Thursday, May 28, 2009

Thursday's Notes - The Finals are in Sight!

The Detroit Red Wings finally took care of business and finished off the Chicago Black Hawks in overtime on Wednesday night by a 2-1 score. The Wings will now move to the finals to face the Pittsburgh Penguins in a rematch from last year starting Saturday Night on NBC. Did anyone else feel a complete let down in the Conference finals after a great second round?

The game itself was the best one of the series going scoreless through two periods. The first period was all Wings as they out shot the Hawks 21-9. In the second period the Hawks played much better but still were unable to score.

Daniel Cleary finally broke the ice 6:08 into the third to give the Wings a brief lead. Patrick Kane tied the game 6 1/2 minutes later to send the game into OT. The Wings had a chance to win in regulation but a spectacular save in the closing seconds by Christobal Huet extended the contest.

In overtime, it was all Detroit and Darren Helm scored the game winner 3:58 into the extra period. Cristobal Huet needs to be commended for his excellent play in goal for the Hawks as he stopped 44 of 46 shots at his net. He was the prime reason that the Hawks were able to make a complete turn around from Sunday's fiasco.

As rumored originally by E J Hradek, the first two games of the playoffs will be this Saturday and Sunday nights on NBC. Game time for all seven games will be 7:00 Central with the exception of Sunday which is currently set as TBA. A full schedule can be found here.

In the Preds World...

Hockey's Future Spring Organization Ranking are out. 21-30 is here and 11-20 is here. The top ten, when announced, will include the Predators, to no one's surprise, considering the number of top prospects that the Preds have as detailed in a piece last week. Last place goes to the Minnesota Wild and the Islanders, Devils, Ducks and Lightning round out the bottom five.

John Glennon has more on Colin Wilson and whether his maturity can win him a spot on the Pred's roster this fall.

In the PHX Circus...

At the hearing Wednesday, the schedule was set to move the case along sooner than originally planned with a new date of June 9 to try to sort out the relocation issue. The biggest news of the day was the information about the second bidder which appears to have offered more than Balsillie at an earlier time.

The second bid does not involve relocation which would overcome one of Balsillie's largest hurdles, that being the issue with the City of Glendale's claim for monetary damages for breaking the lease if the team leaves Phoenix. The Globe and Mail has a different take on the second buyer. There is a lot of fishy dealings going on and it will be interesting to see the whole story at some point in the future.

Around the NHL...

Glenn Anderson has an interesting perspective comparing the Pittsburgh Penguins to the Edmonton Oilers of the 83-84 season which was the last team to lose in the finals one year and return the next. The similarities don't end there. Check it out.

At the Long Island Tweetup on Wednesday night it appeared that a good time was had by all based on the tweets filtering out of the bar. A few technical issues were overcome and soon forgotten. It's great to feel like a part of an event 1000 miles away with a the link through Twitter. A couple of pictures follow, the second of which is really geeky, with four people probably Tweeting the person beside them.

Tweetup Organizer@dani3boyz and writer @7thwoman at the Long Island #NHLtweetup

@HockeyBarn @mediaphyter @dani3boyz @antheia Geeking out on their BBs at #NHLtweetup Long Island.

Long Island's Seventh Woman (pictured above) gives her full in person wrap-up to last night's Tweet-up on Long Island as well as an update on @dani3boyz and the big Tweetup planned for the draft in Montreal next month. Word on the street is that the next big push for a nationwide Tweetup will be for next Tuesday during game three of the Finals.

More news of marginal players heading to the KHL to play as Michael Tellqvist signs to play for Ak Bars. As I wrote Tuesday night, this trend will continue.

Mirtle has an update on ticket avalability at the NHL Awards Show in Las Vegas which will be held three weeks from tonight. This is on the heels of a prior story that wasn't well received by the NHL. I personally, plan to be there as a member of the press, and I am looking forward to it regardless of how many seats are sold. Mirtle also has a story with a poll on whether the Wings recent cup run qualifies as a dynasty.

Eric Smith of BlueJacketBuzz has a good article about how much Tampa covets Victor Hedman at this year's draft. I wonder how Brian Burke will use the Lightning's desire to his advantage in trying to land John Tavares.

More Later...

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass

I link to this article not for it's content, but the fact that the hometown Arizona Republic has such a meager offering of the yesterday's hearing in Phoenix. It is no wonder that newspapers in the US are in trouble if they can't cover a local story any better than this. If nothing else the potential economic impact to the City of Glendale should be headlines.

Off topic... 100 best movie lines in 200 seconds.

This is an amazing thing that the Twitterverse did to help @dani2boyz fund the trip to the NHL Draft Tweetup in Montreal. After all, what would a tweetup be without the Queen of Tweetups.

The above picture is a rarity with Barry Trotz (with a big smile) from @loudestnoise at the Pred's appearance @rhcc Family Fun Night. on Wednesday night. Vern Fiddler, Peter Horachek, and Gnash also attended.

Puck Daddy points out that you just can't make everyone happy with the scheduling of the Cup's Final round. The two day gap versus eight day delay reminds me of the old laxative commercial from the 1960's, where they discuss the confusing state of prune usage, "Is four enough, six too many?" If you don't remember that, you aren't older than dirt like me.

More on the NHL Awards ceremony mentioned above... The NHL has now released a partial list of performers and presenters at the ceremony.

Big news for Preds Fans as Mirtle reports from his Russian contacts that it appears Alexander Radulov has decided to stay in the KHL at least for another year. It was a long shot that he would return and not cause major issues in the locker room. This may be a situation where David Poile will trade Rad's rights to someone if the right deal comes along.

On the NHL Hour, Thursday afternoon, Commissioner Gary Bettman said that the league had intended to play back to back games to start the finals for over a year.

Off day news and notes
from Pittsburgh's Brian Metzer.

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