We're just hours from game time. Nervous? I know I said I wasn't yesterday, but I'm starting to feel a little nervous. Not so much because of Daniel's return (I still think he's likely to be quite ineffective), but because of the wonky scheduling. Three days off between Games 4 & 5 obviously benefits Vancouver, if they can pull out the win tonight of course. That's three days for Daniel to get healthier and in better gameshape and three days for the Kings to stew in their juices and wonder if they're actually going to be able to close this series out. Not cool, schedule-makers.
So let's cross our fingers and hope we're able to close this out tonight. I don't want to sit here waiting three days for the next game. I'd much rather wait, oh, 8 days or so for the next series.
Links after the jump.
Game 4 Previews
- Lisa Dillman at the LA Times talks about the Kings preparing for tonight's game as if Daniel is indeed going to suit up for the Canucks....[LA Times]
- ....which is a good thing, given this Vancouver Sun report stating that Daniel is "likely" to play in tonight's game. The article also goes in-depth into AV's decision to start Cory Schneider over Roberto Luongo when facing down elimination. Has Luongo played his last game as a Canuck? [VS]
- To the lighter side of Game 4 previews, The Royal Half talks all about Vancouver's secret weapon. Daniel. Sedin. Hologram. [TRH]
- Rudy Kelly makes a scarily accurate comparison to a 1950s military conflict, and follows it up with a scarily insensitive joke. Good to see he's upping his game for the post-season; I think I know a certain 1st place hockey team who could learn a lot from him. [Battle of Cali]
- Finally, your Nucks Misconduct preview. Just looking at their logos of choice for tonight should tell you all you need to know about their collective mental state right now, but they follow that up with an excellent photoshop-based attempt at reverse-jinxing. Not one to be missed. [NM]
Other Kings News
- Tyler Dellow has some hard data showing how the Kings players have matched up against the Canucks so far in this series. (Thanks to Robert P) [mc79 Hockey]
- This is only partially Kings-related, but remember that Brian Boyle trade that seemed to come out of nowhere at the time? Well, turns out his dad asked DL to move him back east. Quisp has all the details. [MSS]
Other NHL News
- So hey, I don't know if you guys heard, but there's been a lot of head shots and general violence going on in this year's playoffs. You might have heard if you turned on ESPN, since the one time they'll actually remember hockey exists is when they can bring a bunch of talking heads out to try and bury the sport over it. That's not to excuse the violence, of course. Here's a very thoughtful article from the Backhand Shelf blog on what can be done going forward. (Thanks to Robert P) [BS]
- In Game 1 of their series, the Devils got out to a quick 3-0 lead and then barely held on to win 3-2. In Game 2, the exact same thing happened except in reverse. Finally in Game 3, as New Jersey got out to a quick 3-0 lead, this time there was no holding on. The Panthers roared back to win 4-3, chasing a legend out of net in the process, and took a 2-1 series lead. [Litter Box Cats] [In Lou We Trust]
- Elsewhere, the Predators continued to confuse and anger fans of advanced stats (and hell, fans of shots on goal at this point) everywhere, winning yet another game despite being heavily out-played and out-shot all night long. Now they get to head home to Bridgstone Arena with a chance to take out the Red Wings in 5. I can't say this really upsets me, personally. [On the Forecheck] [Winging it in Motown]
- Remember those headshots we talked about earlier? Yeah. There was one of them in the Hawks-Coyotes game last night. The fact that the Yotes won the third-straight overtime game (first time that's happened in a series since 2006) has become secondary to yet another disgusting display. Thanks Raffi Torres! Oh yeah, and it somehow went uncalled during the actual game. Fun fact: Stephen Walkom, the same referee who also missed Ryane Clowe's wacky "brain cramp", also missed this hit as well. Apparently you can just pull out a sword and hack another player's arm off on the ice, as long as you're away from the play, since all four officials do nothing but follow the puck. [Five for Howling] [Second City Hockey]
Alright folks, that's it from me. Hopefully these links help you pass these last few anxious hours until puck drop. I'm gonna go sit in the corner and alternate between laughing and screaming.