Welcome to Playoff Potpurri, a weekly column that combines the fragrances of comedy, analysis and Rodney the Playoff Pomeranian to create an aroma of…something. I guess the best way to describe this really is…that’s hockey for ya!
Capitals fans have plenty of reason to sing Braden Holtby’s name.
He was supposed to be unprepared with just 21 games of NHL experience. He was supposed to crack under the pressure of standing in the net at TD Garden in Boston. He most certainly wasn’t supposed to go save-for-save with last year’s Stanley Cup champion net minder Tim Thomas.
Yet he has. Kudos, Mr. Holtby, on being the story that’s being ignored because of some buffoonery in Philadelphia (but I’ll have more on that later). His .973 save percentage leads all playoff goalies and he also leads the goals against average with just .83.
So does it surprise you that I’m somewhat worried about Holtby in the rest of the series?
While Holtby displayed an iron-will in two overtime games and didn’t appear shaken after Game 1’s loss, it’s hard to ignore that he’s a rebound machine. For every great save he’s made, there are at least three juicy rebounds the Bruins haven’t picked up on – and that’s the next step for Holtby.
He’s proven he can play in The Show, but now he needs to fine tune his game. Washington’s done a great job defensively, but it won’t be long before the Bruins begin to cash in on his inconsistent rebound control.
If Holtby can refine that facet of his game quickly, then the Caps might have something truly special brewing in net this postseason.
The NHL in MS Paint, Rodney and more after the jump in the potpourri…
The NHL in MS Paint
Emily (@ecindc) brings us what the league’s logo might look like next season. Bonus points for the shadowing effects!
The entity known only as “Poop McGee” needed just five of the million potential colors offered in MS Paint to create this homage to Game 3 of the Penguins and Flyers series.
Feel free to send along your MS Paint renditions of the playoffs. Submissions need to be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org and must be received by 8 p.m. Eastern time.
Checking in with Rodney
Since we featured the most adorable prognosticating Pomeranian on the planet last week, let’s at least check in and see how he’s doing.
Rodney’s pick of the Flyers is looking solid, but his Stanley Cup finalist – Vancouver – is in a bit of trouble versus the Kings (Los Angeles led 2-0 before Sunday night’s game). Nearly every other series is at 1-1 or 2-1, so until there’s a lead, it’s not worth much mention.
So in short, Rodney is keeping pace with Mike Milbury.
This Week We Learned…
The NHL owes New York Rangers Coach John Tortorella a refund for his comments about the Pittsburgh Penguins being arrogant whiners when it comes to head shots.
If you forgot the comments, here they are..
“[The Penguins are] one of the most arrogant organizations in the league. They whine about this stuff all the time, and look what happens…It’s ridiculous. But they’ll whine about something else over there, won’t they, starting with their two (expletive) stars.”
Had he predicted the date of today’s game, along with some cryptic message, someone might give him his own 900 number for psychic readings.
Joking aside, it’s alarming that a team as talented as the Pittsburgh Penguins resorted to frustrated violence instead of doing what they’ve done all season long — play great hockey.
The Pens are too talented to let a series that has featured virtually no goaltending derail their season. But it has and unless the NHL completely whiffs on the suspensions/fines for the involved parties, it’s likely the Pens showed themselves the playoff door in Philadelphia.
This Week’s One Word Drinking Game: Battling
Drink every time Dale Hunter uses the word “Battling” in a press conference or interview.
GIF to Get You Incensed for Monday Night…
On second thought — after what we saw in Philadelphia — I’d just say Tim Thomas was battling on that play.