NHL Playoff Morning Papers (Friday Edition): Jeremy Roenick claims Mike Babcock doesn’t like Chris Chelios, the Malkin show and reaction to the Chuck Fletcher hire in Minnesota
3rd Round Playoff Matchups
Pittsburgh Penguins (4) versus Carolina Hurricanes (6)
- Evgeni Malkin was that dominant on Thursday, explains Dave Molinari. The Penguins’ other supersatar tied a record last night. Nice to see the Staal brothers bickering over face-offs. What was Chris Kunitz’s play like before he finally scored last night? For all the success of the Penguins’ stars, where have the Hurricanes’ best players been? Last night’s game was more intense than Game 1.
- “We’re just finding a hard time finding that push,” said coach Paul Maurice after last night’s game. The Canes just could not stop Evgeni Malkin. In good news, Erik Cole said he felt good after playing last night. Meanwhile, Ryan Bayda may get suspended for his late game actions.
Detroit Red Wings (2) versus Chicago Blackhawks (4)
- Jeremy Roenick is claiming that Mike Babcock doesn’t like Chris Chelios and American players in general. Speaking of Chelios, Mitch Albom quizzes the veteran defenseman about Chicago compared to Detroit. It appears Pavel Datsyuk could possibly miss Game 3. If that is the case, Detroit’s depth will become that much more important. Some are wondering if the Wings can keep playing this well without their top scorers performing at normal levels? Meantime, the Wings players know that the United Center will be as loud as ever tonight. For whatever reason, journeymen players always look great playing for the Wings.
- Rocky Wirtz says people still don’t really know what Versus is. On the ice, Patrick Kane knows it is time for him to improve his play dramatically. The Blackhawks defense has to stop with the uncharacteristic turnovers immediately. As well, Nikolai Khabibulin has to outplay Chris Osgood tonight. Chicago was physical in the first two games of this series, but they hope the home crowd makes them even more physical in Game 3.
Teams that are not in the playoffs:
- Should we take Todd Richards’ name off the list of possible candidates to coach the Oilers next season?
- Phil Kessel is expected to be out of commission for 4-6 months after undergoing successful shoulder surgery.
- Andy Vuong of the Denver Post thinks the Avalanche are going about their next coaching hire the wrong way. Staying in Denver, Adrian Dater reminds us that greatness on the ice is certainly not a guarantee of success behind the bench.
- Jim Souhan of the Star Tribune says the Wild made a good choice for GM. Sid Hartman says the Wild got its first choice, a much better deal than the Timberwolves were able to pull off. Chuck Fletcher is a tremendously qualified candidate, writes Michael Russo. Here is his portfolio. (Writer’s note: This really is a great hire. I thought Fletcher probably should have been considered the favorite from the outset because of his vast experience in so many different areas. Look for Fletcher to do a great job in the land of 10,000 lakes.)
- Niclas Havelid isn’t playing in the NHL next season.
The Coyotes situation:
- Randy Turner of the Winnipeg Free Press wants Jim Balsillie to be a little bit more honest about his dream of a seventh franchise in Canada.
- Some NY Senators oppose the Coyotes relocation to Southern Ontario.
- What about the Coyotes’ lease?
The AHL playoffs:
- Providence netminder Tuukka Rask thinks he is ready for the NHL.