King of Kings, Dwight King scored the game winning goal to give the Los Angeles Kings a 3-0 strangle hold on the Western Conference Finals. The Kings have simply dominated this years playoffs like nothing I have seen before. They have only lost one game back in the first round to the top seed Presidents Trophy winners Vancouver Canucks. They followed that monumental upset up by sweeping the second seeded St. Louis Blues, and are one win away from back-to-back series sweeps.
How is this happening?
Kings are getting contributions throughout the roster. A balanced attack from their top three lines. Outstanding goaltending. Simplicity on the blue line and a uptempo, physical relentless forecheck.
Scotty Bowman was asked after he won the Stanley Cup with Detroit once, when he knew they had it won. His response was;
There comes a time when you see your team is playing well and takes on a sense of inevitability.
I think we may be seeing that right now from the Kings. The only thing that may prevent them from winning the next five straight games is a long layoff waiting for the winner of the Eastern Conference causing them to lose their momentum.
Shane Malloy from The Art of Scouting has released his NHL 2012 Draft Top 40 Overall List and there are some very interesting rankings. Contrary to popular belief Nail Yakupov is not ranked number one. He lists his Sarnia teammate Alex Galchenyuk in the first overall ahead of Yakupov. While this is a wild notion, here at FHC we unanimously agree! In a recent post in the Coaches Clinic the question was who will have the most fantasy impact? The responses were Ryan Murray, Alex Galchenyuk, and Filip Forsberg!
Brendan Ross (@RossyYoungblood) of Dobber Prospects tweeted;
@ShaneMalloy @pharling I like Galchenyuk over Yakupov My gut says the same long term.
@pharling @shanemalloy watched over 75 gms combined of Yakupov's & Galchenyuk's over the last 2 yrs. had them neck n neck at start of '11
I saw Yakupov play in Kingston against the lowly Frontenacs and he did not stand out. That was just one game however and he was freshly returning from injury. I watched Yakupov closely in the World Juniors as well where he was good, but did not stand out.
While not professional NHL scouts we are three hockey connoisseurs who combined have seen over 200 junior games last season and all agree on Yakupov. Hmmmmm.....
Toronto Maple Leafs fans either love Brian Burke, or hate him. I am a big time Burke supporter and believe he has done a great job of restocking the talent on the roster. Just look at the Marlies who blew out Oklahoma 5-0 in the Western Conference series finals opener Thursday night. Mark Ascione of The Hockey Writers believes Brian Burke Is His Own Worst Enemy His article chronicles Burkes tenure with the Leafs and is chopped full of Burke quotes that he feels have put him on his last chance to turn the Leafs around.
Dobber has the best argument in his article State of the Toronto Maple Leafs After reading this post and you still do not think Burke is doing a "GREAT JOB" I would love to hear your argument in the comments below.
Look for Toronto to turn the corner next season. Burke vowed to address the teams needs for size up front, a number one center and strength in goal. Perhaps the solution to some or all of those needs will come from within. The Bleacher report has a post on Toronto Marlies' Calder Cup Run: Five Marlies Who Are NHL Bound Next Season Writer Brad LeClair draws comparisons to this years Marlies playoff to last years Binghamton Senators playoff run. The Sens players who won the Calder Cup made a huge impact on the Senators this season and propelled Ottawa into the post season and within one win of upsetting the top seed New York Rangers. A sound analogy! There are players on the Marlies right now who will have an impact on the Leafs in the NHL next season, and in the future and they will also have a fantasy impact as well. Matt Frattin, Nazem Kadri, Jake Gardiner and Ben Scrivens top the list, but don't overlook Jerry D'Amigo, Joe Colborne, and Carter Ashton.
Canada, USA, and Sweden all were upset in the World Championship Thursday along with Belarus. Finland, Slovakia, Czech Republic, and Russia all advanced.
On Saturday the Quarter finals will see host Finland take on the Russians, while Slovakia will play Czech Republic.
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