NHL Playoff Morning 3rd Round Papers (Friday Edition): Cam Ward is 4-0 in game 7′s, Hawks assistant coach helped land Quenneville, Can Ducks convince veterans to return, GM Doug Wilson talks Sharks, If Thrashers left Atlanta, would anyone care? Oh, yes.
3rd Round Playoff Matchups
The NHL has announced the television schedule for the conference finals as the Penguins and Hurricanes will face off on Versus, while NBC will be showing the Winter Classic rematch between the Wings and Hawks.
Pittsburgh Penguins (4) versus Carolina Hurricanes (6)
- Breaking down the Hurricanes from the Pittsburgh perspective. Penguins general manager Ray Shero shared a few exclusive thoughts with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. About 2,000 tickets for the Penguins’ first two home games in the Eastern Conference final will go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. The record ratings are further affirmation that Pittsburgh is a very rich and deep hockey market.
- Cam Ward is Now 4-0 in Game 7s after stopping eight shots in overtime. Pushed into overtime by the Boston Bruins, fighting for their hockey lives, the Canes won 3-2 Thursday on Scott Walker’s goal with 1:14 left. It’s possible Scott Walker couldn’t have been any less popular in Boston anyway. Possible, but not likely.
Detroit Red Wings (2) versus Chicago Blackhawks (4)
- A clear win for Red Wings in Game 7 thriller. The Wings are halfway to defending their Stanley Cup, following a 4-3 victory over the Ducks, because they don’t back down even when opponents think they might. A relieved Chris Osgood turns in another big-time playoff performance. The Red Wings’ special teams proved to be the difference in a 4-3 victory over Anaheim Thursday in Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals. In addition to the young, fast Blackhawks, that’s another thing the Wings have to worry about: old, tricky Scotty. The Chicago Tribune, as part of its Waiting to See Whom the Blackhawks Play Next coverage, ran the pros and cons of the choices, the Red Wings and Anaheim.
- How the Blackhawks, Red Wings match up from a Chicago perspective. The Chicago Blackhawks relish an Original Six matchup with Detroit Red Wings. Blackhawks assistant coach Marc Bergevin made that fateful off-season call when he reached out to unemployed Joel Quenneville. Blackhawks count on Martin Havlat for timely contributions. Rookie defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson spent most of this season at Rockford. Now he’s a top-six defenseman in the Western Conference finals.
Teams that are not in the playoffs:
- Once again, 37 years past their last Stanley Cup, the Bruins saw another season come to a disappointing, even gut-wrenching end last night.
- The Ducks season is over but their increasingly contentious rivalry with the Red Wings isn’t. In what has become almost a rite of spring for the Ducks, defenseman Scott Niedermayer and right wing Teemu Selanne were non-committal about their hockey futures after Thursday night’s 4-3 loss.
- The Vancouver Canucks are still shocked over their playoff loss to Chicago and won’t make hurried off-season personnel decisions, general manager Mike Gillis said Thursday.
- An in-depth look at some of the issues the Capitals will need to address next year if they hope to seriously contend for the Stanley Cup. The Washington Capitals have signed center Anton Gustafsson, their first-round pick in last year’s NHL draft.
- If the Thrashers left Atlanta would anyone care? Oh yes!
- Brent Sutter continues to ponder his future in New Jersey.
- The hard questions were supposed to come from the 2,400 people who showed up Thursday night at HP Pavilion for the annual State of the Sharks session. But none was more blunt than the one General Manager Doug Wilson threw back at the crowd as he talked about the future.
- Who is feeling the most heat at the 2009 Memorial Cup?
- Don Cherry biopic to shoot in Manitoba.
- Melody Davidson will remain head coach of Canada’s Olympic women’s hockey team, but the review of Canada’s loss in the world championship final is not finished.
The Phoenix situation: