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I was watching the Stanley Cup Playoffs last night when my girlfriend asked me the following question: “Wait, is it still the first round?”
Yes, my dear; yes it is. Wonderful, isn’t it?
The Stanley Cup Playoffs are a marathon, not a sprint. That’s why it’s so hard to hoist the Stanley Cup. It’s been almost two weeks since the ‘playoffs got underway and we still have some Game 7s to get to.
I love it, you love it, and as you’ll soon find out, Charles Barkley loves it.
So, without further ado, let’s get right to the best the NHL had to offer this week… or at least the things that I thought were worthy of some made-up awards.
All-Around Player (Not By Choice) Of The Week: Igor Shesterkin
Game 5 did not go well for the New York Rangers, although fortunately for them, everyone was busy watching the NFL draft and didn’t notice.
But do you know who did realize it was a terrible performance?
Shesterkin was shelled with 43 shots on goal, 4 of which slipped by the reigning Vezina Trophy winner. that’s on him, but even if he had stopped those 4 shots, the guy didn’t get much support.
The Rangers only registered 23 shots in Game 5. At one point in the second period it got so bad that Shesterkin decided “F–k it, I’m taking a shot.”
So, technically, his teammates only accounted for 22 of those 23 shots.
He wasn’t getting much defense either, so he did that too.
Shetsterkin wasn’t pleased with the play in front of him and at one point took it upon himself to let them know this.
The Blue Shirts have now dropped three straight and trail the Devils 3-2 going into Game 6.
Least Popular Goal Scorer Among Bruins Fans: Matthew Tkachuk
While his old man hails from the Boston area, Matthew Tkachuk has not ingratiated himself with Bruins fans.
Although, he’s a Tkachuk, would you expect anything less?
By the time Game 5 rolled around, it was already certain that Tkachuk wouldn’t be receiving too many Christmas cards from Boston-Area zip codes.
He had more up his sleeve and scored an OT winner to keep his team alive for at least one more game. Although, he did get a bit of an assist from Bruins goalie Linus Ullmark who coughed up a brutal turnover behind the net.
That was Tkachuk’s most important goal, but it sure wasn’t his prettiest. That title belongs to this goal from earlier in the series.
The Panthers managed to win Game 6 as well back home in Florida. That means this series will be decided in Game 7 in Boston.
History has not been kind to teams who have had regular seasons as strong as the Bruins. Let’s see if they can buck that trend.
Least Happy To Take A Seat With The Islanders: Martin Necas
No one wants to get hit into the benches, especially not the other team’s bench,
While getting checked into your own bench means you’ll have teammates helping you get up and back over the boards. On the opposition’s bench? Not so much.
Hurricanes center Martin Necas wasn’t pleased with being told to take a seat on the Isles bench.
There hasn’t been much to be mad about for the Hurricanes. They managed to bounce the Islanders from the postseason in 6 games.
Speaking of which…
Quick Reflexes Of The Week: Seth Jarvis
One of the best plays of that entire series was a save, but not one from a netminder.
Canes center Seth Jarvis swooped in to make sure this biscuit stayed out of the basket earlier in Game 3.
And didn’t cover it with his hand either! Hockey guys know covering the puck with your hand in the crease if you’re not a goalie leads to a penalty shot.
Seth Jarvis knew that and just batted it out of harm’s way, Heck for a heads-up play.
Hockey Guy Of The Week: Charles Barkley
Look, if you’re reading this, then you’re probably aware of how great the Stanley Cup Playoffs are. They’re much better than those other playoffs happening right now.
We know this, but it’s always nice to have those feelings validated by someone like Charles Barkley.
He was covering a snoozer between the Minnesota Timberwolves and Denver Nuggets, while his colleagues on the NHL side were getting to have some fun covering some post-season puck.
Well, it turns out that’s what Barkley was doing too.
“Is it just me, or does this game need a Red Bull?” Ernie Johnson asked.
“I was watching hockey on TBS; I’m not gonna lie,” Chuck said. “This game is boring as hell.“
No way any member of the Turner Sports NHL studio gang would watch NBA hoops over even a boring hockey game.
Big win for the NHL.
Welp, that’s it, kids. We’ll be right back here next week with some more. In the meantime, if you see anything you think could be award-worthy, be sure to send it my way on Twitter: @Matt_Reigle