After returning from Florida, and some housekeeping to cleanup the Canucks in Toronto, the Maple Leafs are heading out for their annual California road trip. It’s interesting how this used to be a much dreaded one. There were seasons where you were hopeful they could get one win out of the three games. My, how times have changed.

The Sharks, Ducks, and Kings are all in the basement of the league standings. This could be the first time since 1996 where none of the three teams make the playoffs. It’s a big turnaround from recent years with the Ducks winning the Stanley Cup in 2007 and the Kings winning in both 2012 and 2014. A road trip to California, especially in Death March when the Leafs traditionally collapse and lose their chance of making the playoffs, was something to dread. March of 2014 was an especially annoying month; the Leafs made it out of the Golden State with two wins in the three games reviving hopes they could somehow cling to a playoff spot through the final month of the hockey season, but that road trip was followed up with eight straight loses which blew up the team.

But you never know what might happen in California.

You might not be able to watch any of these games anyway, especially the first two on Tuesday and Thursday which don’t even start until 10:30 p.m. ET. Never fear though, our team of intrepid PPP writers will be awake to watch and have a recap for you the morning after.

The NHL General Manager meetings will be underway later this morning in Florida. Expect to hear some updates about the emergency backup goalie rules and, more importantly, a preliminary update on the salary cap increase for next season. The Leafs could really use a big one.

The Marlies are in the Austin, Texas area tonight to play the Stars in a make-up game for the one cancelled in January.

Here’s what we wrote about this weekend.

Back to Excited Hockey Podcast Episode 95: Winning Cures All - Arvind and Fulemin
The Leafs strong week leaves them in good playoff positioning.

European Report: Playoffs for (almost) everyone - Katya
Europe is ready for playoffs, and most of the Leafs prospects should get in some post-season action.

Other News

You can’t not love the grandma at her grandson’s first NHL game.

Ryan Donato gets stonewalled and then uses that wall to his advantage.