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April 24: Show In Review

The Canadian Press

Mike and Dave Bastl are joined by Pierre McGuire, Darren Dreger and Steve Simmons to discuss Matt Cooke’s seven game suspension and whether Marc-Andre Fleury is in the midst of another post-season meltdown.

Audio:

Hour 1:

Hour 1 of Mike Richards in the Morning with co-host David Bastl, recapping last night's NHL Playoffs. Hour 1 Audio

Hour 2:

Hour 2 of Mike Richards in the Morning with co-host David Bastl, talking NHL Playoffs with Pierre McGuire and Darren Dreger. Hour 2 Audio

Hour 3:

Hour 3 of Mike Richards in the Morning with co-host David Bastl. Hour 3 Audio


Recap:

7:15 Pierre McGuire – NHL on NBC Analyst

The Pittsburgh Penguins find themselves in a difficult situation now that their series is tied at two games apiece. Pittsburgh has put themselves in a very tough spot when you consider the fact that this team is considered a perennial Stanley Cup contender every year. Will the Penguins make a goaltending change if they lose game five? Dallas is a very “reinvigorated market” & their spirited performance vs. the Anaheim Ducks has really helped revitalize the fan base. Would the Ducks contemplate starting John Gibson for game five in Anaheim? Bruce Boudreau’s decision to scratch Teemu Selanne last night was also extremely perplexing. The Matt Cooke suspension was “just about right” because a seven game suspension in the playoffs is actually quite significant. Henrik’s Zetterberg’s status for tonight remains questionable however the Red Wings need “all hands on deck” in order to get this series tied at 2-2. We shouldn’t be that surprised with Boston’s dominance because they did win the President’s Trophy during the regular season. The outcome of the San Jose vs. Los Angeles series has actually been a lot more surprising. Lastly Ryan Miller’s penchant for giving up so many short side goals this post-season has been incredibly disturbing.

7:45 Leafs Breakfast: Darren Dreger – NHL Insider

Matt Cooke’s seven game suspension was “fair” because the belief is that “one game in the playoffs equals two games in the regular season.” Therefore basic math would indicate that this suspension is equivalent to roughly 12-14 regular season games. Marc-Andre Fleury had a horrendous performance vs. the Columbus Blue Jackets which should leave Penguins management feeling concerned. The bottom line is that Fleury needed to stop the Dubinsky/Foligno goals & “make the key save at the right time.” The Penguins have been very undisciplined throughout this series & Sidney Crosby hasn’t scored a goal in nine straight playoff games, so it’s unfair to pin this series solely on Fleury. Ryan Miller has really struggled at the First United Centre & Chicago can be a very intimidating environment however, Patrick Kane’s overtime goal was a thing of beauty. The Anaheim Ducks find themselves in the midst of a goaltending controversy & you have to wonder what type of direction Bruce Boudreau will take heading into game five. The San Jose Sharks seem poised to sweep the Los Angeles Kings which is absolutely shocking considering how tightly contested this series was supposed to be. Let’s give some credit to San Jose for finally “stepping up in the post-season.” Perhaps the Sharks are finally living up to their lofty expectations?

8:15 Steve Simmons – Sun Media & The Reporters

Matt Cooke’s suspension makes sense because there is a good chance that the Minnesota Wild won’t play more than seven playoff games. Marc-Andre Fleury’s future in Pittsburgh remains questionable after another poor post-season performance. However it’s unfair to pin these struggles solely on the shoulders of Fleury. If the Penguins lose this series Dan Bylsma probably gets fired after a poor Olympic/playoff performance. The Blue Jays are off to a great start primarily because of key injuries that have affected other teams in the American League East. Is this a fluke year where pretty much “anyone can win this division?” The Raptors have actually played better on the road compared to the friendly confines of the ACC. This team seems to be built for these types of circumstances (hostile environment) however playoff series can change on a dime & the younger players are gradually adjusting to the “playoff grind.”

8:45 Ken Daniels – Fox Sports Detroit Play-by-Play Announcer

Mike Babcock should be the unanimous coach of the year because he has never won the award & the coaching job he did this season was phenomenal. Claude Julien should be another strong candidate for coach of the year which is what makes this series so intriguing. The Red Wings must find a way to slow down the Bruins is they want to win & it would be shocking to see Henrik Zetterberg back in the lineup tonight. Gustav Nyqvist has enjoyed a breakout season however we shouldn’t be surprised because it was obvious from early on that “this kid has skills.”





April 23: Show In Review

The Canadian Press

Mike and Dave Bastl recap last NHL playoff action including the Bruins taking their first series lead versus the Red Wings and the Canadiens finishing off the Lightning with Darren Dreger and Pierre McGuire, and Doris Burke joins the guys to discuss DeMar DeRozan’s impressive fourth quarter and the electric atmosphere in-and-around the ACC.

Audio:

Hour 1:

Hour 1 of Mike Richards in the Morning with co-host David Bastl, recapping a big win for the Raptors and last night's NHL Playoffs. Hour 1 Audio

Hour 2:

Hour 2 of Mike Richards in the Morning with co-host David Bastl, talking NHL Playoffs with Pierre McGuire and Darren Dreger. Hour 2 Audio

Hour 3:

Hour 3 of Mike Richards in the Morning with co-host David Bastl, talking NBA playoffs with Doris Burke. Hour 3 Audio


Recap:

7:15 Pierre McGuire – NHL on NBC Analyst

The Boston Bruins had a “surgical” 3-0 win over the Detroit Red Wings last night. The Bruins had several chances (Hamilton/Marchand) therefore this game could’ve easily been 6-0 at the end of the third period. The Dougie Hamilton goal on Jimmy Howard shouldn’t be considered soft “just because it’s short side doesn’t make it weak.” A similar incident occurred during game two between Columbus & Pittsburgh when Matt Calvert scored on Marc-Andre Fleury. The Los Angeles Kings have had an incredibly difficult time keeping up with the San Jose Sharks. Jonathan Quick has not had a good series which is strange because he typically is a “bounce back” type of goalie. Tonight’s game between Pittsburgh & Columbus is huge & this has been an incredibly physical series. The Penguins must find a way to “seize the moment” & escape with a 3-1 series lead.

7:45 Leafs Breakfast: Darren Dreger – NHL Insider

If the Tampa Bay Lightning could redo the 2013 draft over again they probably would’ve selected Seth Jones. However it’s difficult to determine how much of an impact Jones would’ve had on this series because he still remains very much a “work in progress.” The bottom line is that the defensive core of the Lightning just wasn’t good enough. The Boston Bruins needed a wakeup call & that’s exactly what they got in game one. Head coach Claude Julien definitely used the game one loss as a rallying point & his team seems to have “flipped the switch” prior to game two. Make no mistake this series is far from over… The Philadelphia Flyer’s decision to swap Ray Emery for Steve Mason didn’t have the desired impact however maybe it’s time we gave the New York Rangers credit for “finally living up to the playoffs.” Philadelphia was considered a perennial dark horse at the start of the playoffs & this team still has plenty of fight left in them. The Los Angles Kings had a much better effort in game three however Patrick Marleau’s fluky overtime goal has put them on the brink of elimination. The weird thing is that Los Angeles has always been a very stingy/defensive squad which obviously hasn’t been the case throughout the first three games of the series. San Jose remains a very good team & might be able to “make some noise” if they are able to advance past the first round. The Chicago/St Louis series is filled with plenty of storylines & we should give some credit to the Blues spirited post-season performance based on how they basically limped into the playoffs.

8:15 Stewart Johnstson – TSN President (In-Studio)

Mr. Johnston joined Mike Richards & David Bastl in-studio to discuss the excitement surrounding the Toronto Raptors playoff run.





8:30 Doris Burke – ESPN/ABC NBA Analyst

The atmosphere outside the ACC has been absolutely electric & even some of the major U.S. markets have started to take notice. The Toronto Raptors have almost a “college basketball feel” surrounding the team & last night’s win had a huge impact on a relatively young Raptors squad. DeMar DeRozan is quickly gaining notice as a “budding superstar” amongst NBA circles. There was some concern towards the end of last night’s game when DeRozan ran into foul trouble however he found a way to persevere.





April 22: Show In Review

The Canadian Press

Mike and Dave Bastl recap last night’s NHL playoff action and chat with Darren Dreger, Steve Simmons, Pierre McGuire and Mike Johnson about whether Steven Stamkos and the Lightning can avoid a sweep at the hands of the Canadiens, and Jack Armstrong checks in to discuss what the Raptors have to do to bounce back in Game 2 versus the Nets.

Audio:

Hour 1:

Hour 1 of Mike Richards in the Morning, talking NHL and NBA playoffs. Hour 1 Audio

Hour 2:

Hour 2 of Mike Richards in the Morning, talking NHL playoffs and Toronto Raptors basketball. Hour 2 Audio

Hour 3:

Hour 3 of Mike Richards in the Morning, talking Blue Jays, Golf and NHL Playoffs. Hour 3 Audio


Recap:

7:15 Pierre McGuire – NHL on NBC Analyst

The Pittsburgh Penguins battled back & never panicked after a rough start last night in Columbus. Todd Richards assessment of his team was correct “the Blue Jackets didn’t let off the gas, it was the Penguins that really picked up steam” Pittsburgh should definitely be concerned with the lack of scoring from Crosby/Malkin however “it only takes one shot to change a series.” Matt Cooke’s hit on Tyson Barrie was very questionable. Replays indicate that Cooke clearly turns his knee towards Barrie therefore the hit in question does not appear to be accidental. Cooke has done a nice job of rehabilitating his image therefore it will be interesting to see how many games he is suspended. The Chicago Blackhawks vs. St. Louis Blues seems “destined to go the distance.” Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford was the story of game three and really helped his team back in the series. Last night’s Ryan Getzlaf vs. Antoine Roussel incident was unfortunate however this is the exact reason why “people don’t disclose injuries in the NHL.” In order for the Boston Bruins to beat the Detroit Red Wings they will have to continue to dominate the neutral zone, be physical on the fore check, & neutralize the Red Wings home crowd early on. At this point it appears that Tampa Bay will is “all but done” & the Los Angeles Kings must find a way to slow down the San Jose Sharks.

7:45 Leafs Breakfast: Darren Dreger & Steve Simmons

Jon Cooper’s light hearted approach was basically an effort to deflect away from some of the criticism surrounding the Tampa Bay Lightning. Cooper is a “thinking mans coach” & tried a different approach in order to lighten the mood. Matt Cooke’s knee on knee hit was absolutely inappropriate & you have to wonder how the Avalanche will overcome the loss of their top offensive defenseman. Cooke’s reputation classifies himself as a repeat offender therefore we could see a five game suspension handed out.

8:00 Jack Armstrong – NBA on TSN Analyst

There’s been a lot of good banter between the Toronto Raptors & Brooklyn Nets. The most important thing for the Raptors is to “back up their talk with a victory tonight.” Turnovers proved to be Toronto’s undoing in game one therefore this will definitely be an area of focus for Dwane Casey & company. In basketball “you get what you deserve” however the officiating must be a little bit more consistent heading into game two.

8:30 Mike Johnson – NHL on TSN Analyst

The Matt Cooke suspension is difficult to predict because he had a poor history however he has done an excellent job of rehabilitating his image over the past few seasons. Cooke has essentially been clean for the past eighteen months therefore it’s difficult to predict if the NHL will treat him as a first time offender. At this point it would seem that Cooke gets suspended for roughly 3-4 games. The loss of Stephane Robidas will be a huge for the Anaheim Ducks & you have to wonder if this injury spells the end of Robidas career? The Montreal Canadiens have a glorious opportunity to eliminate Tampa Bay tonight & can’t afford to let the Lightning get back into this series.

8:45 Dave Andreychuk – VP of Corporate & Community Affairs

Game three was a difficult pill to swallow for the Tampa Bay Lightning however all the focus is on getting the win tonight in Montreal. Head coach Jon Cooper tried to get his team & used the “mock press conference with Stamkos” to try and rally the troops. Contrary to popular belief goaltending hasn’t been the Lightning’s achilles heel because Lindback has made several key saves that have kept Tampa Bay in this series.





April 21: Show In Review

The Canadian Press

Mike and Dave are joined by Pierre McGuire and Darren Dreger to recap Sunday’s NHL playoff action including the Canadiens taking a commanding 3-0 series lead over the Lightning, and Josh Lewenberg checks in to discuss the adjustments the Raptors will be making heading into Game 2 versus the Nets.

Audio:

Hour 1:

Hour 1 of Mike Richards in the Morning, talking NHL and NBA playoffs. Hour 1 Audio

Hour 2:

Hour 2 of Mike Richards in the Morning, talking NHL playoffs and Toronto Raptors basketball. Hour 2 Audio

Hour 3:

Hour 3 of Mike Richards in the Morning, talking Blue Jays, Golf and NHL Playoffs. Hour 3 Audio


Recap:

6:30 Josh Lewenberg – TSN 1050 Toronto Raptors Analyst

Game 1 was a battle of experience vs. youth & the Raptors will have to find a way to overcome the fact that the Nets (Pierce/Garnett) are getting the “star calls.” DeMar DeRozan should be much more prepared for game two because he is now more familiar with the increased pace during the playoffs. DeRozan simply needs to “calm down” & put far less pressure on himself. Kevin Garnett appears to have “lost a step” however he still remains a formidable opponent & the Valanciunas vs. Garnett match up has provided plenty of intrigue. Toronto needs to find a way to utilize Valanciunas’ size in the post in order to even up the series at one game apiece. Kyle Lowry did his job in game one & his previous playoff experience definitely helped keep Toronto within reach until the final five minutes of the fourth quarter. Hopefully Terrence Ross doesn’t run into foul trouble tomorrow night & you have to wonder how Amir Johnson’s nkle injury will hold up.

7:15 Pierre McGuire – NHL on NBC Analyst

The Boston Bruins vs. Detroit Red Wings series has been a treat to watch & definitely has the ability to “go the distance.” The Bruins fed of the raw emotion from the fans in Boston & were able to neutralize Detroit’s speed en route to a 4-1 victory. There’s obviously plenty of bad blood between the Hawks/Blues primarily because of the style that these teams play. Some of the sidelines throughout this series include Seabrook & Keith vs. Pietrangelo/Shattenkirk & Quenneville vs. Hitchcock. Brent Seabrook’s three game suspension wasn’t surprising however he likely “got caught up in the moment.” Joe Pavelski’s spirited performance last night was a treat to watch & after two games it seems like the Sharks are simply too fast for the Kings. Pavelski has been San Jose’s best player this season & might be on the cusp of superstardom. Doug Wilson & company have really helped change the culture in the Sharks dressing room by inserting some youth into the lineup & are finally reaping the rewards. The Tampa Bay Lightning have had a difficult series vs. the Montreal Canadiens & really haven’t found a way to overcome the loss of goaltender Ben Bishop. Making matters worse is the fact that Tampa Bay definitely deserved a better fate last night & now find themselves facing an 0-3 deficit.

7:45 Leafs Breakfast: Darren Dreger – NHL Insider

The Tampa Bay Lightning had a hard fought loss vs. the Montreal Canadiens last night. Alexander Killorn’s disallowed goal & some questionable offside/icing calls clearly did not sit well with head coach Jon Cooper. Obviously both sides had completely different interpretations of these calls however it’s the Lightning that are on the brink of elimination. Brent Seabrook’s three game suspension for his hit on David Backes “seemed just about right” because it was an avoidable collision. Give St. Louis credit for overcoming adversity (limping into the playoffs) & holding serve en route to a 2-0 series lead as the series shifts to Chicago. The San Jose Sharks offensive performance vs. the Los Angeles Kings throughout the first two games makes you wonder “how this is even possible?” Ray Emery’s performance last night vs. the New York Rangers gives the Flyers a measure of confidence perhaps they can afford to rest Steve Mason & avoid any risk of further injury?

8:15 Dirk Hayhurst – TSN 1050 Blue Jays Analyst

The Blue Jays missed a golden opportunity to “pull away” from the pack last night vs. the Cleveland Indians. The Blue Jays are still in the thick of the ALE division because there really hasn’t been another team that has stepped up (primarily due to injuries) The funny thing is that the Blue Jays have one of the best pitchers (Mark Buehrle) & hitters (Mekly Cabrera) in the American League East. We shouldn’t read too much into the struggles of Colby Rasmus & Edwin Encarnacion because “they can’t continue this horrendous performance forever.” It’s difficult to determine who was at fault for yesterday’s collapse vs. the Indians. Loup had a tremendous year in 2013 & “you want to leave the kid in so he can develop & take his game to the next level.”

8:30 Bob Weeks – Host Score Golf

There certainly is a hole in terms of a “limelight factor” due to the absence of Tiger Woods & Phil Mickelson. Golf really needs a marquee name in order to “carry the banner” perhaps Rory McIlroy or Ricky Fowler are up to the task? Golf is going through a period of transition therefore it will be interesting to which player steps up. The biggest surprise this season has been, the staggering amount of first time winners Patrick Reed, the rise of young Jordan Spieth, & the injury to Tiger Woods. Graham DeLaet remains a name to watch as we look towards the Players Championship in May (beware the 17th island green).

8:45 Mike Lange – Pittsburgh Penguins Radio Voice

The Pittsburgh Penguins have everyone on edge & tonight’s game three vs. the Columbus Blue Jackets should be a dandy. No one in Pittsburgh thought this series was going to be easy because once the playoffs start “everyone goes back to square one.” The biggest problem for the Penguins is to “maintain that edge” due to the fact that they have won a lot of regular season games. The bottom line is that the Penguins haven’t got big production out of some high profile players (Crosby/Malkin) however the series is tied at 1-1 so there is plenty of room for improvement. Brandon Dubinsky has played a major role in shutting down Crosby & the Penguins & the team must find away to get away from this match up.



Mike Richards In The Morning: April 14-18

Mike Richards In The Morning: April 7-11

Mike Richards In The Morning: March 31-April 4



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