There will be at least one Newfoundland-born National Hockey League player advancing to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs this season and a crack at bringing Lord Stanley’s mug back to Newfoundland again.
Colin Greening and the Ottawa Senators will hook up with Michael Ryder’s Montreal Canadiens in an all-Canadian first-round playoff series beginning Thursday night at the Bell Centre in Montreal.
Greening, from St. John’s, will be looking to win his first Stanley Cup, while Bonavista’s Ryder will try for a second ring after winning it all with the Boston Bruins two years ago.
Daniel Cleary of Riverhead, Harbour Grace is the first NewfOundlander to win the Stanley Cup, when the Detroit Red Wings beat the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games back in 2008. Cleary’s Wings met the Anaheim Ducks in the first game of their opening-round Western Conference series Tuesday night in California (Note: the result of that game was not available at The Telegram’s press deadline).
Ryane Clowe, the Fermuese-born and Mount Pearl-raised robust winger, is the fourth Newfoundlander slated to appear in this year’s playoffs, with the New York Rangers. The Rangers and Washington Capitals meet in the first round beginning Thursday night.
Teddy Purcell of St. John’s and the Tampa Bay Lightning, and Adam Pardy (Bonavista) and Luke Adam (St. John’s) of the Buffalo Sabres were on tams that fell short of an invite to this year’s Stanley Cup party.
Following a mid-season trade from the Dallas Stars, Ryder was a key figure in the Canadiens’ lineup with 10 goals and 21 points in 27 games. Overall, he finished the year with 16 goals and 35 points in 46 games, one point behind Purcell (11-25) who topped all Newfoundlanders in NHL scoring this season.
Greening, a strapping 6-3, 220-pound winger, tied for fifth in Ottawa scoring with eight goals and 19 points following an impressive 17-goal, 37-point rookie campaign in 2011-12.
Cleary, a 14-year NHL veteran at age 34, had nine goals and 15 points for the Red Wings this season.
As for Clowe, he was one of the NHL’s hot-ticket items at the trade deadline, and was scooped up by the Rangers for a playoff run. Following a slow start with San Jose Sharks (no goals, 11 assists in 28 games), Clowe caught fire with the Rangers, finishing the year with three goals and five helpers in 12 games.
Ryder, Cleary and Clowe are all unrestricted free agents this summer. Clowe is finishing off a deal paying him $4 million per season, Ryder at $3.5 million a year and Cleary at $3 million. Those contracts were pro-rated over a 48-game season.
Pardy is also a UFA come July 1, having closed out a two-year deal which paid him $2 million per season. And Greening, who earned a pro-rated $800,000 this year, will become a UFA following the 2013-14 season after his contract which pays him $950,000 expires.