruton to an NHL deal for next year. Looks like he brings some grit and toughness; he was also captain of the 2008 Memorial Cup champions in Spokane, scoring 10 points in 21 playoff games that year after 63 in the regular season. He’s worked his way up, beginning the 2011-12 season on an ECHL deal, earning a trip to Peoria and then a deal again last year. Appears this will be his first NHL deal at age 26.
There’ll be a seventh game Wednesday night in Providence, and you can thank or blame Brad Thiessen as appropriate. The Bruins were all over the Pens; Thiessen didn’t let a second one in, which gave Trevor Smith a chance to score the winner 3:26 into overtime. From Jonathan’s postgameblog: Smith scored the overtime game winner in a historic playoff game and I didn’t mention his name until the eighth paragraph of this blog post. That should tell you how unbelievable Thiessen was.*
The Bruins were without Graham Mink, suspended for Game 6 and, it turns out, Game 7 for his match penalty, going after Thiessen late in Game 5.
Tip of cap to Dave Bike.
*-The box initially had Smith as first star and Thiessen as second. Glad to see that was incorrect.
Switzerland was 9-0 at the World Championship through Saturday. But Sweden is the World Champion, coming back from an early deficit to win gold on Sunday.
The U.S. coughed up a 2-0 lead in the bronze-medal game, but Alex Galchenyuk scored on back-to-back shootout attempts, one to keep the thing going and the next to win it, and we’re No. 3. John Gibson (36 saves) was strong again.
The United States’ medal history in this tournament in the past 50 years: bronze medals, 1996, 2004, 2013. That is all. (There are just 12 other top-fives in those 50 years.)
Nino Niederreiter, 5-3-8 in those 10 games, finished tied for 11th in the tournament.
The rest of the organization waits at home, but Nino Niederreiter’s playing for gold on Sunday. He scored the first goal on a two-on-one off a neutral-zone turnover, and he assisted on Reto Suri’s breakaway empty-netter (complete with Suri’s awesome leap-into-bench celebration) to put away Switzerland’s 3-0 win over the United States. First chance I’d had to watch, and Niederreiter looked really good: playing a physical game, using his size, getting to the net with and without the puck. He’ll get a chance at national sporting heroism. Switzerland plays tomorrow afternoon against Sweden, which beat Finland 3-0 as Jhonas Enroth made 30 saves.
(Wrapping up the quarterfinals, Eric Staal has a third-degree MCL strain that the Hurricanes hope will be healed in time for next season.)
Two elimination-game Game 5s in the AHL tonight. Edit below.
Neither Providence nor Grand Rapids closed out their series tonight, so on they go. The Penguins shut out the Bruins on 30 Brad Thiessen stops, not counting whatever blows he may have blocked from Graham Mink as the Bruins vet earned himself a match penalty. Toronto kept things going, too; three points, including the first goal, for Spencer Abbott.
Game 6 in Providence is Monday; it’s Tuesday in Toronto. Both series would play a Game 7 on Wednesday.
The Penguins fell behind but scored three goals in the second to extend the series to five games against Providence with a 3-1 win. Brad Thiessen made 31 saves. Up in Syracuse, though, the Falcons are done: The Crunch finished the sweep with a 5-2 win. Between last year in Norfolk and this year in Syracuse, the Lightning’s affiliate doesn’t lose playoff games. Or many games, period. (Except this year against Bridgeport for some reason.) Howard Dolgon was much happier with the turnout.
Out west, Grand Rapids is a game away from knocking out Toronto after a 4-1 win in Game 4.
The Big Club re-upped Eric Boulton. Think that’s 33 contracts for next year.
Hershey fired coach Mark French. The Utica rumo(u)rs won’t go away. The World Championship reaches the medal rounds, but Alex Edler doesn’t. (
The USA-Switzerland game is on NBC Sports Network at 1 p.m. Edit: Chris Peters notes that OLN/Versus/NBCEtc won’t be showing it live, but on tape delay late Saturday night. It will stream on their website at 1 p.m., though.)
And RIP, Ken Venturi.
We got us an AHL semifinalist: Yann Danis made 33 saves as Oklahoma City beat Texas 5-1 Thursday, finishing the series in five games. Mark Arcobello had three points, including his ninth goal in 10 playoff games. They’ll move on to meet the Grand Rapids-Toronto winner, and that won’t be determined until at least Saturday.
Speaking of semifinals: The United States is on to the World Championship semifinals after Thursday morning’s shellacking of Russia, 8-3. The U.S. led 2-0 and 4-1 (chasing Ilya Bryzgalov) and 5-2; Alexander Perezhogin scored soon after that to make it 5-3, but three goals in 1:56 finished things off with 10 minutes left. John Gibson stopped 31 of 34. (Alex Ovechkin flew over there to play on a broken foot. How’s that for pride.) In Saturday’s semifinal (1 p.m.), they’ll have to stop undefeated Switzerland, who rode Martin Gerber’s 33 saves to its eighth win in a row. Nino Niederreiter without a point and with one shot. On the other side of the bracket, Finland blew a three-goal lead but beat Slovakia 4-3 on Juhamatti Aaltonen’s goal with 11:47 left. It’ll be a matchup of the hosts in the early semifinal, as Sweden beat Canada in a shootout. Eric Staal left the game with a knee injury; Alex Edler got a major and a game misconduct for kneeing.
This is, obviously, a curious tournament, European-focused, played amidst the Stanley Cup playoffs, missing most of the world’s best players despite being a world championship. Still, the United States has managed as many 13th-place finishes as it has medals since 1963, and both of those medals have been bronze. Until 1968, the Olympics counted as the World Championship result; 1960, then, is the United States’ only World Championship gold since 1933, and 1933 is its only other title.
It’s two wins away.
(Russia’s entry in the Power Rankings got me.)
@CTWhale on Twitter has surreptitiously become @WolfPackAHL with its first tweet after the official name rechange. (Also appears the old @HtfdWolfPack account is gone, unless the handle was changed and I just missed it. It still existed, though idle since the fall of 2010, at least as of Tuesday.)
Finales are hard. I thought “The Office”‘s was pretty darned good.
And RIP, Dick Trickle.
The Eastern Conference series looked good on paper. They’re not going that way on ice. Carter Camper scored 31 seconds into overtime Wednesday, and the Bruins took a 3-0 lead over Wilkes-Barre with a 2-1 win. Trevor Smith scored for the Penguins, but that was the only one of 33 shots past Niklas Svedberg. A little further up I-81, Syracuse took a 3-0 series lead on Springfield, winning by that same score; Ondrej Palat had a short-handed goal eight seconds into the third period to make it 2-0 and assisted on the other two goals. Both series can end Friday. (Howard Dolgon would like to see more people in Syracuse for that.)
There’s a Western Conference series that could end Thursday: Oklahoma City actually trailed by a goal twice in Game 4, but they had the game’s last five to beat the Stars 7-3. Mark Arcobello scored twice, including the 2-2 goal on a breakaway out of the penalty box, and was named first star. The Barons can wrap it up at home. Still with a ways to go: Grand Rapids won a game that looks like a see-saw of momentum to take a 2-1 series lead over Toronto. They get back at it in Game 4 on Friday.
An IIHF piece with ref Marcus Vinnerborg; the World Championship quarters are all on NBCSN beginning at 6 a.m with USA-Russia.
Down Goes Brown’s Sean McIndoe on Those Games.
A few familiar officiating names working the Kelly Cup Final, which pits Reading, with former Sound Tigers PTOs Riley Gill and Ethan Cox, against Stockton, which includes Islanders draft pick Tony DeHart (rights lapsed). The series begins Saturday in Reading. (Fact from the final media guide that I don’t remember hearing: The Kelly Cup, like the Calder Cup, came from Boardman Silversmiths in Connecticut.)
Off day in the AHL playoffs; four games Wednesday. Dylan Reese is said to remain out for Wilkes-Barre but at least is skating. Neat stuff from Lindsay Kramer on Howard Dolgon and Bruce Landon. The once and future HartfordWolfPack.com is kinda sparse right now unless you’re looking for season tickets, but there it is.
The U.S. finished the round robin at the World Championship with a disappointing loss to Slovakia that knocked it down to third in the pool and a Thursday-morning date with Russia, the only other team that beat the Americans (and now a Russian team fortified with New Haven Open tennis fan Alex Ovechkin), and yipes, Ben Bishop (h/t: Chris Peters. America). Finland wins the pool with a win over Latvia (despite needing overtime after a late Latvian tying goal) and faces Slovakia. (There’s crossover between the two pools come the semifinals.)
Even with the upsets and the close wins and all, the Big 8 make the quarters anyway. Nino Niederreiter was off the scoresheet again, but Switzerland won its pool anyway, the only unbeaten team in the tournament. It’ll face the Czech Republic in the quarters, leaving Canada to face Sweden, which finished up with a win over Denmark with goals for the Sedins. Germany gets ninth overall with its overtime win over France (Christian Ehrhoff early in OT).