With the New Jersey Devils forcing a game 7 in OT, we still don't know what the Eastern Conference semifinals will look like, but the West is set, with Phoenix meeting Nashville and the Blues hosting the Kings.
Tonight, the Capitals / Bruins series will end, one way or another, and then we'll get some Must See TV on Thursday as both the Rangers / Ottawa and Florida / Jersey series wrap up, just in time to (hopefully) kick off the second round on Friday or Saturday.
The big news, on the other hand, is that Roberto Luongo said he'd be willing to waive his NTC if the team asked him to. He talked about wanting to do what's best for the team, respecting the talent of Cory Schneider, and that he'll do whatever helps make the team better. That should sound awfully familiar to Columbus fans. It's basically the modern, polite, diplomatic version of this scene from Slap Shot. (NSFW due to language, natch.)
On the one hand, Luongo is 33. He's signed through 2022 (barring CBA amnesty), and he's got a cap hit of $5.3 million dollars.
On the other hand, he's never had a save percentage below .914 in his NHL career, he's got a lifetime G.AA of 2.52, and he's a proven performer even in the ridiculous pressure cooker that is a major Canadian market. He got thrown under the bus this postseason because his team stopped scoring, and his defense decided that covering Dustin Brown was optional. He's worked quite successfully in the past with current Jackets' goalie coach Ian Clark, and he'd instantly become the best goaltender in Blue Jackets history.
Maybe Scott Howson has another trick up his sleeve, but from where I sit I don't see why shouldn't be kicking the tires on a deal.
Over at Icethetics they're getting pumped up for Friday's All Star Game logo reveal with some fun concept designs, Aaron Portzline is wondering if Todd Richards will lose the interim tag, but that might depend on what happens to guys like Alain Vigneault and Todd McLellan, the latter of whom seems to be in a precarious spot.
In similar news, Jeff is taking a careful look at the playoff picture over at TMM, and in chaos, there is opportunity. Meanwhile, Rob Mixer takes a look at some surprising first round exits and the guys at Carry The Flag have started their Mock Drafts.
Over at Puck Daddy, the GM of the Year award is a broken process, the Flyers apparently celebrated their first round victory by hauling out the t-shirt cannons, and Bourne talks about what playing in an OT playoff game is like over at Backhand Shelf.
Last but not least, don't forget to vote for your Blue Jackets MVP today!