Detroit finished off Chicago last night, they let them hang around for a while but then Darren Helm put away the Wings 46th shot of the night in OT. Helm's ice-time has really picked up in this series and he's surely cemented his spot on the roster for next year but we won't be expecting a lot of offensive production from him.
Another goal for Danny Cleary last night gave him five for the series and eight for the playoffs in total. With Datsyuk and Lidstrom out this has really opened the door for Cleary to be mentioned as a Conn Smythe Trophy candidate... seriously.
We won't say much more about Valtteri Filppula as we've been gushing over him lately, just that he added another assist last night to extend his point streak to six games (1+7=8 during the streak).
Cristobal Huet stopped 44 of the 46 shots he faced and turned in a fine performance in a difficult situation. With Khabi likely done in Chicago, Huet will be the man next year and although we wouldn't feel that confident with him as our goalie in the playoffs, don't listen to all this talk that Chicago will be looking to get rid of him... he'll bounce back and we expect him to rack up some impressive numbers in the regular season next year.
The Rangers signed 25-year old Swiss free agent Andreas Ambuhl to a deal. He had a decent season for Davos in Switzerland this year and was attracting interest from a few teams but we'd put his chances of making an impact next year at slim. While we're on the Rangers, they signed their 2008 1st rounder, Michael Del Zotto to an entry level deal the other day. He has some real upside but has some work to do on his play in his own zone so he's probably another year or two away.
So after all that Patrick Roy turned down the Avs offers to be their head coach and GM and says he will remain with his junior team... so this leaves Avs President Pierre Lacroix in a bit of a prickly situation as he's now supposed to go back and tell Tony Granato how much faith he has in him as a coach? Or better yet, Lacroix will hire a GM and then Granato will be fired? Lacroix has really proven that he's like school in the summer, no class.
Jonathan Ericsson missed last night's game after undergoing surgery for an appendicitis... apparently that wasn't just bad fish that was making him feel off... team says that he should be able to return for game #1 of the finals.
As suspected, none of Pavel Datsyuk, Nicklas Lidstrom, Marty Havlat and Nikolai Khabibulin could go last night. A pretty quick turnaround for the finals could make a Datsyuk or Lidstrom return for game #1 questionable.
What's distracting us today? Video evidence of Cuba Gooding Jr. on skates... at the Luc Robitaille Celebrity Shootout recently. He's not as terrible as we thought.... we were actually starting to like his game as he scores, has a break-dancing inspired goal celebration (that we'd like to see Ovechkin attempt) and even drops the gloves with former NHLer Reid Simpson but then it all went downhill... after the worst fight in hockey history, he proceeds to strip-tease all his equipment off... luckily the video fades out before he drops his pants...