1. Goalies just don’t get it. They belong in the crease, not minding their defensemen’s business by wandering behind the net where they often botch up plays; usually with careless clearing passes, but more than that.
2. If you don’t believe me, ask Detroit’s Petr (The Hiker) Mrazek who ruined the Red Wings in Game 5 against Tampa Bay. The Wings goalie went behind the net — didn’t get the puck — but Lightning’s Alex Killorn did and that was THAT for the Motor City skaters.
3. It took the playoffs for Islanders prospect Alan (New Reliable) Quine to prove that he will belong on Brooklyn’s team next season. The ex-Bridgeport Sound Tiger perfectly fits the tune, “You Came To Me From Out Of Nowhere.”
4. Sometimes you can tell about how a playoff series will evolve from the first game’s outcome and other times you cannot.
5. One match that proves you can was Game 1 of the Rangers-Penguins series. Pitt beat Blueshirts with third-stringer Jeff (Not Exactly Mister Zero) Zatkoff in goal. Series ends, four games to one for the Pens.
6. With Jonathan (Just Loving Tampa) Drouin finding his true game, the Lightning no longer have to sweat over Steven Stamkos’ future.
7. I’m convinced that when the playoffs end, Stamkos will leave Tampa Bay and sign anywhere but in the state of Florida. Despite the blood clot that has sidelined him, Steve figures to get a $9 million deal from Toronto or elsewhere.
8. Of the many Rangers postmortems at locker-cleaning day, those delivered by Henrik Lundqvist and Dan Girardi impressed me most.
9. King Henrik was upfront, candidly honest, accepting blame for his playoff performance; never using the opening playoff game eye injury as an alibi. His promise to be super-motivated next season also struck a chord.
10. Girardi has been a Blueshirt warrior among warriors, paying the price with wounds galore. Dan believes that he has more good hockey in him and I, for one, will second that motion.
11. Leave it to clubhouse jester Mats Zuccarello to produce the perfect squelch: “We’re a team that expects to be playing hockey when there’s good weather outside!”
12. A year ago today — after another early Sharks playoff ouster — the talk in San Jose was that GM Doug Wilson either: A) Should be fired; B) Would be fired.
13. Thankfully for the Wilson family — and San Jose’s nattily-attired hockey club — Doug’s skaters returned the favor by not only making the playoffs, but knocking off Los Angeles in the process.
14. Among Wilson’s wise moves was accenting leadership. He endorsed Joe Pavelski as captain, promised faith in Joltin’ Joe Thornton and named the under-appreciated Peter DeBoer as coach. All delivered handsomely. By the way, Pavelski and Thornton tied for club lead at plus-25.
15. Speaking of underrated signings that made a difference, how about Wilson adding our old friend from Devils days, Paul Martin on defense. Quietly efficient, Paulie played 72 regular season games and finished plus-13.
16. Another coach you have to feel good about is Civil War historian Ken (Call Me Hitch) Hitchcock, who finally nudged his Blues past the first round the hard way; beating the Chi Champs.
17. Hitch’s prize defenseman, Colton (Dr. I.Q.) Parayko — apart from having one of the best names in the NHL — happens to be finishing three courses online at the University of Alaska.
18. Parayko must be a genius because he’s studying for school while immersed in the playoffs. Heading for a degree in Business Administration, the Edmonton native is taking: International Business; Business Continuity Strategy; and Sports Marketing. Colton could start by marketing himself.
19. Remember when — in 2011-12 — hockey savants wondered whether a concussed Sidney Crosby ever would play hockey again? And if so, could he regain best-player status? Apparently he could and, magnificently, did.
20. Kings GM Dean (No Relation to Ernie) Lombardi guessed that high-priced Milan (Not In Italy) Lucic would be a playoff difference-maker for Los Angeles. The difference was that San Jose was just as big, faster and more tenacious on the puck than the Kings.
21. On the other hand, one difference why the Bruins are playoff spectators is that they no longer had Fightin’ Mad Milan on their roster.
22. Jaromir (Fountain of Youth) Jagr will return for yet another remarkable NHL season in Florida. Why not? Double J not only led the Panthers in scoring, but finished plus-23. As Cats TV analyst and ex-Isles Hall of Famer Denis Potvin notes, “Playing alongside Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau is a thrill for Jags.”
23. LETTERS: My man in Pittsburgh, Vince Comunale, capsulizes the upcoming Penguins-Capitals classic-in-the-making thusly: “All regular season games between the two rivals were like playoff games. This series should be played at a feverish pace; all-out war.” (I love it since hockey is a war game on ice)
24. Why are the current Blackhawks like the 1999 Red Wings? Answer: Back then, Detroit hoped to win a Cup by last-minute roster adds — and failed. Check off first-round-and-out Chi, as my buddy Gus Vic did: “Dale Weise had minimal impact and Tomas Fleischmann was invisible.”
25. Emigrating from Detroit to Moscow, Pavel Datsyuk’s next season figures to be playing for CKSA team and a couple of years down the line PD will wind up in the Hall of Fame.
26. Every month it seems as if the Coyotes are going somewhere in Arizona other than Glendale. But a new deal that places AEG Facilities arena-management firm in charge of Gila River Arena appears to solidify the Yotes base right where it is now.
27. When a team such as the Bruins miss the playoffs, a scapegoat must be found. Ergo: Veteran assistant coach Doug Houda wound up with the pink slip. Others believe that higher-ups, and not DH, should have been booted.
28. Among other things that the Islanders first-round upset over Division-leading Florida proved is that the noise-level generated at Barclays Center is as deafening as it was in Nassau Coliseum. YES, YES, YES!
29. Also impressive about the arena at Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues hub is the across-the-board courtesy and helpfulness among the employees at Isles games.
30. Analytics are well and good in this ultra-modern era, but they can be deceptive. Exhibit A is the Corsi statistic on Isles-Cats. Florida beat New York in team Corsi. Which is fine, but the Panthers are playing golf now and the Isles still playing hockey.
31. Keep your eye on Ray Shero‘s moves to bolster his Devils. There figure to be some pleasant surprises between now and training camp.
32. If you can’t wait for the June Entry Draft, just bear in mind that the Top-2 entrants — according to many scouts — are A) Auston Matthews and, B) Finnish-born Patrik Laine.
33. For those teams who cannot grab either Matthews or Laine know that one of the best under-the-radar Unrestricted Free Agents will be Troy Brouwer. Ever-reliable Jim (Edmonton Journal) Matheson reports that the Red Wings “will go hard” to sign him.
34. Finally, one last thought on the Panthers. The sad part is that ever-valiant captain Willie Mitchell could not play because of post-concussion symptoms. I miss that warrior.