LOS ANGELES — Daniel Carcillo received a phone call from NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman on Tuesday. You’d probably think a player getting a call from the league’s highest executive would bring bad news, but the New York Rangers forward was smiling when he hung up.
Bettman was calling to let Carcillo know that his dreams of playing in a third Stanley Cup Final since 2010 were revived after it was decided his automatic 10-game suspension assessed in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final would be reduced to six games.
Bettman felt that Carcillo wasn’t abusing linesman Scott Driscoll, rather that the Rangers’ forward was trying to break free from the officials’ hold on him after a scrum.
“Obviously I know what I did can’t happen and can’t happen again,” Carcillo told NHL Network Tuesday. “The appeal, I thought, went well. I just wanted to go in there and say my peace. It was a big weight off my shoulders, no matter what happened. To hear that I’ve got to serve three more, hopefully my team won’t need me, but to possibly get into another Cup Final it’s encouraging. You kind of feel like a bit of a dead man walking when you know there’s no chance, but it’s definitely encouraging.”
Having already served three games, Carcillo is eligible to return to the Rangers’ lineup in Game 4 against the Los Angeles Kings.
During any other Stanley Cup run, this would be called Drew Doughty’s coming out party, but we’ve seen him step up in big games before, whether it was at the 2012 Final or at the Olympics.
Having been an opponent for three seasons before being dealt to LA, Mike Richards has seen Doughty change off the ice just as much as he has on the ice.
“I don’t want to say come a long way because when I got here he was already pretty amazing,” Richards said. “I think he’s more vocal now. Before he was more a leader on the ice. I think he does a good job now speaking up and saying things when things need to be said.”
Still only 24, Doughty is blossoming before our eyes into one of the game’s best defenseman. And the scary thing is he’s still improving.
“The thing I've noticed the last year in particular, I think he’s really learning to channel that competitiveness in the right direction,” said Kings general manager Dean Lombardi. “I think sometimes it would get the best of him. I think you're starting to see also, which was always in him, there’s some leadership that's very underestimated in him.
“So to me he's growing not only as a player, but as a man. It's pretty neat to watch.”
Dominic Moore has played for nine NHL teams in almost a decade in the league. He’s not going to bring a boatload of goals or points, but he can improve a penalty kill and win a face-off when needed.
So why has he only played two seasons of his career where he wasn’t traded?
“I just pride myself on doing what I do and being who I am. And I’ve tried to pride myself on being a complete player, doing all the little things well in my whole career,” Moore said. “I can’t really worry about who appreciates it and who doesn’t.”
Last summer, Moore returned to the New York Rangers, the team that chose him 95th overall in the 2000 draft. From Henrik Lundqvist to their depth, he decided to sign there again because he had a good feeling they could be a special team.
After failng to advance out of the conference final twice before, Moore’s choice has paid off with the Rangers four wins away from winning a Stanley Cup.
It’s been a trying year for the 33-year old, who lost his wife to cancer last spring. It’s been a year where he’s learned a lot, especially about himself.
“When you go through any difficult thing, there’s lessons you learn,” he said. “Some of it’s about perspective and what things are important in your life. It definitely changes you in a lot of ways in terms of maybe you have your priorities a lot different and perspective in life a lot different.
“For that, I feel fortunate to have that perspective at a young age.”
Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli had established chemistry with one another before they were put alongside a new centerman. When Darry Sutter decided to put Jeff Carter between them, he unearthed a line that would help add balance to the Kings’ offense.
He also helped create the latest catchy line name, “That ‘70s Line,” thanks to Kings blog The Royal Half.
The trio clicked and Carter’s experience and goal scoring abilty has made life easy for the two youngsters.
“You’re playing with a natural goal scorer and a winning hockey player,” Pearson said. “He’s won a Stanley Cup. He’s won a gold medal. So it’s pretty easy to start playing with him. You just got to get him the puck and let him do his thing because if you hit him in the right spot it’s probably going to be in the back of the net.”
“Gabby’s been on quite a run in these playoffs for them. It’s no coincidence. The guy knows how to score goals and be creative. For us, we’ve got to know when he’s on the ice and we understand his explosive skating ability. And we’ve got to try to stay in his face, keep a good gap on him so he doesn’t have time it utilize his legs and his skating ability.” - Ryan McDonagh on what the Rangers need to do to try and slow down Marian Gaborik.
“I don’t know if we’re the favorites. They’ve got a pretty good team over there too.” — Jeff Carter
“When [Glen Sather] met with me at the end of the year, he said he didn’t want to buy me out. It made you feel like, ‘OK, they’re not giving up.’ That kind of catapulted me into the summer, where, ‘All right, I’ve got a big summer ahead of me." — Brad Richards on moving on from talk that he would be bought out by the Rangers last summer.
“No. Jonathan is a tough guy. He's probably the first guy out of the room.” — Darryl Sutter on Jonathan Quick, who took a puck up high and left the ice at the end of Kings practice.
“He’s the last line of defense. He’s done a tremendous job of that. Playing against him for many years to be on his side and see his day-to-day and his compete level, it’s inspiring.” — Martin St. Louis on watching Henrik Lundqvist every day.
“What goes around comes around. We stayed in the state of California for the better part of a few weeks. Now, maybe, it’s catching up to us. We’ve got a long flight, but hey, this is Cup Finals, if you can’t get up for this, you’ve got problems. People who search for excuses are losers.” — Justin Williams on the Kings’ increased travel.
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