When there's not enough time to write a blog post on everything that happened, it's time to turn to "Three Quick Things." So put down the Peeps and chocolate bunnies and read.
3. Seabrook's hit on Backes
Brent Seabrook's shoulder to the head of David Backes was worthy of a 5 minute penalty and an ejection late in the third period of Game 2 between the Blackhawks and Blues.
That hit has lead to a three game suspension for Seabrook.
The Blackhawks are in a bad place right now.
They've blown late third period leads in the first two games and went on to lose in overtime in both matchups. They are in a 2-0 hole going back to Chicago. In a matter of two games, they have lost one of their key defensemen, their coach, Joel Quenneville, was fined $25,000 for grabbing his privates during overtime in Game 1. What made it worse: we all saw Quenneville do it live on television.
2. Brewers-Pirates Easter Brawl
It is safe to say that the Brew Crew is rejoining the high ranks of the National League Central in the first month of the season.
Carlos Gomez, the Brewers center fielder, who is known for his showboating and bat flipping, hit a two out triple in the third inning, while doing a home strut the first 90 feet before the ball just reached the wall in deep center as Andrew McCutchen misplayed it.
The Pirates young pitcher, Gerrit Cole, took offense to Gomez's show. Words were said, and while it seemed liked both made their points, Gomez lashed out toward Cole and lead to a bench clearing brawl in Pittsburgh.
Gomez, as well as Pirates outfielder Travis Snider, who was not in the lineup and went after Gomez as the benches cleared, were ejected.
Milwaukee backup catcher, Martin Maldonado, threw a punch that hit Snider. Like Snider, Maldonado was not in the lineup for Sunday. You'll hear about it at about 3:30 of the video below. Chances are, he gets a punishment worse than what Gomez might see.
Few things to take away from this.
Gomez is a punk. He's a good ballplayer, but does too much showboating. He did something similar on a home run last season in Atlanta. The Braves infielders were furious and let him know as he trotted around the bases. Then catcher Brian McCann confronted Gomez a few feet before the plate, refusing to let him cross, which lead to the benches clearing.
Second, Gerrit Cole provoked Gomez. Trash talk happens in every sport, and Cole got his point across, and Gomez didn't like it, wielding his helmet toward Cole while being restrained. Call Cole immature, but he wasn't the one charging Gomez.
Finally, the rivalry feel between these two teams is back.
The Brewers have their big hitter, and baseball's biggest villain since Barry Bonds, Ryan Braun, back after a season suspension. They want to compete with the Cardinals, Pirates and Reds for the top spot in the division, and much like Cincinnati, there's no love lost between them and the Pirates. Russell Martin made that clear in his quote regarding Maldano's punch, which was tweeted by Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
The Pirates are 1-6 this season against the Brewers. It might take more than a few bean ball's and fisticuffs to improve that record.
1. The Penguins Playoff Predicament
The Pittsburgh Penguins did everything right when they came back from a two goal deficit in Game 1 to beat the Blue Jackets 4-3. They did everything wrong to protect a two goal lead in Game 2, as they lost 4-3 in double overtime Saturday night.
There is a lot to ponder about the Penguins game 2 performance. The gamble of putting four forwards out on a power play that could've given the Pittsburgh a 4-1 lead in the second period, that, much like Game 1, lead to a mishandled puck on the point and a shorthanded goal for Columbus that made it 3-2. After that, everything changed.
The Blue Jackets controlled the play. After being outshot 14-5 in the first period, they outshot Pittsburgh 41-27 the rest of the way. Add to this that they also outhit the Penguins 51-28, and were 2 for 6 on the power play while the Penguins were only 1 for 8, while giving up the shorthanded goal as well.
Speaking of penalties, Kris Letang, who took a stupid interference call at 11:33 of third period in Game 1 when the Penguins lead 4-3, apparently did not learn his lesson. What felt like a replay of Wednesday, Letang took another unnecessary interference call at 13:31, just as a Scuderi tripping penalty was about to expire. This time, Pittsburgh paid for Letang's mistake and the Blue Jackets got the game-tying power play goal, which sent it to overtime.
Letang is not a lone scapegoat, because his other fellow defensemen have looked awful during the first two games.
Paul Martin and Brooks Orpik looked lost in the early parts of Game 1. Rob Scuderi, who was brought back to Pittsburgh to provide the veteran leadership he brought five years ago when they won the Stanley Cup, has not been good at all, and Letang, well, you already know.
Marc-Andre Fleury, the man who was everyone's biggest concern coming into the playoffs, has been one of the better players through the first two games. He did not get any help from his fellow teammates in double overtime Saturday night, when Matt Calvert was all alone to put in a rebound while four of his teammates stood still as if time had stopped.
Young Brian Gibbons provided a spark in the second half of Game 1 as he joined the first line, and got the Pens going with the opening goal and a shorthanded goal in Game 2, before leaving with a shoulder injury. Other than that, key forwards like Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin have been invisible.
You can say that the Penguins are not taking the Blue Jackets lightly. They are just being outplayed by Columbus.
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