Friday night's action between Detroit and Chicago finally seemed to get the series going in the right direction for those who didn't want to see a quick end to the second round of the playoffs.
After falling behind 3-0, the Wings came back in workmanlike fashion to even the game in a four and a half minute stretch at the end of the second period.
After a change in goal which Christobal Huet saw his first ice time in a month, the Hawks looked like they were waiting for the final shoe to fall but managed to make a game of it and hold firm in the third period and sent the game to OT. Each team only managed six shots in the final stanza.
Before you could even get comfortable and settle into the rhythm of overtime, Patrick Sharp buried the puck in the empty side of the net to cap the a seemingly impossible comeback from mediocrity to win the game for the Hawks. I personally had written the Hawks off at the beginning of the third period when Huet arrived after the second period burst from the Wings.
A couple of highlights of the game included a huge hit by Niklas Kronwall on Marty Havlat in the first period and the steady goal keeping of Chris Osgood to keep the Wings in the game after going down 3-0.
The hit by Kronwall resulted in a five minute major and a game misconduct but no one could really figure out why it was called. Aside from the fact that Kronwall is not well liked by some, it did not appear that he did anything but clean the clock of Havlat who had his head down trying to play the puck. I can't imagine any further action by the league prior to the next game as enough injustice was done at the time of the hit. Mirtle has quotes and discussion on the hit too.
Tonight's game, finds Carolina in the same boat as the Hawks were heading into Friday's action. In order to keep the series going, I hope that Carolina's home town magic will show up and boost the Canes a boost to give the series a longer life.
Ryan has a wrap up and projections for tonight at the RLD.
The NHL made a short, terse announcement on Friday that said "If both Conference Final series have been decided by Tuesday, May 26, the Western Conference winner would host Game One of the 2009 Stanley Cup Final on Thursday, May 28. Otherwise, Game One will be played on Friday, June 5."
So basically, since both series did not sweep, we are guaranteed a minimum of two days dead time between series even if Carolina -Pittsburgh goes to seven games. Even if games one and two are played on back to back days, this puts game seven on Tuesday, June 16, two days before the NHL Awards on the 18th in Las Vegas. The league really needs to be a little more flexible in the scheduling in order to move things along if the third round ends early in both series.
In Predator News...
Today's Tennessean brings another joyful story from Brad Schrade about a minor capital infusion that was needed by the ownership group at the end of the season which is month old news. After you read through all the muck raking, a couple of positives are buried in the story.
The current owners are attempting to purchase the portion of the team tied up in the Boots DelBiaggio bankruptcy court. More importantly, season ticket renewals are equal to last year at a 70% clip so far and new sales are ahead of the same point last summer. That is not bad during tough economic times and with rumors of closure of the GM plant in Spring Hill where a chuck of the fan base dwells.
John Glennon touches on a few random topics, the most important of which are that Joel Ward is working to return to the Preds and that Sully has hired an agent. I think the Ward part is positive, but I can't imagine an agent won't push Sully to go the free agent route. Sully has publicly discussed hauling a bunch of stuff back to Canada, which hopefully is for the summer or storage for retirement. I hope he used hired hands for the heavy lifting.
There is a good interview with David Poile on the Pred's web site as he puts a wrap on the World Championships.
Around the NHL...
At the Memorial Cup, the finals are set as Windsor beat Drummondville 3-2 in overtime Friday night. Sunday's Kelowna-Windsor finals can be seen on the NHL network in the US at 3:00 Central.
In the AHL, a surprising Houston team forced game six with a double OT 4-3 win over Manitoba while Hershey overcame a 3-0 deficit to beat Providence 6-4.
The big news that we touched on yesterday was the firing of Mike Keenan in Calgary. Mirtle has a good short analysis and speculates that Brent Sutter now has a choice of where to go between Edmonton and Calgary.
I didn't see the interview, but the trusted @PredsRadio reported "Alexander Medvedev just said on CBC that he wants to buy an NHL team. And put it in Quebec City! Yes, that Medvedev of KHL infamy." That would be interesting if Balsillie and a Russian squared off in a bidding war. Who would you pull for?
Sean Leahy pointed us to the Bobby Holik retirement announcement. He had a solid 18 year career and now wants to spend more time with his family. Good luck, Bobby, in all your future endeavors. You earned the time off.
Travis at FiveForHowling wraps up all the doings in Phoenix for the week in this article. TheYotesDiva still has her sense of humor as she points us to this bit of comedy. She also sends us to this rather jumbled piece on a year 2020 look at the NHL landscape in a post anti-trust exemption world. Kansas City Predators is not funny.
Off topic but from a hockey guy, Eklund says Verizon's MiFi is the best thing ever. After reading this, I would agree right down to the part about pricing. I bet this on a family vacation, with a car full of laptops, would keep everyone quiet, right up to when someone stated hogging the bandwidth.
More later possibly, but I'm set to help move the mother-in-law this evening, most probably during the Canes-Pens game time.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass