INSIDE HOCKEY » Tampa Bay Lightning Get Inside! Tue, 30 Sep 2014 06:23:38 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Caps set record in season finale loss Mon, 14 Apr 2014 02:14:08 +0000

After a season during which they never seemed to find consistency or an identity, Sunday afternoon the Capitals went out, appropriately, with a whimper. Washington’s 1-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning marked the former’s 21st shootout contest of the season, a new NHL record. The last team to play in nearly that many shootout games was the 2011-2012 Minnesota Wild.

Rehashing their season after the game, the Capitals pointed to that statistic as representative of their lost year. Washington’s 10-11 record in those 21 shootouts displays the razor thin difference between playoff and non-playoff teams.

“The margin of error is very slim,” Washington Head Coach Adam Oates said. “So when you break it down I’m sure there are a lot of little segments, little points, little details we could’ve done a lot better. It’s stuff that you address.”

While winning less than half of those 11 shootout losses would have catapulted the ninth place Caps, who finished three points out of a wild card spot, into the playoffs, it was a seven-game losing streak in January that truly derailed their season. After that lengthy skid, the Caps scraped by at about the same clip that they did in the first half of the year, never winning more than four games in a row. Meanwhile, the rest of the Metropolitan teams, including Philadelphia, the New York Rangers and Columbus, gained ground in what proved to be the league’s weakest division.

“We’ve had this group of guys here for a long time, and we know what’s expected of us. I think everybody was thinking the exact same thing ‘We’re going to pull out of [the mid-year slump], it’s going to happen, we’re going to pull out of it.’ That we are going to be okay,” Caps forward Eric Fehr said. “And, it didn’t happen this time. Maybe shame on us looking in hindsight, but I think everyone in here had the confidence that we were going to be able to turn it around and do it without a big blowout [players only] meeting.”

In hindsight, the Capitals’ reasoning, or at least what their reasoning and mindset were according to Fehr, almost sounds like complacency. That lack of urgency after January’s seven-game losing streak is why the Caps are on the wrong side of the postseason bubble.

“We had a few winning streaks that were three maybe four games; not very many especially when you have a couple four, five game losing streaks, an eight game losing streak, you have to counter balance those with some winning streaks as well,” Troy Brouwer said. “We were never able to kind of get into a rhythm, throw together a good run of games, collect and stockpile points at any one time, we had to battle for them in little chunks here and there. As a result, we are handing out our jerseys and going home for the summer today.”


Game Summary:

After throttling the Chicago Blackhawks in a completely meaningless game Friday night, the Caps actually had a chance to play spoiler in their final regular season game of the 2013-2014 season. However, Tampa’s desire for home ice advantage in their upcoming quarterfinal series against the Canadiens proved to be enough to propel them over the Caps. Securing two points against Washington means the Bolts will open their first-round series at home instead of in Montreal’s hostile Bell Centre.

Tampa’s urgency was evident from the first period. They spent extended shifts in the Capitals’ zone and outshot the home team 23-7 through two periods, though the score remained tied at zero.

The Capitals, playing for pride in front of a fan base that is becoming increasingly disillusioned with the organization, finally managed to rattle off seven shots within the first four minutes of the final frame, while the Bolts recorded only one shot by the mid-point of the period. Nicklas Backstrom had perhaps the Caps best chance to score on a redirect during a power play early in the third period, but was stoned by Anders Lindback’s pad save.

Braden Holtby, who turned aside all 32 shots he faced in regulation and overtime, stood tall throughout the game, particularly when he made a sliding save on Nikita Kucherov, who found himself alone in front of the Caps’ net.

With the score still knotted at zero after regulation and overtime, the Caps headed to their 21st shootout of the year. Lindback stoned all three Capitals shooters while defenseman Matt Carle notched the game’s deciding goal.

The Capitals will gather one more time before the offseason for their final day of media availability on Monday morning at Kettler Iceplex in Arlington, Va.

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Photo Gallery: Devils @ Crunch (4/04/14) Mon, 07 Apr 2014 01:15:32 +0000

Crunch take a 2-1 victory over the Albany Devils. Evan Rankin beat the Devil net minder scoring in the third period. #35 Kristers Gudlevskis stopped 16 of 17 shots on goal. #24 J.P. Cote took a Devil to the woodshed and gave him a beat down.

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Photo Gallery: Senators @ Crunch (3/29/14) Mon, 31 Mar 2014 13:46:52 +0000

Syracuse Crunch had more than one chance to take the win. The team lost in the shoot-out 4-3  Kristers Gudlevskis had a great night with 25 saves. The Crunch took advantage of the power plays and scored two goals.  #37 Darren Kramer from the Senators and #82 Luke Witkowski of the Crunch got into a bloody disagreement. Krammer lost the debate with a bloody face had to leave the rink.

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Photo Gallery: Devils @ Crunch (3/22/14) Tue, 25 Mar 2014 01:14:51 +0000

The Albany Devils defeated the Syracuse Crunch 6-2 on Saturday night, March 22nd at the Onondaga War Memorial.  Chris Beavers photographed the game for Inside Hockey.

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Photo Gallery: Crunch vs. Bulldogs (3/15/14) Mon, 17 Mar 2014 14:44:37 +0000

Syracuse Crunch come up short and lose in the shoot-out 2-1. #35 Kristers Gudlevskis had 28 saves for the night. The only Crunch goal came in the third period from #28 Brett Connolly.

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Photo Gallery: Crunch vs. Senators (3/9/14) Wed, 12 Mar 2014 14:06:59 +0000

Syracuse Crunch down 3-1 make a huge comeback in the third period winning the game 4-3. #35 Kristers Gudlevskis stopped 33 of 36 shots.  The Syracuse Crunch Fans left the War Memorial with a smile.

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Rangers Shaken Up By A Shake Up Thu, 06 Mar 2014 04:50:01 +0000

NEW YORK – The news was met with silence and disbelief.

The Rangers locker room had been open to the media for about 20 minutes after the conclusion of the team’s morning skate, and most players had already spoken about their desire to see the team’s captain, Ryan Callahan, remain in New York with the only organization he’d ever known.

Instead, Callahan, who participated in the skate, never made it back into the locker room. He was pulled into an office, where general manager Glen Sather told him he had been jettisoned to Tampa Bay in exchange for 38-year-old forward Martin St. Louis.

“His work ethic is there every practice, and every game,” Derick Brassard said of Callahan just moments before the trade was finalized. “That’s why he’s our captain, hopefully after three o’clock he’s going to be one of ours, still.”

“We’re trying not to think about it right now,” said Brian Boyle before he learned of the trade. “We know how important he is. Anytime you lose someone that important, there’s definitely an adjustment. I hope he stays. We want him here, and we need him here.”

But he’s not here, anymore. With only a couple Rangers players still in the locker room, word started to spread that the deal was done. After some reporters shared the information with the remaining players, the room fell silent and was quickly closed to the media.

“We’re either going to come out and play really well tonight, because we’re excited to have a new guy in the lineup, or we’re going to play poorly because we’re upset, depressed,” said Rangers general manager Glen Sather in a pre-game press conference. “But these guys are all professionals, and they have to suck it up. It’s the way it is, the deal is done. It’s not going to change.”

“Everybody knew there was a possibility. He wasn’t signed waking up today,” said Brad Richards. “[With a] 3 o’clock deadline, you knew something might happen. It wasn’t like it was the middle of December and everybody was caught off-guard. Doesn’t make it any easier, but as we were in here this morning, everybody was prepared for a number of different things with Ryan. As was he.”

“He’s a great teammate and friend, you want him to continue playing with you,” Ryan McDonagh said later on Wednesday, after the Rangers lost to Toronto in overtime, 3-2. “In the back of your mind, you think it’s just going to get done and you move by it. It didn’t, and that’s the way hockey goes sometimes.”

The Rangers sent a pair of draft picks to Tampa to finish the trade; a second-round pick in 2014, and a first-round pick in 2015. If the Rangers advance to the conference final this season, the second-round selection turns into a first-round pick.

“First time I’ve had a good friend coming and a good friend leaving, which is very bizarre,” said Richards, who played with St. Louis in Tampa for seven seasons. “It’s a weird feeling. You’re not really happy or sad, you’re sitting there wondering how to react and what to say to Cally. It’s a tough day for him. That’s all we can do, as a Rangers organization, we got a great human being, a great leader, and a great player. We move on, and he’ll add to this group nicely.”

“There’s no doubt taking a player of that magnitude from our dressing room is going to have an impact,” Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said of losing Callahan. “That being said, we’re also adding a player that’s got a great presence. He’s won a Cup, he’s just come back from winning a Gold Medal for Canada, so we’re bringing in a real solid player and a real solid individual.”

“It was a little bit shocking, even though there’s been a lot of talks about Cally,” said goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. “It’s tough to see him leave. He’s been a great teammate and friend, and a great player for this team for so many years. In the end, this is the way we decided to go.”

Callahan, who will be an unrestricted free agent after the season, had been in protracted contract negotiations with the Rangers. His final offer to the team was believed to be for six years and approximately $37.5 million, while the team was believed to have offered a final, take-it-or-leave-it offer of six years, $36 million. Ultimately, the gap of $250,000 per season was too much to bridge, leading to the trade that sent shockwaves through the locker room.

“At some point when you’re negotiating, you have to say no. Or, you say yes,” said Sather of his negotiations with Callahan’s agent, Steve Bartlett. “In this case, we had to say no because it just got too far down the line to come back. At some point when you negotiate a contract, you get to an end-point where you can’t go any further. We were there. That’s where it had to stop.”

“I truly thought we’d work something out that would work for both sides,” Callahan told TSN, hours after the trade was announced. “I said all along going through this that I wanted to stay [in New York], and I wanted to get a deal done. That was the truth. That’s part of the business that unfortunately you have to deal with. We couldn’t find a deal that worked for both sides, so I part ways with New York.”


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Photo Gallery: Crunch vs Penguins (2/28/14) Sun, 02 Mar 2014 14:22:50 +0000

The debut of Anders Lindback brought the Syracuse Crunch fans to there feet. The 6’6″ net minder stopped all 30 shots on goal for his first shutout as a Crunch player.

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Photo Gallery: Crunch @ Bears (2/22/14) Sun, 23 Feb 2014 15:12:58 +0000

  At the Giant Center on Saturday 02/22/14, the Syracuse Crunch started scoring in the 1st period at the 3:53 mark, and continued scoring through the game to defeat the Hershey Bears by a score of 5-0. The Crunch goaltender Allen York saved 39 shots on goal.  The “3 Stars of the Game were #3 SYR Vlad Namestnikov, #2 Jon DiSalvatore, and #1 SYR Allen York. Pictures taken by Steve Rusyn for Inside Hockey.

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Photo Gallery: Crunch vs. Falcons (02/08/14) Mon, 10 Feb 2014 14:26:19 +0000

The Crunch fell to the Falcons in overtime 6-5.  The Crunch scored three goals in the third period to send the game into over time. With less than two minutes on the clock the Falcons forward  Cody Bass crushed the puck from fifteen yards out to win the game. Kristers Gudlevskis will be back with the Crunch after taking part in the 2014 Winter Olympics. He will be representing his native country Latvia.

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