the Fifth Line: You Get a Game 7, and You Get a Game 7…

These conference finals have been great for hockey fans, but bad for my blood pressure. If you’ve still got a team in the running, how’s your hypertension?


This is pretty much how I’ve felt all series. Not always in a good way.

While four fanbases are preparing to celebrate or fall into despair, a couple of teams have added new coaches. The “New Coach Sweepstakes” is like the playoffs, but for teams that didn’t do so well. San Jose has given the reigns of their unhappy roster to Peter DeBoer, which… is a decision. The Buffalo Sabres, meanwhile, have brought in BGSU alumnus and snappy dresser Dan Bylsma to coach Jack Eichel and Evander Kane. It’s no Crosby and Malkin, but it seems like a good challenge for the former Penguins coach.

But we’re not here for coach news. We’re here for playoff hockey, which leaves us hyperventilating and lacking in sleep.
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Thoughts from the Dugout: Quarter Horses

Expect more pictures of Royals players here if they keep playing well.

Expect more pictures of Royals players here if they keep playing well.

As of today, many teams will be playing games #41 and/or #42. If you divide 162 by 4, you get a mess (or 40.5), so it’s safe to say that we are a quarter of the way through the baseball season. Granted, that’s a lot of baseball left to play, but it’s also not an insignificant number. Several teams have played themselves into excellent position throughout this year’s first leg. Others have dug themselves a hole. Still others started slow, yet are coming on strong as the year moves onward.

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Why You Need to Read Roller Girl, a Graphic Novel

(image via)

(image via)

I am not widely familiar with graphic novels, but I decided to pick up Roller Girl a few weeks ago — a new release by Victoria Jamieson. I do a lot of reading and writing about roller derby, and I wanted to support a fellow female derby writer. I am so glad I did, because this book is about a lot more than my favorite sport. If you’re interested in a quick read about young female friendships, complete with lovely and clever art, look no further. I read this gem in less than a day – and the second I finished it, I ordered a second copy to be sent to a girl friend. [Read more…]

the Fifth Line: Conference Finals, 2015 Edition

While we were all watching playoff hockey, another spectator added chum to the shark tank of off-season coaching vacancies.

Mike Babcock, whose Detroit Red Wings spent another postseason extending a record yet coming up way short of the Cup, has been given permission to shop his coaching talents to other teams.


Babcock’s glare is so withering, it actually put out that terrifying AHL Flames mascot.


But for the moment, the courtship of Babcock takes a back seat to the four teams who’ve survived to the Conference Finals, including the new ‘comeback kids’ of the playoffs, the New York Rangers. Before we get to them, let’s look at the West:
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the Fifth Line: Who Needs OT?

Remember all those tense, amazing overtime games in round one?

Yeah, me too. Whatever happened to those? Or to series that went more than four or five games? Instead, playoff teams seem rather keen to make sure that NBC Sports Network gets us to Men in Blazers (relatively) on time.

Thankfully, Calgary and Anaheim gave us only our second OT game of round two, but even that was hockey gods deciding that Calgary didn’t deserve to get jobbed on that controversial no-goal call:


No goal!

Aside from Calgary, though, all the other series are already one win away from being over. If New York, Minnesota, and Montreal can’t course-correct quickly, the second round may be one of the briefest playoff rounds in recent history. [Read more…]