Game four of the Stanley Cup Playoffs between the Philadelphia Flyers and Chicago Blackhawks kicks off tonight at 7:00 p.m. on Versus. After Wednesday's 2-1 win by the Flyers, all thoughts of a short series appears to have vanished.
A win tonight for the Flyers is almost as critical as the one in game three. If the Flyers can win, the SCF will be shortened to a best of three series. If the Hawks win, they will have a chance to close out the series on home ice on Sunday night.
Fans have had a unique opportunity to experience the ebbs and flows of the playoffs this year in a way not possible in the past. To an extent, last year was the first year that several hockey writers and other media were using Twitter to report the hour to hour nuances that flow during the Stanley Cup finals.
This year, the list of folks Tweeting notes, comments and especially pictures has increased many-fold. The Ron MacLean story (below) ran rampant on Twitter almost immediately after it happened. Pictures from the games as well as around Chicago and Philadelphia have taken on almost iconic stature. We've seen an unlimited pictures of food, statues, and national treasures.
Twitter has also bonded folks together in a national network of folks and led to gatherings in remote cities like the Tweet-up for Flood Relief in Nashville on Monday. If you don't have someone to talk hockey with next door, it doesn't matter because you can have hundreds from all across North America that will discuss any topic you want to bring up.
In prior years, a few AP style write-ups a day was the best you could expect, but with Twitter fans can almost experience the "being there" feeling that has never been possible before. It will be interesting to see where technology takes us in the next few years to provide even more minute by minute coverage of the SCF and other big sporting events as well.
The Texas Stars did the unthinkable on Thursday night as they beat the Hershey Bears 2-1 in game one of the Calder Cup finals. Hershey had not lost a home game during the playoffs or in any game since March 21.
Deep in the heart of Texas, over 750 Stars fans gathered for a viewing party in the midst of summer heat. Scott McCulloch scored the GWG 2:10 in the third period. Goalie Matt Climie held firm stopping all 12 Hershey shots.
Game two will be Saturday night in Hershey.
In Pred Nation...
David Boclair brings clarity to the rash of recent Predator draftee signings.
The evidence is in that everyone had a good time at the very successful Rink Rebuild Event put on by Paul McCann and SlapShot Radio on Wednesday night. Here is the photographic evidence.
AJ also has a report on the evening at PMFF.
Dirk starts his season reviews with Ryan Suter at OnTheForecheck.
Mark from 111 has his weekly View. Don't ask a psychiatrist for a second opinion.
Predators sponsor and investment broker A D Vallett has been accused of fraud by the SEC. The Preds denied that he was more than a team sponsor. Here is a more detailed report from the Nashville Post.
Around the NHL...
Brian Burke is shopping Thomas Kaberle and is not happy with the negative spin he's been getting from HNIC. He also indicates that he doesn't want his staff with nothing to do on the first day of the draft.
For those of us south of the border, Puck Daddy brings us the video of the HNIC Bettman-MacLean visit on Wednesday night along with some unofficial scoring.
Ron MacLean still had enough in him to help pull a guy out of the Delaware River yesterday. Here's the video interview with MacLean giving his account of the incident.
Adam Proteau has a look at some of Bettman's other recent actions.
Fanhouse has a ranking of the top 50 Free Agents. Dan Hamhuis is #4 and Dan Ellis is #45. Michael Leighton at #40 is a bit of a surprise.
Versus did well in Game 3, and the first three games have the best ratings since 2002. Steve Lapore has the story.
The Wings have allegedly locked up Tomas Holmstrom for two more years.
Intent to Blow finds out that Kerry Frazier was really the umpire that cheated Armando Gallarraga out of his perfect game.
Forbes TV has a nice piece on how the Prudential Center has helped revitalize Newark.
Kingscast goes public with their bloopers in episode 62.
Matt Reitz wants an uncensored version of the "sounds of the game."
Odds and Ends...
There is a Firefox plugin that will replace any mention of BP with an oil smudge. There's also one to erase any mention of Justin Bieber. I could ruin my daughter's online experience if I installed that one on her netbook. Hmm...
Today is National Donut Day. It was started in 1938 by the Salvation Army to honor women who served donuts to soldiers during WW1. Dunkin Donuts gives a free donut wit drink while Krispy Kreme will give a free donut with nor purchase required.
More weird weather oddities in Arizona where dust storms are routinely closing I-40 east of Flagstaff.
I'm not an NBA fan but you can get a Lakers or Celtics badge on Foursquare just by shouting.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass