The best get their chance

Getting to the top like the Colorado Avalanche and Tampa Bay Lightning did takes talent, structured coaches, and leaders making the right people moves at the right time. But it also takes a bit of luck.

Looking at Lightning, I can’t help but think that Ondrej Palat was revealed by the team in the Seattle Kraken’s latest expansion draft. He was available, but the NHL 32nd team chose Quebec’s Yanni Gourde instead.

An excellent choice, let’s be clear. I love Gourde for everything he brings to the rink.

On the other hand, it must be admitted that Palat has been the Lightning’s dark hero since the start of the playoffs. Again on Friday night it was he who scored the winning goal in the third period to keep the Lightning alive and cost the Avalanche their third Stanley Cup in history.

TOEWS AND NICHUSHKIN

Then, when we talk about the luck factor, we can also add the Colorado Avalanche’s acquisitions of Valeri Nichushkin and Devon Toews.

I say happy because they exceeded all expectations placed in them at the time of purchase. Recall that Toews was acquired by the New York Islanders for two second-round picks and is now Cale Makar’s playing partner in the first pair defense.

For his part, Nichushkin signed a contract as a free agent with the team in 2019.

After two decent seasons, he exploded this year and became the player he was destined to be when he was drafted 10th overall by the Dallas Stars in 2013.

He will be a free agent even without compensation and have the opportunity to break the bank. I’m sure he wants to stay in Denver and the Avalanche wants him too. It remains to be seen if they can get along in the long run.

VASI AND KUMPER

On the other hand, Andrei Vasilevskiy’s work in the Lightning network has absolutely nothing to do with luck!

Every time the Lightning takes the lead by a goal, it feels like the slope is impassable for the Avalanche. Imagine how difficult it must be for Colorado to tell themselves they need to score two goals against Vasilevskiy if they want to win.

It’s almost impossible to beat him on a free throw. It always takes a jump or a distraction to outsmart him.

On the other hand, Darcy Kuemper isn’t as solid at the net for the Avalanche.

It’s obvious he’s feeling the pressure to live up to his Russian counterpart in Lightning. When you know that the opposing goalkeeper is in full possession of his means, you don’t want to be the one who flinches and makes your team lose.

On Friday evening, however, the goal he had scored against Jan Rutta in the first third should never have been missed. Especially not in the Stanley Cup final when you’re just one win away from the big cup.

– Interview by Kevin Dubé

Echoes of Bergie

Good…

Several coaches have found jobs in the NHL in recent weeks, starting with Paul Maurice with the Florida Panthers. I hope that the latter will not try to change the identity of this attack-focused team. I trust him, he has enough experience. I also really like the signings of Bruce Cassidy with the Vegas Golden Knights and Luke Richardson with the Chicago Blackhawks. In Cassidy’s case, the pressure is on him because the Golden Knights need to win soon. One thing is for sure, he knows how to handle star players since he did it masterfully in Boston with Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak.

… and evil!

On the other hand, the attitude of John Tortorella blows my mind. For me it’s a disaster from the Flyers. Tortorella finds himself with a team unlikely to make the playoffs, and he’ll want to prove once again that he’s the champion on board. I don’t understand General Manager Chuck Fletcher’s decision, but on the other hand, I imagine the latter giving his all, knowing full well that if things don’t get better in Philadelphia he will be the next to be fired. This kind of news always makes me sad for people like Bob Hartley or Patrick Roy who are just waiting for a call to return to the NHL. Despite everything, we continue to trust outdated trainers like Tortorella.

Interesting formula

I like the new way of counting points in the Memorial Cup tournament. Starting this year, we award three points for a win in regular time, two for a win in overtime, and one for a loss. I think the NHL will eventually adopt that too. Additionally, the Canadian Hockey League introduced three-on-three overtime into the tournament during the preliminary round. Another idea for NHL leaders to ponder. It’s downright inhumane to ask players to play two or three overtimes at five-a-side.

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