Reyes: Flashing the Leather

Logo for Flashing the Leather column. - Graphic / Spencer Reyes

Metropolitan Division up for Grabs

The 2022 NHL playoffs start on Monday, May 2, and 13 out of 16 teams have clinched playoff berths en route to the Stanley Cup. Three of the divisions have already had their regular season champions, leaving the Metropolitan Division as the lone set of teams to duke it out for second seed in the Eastern Conference.

The 56-15-6 Florida Panthers have secured the number one seed in the Eastern Conference, while the Colorado Avalanche has clinched the west with a record of 55-17-6. The Calgary Flames have settled into first place in the Pacific Division. They have won 48 games and lost 20 games in regulation and ten in overtime.

This leaves the Metropolitan juggernauts by themselves in the last three games of the season. The Carolina Hurricanes sit on top with a win-loss record of 51-20-8. The 51-22-6 New York Rangers are in second, followed by the 45-23-11 Pittsburgh Penguins. The Washington Capitals are fighting to stay in the Wild Card Race with 44 wins, 23 losses, and 11 overtime losses. 

The Boston Bruins and Capitals seem to be locked for the Eastern Conference wild card if they can’t partake in the top three seedings of the Atlantic and Metropolitan divisions. The Bruins are only one point behind the defending back-to-back Stanley Cup champions, the Tampa Bay Lightning. 

The playoff teams in the Eastern Conference are all locked in, now we wait for their placing and seeding, which can affect which teams play as they prepare for the Stanley Cup Finals. It will be an interesting contest as these teams will pour every ounce of energy into this last set of games for the 2021-2022 NHL regular season.

Orioles Top Pitcher Done for Season

The Baltimore Orioles’ 29-year-old ace John Means has officially been shut down for the season and will most likely be out until the 2023 All-Star Break.

Means will undergo Tommy John Surgery after being placed on the 10-day injury leave on Wednesday, April 13, for an elbow strain in his left arm. Up until now, the 2019 All-Star has not had any major injuries in his professional career.

The Kansas native was signed by the Orioles in 2014 after being drafted in the 11th round of the 2014 MLB Amateur Draft. He started his career with the GCL Orioles and moved on to the Aberdeen IronBirds in 2014 when they were a Class-A Short Season team.

After 11 games of work, he was quickly promoted to the Single-A Delmarva Shorebirds and was also a part of the Frederick Keys in 2015. In the next season, he started off with the Double-A Bowie Baysox. After two years of playing for the Orioles Double-A and Triple-A affiliates, Means made his MLB debut on Sept. 26, 2018. 

Means has proven himself to be a southpaw of the future as the MLB rolls over from the last decade. On May 5, 2021, he pitched his first no-hitter against the Seattle Mariners when he faced 27 batters, struck out 12 and only let one runner on base on a drop third strike.

Means joined eight other starting pitchers in 2021 who had no-hitters, an all-time record, and is in company with nine other Orioles who have tossed no-hitters for Baltimore.

Hopefully, Means can make a speedy recovery as he continues his career as a Baltimore Oriole for the sixth-straight year in 2023.

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