NEW YORK– By Daniel Friedman
1) I think the Rangers are in quite a bit of trouble, for a couple of reasons: They’ve been far too conservative when ahead on the scoreboard, they can’t seem to match Ottawa’s speed and not only have they been out-skated by the Senators, they’ve shown a lot of wear and tear late in hockey games.
This is where the Carl Hagelin suspension hurts the most, because the kid can skate and they’re really missing him out there right now. Chris Kreider’s fast too, but he’s very raw and isn’t getting a lot of ice time. Also, Henrik Lundqvist can only do so much; if you can’t give him run support, you’re probably not going to win. It doesn’t matter if Lundqvist makes 27 saves or 67. This is a series the Rangers can win, but not if they continue to allow Ottawa to control the flow of play like they have over the last few games.
2) I think that if I could explain what’s going through Brendan Shanahan’s mind when he’s handing out these suspensions, I’d be working at ESPN and Barry Melrose would be the one who brings me my coffee every day.
3) I think that if I could explain what the heck has gotten into Pittsburgh and Philadelphia (see above, start from “I’d be working…”).
4) Seriously, I think that for the Pittsburgh Penguins, last night’s 10-3 drubbing of the Flyers was a show of brute strength but it is too little, too late. If they wanted to set the tone, they needed to do that in game one, not when they’re trailing 3-0 in the series. Philly will find a way to win a fourth game and will be lucky to win another for the rest of the playoffs, especially the way Ilya Bryzgalov’s playing between the pipes.
5) Speaking of too little, too late, I think the Vancouver Canucks’ 3-1 victory in Los Angeles was just that. It’s nice to see the best goalie the Canucks really have get a win in his second-consecutive start, but the Kings will not let this series slip away. I can even see it going to a sixth game, but LA will win.
6) I think the New Jersey Devils lost a real important game the other night and I think it could lead to their demise. Obviously, the Devils can still win this series but the momentum has completely shifted in the Panthers’ favor and, assuming New Jersey continues to take penalties, Florida will continue to make ‘em pay.
I also find it mind-boggling that Adam Larsson continues to sit out while Anton Volchenkov, who’s been on the ice for nine of the Panthers’ 10 goals in this series, is (somehow) still in the lineup. Larsson has speed and skill, the Devils need a jolt. Would it really kill them to give this kid a shot?
-Adam Schefter reports that the Colts will take Andrew Luck with the first overall pick. This surprises everyone…that was sarcasm. For the second overall pick, there are whispers that Robert Griffin III has “a selfish streak.”
-You know how there’s all this buzz that Robert Griffin III could go first over Andrew Luck, or will be a better QB than Andrew Luck? Yeah, not so much. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel polled 19 scouts on who was the better QB and all 19 said that Luck was superior. When 20 evaluators were asked who was the best player regardless of position, 17 said Luck, two said Griffin and one said Alabama RB Trent Richardson.
-The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel also takes an in depth look at QB’s. Speaking of QB’s, Ryan Tannehill scored a 34 on his Wonderlic test, with above average grades for others, including Russell Wilson and Brandon Weeden. Speaking of Weeden, here’s the Gruden Camp clip on the OK State QB.
-What would Mel Kiper Jr. do if he was in charge of the NFC East teams? Find out his “grade A” picks for the Giants, Eagles, Cowboys and Redskins for the first three rounds.
-Mike Garafolo takes a look at the running backs in the draft, led by Richardson. Doug Martin, David Wilson, LaMichael James and others are profiled in this piece. Take a look.
-Here’s an in depth look at Memphis DL Dontari Poe, one of the most polarizing prospects in this year’s class.
-Boise State OLB Shea McClellin has visited with 11 of the 32 teams, according to Scout.com. The Patriots, Chiefs, Bills, Titans, Colts and Browns are among those teams, according to Aaron Wilson.
-Former Colts GM Bill Polian really likes running backs in the first round this season. Polian drafted five RB’s in the first round in his career: Edgerrin James, Joseph Addai, Donald Brown, Tim Biakabatuka and Ronnie Harmon. So…one for five isn’t bad, right?
-Wisconsin guard Kevin Zeitler would be a good fit for the Patriots, says the Boston Globe. He reportedly scored a 33 on the Wonderlic test.