Blackhawks push Wild to brink of elimination, updates on the Capitals and Rangers, Lindsay Award finalists announced and more.
Game Recaps and Playoff Headlines.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE/TWINCITIES.COM: Patrick Kane scored the only goal and Corey Crawford made 30 saves as the Chicago Blackhawks blanked the Minnesota Wild 1-0 to take a commanding 3-0 series lead. For the third straight year, the Blackhawks have the Wild on the brink of elimination, leading the latter at a loss to explain their missed opportunities in Game 3.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild played their best game of the series yet they couldn’t solve Crawford, who is rounding back into form after several shaky performances earlier in this postseason. It’s possible the Wild could rally back in this series (heck, since 2010 two teams have overcome 3-0 deficits to win series) but the odds are stacked against them.
CSNWASHINGTON.COM: The Washington Capitals have done an effective job smothering the New York Rangers’ stars. The Capitals currently hold a 2-1 series lead.
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Rangers’ coach Alain Vigneault remains confident scorers like Rick Nash and Martin St. Louis, who’ve been shut out thus far against the Capitals, will soon find the back of the net.
Other Notable Headlines.
NHL.COM: Dallas’ Jamie Benn, Washington’s Alexander Ovechkin and Montreal’s Carey Price are this season’s Lindsay Award finalists.
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The Columbus Blue Jackets will name their first team captain since Rick Nash was trade to the Rangers in 2012. No word yet who it will be, but the favorite appears to be winger Nick Foligno.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Foligno would be a good choice. He certainly struck me as the Jackets’ de facto captain throughout this season.
MACOMB DAILY: Detroit Red Wings winger Johan Franzen wants to continue his NHL playing career, but multiple concussions could force his retirement. Franzen said he isn’t ready yet to speculate on his future.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sounds to me like Franzen’s playing days are over. He could retire, but as the article suggests, most likely the Wings will simply put him on long-term injured reserve for the remaining five seasons of his contract. It’s a sad end to a fine career, but given the concussions Franzen’s had over the years, it’s unwise for him to risk further injury.
ESPN.COM: Former NHL star Ilya Kovalchuk remains coy over a possible return to the NHL. Kovalchuk is currently the biggest star in Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League,where he’s spent the past two seasons since “retiring” from the New Jersey Devils and has two more years left on his contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The crash of the ruble sparked speculation this season Kovalchuk could try to return to the NHL. I doubt that happens. He’s the face of the KHL and they’ll ensure he remains well compensated, even if other players in the league are left waiting months for their paychecks.
TSN.CA: “NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has been ordered by a U.S. federal court judge to offer testimony in the concussions lawsuit filed by 60 former players against the league.” The earliest Bettman can be deposed is July.