Found April 11, 2012 on Race Review Online:


Martin Brodeur: Dance with the Devil

Martin Brodeur is a sure-fire Hall-of-Famer and one of the best goalies to ever play the game. Three Stanley Cups, four Vezina Trophies, Olympic Gold—Brodeur has done it all.

Approaching his 40th birthday, the question remains if Brodeur has one more Stanley Cup run in him. Brodeur has not had a bad year and the New Jersey Devils are a talented group. If Brodeur can regain the form that made him into a legend, they could make a surprising run in this year's playoffs.

Jose Theodore: Jose and the Cats

After winning the Hart and Vezina trophies a decade ago in Montreal, Jose Theodore has pretty much been a journeyman goaltender after stints in Colorado, Washington and Minnesota. This year, he found himself in Florida with a newly revamped Panthers team and chance to be their starting goalie.

Theo has been solid all year and helped to propel the Cats, the biggest surprise team in the NHL this year, to the Southeast Division title.

Despite the fact that Florida will be the favorites in this series, by virtue of the fact that they are the third seed vs. the sixth-seeded New Jersey Devils, the Devils finished the season with 102 points to Florida's 94, so who is actually the favorite here?

Theodore will have to beat one of the best goalies of all-time in Martin Brodeur, but both of these goaltenders on the wrong side of 35, have had resurgent seasons.

Erik Karlsson: Krazy Karlsson

With 78 points in 81 games, Erik Karlsson will likely earn his first Norris Trophy this season as the league's best defenseman. Karlsson's 78 points were by far the most of any D-man in the league this year. The next runner-up had 53.

Karlsson will have to continue his phenomenal play for the Ottawa Senators to beat Henrik Lundqvist and the New York Rangers. Points aside, Karlsson will have to be good in his own end as well, against Rangers superstars Marian Gaborik, Brad Richards and Ryan Callahan.

Mike Smith: Big Mike

When Ilya Bryzgalov departed Phoenix for Philadelphia, many people thought (including me) that Smith would be a huge downgrade in goal. Admittedly, we were wrong.

After backing-up Marty Turco in Dallas, Smith was supposed to be the goalie of the future in Tampa Bay, but failed to establish himself there.

After rejoining former Stars head coach Dave Tippett in Phoenix, this time as a starter, Smith had a career year and led the Phoenix Coyotes to their first ever (and possibly last) Pacific Division title.

The Coyotes are probably breathing a sigh of relief that they are not facing the Detroit Red Wings, the team that eliminated them in the first round of each of the past two seasons. Smith and company will need to continue to excel in the playoffs however, as he and the Yotes face a Blackhawks team who won the ultimate prize just two years ago.

Braden Holtby: The Braden Bunch

With their No. 1 and No. 2 goalies (Tomas Vokoun and Michal Neuvirth) on the shelf, the Washington Capitals will turn to 22-year-old Braden Holtby as their playoff goaltender.

When the Capitals traded goalie Semyon Varlamov to Colorado last year, it seemed logical that Neuvirth and Holtby would remain with the Caps and battle for the starting job.

However, when they signed the veteran goalie and former all-star Vokoun, Holtby found himself the odd-man-out and spent most of the season back in the AHL with the Hershey Bears.

Now, he will certainly get his shot to make a name for himself in the NHL on the biggest stage of them all—the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Holtby will face MVP Tim Thomas and the defending Stanley Cup champions, so his task will not be an easy one. Not at all.

Tim Thomas: Timmy T

Like a fine wine, Tim Thomas seems to get better with age. Last year, he won the Vezina Trophy, Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe Trophy. What else does he have to shoot for?

Sure, he and the B's can aim to become the first team to repeat as champs since the Red Wings did it in the late '90s, and why not? The Bruins are every bit as formidable as they were last year and have all the makings for another long playoff run.

As the defending champions, however, they will certainly have a huge bullseye on their collective chests.

Alexander Radulov: Alexander the Great

Nope, not talking about Ovechkin here, but Alexander Radulov will be a key cog for the Nashville Predators this postseason, however.

The Predators' back-end is as solid as any team in the league. From goalie Pekka Rinne to defensemen Shea Weber and Ryan Suter, the Preds will be solid defensively as they always are.

They lack however, a true offensive powerhouse, but the recently returned Alex Radulov should help. Radulov's NHL career has been a sporadic one, but he is back with the team who drafted him back in 2004 and is looking to help them make their playoff run.

The Preds advanced past the first round of the playoffs for the first time in team history last year and are looking to build upon recent success.

Radulov's offense will be welcome to help Nashville match the high-powered weapons of the Detroit Red Wings like Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg.

Henrik Lundqvist: Hank

Henrik Lundqvist has been one of the best goaltenders all season long—on one of the league's best teams. He is the front-runner to take home the Vezina in June, but there is another piece of hardware he would like to claim more.

Last year, the Blue Shirts entered the playoffs as the eighth seed and lost to the top-seeded Capitals. This season, the Rangers find themselves as the No. 1 in the east and King Henrik certainly has what it takes to guide his team on a long playoff run.

Anything can happen in the Stanley Cup playoffs, but look for the Rangers to be a force.

Jonathan Quick: Quickness

Goaltender Jonathan Quick has been one of the league's best all year long. He will likely earn votes for the Vezina and is probably the only reason the Los Angeles Kings are even in the playoffs.

The Kings lost six games this season by a score of 1-0, and their offense will need to show up if they have any expectations of making it past the first round.

Quick will need to continue his stellar play and hope the Kings' offense comes to life, if the seventh-seeded Kings hope to upset the highly-favored Vancouver Canucks.

John Tortorella: Angry Fonzie

He may look like Henry Winkler, but New York Rangers head coach John Tortorella is all business. Sure, he's not technically a player, but Torts will certainly make his presence felt in the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs.

The New York Rangers are a very good team from top-to-bottom, and it's no accident that they are the top-seeded team in the Eastern Conference. Their coach is a big reason why they're there.

He's outspoken, brash, and a bit controversial at times, but Tortorella is a good coach who knows what it takes to win it all from his success in Tampa Bay in 2004.

If things go south for the Blue Shirts during these playoffs, you can guarantee that Torts will be right there to stir the proverbial pot and shake things up to right the ship for his squad.



Devils F Kovalchuk looking to win a playoff series

After 10 NHL campaigns, 406 regular-season career goals, nine straight 30-goal years and two world championships with Russia, there is something missing from Ilya Kovalchuk's resume. The soon-to-be 29-year-old New Jersey Devils right wing has never won an NHL playoff series. To tell the truth, he has never come close. He has played in nine postseason games, and won just one...

Brendan Shanahan's First Season as NHL's Director of Player Safety Includes 44 Suspensions, Plenty of Debate (Videos)

Brendan Shanahan was a hot topic around the league during his first season as the NHL's senior vice president of player safety. Colin Campbell, who previously held the position, often made news himself, but Shanahan's tendency to rule with an iron fist immediately caught the attention of the league and the fans. In fact, Shanahan handed out nine suspensions before the regular...

Devils F Ilya Kovalchuk to miss Game 2

New Jersey Devils forward Ilya Kovalchuk will miss Tuesday's Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Philadelphia Flyers with an undisclosed injury. The Devils said that Kovalchuk is day to day. He has three goals in eight playoff games. He led the Devils with 37 goals and 83 points this season. The Devils say Kovalchuk was injured in the first-round series...

Devils Prep For First Round Battle With Panthers

Ilya Kovalchuk won’t begin to harp on the possibility of a Stanley Cup. Not yet, at least. Kovalchuk has been known to struggle in the playoffs, playing in only nine postseason games throughout his career. “Let’s not talk about that right now,” Kovalchuk said to Tom Gulitti of The Bergen Record. “We just want to make a little step forward at a time. We want to do well...

Panthers ready for 1st playoff game since 2000

When the Florida Panthers last skated on postseason ice, they were swept away by Martin Brodeur. A dozen years, eight coaches and a couple hundred players later, the Panthers are finally back in the Stanley Cup playoffs. And even though the Florida franchise fortunes seem to finally be changing, maybe it's fitting that Brodeur - the NHL's winningest active playoff goalie...

Sale of Shanny’s Soul Is Final

Brendan Shanahan, you are nothing more than Gary Bettman’s *****.  You’ve sold out to The Agenda and you’re wrapped in a soiled nighty made of hypocrisy. How do you spew the wholesome all year? How do you get in front of the cameras where you’ve always pined to be and literally claim that head shots are the number 1 priority of your office…and then fine Shea Weber $2...

The Games Are About To Begin

Top 5 storylines from Scott Burnside of ESPN, 1. Will Shanahan Bring the Iron Fist? How will the games be called and what kind of hammer will Lord of Discipline Brendan Shanahan wield should supplementary discipline be required in the playoffs? There were rumblings at the GMs’ meetings in Florida in March that GMs were unhappy that officials had let too much go in terms of obstruction...

Playoff Preview: Florida Panthers (3) vs. New Jersey Devils (6)

Playoff Preview: Florida Panthers (3) vs. New Jersey Devils (6) So many storylines here it is almost hard to count. The Florida Panthers have won the Southeast Division for the first time in franchise history. This success has brought them face to face with the sixth seeded New Jersey Devils squad, who is ripe with firepower and is eager for postseason success. Statistical Leaders...

Devils-Panthers Preview

When the Florida Panthers last skated on postseason ice, they were swept away by Martin Brodeur. A dozen years, eight coaches and a couple hundred players later, the Panthers are finally back in the Stanley Cup playoffs. And even though the Florida franchise fortunes seem to finally be changing, maybe it's fitting that Brodeur - the NHL's winningest active playoff goalie...

Video- Let’s Review

Brendan Shanahan was on NHL Live today and discussed goaltending interference and low bridge/clipping hits. First video is goaltending interference and below you can watch the segment on the low hits. Continue reading "Video- Let’s Review"
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