Toews advances, will face Greene next

The Chicago Blackhawks were furious Wednesday night after a likely game-winning goal late in the third period was disallowed because of a controversial penalty whistled behind the play.

But captain Jonathan Toews wouldn’t let it hold the Hawks down.

The former UND standout told his team in the intermission to win the game 3-1.

They didn’t quite do that, but what happened was good enough. Defenseman Brent Seabrook blasted a shot home in overtime to send the Chicago Blackhawks to the Western Conference finals.

Toews and the Blackhawks will meet former Sioux captain Matt Greene and the Los Angeles Kings with a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals on the line. The conference finals start Saturday.

This also guarantees that a former UND player, who is one of his NHL team’s captains, will play for the Stanley Cup. Toews wears the ‘C’ for the Hawks and Greene wears an ‘A’ for the Kings.

This should be quite a showdown between the 2010 champs and the 2012 champs.

Who you got?

Greene expected at REA this weekend

Stanley Cup champion Matt Greene is expected to be in attendance this weekend for the UND vs. Denver series in Ralph Engelstad Arena.

Greene, one of UND’s most loyal alums, wrote the foreward for Allison Davis O’Keefe’s picture book that’s going on sale in the Sioux Shop today. He is expected to be an intermission guest on Midco Sports Network as well.

Greene was an alternate captain on the Cup champion Los Angeles Kings last season and scored the final goal of the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals.

Greene’s day with the Cup

Matt Greene enjoyed his day with the Stanley Cup on Friday in his hometown of Grand Ledge, Mich.

Despite a rainy day, the Cup had a busy agenda that included a stop to meet police officers and firemen and a few hours at Grand Ledge High School.

To check out some of the images, there’s a photo gallery on the Lansing State Journal site.

To read about it, there’s a story here.

Below is a picture that was tweeted by UND women’s player Layla Marvin of Greene wearing a Fighting Sioux shirt while holding the Cup and posing with the Marvins.

Greene’s day nearing; Schmaltz cut

Matt Greene will have his day with the Stanley Cup on Friday.

Greene will have the Cup in his hometown of Grand Ledge, Mich., where they are planning a parade for the Los Angeles Kings defenseman.

Greene, who has already been back in Grand Forks working out this summer, plans to involve local Grand Ledge teams in his day with the Cup.

Hopefully some good photos come from Friday in Grand Ledge.

*****

Jordan Schmaltz has been at the World Junior Championship evaluation camp since the weekend, but he won’t finish the week there.

Schmaltz was one of 11 cuts that were announced today.

The UND freshman still can make the team with a solid first half, but it’s usually not a good sign.

Rocco Grimaldi did not participate in the camp because he’s still recovering from his knee injury, but he will very likely be on the team.

The World Junior participants will miss the home series against Holy Cross on Jan. 5-6.

*****

Former MSU-Mankato coach Troy Jutting was officially hired as an assistant coach at Nebraska-Omaha. Jutting was let go by Mankato after last season.

Matt Greene wins the Stanley Cup

Matt Greene walked into the Los Angeles Kings locker room Monday night after winning his first Stanley Cup.

Nobody else was in there for the next 15 minutes.

Greene sat down in his locker, had a nice, cold beverage, looked utterly exhausted and enjoyed the moment.

NHL Network detailed that story as the analysts raved about the play of the former Sioux captain.

Not only was Greene his normal shutdown self on Monday night during the Kings’ 6-1 win in Game 6 of the Cup Finals, he even sniped a goal from the point to clinch the victory over the New Jersey Devils.

Greene is the third former Sioux to be one of the captains of a Stanley Cup winning team in the last 13 years, joining Craig Ludwig and Jonathan Toews.

Here’s a column that I wrote about Greene for today’s paper. It details what a vital role he played in turning the Kings from the worst team in the NHL to the best team in the NHL.

Greene doesn’t get a lot of credit because of the style of game he plays, but he was a critical player for the Stanley Cup champions.

Defenseman hits in playoffs

1. Matt Greene, LAK, 77
2. Michael Del Zotto, NYR, 62
3. Anton Volchenkov, NJ, 57
4. Bryce Salvador, NJ, 54

Parise, Devils send series back to L.A.

NHL Network panelist Kevin Weekes said that before Saturday night’s Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals, he “saw a North Dakota Fighting Sioux No. 11 Zach Parise jersey in the crowd before the game.”

Parise made that fan and the rest of the Prudential Center happy by scoring a goal and playing a big role in New Jersey’s 2-1 win, which now sends the series back to Los Angeles for a Game 6. The Kings lead the series 3-2.

The Sioux players were in on all three goals — Parise scored the first goal of the game, Travis Zajac assisted on the game-winning goal and Matt Greene assisted on the Kings’ only goal of the game.

Greene also had a huge hit in the first period on Patrik Elias, prompting NBC analyst Pierre McGuire to say: “I saw Matt Greene throw his weight around at North Dakota. He hits like a linebacker.”

Game 6 will be at 7 p.m. Monday night in the Staples Center.

Not over just yet

Zach Parise’s father shared with him the story of when he played for the New York Islanders and rallied from a 3-0 series deficit to win a playoff series.

Parise, Travis Zajac and the New Jersey Devils took the first of four steps needed to complete the feat in the Stanley Cup Finals. They beat the Los Angeles Kings 3-1 in Game 4 to trim L.A.’s series lead to 3-1.

Game 5 is Saturday in New Jersey at 7 p.m. (NBC).

UND’s Matt Greene led the Kings with five hits and continued his dominant play on the penalty kill. The Devils were 0-3 on the power play and are now 0-13 in the series.

Greene named third star, Kings one win away

Former Sioux captain Matt Greene is one win away from having his name on the Stanley Cup.

Greene led a dominating defensive effort in Game 3, leading the Kings to a 4-0 victory over the Devils, giving Los Angeles a 3-0 series lead. Despite not registering any points, Greene was named the third star of the game because of his efforts.

Greene was especially dominant on the penalty kill, where he is Los Angeles’ top defenseman. The Devils went 0-for-6 on the power play, including a stretch of 5-on-3 time.

Travis Zajac and Zach Parise were shut out again as the New Jersey coaching staff shuffled lines throughout the game.

Game 4 will be at 7 p.m. UND is sponsoring a viewing party at Tavern United.

Greene, Kings go up 2-0 in Cup Finals

It was another game that could have gone either way, and once again, it went the Kings’ way.

After a wide open overtime that saw each team have a handful of chances to win it, Los Angeles forward Jeff Carter snapped a shot past Martin Brodeur’s blocker to put the Kings ahead of New Jersey 2-0 in the best-of-seven series.

The Kings are now 10-0 on the road in the playoffs.

Former Sioux captain Matt Greene, who was on the ice for the winning goal, is now two games away from winning the Stanley Cup.

Zach Parise and Travis Zajac were moved to a line with Ilya Kovalchuk in overtime and I’m thinking we may see that in Game 3. The Devils have been up against it a couple times in the playoffs, so it’s too early to count them out.