Washington Capitals center Jeff Halpern played in his second game of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs on Saturday night as the Capitals battled the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. Unfortunately for the DC native, it would also be his last.
The Capitals dropped a 2-1 decision to the Rangers on Saturday night, and were eliminated from the playoffs. The loss brings an end to Washington's season, as the Rangers move on to face the New Jersey Devils in the Eastern Conference finals.
The lone Jewish player who remains eligible to compete in the Stanley Cup Playoffs is Ethan Werek of the Phoenix Coyotes. Werek, who was originally drafted by the Rangers in the second round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft before being traded to Phoenix last year, has yet to make his NHL debut, but is traveling and practicing with the Coyotes as a member of their "taxi squad" following the completion of his rookie season with their AHL affiliate, the Portland Pirates. Phoenix opened its Western Conference final against the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday night, and lost, 4-2. The next game in the series is scheduled for Tuesday night at Jobing.com Arena in Glendale, Arizona.
Meanwhile, in the AHL, Trevor Smith is still going strong with the Norfolk Admirals. The Admirals closed out an Eastern Conference semifinal win over the Connecticut Whale on Friday with a 2-1 overtime victory at the Norfolk Scope. The Admirals will be back at the Scope on Thursday night, when they open their Eastern Conference final series against the St. John's IceCaps. San Antonio Rampage goaltender Dov Grumet-Morris is done for the year, as the Rampage lost their Western Conference semifinal series to the Oklahoma City Barons.
Finally, at the IIHF World Championship, the tournament will come to a close on Tuesday for Evan Kaufmann and Germany. With a record of two wins and four losses in their first six preliminary-round games, the Germans are tied for fifth place in their group, and will not be able to pass fourth-place Norway regardless of what happens in Tuesday's game against the Czech Republic. Only the top four teams in each group qualify for the playoffs. Kaufmann did record his first point of the tournament on Saturday, assisting on Thomas Greilinger's first-period goal in a 2-1 victory over Denmark.
J-Connection: Jeff Halpern, Ethan Werek, Trevor Smith, Dov Grumet-Morris and Evan Kaufmann are all Jewish. Kaufmann, the Minnesota-born grandson of a Holocaust survivor, was offered accelerated citizenship in Germany following his college career at the University of Minnesota, and plays as a full German citizens for the DEG Metrostars, a team in Germany's top hockey league.