Links, News, and Notes: Leafs/Lighting Part 2, Playoff Races, Brassard's Final Game?

Links, news, and notes about a playoff rematch from last year, the down-to-the-wire wildcard races, Brassard's brutal injury, and more!

Starting off your week the right way with a mishmash of news:

  • Although we have essentially known this for months, it is official now that the Toronto Maple Leafs and Tampa Bay Lightning will get a rematch of last year's first-round playoff series. The two of them both have a chance to go deep into the playoffs, but only one will survive. The Lightning look more vulnerable than ever, although don't be surprised if the Leafs make it seven straight seasons being out in the first round.
  • The Ottawa Senators might be out of the playoff race, but the Western and Eastern Conferences still have some battles left. The Pittsburgh Penguins, Florida Panthers, and New York Islanders are fighting for two spots, while the Winnipeg Jets, Calgary Flames, and Nashville Predators are fighting for one. The Panthers are barely behind, sitting one back of the Penguins and two of the Islanders, although New York has played one more game than both. Meanwhile, the Flames are two back of the Jets, and the Predators are five back, but they still have two games in hand. I hope both races come down to the wire:
  • Jason Robertson recorded his 94th point of the season on Friday, which broke the Dallas Stars record for points in a season, passing Mike Modano. He now has 97 points in 76 games, which is tied for 6th in the league. He's only played 204 games, but he's well on track to being the best Stars player of all time.
  • This has already somewhat been discussed, but Derick Brassard will miss the rest of the season (4-6 months) with a broken fibula. The freak injury happened on Thursday, and there's a good chance that that's the end of Brassard's career. I'm sure he really wanted to get to 1000 games, and I'm very happy he was able to get to 1,013 total. Considering he was signed to a PTO, getting 23 points in 62 games was incredibly impressive. He seemed like a great leader for this young team, and you couldn't have asked for more from him this season. If this really is the end, he had a great career.
  • Devon Levi got his first career win with the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday, stopping 31 of 33 shots. The 22-year-old is one of the best goalie prospects in the league, and it's one thing that makes the Sabres scary moving forward. He posted a .933 SV% at Northeastern University this past season, and he was even better the year before at .952%. This kid looks like the real deal, making this division even tougher.
  • With fighting being banned in the QMJHL and potentially being diminished in other junior leagues, Daniel Nugent-Bowman looks at what effects that could have in the NHL ($). Personally, I'm more than fine with fighting not being allowed in a league that includes children under the age of 18.
  • New NHLPA executive director Marty Walsh is just beginning to get settled into his new position, and he recently spoke to the media about various things including international hockey, cap/escrow, Pride nights, and others. He seemed adamant that international hockey is needed, so that is a great sign for a potential future World Cup of Hockey.
  • West Lorne, Ontario, won Kraft Hockeyville 2023 on Saturday. They will receive $250,000 in arena upgrades, $10,000 worth of hockey equipment, and an NHL preseason game in September. Hockeyville has been running for 17 years now and has become a staple for smaller hockey communities across the country. West Lorne has a population of about 1,400, so I'm sure these arena upgrades will mean the world to a town that relies so heavily on the facility.

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