NHL Playoff Morning Papers (Saturday Edition): Patrick Sharp makes it a series, reaction on Mike Keenan firing, Jonas Gustavsson considering Colorado and Bobby Holik retiring
3rd Round Playoff Matchups
Pittsburgh Penguins (4) versus Carolina Hurricanes (6)
- The Penguins should be ready for Cam Ward’s best tonight. It works to the Penguins’ advantage that they continue to outshoot everyone. Well, that and the fact Evgeni Malkin has been a dominating force lately. Additionally, the Penguins should anticipate one of the loudest crowds they’ve ever played in front of tonight. Even though he hasn’t played in a game for a while now, Pascal Dupuis is keeping a good attitude. Off the ice, the Penguins have named Jason Botteril new assistant GM.
- Paul Maurice has changed some since his first tenure with Carolina. What about coach Maurice’s contract? Luke Decock with a funny cliche filled article. If the Hurricanes want to win, they have to slow down Evgeni Malkin. Slowing down Evgeni Malkin is important, but Eric Staal stepping out his game is probably most important.
Detroit Red Wings (2) versus Chicago Blackhawks (4)
- Michael Rosenberg gives the Blackhawks credit for their resilience. Nicklas Lidstrom’s stick breaking was the key that led to Patrick Sharp’s goal. Niklas Kronwall’s hit was legal, says Detroit. The hit was illegal, says Chicago. Meanwhile, Mike Babcock knows Brad Stuart’s game takes a step up at playoff time.
- “We’re a pretty confident group. Our third period was one of the strongest we’ve played all playoffs,” said overtime hero Patrick Sharp. The Blackhawks just don’t know how to win without excitement. Cristobal Huet was perfect in the third period and overtime after coming in to replace Nikolai Khabibulin. Apparently Khabibulin has a lower-body problem. If the Hawks don’t have Martin Havlat for Game 4, that is a huge loss for Chicago.
Teams that are not in the playoffs:
- Here is Eric Duhatschek’s weekly notebook, easily one of the best reads of the week.
- Bruins defenseman Matt Hunwick made a lot of progress this year and was very much missed against Carolina.
- Apparently prized free agent Jonas Gustavsson is considering signing in Colorado.
- New Minnesota Wild GM Chuck Fletcher wants the WIld to play an up-tempo style next season. Read Cliff Fletcher’s take on his son’s hiring.
- Mark Everson is reporting that Bobby Holik is going to retire.
- Steve Stamkos really proved himself at the World Championships.
Mike Keenan firing
- Former Flames GM Craig Button says Mike Keenan isn’t the only one to blame in Calgary. Flames center Craig Conroy was surprised by the move. People are still calling for Darryl Sutter to return behind the bench. Robyn Regehr thinks Keenan was a coach better off in the 80’s and 90’s. Brent Sutter feels bad about Mike Keenan’s firing. “Our team did not meet expectations,” said Darryl Sutter.
- Brent Sutter has told the NY Post that Mike Keenan’s firing will not affect his decision to return to the Devils or not. Sutter has also told Rich Chere of the Newark Star-Ledger he doesn’t want to work under his brother.
The Coyotes situation:
- What if the City of Winnipeg followed the Green Bay Packers model?
- The largest creditor of the Coyotes supports Jim Balsillie’s bid.
The AHL Playoffs
- The Manitoba Moose are heading home to play a sixth game against the Houston Aeros, after last night’s overtime loss at the Toyota Center.
- The Providence Bruins blew a big lead last night and lost Game 3 to Hershey.
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