Saturday Seven: And Then There Were Eight

Curtis LeBlanc
April 29 2017 11:47AM

The first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs did not go as many had expected. From the Toronto Maple Leafs giving the league-best Washington Capitals a run for their money in six games to the Nashville Predators sweeping the perennial cup-contender Chicago Blackhawks, it was heartbreaking and exhilarating for fans of the fastest game on earth.

With only eight teams remaining and second round series under way, there's been a lot to talk about in the hockey world.

Montreal Mayhem

The Canadiens were defeated by the Metropolitan Wildcard New York Rangers in their first round series. A significant lack of scoring meant they couldn't ride Carey Price to a series win, giving rise to questions about current team members and potential off-season acquisitions.

At the centre of it all was the fact that Max Pacioretty and Alex Galchenyuk had a combined zero goals in the series. 

Alex Radulov was outstanding in the series, scoring seven points (2-5) in six games, but it just wasn't enough. The Habs need to find scoring this summer and the Montreal mobs are growing weary of their under-performing offensive stars.

Carey Price trade rumours started flying around as soon as the series ended, but Bergevin was quick to shoot them down. Carey also publicly declared his interest in remaining with the Habs.

Bergevin is still the guy who went ahead and traded superhero PK Subban last summer for an aging Shea Webber, so is it ridiculous to think that anything is possible?

Kovalchuk Eyes NHL Return

Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman reported that the Russian sniper, whose KHL contract is set to expire, is seriously considering a return to North America.

After the initial report, Bob McKenzie did a succinct breakdown of possible scenarios on Twitter:

Gord knows New Jersey could use the offensive help, and Kovalchuk is coming off a 78 point season (32-46) in just 60 games with St. Petersburg SKA. I wouldn't be surprised to see him suiting up for another team when the 2017-2018 season gets underway.

Kevin Fiala Fractures Femur

The Nashville Predators will be without Kevin Fiala for the remainder of the post-season. He suffered a fractured femur after colliding with the boards in the series opener against the St. Louis Blues.

Fiala, who had the highest 5v5 xGF% (57.14%) of any player on the on the Preds who dressed in 10 or more games during the regular season, will be sorely missed by his team. They've become the darlings of the analytics community for this year's cup run.

Joe Thornton Doesn't Need His Knees

The San Jose Sharks were eliminated by the Edmonton Oilers in six games, but they were dealing with injuries to some notable players like Logan Couture and Joe Thornton. Both players missed the opening game of the series but eventually dressed for the Sharks.

Apparently, Jumbo's injury was a little worse than what one would normally expect someone to play through.

Oilers Fans Not Watching Draft Lottery

For the first time since the internet was invented, Edmonton Oilers fans aren't gathering in basements, pubs, or even their own arena to watch Bill Daly pull the golden card from the magic envelope.

The lottery is set to take place on Saturday, April 29th in Toronto at 8:00 PM ET and will be televised live on NBC, CBC and TVA. 

The Colorado Avalanche have the best odds to land the top pick at 18%. Full odds for lottery eligible teams are as follows.

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Colorado Avalanche Make Good #Content

The Avalanche Twitter account took it upon itself this past week to congratulate some of their players on their accomplishments this past season. Check out this selection of piping hot takes:

We Have a Trade!

The Chicago Blackhawks flipped goaltender Scott Darling to the Carolina Hurricanes for a third round pick on Friday. That's it. That's the trade.

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Curtis LeBlanc is a writer, poet and hockey person living on the west coast. You can follow him on Twitter @curtiswleblanc and check out his website at www.cwleblanc.com.
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