Puck Headlines: Round 1's vindications; Pronger talks Wings

Here are your Evening Puck Headlines: A glorious collection of news and views collected from the greatest blogosphere in sports and the few, the proud, the mainstream hockey media.

• Devils and Rangers eulogies on Thursday, along with our preview for the Blackhawks/Canucks series and some other playoff goodies.

• Interesting list from The Hockey News that chronicles the most "vindicated" players from the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. As per any THN list, there are some head-scratchers; who exactly was dogging Scott Niedermayer or Evgeni Malkin heading into the opening round? But Nikolai Khabibulin and Martin Havlat of the Chicago Blackhawks, along with Michael Ryder of the Boston Bruins are good choices. And No. 1 will certainly put a smile on the faces of Detroit Red Wings fans, even if it makes Blue Jackets fans return to their beers for another long sob. [THN]

Anaheim Ducks defenseman Chris Pronger says the Red Wings are "adept at playing defense" even through they don't use their elbows nearly enough. Also on The Jim Rome Show, Pronger talks about his burgeoning respect for Anaheim fans who "come and enjoy themselves." [Ducks Blog]

• The Forechecker makes a stats-based case for Washington Capitals defenseman Mike Green as your Hart Trophy winner. [On The Forecheck]

• Is the New Jersey Devils' choke in Game 7 the biggest fold-job in recent New York sports history? Like, on the level of Yankees/Red Sox in 2004? [Star Ledger]

• Lou Lamoriello pretty much calls it the worst loss in franchise history. Hard to argue with that. [Fire & Ice]

• This AP preview of the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins revives our Alexander Semin interview for intrigue, but this quote from Penguins Coach Dan Bylsma on Simeon Varlamov was interesting: "We're going to do our best to try to give him some different looks, some second chances, some pucks that are east-west around the net and see if we can't break him down." [AP]

• We Tweeted (yuck) this but never posted the link in the headlines, so here goes: Mike Richards of the Philadelphia Flyers is having surgery on his right shoulder, and should be out of commission for 10-12 weeks. Which may help explain a Selke nominee with a playoff minus-4. [NHL]

• According to the SI player poll, Kris Versteeg gets more peer love than Bobby Ryan. Although both rank way behind Steve Mason in the "best rookie you've seen this season" category. And since he didn't make the top five, maybe these voters just haven't seen Stamkos. [Second City Hockey]

• Remember when deposed Montreal Canadiens coach Guy Carbonneau said cryptically that one day "the truth would come out" about his firing? Yeah, not so much: "Carbonneau now clarifiers that he had nothing precise in mind when he made that statement." [Eyes on the Prize]

• Alexander Schrute of the Scranton Capitals shows off his playoff beard. [H/T to Puck Buddy Craig M.]

• By blowing off the media, Miikka Kiprusoff is really blowing off the fans. And if you diss the fans, you're really only dissing yourself. Or something like that. [Calgary Herald]

• The Vancouver Province's Kurtenblog makes its Round 2 picks, agreeing on everything except the Vancouver Canucks series. [KB]

• Meanwhile, the Blackhawks talk about getting ugly goals against Roberto Luongo. We're talking 2 a.m. behind the counter at the Weiner's Circle kind of ugly (for our Chicago peeps). [CBC]

• Looking at the records of former coach Joel Quenneville and current Colorado Avalanche Coach Tony Granato when Joe Sakic and Paul Stastny are or are not in the lineup. [Mile High Hockey]

• Calling out Round 1 goats and picking the winners in Round 2. [Bleacher Report]

• The top 10 Stanley Cup playoff rituals, and yet none involve a coach whining about obstruction or interference. [Slam!]

• Finally, this is such a great and awesome random YouTube: The top 10 saves from 1996. Featuring appearances by the Los Angeles Kings' hideous third jerseys and the actual utterance of the phrase "what a save by Damian Rhodes!"

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