Stanley Cup Playoffs 2013 – Day 10

Day-10 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs:

INKTIME  on RINKTIME Observations and Random thoughts by Chris Madsen:

CALIFORNIA DREAMIN’:  Back in 1993 during my first season as the Original TV Voice of the Mighty Ducks, I was interviewing then Kings Coach Larry Robinson about the “rivalry” between his hockey club and the upstart Ducks–who were located less than 50 miles away.  Robinson shook his head and said, “Chris, I’m sure the marketing guys for both teams would love to have the media and the fans buy into that, because the teams are so relatively close to one another.  But the truth of the matter is that a rivalry truly doesn’t become a rivalry until the two teams meet in the Playoffs.  Not until  you have the same guys lining-up against each other night after night…not until the fans cannot take their eyes off the game because EVERY shift carries a consequence…and not until you have the two Head Coaches matching wits and maybe taking (verbal ) jabs at one another–not until then, will you have a genuine rivalry!”  Well, now–nearly 20 years later– the Kings and Ducks are on the precipice.  Both are just a win away from advancing to Round-2 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.  And as we sit right now, should the Blackhawks closeout Minnesota when the deck gets re-shuffled, Chicago would draw San Jose…and the Ducks and Kings match-up would take on a whole new meaning!


YOU HATE TO SECOND-GUESS, BUT…Anybody following the Penguins-Islander series has to wonder why it took Pens Coach Dan Bylsma so long to finally turn to back-up Goaltender Tomas Vokoun.  Starter Marc-Andre Fleury, hasn’t had just one shaky performance…but, THREE IN A ROW.  I cannot recall a goalie inadvertently having the softest shots carrom-of his pads, blocker and body with the frequency that Fleury has experienced–in what was supposed to be a runaway series for the high-powered Penguins.  But then again, perhaps this little tidbit of history clues us in on just how tough it was for Bylsma to go in another direction:  The last time a goaltender OTHER THAN Marc-Andre Fleury started for the Penguins in the Playoffs…was in 2001!


POLL-FOLLOW-UP:  You may remember that yesterday–less than 24 hours after the Canucks were unceremoniously swept by the San Jose Sharks in their Playoff series opener, the Vancounver Sun posted a poll–essentially allowing readers to play owner for a day and decide the fates of Coach Alain Vigneault and GM Mike Gillis .  As of today, here are the results by percentages:

1.) Fire coach Alain Vigneault: He’s had a seven-season run, and the team is in decline.   9.61%

2.) Fire GM MikeGillis: Coaching not the main problem; poor trades and drafting are.  That’s on the GM.    24.18%

3.) Fire both Vigneault and Gillis: Cleaning house and bringing in a new management  team is paramount.  52.38%

4.) Keep both Vigneault and Gillis: They have been the architects of the most  successful Canucks team ever, and deserve the opportunity to rebuild.  13.82%

Quite frankly, I’m shocked #4 outscored #1???!!!


MY NEW FAVORITE USHL TEAM:  The Chicago Steel!  No, not because I was born and raised in Chicago, but because they have a heart.  In 2011, Minnesota high school hockey player in Jack Jablonski was left paralyzed after being checked from behind into the boards by two opposing players.  Jack’s dream was to one day be drafted by a pro hockey team. On Tuesday, Jack’s dream became a reality when Steel management proudly declared: “With their final pick in the 2013-2014 USHL draft, The Chicago Steel are extremely proud to announce that they have drafted forward Jack Jablonski from Minneapolis, Minnesota.” Now if that doesn’t tug at your hockey heart-strings…then tell me, what will? And in a testament to Jack Jablonski’s perseverance, the day before the Draft he tweeted this subtle reminder:

Dear USHL teams,
Just thought I’d let u know I am eligible for tomorrow’s draft.
Jack Jablonski

And once he was drafted, Jack tweeted again:

Best night ever.

Dear Jack, I just wanted to let u know that you sir are a VICTOR!

Story side note:  I want to thank my dear friend of 41 years–Mark Schaeffer–for giving me the heads-up on this incredibly inspiring story.  Nice job, “Schaeff”…and Thank you!





NY Islanders at Pittsburgh 7:00 PM EST
Ottawa at Montreal 7:00 PM
Minnesota at Chicago 9:30 PM
San Jose at Vancouver 10:00 PM



Chris Madsen