For those of you watching the NHL standings and biting your nails (hello) (I really need to stop biting my nails, it's hell on my manicure), you might be excited to learn that one Toronto hockey team has already made the playoffs! The Toronto Furies start their playoff series against the Calgary Inferno tonight at 10pm ET, and while it doesn't look like tonight's game is being broadcast, tomorrow's game will be streamed free at 5:30pm ET.
Calgary's got a stacked roster, including Canadian national team standouts like Meaghan Mikkelson, Rebecca Johnston, and Brianne Jenner. To top all that off, their goaltending depth is unmatched in the CWHL--Emerance Maschmeyer, Genevieve Lacasse, and Delayne Brian could all be starters in their own right on another team. As you might guess, the Inferno are heavily favored--they swept Toronto in the regular season.
If the Furies are going to win, they need their rookie defense to perform at the absolute best of their (considerable!) ability, Christina Kessler to put on her best impression of a brick wall, and two games of full Natalie Spooner God Mode. Is it a tough task? Sure, but it's a three-game series, so an upset isn't impossible. Tune in on Saturday to watch!
The Inferno and Furies will both be slightly shorthanded. Akane Hosoyamada and Aina Takeuchi of the Inferno, and Sena Suzuki of the Furies, are currently in Sapporo representing Japan at the Asian Winter Games. They have played four games, allowed no goals, and scored 92, so it's going well for them!
This tournament is also our first good look at the South Korean women's national team, who have an automatic berth at the 2018 Olympics as the host nation. There are livestreams of the games, hosted here, if you're interested in watching some Asian international hockey. These are teams at wildly different talent levels, but South Korea has been holding their own, which is a really encouraging sign for Pyeongchang.
And now, have some NHL links for your Friday morning:
In Case You Missed It
Leafs vs. Rangers Recap: Andersen Steals A Point - Pension Plan Puppets
Leafs fall 2-1 in the shootout to the Rangers.
Maple Leafs News
The incredible development of Maple Leafs centre Nazem Kadri - Sportsnet.ca
Once a regular in Leafs trade rumours and seemingly bound to be a reclamation project for someone, Nazem Kadri's development has exploded under Mike Babcock so much that now he's thinking about the Selke Trophy. (warning for autoplay)
Andersen not sweating recent struggles - Article - TSN
"The more good you do in practice and off the ice, the more success you'll have on the ice eventually so I'm sure it will change soon," Andersen vowed after Thursday's morning skate.
Mike Babcock: "At game 60, we wanted to have a chance. We have a chance." | Maple Leafs Hotstove
Mike Babcock met with the media ahead of the game against the New York Rangers on Thursday, discussing Frederik Andersen’s recent play, player development, Michael Grabner’s impact in New York, the play of the team’s top defence pair, and more.
Toronto Maple Leafs Rumors: Another LA Kings Sighting
The Toronto Maple Leafs and Los Angeles Kings are linked once again after another sighting of a representative in town for a viewing.
How Josh Leivo is complicating the Maple Leafs' right wing situation - Sportsnet.ca
It's taken a while for Josh Leivo to get his opportunity in this Maple Leafs lineup, but now that it's here he's making the most of it. The only problem? Who becomes the odd-man out when Mitch Marner returns?
Nylander already a power-play wizard for Leafs; Swede approaching franchise rookie record
With Winnipeg’s penalty killers closing in, William Nylander looks to be cornered and out of options.
Around the NHL
Down Goes Brown: The six riskiest trade deadline targets
But these days, there’s one four-letter word that causes even the bravest hockey lifer to clutch at his pearls and reach for his fainting couch. Risk.
PPG reaches deal to become official paint of NHL | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
For any home improvement enthusiasts on the blog, the NHL now has an Official Paint.
These five really good rookies will not win the Calder Trophy | The Hockey News
The Calder Trophy race will likely come down to Patrik Laine vs. Auston Matthews, which means in this Year of the Rookie, a lot of really good freshmen will not even be finalists.
The Length of Connor McDavid’s Second Contract - The Copper & Blue
It’s widely assumed that Connor McDavid’s next contract will be eight years long but is that a good assumption.
Andrew Shaw denies report of feud with former Habs coach Therrien - The Globe and Mail
A report claimed that Michel Therrien dressed down Shaw in front of teammates after he took an interference penalty that led to a power play goal
Blackhawks sign minor league goalie Jeff Glass to 2-year contract - Second City Hockey
Ex-Marlie Jeff Glass has landed with the Blackhawks organization.