Diver down: Only this time, Sidney Crosby
committed no crime in the Penguins
' playoff opener. (Gene J. Puskar/AP)
By Allan Muir
An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• There goes Sidney Crosby diving again.
• After watching the Ducks' Ryan Getzlaf take a biscuit in the mush, Jason Kay asks the obvious question: Does shot blocking do more harm than good?
• It’s not always easy to predict which teams will get great goaltending or have their stars go on hot streaks in a series, but James Mirtle says controlling possession is one trait that defines a long playoff run.
• It's been a dozen years since the Blues and the Blackhawks last met in the postseason. Jeremy Rutherford says built-up hostilities should make their first-rounder a nasty affair.
• But Bernie Miklasz thinks that puck possession, not punishment is St. Louis' key to victory against Chicago.
• Sochi snubs may have dinged some egos in San Jose, but the downtime they provided may be the key to the Sharks' Stanley Cup aspirations.
• Marian Gaborik produced a 61.4 percent Corsi rating over the regular season's final seven games. Ian McLaren says that stat suggests that the veteran winger could be a difference maker for the Kings against San Jose.
• Steve Mason is out for the Flyers' opener against the Rangers, and that suits an old buddy just fine.
• Philly won't have much of a home ice advantage when the series shifts to the City of Brotherly Love.
• In case you missed it, here's Tim Thompson's opening montage for Hockey Night In Canada. This guy is a national treasure.
• Speaking of national treasures, here's Mike Heika explaining how the Stars' playoff opener can be compared to a kid learning to play the clarinet.
• Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen didn't look much like a rookie in his first NHL playoff start last night. His ability to stay cool even as his team frittered away most of a four-goal lead was the difference as Anaheim drew first blood against Dallas.
• That the opener between the Canadiens and the Lightning went to overtime couldn't have surprised anyone who watched these two teams go at it in the regular season, but no one could have anticipated who would emerge as the hero.
• Goalies Carey Price or Marc-Andre Fleury weren't particularly good on Wednesday night, but they were good enough to lead their teams to Game 1 victories.
• Adam Proteau has the story of how Tuukka Rask made the dream of a young cancer patient come true.
• Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff made a splash yesterday, signing coach Paul Maurice to a four-year extension and announcing that Ondrej Pavelec would be the team's No. 1 goalie next season. That comment generated a lot of criticism (hey, I took a shot myself), but, honestly, what else could he say? Without a viable option on hand to replace the justly maligned so-called stopper, there's no reason to burn bridges now. Chevy's sign of support could be valuable if he fails to land another goalie over the summer.
• Mitch Korn's name might not ring a bell for fans around the NHL, but he was critical to the development of some of the league's top goaltenders. Now it sounds like he might be looking for a new job.
• Michael Traikos says the Maple Leafs aren't going anywhere until they realize that character and grit aren't as important as speed, skill and a favorable Corsi rating.
• A stunner this morning at the World U-18 championships, where Switzerland upset the gold-medal favorite.