-There will be no final game drama in the NHL to decide who does or doesn’t get into the playoffs–all sixteen teams were set as of last night. Positioning jockeying remains, but there will be a large number of meaningless contests to close out the regular season.
–Daniel Alfredsson admits it has been difficult to get excited about the last two games:
We’ve really tried to stay upbeat after the four wins and clinching the playoff spot, keeping the emotion going. It’s been tough to regroup to get the game to where we want. That game was nowhere near playoff intensity or the intensity we’re going to see next week. It’s more mental than anything. We’ll regroup, try to play a good game on Saturday and then move on.
The truth is that it’s irrelevant if the Sens finish 7th or 8th–they will be heavy underdogs regardless, although I think they match-up better against the Rangers. Don Brennan thinks the Sens should have been sending messages in last night’s game, but I don’t see the benefit in brawling with the Bruins in a meaningless game (unless they want to go ala Pittsburgh and try to injure players). Save the energy and gusto for the games that matter.
–Ian Mendes Tweets that Chris Neil took a nasty spill in practice and won’t join the team in New Jersey.
-I keep hearing commentators talk in hushed tones about how Erik Karlsson is going to have to be aware that he’ll be targeted in the playoffs. The comments always imply he’ll struggle and that he has no idea what to expect. It’s frankly ridiculous. He’s been targeted all season long, he’s played playoff hockey (his rookie year), and for anyone who has watched him play they can see he’s very good at avoiding being hit. It’s frankly much ado about nothing.
–Mika Zibanejad and Fredrik Claesson‘s seasons are over with Djurgarden, which means Zibanejad will be on his way to Binghamton shortly. Marcus Sorensen‘s season with Boras is also over.
–Denis Boucher says mental toughness is a myth:
If you don’t learn to manage your thoughts and emotions and strictly focus on being mentally tough, you’re putting yourself in a perpetual state of denial. This is not at all helpful, because you’re just trying to hide the fact that you don’t know what to do with your negative thoughts and emotions. We can’t ignore the fact that stress and negative thoughts and emotions are part of being an athlete. Trying not to think about it by being mentally tough brings us back to the White Bear Syndrome. If I say to you, “don’t think about a white bear” what are you going to do? Think about a white bear. Since it is impossible to get rid of stress, negative thoughts and emotions, why not train athletes to deal with them and take control of their brain activity?
This article is written by Peter Levi, be sure to follow @eyeonthesens