BROADCAST BLOGJun 7, 2018
Hey, Barracuda fans! What’s going on? Lots to talk about in the hockey world with the Stanley Cup and Calder Cup Finals in full swing and what seems like a daily coaching change in the AHL.
We’ll begin with the National League. After stealing home-ice advantage with a game two victory, the Capitals found a way to take a stranglehold on their Stanley Cup Final series with Vegas, winning both games in DC and can now hoist the Cup on Thursday night in Sin City.
I know Vegas is reeling right now, but if I were to make a prediction, I’d say the series goes six with the Caps claiming it in Washington on Sunday. As I mentioned in last weeks blog, Vegas is 7-2 on home ice during the playoffs, and they’ve scored the first goal in all nine games. T-Mobile Arena is going to be rockin' so if the Knights get an early one, they may be able to ride it out to a game five victory.
To put in context how well the Caps are playing, Vegas only lost three games in a row twice during the regular season and prior to game four they had not lost three games in a row since November 28 to December 1. Not once did Vegas lose four games in a row this season.
Since 1999 only three Cup finals have gone five or fewer games and the last three years have been decided in six so its likely Vegas forces a sixth game.
PS, the 90’s were terrible for compelling finals. Five finals were decided in four games.
As good as the Washington/Vegas series has been, the Calder Cup Finals have been equally entertaining. All three games have been decided by one goal, including an opening game that saw six different lead changes in an eventual 6-5 Toronto win. The Texas Stars edged the Marlies, 3-2, in game two, snapping the Marlies 10-game playoff win streak. With the best-of-7 series even at 1-1, the Marlies erased a one-goal deficit in game three in Texas and topped the Stars 2-1 on the road. It was the first game during these playoffs that Texas lost after scoring the first goal. They were 7-0 prior to Tuesday's loss. During the regular season, the Marlies only lost three games in a row twice, so the Stars are in a near must-win scenario on home ice on Thursday as they look to even the series at 2-2.
Both finals should be wrapped up by next Thursday unless the Calder Cup Finals needs a seventh game, but we’ll recap both in next weeks blog.
Aside from the action on the ice, the biggest storyline in the AHL has been the constant coaching changes. Just in the Pacific, we’ll see four new head coaches in 2017-18.
With the firing of Jerry Fleming, the Bakersfield Condors hired former San Jose Sharks assistant coach Jay Woodcroft to lead the organization's young prospects. Woodcroft was an assistant coach under Todd McLellan for seven seasons with the Sharks and three with the Oilers. He won a Stanley Cup with Detroit in 2008 under Mike Babcock.
After Bill Peters left the Carolina Hurricanes bench due to ownership issues to become the head man in Calgary, he filled out his coaching staff by hiring internally, adding Stockton’s head coach Ryan Huska as an assistant. The Flames announced a few days later they had promoted Cail MacLean to HC with the Heat after serving as an assistant under Huska in 2017-18.
The top team in the Pacific Division during the regular season, the Tucson Roadrunners, will be looking for a new head coach for the third consecutive season after Mike Van Ryan accepted a job as an assistant coach under Mike Yeo in St. Louis with the Blues.
Finally, the Colorado Avalanche agreed to part ways with Eric Veilleux who was the HC of their AHL team the San Antonio Rampage over the past two seasons. Meaning a new coach will be announced by the Avalanche and their new affiliate the Colorado Eagles in the coming weeks.
Also, the Dallas Stars hired 2017 Calder Cup winning head coach Todd Nelson as an assistant from the Grand Rapids Griffins. The St. Louis Blues announced the hiring of Todd Bannister as the head coach for their new AHL affiliate the San Antonio Rampage. And last, the Minnesota Wild announced the hiring of former Milwaukee Admirals head coach Dean Evason to become an assistant under Bruce Boudreau.
What a business pro sports can be!
That’s it for me. Hope you all have a wonderful weekend and we’ll talk to you next Thursday.