The regular season came to an end yesterday (some call it the “first season” since the playoff seem to last just as long). Mazel tov to Jason Zucker and the Minnesota Wild and Zach Hyman and the Toronto Maple Leafs; they get to play on. Not so fortunate: Josh Ho-Sang, the rookie whose NY Islanders just missed the cut at the very end. Their record of 41-29-12 put them one point behind the Leafs. Ho-Sang, who made his debut on March 2nd, scoring four goals to go along with six assists in 21 games.
The Isles beat the woeful NJ Devils on Saturday, 4-2, The Devils also lost the next day to the Detroit Red Wings, 4-1. Michael Cammalleri had an assist in that one (#21) but closed out his season by not scoring over his last 28 games. He ended the season with 10 goals and 21 assists in 61 games. The Devils finished with the worst record in the Eastern Conference and second-worst overall: 28-40-14.
The Leafs clinched a playoff spot in their next-to-last game with a 5-3 win over the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins (they lost their finale to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday, 3-2). Hyman appeared in all 82 regular season games, scoring 10 goals with 18 assists. Their mark of 40-27-15 — eighth in the East — was their best showing in several seasons.
The Wild had time to relax, sewing up their playoff spot relatively early. They finished second in the Western Conference to the Chicago Blackhawks with a record of 49-25-8. Zucker had the best season of all the Jice-men with 22 goals and 25 assists in 79 games.
Last, but not least, the other Jason, Jason Demers, who had nine goals and 19 assists in 81 games for the Florida Panthers. The Panthers finished 35-36-11, 13th in the East.
From left: Jason Zucker, Zach Hyman, Josh Ho-Sang, Michael Cammalleri, Jason Demers
Omri Casspi season was … interesting. He began with the Sacramento Kings and seemed, at least to me, to have issues with his coach, who kept the Israeli import on the bench a lot more than one would think a player with that talent would warrant. Casspi was frequently the subject of trade rumors to better teams who could use someone with his skills as a valuable bench player. Instead he ended up on teams just as bad as the Kings, who, with two games remaining in their schedule, are 31-49. He went to the New Orleans Pelicans (33-47) in a major trade, played one game for them in which he performed quite well, except for breaking his thumb in said game, and was released. The Minnesota Timberwolves (31-49) picked him up at the tail end of the season and he hasn’t done much for them. In his most recent game — a 110-109 loss to the host LA Lakers — he scored two points with one assist and two steals in 17 minutes off the bench. To be fair, though, it has to be difficult to learn three different systems and mesh with three sets of teammates in a short amount of time. Wait ’til next year.
David Berger improved in each round of the 2017 Masters Tournament with a 77 on Thursday, 73 on Friday, 72 on Saturday, and 69 yesterday.