Weekend Link Roundup: Team Handzus advances to gold medal game at IIHF Worlds
- Miroslav Satan scored twice as Team Slovakia defeated the Czech Republic 3-1 in the IIHF World Championship semifinals and will face Team Russia in the gold medal game tomorrow at 6PM PST on NBC Sports (tape delay). Zdeno Chara, who played nearly half the game, said after the win, "Obviously, since the tragedy that happened, we know it's not just for us, it's also for [Pavol Demitra]." Hard not to root for these guys, even if their success does force the IIHF official website into puns as cringe-inducing as any NHL.com headline. [IIHF]
- David Pollak (who, if you didn't already know was a swell guy, had some terrific and well-deserved praise for our departed heroes Jason and Matt) with a follow-up on the Elliotte Friedman report from earlier this week that stated Doug Wilson has already informed Todd McLellan he'll be back behind the bench next season, potentially with new assistants. Cryptic as always, Wilson stated, "You know I don't respond to rumors." Which of course means he also ignored our inquiries about that "RFA rights to Cam MacIntyre for Shea Weber" speculation that's been floating around. [Working the Corners]
- In which Mark Purdy refers to the Los Angeles Kings, whose 3.08 goals per game are higher than any playoff team this spring that didn't participate in that joke of a Penguins/Flyers series, as "obsessively [sticking] to a defense-obsessed game in front of a good goalie." But he only refers to the Sharks as Los Tiburones once in this column so that's progress, right? [San Jose Mercury News]
- Ellen Etchingham with an ode to the dominant performance we've seen this postseason from the Kings, who look to close up shop on the Coyotes and advance to the franchise's second ever Stanley Cup Final tomorrow afternoon. "The Rangers, as we all know, love to lie down. I can’t help but look forward to seeing LA run them over. It would be metaphorically perfect. And hockey perfect too." [Backhand Shelf]
- In something of a companion piece, Cam Charron pisses on everyone's parade by using "facts" and "evidence" to suggest we've seen this movie before and it's not likely to drag on as interminably as The Return of the King. [Backhand Shelf]
- Scout extraordinaire Corey Pronman continues his month-long preview of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft with an in-depth writeup on the prospects he has ranked 16th through 20th. With the Sharks selecting 17th overall, it's entirely possible Doug Wilson could be calling one of these guys up to the podium in Pittsburgh. [Hockey Prospectus]
- Speaking of prospects, the Edmonton Oil Kings defeated the Shawnigan Cataractes 4-3 last night during Day 1 of the Memorial Cup. Which I assume is some sort of belated April Fool's Joke--this isn't the 80s so there's obviously no way a hockey team from Edmonton could have possibly won a game in a championship round. [Buzzing the Net]
- The first comment on this post sums up the Oilers' decision to fire head coach Tom Renney earlier this week perfectly: "Just this afternoon I wrote off my fourth car in the last four years. Yeah, I’ve been driving for four years and every single time, around April, I seem to just wrap one around a lamppost. It’s weird. But obviously this can’t go on, so I’m switching gas stations." [The Copper & Blue]
- Earlier in the season, I took a look at how the Dallas Stars' mid-season turnaround (which ultimately fell short) was largely predicated on a radical shift in player usage and zone deployment. Josh Lile of Defending Big D fame blows that out of the water with an in-depth analysis of those changes, showing that Glen Gulutzan knows what he's doing behind the bench to a far greater extent than Marc Crawford ever did. [NHL Numbers]
- How much should a contending team spend on their top four defensemen? Draglikepull investigates. For the record, with Brent Burns' contract extension kicking in, the Sharks will be allocating a shade over $18 million in cap space to their top four d-men next season. And that's without finding an upgrade on Douglas Murray. [Pension Plan Puppets]
- Finally, some poor sap at the Los Angeles Times presumably drew the short straw in having to write a fluff piece about the Kings apparently without having ever seen a hockey game in his life and the results are predictably hilarious. My personal favorite: "The Kings use four 'lines,' or platoons of players, each made up of three forwards, two defenders and a goaltender. Except for the goalie, they swap out every minute or so, in well-practiced 'line changes' that resemble Azerbaijan hostage rescues." [LA Times]
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