Now a week since the Washington Capitals captured their first Stanley Cup in 43 seasons since joining the National Hockey League, it’s time to look at the masked man in the crease who led them there, Braden Holtby. In the Caps’ Stanley Cup-winning season, Holtby performed as well as he ever has in the playoffs, leading his team to a championship many counted them out of this season. After finishing what can now only be called the best season of his career, let’s take a look at how Holtby was snubbed of a shot at another Vezina Trophy.
Both the Western Conference Final and the Eastern Conference Final were interesting in this year’s NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs, notably because of the goalie matchups in both series. Marc-Andre Fleury and Connor Hellebuyck faced off in the West, with Braden Holtby and Andrei Vasilevskiy meeting in the East. The most interesting takeaway is that both the veteran goalies, Fleury and Holtby, led their teams past the playoff rookies Hellebuyck and Vasilevskiy for a berth in the Stanley Cup Final. Here’s a look at the details of each series, and all four goalies who were a part of them.
Marc-Andre Fleury is thriving as a member of the expansion Vegas Golden Knights, who currently sit just one win away from the Stanley Cup Final in their first year as a member of the NHL. Prior to being selected in the expansion draft, Fleury’s future with his former club, the Pittsburgh Penguins, was said to be uncertain. After moving to Vegas, he has proved all naysayers wrong, leaving virtually no room for criticism of the season he has put on for the Knights. With Pittsburgh out of the playoffs and with Fleury eyeing his fourth Stanley Cup championship, should the Penguins regret leaving him exposed this past summer?
Hockey is one of the many sports in which safety has become of the utmost concern in recent years. One of the most prevalent safety concerns remains concussions and other various head injuries, which result in devastating consequences such as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), and have even been linked to early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease. Most of the big equipment companies have spent time and money partnering with affected players in researching new technology and equipment that can prevent injuries and improve player safety. A major innovation in safety technology could come in the form of improved helmets, which, after all, protects the most important part of any player’s body.
Sports are constantly being pushed forward and changed because of innovation in technology. Whether it is new equipment or statistic-tracking machines, new technology has the ability to dictate the play in-game, and is affecting the way fans experience sports in general. An example of this type of technology is currently being used by the company Pitchf/x, who “automate” the strike zone in baseball by using three cameras behind home plate.1 They use the cameras to track every pitch as accurately as possible to make the correct call on every play.2 This is not the only technology of its kind, as other gadgets for reviewing and officiating purposes are used in the NFL, NHL and more today.
Following a statistically shaky regular season and another premature playoff exit against the Vegas Golden Knights in the second round, San Jose Sharks goalie Martin Jones has become a question mark in net for many fans and analysts around the league. After being pulled twice in San Jose’s series against Vegas and having a string of poor outings for the Sharks, it wouldn’t be completely unfair to wonder if Jones isn’t the longterm solution in goal for Peter DeBoer’s squad. However, I believe that despite all the reasons to doubt him, the Sharks have nothing to worry about in goal.
In this 2017-18 NHL season, Winnipeg Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck burst onto the scene to steal the starting job in goal and cement himself as a top goaltender in the league. Hellebuyck broke into the league in the 2015-16 season, playing a number of games in relief of then-starter Ondrej Pavelec. It wasn’t until this year, however, that he proved he has the skill to be a solid starting goaltender and fill the spot the Jets have had missing for years.
Episode 8 of Puck SKLS! We review the NFL draft, and one of us gives the Bills an A+ draft grade. Would Josh Rosen draft Josh Rosen? We’ll tell you! We touch on the NHL draft lottery and the Sabres finally getting the first overall pick, as well as what Frenchmen the Habs can choose from. We talk the second round of the playoffs and Nashville’s subpar party in the plaza. Hear our thoughts on JR’s stunts in Vegas on NBCSN and why he always seems to be off the clock for their games. We debate if Kanye West is OUT or not, and which NHL player is the most OUT. We wrap up the episode with some heated Buffalo sports trivia, where only one of Kok and Lammers prevails. Enjoy!
Welcome back for Episode 7 of Puck SKLS! In this episode, we compare Taco Bell and Mighty Taco, and discuss the best way to spend $5. We talk bad coaches who should be exiled, and whether or not glasses make John Tortorella look mature. We compare the league’s best and worst fan bases (looking at you Philly), and praise the best bar food we’ve ever had (Hoolie’s!). We talk NHL playoffs and the NFL Draft, and how Cam Newton is a HOSS. Stick around for Lammers’s hottest take of the playoffs, and what we think of diehard minor league fans. No soft assholes. We wrap it up with the NHL’s most hated players bracket! Enjoy!
For the third Stanley Cup playoffs in a row, the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins will be meeting in the second round, with the past two series seeing Pittsburgh come out on top, going on to win back-to-back Stanley Cups. Also for the third year in a row, Caps goalie Braden Holtby and Pens goalie Matt Murray will be the guys between the pipes for their respective teams. Of the veteran Holtby and the young, already two-time Cup champion Murray, which goaltender gives their team the best chance to win and advance to the Eastern Conference Finals?