Tonight we have a special guest, Russ Cohen, a man of many talents and most recently author of 100 Ranger Greats. Russ also hosts two weekend hockey shows on XM Satellite Radio, writes for NHL publications, and is a founder of the Sportsology network. Jackson and I are both fans of Russ so this will be a real treat to cover a wide range of topics from his book, to the upcoming draft and all the current goings on in the world of hockey.
Wings 3, Pittsburgh 1
This is not deja vu, we did indeed have another 3-1 game. While there were several similarities, but you have to realize that Pittsburgh played a much better game. They recovered from the disastrous night in the face-off circle on Saturday and were able to take advantage of Detroit on the the power play. Crosby upped his shot total and the Pens out shot the Wings for the second night in a row.
However, Detroit has gotten (made) all the breaks so far. Pittsburgh was ringing the pucks off the posts repeatedly and were unable to get a favorable bounce. Fill-in player Justin Abdelkater scored the back-breaking third goal at almost the exact same point as Saturday night.
The final icing on the cake was the scuffle between Malkin and Zetterberg which is the kind of old time hockey this series needed to send it back to Pittsburgh. I really thought we would go the whole series with the love tap by Sidney on Maltby being the nastiest thing that happened. Malkin has really stepped up this year and is working hard to make a difference.
After the game, the NHL rescinded Malkin's instigator penalty so he won't miss game three. Puck Daddy has the quotes from the NHL and videos.
The stat given at the end of the game is an ominous one for the Pens fans. Home teams winning the first two games are 32-1 in eventually taking the series. The way the Wings are playing I find it hard to believe that this will be the second time a comeback will be made.
I know that is near blasphemy for a true Predators fan to be so wildly excited about the Red Wings playing well, but I really appreciate their style of hockey, and how well they they are able to execute their game plan. It has never been a secret and 29 other teams know what they are going to do every game. Whenever Detroit comes to Nashville, I have no mixed allegiance but they are my favorite team for the Preds to play. You know when you win that you have beaten the best.
As gushy as I just got for the Wings, nothing compares to Pierre McGuire's apologetics for the Pens near the end of and after the game. After listening to Pierre's speech you would have thought the Pens are a lock to close out the Wings in six. Where does he come up with this stuff? Mick Kern at XM204 has a little more engaged view of where things stand. Chris at The Program also has several things figured out.
In Predator News...
Hockey'sFuture posted their Top Ten Organizational Ratings and the Preds came in at number three. We had reported last week that the bottom twenty did not include the Preds but third is higher than I imagined, with only St Louis and Montreal rated higher. Here's what they had to say about the Preds:
Strengths: The Predators have good high-end prospects at forward, defense, and in goal with Colin Wilson, Jon Blum, and Chet Pickard respectively. The organization possesses great depth along the wing with forwards such as Ryan Jones and Patric Hornqvist. The Predators are also deep in net with Mark Dekanich and Jeremy Smith beyond Pickard. Nashville drafts high-character prospects, who are self-driven. Weaknesses: An organization that used to be stocked with defensive prospects, that department looks comparatively bare as of late. While there is great forward depth along the wings, the system is thin at center. Also, Nashville drafts a great deal from Europe, and with that comes no guarantees of signability. Top 5 prospects: 1. Colin Wilson, C, 2. Chet Pickard, G, 3. Jon Blum, D, 4. Cody Franson, D, 5. Ryan Jones, RW. Key loss to graduation: Kevin Klein.
Go here, for all recent write-ups on the Predators at Hockey'sFuture.
Mark at The View From 111 uses his financial wizardry and knowledge to educate the rest of us in the area of Hockey Economics. He takes a look at the developing situation in Columbus where the Jackets are working to get a better lease arrangement with the privately owned arena.
John Glennon is getting a little time off (euphemism), but leaves us with a couple of upcoming posts to look forward to in his absence. Here is the first one covering several topics. Relax and do something you enjoy, John. We'll see you when you return.
Around the Hockey World...
Chris Botta get's inside info on Victor Hedman's visit to the Islanders from an airport worker who happens to be a reader of Chris's column. Here's another Islanders first pick story from LightHouseHockey.
Quotes from the NHL from Zetterberg on the fight at the end of the game...
Q. That stuff at the end of the game, how much of that is frustration on their part or bad blood that's kind of going between the two teams?
HENRIK ZETTERBERG: Well, I think in the playoffs and finals like this, there is a lot of emotions, a lot of feelings. When you get scrums that's the way it is. It should be a lot of feelings, and nothing more than that.
Q. When did you last time have a five minutes for fighting, and could you tell us something about what happened there with Malkin?
HENRIK ZETTERBERG: Well, I think that is first one. And what happened, I think Talbot went over and slashed Ozzie a little bit, and they got a scrum. And Malkin came around the net, and off it went.
Q. Did Malkin surprise you? Are you guys anywhere close to playing at your best game in these first two games?
HENRIK ZETTERBERG: Well, I don't know if he surprised me. He came around the net and I saw him, so I don't think he surprised me there. Still I think we can play a lot better. I think if we minimize our mistakes, it will be ?? I think it will help us. Because when they're getting odd?man rushes, they're getting a lot of them. We get a lot of speed. And they spend time in our end. And it's tiring when they keep the puck low. So, you know, if we just take care of the puck and try to play a little bit more in there and it will be better for us.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass
Mirtle has a really good article about Nick Lidstrom and how the Wings did well drafting Europeans before it was cool to do so.
Big argument in the office this morning because the Nashville Predators Calendar that I got as a giveaway from Pedigree says that June has 31 days. Disagreement resulted as to whether fourth of July was on Saturday or Sunday this year. No one flipped to July but it was correct.
Nothing earth shattering here, but Pro Hockey News actually has an article about PHX that has nothing to do with relocation.
Forechecker has a new Monday round-up with several interesting stories.
In an odd twist Wayne Gretzky may lose $9.3 million if Balsillie fails in his attempt to move the Coyotes per a story in the Toronto Star. Gretzky has backed the bid of rival Jerry Reinsdorf.
Abel to Yzerman has had enough of Gary Bettman and cuts loose in a post this morning.
Puck Daddy also like the video that we discussed on Sunday that the CBC ran prior to game one. It's good enough for a second note here. Check it out if you missed it.
Eklund and others say Jacques Martin will be named Habs coach in a 2 PM Eastern presser. He also had a few rumors, one of which about Greg Zanon, who I think is about a (B4) that he will be elsewhere in October.
Ryan at the RLD says that the NHL and NBC need to part ways among other stories this morning.
Interesting story on sports executives on Twitter by the Sports Business Journal.
A little off topic stuff for Monday with time lapse videos of changes in several places on Earth from a development/environmental standpoint. One video is of Lake Powell. Further west, at Lake Mead, I personally have seen the effects of the drought where the original boat ramp and beach in Overton near Valley of Fire is way up the hillside.
After giving Kudos to the CBC for their Game one opening, this Dos Equis parody with Don Cherry for game two is nothing to write home about.
Mirtle has an afternoon story about the Rangers raising season ticket prices 4 to 9%. He also has a link to a chart showing average ticket prices across the league. Nashville's average ticket price is ranked 18th in the league which is higher than many traditional markets including Detroit. Canadian media consistently bashes Nashville for having low ticket prices, but 18th of 30 is within a dollar of the league midpoint.
Twitter Demographics show most people never tweet. 90% of tweets come from the top 10% of users.
From The World of Junior Hockey, here are today's KHL draft results. Forechecker as another take on the issue.
From TSN's Scott Cullen, a look at the Rangers and their free agent issues.
Late news from PHX - The NHL has refused to produce the info on prior franchise movements that was requested by the Balsillie/Moyes camp.
From the National Post comes more mom and apple pie, flag waving stuff from Jim Balsillie.