VIEWS: 44 PAGES: 103 POSTED ON: 6/28/2011
SPORT-SCAN DAILY BRIEF NHL 6/4/2011 Boston Bruins NHL 571242 Better chances improve odds 571278 Canucks' Manny Malhotra cleared to play in Game 2 571243 Screen may open door 571279 Buyer Emerges for the Dallas Stars 571244 Power plays play well to the audience 571280 Even Strength Has Been the Bruins’ Big Advantage 571245 Despite pedigree, Luongo still dogged by critics 571281 Oilers’ Brule Saves Bono’s Day 571246 Their Cup runneth over 571282 Olympic Gold, or the Stanley Cup? 571247 He concentrates on little things 571283 NHL prospects show off their body work 571248 Time for a little thump 571284 Canucks' Malhotra returns to practice 571249 Milan Lucic is local kid in way 571285 NHL team takes shape in Winnipeg 571250 Getting a special delivery 571286 'Really sneaky' Krejci drives Bruins' offence 571252 Up against it once again, Bruins must rally in Game 2 571287 Burrows knows he has to be smarter 571253 Brad Marchand mixes it up 571288 Cup final opener was a game for the ages 571254 Alberts checks back in 571289 Judge rejects NHL deal with Molson-Coors 571255 Schmautz shooting for a Bruins victory 571290 Canuck nuts commit crimes of fashion 571256 Rating Boston’s mighty mites: Brad Marchand, Dustin 571291 Cox: Slow developing final needs to get rolling Pedroia, Danny Woodhead 571292 Canucks taking the Force with them to Boston 571293 Five questions heading into Game 2 of the Cup final Calgary Flames 571294 Looks deceiving at NHL combine 571257 Ex-Flame shines light on substance abuse 571258 Horak ‘excited’ to join Flames Ottawa Senators 571259 Hartsburg reportedly will join Flames coaching staff 571295 With Sens contract in his pocket, rugged Zack Smith keeps focus on Calder Cup Columbus Blue Jackets 571260 Blue Jackets: Search for goaltender coach gets narrower Philadelphia Flyers 571296 Flyers let go of top goalie prospect Eriksson Dallas Stars 571261 As Richards bolts, Stars GM must build with tight budget Pittsburgh Penguins 571297 Pens GM Shero looking at making moves Detroit Red Wings 571262 Kindl named top rookie by broadcasters St Louis Blues 571263 Jakub Kindl snags Red Wings rookie of year honor 571298 Hockey Guy: Shanahan headed for bigger things? 571264 National writer reveals his NHL awards ballot 571299 Ownership limbo likely to handcuff Blues in free agency 571265 Chris Chelios, Nicklas Lidstrom paddle surf with Kid Rock 571300 Polak gets new deal from Blues 571266 National writer: Brendan Shanahan is great choice for NHL 'bad cop' Tampa Bay Lightning 571267 One puck's journey: From Gordie Howe to Wings fan to Hall 571301 Bolts' Yzerman named Bay area's top sports executive of Fame 571302 Exit interview: Sean Bergenheim says Game 7 vs. the Bruins 571268 Jakub Kindl named Red Wings rookie of the year was "the biggest disappointment for me" 571269 Jakub Kindl named DSBA Red Wings rookie of year Toronto Maple Leafs Edmonton Oilers 571303 Leafs, Rangers, Kings and Wings interested in Richards 571270 Goalie's prospects murky 571304 Are the Leafs interested in the Brad Richards sweepstakes? 571305 Leafs scouts getting busy 0 Minnesota Wild 571274 One more Wild coaching candidate unearthed: Peter Horachek Montreal Canadiens 571271 Jean Béliveau to undergo surgery 571272 Canadiens have some holes to fill 571273 NHL notes: Beliveau faces surgery New Jersey Devils 571275 Devils weighing options for No. 4 pick New York Rangers 571276 New York Rangers still likely must wait until July 1 to pursue Dallas Stars All-Star Brad Richards 571277 Rangers VP Gordie Clark on Erixon trade, draft Vancouver Canucks 571306 Uncertainty about Malhotra, Hamhuis 571307 Bieksa faces tall task in Chara 571308 Bieksa suddenly blooming 571309 Lots of sitting for Canucks' checkout line 571310 Rome ready for increased role 571311 Burrows bit off more than he could chew 571312 Alex Burrows Canucks’ fearless foil to Sedins, for opponents 571313 Manny Malhotra should be back with Canucks in Game 2 571314 Bruins in catch-up mode vs. Canucks, but used to it 571315 Manny whammy: Malhotra back practising with Canucks today 571316 Canucks’ Victor Oreskovich is once again enjoying hockey 571317 Alberts in on Canucks’ blue line for Hamhuis? It's a good bet, says Ehrhoff 571318 Vancouver native Lucic's sorry, but he's busy with Bruins 571319 Bruins rookie Tyler Seguin’s real welcome to the NHL a welcomed playoff moment 571320 ruins’ Seidenberg not slighted that Canucks getting all the Nowitzki love 571321 Ryan Kesler is totally into you, Canada 571322 'Travelin' Tim Thomas troubles Canucks 571323 Scallen brought NHL to Vancouver, then his world came crashing down 571324 Miraculous Manny appears destined to play 571325 Deja vu: Malhotra skates with team, could play Game 2 571326 Alberts 'gets shivers' at prospect of playing Game 2 571327 Mavs' Nowitzki backs Canucks for Cup 571328 Bruins go back to drawing board Websites 571335 Sportsnet.ca /Not in his element 571336 Sportsnet.ca /Sizing up the Sedins 571337 TSN.CA Ray Ferraro / Memorial Cup MVP Huberdeau deserves a break 571338 USA TODAY / Game 2 preview: Bruins at Canucks Saturday night 571339 YAHOO SPORTS / Luongo tries taking it to the distance this time 571340 YAHOO SPORTS / ‘Shooter’ has been Canucks’ stick boy for 50 years Winnipeg 571329 President expects quick sale of remaining NHL season tickets in Winnipeg 571330 Kind words from Carlyle 571331 Bettman not welcome at salon 571332 NHL season tickets a big-league committment 571333 True North eyes 'Hawks AGM 571334 Emotional Jets assignment SPORT-SCAN, INC. 941-284-4129 571242 Boston Bruins hungrier and dirtier in the danger areas. The Canucks have been boxing out the Bruins, not granting them in-close looks. It’s possible that Dan Hamhuis, who appeared to suffer a leg injury following Better chances improve odds his Game 1 hip check of Lucic, may not be available tonight. Hamhuis didn’t Bruins plan for a breakout game practice yesterday. Hamhuis and Bieksa have been Vancouver’s ace shutdown pairing. Yesterday, Bieksa skated with depth defenseman Aaron Rome. It may be a pairing the Bruins could exploit. By Fluto Shinzawa “You look at where most of our goals are scored,’’ Lucic said. “It’s in front of the net, getting in those dirty areas, getting those rebounds, and fighting for pucks. Their defense does a really good job of battling with whoever’s in front of the net. VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Tonight, if the Bruins aim to improve on their production in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final — they didn’t once slip “Our guys go to the net. For us, we’ve got to get there and create screens. the puck past Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo — they must initiate their We’ve got to find those loose pucks, work hard, and bear down once we get adjustments in center ice. those opportunities.’’ “It starts, obviously, in the neutral zone,’’ Patrice Bergeron said. “Once Boston Globe LOADED: 06.04.2011 we’re in their zone, we’ve got to find a better way to get to the net and battle for those loose pucks. But also fight for ice. They’re doing a good job of boxing us out. We have to make sure we’re getting in front of the net, creating some havoc, and having some better looks.’’ In the 1-0 loss Wednesday night, the Bruins put 36 shots on Luongo. But like coach Claude Julien said yesterday, it was just a number. One, in fact, that belied the quality of legitimate opportunities the Bruins generated. “The scoring chances are what you have to look at,’’ Julien said. “I think we can be better in regards to that.’’ Of the shots Luongo saw, too many were of the variety a world-class, gold medal-winning goalie can stop — from the outside with little traffic in front. “That’s what we try and do with every big line,’’ said the Canucks’ Ryan Kesler, who took most of his shifts against the top unit of Milan Lucic, David Krejci, and Nathan Horton. “You try to keep their shots to the outside. You try to limit their second and third opportunities. When you’ve got a goalie like Roberto, he does an excellent job of stopping the first puck. Our job is to eliminate the rebounds. We did a good job of that the last game.’’ Yesterday at Father Bauer Rink at the University of British Columbia, to reinforce good habits, the Bruins emphasized neutral-zone play. During one drill, assistant coach Geoff Ward tossed pucks into the defensive zone for the blue liners to retrieve. Once they went back for the puck, the defensemen turned quickly up the ice to initiate breakouts with speed. The drill came to a close when the puck approached the offensive blue line. The players repeated the drill several times. “You can always improve on your speed through the neutral zone,’’ Brad Marchand said. “We just have to make sure we have support all the time whenever we’re coming up the ice. If we can do that, maybe we can get some good opportunities. They like to pinch pretty hard against the boards. We just have to make sure we have support.’’ With crisper retrievals, breakouts, and speed through center ice, the Bruins can gain cleaner entries into the offensive zone — via the rush or dumps. In Game 1, there were times when they didn’t have fresh legs in the neutral zone. Because of that deficiency, the Bruins didn’t drive pucks deep well enough. In turn, it became too easy for the Canucks to pursue dumps, trigger breakouts, and counterattack. “We were just trying to move the puck out of our zone as quick as possible,’’ Vancouver defenseman Kevin Bieksa said. “We know they want to get the puck low, crash and bang. For us, if we can get back there first and make that first pass, it eliminates that whole area of their game.’’ The strength of the Bruins’ offensive game is their forecheck and down-low cycle. They emphasize hard entries with speed, which allows them to be first to the puck in the offensive zone. Once that starts clicking, then their puck-possession game gets into gear. They like to cycle the puck low, wear out opposing defensemen, use their point men to relieve pressure, and go hard to the crease. When it’s on, no line executes the game plan better than the first unit. In Game 1, the three first-line forwards totaled 13 shots. Krejci and Horton each landed five. But the line rarely had sustained pressure against Luongo and the Canucks. Too many of their opportunities were of the one-and-done nature. Tonight, the game plan will start with better wheels through center ice and winning races to pucks in the offensive zone. But the Bruins will have to get 571243 Boston Bruins “I don’t think there’s any specific reason,’’ Julien said of Seguin’s six-game scoreless streak. “There’s a lot of guys that have gone scoreless in those six games as well. He’s 19 years old. We don’t expect him to carry our team Screen may open door on his back.’’ Recchi remains Mark Recchi practiced on the second power-play unit, although his last power-play goal was Jan. 10 against Pittsburgh. Recchi By Fluto Shinzawa doesn’t have a point since Game 4 of the second round against Philadelphia . . . Rich Peverley was the fourth forward on the No. 2 line yesterday, and could rotate in for Recchi at times tonight . . . The Bruins will not have a morning skate today. They also didn’t skate prior to Game 1 . . . VANCOUVER, British Columbia — In Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, the Milan Lucic on Dan Hamhuis’s Game 1 hip check, which sent him Bruins’ power play looked its best in the first period when Zdeno Chara was pinwheeling to the ice: “It’s the first time I’ve ever been hit like that and gone screening Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo. It appears Chara will remain in all the way over. It’s unfortunate for the Canucks that he got hurt.’’ . . . that position for tonight’s Game 2. Vigneault hinted that he might roll out his fourth line more as the series Toward the end of practice yesterday, the Bruins worked on their flickering progresses. That would likely mean more ice time for Bruins Daniel Paille power play. Like he has been since the third period of Game 5 of the and Gregory Campbell. Campbell skated 7:38 in Game 1, Paille a team-low Eastern Conference finals, Chara was the net-front presence on the first 5:15. unit. Tomas Kaberle and Dennis Seidenberg were the point men. David Boston Globe LOADED: 06.04.2011 Krejci manned the left boards. Nathan Horton was in the left corner. For most of his time in Boston, Chara has been at the blue line on the power play. From there, the Bruins have looked to set up Chara for his triple-digit slap shot. But for a player owning such a hard shot, Chara hasn’t taken full advantage. Because of his long windup, shot-blockers — the ones courageous enough to perform the equivalent of stepping in front of an Acela train — have time to fill shooting lanes. Also, Chara requires lots of repetitions to make sure his shot gets through traffic and on net. General manager Peter Chiarelli has noted that Chara can’t do that in practice for fear of injuring a teammate. He has performed most of his shooting drills before and after practice. So, with Chara’s shot not being utilized and the power play struggling, the coaches have rotated the captain in front of Luongo. It is a job that is not new to Chara. For part of his time in Ottawa, Chara was the net-front man on the power play, with Wade Redden and Daniel Alfredsson at the points. In Boston, during empty-net, six-on-five situations, Chara has also gone to the front instead of the point. “I think it’s a combination of being aware of where the puck is, and obviously you have to be in the right position,’’ Chara said. “It’s just having the right instinct — where you feel the puck’s going to be, and kind of predict a little bit, too.’’ Chara’s primary task is to prevent Luongo from seeing the play. The Canucks, aware that trying to jostle the Slovakian strongman is a waste of time, fronted Chara in Game 1. Tonight, Chara must continue to hound Luongo. But the other power-play gunners, specifically Horton, must be better at giving Chara support. If shots carom off Chara or if Luongo makes the first save, the Bruins have to crash the net to jam home loose pucks. “I think it’s got to be a commitment from everybody to be willing to do that job,’’ Chara said of bothering Luongo. “And not just on power plays.’’ Depth charge In Game 1, even before left wing Raffi Torres tapped home the winning goal with 18.5 seconds remaining, Vancouver’s third line had submitted a sterling performance. Torres landed five hits. Ex-Canadien Maxim Lapierre snapped off six shots, including two high-quality chances in the third. Jannik Hansen had three shots, two hits, and two blocked shots in 15:26 of ice time. “It took us a while to get some chemistry within that line, for whatever reason,’’ Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said. “We had a few players audition when Manny [Malhotra] went down for that third-line center spot. Nobody really seemed to grab it until somewhere in the playoffs, Max grabbed that opportunity. I think the reason they’ve been effective is that they’re all three emotional players that play with an edge and skate real well. Right now, they’re playing high-percentage hockey, getting pucks behind the D. They’re playing the body when the opportunity is there. They’ve been real smart and effective about it.’’ The Bruins will need their third line to push harder tonight. Michael Ryder had two good looks at Luongo early in the third period of Game 1. But Chris Kelly recorded only one shot. Tyler Seguin didn’t have a shot in 6:21 of ice time. Seguin hasn’t gotten on the scoresheet since his four-point explosion in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals. 571244 Boston Bruins We sometimes tend to forget what a major part of the game special teams are, and how we’d miss them if they weren’t around. “A team spends a lot of its time, at least one-third, working on special teams,’’ Melrose points out. Power plays play well to the audience “If you took special teams out of the game, you lose a lot of good coaching.’’ We all know we couldn’t have a more contrasting matchup in this Stanley By Bob Ryan Cup Final than one between the Canucks, who thrive on the power play, and the Bruins, who would be better off if the rules allowed them to refuse penalties, a la football. The Bruins’ ongoing power-play futility is beginning to mystify NHL experts, who cannot bring themselves to believe a team can VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Bruins fans have borne witness to back- win the Stanley Cup without at least the occasional benefit of a power-play to-back 1-0 games, which, we would all agree, were riveting, scintillating, goal. exhausting, and altogether unforgettable. It has reached the point where the Bruins are now openly talking about a Fine, but have you had enough? Aren’t you ready for something a little preference for five-on-five hockey, and that may be an NHL first. But that is different tonight? a very tough way to do business. Now, while Tampa Bay 7 and Vancouver 1 each had a 1-0 outcome, they “I think Boston played a perfect game vs. Tampa Bay,’’ says Melrose. “And were very different, and not just because the Bruins won the former and lost I’d say they played pretty close to a perfect game on Wednesday against a the latter. Tampa Bay 7 was that rarity of rarities: a penalty-free game. better team. The bad news is they only got one win out of two perfect Vancouver 1 brought the power play and penalty kill into the game in a big games.’’ way, each team going 0 for 6 or 6 for 6, depending on which aspect of special teams play was being recorded. In a perfect Bruins world, they would replicate Tampa Bay 7, while adding a few additional five-on-five goals, of course. But it’s unlikely much will We all loved Tampa Bay 7 for the lack of penalties. Why it turned out that change now. The essential dynamics of this series are unlikely to change. way was pretty self-evident. The players were on their absolute best Vancouver will lust for power plays, while the Bruins will merely tolerate behavior, curbing the natural hockey player tendency to let the opposition them. know they were around with indiscriminate hooking, tripping, slashing, holding, boarding, high-sticking, and that most nebulous of malfeasances, We have seen our last penalty-free game this year; we know that much. interfering. That’s good news for anyone tuning into the game tonight. Tampa Bay 7 was a blissful oddity, but in the end it was all about the context. “There weren’t any what I call ‘lazy’ penalties,’’ confirms Bruins president Cam Neely, who, you may recall, used to play a little in his day. “I don’t think neutral fans want to see a penalty-free game,’’ says Melrose. With such high stakes, no one on either side wished to be the one whose Hockey needs power plays. If the Bruins don’t have one, that’s their borderline penalty created a power play for the other side that would result problem. in a goal. The self-discipline of all the participants was exemplary. This is not to say there was no hitting, but what physical play there was happened Boston Globe LOADED: 06.04.2011 to be, well, thoughtful. Referees Dan O’Halloran and Stephen Walkom likewise recognized the moment. It was clear that in order to get either one of these gentlemen to raise his right hand someone was going to have to do something very, very nasty. Vancouver 1 was another matter. We had penalties, we had mutual chippiness, and we even had Bitegate. The power plays were on display and the penalty-killing units, starting with goaltenders Roberto Luongo of Vancouver and Tim Thomas of Boston, were put to the test. The defenses prevailed, the only score being Raffi Torres’s even-strength goal with 18.5 seconds remaining. So, there are two questions before us as we put our game faces on for tonight’s affair at Rogers Arena: 1. How many 1-0 games is enough? 2. Are games without power plays sufficiently entertaining? The answer to Question 1 is pretty clear. Enough is enough, wouldn’t you agree? This isn’t international football. After a while, you’d like to see a few goals. Having a 1-0 game decide who gets into the Stanley Cup Final made for tremendous drama, and none of us would trade that experience for any conceivable alternative. It was a true sports fan’s delight, but the context is what made it so special. It wouldn’t have resonated quite so much on Nov. 8 or Feb. 15. The answer to Question 2 is less clear, and it’s something few hockey people ever contemplate. But it does seem to be a safe statement that hockey without power plays would lose a lot over the long haul. From a fan’s point of view, when the referee does raise his right hand, it stimulates people on both sides of the equation. The fans of the team receiving the power play start thinking of seeing a red light — fans of teams other than the Boston Bruins, that is — flash behind the net, while the fans of the team committing the penalty steel themselves for the drama that will unfold as their team tries to keep the ol’ biscuit from finding its way into the basket. They will glance to see how much time is left on that penalty at least 10 times during those suspenseful two minutes. “I think it’s great for the fans when their team is trying to kill off a penalty,’’ opines ESPN analyst Barry Melrose, he of the intriguing wardrobe. “They like to see their guys block shots and their goalie make saves. On the other side, you get to see the passing and shooting.’’ 571245 Boston Bruins works hard and to see him be one of the best goalies in the league since I’ve been here, it’s nice. I learned about working hard, he works hard in practice and tries hard every time. He competes, just little things like that, Despite pedigree, Luongo still dogged by critics pretty much his work ethic.’’ Horton said even though it has been years since they practiced together, he is hoping to exploit his old friend during the Final. By Nancy Marrapese-Burrell “It’s going to be tough for us to get goals, but hopefully he’s got those tendencies that I remember,’’ said Horton. “He doesn’t have too many weak spots.’’ VANCOUVER, British Columbia — For the first six seasons of his NHL career, Roberto Luongo labored in virtual obscurity. Luongo, a Montreal native, went from playing in a market where not many cared to a hockey hotbed where he is expected to stop every puck. Even Luongo’s rookie year was split between the Islanders and their American with a gold medal for Canada to his credit in the 2010 Olympics held here, Hockey League affiliate in Lowell, Mass. When he was dealt to Florida, he the local fan base has remained supportive but skeptical. assumed a substantial workload (averaging better than 63 games per season), but never made it to the postseason in five seasons. “They expect perfection,’’ said Milbury. “They’re asking sometimes for the impossible, but I think he’s in a pretty good frame of mind right now. And Although his fortunes turned when he was traded to the Canucks in June he’s an elite-level goaltender. From the time we projected him to the time 2006, Luongo had never made it out of the second round of the playoffs we got him, there wasn’t much change for me, he was always going to be before this year, despite the team winning the Northwest Division in three of among the top goaltenders in the league.’’ his first four years in Vancouver. Luongo, now 32, said playing in Vancouver is the polar opposite of playing That changed this season, when the Canucks not only had the best record in South Florida. in the division but the best in the NHL. And on Wednesday night, Luongo made 36 saves in the Canucks’ 1-0 victory over the Bruins in Game 1 of the “There wasn’t a lot of pressure there as far as expectations,’’ he said. “You Stanley Cup Final. could walk around the city and nobody pretty much knew who you were. The good thing about here is it’s fun to play in the city when you’re winning. Luongo took an interesting route to get here. The Islanders made Luongo Everybody knows who you are and [they’re] very supportive, especially at the No. 4 overall pick in the 1997 draft, but he became expendable when this stage of the season when your team has a chance to win the Stanley the Islanders selected goalie Rick DiPietro with the No. 1 overall pick in Cup.’’ 2000. Then-general manager Mike Milbury packaged Luongo with Olli Jokinen for Mark Parrish and Oleg Kvasha. If there is a downside, it’s the constant scrutiny. But Luongo said he tunes out most of it, and what he doesn’t tune out he accepts as coming with the “The reason we traded him was because we kept running into drafts where territory. there were defensemen and goaltenders,’’ said Milbury. “We looked at it and that was the year we took a stab at and got DiPietro.’’ “It’s a hockey market,’’ said Luongo. “Obviously, when things are not going well, sometimes you want to make sure you try to stay away from as much Just because Milbury traded Luongo doesn’t mean he was down on the of that stuff as possible. You don’t want to be focusing too much on all the goalie. In fact, quite the contrary. negative stuff around you, but you’ve got to learn to deal with those things. There is good and bad in every place you play. But at the end of the day, “I always thought he was going to be a terrific goaltender,’’ said Milbury. “He it’s so much more fun to win in a city like this.’’ was a big horse of a kid. Big legs, big arms, and tall. We gambled on that deal and didn’t fare as well as I would liked to have, but I don’t think there Canucks general manager Mike Gillis signed Luongo to a 12-year, $64 was any question that Luongo was going to be good. He had some bumps million contract in September 2009, believing he is the goalie of both the along the way, yeah.’’ present and the future. But a Cup is what the fans want, and anything less will mean more grousing directed Luongo’s way. Those bumps helped mold Luongo. When asked if he has silenced his critics, Luongo said, “That’s a good “I got to face a lot of shots and it really put me in a lot of situations that question, I don’t know.’’ helped me to where I am today,’’ said Luongo. “Even though I didn’t have much success, those organizations gave me a chance not only to be in the But what he feels he has to prove, it isn’t to them. NHL but to become a starter, so I’m very grateful to have that opportunity to play for those teams, as well.’’ “I don’t play for my critics, I play for myself, my teammates, and family and friends,’’ said Luongo. “I can’t control what people say. I’ve had success my Former Islanders assistant coach Greg Cronin, now head coach at whole career no matter what level I’ve been at. Obviously, this is the first Northeastern, said Luongo was an outstanding prospect but needed some time I’ve been able to get to a Stanley Cup Final and hopefully do work. something special, but at the end of the day I play to win a Stanley Cup, and that’s about it.’’ “I knew Roberto was going to be really good,’’ said Cronin. “The problem with Roberto at that time was he was so bowlegged, you could drive a truck Boston Globe LOADED: 06.04.2011 through his legs. He wasn’t really that athletic.’’ Luongo demonstrated his mental toughness during a development camp in Ann Arbor, Mich., run by Cronin. “All [the Islanders’] prospects went through a boxing course, learning both the basics of the sport as well as the psychological benefits of learning how to deal with people confronting you and trying to invade your space, because that’s what hockey is,’’ said Cronin. “The goalie doesn’t have to do that, he’s just trying to stop the puck, but Roberto went in there. He had gear on but he got punched in the face and his nose was bloody and he just kept going. It didn’t faze him. He’s not a tough guy, he’s not an aggressive personality, he’s very calm. But he boxed the way he played. He just went about his business just like he does in the net.’’ Bruins right wing Nathan Horton played two seasons with Luongo on the Panthers. Horton said although it’s difficult for forwards and defensemen to relate with netminders, he learned a lot from Luongo in their time together. “He was obviously a top goalie in the league back then, too,’’ said Horton. “Just to come in and be able to play with him, he’s a real great guy. He 571246 Boston Bruins “I can’t fill the orders fast enough,’’ Williams said, “but it’s a good problem to have.’’ Boston Globe LOADED: 06.04.2011 Their Cup runneth over Local businesses cash in on Bruins’ success) By Kaivan Mangouri The Stanley Cup finals officially arrive in Boston when the puck drops for Game 3 Monday, but the Bruins’ deep playoff run already is providing a boost for some local businesses. Hours before the Bruins and Canucks faced off in Game 1 Wednesday in Vancouver, British Columbia, fans were pouring into Sports Grille Boston on Canal Street, near TD Garden, said manager David Lowd. Ordinarily, there would have been about two dozen customers at the sports bar, Lowd said. But on Wednesday, about 160, many of them dressed in Bruins gear, watched the series opener. For Sports Grille, these are bonus days. “The further [the Bruins] go in the playoffs, the better business is for us,’’ Lowd said. “June, July, and August are Fenway months — we don’t do as well when the Bruins are ousted in April or May.’’ It was a similar scene at The Four’s sports bar on Canal Street, as well as at other bars and restaurants near the Garden. They’re all prepping for big crowds through the weekend and, of course, next week, when thousands of fans will stream into TD Garden with tickets in hand and money to spend. But the economic impact of the Stanley Cup games extends far beyond the immediate vicinity of Causeway Street, tourism officials say. Each Cup game played here will generate about $5 million in revenue citywide, said Patrick Moscaritolo, chief executive of the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau. In addition to spending at bars and restaurants, the revenue mainly comes from hotel rooms, and the sale of sports apparel and memorabilia. According to Moscaritolo, 5,200 fans at each home game — about 30 percent — come from beyond a 50-mile radius of Boston. The National Hockey League is directly helping the local economy by booking about 400 rooms at various Boston hotels for staff and event sponsors. Still, the predicted economic impact of the Stanley Cup finals here is slightly less than the $5.4 million the bureau estimated for each of the Celtics’ three home games during the NBA Finals in 2008, and the $7.2 million each of the Red Sox’ two home games brought during the 2007 World Series. Robert Baumann, an economics professor at Holy Cross, contends that championship games might not generate the economic windfalls some claim. It’s difficult to quantify the financial benefits of major sporting events such as the Stanley Cup finals, he said. “There’s an indirect advertising effect [as a result of] having your city in the spotlight for two weeks, but we’ll never be able to measure how much that impacts Boston’’ overall, Baumann said. Which is not say that people aren’t eager to part with their cash because of the Bruins’ good fortune. For instance, the Sports Authority in Braintree quickly sold out of its commemorative Eastern Conference Championship jerseys, store manager Mark Rockman said. The remaining Bruins memorabilia is showcased at the front of the store, he said, a spot normally reserved for Celtics gear this time of year. Even Red Sox merchandise is being trumped by the Bruins this week. “No one comes in asking for [Adrian] Gonzalez or [Carl] Crawford jerseys,’’ he said. Mahlon Williams, owner of The Boston Sports Apparel Company, which supplies T-shirts and other gear to area stores, said this weekend could turn out to be his best ever. “We’re selling excitement, and we’re capitalizing on people’s emotions,’’ Williams said. “That translates to an incredible amount of business for us.’’ Williams quickly realized an original batch of 1,500 Bruins T-shirts wouldn’t be enough to satisfy the demand from his customers. A second round of 1,500 also went fast, and yesterday the company distributed another 4,000. 571247 Boston Bruins “He’s been with us now for a couple of consecutive years. He’s logging important minutes. [Game 1], obviously, was a great game where he used his skill set. He’s real good when he plays with an edge.’’ He concentrates on little things Hansen plays his part on his line, but he said it’s the totality of the trio that Third-liner Hansen constantly in motion makes all the difference. “We play the same style and we kind of have the same mentality,’’ he said. “It’s getting pucks in deep and getting in on the forecheck, finishing a check By Nancy Marrapese-Burrell and taking pucks to the net. “Playing with Max and Raffi, they’re two bigger guys and they like to throw their bodies around as well as [bringing] quite a bit of speed, too. VANCOUVER, British Columbia — He was one of the most visible players during a game in which space and time on the ice were at a premium. “So it’s a lot of different aspects, but just the fact that we’re able to get in on the forecheck, and making [defensemen] look around and [wonder] ‘where Bruins defensemen Zdeno Chara and partner Dennis Seidenberg did a are they coming from now?’ and making them maybe rush a play a little masterful job shutting down Vancouver’s potent Sedin twins, but one more than they wanted to.’’ forward they couldn’t contain in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final was right wing Jannik Hansen. Boston Globe LOADED: 06.04.2011 It was Hansen, charging through the right circle, who found Raffi Torres for the winning goal with 18.5 seconds remaining, giving the Canucks a 1-0 victory at Rogers Arena and a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. Hansen, a member of the Canucks’ third line, was all over the ice in the third period. He had a breakaway early in the period, but Bruins goalie Tim Thomas shut down his attempt to score through the five-hole. He also had a terrific dish to linemate Maxim Lapierre later in the period but Thomas turned him back. The 25-year-old native of Denmark said his goal and that of his line is to create opportunities wherever possible. “It’s a matter of doing something every time you’re out there,’’ said Hansen. “Obviously, we’re not going to score in bunches like the twins and [Ryan] Kesler and those guys, but it’s a matter of providing energy and doing the little things right.’’ It didn’t look like either team would score in regulation. Both Thomas and Vancouver netminder Roberto Luongo were very sharp, and neither side seemed inclined to budge. Hansen said it was a matter of being patient. “Obviously, we know coming into the series that Boston is extremely good defensively, and Thomas in net is hard to score on,’’ said Hansen, “so it’s a matter of not getting too down on yourself when he’s making save after save.’’ With the top lines canceling each other out, it took a grinding combination to get it done, and Hansen’s line doesn’t shy away from that. “Boston is a big, physical team as well,’’ he said. “They’re going to come out hitting and playing a physical game, so it plays into our style a little more. “We’ve seen other series where one game has been tight and the next has been a shootout — you never know what’s going to come at you. But again, Boston is a very good team five-on-five and defensively, so we know we have to bear down every time we’re out there.’’ Hansen said the game was reminiscent of the series against Nashville, which the Canucks beat in the second round. “Obviously, Boston has more offense and more ways to score at you, but similar goaltending, you can say that for sure,’’ he said. “It’s just a matter of keeping at it. [Thomas was] obviously making a couple of big saves early on, but if we keep coming at it and not getting down on ourself, we feel we’re in the game and we just need that one chance to get it by him.’’ Lapierre, who has the best vantage point to appreciate how dangerous Torres and Hansen can be, said it’s the way they apply themselves that makes them effective. “Him and Raffi are really working hard every game,’’ said Lapierre. “They are smart players on the ice, they’re always in good position.’’ Coach Alain Vigneault saw glimpses of Hansen’s talent in previous seasons when he was called up because of injuries, but he also saw that the young player needed more experience in the minors. “He went back to Manitoba and needed some more time there,’’ said Vigneault. “I think he had a great role model in Mike Keane, who really helped him with positional play, penalty killing. It’s paid off. 571248 Boston Bruins pretty good hit, at times he looked a bit wary. He played only 6:21, including just 1:20 of power-play time, which is a story for another day. But if Seguin did sit and watch for a game or two, who knows, maybe he Time for a little thump could then return to the lineup with a new focus and again make some Bruins could use Shawn Thornton now major offensive contributions. It may be time to get Thornton back in a game. By Stephen Harris | Saturday, June 4, 2011 | Boston Herald LOADED: 06.04.2011 http://www.bostonherald.com | Boston Bruins VANCOUVER — Entering the Stanley Cup finals, there wasn’t any particular expectation that toughness would be a major factor. This shaped up more as a series of X’s and O’s, special teams and goaltending than one in which physical nastiness or intimidation came into play. But one game in, a re-evaluation may be in order. The Bruins-Canucks matchup looks like it’s going to be a somewhat rougher affair than anticipated, and the ugliness didn’t have to build up. It was there from the start. “There seems to be a lot of hatred,” said Bruins winger Brad Marchand. “It started last game and I think it’s only going to get worse as the series goes on. With where we’re at in the series and what we’re fighting for, guys are willing to do whatever it takes to win that Cup.” Marchand believes the chippy tactics by the Canucks is because they hope to draw penalties and turn loose their potent power play. Certainly, this is a tense and dangerous on-ice environment. “Guys are so anxious and excited, they’ll do whatever they can out there,” said Marchand. “Sometimes you get the sticks high, you get a little dirty. The games are getting pretty emotional, guys taking shots at each other, runs at each other.” So for that reason, the thought arises before tonight’s Game 2 that it’s time the Bruins get rugged winger Shawn Thornton back into the lineup, and let rookie Tyler Seguin, whose play has slipped, sit. “They’re a puck-possession team, but they have that element to their game, the agitator element,” said Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli before yesterday’s practice at the University of British Columbia. “It doesn’t surprise me they have that, but I didn’t think we’d see it so early in the series. Normally that stuff builds up and it happens later in the series. There were a lot more scrums than I would have expected in Game 1, and we’re probably going to see that the rest of the series. “They have that third line and they have some other guys, too, with that kind of element in their game. So do we. Our MO is big, strong, physical and sustain a forecheck. The by-product of that is hitting, and then the scrums and all that stuff may ensue.” If Thornton did play, it’s not likely he’d get into a bunch of fights. Those are pretty rare in the finals. But his presence might cool off the rambunctious inclinations of Max Lapierre, Alex Burrows, Raffi Torres and others. And Thornton also does a good job with the forechecking chores that are so critical for the B’s. It’s safe to assume that Thornton, who won the 2007 Cup with Anaheim, would take the ice pumped sky-high to play well. He said the other day that being here with the Bruins means more to him than his experience with the Ducks, a team he joined for less than one full season. “It feels a little bit more special being here with this team than it did with Anaheim,” said Thornton. “Only because I feel like I’ve been part of the growing process the last four years.” Remember, the Bruins’ best chances at winning this series were based on, as they say, doing the job in the dirty areas. The B’s weren’t going to out- skill the Canucks; they had to out-grind them. And Thornton is a guy who knows his way around the dirty areas. As for Seguin, he obviously took an enormous leap forward in his career with his remarkable two-goal, two-assist performance in Game 2 against Tampa Bay. Without that star-is-born effort, who knows, maybe it would be the Lightning facing the Canucks. Seguin has had no points since that game, although he been a more responsible and improved all-round player. Still, this was a 19-year-old kid playing in the Stanley Cup final Wednesday. And while he did dish out one 571249 Boston Bruins And so it is for Milan Lucic, and it’s happening in the Stanley Cup finals. The Vancouver Canucks are out to win the first Stanley Cup in their 40 years of existence, and a local kid, Lucic, is standing in the way. Milan Lucic is local kid in way Down the road, maybe he’ll say it was fun. Takes series personal Right now, though, he has no goals and no assists and there are photos showing him standing on his head — and not in that pleasing goaltender kind of way. By Steve Buckley | Saturday, June 4, 2011 | http://www.bostonherald.com | Boston Bruins And, yes, absolutely, it’s all very personal to Milan Lucic. Boston Herald LOADED: 06.04.2011 VANCOUVER — Milan Lucic did not score a goal in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals. He did not have an assist. And even though the guy who knocked him arse-over-tea-kettle in the second period of the Bruins’ 1-0 loss to the Vancouver Canucks ended up stretched out on the medic’s table, not to be seen for the rest of the night, Milan Lucic admitted yesterday that, “It’s the first time I’ve ever actually been hit like that and gone all the way over.” And to think that all this — no goals, no assists and a lasting visual of being knocked on his head in front of his own bench — had the unfortunate side effect of also taking place in his hometown. Lucic had spent three days talking about returning to the old sod to play against the team he rooted for while growing up in Vancouver, and during all those interviews he displayed a measure of diplomacy that’s hard to find in a 22-year-old. Yet there he was in Game 1, coming up empty and going down hard. Talking with the media yesterday, and asked for the millionth time about playing in the Stanley Cup finals in his back yard, Lucic again chose diplomacy. “You know, obviously I’m from here, so people are definitely going to want to see you and want your time,” he said. “But this is the most important time of year. After this series, I’ll be back here in the summer, so they can see me as much as they want.” But the one question Lucic hasn’t been asked is this: Is it personal? He talks about the opportunity to be on the NHL’s grand stage, and he talks about T-E-A-M, but would it be a little bit less .?.?. less personal .?.?. if the Bruins were playing the San Jose Sharks? After he stepped away from the mass gathering of media yesterday and was stepping outside into the long-awaited sunshine of the Vancouver afternoon, Lucic was asked if it’s personal. His answer was honest and candid. “Obviously you want to win, but it would also be tough to come back here for the summer after not winning,” he said. “So I guess, yeah, it is personal.” Outside the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre on the campus of the University of British Columbia, members of Lucic’s family, including the winger’s younger brother, were waiting to do a live TV shot. Standing off to the side was Jovo Miletic, a close friend of the Lucics — so close, in fact, that Milan Lucic’s father was best man at his wedding. And Milan Lucic’s mother was maid of honor. The man’s credentials as Close Family Friend thus established, Miletic was asked: Just how personal is this to Lucic? “I’ve never seen him so pumped up like this,” Miletic said. “He’s got every member of his family watching him. All his friends, everyone he ever went to school with, everyone he ever knew. “I am 100 percent positive that this is very personal for him. I’ve heard him talk about it. I hope he’s enjoying this time, because it’s very, very important to him.” It must have been like this for Medford’s Mike Pagliarulo to play at Fenway Park [map] in the gray road uniform of the hated Yankees, or for Haverhill’s Carlos Pena, during his tenure with the Tampa Bay Rays, to play against the Red Sox in the American League Championship Series. Think of all the sons of Greater Boston, some famous, some not — Hingham’s Tony Amonte, Melrose’s Andy Brickley, Billerica’s Tom Fitzgerald, Dorchester’s Chris O’Sullivan, Cambridge’s Tommy O’Regan — who stepped onto the Garden ice wearing the uniform of the opposing team. You don’t think these guys heard about it all summer from old high- school buddies if they got their lunch handed to them by the Bruins? 571250 Boston Bruins Boston Herald LOADED: 06.04.2011 Getting a special delivery By Steve Conroy / Bruins Notebook | Saturday, June 4, 2011 | http://www.bostonherald.com | Boston Bruins VANCOUVER — A major concern for the Bruins heading into these Stanley Cup finals was special teams. But after Game 1, they should have a pretty good feeling about half of that department. While the power play had its usual trouble scoring goals (0-for-6), the penalty kill did a terrific job on the Canucks’ vaunted power-play unit, which was first in the NHL in the regular season and came into the finals clicking at more than 28 percent. Not only did the Bruins force the Canucks to go 0-for-6 themselves, but the B’s did a good job of limiting Vancouver’s chances on the man advantage. “It was a lot of guys were getting in front of pucks,” said Brad Marchand. “There are a couple of guys with big bombs back there on the point and guys just seemed to be willing to sacrifice their body and get in the way. There were a few huge blocks there right in front of the slot that could have gone in and guys were willing to get in front of them. I think that was a big part of it, but other than that we were doing a good job of limiting their time and space.” Rich Peverley concurred that the Bruins came up with big blocks, especially Patrice Bergeron and Chris Kelly, but he thought there was more to it than that. “I think if we do a good job of delaying their entries into the zone, if they’re not set up, it’s usually pretty hard for them to score goals. If you can keep them out of the zone and slow them down, then you’re going to give yourself a better chance,” said Peverley. Canucks defenseman Christian Ehrhoff, a key man on the point for Vancouver’s power-play unit, said it’s within the Canucks’ abilities to be better. “They probably did what they do on their penalty kill. I don’t think it was anything special. I think we can be a little more crisp. We got a few chances, but we can definitely be better,” said Ehrhoff. Too much rest With the second off day between Game 1 and Game 2, most players and coaches seemed more than ready to get it going again tonight. “I think everybody likes to get into the rhythm. Obviously, every second day is probably the best rhythm going,” said coach Claude Julien. “But when you get into those situations and you have a couple of days in between games, to me it’s always the same for both teams. I don’t think there’s a necessary edge, unless somebody is really banged up and needs that extra day. We’re looking forward to (Game 2). Hopefully, these two days off have made us even hungrier and ready.” Green Men get wet After taking a penalty in Game 1, Marchand got up close and personal with the Vancouver fans known as the Green Men, a couple of fans who wear green spandex outfits and taunt Canucks’ opponents in the penalty box. He even may have gotten them with his water bottle. “I tried to squirt some water in my mouth and I might have missed and got a little on them,” said the Bruins’ resident imp. As for the fans’ outfits? “I think they’re a little embarrassed with how they look so they have to wear those masks,” said Marchand. German accent Dallas Mavericks star and native of Germany Dirk Nowitzki gave a taped message on the Jumbotron here in Game 1 wishing countryman Ehrhoff good luck in the series, showing no love for another German, Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg. Seidenberg, however, isn’t holding a grudge. 571251 Boston Bruins Boston Herald LOADED: 06.04.2011 Getting a special delivery By Steve Conroy / Bruins Notebook | Saturday, June 4, 2011 | http://www.bostonherald.com | Boston Bruins VANCOUVER — A major concern for the Bruins heading into these Stanley Cup finals was special teams. But after Game 1, they should have a pretty good feeling about half of that department. While the power play had its usual trouble scoring goals (0-for-6), the penalty kill did a terrific job on the Canucks’ vaunted power-play unit, which was first in the NHL in the regular season and came into the finals clicking at more than 28 percent. Not only did the Bruins force the Canucks to go 0-for-6 themselves, but the B’s did a good job of limiting Vancouver’s chances on the man advantage. “It was a lot of guys were getting in front of pucks,” said Brad Marchand. “There are a couple of guys with big bombs back there on the point and guys just seemed to be willing to sacrifice their body and get in the way. There were a few huge blocks there right in front of the slot that could have gone in and guys were willing to get in front of them. I think that was a big part of it, but other than that we were doing a good job of limiting their time and space.” Rich Peverley concurred that the Bruins came up with big blocks, especially Patrice Bergeron and Chris Kelly, but he thought there was more to it than that. “I think if we do a good job of delaying their entries into the zone, if they’re not set up, it’s usually pretty hard for them to score goals. If you can keep them out of the zone and slow them down, then you’re going to give yourself a better chance,” said Peverley. Canucks defenseman Christian Ehrhoff, a key man on the point for Vancouver’s power-play unit, said it’s within the Canucks’ abilities to be better. “They probably did what they do on their penalty kill. I don’t think it was anything special. I think we can be a little more crisp. We got a few chances, but we can definitely be better,” said Ehrhoff. Too much rest With the second off day between Game 1 and Game 2, most players and coaches seemed more than ready to get it going again tonight. “I think everybody likes to get into the rhythm. Obviously, every second day is probably the best rhythm going,” said coach Claude Julien. “But when you get into those situations and you have a couple of days in between games, to me it’s always the same for both teams. I don’t think there’s a necessary edge, unless somebody is really banged up and needs that extra day. We’re looking forward to (Game 2). Hopefully, these two days off have made us even hungrier and ready.” Green Men get wet After taking a penalty in Game 1, Marchand got up close and personal with the Vancouver fans known as the Green Men, a couple of fans who wear green spandex outfits and taunt Canucks’ opponents in the penalty box. He even may have gotten them with his water bottle. “I tried to squirt some water in my mouth and I might have missed and got a little on them,” said the Bruins’ resident imp. As for the fans’ outfits? “I think they’re a little embarrassed with how they look so they have to wear those masks,” said Marchand. German accent Dallas Mavericks star and native of Germany Dirk Nowitzki gave a taped message on the Jumbotron here in Game 1 wishing countryman Ehrhoff good luck in the series, showing no love for another German, Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg. Seidenberg, however, isn’t holding a grudge. 571252 Boston Bruins there and it seems like we’re the underdogs so we just have to make sure we don’t let that play into our minds so much and just focus on each game.” They’ve been able to do that before. We’ll see if they can do it again. Up against it once again, Bruins must rally in Game 2 Boston Herald LOADED: 06.04.2011 By Steve Conroy | Saturday, June 4, 2011 | http://www.bostonherald.com | Boston Bruins VANCOUVER — The Bruins have been here before. In fact, they’ve actually been in tougher spots than this. And it’s with that valuable knowledge that the B’s enter tonight’s Game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals at Rogers Arena, attempting to even their series against the Vancouver Canucks at one game apiece. With their 1-0 Game 1 loss here on Wednesday, the B’s have now lost the first game of three of four series. They have, of course, come back to win the previous two. “It’s never over until you get that fourth win, right?” said center Patrice Bergeron. “But that being said, we’re really focusing on making sure we’re getting back in that series.” The B’s opened their playoff run rather inauspiciously, dropping their first two games at home to the Montreal Canadiens. At that point, the Black ‘n’ Gold bandwagon was pretty empty, but they stormed back to tie that series with two wins at the Bell Centre and eventually won that series in seven games. Then, after sweeping the Flyers, they dropped the first game at home to the Tampa Bay Lightning and barely hung on to win Game 2. In neither game did they resemble the tight-checking team that won the Northeast Division, which was exacerbated by the fact Bergeron was out with a concussion for the first two games. But he came back, and so too did their game. And now here they are again. The Canucks just may be the best team they’ve faced. From a sheer statistical standpoint, there’s not really an argument. And in this series, the Canucks may just prove to be the better team. But the Bruins are hardly daunted by being down 1-0 in the series. “We have a lot experience in the room and we’ve been through situations like this before,” said winger Brad Marchand. “It just seems like we have a lot of character right now. A lot of guys are stepping up at key points and we have a lot of depth on our team. At the right time, the right guys are stepping up and that’s been big for us.” Rich Peverley believes the experience of being down can be a benefit. “I think it can help guys stay more patient and not be as anxious,” said the forward. “We’ve been down 2-0 against Montreal, we were down against Tampa. It’s a series, it’s a long race and whoever stays the most consistent usually wins.” But if the B’s want to go 3-for-3 in series in which they’ve lost Game 1, they will have to make some improvements over the 1-0 loss, though they did play a pretty good road game. After most of the players stayed off the ice Thursday, the entire team skated at the University of British Columbia yesterday for a high-tempo practice that lasted close to an hour. Much time was spent on neutral zone play, building speed into the offensive zone as well as preventing their quick opponents from gaining too much of it themselves. The B’s also continued to work on the power play, with Zdeno Chara remaining down low on the first unit. Traffic in front of Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo will be key. “I think it’s got to be a commitment from everybody, be willing to do that job, not just on power plays. Obviously, five-on-five, whatever situation that is,” said Chara. The B’s are also developing a chip on their shoulder, which was bound to happen the longer they stayed in this Canuck-mad town. They came into this series as underdogs and now it seems as though they are prohibitive ones. “It seems like everyone’s putting us down and that we don’t have a chance in this series,” said Marchand. “But obviously they have a great team over 571253 Boston Bruins Brad Marchand mixes it up By Rich Thompson | Saturday, June 4, 2011 | http://www.bostonherald.com | Boston Bruins VANCOUVER — The Bruins and Canucks are not traditional or territorial rivals, but there are rumblings from both camps as if they were. A feeling of mutual animosity was established in Vancouver’s Game 1 victory Wednesday. Bruins instigator Brad Marchand said the chippy play, trash talk and underhanded tactics that are his forte also fit the persona of the Canucks. There were 13 penalties issued in Game 1 and all but two were of the nasty variety like cross checking, high sticking and kneeing. There was even a double roughing minor issued to Alex Burrows for biting Patrice Bergeron’s finger during a scrum at the end of the first period. Infractions like that have given the series a hard edge, the kind of playoff encounters the Bruins expect from traditional rivals Montreal and Philadelphia. Marchand knows he must assume a disciplined posture, but he doesn’t expect the lingering hostility to subside when the teams resume the Stanley Cup finals tonight. “This next one is a huge game, 1-1 and 0-2 are a huge difference,” Marchand said. “You can look at it and say we don’t play each other much and it was chippy for the most part. “But we have a lot of hatred for each other. Just being in the finals you want to win so bad that you hate the other guy. You want to do everything you can to make sure you win it. If being physical and chippy and taking shots at guys are part of the game then it’s only going to get worse as the series goes on.” Marchand got a dose of his own tactics in the first period, and he didn’t react well. He thrives on his ability to get opponents to react impulsively to his late hits and ceaseless jabber. But Marchand fell victim to that approach at 13:25 of the first. Canucks defenseman Christian Ehrhoff chose a moment away from the puck to give Marchand a good spearing along the boards. Marchand responded on adrenaline and emotion when he grabbed at Ehrhoff’s stick. The officials missed Ehrhoff’s use of the stick, but they caught Marchand and he was sent to the box. “You have to watch your emotions and keep them in check,” Marchand said. “That penalty I took happened when I was rattled after he speared me by the bench.” Marchand, who has six goals and six assists in his first postseason, knows he must regain the confidence in the offensive zone he displayed in the Bruins’ sweep of the Flyers. And he feels a greater sense of urgency with the season reduced to, at most, six games. “This is not a situation you get to be in every day,” he said. “We are fighting for the Stanley Cup and sometimes it only comes around once in your career. We don’t want to let this opportunity slip away, we want to give it our best effort. If it’s good enough and we are able to win that’s good for us. If not then we want to know we left our very best on the ice.” Boston Herald LOADED: 06.04.2011 571254 Boston Bruins Alberts checks back in Ex-Bruin may make series debut tonight By Matt Kalman VANCOUVER — Bruins forward Shawn Thornton still remembers how Andrew Alberts proved early on to be a solid teammate. “When I signed here, I didn’t know anyone. I took a cab to practice in Wilmington from Cambridge,” Thornton said this week. “Afterward, I had to go pick up a car. (Alberts) went out of his way to make sure that I got to know the guys and took me for lunch. He drove me to go get my car. He was a good teammate when he was (with us). .?.?. I’m happy to see him having success.” Success for Alberts has come in the form of a part-time role for the Western Conference champion Vancouver Canucks, who enter tonight’s Game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals up 1-0 in the series. Alberts played his first three seasons for the Bruins before they traded him to Philadelphia in 2008. After skating for the Flyers and Carolina he wound up in Vancouver last year. This season, he battled through a shoulder injury and a broken wrist to appear in 42 games and post seven points (one goal). The defenseman has appeared in just three playoff games thus far, but his role could change dramatically tonight if Canucks veteran Dan Hamhuis, who was injured in Game 1, can’t play. Hamhuis is day-to-day. Alberts practiced yesterday alongside veteran Christian Ehrhoff, a regular in Vancouver’s lineup. Although Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said not to read into the lines from practice too much, the pairing may be a hint that Alberts will make his Stanley Cup finals debut tonight. “It’s been since Game 3 of the Nashville (second-round) series, so hopefully I’d get out there, get a bump in early, make a couple quick plays and get in the game as soon as possible,” Alberts said. “Just make simple plays, for me.” The appearance could be extra special given the opponent. “I’ve still got some buddies over there, so it’d be fun playing against them,” he said. “But it’s a different makeup from when I was there, so it’s a little different attitude and identity. So it’s a different team.” Alberts said he never was bitter about the trade from the Bruins because he understood that with free agency looming the team wanted to make sure it got something for him. He still keeps in touch with some B’s players and still is putting to use the lessons he picked up as a young defenseman straight out of Boston College. “My first year, Brian Leetch was there, Hal Gill. Two good players and just learning how to be a professional on and off the ice with those guys (was big),” Alberts said. “Joe (Thornton) was there for a little bit, and Glen Murray and the first couple years you really start to learn a lot about the game on and off the ice, and I’ve kind of carried that through my career.” And Alberts is still the same solid locker-room guy that once aided Shawn Thornton’s transition to the B’s. “He’s a great guy and he works extremely hard. It’s probably a little tougher for him being in and out of the lineup and he’s not really sure when he’s playing,” Hamhuis said. “But he’s a guy that it doesn’t really get him down, or he doesn’t show it anyway. It’s a tough spot to be in, especially being a veteran guy. So I’m really impressed with his positive attitude and work ethic during the season.” Boston Herald LOADED: 06.04.2011 571255 Boston Bruins Schmautz shooting for a Bruins victory By Neil Cote | Saturday, June 4, 2011 | http://www.bostonherald.com | Boston Bruins He was among the definitive “Slap Shot” characters even before the movie hit the big screen in 1977. Bobby Schmautz was a wiry, long-haired, crooked-nosed, hyperkinetic forward known for a chin-high wrist shot that goalies hated, stickwork that earned him the moniker Dr. Hook, and a maniacal glare that might have scared the devil. Thus, Schmautz had all the necessities to be a fan favorite at the old Garden, a much-admired teammate and a total pain in the butt to everyone in opposing colors as well as some team executives. And given that the team execs he exasperated during his 13-year career included those in Boston and Vancouver, one might wonder just whom Schmautz is rooting for in these Stanley Cup fInals. Until, that is, his loud, jovial voice left no doubt. “Kick Vancouver’s (expletive)!” he relayed from his home in Oregon. Well it’s easy to fathom why the 66-year-old Canadian, a retired roofer, would be cheering on an organization that traded him away in December 1979. For it was in Boston where, for five full seasons and parts of two others, Schmautz was a proud, card-carrying member of Don Cherry’s Lunch Pail A.C. — playing and producing a steady 20-plus goals annually despite injuries that would have sidelined players of lesser grit. He even came within sniffing distance of several Stanley Cups, including in his last full season here when a bench minor against Montreal cost the Bruins a berth in the 1979 finals and gave general manager Harry Sinden a convenient excuse to fire the coach with whom he so often had clashed. Early the following season, when the Colorado Rockies — now led by Cherry — won in Boston, Schmautz said his old pal had outcoached his replacement, Fred Creighton, and that burned his last bridge to the Bruins brass. Within days, Schmautz was earmarked for Edmonton in return for Dan Newman, an NHL version of Stan Papi. Before that season ended, Schmautz was reunited with Cherry in Denver. The next season, he resurfaced in Vancouver for his second go-around with the Canucks, potting 27 goals, including one that was the decisive marker in a triumph at the old Garden. “Yeah, I looked up and winked at Sinden in his box,” Schmautz said. Sinden wasn’t winking back, and following a first-round blowout against Buffalo, the Vancouver brain trust wasn’t smiling at Schmautz, whose outspoken ways and off-ice carousing made him a difficult fit for coach Harry Neale. Nevertheless, Schmautz today is listed as No. 32 in the (admittedly modest) Vancouver Canucks Hall of Fame, and he occasionally ventures north for alumni functions, signings and reunions. But Schmautz left at least part of his heart in Boston. “If you pulled my shorts off you’d see I have that ‘B’ tattooed on my (butt),” he said. “The people in Vancouver and Boston both treated me so well, but those Boston years were so special. Grapes (Don Cherry) and I were great friends. He was in it to win and so was I, and we both were so outspoken about it. And Mr. Orr was the best I ever saw, and I played against and with him.” Schmautz expects to return to the Hub this summer and catch up with old friends like Rick Middleton, Don Marcotte and Terry O’Reilly. And how about Sinden? “We’d get along all right, after I drilled him, but I’d only drill him once,” he said. “Everything would be all right between us, and if you believe that .?.?.” Boston Herald LOADED: 06.04.2011 571256 Boston Bruins Rating Boston’s mighty mites: Brad Marchand, Dustin Pedroia, Danny Woodhead By Joshua Walovitch | Saturday, June 4, 2011 | http://www.bostonherald.com | Boston Bruins With Boston delirious with hockey fever, mighty mite rookie Brad Marchand has emerged as the Bruins’ version of the Red Sox’ Dustin Pedroia and the Patriots’ Danny Woodhead — undersized athletes with oversized talent. At 5 feet, 9 inches tall, Marchand is the smallest player on the team’s roster. But this bantam center has become a fan favorite with his energetic style of play and knack for antagonizing opposing players. Among NHL rookies, he placed in the top 10 in goals, points, plus/minus rating and shorthanded goals, and he won the Bruins 7th Player Award voted by fans. And just like Pedroia and Woodhead, Marchand plays a key role in helping his team go deep into the playoffs. But how close is Marchand to reaching the popularity level of our other diminutive local heroes? Yesterday we hit the streets of Boston with photographs of Marchand, Pedroia and Woodhead and asked passers-by to play the classic schoolyard game of “Romance, Marry, Kill” (who’s sexiest, most lovable and least lovable). We unexpectedly encountered someone with a definitive answer to the question: Kelli Pedroia, who was with her son Dylan outside of Fenway Park [map]. Which two professional athletes will get an ego boost from our poll? And which one not so much. Watch the video at for the answer. Boston Herald LOADED: 06.04.2011 571257 Calgary Flames “How I win the day is I don’t drink or do drugs,” he said. “I’m in the program and hang out with other people who have addiction issues and we try to get through it together.” Ex-Flame shines light on substance abuse Myhres splits his time between his home in Edmonton and his business in Myhres has a degree in abuse counselling and he’s eager to Calgary, where is the CEO of the Greater Strides Hockey Academy, a mentor young hockey players brainchild that hopes to see come to fruition sooner than later. Of Metis heritage, Myhres noticed as he toured about the country talking to kids about substance abuse that there was nothing solely for aboriginal kids By John Down in the way of hockey schools. One thing led to another and now Greater Strides, which has the full support of most Alberta tribes, has grown from being a hockey academy proposal to including a private school complete with on-site dormitory and cultural centre. Brantt Myhres has been to the dark side . . . again and again and again and again ... and again. And now the 34-year-old former National Hockey The centre will be built with funds from the federal and provincial League tough guy wants to give back, wants to share his knowledge, wants governments and as much as he can round up from the private sector. In to help players who are struggling with substance abuse. fact, Myhres is holding a golf tournament in early August at Redwood Meadows to support the cause. So with a certificate from Mount Royal in substance abuse counselling, he has offered his services to the league and the players’ association. As one “It’ll be a little like Notre Dame (Wilcox, Sask.) but for aboriginal kids,” he who has first hand experience from years of battling with addictions, he said. “We seem to have all kinds of people jumping on board.” believes it is a topic that is often ignored by the public or swept under the rug by the players themselves. firstname.lastname@example.org “A lot of it goes under the radar,” he said during a telephone interview from Calgary Herald: LOADED: 06.04.2011 his home in Edmonton. “A lot of people really don’t hear the dark side of it. I played with seven different NHL teams, 17 pro teams to be exact, and I had a first hand glance at the abuse that went on. “A lot of these guys don’t want to say anything to anybody because their careers are at stake and that’s where I could come in. They could confide in me because I’m speaking the same language. There’s no threat to them, like they’re going to a coach, a general manager or an agent. “They’re going to an ex-player who’s been there, done that several times.” Myhres struck out five times in the NHL, the fifth suspension leading to a lifetime ban. “I think I was the only player to get suspended four times by the league and then get reinstated,” he said. “I played one game with the Flames, a pre-season game (in 2005), got my orbital bone smashed by Georges Laraque (Edmonton Oilers) in a fight and after that my spirits were down and I ended up relapsing again. “It was really dark for about a year and half. At some point I said, ‘I’m either going to die or I’m going to get sober’. I went back to treatment for six months in Oregon and when I got out, my goal was to give back. I wanted to help players who are struggling with it.” Myhres met with new NHLPA leader Donald Fehr recently but while they agreed he could be a liaison to players, any formal role would have to be jointly agreed upon by the league and PA. The recent death of Derek Boogaard further strengthened his stance that the issue needs to be openly addressed. Boogaard’s death was ruled to have been triggered by a mix of alcohol and oxycodone. “I’d definitely like to see a little more awareness,” he said. “The whole league is up in arms over concussions but could you imagine if somebody had died from one of those concussions how crazy it would have gotten. “But there seems to be very little attention paid to guys who die because of drug and alcohol abuse. You give an 18- or 19-year-old kid $500,000 or $1 million, it’s sometimes a recipe for disaster.” Myhres drew his first suspension for alcohol abuse when he was just a 17- year-old member of the Lethbridge Hurricanes. He paid his first visit to rehab when he was a 24-year-old member of the Philadelphia Flyers during the 1997-98 campaign. “They say insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result,” he said. “I looked at it as doing the same thing over and over and expecting the same result. You know what you’re getting into. “For me I couldn’t seem to function without being medicated and I think fighting definitely took a major toll on me. I started fighting at age 16.” Myhres had around 300 fights in pro hockey alone. In 154 regular season games in the NHL with Tampa Bay, the Flyers, San Jose, Nashville, Washington and Boston, he scored six goals and collected 687 minutes in penalties. He never played in the NHL after Laraque broke his orbital bone, nor did he fight again. Now he’s been sober for three years but it’s an ongoing battle to stay out of the dark side. 571258 Calgary Flames Horak ‘excited’ to join Flames By Scott Cruickshank Welcoming him to the fold, the Calgary Flames had marvelled at Roman Horak’s excitement level. That, according to his pal, is normal. “He’s just a very enthusiastic kid and he’s always excited, no matter what,” said Ryan Howse, who’d skated on a line with Horak with the WHL’s Chilliwack Bruins and — thanks to Wednesday’s trade — will turn pro with his chum this coming winter. “It’s pretty neat. I talked to him (Thursday), with a little email, and he’s pretty excited to come. He can’t wait. He really enjoyed Canada, he really enjoyed the people here. He’s been to a Flames game — we went as a team last year — so he got to see that. And, obviously, with Chilliwack being close to Abbotsford (home of the Flames’ farm team), he got to see a lot of Abbotsford games.” Howse, a sharp-shooting right-winger, and Horak, a soft-passing left- winger, worked together for two seasons. But, after their first campaign, the Flames selected Howse in the third round and the New York Rangers grabbed Horak in the fifth. That’s life in hockey, linemates and teammates come and go. However, when the Flames shipped un-signable Tim Erixon to the Rangers, they got Horak — and two second-round picks — in return. “Someone we really like,” Flames general manager Jay Feaster said of the Czech youngster. “We like his work ethic, we like his compete. We think he will play in the National Hockey League.” “We get a player who already has chemistry with one of our other draft picks. He is signed. . . there is no European-return clause in that contract, so he’ll come in here and try to earn a spot in camp. If he doesn’t, he’ll be with our top AHL affiliate.” Howse and Horak finished 1-2 in Bruins scoring, with 83 and 78 points, respectively, last season. Howse, a splendid finisher, says he owed a lot of his success to Horak. “Thanks to him, I got a couple goals this year,” said Howse, who notched 51 in the 2010-11 campaign. “That’s one of his biggest strengths — playmaking. ‘‘He’s easy to work with. Smooth skater, great vision. Very slick. Nice moves, great hands. And don’t count him out as far as scoring a goal here or there. “It’ll be pretty neat to see how well our chemistry works at a higher level now.” Barring sensational training camps, the two forwards will embark on their rookie seasons in Abbotsford. “We spent two years watching each other develop,” said Howse. “Now, turning pro together, it’s special to him and to me as well. I’m excited to have someone close to me, play with me. “He’s a great guy and an even better hockey player.” Calgary Herald: LOADED: 06.04.2011 571259 Calgary Flames Hartsburg reportedly will join Flames coaching staff By Scott Cruickshank, Calgary Herald June 3, 2011 Craig Hartsburg, according to one report, is about to become a member of the Calgary Flames’ coaching staff. But the National Hockey League team came short of saying the deal was complete. “Craig Hartsburg is a top candidate for a coaching position with the Flames,” Peter Hanlon, Flames vice-president of communications, said Thursday afternoon. “However, there’s work to be done before any official announcement.” TSN’s report indicated that Hartsburg, after relinquishing his current coaching gig with the Everett Silvertips of the Western Hockey League, would step in and hold down an associate-coaching post. Indeed, the Flames are in the market for assistants, having turned aside Rob Cookson, Jamie McLennan and Ryan McGill at season’s end. (Dave Lowry, alone, maintained his position.) Hartsburg and Flames skipper Brent Sutter go way back. The former coached the latter during their days with the Chicago Blackhawks — one of three NHL head-coaching stops that Hartsburg has made. He’s also been the main man for the Anaheim Ducks and, most recently, the Ottawa Senators. Hartsburg, who turns 52 later this month, has extensive assistant-coaching experience, too — with the Minnesota North Stars and the Philadelphia Flyers. Like Sutter, he’s coached Canada to world-junior gold twice — in 2007 and 2008. Sutter turned the trick in 2005 and 2006. Calgary Herald: LOADED: 06.04.2011 571260 Columbus Blue Jackets Blue Jackets: Search for goaltender coach gets narrower By Aaron Portzline The Blue Jackets still may be more than a week away from hiring a goaltending coach, but names of leading candidates are beginning to emerge. And it's unlikely that either Ron Tugnutt or Marc Denis, both former Blue Jackets, will get the job. Jamie McLennan and Eli Wilson have interviewed for the job, sources told The Dispatch yesterday, with other names still out there. McLennan retired in 2007 after a 14-season pro career and has been on the coaching staff of the Calgary Flames the past two seasons. Wilson never played professionally but spent 2007-10 with the Ottawa Senators and a brief stint late last season as a goaltending consultant with the Anaheim Ducks. Tugnutt, a popular player during the Blue Jackets' first two seasons, apparently won't be granted an interview, despite serving as Team Canada's goaltending coach in the world junior championships the past two seasons. He has coached in the junior ranks the last three seasons. Denis has coached for Chicoutimi, Quebec, the past two seasons and is an analyst for the French-speaking RDS sports network in Canada. He won't get an interview, either. The Blue Jackets' job came open when Dave Rook resigned shortly after the season ended. Columbus Dispatch LOADED: 06.04.2011 571261 Dallas Stars Cap As Richards bolts, Stars GM must build with tight budget Floor By MIKE HEIKA 2005-06 Joe Nieuwendyk feels the weight as much as you do — probably more. $39.0 mil. The Stars general manager wants to win — now. It kills him that the team has missed the playoffs in two seasons under his watch. It kills him that he had to fire Marc Crawford and admit that his first decision on the head $21.5 mil. coach was wrong. It kills him that he doesn’t have the budget to sign Brad 2006-07 Richards, and he has to go to Plan B so quickly. But it also makes him stronger. And more patient. And maybe even smarter. $44.0 mil. And that could pay off for this franchise in the long run. One of the worst things for a GM is to have too much money early in his $28.0 mil. run. It makes it far too easy to make long-term mistakes that could eventually hurt. Former GM Doug Armstrong found that out when he had to 2007-08 buy out Bill Guerin’s five-year, $45 million contract. The same thing happened when Brett Hull and Les Jackson signed Sean Avery to a four- year deal. $50.3 mil. Nieuwendyk shouldn’t have that problem. He has been forced to make some tough decisions on a tight budget. He found Kari Lehtonen when nobody believed the big goalie could find health and motivation. He $34.3 mil. unearthed 25-year-old Alex Goligoski when everyone else would have been happy with a more reputable 30-something defenseman. 2008-09 And the rewards of that creativity helped form the kind of GM Nieuwendyk will become. He will eagerly use the money of new ownership when it $56.7 mil. eventually arrives, but he won’t see it as the only way to solve problems. Leading scorer Richards will sign with another team after July 1. It’s something Nieuwendyk has prepared for. While his departure will leave a $40.7 mil. hole in the scoring, it also will leave Nieuwendyk with a lot more money. Richards made $7.8 million last season and will probably make close to that 2009-10 next season. The Stars have 17 players under contract for about $38 million. The NHL $56.8 mil. floor for next season could be $46.2 million. That means Nieuwendyk might have to find a way to spend another $8 million by next October. He can do that on free agents or on trades for players with heavier contracts, but he has to add to the current roster. $40.8 mil. And it’s a pretty good roster already. Brenden Morrow, Mike Ribeiro, Loui 2010-11 Eriksson and Jamie Benn are set to play in the top-six forward group. With Benn able to play center or wing, that allows Nieuwendyk some flexibility in pursuing a top-six player who is either a center or a wing. $59.4 mil. And while the defense certainly could use a boost, just one top-level player could make all the difference in the world on the blue line. If Nieuwendyk could get in on the bidding for Kevin Bieksa or Christian Ehrhoff or $43.4 mil. Jonathan Ericsson, the defense would take shape quickly. 2011-12 Vancouver businessman Tom Gaglardi is expected to put forth a signed purchase agreement next week, and then the process of moving the team through bankruptcy court can begin. With other buyers able to put in bids, $62.2 mil. there’s no timeline for when the team will be sold, but Nieuwendyk should be able to do everything he needs to do in hiring coaches and signing free agents — so long as he stays under his budget. $46.2 mil. Once the new owner is in, a new budget can be discussed, and maybe the Stars can swing a trade or two for players deemed too expensive by other *Projected figures teams. Or maybe Nieuwendyk will remain patient and target next year’s Dallas Morning News LOADED: 06.04.2011 free-agent crop. After all, he’s learned a lot of patience in the last two years. Juggling money Next season’s salary cap is expected to be around $62.2 million, which means the minimum amount teams spend will be about $46.2 million. That means the Stars could have to spend around $8 more million just to get to the cap floor. The NHL’s salary-cap history: Season 571262 Detroit Red Wings Kindl named top rookie by broadcasters By GEORGE SIPPLE Defenseman Jakub Kindl was named Red Wings rookie of the year Friday by the Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association. Kindl had two goals and two assists in 48 games with a minus-six rating and 36 penalty minutes. He also had 44 hits and 36 blocked shots. Kindl, 24, was the club's seventh defenseman but pushed veteran Ruslan Salei for playing time late in the season. Kindl didn't appear in any of the 11 playoff games. He could get regular minutes next season on the third defensive pairing. Defenseman Brian Rafalski retired, and Nicklas Lidstrom is deciding whether to retire or play another season. Two other defensemen, Salei and Jonathan Ericsson, will be unrestricted free agents July 1. Kindl spent three seasons with the Grand Rapids Griffins improving his defense, after being drafted 19th overall in the 2005. The DSBA rookie of the year award dates to the 1948-49 season. Recent winners include Jimmy Howard, Ericsson, Jiri Hudler, Niklas Kronwall and Johan Franzen. Detroit Free Press LOADED: 06.04.2011 571263 Detroit Red Wings Jakub Kindl snags Red Wings rookie of year honor By GEORGE SIPPLE Defenseman Jakub Kindl was named the Red Wings rookie of the year today by the Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association. Kindl scored two goals and two assists for four points in 48 games with a minus-6 rating and 36 penalty minutes. He also had 44 hits and 36 blocked shots. Kindl, 24, was the club's seventh defenseman, but pushed veteran Ruslan Salei for playing time late in the season. Kindl didn't appear in any of the club's 11 playoff games. Kindl could get regular minutes next season on the team's third defensive pairing. The Wings have already lost defenseman Brian Rafalski to retirement and Nicklas Lidstrom is deciding whether to retire or return for another season. Two other defenseman, Saleri and Jonathan Ericsson, will be unrestricted free agents on July 1. Kindl spent three seasons with the Grand Rapids Griffins improving his defensive game, after being drafted 19th overall in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. The DSBA rookie of the year award dates to the 1948-49 season. Recent winners include Jimmy Howard, Ericsson, Jiri Hudler, Niklas Kronwall and Johan Franzen. Detroit Free Press LOADED: 06.04.2011 571264 Detroit Red Wings National writer reveals his NHL awards ballot By KIRKLAND CRAWFORD Once the Canucks or Bruins hoist the Stanley Cup, NHL fans will shift focus to Las Vegas and the NHL awards on June 22 in Las Vegas. Several Red Wings are up for individual hardware, and one writer has divulged his ballot. CBSSports.com's A.J. Perez explained how and why he voted. On his ballot, only one Red Wings won. Nicklas Lidstrom got Perez's vote for the Lady Byng Trophy. Perez: "This is the sixth time he’s been a finalist for the Byng, but first time in eight years. I know Lidstrom turned into a bad guy during that stretch. You won’t find him in the penalty box much or barking at the refs incessantly. Nearing his 41st birthday, he remains one of the game’s calming figures." The Wings captain wasn't as fortunate in Perez's vote for the Norris Trophy. Lidstrom was third on the ballot, behind Boston's Zdeno Chara and Anaheim Lubomir Visnovsky. "The six-time Norris winner had heck of an offensive year, scoring 62 points (16 goals and 46 assists). He also had to play without his usual defensive partner, Brian Rafalski, who was out injured for stretches. Whether you put much weight on plus-minus or not, the fact he was a minus-2 knocked him down a couple pegs." Pavel Datsyuk is up for the Selke Trophy, but he doesn't necessarily have Perez's support. The writer picked Canucks star (and Livonia native) Ryan Kesler first, followed by Vancouver teammate Manny Malhotra before Datsyuk. "Had injuries not limited him to 56 games this season, it would have been much more difficult for me not to vote him No. 1 again. He’s won the award the previous four seasons. Datsyuk remains a beast in the faceoff circle (54.6% winning percentage) and finished the season plus-11, second-lowest on the Wings." Detroit Free Press LOADED: 06.04.2011 571265 Detroit Red Wings Chris Chelios, Nicklas Lidstrom paddle surf with Kid Rock By GEORGE SIPPLE Red Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom attended a news conference in Detroit on Thursday, but it wasn't to address his playing future. Lidstrom and former teammate Chris Chelios helped Kid Rock announce plans for a concert Aug. 12 at Comerica Park. The trio arrived at Belle Isle's beach after crossing the Detroit River on paddleboards. Lidstrom said on a video posted on the Red Wings' Twitter page that there was "nothing new to report" about his future. He has told the Wings he will decide before July 1 whether he'll retire or return for a 20th season. "I still haven't made a decision yet," Lidstrom said. Chelios, executive adviser to Wings general manager Ken Holland, had invited Kid Rock to go stand-up paddle surfing with him and Lidstrom. Kid Rock decided to incorporate the activity into his Comerica Park announcement. "To actually be a part of the announcement kind of took me and Nick by surprise," Chelios told the Free Press. "We couldn't have asked for a better day to paddleboard right up to the beach. I thought it went great ... beautiful shot of the city in the background. For paddleboarding, you're not going to get a better situation on the river, that's for sure." Chelios said he never discussed hockey with Lidstrom on Thursday. "We did not talk 1 second about hockey," Chelios said. "Nick's a real smart guy. He's coming off a great year. I hope he comes back, obviously, being a friend of his. I played as long as I could, and that advice came from Wayne Gretzky. I told Nick the same thing: 'As long as you're enjoying it, play as long as you can.' " Lidstrom, 41, had 16 goals and 46 assists in 82 games this past season. "It's not a question of whether he can play at a high level," Chelios said. "It's just a matter of whether he wants to." The Wings expect to hear from Lidstrom before the NHL draft June 24-25. Lidstrom is expected to be at the NHL Awards on June 22 in Las Vegas as a finalist for the Norris Trophy, which goes to the top defenseman. Perhaps paddle surfing was another way for Lidstrom to get in some physical activity in the off-season to keep in shape for a return to the ice. "I go all the time, pretty much every day if the weather allows," Chelios said. "That's Nick's first time down the river. I've taken him and his wife on the inland lakes by Orchard Lake and Cass Lake." Detroit Free Press LOADED: 06.04.2011 571266 Detroit Red Wings National writer: Brendan Shanahan is great choice for NHL 'bad cop' By KIRKLAND CRAWFORD So Brendan Shanahan, the affable, popular former Red Wings who helped Detroit to three Stanley Cups, is now the NHL's new Bad Cop? On Wednesday before Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals, "Shanny" was introduced as the league's new disciplinarian. Yahoo!Sports writer (and former Freepster) Nicholas J. Cotsonika covered the news conference and wrote that Shanahan is the best man to replace Colin Campbell. Cotsonika: "But if you’re going to get someone with an intimate understanding of the game, you’re going to have to accept at least some perceived conflict of interest. The most qualified person in that context is going to have connections and history. Shanahan understands what’s happening on the ice and off of it. He scored 656 goals and won three Stanley Cups; he also racked up 2,489 penalty minutes, complained about the officiating and faced supplemental discipline himself. He helped rewrite the new rules; he also played under them. He has the “fresh eyes” Campbell said the league needs." Cotsonika pointed out that part of the problem with Campbell's regime was his potential conflict of interest with his son, Gregory, who plays for the Boston Bruins. Shanahan doesn't have any family members in the league, but he isn't that far removed from his playing days. He's has ex-teammates still in the league and, in higher-up positions. "It’s going to be sticky if and when Shanahan has to suspend, say, a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning, whose general manager is former teammate Steve Yzerman. So be it. “You assume that Steve and I are still friends,” Shanahan cracked. Good to see he hasn’t lost his sense of humor. Yet." The biggest hurdle for Shanahan, according to Cotsonika, could be actually being the "bad guy." It's an unenviable position to hand out punishment and the ex-Wing will eventually make someone unhappy. "Criticism in the media is one thing. Criticism from your peers is another. How is Shanahan going to feel when he starts getting flak publicly and privately from players, coaches and GMs – the people he respects the most, the people whose respect he values the most? I think he can handle it. I don’t think he’ll find it fun." Detroit Free Press LOADED: 06.04.2011 571267 Detroit Red Wings Howe battling George Armstrong, the former Maple Leafs great, for a loose puck. In the background, sitting just beyond the glass, are John and Mary Barnes. One puck's journey: From Gordie Howe to Wings fan to Hall of Fame John is wearing a fedora, a three-piece suit, and a tie. Mary wears a dress, dress coat and bracelet. Her hands are clasped, almost prayerfully, in front of her face. Gregg Krupa/ The Detroit News Both faces are etched with intense concern as Howe and Armstrong clash. A generous gesture It was a different era for sports in Detroit in December 1968. In October, the Tigers helped heal a riot-torn city, winning their first World Series in 23 John Barnes was diabetic and his sight weakened to the point that, by years. The Lions were lousy, and had just lost to the previously winless 1968, he would sit in the alumni room at the Olympia, often with liquid Eagles on Thanksgiving Day at Tiger Stadium. refreshment, listening to Bruce Martyn and Budd Lynch broadcast the play- by-play. At Olympia Stadium, the Red Wings were destined to finish fifth and out of the playoffs in the six-team Eastern Conference of the NHL. "Gordie donated the stick with which he scored the goal," Allen Moore said. "But, along with his wife, Colleen, they presented the historic puck with a But at the age of 40, Gordie Howe was on fire. beautiful silver band engraved with the signature of many of the players to my uncle." On his way to 44 goals that season, Howe accomplished what no other NHL player had managed. Against Penguins goaltender Les Binkley on The Barneses were thrilled. Dec. 9, Howe scored goal No. 700. "What a wonderful gesture by one of the most thoughtful sports figures in The next highest career total was Maurice "Rocket" Richard's 544. Detroit history," Moore said. "Gordie always seemed to take time for ordinary folks as well as people who had suffered some sort of disability or Howe's stick immediately went to the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, hard luck." along with a puck with which he had posed after the game, painted with the number "700." Howe later told reporters, "I'm just happy that I'm in a position that I can give something like that away. They are real dedicated fans and my wife, But, in the generous way of Howe and his wife, Colleen, who would become Colleen, and I decided that they should have it." known all across North America as Mr. and Mrs. Hockey, the actual puck that went into the net off Howe's stick that night was given to a beloved, John Barnes lived a long life, dying in November 1991. Mary passed away longtime season-ticket holder, John Barnes. in August 1998. On Friday, 43 years later, in the living room of a home in Livonia, the puck One label on the puck, the trademarks of the manufacturer, bears a few started its journey to join the stick in the Hockey Hall of Fame. notations: "1:13 1st period," "Alex" and "Frank." Allen Moore, the nephew of Barnes and his wife, Mary, handed it to Craig Howe's 700th was scored one minute 13 seconds into the game. Campbell and Phil Pritchard of the Hockey Hall of Fame, after almost a decade of research and conversations with Moore. Alex Delvecchio and Frank Mahovlich, both members of the Hockey Hall of Fame, were Howe's linemates that season. Together, they tallied 118 goals "When I first contacted them about making the donation, they were kind of — Howe 44, Delvecchio 25 and Mahovlich 49. leery about it," Moore said. "They said, 'Well, are you sure you've got the right puck?'" Early that season, the talk all around town was about how much longer Howe would play. In a 76-game season, he appeared in every one. He Moore and his wife, Janet, said they could have obtained $10,000-$15,000 scored, during a season in which he turned 41, the highest point total of his on eBay. But it would not have honored his uncle and aunt, or the Howes. career, 103. "You know, money is money," Moore said. "This is more important. Campbell, manager of archives at the Hall, and Pritchard drove from Toronto on Friday to get the puck. Then, they drove right back, with it. "Gordie Howe and his wife, Colleen, were thoughtful and kind people. I know he is a great hockey player, but I think he is a great person, too. For him to do this, to give such a significant puck to a fan, is something special. And we've seen other things he's done in the community." "It's immensely important," said Campbell, who along with Pritchard, also serve as the "Keepers" of the Stanley Cup. "We're a charity. We're not Pritchard, the curator of the Hall, said the puck is important. But the story affiliated with any league or hockey entity. While we have connections to behind it, and the involvement of two hockey-loving couples, the Howes and leagues and federations, we rely on people out of the goodness of their Barneses, makes cherished memories come alive. hearts to donate key items, or a significant item to them, to the museum. "The puck is amazing," Pritchard said. "But the story on how they got it? "It will likely go up in the Gordie Howe showcase, there, within the next That's the human interest." month. Close to ice, players "And I think it's just great that it's come to be that the puck will rejoin the stick for a longer moment than Gordie brought them together, during that Beginning before television, the Barneses sat in a row directly along the game." boards. They were so close that in the days before Plexiglas, when a so- called chicken-wire fence protected fans from flying pucks, Allen Moore Detroit News LOADED: 06.04.2011 remembers getting sprayed with the snowy-ice by players who came to a sudden stop nearby as he sat on his uncle's lap. The closeness led to friendships between fans and players in a way that almost never occurs today. "Over the years, my aunt would tell our family about bowling with the players as well as attending various team social events," Moore said. "They'd bowl on West Chicago, near the Olympia. There was a bar downstairs and the bowling was upstairs. "I'll tell you, they were sort of party animals," Janet Moore said. "They really got around. Later, we found out that Aunt Mary would baby-sit for Colleen and Gordie." In their home, the Moores have hung a framed copy of an old Red Wings program, "Red Wings Magazine." The 50-cent souvenir bears a picture of 571268 Detroit Red Wings Jakub Kindl named Red Wings rookie of the year Ted Kulfan/ The Detroit News Detroit— Defenseman Jakub Kindl has been named the Red Wings 2010- 11 Rookie of the Year by the Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association (DSBA). Kindl played in 48 games, scoring 4 points (2 goals, 2 assists) in addition to 44 hits and 36 blocked shots. Kindl (6-foot-3, 210 pounds) was a 2005 1st-round draft pick. The DSBA Red Wings Rookie of the Year Award dates back to the 1948-49 NHL season. Previous recipients of the award include current Red Wings Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Johan Franzen, Niklas Kronwall, Jiri Hudler, Jimmy Howard and Jonathan Ericsson. Detroit News LOADED: 06.04.2011 571269 Detroit Red Wings Jakub Kindl named DSBA Red Wings rookie of year The Grand Rapids Press By The Grand Rapids Press DETROIT -- Defenseman Jakub Kindl has been named the Detroit Red Wings 2010-11 rookie of the year by the Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association (DSBA). Kindl, 24, played in 48 games, picking up two goals and two assists, posting a minus-6 rating and picking up 36 penalty minutes. Kindl was the club's seventh defenseman last season, getting inserted into the lineup as an injury replacement and rotating with veteran Ruslan Salei late in the season. Next season, Kindl is expected to earn a regular spot in the lineup. Drafted 19th overall in the first round in 2005 because of his offensive skills and puck-moving ability, Kindl spent three seasons with the Grand Rapids Griffins, where he worked to improve his defensive game. He played with more of an edge late last season. The DSBA Red Wings rookie of the year award dates back to the 1948-49 season. Previous recipients include current Detroit players Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Johan Franzen, Niklas Kronwall, Jiri Hudler, Jimmy Howard and Jonathan Ericsson. Michigan Live LOADED: 06.04.2011 571270 Edmonton Oilers Goalie's prospects murky Liston hopes stellar play before injury will earn draft consideration By Jim Matheson Goalie Liam Liston auditioned for the army of NHL scouts and general managers at the Top Prospects game in January at the Air Canada Centre, standing on his head for his 20-minute stint, but took a blow to his head during the Western Hockey League playoffs and was sidelined with a concussion. Now, the 18-year-old from St. Albert, who played for the Brandon Wheat Kings, isn't sure where he stands with the NHL draft three weeks away. Chances are he'll get drafted, but where and when nobody knows. It's that way with most goalies. There were only two taken as first-rounders last June -American Jack Campbell (by the Dallas Stars) and Canadian Mark Visentin (Phoenix Coyotes), who happened to both be in the last world junior championship -and only 20 goalies taken in 210 selections. Four of those were in the last round. "It's a position that's drafted a little differently ... it seems every year it takes one team to overcome that gun-shy feeling of being the first team to take a goalie, then you get a little run of three or four guys." said Liston. "Campbell went so high (11th), then Mark (27) in the first round, then Calvin Pickard (Colorado Avalanche) and Kent Simpson (Chicago Blackhawks) in the second. Once the first team takes somebody, it starts a bit of a waterfall effect. Until then, it's a bit of waiting game." Liston isn't sure how it will shake down for him at the draft in St. Paul, Minn. He's certainly not flying there to sit in the seats with his parents. He'll hope his phone rings June 25. "How things went in the first half of the season, playing in the Top Prospects game and stuff, it looked like there was a lot more certainty than there is now," said Liston, a St. Albert Catholic high school graduate who has spoken to about 10 NHL teams. "I'm pretty hopeful somebody takes a chance on me. If so, hopefully I'll impress at camp." "He had a really good prospects game. I think he made 19 stops in his one period," said the Central Scouting Bureau's Rick Jackson. "He'll get drafted." Liston, rated the ninth-best goalie in North America and second best in the WHL behind Edmonton Oil Kings' Laurent Brossoit, played on a run-and- gun Brandon team, especially in the second half. He played 41 regular- season games (20-16-1, 3.77 goals-against average) but was hurt in the first playoff round against Medicine Hat. He was going against his childhood friend Tyler Bunz, the Oilers' fifth-round pick last June. Bunz also got a concussion later that round, but managed to play again. Not Liston. His team, which made a late charge and made the playoffs, was out in Round 1. "The concussion was unfortunate, especially the time of year," said Liston, the former Alberta Midget Hockey League goalie of the year. "I was warming up between games three and four in Winnipeg and took a shot off the chin area. Caught me by surprise. Originally, I thought it was just a headache or I had a bit of the flu, but it progressed. Once I took all the tests, it was more serious than I thought." He had an aversion to light (he watched from the press box with the lights off in the playoffs), along with dizziness. "First time I've ever had one. It was like being fatigued all the time. You just want to sleep. You can't regain your energy," said Liston, who has a clean bill of health now. The six-foot-two-inch, 195-pound Liston has been a goalie as long as he can remember. "One of my earliest memories was letting in 10 goals in a game and my dad (John) figured that might be the end of it, but I loved it. Maybe it was the equipment when I was little ... I loved being a difference-maker." Edmonton Journal: LOADED: 06.04.2011 571271 Montreal Canadiens Jean Béliveau to undergo surgery Staff Report The Canadiens announced Friday afternoon that Hall of Famer and team ambassador Jean Béliveau is scheduled to undergo a preventive surgical procedure next week to repair abdominal aneurysms. The procedure, known as endovascular surgery, will be performed using the most recent techniques, which are minimally invasive. The team said in a press release that Béliveau, whose general state of health is very good, will need a few months to fully recover from the surgery. Béliveau has asked that everyone respect his privacy and that of his family. “We are pleased that Mr. Béliveau is under the good care of head team physician David Mulder," team owner and CEO Geoff Molson said in a statement. "On behalf of all of our fans, players and the entire Montreal Canadiens family, I would like to wish Mr. Béliveau a prompt and complete recovery." Montreal Gazette LOADED: 06.04.2011 571272 Montreal Canadiens Canadiens have some holes to fill By PAT HICKEY, The GazetteJune 4, 2011 3:03 AM Carey Price is the Canadiens' No. 1 goaltender. He's also one of only two netminders in the Canadiens' organization. The only other goaltender who is signed to a contract is Robert Mayer, the Hamilton Bulldogs' backup who is in the second year of an entry-level contract. Before the 2009-10 season, the Canadiens had three young goalies in Price, Jaroslav Halak and Cedrick Desjardins. They cleared the deck for Price to be No. 1 by trading Halak to St. Louis, while Desjardins was shipped to the Tampa Bay organization in return for the rights to Karri Ramo, who is playing in Russia. While there has been a lot of talk about decisions Pierre Gauthier faces in having to deal with a handful of freeagent defenceman and the need for some size up front, the general manager also has some holes to fill in goal in Montreal and on the farm. Alex Auld, who did an excellent job as Price's backup, is an unrestricted free agent. So is veteran Curtis Sanford, who was Hamilton's No. 1 goalie before he was injured. And so is Drew McIntyre, the late-season pickup who led the Bulldogs to the final four in the American Hockey League playoffs. The lack of depth in goal is reflected in the roster for the first stage of the Canadiens' development camp, which begins a five-day run Sunday at the team's training facility in Brossard. Five of the six goaltenders are unsigned players on tryouts. They include two U.S. college players and an Englishman who spent most of last season in the German league. The only player with a contract is Peter Delmas, who has an AHL contract with Hamilton. He played with four different teams in four different leagues last season. The most promising player in the group may be Aaron Dell, who will join University of North Dakota teammates Danny Kristo and Michael Cichy at the camp. Dell earned All-America honours after posting a 30-7-2 record with a 1.79 goals-against average. The development camp is a mixed bag. Ten of the 33 players played in Hamilton last season, and three of them - Aaron Palushaj, Andreas Engqvist and defenceman Brendon Nash - saw action with the Canadiens. Ten players played U.S. college hockey and nine of them are expected to return to school in the fall. The exception is defenceman Joe Stejskal, who signed with the Canadiens after graduating from Dartmouth. The collegians include Kristo, who was a first-round draft choice in 2008. Defencemen Mac Bennett and Greg Pateryn are still attending classes at Michigan and are expected to attend the second half of the development camp, which will be held July 5-9. That session will include the Canadiens' picks at this month's entry draft as well as undrafted players from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Louis Leblanc, a first-round pick in 2009, is on the list, but he underwent shoulder surgery last month and won't take part in any of the on-ice sessions. Recently signed Finnish forward Joonas Nattinen will be on hand, but veteran defencemen Alexei Yemelin and Raphael Diaz have too much experience to attend the camp. The first on-ice session will be from 4 to 6 p.m. on Sunday, and there will be morning and afternoon sessions through Thursday with all sessions open to the public. Montreal Gazette LOADED: 06.04.2011 571273 Montreal Canadiens The Montreal Canadiens announced that 33 prospects will participate in a development camp starting Sunday at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard, Que. NHL notes: Beliveau faces surgery Fourteen of the 33 are draft selections, including the first selections from the past three drafts: Jarred Tinordi (2010), Louis Leblanc (2009) and Danny Kristo (2008). By QMI Agency Montreal Sun LOADED: 06.04.2011 Montreal Canadiens legend Jean Beliveau is scheduled to undergo a preventive surgical procedure next week to repair abdominal aneurysms, the team announced Friday. The procedure, known as endovascular surgery, will be minimally invasive, but Beliveau will require a few months to recover. "As of today and for the duration of his convalescence Mr. Beliveau humbly asks for everyone to respect his privacy and that of his family," the Habs said in a news release. Beliveau, who will turn 80 in August, has had several health issues, including an apparent stroke last year. The native of Trois-Rivieres, Que., won 10 Stanley Cups with the Canadiens. Beliveau was a two-time winner of the Hart Trophy, awarded to the NHL's most valuable player. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1972 and is now a Canadiens ambassador. Wings top franchise For the third time in four years, the Detroit Red Wings have been declared the NHL's top franchise by The Hockey News. The Red Wings were cited for their ability to prosper despite tough economic times in the Detroit area. The publication uses nine categories to determine the annual franchise rankings, with the Wings recording high marks in four categories: Front- office continuity, regular-season success, playoff performance and strong ownership. Pittsburgh and Buffalo finished second and third, respectively, while the New York Islanders were last. Montreal was the highest-ranked Canadian franchise, placing seventh. Vancouver was ninth, Ottawa 16th, Calgary 17th, Edmonton 22nd and Toronto 23rd. The Atlanta Thrashers -- the team Winnipeg is inheriting -- was 29th. Whaddya mean free? After years of being teased by the possibility of getting another NHL franchise, and finally getting one this week, you can't blame Winnipeggers for being wary at an offer of free hockey sticks. The initial reaction Friday to the 1,500 free sticks was muted to say the least, as downtown workers mostly ignored a cluster of them leaning against the MTS Arena. "Most people are saying, 'Is it free or not?' " said Jacques Trudel, a worker with retailer Canadian Tire, which masterminded the take-a-stick campaign. "People are too honest." By mid-morning that had changed, and office workers soon had sticks with "Welcome Home" printed on them slung over their shoulders as they headed back to their cubicles. "It's awesome," Kevin McDowell said of the NHL's return. "We've been waiting for a long time." The money-losing Atlanta Thrashers will move to Winnipeg next season if the NHL's board of governors approves the sale June 21 to True North Sports and Entertainment. Habs kids go to camp 571274 Minnesota Wild HOW THEY GOT HERE HOUSTON One more Wild coaching candidate unearthed: Peter Horachek --- Swept the Peoria Rivermen 4-0 in the first round. --- Defeated Milwaukee in seven games in the second round. Posted by: Michael Russo --- Defeated Hamilton 4-3 in the Western Conference Finals BINGHAMTON Afternoon from beautiful Toronto, where I'm about to motor to the airport for --- Defeated Manchester 4-3 in the first round. a flight. I've got a wedding in Upstate New York this weekend, a couple hours from Binghamton. --- Defeated Portland 4-2 in the second round. Trust me, I wish I could be two places at once so I could catch the Houston --- Swept Charlotte 4-0 in the Eastern Conference Finals. Aeros play back-to-back games tonight and Saturday in Games 4 and 5 of DID YOU KNOW? the Calder Cup Finals. The Aeros hold a 2-1 series advantage. --- The Aeros are the first AHL club ever to win a playoff series after But I won't be able to pull it off. relinquishing a 3-0 series lead (Conference Finals vs. HAM) Great three days here in Toronto gathering stuff for our NHL Draft --- With wins over Milwaukee and Hamilton in the last two rounds, Houston coverage. The NHL was beyond accomodating setting up interviews with improved to 6-0 all-time in AHL Game 7’s. athletes and giving access to folks. And of course, the NHL's brass and agents are always accomodating. --- Houston and Binghamton both reached the 2011 Calder Cup Finals after missing the postseason entirely in 2010. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, potentially the No. 1 pick in the June 24-25 Draft in St. Paul,. addressing the media after today's fitness testing. --- Binghamton is the eighth consecutive East Division team to represent the Eastern Conference in the Calder Cup Finals. I sat down with GM Chuck Fletcher for an interview on tons of stuff a few nights ago. The pressing stuff appeared in today's newspaper with a link --- Houston’s hockey history actually pre-dates that of Binghamton. The here. Talks about upcoming contract talks with Brent Burns, other issues on Houston Skippers began play at the Sam Houston Coliseum in 1946, the table, like the speculation throughout the NHL that Cam Barker is changed their name to the Huskies, and were coached by Toe Blake during buyout bait, and the coaching search. the 1947-48 season. The team won the USHL crown that season. Binghamton’s first pro team was known as the Broome Dusters in the NAHL However, I've got one name to add to the coaching candidate list. It's taken in 1973. a few days, but I finally feel I've ironed it down well enough to report. ALL-TIME AEROS PLAYOFF NOTABLES Wild GM Chuck Fletcher has interviewed longtime, well-respected Nashville Predators assistant Peter Horachek, according to multiple sources. --- The Aeros are 7-3 all-time in AHL Playoff series when they split the first Horachek is also very much a candidate for the Dallas Stars. You can read two games. about him at this link --- In 2003, the Aeros split the first two games of each best-of-seven series So, the names I've confirmed interviews for as of now are former Edmonton on their way to the Calder Cup. coach Craig MacTavish, whom I believe is a leading contender still (also Ottawa), former Pittsburgh and Montreal coach Michel Therrien, former --- Houston is 10-6 all-time in AHL Game 4’s with a 5-2 record on the road. Dallas, Philly and Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock, Montreal Canadiens --- The Aeros are 7-0 all-time in AHL best-of-seven series in which they assistant Kirk Muller (candidate in Dallas and Ottawa who knows he may have a 2-1 lead and are 5-2 in Game 4. have to first become a head coach in the AHL) and Horachek. 2011 AEROS PLAYOFF NOTABLES As far as I know, Aeros coach Mike Yeo hasn't had his official interview yet, but as I wrote the other day, Fletcher's certainly spent enough time with him --- Houston is 9-3 in games decided by one goal. All three losses have been both during this Calder Cup playoff run and during Yeo's longtime stint as in overtime. the Penguins' top assistant. --- When registering 40 or more shots, the Aeros are 4-1. Couple other things: --- The Aeros are 7-2 when scoring first with a 3-0 road record. I've gotten emails and tweets asking injury updates on Tyler Cuma and Brett Bulmer. From what I'm told, Cuma is progressing very well. He's --- Houston is 4-0 when leading after one period and 7-0 when leading after working out with a personal trainer here in Toronto, came to Hamilton to two periods. watch "the boys" play in the Western Conference finals and may even --- Houston has outshot their opponents in 16 of 21 playoff games. They are attend games here in this championship round. 10-6 when doing so. Bulmer has a minor knee injury...Bone, not ligament, I'm told, and if the --- Opponents have scored first 12 times, but the Aeros have won seven of playoffs continued rather than concluded in a matter of days, he'd be a those games. couple weeks away. --- Houston’s 61 shots in Game 6 vs. HAM tied a team record for the That's it from me. Here's the Aeros' preview from the Aeros' PR, and second-most shots in one playoff game and were the most since Houston remember, games can be listened to on aeros.com, watched on ahllive.com peppered Hamilton’s Ty Conklin with 84 shots in Game 2 of the 2003 and down at Tom Reid's Pub: Calder Cup Finals. HOUSTON AEROS (Western Conference Champions) AEROS PLAYER NOTABLES vs. BINGHAMTON SENATORS (Eastern Conference Champions) --- Jed Ortmeyer became the fifth Aeros player to score two goals in a BEST-OF-7 --- BROOME COUNTY ARENA (6:05 p.m. CST) game this playoff campaign when he notched a pair in Game 1 vs. BNG. (HOU leads 2-1) --- Aeros players have a combined 28 multi-point games in the playoffs, led by Patrick O’Sullivan (4), Jed Ortmeyer and Casey Wellman (3 each). OVERVIEW NHL AFFILIATES The Houston Aeros and Binghamton Senators square off in Game 4 of the Calder Cup Finals at Broome County Arena. The series is a best-of-seven Houston Aeros (Minnesota Wild) with a 2-3-2 format. The Aeros have a 2-1 series lead after winning Games Binghamton Senators (Ottawa Senators) 1 and 3. CALDER CUP FINALS SCHEDULE 2011 Calder Cup Finals (best-of-seven) W2-Houston Aeros vs. E5-Binghamton Senators Game 1 – Fri., May 27 – Binghamton 1 at Houston 3 Game 2 – Sat., May 28 – Binghamton 2 at Houston 1 OT Game 3 – Wed., June 1 – Houston 2 at Binghamton 1 Game 4 – Fri., June 3 – Houston at Binghamton, 7:05 EST *Game 5 – Sat., June 4 – Houston at Binghamton, 7:05 EST *Game 6 – Tue., June 7 – Binghamton at Houston, 7:05 CST *Game 7 – Thu., June 9 – Binghamton at Houston, 7:05 CST PLAYOFF HISTORY, CONNECTIONS --- This is the first time the teams have met in the playoffs. --- The Aeros have never faced a team from New York in the postseason. --- Binghamton’s Corey Locke is the Aeros single season (2009) playoff leader in points (23), goals (12) and PPG (6). Goaltender Barry Brust was an Aero from 2007-10. AEROS GOALIES --- AT HOME, Matt Hackett is 8-3 with a 2.17 GAA and .911 SV%. He went 3-1 at home in the Conference Finals. --- ON THE ROAD, Hackett is 6-4 with a 2.74 GAA and .893 SV%. --- Matt Hackett’s uncle, Jeff, led the Springfield Indians to a Calder Cup win in 1990 and was awarded the Jack A. Butterfield Trophy, annually given to the most valuable player of the playoffs. He went 10-5 that playoff campaign. LAST GAME QUICK RECAP Jon DiSalvatore had a goal and an assist and Nate Prosser scored the game-winner as the Houston Aeros defeated the Binghamton Senators 2-1 in Game 3 of the 2011 Calder Cup Finals before 4,710 fans at the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena on Wednesday night. Patrick O’Sullivan assisted on both Houston goals while goaltender Matt Hackett made 28 saves in the victory, including 13 in the final 20 minutes. AEROS SPECIAL TEAMS POWER PLAY --- Is 1/9 vs. BNG… Went 6/30 vs. HAM… Went 6/32 vs. MIL in round 2… Went 3/24 vs. PEO in the opening round… Ranked 6th (20.2%) in the regular season… Jon DiSalvatore led the team with 14 PPG… Finished the season with goals in six-straight to set a season-high streak (18/45)…Also had goals in six-straight from Feb. 22-Mar. 4… Had multiple PPG in 16 games and was 12-2-0-2 in those games. PENALTY KILL --- BNG is 2/11… HAM went 6/25and scored three SHG… MIL went 4/30 in round 2… The Ads scored a SHG in Game 5… PEO went 3/12 on the PP in the first round… Ranked 22nd (81.0%) in the regular season… Carson McMillan led the team with three SHG… Opponents were 16/46 on the PP in the final eight games of the season… Allowed at least a goal in a season-high seven straight (Mar. 22 – Apr. 2)… Held opponents to one or no PPG in 15 straight games until TOR went 2-for-5 on Jan. 23. AEROS BROADCAST INFO Follow the Aeros on News Talk 1070 KNTH and online at AEROS.COM with Joe O’Donnell providing the play-by-play call. Watch every game online at www.ahllive.com. Star Tribune LOADED: 06.04.2011 571275 New Jersey Devils Devils weighing options for No. 4 pick By TOM GULITTI Print | TORONTO – The first round of the NHL Entry Draft is less than three weeks away and the Devils still have some work to do in figuring out which player they will select with the No. 4 pick overall. It will be the Devils’ highest pick since they took Scott Niedermayer third overall in 1993 – the result of missing the playoffs for the first time since 1996 and then winning the draft lottery, which catapulted them from eighth to fourth in the first round. Devils executive vice president of hockey operations and director of scouting David Conte said it was "fair" to estimate that they are looking at a range of about 15 players for that No. 4 pick and will narrow down the field as they get closer to the first round on June 24 in St. Paul, Minn. "When we’re done with this and we’re done with our meetings and we get the input from everybody at once, then we’ll have a better idea in the week or so before Minnesota," Conte said Friday at Toronto Congress Center, where the fitness testing was being conducted for the NHL Scouting Combine. "Truthfully, I really don’t think I’ll have a real firm idea until [draft day] morning." For an organization that hasn’t selected higher than 17th (Zach Parise in 2003) since they took defenseman Lance Ward – a player the Devils never signed – 10th overall in 1996, this is an opportunity to land a potential franchise player or at least a solid player who can have a long and productive NHL career. "Where the Devils are they have an opportunity to get a very, very good player," Phoenix Coyotes GM Don Maloney said. A year ago, it was clear that Taylor Hall [drafted first overall by Edmonton] and Tyler Seguin [taken second by Boston] were the top two players available and a class above everyone else. The picture is more clouded at the top this year without a player viewed to be at the same level as Hall and Seguin. Red Deer Rebels center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is ranked the No. 1 North American skater available by NHL’s Central Scouting. The Hockey News and TSN in Canada also have him as the top player available, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll be taken by Edmonton, which has the first pick again. Swedish defenseman Adam Larsson is the top-ranked prospect that played in Europe this past season and could go first, and Kitchener Rangers left wing Gabriel Landeskog is viewed as the most NHL-ready player available, so he has a chance, too, along with Saint John’s Sea Dogs left wing/center Jonathan Huberdeau. "It funneled down to Taylor/Tyler last year and this year I think if you speak to most teams they’re going to say that there’s four or five legitimate people that can be the No. 1 pick this year," Oilers general manager Steve Tambellini said. That means the Devils should end up with a very good player. Huberdeau, Landeskog, Niagara defenseman Dougie Hamilton, Niagara center Ryan Strome and Kitchener defenseman Ryan Murphy are among the prospects they’ve invited to do some extra physical testing following the conclusion of the scouting combine today. There also has been talk that the Devils are interested in Swedish center Mika Zibanejad, who might be a reach at No. 4, but is viewed as top 10 pick. Conte estimated the team will test 30 players before leaving Toronto and then probably another 20 when they get to St. Paul in the week prior to the draft. With most of the scouting staff in town already, the Devils will hold organizational meetings here with general manager Lou Lamoriello to formulate their plan for Minnesota. Bergen Record LOADED: 06.04.2011 571276 New York Rangers New York Rangers still likely must wait until July 1 to pursue Dallas Stars All-Star Brad Richards By Jesse Spector With free agency now less than a month away, the Rangers' sights remain set on All-Star center Brad Richards, and despite reports to the contrary Thursday, it still appears that the Blueshirts will have to wait until July 1 to get their man. Richards scored 28 goals with 49 assists for the Stars this season, and Dallas has exclusive negotiating rights with the playmaker until he becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1. GM Joe Nieuwendyk told reporters in Texas Thursday that he does not expect the Stars to be able to re-sign Richards due to their muddled ownership situation. "He's not going to sign with us unless we have the ownership situation resolved, and it doesn't look like that's going to happen," Nieuwendyk said. "So we would like to see if we could get something for his rights and allow another team to have a chance to sign him, but a lot of that is up to Brad and his agent." Richards' no-movement clause remains in effect, and it is unlikely that he would accept a trade in order to then turn around and spurn the acquiring team. The 31-year-old has been long rumored to be interested in a reunion with John Tortorella after they won the Stanley Cup together in 2004 with Tampa Bay. The Rangers' main competition for Richards is believed to be the Toronto Maple Leafs and Los Angeles Kings, but it remains possible that Vancouver businessman Tom Gagliardi could buy the Stars and bring stability to the organization by the end of the month. A source told the Daily News Thursday that Gagliardi "is pretty well in place now," and The Dallas Morning News reported on Tuesday that Gagliardi's exclusive negotiating window to buy the team had been extended. Regardless of how the Dallas ownership scenario plays out, Richards is widely seen as wanting to test the open market on July 1, which means four more weeks of speculation. Over the weekend, supermodel Hilary Rhoda - Rangers winger Sean Avery's reported girlfriend - posted a picture on Twitter of Richards sitting next to Avery and ex-Ranger Aaron Voros on vacation in Jamaica, only adding to the intrigue. The Rangers tried to trade for Richards at the February deadline to help their playoff push, but scoffed at Nieuwendyk's astronomical asking price. New York Daily News LOADED: 06.04.2011 571277 New York Rangers Rangers VP Gordie Clark on Erixon trade, draft Friday June 3, 2011 11:00 AM By Arthur Staple Clark took me through the process the Rangers undertook to pick up Tim Erixon, whom he called "a top-four D-man." "When you go through a draft, even after it's done, you keep tabs on the guys you liked but just didn't get, for one reason or another," said Clark, the Rangers' VP of player personnel who has run their draft for the last three years. "If we'd gone D (in 2009), there's a pretty good chance we would have taken Tim with that (19th) pick." The Rangers chose Chris Kreider 19th and Erixon went 23rd to the Flames, who could not sign him, as GM Jay Feaster explains here. So the Rangers went to work, sending prospect Roman Horak and two second-round picks in the draft later this month for Erixon and a fifth-rounder. "It's a nice trade for Calgary," Clark said, "because they get a prospect who's ready to turn pro and a couple of pretty high picks. For us, it's a ready-made player -- you don't have to wait to see how he turns out. We know right now he's a top-four D-man, he's played with men for three years. He's ready to step in right now. "When you go back and check in on him, you see he's gotten bigger, maybe a little smarter on the ice. He's a very cerebral player back there. He really sees the play coming at him, he sees all the options and most times he chooses the right play." As for the upcoming draft, where the Rangers pick 15th, Clark said the team has options in a field that is pretty even among the top 7-8 players but then drops off a bit. I'll have more in Sunday's paper from Clark, who has helped transform the Rangers' draft operation and been a key cog in the team's move towards youth. Newsday LOADED: LOADED: 06.04.2011 571278 NHL was the 2009 Detroit Red Wings, who had a 2-0 series lead but lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins. LA Times: LOADED: 06.04.2011 Canucks' Manny Malhotra cleared to play in Game 2 Vancouver center has been out since March 16 because of an eye injury. He feels he can contribute. By Helene Elliott Reporting from Vancouver, Canada — Two days between games can seem like an eternity during the Stanley Cup finals. But the timing might be right for Vancouver Canucks center Manny Malhotra to play for the first time since he suffered a devastating eye injury March 16. Malhotra, a faceoff specialist and locker-room leader, practiced Friday and said he'd been cleared to play in Game 2 against the Boston Bruins on Saturday at Rogers Arena. However, he was forced off the ice last week after making rapid progress and said the unpredictable course of his recovery leaves his status as day to day. "I don't want this to be a sideshow," he said after the Canucks practiced at the University of British Columbia. "This is not me wanting to have a sentimental shift out there, be a part of it all. It's a fact that I feel I could contribute something to the team. But more importantly, we're on the right track." General Manager Mike Gillis denied reports that Malhotra recently underwent emergency surgery but said the 31-year-old had endured "multiple little, small procedures throughout this entire time" that are common for victims of eye injuries. Malhotra, struck in the left eye by a deflected puck, was not expected to return this season. Canucks defenseman Dan Hamhuis, who sustained an undisclosed injury early in the second period of Vancouver's 1-0 victory in Game 1, did not practice Friday. Instead, former Bruin Andrew Alberts was paired with Christian Ehrhoff. Coach Alain Vigneault cautioned against reading much into that, but Vigneault usually deploys the same lineup in games as in practices. Alberts has appeared in three of the team's 19 playoff games. "It's never easy to sit out," he said. "As long as the team's winning, I'm happy for them. … It's nice to work hard and finally get a shot here, hopefully." The Canucks used 13 defensemen during the season and nine during the playoffs without missing a beat. "Our back end, they're the backbone of our team," Henrik Sedin said. "We rarely played with our top six defensemen — whoever they are. I can't even really tell you. We've got nine defensemen that can play." Take two Both teams talked Friday about what they intend to do differently in Game 2. After scoring one goal in their last two games, the Bruins are eager for production from their top line of Nathan Horton, David Krejci and Milan Lucic, which had 13 fruitless shots at Roberto Luongo on Wednesday. The Bruins also want to blunt the Canucks' quick transition game. "The neutral zone, we weren't getting pucks deep. That's what was giving them the speed that they want, the counterattack that they wanted," Boston center Patrice Bergeron said. "We're going to make a better job, especially in the neutral zone, at putting pucks deep and having a better forecheck." The Canucks want to sustain the high tempo they established in the third period after shaking off the rust of a week between games, and to connect on the power play. They were foiled six times by the Bruins' penalty-killing box formation. "We've got to get more movement," Sedin said. "I thought we moved the puck well and we got the looks that we wanted to, but we didn't get guys moving in and out like we wanted to out of the box. We were standing in their box and keeping it outside. That's pretty easy to defend if you do that." Teams that had a 2-0 lead in the finals have won the Cup 42 of 46 times since the best-of-seven format was adopted in 1939. The last exception 571279 NHL Buyer Emerges for the Dallas Stars By KEN BELSON The long search for a buyer of the ailing Dallas Stars may be nearing an end, solving another financial headache for the N.H.L. Tom Gaglardi, a businessman from Vancouver, British Columbia, is expected to pay roughly $250 million for the team and half of the lease to the American Airlines Arena, according to a person with direct knowledge of the deal. The sale must be approved by a bankruptcy court in Fort Worth. Banks and other creditors trying to recoup money they lent Tom Hicks, the team’s owner, might argue that the Stars could fetch more money. The sellers of the team, however, are expected to argue that a full and fair auction has been held. The N.H.L. must approve the sale of the team, which is expected to be completed in July. The structure of the sale is largely complete, though some legal issues remain. The Stars improved on the ice this season, but they did not qualify for the playoffs for the third straight season. The team has been losing millions of dollars a year under Hicks, who was forced to sell the Texas Rangers and his share of the Liverpool soccer team last year. Unlike the Atlanta Thrashers, a money-losing team that is planning to move to Winnipeg, the Stars are expected to remain in Dallas, where they have played since 1993. The league is still trying to find a buyer for the Phoenix Coyotes. The lead minority owner of the Devils, Raymond Chambers, is also trying to sell his stake in the team. New York Times LOADED: 06.04.2011 571280 NHL suggested, has forced teams to expend energy guarding against the man- advantage predations of Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin and Ryan Kesler. But in Game 1, the Canucks were at least as good as Boston at equal Even Strength Has Been the Bruins’ Big Advantage strength. Vancouver’s Raffi Torres scored the game’s only goal, with less than 19 seconds left, at equal strength. By JEFF Z. KLEIN “I think they beat us at the five-on-five game,” Julien said. “Special teams wasn’t an issue, but five on five, they were no doubt a better team.” It would be a mistake to infer too much from such a close game — the first If the Boston Bruins come back from their early deficit to win the Stanley 1-0 opener in the Stanley Cup finals since 1984, decided by the latest go- Cup, they will probably do so by defying the hockey bromide that you ahead goal since 1992. cannot succeed without a good power play. But if the Canucks are able to stay on an even footing with Boston while the The Bruins’ power play has been missing in action this spring. In the first sides are even, it could take away perhaps the biggest advantage the round against Montreal, the Bruins became the first team in N.H.L. history Bruins have. to win a playoff series without scoring a power-play goal. They have struck at a 7.5 percent rate during the postseason, 14th among the 16 playoff SLAP SHOTS teams. Canucks defenseman Dan Hamhuis did not practice Friday and was termed Things have become so dire for Boston with the man advantage — Mark day to day by Coach Alain Vigneault. Hamhuis sustained an undisclosed Recchi has now skated almost 50 power-play minutes this spring without injury that sidelined him in the second period after hip-checking Milan Lucic registering a point — that Coach Claude Julien has resorted to moving his and being cross-checked in the head by David Krejci. He is third among 6-foot-9 defenseman Zdeno Chara off the point and parking him in front of Vancouver defensemen in ice time, second in plus-minus and fourth in the net to create screens. scoring. Earlier in Game 1, he knocked Lucic over with a huge body check. “It’s the first time I’ve ever actually been hit like that and gone all the way “Obviously, on the power play he’s given us a different look — I thought he over,” Lucic said. did a pretty good job,” Julien said of Chara on Thursday, the day after the Bruins lost Game 1, 1-0, while going 0 for 6 with the man advantage. That New York Times LOADED: 06.04.2011 figure includes a fruitless stretch of 1 minute 32 seconds with a two-man advantage. But all the talk about the Bruins’ power play — and hockey discourse in general — ignores the crucial fact that most of the game and most of the scoring take place with teams at even strength. That explains why the Bruins are in the finals, seeking a road victory Saturday that would send the series to Boston all even. The Bruins have been outscored on the power play this spring by 13-5, but they have shellacked their opponents at even strength, outscoring them, 52-32. “We’ve been able to apply a lot of pressure five on five, and most of the game is played five on five, so it’s great that we’ve been able to be so successful,” Bruins forward Milan Lucic said this week. Consider the benefits of such equal-strength dominance. In the regular season, 80 percent of all ice time in N.H.L. games was played with the sides even (a little more than 60,000 minutes of the almost 75,000 total minutes played). Excluding empty-net goals, 6,721 goals were scored. Of those, 4,729 came at even strength (70.4 percent), 1,816 on the power play (27.0 percent) and 176 (2.6 percent) while short-handed. Equal-strength play has remained just as overwhelmingly important in the playoffs. About 4,320 of this year’s 5,358 postseason minutes, or 80.6 percent, have been played with the sides even. The goal breakdown, again excluding empty-net goals: 328 at equal strength (72.2 percent), 119 on the power play (26.2 percent) and 7 short- handed (1.5 percent). Small wonder, then, that the Bruins have come so far with a weak power play. Certainly the power play can be vital to a team’s chances. “Special-teams play is game changing, momentum changing and strategy changing,” said Mike Bossy, the Islanders sniper of the 1970s and ’80s who scored 384 even-strength and 181 power-play goals in 752 regular-season games. “When a team’s power play is hot, it often makes the opposing team readjust their style of play and the players they use on the ice,” Bossy said. That has been especially true of the Vancouver power play this spring, with Daniel Sedin alone scoring as many man-advantage goals as the entire Bruins team. The Canucks’ 17 power-play goals have helped bail them out of a middling performance at even strength (33 goals for, 29 against) and, as Bossy 571281 NHL Oilers’ Brule Saves Bono’s Day By JOANNE C. GERSTNER Usually, it’s not advisable to pick up hitchhikers. It’s right up there with Mom’s stern warnings about not taking candy from strangers. But maybe, just maybe, an exception can be made when you realize the hitchhicker, walking along the roadside in West Vancouver, B.C. is Paul Hewson, aka U2’s lead singer Bono. Edmonton Oilers center Gilbert Brule and his girlfriend, Kelsey Nichols, were going to take their dog for a walk in a park Tuesday, when they noticed a familiar-looking man walking in the rain alongside the road. Brule joked he looked like a dead-ringer for Bono. Curiosity got the best of them, they turned the truck around to get a second look at the hitchhiker. “I didn’t want to stop, but they waved and G yelled ‘that’s Bono’,” Nichols told the Edmonton Journal. “I didn’t believe him so I kept driving.” It was indeed Bono and his assistant, who happily climbed into the backseat of their truck and sat next to Bella, the couple’s German Shepard. Bono and his assistant had gone out for a walk, and got caught in the rain. Bono was grateful for the lift, and offered the couple tickets to U2’s show the next night in Edmonton. Brule was supposed to go to Game 1 of the Stanley Cup in Vancouver, but the decision was clear: U2 tickets from Bono win over hockey. The couple, along with Brule’s mom, attended the show and had backstage passes. Bono autographed their passes, writing “Thanks for the ride” for Nichols and “My hero Gilbert” for Brule. Bono told the story of his hockey hitchhiking adventure to the crowd gathered Wednesday in Edmonton for U2’s “360? concert tour stop. “I like people who play ice hockey, they stop for hitchhikers, I know this from experience,” Bono told the crowd in a monologue at the start of the show. “I was hitchhiking in Vancouver yesterday, actually I was! And this guy and his girlfriend picked me up. He was cool, an ice hockey player, his name was Gilbert Brule as it happens, I’m so grateful I’ve decided I want to be Gilbert Brule.” Bono continued the hockey motif in his remarks. “Larry is more like the Mark Messier of the band, the dude gave us our first and only job,” Bono said. “On my left, the Grant Fuhr of this band, need I say more? On the bass Adam Clayton Jr…On my right, now who might he be? He’s kind of great, the Great One. Who am I talking about? The Wayne Gretzky of U2. On lead guitar – The Edge!” New York Times LOADED: 06.04.2011 571282 NHL shots and not just dumping and chasing but also hitting and getting to the puck first. Heart versus paycheck. The Olympics is about your country. It’s where you Olympic Gold, or the Stanley Cup? live, almost always where you were born and grew up, and where you will live again after your career. It’s your life. Your N.H.L. hockey team is a city where you play and are paid. The fans are probably great, the contract is By ANDREW PODNIEKS excellent, and the career situation beyond complaint, but at the end of the season, how many Canucks or Bruins will remain in Vancouver or Boston all summer and all their lives? The Sedins said it. Patrice Bergeron said it. Ryan Kesler said it. Semantics. The fairest way to compare the two championships is to look at what has happened since 1998 when N.H.L.’ers started to play for the With the grueling, two-month marathon that is the Stanley Cup playoffs now International Olympic Committee. The Czechs won that first year, and the in its final phase, the top players for Vancouver and Boston are saying that Swedes won in 2006, and Canada has won twice, in 2002 and 2010. winning the Stanley Cup is bigger than winning Olympic gold. Many of the players on these four teams have also won a Stanley Cup. Say what? Fast-forward to when these players are 60 years old and ask them which is This is perhaps an A-1 example of what one might call situational bias. In the preferred honor, gold or Cup. They might choose their words wisely and other words, their views are shaped by where they are and who they’re say the Cup is more satisfying and the gold more fulfilling (or vice versa!), talking to more than by their true feelings. At the Olympics, they no doubt but in the end, what you do for your country is always the greater said gold was the biggest prize they could hope to attain. If they were 19 achievement. Always, and by definition. Just ask Ken Morrow. Lake Placid and at their first N.H.L. training camp, they would say making the team or Islanders, Ken? Which is it? would be the highlight of their career. We all know the answer to that one. Bu wait — are they right about this Stanley Cup thing? Both the playoffs New York Times LOADED: 06.04.2011 and the Olympics feature a puck, a sheet of ice and two nets, but honestly, which is the more coveted prize in hockey? In truth, comparing the Stanley Cup playoffs and the Olympics tournament is like comparing apples and oranges, but it’s worth a shot anyway. Time. The playoffs are two months of hell. Vancouver or Boston could play 25 games in the postseason before it wins the Cup, and this after 82 regular-season games and more in the preseason. These are the most intense, physical games a player can subject himself to. The Olympics lasts about two weeks and features, at most, seven games these days. Indeed, this is one of the defining differences between the events. Skill. Let’s face it: the Olympics blows the Cup out of the water for quality of content. Any chance Aaron Rome, Tanner Glass or Johnny Boychuk will be in Sochi? Sorry, boys, but no. To get to the Olympics, you have to be one of the 20 best players in your country, and that is a quality that takes 20 years of training to accomplish. You can win a Cup simply by being a trade deadline acquisition, a summer free agent signing or a postseason call-up from the minors. Opportunity. If you are a good player on a good team, you will have perhaps 10 to 15 chances in your career to win the Stanley Cup. It’s true that with 16 of 30 teams making the playoffs (remember when it was 16 of 21? Wow, that was easy), not even the best teams make it every year, but with greater player movement, players can more easily pick and choose what team to play for as well. In the Olympics, you can play for one team — your home nation. And how many times in a career can you be considered one of the best 20 of an event that occurs only once every four years? Two? Three? And if you want a chance for Olympic gold, you have to play for one of five countries: Canada, the Czech Republic, Russia, Sweden or the United States. Perhaps one might add Finland and Slovakia to the list out of respect, but only the first five have won gold in 90 years of Olympic hockey. Consider Vancouver defenseman Jannik Hansen, who had such a sensational third period in Game 1 of the Cup finals. He might well be the finest hockey player produced by Denmark, but what are his chances of winning Olympic gold? Zilch. In fact, when was the last time Denmark competed at the Olympics? Try never. So, what does Hansen dream about more — a Cup win or Olympic gold? Ditto for the excellent and opposing German defensemen, Christian Ehrhoff and Dennis Seidenberg. Game action. The differences between a Stanley Cup-deciding game and the final Olympic game for gold are enormous. The Olympic game is all about speed, making smart plays at top speed, making quick transition from offense or defense, or vice versa. It’s about lightning quick puck movement, eyes-in-the-back-of-the-head passing, quick release. There is no more skilled game than at the Olympics. But — and it’s a big but — the Cup final game is a kind of war one would never see internationally. It’s the culmination of preparation that started the previous September and has been honed and fine-tuned for nearly 10 months. It is a battle where cuts and bruises, torn this and pulled that, are no excuse. It’s about physical endurance and going through a wall, blocking 571283 NHL days later, and flew home to Montreal - for his 18th birthday - on Friday night. NHL prospects show off their body work By Monday, he will be in Boston for Game 3, before going to Ottawa for the Senators' combine on Tuesday. (The Senators hold the sixth overall pick By JAMES MIRTLE and won't get Huberdeau without moving up.) It's a little absurd when you add it all up, especially given so many teams are skeptical of the data the From Saturday's Globe and Mail NHL's combine produces anyway. But that's a price prospects - even those slotted well after the big three - are eager to pay. They puke, they hurt, but combine is a chance for 18-year-olds to display their fitness in front of general managers and scouts "We didn't get a lot of rest," Huberdeau said of the five Sea Dogs at the combine. "We're for sure a little bit tired, but that's hockey." The young man didn't look well. More now than ever before. His arm was around his stomach, his other hand near his mouth, but the questions kept coming from reporters around him and he gamely tried to Toronto Globe And Mail LOADED: 06.04.2011 keep answering them. But Matthew Nieto, a shifty left winger from Long Beach, Calif., who was a rookie at Boston University this season, was going to be sick. Welcome to the NHL's scouting combine, where more than 100 human guinea pigs blow their brains out trying to impress scouts and general managers in two hours of strenuous physical testing that more often than not results in losing their breakfast. The 18-year-olds are often so eager to catch someone's eye, they don't mind the poking and prodding - or even puking - side of their introduction to the pros. "I think it made me stronger, as a person, going through a lot of that," Nieto said, revealing just how far from home he was when he noted his introduction to the game came on wheels. "Coming into the weekend here, I expected it to be a gruelling experience and it was." Of the many prospects taking part in the NHL's testing, the top five or six drew the vast majority of interest on Friday as teams prepare for the entry draft three weeks from now in Minnesota. The projected top three - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jonathan Huberdeau and Gabriel Landeskog - are especially in the spotlight, with the trio headed with one or two others to Boston for Game 3 of the Stanley Cup final and an appearance on Hockey Night in Canada with Don Cherry. That's become an annual rite of passage, although what's changed is just how well prepared - often professionally - the players are for the next step. Many train for months for the combine in order to improve their results, and their physiques showed it Friday, with even the biggest of the big men - 6- foot-7, 250-pound defenceman Jamieson Oleksiak - looking like something out of Men's Health magazine. Others, like Nugent-Hopkins, obviously still need to fill in, but the good news is that the NHL has become a league where small, skilled, young players can make a bigger impact than they did 10 years ago. Especially given how much training even the lightweights do. "The game's definitely changed," said Nugent-Hopkins, who despite a poor showing on the bench press Friday is expected to go first overall to the Edmonton Oilers. "There's a lot of strength involved right now. But I know there's been lots of great players who couldn't lift much." The combine itself has undergone its own transformation, with portions of it turned into a made-for-television event by TSN for the second year in a row as more and more league events evolve into hockey content. Soon there could be on-ice aspects to the affair, with the NHL mimicking the NFL's annual testing session. The increasing demands associated with being a top draft-eligible player mean that in addition to being fairly well known before they ever step to the draft podium, many will go through not only an NHL combine but several others run by individual teams. That can result in a gruelling schedule for rising stars like Huberdeau, who won the Memorial Cup in Mississauga six days ago, went to Saint John for the Sea Dogs' parade Tuesday, was in Toronto for the combine a couple of 571284 NHL Vigneault had Malhotra skating with winger Jeff Tambellini and Victor Oreskovich, although he warned not too read too much into his line combinations and defence pairings. Canucks' Malhotra returns to practice "As we move forward here, we're probably going to play a little bit more four lines, maybe not to the extreme we did during the regular season, but I would like to get that line out there a little bit more," the coach said. "If By MATTHEW SEKERES Manny does play, obviously he's one of the best faceoff guys in the league, so he would be used a little bit more in our end, without a doubt." From Saturday's Globe and Mail Toronto Globe And Mail LOADED: 06.04.2011 Vancouver centre takes necessary step to returning from a career- threatening eye injury Besides the fact he was centring the fourth line in practice, the first thing you noticed about Manny Malhotra on Friday was his injured left eye. It didn't look good. It looked more swollen and irritated than his previous appearance on a Stanley Cup final podium last weekend. It was nearly closed, and one wondered how he was seeing anything out of it. And yet, he has been cleared to play. Or so it was Friday. He may not be cleared to play Saturday, because as Malhotra and the team have gone to great lengths to stress, his injury is "day-to-day." They've also done their best to confuse. Or at least head coach Alain Vigneault has. He was the guy who said Malhotra was cleared to play last Saturday, only to be contradicted by general manager Mike Gillis 72 hours later. Vigneault, according to Gillis, misspoke because "cleared for contact" normally means "cleared to play," except for in this case, because Malhotra's injury is so unique. But Vigneault disputed that characterization Friday, and even reiterated what his boss had tried to correct. "He's cleared for physical contact, which is cleared to play," Vigneault said. "Nothing has changed." But something did change. Malhotra underwent a minor procedure on his eye earlier this week, something akin to a tune-up, something doctors told him would be routine during his recovery. He missed practice last Tuesday, after indicating he would participate, because he felt it wasn't "proper" to hit the ice. He admitted he was breathing heavier Friday, after three days of inactivity, and that his timing needed work. Malhotra said he would take the morning skate Saturday before a determination is made on his playing status for Game 2 against the Boston Bruins. He doesn't want to be a "sideshow" - although that is exactly what this has become, mostly because the Canucks can't get their talking points straight - and he's not interested in being uniform for the sake of sentimentality. But time is running short, and if Malhotra doesn't return soon, there might not be a series to return to. The Canucks forward recognizes that, and admitted getting this close to playing, and perhaps missing out, is driving him. "It kind of weighs into it a little bit, but at the same time, I realize the severity of the injury, I realize the intensity of the moment," he said. "I realize the intensity of play has picked up since I last played. This is not me wanting to have a sentimental shift out there and be part of it." Malhotra said he didn't want to interrupt the team's focus, or be a distraction to his teammates. Beloved by his mates, the Canucks consider a Malhotra comeback inspirational, and believe he could contribute simply by being in uniform. "On the ice, he'll kill penalties and take faceoffs," said Daniel Sedin, listing two Malhotra specialties. "But it's more about the locker room ... he's one of the guys you care about." Vigneault said he would like to play his fourth line more frequently in Game 2, perhaps because counterpart Claude Julien uses his more regularly, and could wear the Canucks down by doing so. No one on Vancouver's fourth unit played more 2 minutes 30 seconds in Game 1, whereas every player on Boston's fourth line played at least 5:15. 571285 NHL plan carefully. But it bodes well that their price range of $39 to $129 a seat for season tickets has not scared off buyers. The average ticket price is a little more than $80, which means revenue of about $1.3-million a game, NHL team takes shape in Winnipeg which could put the team in the top 15 teams and eliminate the need for revenue sharing. The number of private boxes will go to 55 from 48. Also rising are the By DAVID SHOALTS boxes' price - tripling, in fact - to an average of $180,000 a year. Chipman met with a group of suite holders the morning after the Thrashers sale was From Saturday's Globe and Mail announced and said some customers had concerns but not cold feet. True North already has a long waiting list to replace anyone who takes a pass. The new logo, colours and team name will not be announced until the Does True North keep GM Dudley and coach Ramsay? What will be name season-ticket drive is finished, probably next week at the earliest. The most and colours? Then there's signing free agents popular suggestions for colours are the blue and red of Winnipeg's last NHL It started with the new press box. team, the Jets, while the Moose's colour scheme of gold, green and black is getting some support. Jets also seems to be the favourite in the name Once the reporters covering the Manitoba Moose saw construction start on game, although Chipman is noncommittal. a new box that ran almost the length of the MTS Centre, as soon as the American Hockey League team's season ended a couple of months ago, One thing that will not happen is raising the MTS roof to add another 2,000 they figured there finally was something concrete behind all that talk of an or 3,000 seats. Brown says True North's market studies show adding that NHL team moving to Winnipeg. many seats would outstrip demand. Scott Brown, director of corporate communications and hockey operations "There are no plans to build another 2,000 or 3,000 seats," he said. for True North Sports and Entertainment Ltd., said the new press box was Toronto Globe And Mail LOADED: 06.04.2011 planned long before the company bought the Atlanta Thrashers. The existing press box had too many seats with obstructed views. But, he allowed, "this talk of the NHL maybe sped this process up a little bit." Now that the return of the NHL to Winnipeg is a reality, Brown, True North chairman Mark Chipman and the rest of the staff are speeding up the process on many fronts. Since True North already had staff and an arena in place for the Moose, it had a running start at moving the Thrashers to Winnipeg. In the 15 weeks before NHL training camps open in September, much has to be done. The tasks range from a decision on whether to retain Thrashers general manager Rick Dudley and his staff, including head coach Craig Ramsay; selling season tickets and luxury suites; choosing a team name, logo and colours; moving the Moose to St. John's; setting a payroll; and minor renovations of the MTS Centre to bring it up to NHL standards. Plus there is the work that means the most to Winnipeg hockey fans - signing restricted free agents like Andrew Ladd, Anthony Stewart, Blake Wheeler and Zach Bogosian. "It is a little overwhelming right now," Chipman said. "But we had a plan in place, what I would call an execution plan for who is doing what, and we're all doing those things now. I'm comfortable everybody has those assignments and we're well on our way." Most of the work being done this week bears the mark of careful planning. For example, the domain name for True North's season-ticket campaign website, www.driveto13.com, was purchased in February. Then there is the campaign itself. It was True North's idea to sell 13,000 season tickets, with commitments of three to five years from buyers, before the NHL's board of governors votes to approve the sale on June 21. This was not a condition demanded by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, even though he warned Winnipeggers: "This thing isn't going to work very well if this building isn't sold out every night." A look at the NHL collective agreement shows this was a canny move by True North. There are two conditions in the agreement for a team to qualify for a full share of the league's revenue-sharing plan: revenue growth in the current season above the league average from the previous season, and ticket sales of at least 80 per cent of your arena's capacity. There is no doubt True North will sell 13,000 of the arena's 15,000 seats. The first three days of the ticket campaign saw 7,158 sold by Friday night to Moose subscribers, before the public gets a crack at them on Saturday. Those 13,000 seats represent 87 per cent of the MTS Centre's capacity. So Chipman and his partners will know that for the next three years they have a great chance of getting a full share from the revenue pie, which could be $15-million (all currency U.S.) or more a year. Chipman protests this was only a happy byproduct of a well-thought-out business plan. "That was not done on purpose," he said. "The goal was set to ensure success with our own business model." With the smallest arena in the league and the smallest city in the league (metropolitan population 750,000), Chipman and his partner in True North, David Thomson, whose family company owns The Globe and Mail, have to 571286 NHL Pohl kicked around North America for a while, playing in the ECHL and the AHL, before returning to the Czech Republic to join Vitkovice HC this past year. By then, Krejci was an established NHL player. 'Really sneaky' Krejci drives Bruins' offence This year, coming off off-season surgery, he had a respectable regular season - 62 points in 75 games, but only 13 goals. Playmaking, not scoring, is his traditional strong suit, but in these playoffs, he's found the range, and By ERIC DUHATSCHEK against the Lightning, managed a hat trick in one game, the first Bruin to do so in two decades, or since Cam Neely. Krejci has 10 goals already, tied From Saturday's Globe and Mail with Tampa's Martin St. Louis for the playoff lead. So what's working differently, or better? Quiet, unassuming centre works well on line with Horton, Lucic Krejci says it's all about the chemistry that's developed among him, Horton and Lucic. Not much is known about David Krejci outside Boston, and even in the hub of hockey, he is a bit of a mystery man. Krejci is the No. 1 centre and the "I think as a line we're way better than as individuals," Krejci said. "I think No. 1 scorer on a Bruins team trying to deliver the club's first Stanley Cup we know each other pretty well. We have a good chemistry on and off the championship since 1972, and as such should be a far more celebrated ice. We read off each other pretty well. We know what the other guy can do personality than he is. But in a town that adores Tim Thomas, gushes over on the ice and try to take it to our advantage." Zdeno Chara and loves the two players patrolling the wings on Krejci's line - Nathan Horton and Milan Lucic - the smallish, quiet puck distributor tends to Tomas Kaberle, a fellow Czech, has been with the Bruins only since the be overlooked. trade deadline, but played with Krejci on a variety of national teams. Citing Krejci's professionalism and demeanour, Kaberle pays him the ultimate But if the Bruins are going to make it interesting against the Vancouver compliment: "Whenever we play world championships or Olympics, he's a Canucks in the 2011 Stanley Cup final, it will be because Krejci has taken nice guy, a solid guy in the dressing room and obviously a great player as on a leading role in the series, same as he has throughout the playoffs. well. Some players are quietly important that way, and for proof, consider that last spring the Bruins were moving along nicely in the playoffs until Krejci "He's low-key, not flashy. He just shows it on the ice." dislocated his wrist in a collision with the Philadelphia Flyers' Mike Richards and was lost for the rest of the series. Toronto Globe And Mail LOADED: 06.04.2011 Without Krejci, the Bruins unravelled and made history by becoming only the third NHL team to blow a 3-0 series lead and lose. Philadelphia went on to play for the Stanley Cup. Statistically, the Bruins don't have a line to match the Sedins and Alex Burrows, though Krejci's unit comes closest. Krejci has what television analyst Keith Jones calls "sweet hands." It was Krejci's pass, through a seam, to Horton that set up the only goal in a seventh-game 1-0 win that eliminated the Tampa Bay Lightning last round. Players such as Horton and Lucic, who drive hard to the net, are effective only if somebody's there to give them the puck. Someone like Krejci. "He's really sneaky," Bruins defenceman Dennis Seidenberg said of Krejci. "When he carries the puck, he makes sharp cutbacks and it makes it really tough for people to angle him off. With that skating ability also comes a pretty good skill set with his hands, and good vision, which you saw in Game 7, the way he passed the puck. He really knows how to find the open area and distribute the puck to the open guy to score goals. "He's very quiet. He doesn't like to speak up much, but when you get him one on one, he likes to have fun and talk a lot." Krejci's English is good now, but it wasn't always so. He grew up in Kladno, Czech Republic, with the goal of playing in the Czech league and, if things worked out, perhaps on the national team. "Obviously the biggest dream was to play NHL," Krejci said, "but I never knew if I could make it." The Bruins liked him enough to select him with the 63rd pick in the 2004 entry draft and convinced him to play junior hockey for the Gatineau Olympiques, who were coming off a trip to the 2004 Memorial Cup. "I just said I'm going to try the first year, we'll see how it looks," Krejci said. "I may come back." Although he took some English classes at home, the language barrier was an issue. "When I came over, I couldn't even answer when they said, 'How are you,'" Krejci said. "I didn't know what to say back. It took a while. But English is not that hard as some other languages." Still, it was a challenging time for a teenager so far from home, and Krejci admitted: "I got homesick a few times. I was living with another guy [fellow Czech Peter Pohl], he's actually my best friend. He helped me a lot. We played the first year together. We lived together. Without him, it would be way hard. I don't know how it would end up." 571287 NHL Burrows knows he has to be smarter By Eric Duhatschek VANCOUVER-For the first time since he was exonerated by the NHL for putting the bite on Boston Bruins centre Patrice Bergeron, Alex Burrows appeared Friday for a question-and-answer session with press. Burrows, who plays with the Sedin twins on the No. 1 line for the Vancouver Canucks, said he wasn't worried about the telephone interview he had with NHL disciplinarian Mike Murphy, who conducted the hearing. "I've had a few calls from the league over the years," Burrows acknowledged. "They've always been great. I really respect those people. They have a tough job and they have tough decisions to make." Burrows said he's enjoyed the last couple of days, waiting for the Stanley Cup final to resume with Vancouver holding a 1-0 best-of-seven series lead. "It's the Stanley Cup finals and I've been working all my life to be in this position. Obviously, with the last incident, the league's made a decision and I've moved on. Now, I'm focusing on a big game tomorrow." Burrows took four penalties in the series opener and head coach Alain Vigneault suggested one - a goalie interference call - was largely unwarranted. The contact, in that case, did appear to be incidental and the Canucks have said they reached out to the NHL to get a clarification about why those calls are made if Tim Thomas is always leaving the crease to stop the puck. Thomas's counterpart, Roberto Luongo, changed his style this season, to play deeper in the net, and Vigneault implied it had to do with avoiding incidental contact. According to Burrows, the answers were expected to come late Friday. "At the same, I've got to be aware, around the net, to make sure I can't bump the goalie," he said. "That's his ice if he's already there. I have to be smarter and make sure I don't put my team down a man." And Burrows had a funny answer about how he was spending all his down time. Vancouver has played only once in the past 10 days and thus, the players have had unusually high number of days off. "I've been managing my fantasy baseball team," Burrows said. "I know Roberto's team has been struggling. I've been putting in the works and the hours, so I'm succeeding." Toronto Globe And Mail LOADED: 06.04.2011 571288 NHL 31 blocked shots, 26 of which missed the net, and 61 hits - 31 by the Bruins. One mistake, one goal, but you can be sure the Bruins have forgotten it by Cup final opener was a game for the ages now and so have the Canucks. It's what this beautiful game is all about. By RED FISHER Montreal Gazette LOADED: 06.04.2011 Can we agree that the playoffs - and particularly the Stanley Cup final - are the most exciting time of the season? The reason: they don't come with guarantees. The Vancouver Canucks were runaway winners of the Presidents' Trophy, yet they've had their problems, particularly in the first round when they needed an overtime goal in Game 7 against Chicago - after winning the first three games. It is a time for the unexpected, the good, the bad and the ugly - such as the Los Angeles Kings' 6-5 overtime loss at home in Game 3 of their series with San Jose after taking a 4-0 lead. Who could ever imagine that the Sharks would score five times in less than 17 minutes? How do you suppose the New York Rangers felt after taking a 3-0 lead into the third period - and losing 4-3 in double-overtime to the Washington Capitals? Disappointment? Shock? That was then and this is now, and what we can surely agree on only hours away from Game 2 in this Canucks-Bruins final is that Vancouver's 1-0 victory in Game 1 is as high as the bar gets, with the winner coming with only 19 seconds remaining in regulation. It doesn't . it can't get any higher than that, starting with the goaltending from Roberto Luongo and Tim Thomas. Everything about it still resonates. The only disappointing part of it is that while fans across this land and in the United States were treated to hockey at its very best, far too much attention has been given to the face washings involving Patrice Bergeron and Alex Burrows at the end of the first period, following which Boston's splendid centreman accused the Sedin twins' linemate of biting his finger. Bergeron insisted it happened, Burrows said "I don't think so," which means it happened. The NHL, on the other hand, decided "there was no conclusive evidence" it happened, so no supplemental punishment was necessary. What followed was a barrage of cute suggestions from media people, such as the "the league's bark was worse than its bite." Whoa! The incident was nothing more than a blip on the screen in a game for the ages. If it had occurred during the regular season, a fine or a suspension probably would have been added to the four minutes Burrows received. Not in a Stanley Cup final, however. The Bruins aren't whining about it and the Canucks are happy they'll have Burrows in the lineup tonight. Bergeron's reaction made the most sense. "It's the league's decision," he said. "It's there. He did it, but I'm over it. I'd like to just move on here. We're here for the right reasons, and we want to win." Translation: "Drop the puck! Let's play hockey," which is precisely what you'd expect from a quality player such as Bergeron. Listen up, folks. Vancouver and Boston are in the Cup final because after three punishing rounds they demonstrated they deserve to be playing for the big prize. Both teams have had bad nights getting there, but they won when it counted, and on Wednesday they showed why. It was nothing less than a classic. It's difficult to imagine they can match it in any of the remaining games. All that's certain is that this series is far from over, no matter who wins Saturday night. Boston is still playing despite losing the first two games of the first round at home to the Canadiens. Vancouver has a one-game lead, but nobody has to remind the Canucks they're facing the best in the East. Luongo and Thomas showed what they're made of in the opener. They were their teams' best players on Wednesday, which is why only one goal was scored on a combined 70 shots - and not until there was less than onethird of a minute remaining in regulation. The teams also combined for 571289 NHL there was already a deal in place,” said Kincaid, president and CEO of Level5 brand marketing. With the Canadian rights effectively hived off from the North American deal, Judge rejects NHL deal with Molson-Coors Kincaid suspects Molson-Coors would still be interested in U.S.-only rights. “If I was Molson-Coors I’d still want to be pursuing those rights, if only as a Josh Rubin competitive block,” said Kincaid. Earlier this year, Labatt signed long-term sponsorship deals with the Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks; its parent corporation Anheuser- An Ontario judge has tossed out the National Hockey League’s “monster” Busch-InBev also has deals with 21 of the NHL’s 24 U.S.-based teams. $375-million North American sponsorship deal with Molson-Coors, saying Those teams offer Labatt or AB/InBev products in their arenas, and feature the league already had a Canadian agreement with the company’s archrival them in advertising campaigns. Labatt. When the league announced in February that it had signed a North The decision Friday by Ontario Superior Court Justice Frank Newbould to America-wide agreement with Molson-Coors, NHL Chief Operating Officer toss out the biggest sponsorship deal in NHL history comes as the league is John Collins said “this is a monster deal.” in the midst of the Stanley Cup final between the Vancouver Canucks and Boston Bruins. The $375 million included roughly $100 million in rights fees, another $100 million in guaranteed advertising buys, and $100 million in “activation” The judge said that Molson-Coors suspected that the league had already money, which would include promotions such as including miniature reached a deal with Labatt when it decided to negotiate its own agreement. Stanley Cups in cases of beer, promotions at restaurants, those “fan Molson-Coors and the NHL reached a seven-year deal for North American experience” tents at all-star games and drafts, or even trips to NHL events sponsorship rights in February. The judge ruled the NHL had already like the Stanley Cup or draft. agreed in November to have Labatt as Canadian sponsor. Toronto Star LOADED: 06.04.2011 “In my view the NHL should not be entitled to profit from its breach of its agreement with Labatt. Labatt should be entitled to its bargain and to its unique marketing position resulting from the agreement to be the Canadian sponsor of the NHL for the next three years. In my view, there should be an injunction preventing the NHL and Molson from proceeding with their agreement so far as the Canadian rights are concerned,” Newbould ruled. His ruling quoted an internal Molson-Coors e-mail saying the company entered into negotiations with the NHL “with great suspicion” because it had heard the league already had an agreement with Labatt. “Molson. . . was aware that there could be litigation from Labatt and obtained an indemnity from the NHL expressly referring to litigation or threatened litigation by Labatt,” Newbould wrote in his ruling. “It was not satisfied with the oral assurances from the NHL and took an indemnity to reduce the risk that it chose to run.” Newbould also shot down Molson-Coors’ suggestions that it was blameless. “I have some difficulty with the concept of Molson being an innocent third party,” Newbould wrote. Labatt released a statement Friday evening indicating it believes its deal will now be enforced. “We are pleased that Budweiser’s sponsorship of the NHL will continue,” said Labatt Vice President, Corporate Affairs, Charlie Angelakos. “Budweiser and hockey are a natural fit. We look forward to a very productive relationship with the league through the 2013-14 season and are actively looking for opportunities on a team and grassroots level to reinforce that connection.” Labatt is owned by international brewing conglomerate Anheuser- Busch/InBev, and brews AB-InBev brands Budweiser and Bud Light for the Canadian market. Molson-Coors, meanwhile, said it was considering its options. “We’ve received the decision and counsel is reviewing it to determine whether or not we’ll appeal,” said Ferg Devins, chief public affairs officer for Molson-Coors Canada. The NHL wouldn’t comment on the decision. One legal expert not involved with the case said it appeared from the ruling that there wasn’t much wiggle room for an appeal. “I think there will be an appeal just because. It’s clear that the deal with Molson was much more lucrative for the league. But I see this decision as very solid,” said John Russo, a partner at Mississauga commercial litigation firm Pallet Valo. Marketing expert David Kincaid, who helped put together Labatt’s first national deal for Canadian rights in 1997, was surprised by the ruling. “It’s certainly not what I was expecting, but the internal e-mails that were quoted, those are new facts. Molson basically entered into this knowing 571290 NHL DC: It looks like he’s giving birth. It’s like the scene from Alien when “it” bursts out of the stomach. We can’t decide what “it” is because we don’t know. Is it a shark? Is it a whale? Canuck nuts commit crimes of fashion DG: Aren’t graphics supposed be to be obvious, clear? It’s abstract. It has that fin. I think it’s a shark. David Graham and Derick Chetty DC: Dolphins have that, too. Toronto Star LOADED: 06.04.2011 The Canucks are the fashionistas of the NHL. Over the years, they’ve rarely worn the same look twice. Vancouver’s fans have taken to the streets and populated home games with a variety of the club’s different jerseys, which is why Star fashion writers Derick Chetty and David Graham sat down to consider Canucks sweaters through the ages: Hockey stick jersey 1 — Hockey Stick: “Boring” 1970-78 DC: Boring. It looks like Pac-Man if it was round. Like early video-game graphics. DG: (incredulously) They hired someone to come up with that, to put the tip of a hockey stick in the square? DC: Here’s the boring category: check! DG: I have B.O. — Yay! DC: And I’m wearing a jersey that doesn’t breathe. Jersey 2: The famous V 2 — The Famous V: “I’d wear it. It’s slimming.” 1978-1985 Dc: He’s like some super hero. It’s like from the Watchman. It’s very much the Watchman. I’m pretty sure one of the characters wore this bright yellow thing. DG: But is that a jersey that anyone wore? DC: This one could be quite fashiony. There’s nothing there to say it’s associated with hockey. I love the colourful vees. DG: If he’d only worn it belted with heels and he could be going to the disco. 3 — Yellow and Black: “Gee, how clever, they just reverse the colours.” 1985-1989 DC: Finally some fashion colours: mango, pimiento. DG: What is waving the white hanky mean? Look at me? DC: Like you can miss them in those colours? 4 — Bright White: “Oh, he’s got a tattoo on his head” 1989-1997 DC: With these colours it’s sort of Daffy Duck. Or it’s sort of Disney. DG: Is that thing eating him? DC: It’s a hockey puck (about the logo, which is actually a skate). Those lines are to show the speed of it, like it’s almost got wings. 5 — Dark Blue: “It is scary, I suppose.” 1997-2007 DC: It’s all perception: We’re making fun of this and this could be the most normal thing. But people who aren’t into fashion, when they saw someone dressed to go to a fashion show, they would think, what a clown. There’s no difference DC: I’m looking at that. It’s the Anna Della Russo (Vogue Japan writer) of the hockey world. Or is it (Italian fashion writer) Anna Piggi? DC: I like the navy blue. If that’s dark, they could look quite menacing on the ice. Especially with that dark and the red, I’m getting a little Freddy Krueger vibe. It looks black, like a black and red. 6 — Return of the Royal Blue: “Yah dude, it’s a boy.” 2007-today 571291 NHL Interestingly, Vigneault suggested Luongo used to be out of his blue paint more, but that the team “fixed” that. Certainly, the Vancouver netminder was strong in Game 1 — he didn’t have to be brilliant — and has now Cox: Slow developing final needs to get rolling registered a shutout in three of the four series openers in which his team has played this spring. Thomas has had an up-and-down spring, giving up four goals or more in Damien Cox five of 19 starts. But he was excellent in Game 1, wherever he happened to be standing when he made stops. He just needed to make one more. A long, long time ago, when Novak Djokovic was still unbeaten, Shaq had just started twittering about retirement and Colin Campbell had just lost his Toronto Star LOADED: 06.04.2011 job and in so doing become the happiest man in the hockey world, there was this Stanley Cup final ... Right. The final. You know, those games they play in and around the combine. So where were we? Seems like forever ago that Alex Burrows was munching on Patrice Bergeron’s finger and Raffi Torres was the only one among 36 Vancouver and Boston skaters who could figure a way to put the puck in the net. Okay, maybe not forever ago. But the good news is that the final between the Bruins and Canucks should start picking up a little pace now, with a game Saturday and then a switch to Boston for Games 3 and 4 on Monday and Wednesday, respectively. Vancouver may insert Manny (The Miracle) Malhotra into the lineup for Game 2, and either Keith Ballard or Andrew Alberts on defence in place of the injured Dan Hamhuis. The Bruins could use Shawn Thornton in place of Tyler Seguin, but given the fact they were shut out by Roberto Luongo and didn’t manufacture much on offence when they didn’t have the man advantage, keeping Seguin in the mix might be wise. Burrows will play, but lest we forget, his interaction with Bergeron was only one of the controversies in which he was embroiled in Game 1. The other had to do with a second period tripping call he was assessed for getting his stick on Boston goalie Tim Thomas, who was out of his blue crease at the time and thus, in the minds of some (Vancouver fans), open to be assaulted in any way imaginable. Uh, not quite. If you can’t trip a defenceman or a forward, you can’t trip a goalie, wherever he may have wandered off to. And my goodness, Thomas does like to wander. And challenge. And do somersaults and triple gainers in his crease. The textbook he learned to play from had but one rule: stop the puck by any means necessary. While Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault was looking for “clarification” on what Thomas can and can’t do outside his crease, Thomas wasn’t apologizing for drawing a penalty on Burrows. “I went to make the first stop, then the puck was going off to the side,” he said. “I was retreating back to the centre of my net, felt resistance behind my leg, and I was actually just going with it. I was going to basically flip around, flip my body around, to be able to at least have a chance to stop that rebound that went to the side of the net. “I didn’t know if it was my guy or their guy or who. I was backing up and there was something behind my leg. It sort of put me off balance. I just play my game. It’s not always in the blue. Sometimes it is. You got to do what you got to do.” Thomas felt as though he understood his rights quite well. “Basically I have the right to go anywhere there’s open ice,” he said. “If I’m set, I have a right to that ice. If I’m out of the paint and I’m set, I also have the right to get right-of-way to get back to the crease. That’s the way I understand it.” Burrows, whose team had a 5-on-3 advantage when he took the penalty, didn’t seem to dispute that interpretation on Friday. “I got to make sure I can’t bump the goalie,” he said. “That’s his ice if he’s already there. At the same time I have to be smarter and make sure I don’t put my team down a man.” The best way to attack a wandering goalie, of course, is to take advantage when he’s moved out of position or is being over-aggressive. Even on Torres’s winner, Thomas was moving out of his net, whereas a classic butterfly goalie would have been deeper in his crease at the time. 571292 NHL Not everyone is a fan. Broadcasters Glenn Healy and Don Cherry have both publicly berated the green men for going over the top. The lime ones naturally had a deft response during the San Jose series: Canucks taking the Force with them to Boston They donned plaid jackets and waved around a cardboard cutout depicting Cherry dressed as one of them. Kenneth Kidd At the league’s insistence, however, the pair has had to tone down some of their antics, which used to include Sully doing handstands against the glass surrounding penalized players. VANCOUVER—The Boys in Green are heading to Beantown. “Oh, and we’re not supposed to agitate the players,” says Force. “Sully” and “Force,” who in their lime-green body suits have been taunting As if. Canuck opponents from the stands all year long, will be bringing their unwelcome presence to Boston for Games 3 and 4 of the Stanley Cup There are, of course, some other occupational hazards, such as struggling finals, thanks to the supportive hand of a travel website. into their bodysuits in the parking lot outside Rogers Arena. That can be chilly. “It’s incredible,” Sully says in an interview, dressed in his civvies before changing into lime spandex for a press conference Friday. The suits also tend to restrict their vision, and a trip to the men’s room would pose serious wardrobe challenges, one reason they don’t drink “We’re pretty stoked. The MasterCard was pretty stacked from Nashville anything during the four hours before a game. (where the pair travelled last month for a playoff game against the Predators). I’ve been making the minimum payments.” So, yes, they can get pretty dehydrated — especially if a match drags into overtime. Although they’ve become huge promoters of all things Canuck, Sully and Force aren’t attached to the team, so until now they’ve been operating on “We might call it quits after we hoist the Stanley Cup,” says Force. “That their own dime, doing paid appearances at bar mitzvahs and the like would be the coolest way to wrap it up.” between charity events. Sully’s not quite so sure. “I’m not completely sold,” he says. “But we’ll see.” What they won’t do is give out their real names — although it has been Toronto Star LOADED: 06.04.2011 reported they are Ryan Sullivan and Adam Forsythe. We can say that twenty-something Sully is wearing a Cote d’Ivoire soccer jersey with Didier Drogba’s name on the back, and a Baltimore Orioles baseball cap with the old logo — “the chubby chicken,” Sully calls it. Force is sporting a baseball cap bearing the logo of the now-defunct Hartford Whalers, who used the same blue and green palate as the Canucks. Both are broadcast media grads from the British Columbia Institute of Technology. “I love to chirp at all of the players,” says Force, who usually gets to do that next to the penalty box at home games. “We’re going to do everything we can to absolutely screw with the Bruins,” says Sully, although he concedes (half-playfully) that he will be “shocked if I return home with all my teeth intact.” In Boston, they’ll be just behind Bruins goalie Tim Thomas for two periods each game. Face value of the tickets: $210 per for Game 3, $260 for Game 4, though the actual cost of the ducats — bought in the last couple of days — would be a healthy multiple of that. The travel package was put together by Travelzoo Inc. after the company was approached by Canucks fan and adman Scot Keith, best-known for his pro bono work for Hockey Canada producing the “Relax” ads aimed at overzealous hockey parents. Although they’re now fixtures at Canucks home games, Sully and Force had first hoped to take their act to a Seattle Seahawks NFL game in 2009. But when Sully’s suit didn’t arrive in time, they opted instead to try their luck at a Canucks game, using the season’s tickets of the roofing company where they once worked. An institution was born. “We’re just a couple of idiots in green suits,” Sully once said. “Nobody thought it would get this big.” The pair now has more than 150,000 fans on Facebook and 27,000 followers on Twitter. Among their more legendary hijinks: Waving a doctored picture of country music’s Carrie Underwood wearing a Canucks jersey. She’s married to Mike Fisher of the Nashville Predators. They also made fun of Predator (and former Canuck) Shane O’Brien by pretending to shake up a martini, a nod to O’Brien’s reputation as a partying man about town. They won’t hint at what’s in store for Boston, insisting they mostly brainstorm an hour or so before any game. 571293 NHL “You need great goaltending to be where we are right now,” said Vigneault. “Roberto has given us that. I feel right now he’s playing some of his best hockey — I’ve been here five years — that I’ve seen him play. We Five questions heading into Game 2 of the Cup final obviously need that at this time of the year.” Will Tim Thomas draw an interference penalty? Kevin McGran Having not been able to play an actual hockey game for two days, the Canucks played head games, insinuating that hitting Tim Thomas — the wandering minstrel of goalies — is fair game when he wanders out of the blue paint. They went so far as to suggest Thomas was unduly interfering Concerts having taken over the Rogers Arena, both the Boston Bruins and with them, not the other way around. Vancouver Canucks departed for the hockey rink at the University of British Columbia for practice on Friday. “Basically I have the right to go anywhere there’s open ice,” said Thomas. “If I’m set, I have a right to that ice. If I’m out of the paint and I’m set, I also An institute for higher learning was perhaps appropriate, since both teams have the right-of-way to get back to the crease. That’s the way I understand have had only one game to learn about each other. Given the physicality of it.” Game 1, the after-the-whistle scrums and the nail-biting finish, the two teams were a quick study. We’ll see if the refs see it the same way. “Vancouver is a fast-paced team,” said Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron. What has happened to Johnny Boychuk? “They’re coming hard. They’re a good team. We’re expecting that. We got to make sure we’re ready for that. As bad a playoffs as many believed Tomas Kaberle was having, how about Bruins defenceman Johnny Boychuk? He has been on the ice for the last “We have to play better. I guess we played an okay game for 59 minutes seven goals scored against the Bruins and has been criticized for a (but that) was not good enough. We’ve got to be better. We’ve got to mistimed check on Ryan Kesler that led to Vancouver’s winning goal in increase our tempo, find a way to get that win.” Game 1. The Canucks have a few roster changes to deal with. Defenceman Andrew “At this time of the year, I’m not going to come in here and criticize my Alberts may be in the lineup in place of Dan Hamhuis, while Manny players,” said Julien. “We’re going to deal with it internally. I think what we Malhotra remains day-to-day. have to do here is regroup as a team and play better. “For both teams, obviously, it’s a very important game,” said Canucks “I think if you ask him, he knows he probably could have played that last coach Alain Vigneault. “Without a doubt, they’re thinking about coming in goal a lot better. We all know that, but we all need to move on right now.” here and getting at least a split. We’re thinking about keeping home-ice advantage.” Toronto Star LOADED: 06.04.2011 Game 2 of the Stanley Cup final is set for Saturday night. Here are some issues both teams can sink their teeth into after the Canucks, literally and figuratively, took a bite out of the Bruins in Game 1. Will there be on-ice retribution for Alex Burrows? The Canucks forward stands accused of having bitten the finger of Bergeron (who, oddly enough, does not stand accused of having issued a stinky-glove face-wash). There was no supplemental discipline from the league. The Bruins say they’re over it. “What’s more important for us is to prepare for the next game instead of putting our attention on something that’s already been ruled,” said coach Claude Julien. “Let’s move on.” We’ll see. Maybe the biting controversy will help generate viewers. But one thing is for sure: the Bruins don’t want to be remembered as finger food. Will Zdeno Chara take another faceoff? He took one in Game 1. He won it. It came on the power play, where he now stands like a Slovakia wall in front of Roberto Luongo. The Canucks, it seems, are going to let him. “When you have such a big body like that in front of net, there’s no sense in getting in a pushing match,” said Vigneault. “We let Roberto (Luongo) play where he is. He can’t look on top of him because he’s so tall. He’s got to look around him.” The Bruins’ power play remains otherworldly awful. They have just five goals in 67 opportunities, an atrocious 7.5 per cent success rate. The trickery of putting Chara in the slot hasn’t helped. The Canucks, meanwhile, have scored 17 times in 66 chances (25.8 per cent success). The Bruins would be wise to change things up, if only for change’s sake. Either that, or start declining penalties. Will the Bruins score on Luongo? We’re pretty sure it won’t happen on the power play, so if it does happen, it will be at even strength. The Bruins’ 47 goals in 5-on-5 situations well outstrip Vancouver’s 31. But Luongo made history with that Game 1 shutout — the first shutout in a Stanley Cup final debut since the Leafs’ Frank McCool did it against Detroit in 1945. 571294 NHL Props to the ‘Peg Maloney knows it could have been his team headed to Winnipeg and though he’s not saying he’s relieved it isn’t him, the Coyotes GM is pleased Looks deceiving at NHL combine NHL hockey is returning to Manitoba. “Obviously on one hand, we love Phoenix and I think we can make it work, By Rob Longley ,Toronto Sun although not overnight,” Maloney said. “The idea of going to a hockey market and a full building every night (in Winnipeg), there’s an appeal to that. TORONTO - Gabriel Landeskog turned heads at the NHL scouting combine “But I think it’s tremendous. I think Winnipeg almost lost its identity when on Friday with a physical presence that gave the appearance that he could the Jets left, the whole province really. Now they are back to being a big have been playing in the NHL for years. city.” And then there was top-ranked Ryan Nugent-Hopkins who looked like he Maloney says that Phoenix and Winnipeg have their own separate might have been cutting out on recess to participate in the testing. challenges to become viable NHL businesses. So what is an NHL general manager to do if he has got a shot at either hot “Getting younger players that are free agents to commit to Winnipeg is the shot prospect, as the Edmonton Oilers will do with the first pick overall at biggest thing and that’s not a challenge in Phoenix,” Maloney said. “The the NHL entry draft on June 24? challenge for us is to get more people to the games to support the payroll and get it where it has to be.” “You look at some of these guys and it’s like they are ready to step into the NHL this week,” Pheonix Coyotes general manager Don Maloney said after Quick hits Day 1 of the combine’s fitness testing at the Toronto Congress Centre. Perhaps worn down from the Memorial Cup, Huberdeau struggled in the “Then there’s the top dog and it’s like, holey smokes, (Nugent-Hopkins) bench press portion of the testing but wasn’t going to pass on the exercise, looks like with a stiff wind, he might end up 20-feet away. But he also may no matter how weary he was. “I won’t say because I played in the Memorial be the best hockey player.” Cup I won’t do it. I might do bad, but I will do it.” Last year’s top pick, Taylor Hall, you may recall didn’t participate in the testing after leading Windsor to Landeskog, the Kitchener Rangers captain, is a player who likely will make the Memorial Cup ... Former Leafs strength coach Matt Nichol was on hand an immediate impact by whoever selects him while Nugent-Hopkins, the working as TSN’s “fitness expert.” consensus seems to be, might need another season in junior. Toronto Sun LOADED: 06.04.2011 “It’s not a knock on Nugent-Hopkins at all,” a scout for a team who will pick in the top 15. “There is nothing wrong with sending a talented kid like that back to junior for another year to mature physically.” Nugent-Hopkins is the first to acknowledge he has work to do physically, but most NHL teams would be willing to wait for the weight, especially after the promise of the 106-point season he finished off in Red Deer this past season. “I’m not a big bench-press guy as you can probably tell,” Nugent-Hopkins said with a laugh and a little relief after finishing his session. “I don’t have the biggest chest out there. I’m trying to put on the weight and put on some strength. That’s all I can do.” Memorial days There is a great deal of buzz around the combine about the handful of Saint John Sea Dog players projected to go high in the draft. Led by Jonathan Huberdeau who is rated No. 3 among North American skaters, four players from the Memorial Cup champions could go in the first round based on the final rankings by NHL Central Scouting. The big win last week in Mississauga won’t hurt, but there can also be a danger to over emphasizing the performance. “Just because you saw them last doesn’t mean they have to be viewed higher,” Washington Capitals general manager George McPhee said. “It has to be a balanced approach. If you are doing your job right, you are putting them where they are supposed to be. “Having said that, (the Memorial Cup) is a great experience. You want kids to play in those kinds of games. It’s the intangible side of the ledger.” Scrum killer A scrum with an athlete can meet a quick end for any number of reasons. A bad loss. A bad question. A bad attitude. But when Matthew Nieto looked dumbfounded over a routine question following his testing session, the dead air was for a different reason. “I don’t feel too well,” the Boston University prospect said after a long pause. “I might have to puke a little bit here.” Let’s just say, the answer to the question wasn’t worth waiting around. Then there was big defenceman Dougie Hamilton, who got it over with before he faced the interrogation. “It didn’t take me too long to puke after I got off the bike,” the Niagara Ice Dog said. “I just held it in and headed to the garbage can.” 571295 Ottawa Senators least, we’ve got a guy who can contribute, kill penalties and be a character guy. We can find places for guys like that.” Ottawa Citizen LOADED: 06.04.2011 With Sens contract in his pocket, rugged Zack Smith keeps focus on Calder Cup By Ken Warren, BINGHAMTON — One way or another, it rarely takes long for Binghamton Senators centre Zack Smith to hear his name called at the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena. Or any other arena in the American Hockey League, for that matter. Before Friday’s Game 4 of the Calder Cup finals against the Houston Aeros, Smith was tied for fifth in AHL playoff scoring, with six goals and 12 assists in 20 games. Those numbers include the hat trick he delivered in a 7-1 romp over the Charlotte Checkers in Game 3 of the semifinals and an assist on the lone Binghamton goal in Wednesday’s 2-1 loss to Houston in Game 3 of the finals. He also had one of Binghamton’s few scoring chances in the opening two periods, beating the Houston to the outside with a burst of speed before being stopped by Aeros goaltender Matt Hackett. Smith also makes himself noticed on the penalty front, the edge in his hitting game often crossing the referees’ fine line between what’s legal and what’s not. During Wednesday’s game, he was tagged for a roughing call, his hit on Houston’s Patrick O’Sullivan deemed a split second late, running his playoff penalty minute total to 30, second only to Hamilton’s Ryan White. You won’t find Binghamton coach Kurt Kleinendorst complaining about the Smith parade to the penalty box. Like most coaches, Kleinendorst has a set of buzzwords and catchphrases that he often uses. When the topic is Smith, “honest” and “solid” are commonly used. “You have to live with his penalties, because his penalties, you know, they’re not hooking penalties,” says Kleinendorst. “His penalties are aggressive penalties. If he’s going to play the right way, he has got to finish his checks. You’ve got to give him a little bit of rope. We’ll kill those (penalties). It’s amazing how you can kill off those types of penalties. “In every regard, he’s a solid player. We use him killing penalties, on the power play. He takes key faceoffs. If he’s not engaged, he’s not an effective player. I will try to get him out there as much early (in the game) as possible, because he needs to be engaged right way.” From an Ottawa Senators perspective, that’s an intriguing comment. Smith, who played 55 games with Ottawa this season, was primarily used as a fourth-line player by former Senators coach Cory Clouston, meaning he usually played somewhere between six to 10 minutes per game. He had four goals, five assists and 120 penalty minutes with the Senators, including a spirited fight with Boston’s Nathan Horton in a late-season game. After signing a two-year, $1.4-million contract with the Senators last week — his first guaranteed NHL contract — the organization has sent the message that they see him as a major part of the team’s youth movement. “I would be lying if I said I wasn’t thinking about (the contract),” says Smith, who turned 23 in April. “But at the same time, it doesn’t change anything. Winning the Calder Cup is still the most important thing and what has been on my mind the most. I’m obviously happy with the deal and obviously they’re happy with me, so that was a bonus.” Whether Binghamton ends up winning or losing the AHL finals, Smith can effectively say goodbye to the city, after spending the past two seasons riding the shuttle from here to Ottawa, pushing to eventually become an impact player in the NHL. “They tell me to play the same game (in Ottawa as in Binghamton), but I play more minutes here and I’m playing different roles,” he says. “The game does change a bit. I can’t expel the same amount of energy that I do in Ottawa in one shift, that I do here. But playing here, I’m in better shape. I feel I handle the puck better and I’m playing with a lot more confidence.” Kleinendorst suggests that Smith could one day be a dominant big-league player. “Eventually, you would hope that over time he would be able to move into a role up there,” he says. “He has the potential to do that, but that’s a little bit of a different stage. Will that ever happen? I’m not sure. But at the very 571296 Philadelphia Flyers Comcast SportsNet.com LOADED: 06.04.2011 Flyers let go of top goalie prospect Eriksson By Tim Panaccio By most accounts, 21-year-old goalie Joacim Eriksson was the Flyers’ top prospect in their farm system. Well, that’s no longer the case. General manager Paul Holmgren confirmed the stunning news on Friday that the organization willingly allowed Eriksson’s signing rights to expire this week. Hockeybuzz.com first reported it earlier on Friday. The Flyers can re-draft Eriksson again later this month in Minnesota. Their first pick in the NHL draft won’t come until the third round. Given Eriksson was the Flyers’ seventh round choice in 2008 (196th overall), chances are, he won’t go much higher if he re-enters this summer. “He didn’t play much this year and didn’t develop,” Holmgren said. “That’s just that way it goes sometimes when you draft European players. It’s disappointing, but that is the chance you take when you draft them.” “You only get two years and they need to develop the way it should be. That’s part of the process sometimes. Is it great? No. It’s the nature of the business right now.” Last month, the Flyers signed Finnish beanpole goalie Niko Hovinen – he’s 6-foot-7 – who had been originally drafted by Minnesota in 2006 and was left unsigned. Holmgren said Hovinen’s signing directly impacted the decision to allow Eriksson to go unsigned, adding that the Flyers think Hovinen has a developmental edge on Eriksson at this point. Eriksson played just 17 games for Skelleftea, but was not competing at the highest level in Sweden and was not expected to be NHL-ready for another two years. He was promoted to Elitserien this year, but was not the starter. That the Flyers gave Hovinen a contract tells you that they think he’ll be in North America sooner. Still, Eriksson was arguably the Flyers’ top prospect in what some believe is a shallow wading pool of organizational depth. What this move also seems to reinforce is that Sergei Bobrovsky is very much the Flyers’ future No. 1 ahead of every other goalie in the system. At one point last summer, there was strong debate within the organization as to whether Eriksson could upstage Bobrovsky. As everyone knows, Bob made the Flyers’ roster out of training camp. Holmgren said it made no sense to sign Eriksson if they had no place to play him right now. He was not expected to replace either Johan Backlund or Brian Stewart with the AHL Phantoms this season, either. “Your choice is you sign the guy, give him money and hope he develops,” Holmgren said. “Or you just wait. See what happens if they become free agents. Minnesota drafts Hovinen … it doesn’t happen, he goes back in the draft and nobody drafted him. “Then this year he became a hot commodity. He started to come on. That’s just the way it is. When you draft kids at 17, sometimes it works out and sometime it doesn’t.” At the moment, the Flyers have just five picks in this month’s draft. They are expected to either deal for an established goalie at the draft or, a less likely option, sign a goalie out of free agency. Most observers think the Flyers will make a trade at the draft for proven starter, who can buy some time for Bobrovsky to develop down the road. Loose pucks Also going unsigned was defenseman Simon Bertilsson, a 2009 third-round pick. His case was a bit different, as Bertilsson has been plagued by both shoulder and knee injuries since being drafted and that appears to have impeded his development. 571297 Pittsburgh Penguins Pens GM Shero looking at making moves By Rob Rossi, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW General manager Ray Shero will look at "available options via trade" for any of the Penguins' impending unrestricted and restricted free agents who haven't been re-signed by the NHL Entry Draft at Minnesota later this month. He described talks with representatives for the potential free agents — 10 unrestricted and two restricted — as requiring "more conversations to be had." » Though NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said Wednesday that the 2011-12 salary cap could extend to near $63 million, Shero does not believe the boost will be significant enough to alter the Penguins' offseason plan for retaining their free agents or being major players on the open market. For next season, the Penguins are committed to nearly $56 million with 17 players on NHL contracts. » The Penguins will hold professional scouting meetings Monday and Tuesday, and Shero will attend general managers meetings at Boston on Wednesday. In between, he will be trying to lock down the services of assistant coaches Tony Granato and Todd Reirden. Shero said he would like to extend each assistant's contract "within the next week or so." Head coach Dan Bylsma signed a three-year extension during this past season. » Centers Evgeni Malkin and Dustin Jeffrey are each "on schedule" with their recoveries from respective surgeries to repair torn right-knee ligaments, Shero said. Malkin is expected to be ready for training camp, and Jeffrey should resume normal hockey activity by October. » Shero on the changing of the guard from Colin Campbell to Brendan Shanahan at the NHL discipline czar position: "I dealt with (Campbell) a lot over the five years, and I personally like him a lot. It's a tough, tough job. He always acted in good faith. I enjoyed my time dealing with him even though I didn't always agree with all of the suspensions. He's a real good person. It appears the role is changing a bit, and we'll see how it shakes out in the future. I've found (Shanahan) to be very (smart), very informed and very in- tune with the players." Tribune Review LOADED: 06.04.2011 571298 St Louis Blues syndrome is subsiding. Although David Perron has also made progress, the Blues forward still isn't symptom-free. St Louis Post Dispatch LOADED: 06.04.2011 Hockey Guy: Shanahan headed for bigger things? By JEFF GORDON | Posted: Friday, June 3, 2011 12:00 pm Could former Blues star Brendan Shanahan someday become commissioner of the National Hockey League? This is not a ridiculous thought. His rapid ascension within the NHL front office since his retirement has been impressive. P-D hockey scribe Jeremy Rutherford had the same thought when Shanahan’s latest promotion was announced. While becoming the league’s disciplinarian will be a difficult and at times unpleasant task, it will be good preparation for ever bigger challenges. Shanahan will get to prove that his love of the sport supercedes any loyalties (or feuds) that developed during his outstanding career. Here is how the hockey media viewed Shan The Man’s latest move up the ladder: Nicholas J. Cotsonika, Yahoo! Sports: “The man who organized the Shanahan Summit during the 2004-05 lockout, a brainstorming session that led to rule changes that transformed the game, he became the NHL’s vice- president of hockey and business development. It was a feel-good job – running the research and development camp, coming up with the Fantasy Draft and a new format for the All-Star Game, giving input on player safety, supplemental discipline and other issues. But that was really an apprenticeship to prepare him for this. Now he has to be the bad guy, now he has to make people feel bad, now he has to take the bad with the good, and he knows it.” Mike Zeisberger, Toronto Sun: “Because Shanahan isn't far removed from his playing days, he understands the dilemmas the players face. With Rob Blake also in the hockey operations department, it gives the league some new, fresh voices. At the same time, does Shanahan really understand what he's getting into? Just look at the way (Colin) Campbell has been slagged for his decisions. He's even had his integrity questioned in recent years. Second-guessing from the media is fine, sure, but some of the personal attacks Campbell has been forced to absorb are ridiculous.” Scott Burnside, ESPN.com: “The challenge for Shanahan will be to bring order to the Byzantine world of NHL discipline. It will be up to Shanahan to communicate to GMs and players exactly what is going to be tolerated and what is not, especially as it relates to blows to the head and reckless plays that endanger other players. One thing Bettman made clear is he is expecting that there will be harsher supplemental discipline under Shanahan, and that is a welcome message.” Stu Hackel, SI.com: “There’s also the newly created Department of Safety, of which Shanahan in now the titular head. Some may wince at that name, thinking it sounds like a bureau overseeing highway construction or traffic enforcement — if not the French Revolution’s Committee on Public Safety, which protected the new republic from internal and external enemies by using the guillotine as its preferred instrument of deterrence. Folding discipline into the whole issue of player safety is in interesting move and if there’s a sincere effort to make the game safer through changes in player behavior, this could be something of a revolution, too.” AROUND THE RINKS: Blues defenseman Roman Polak has clearly established his value as a physical, hard-nosed defensive defenseman. So locking him into the nucleus for five years made total sense . . . On the other hand, it would make less sense for the Blues to trade for the negotiating rights to Brad Richards, a pending unrestricted free agency. The Stars franchise is in ownership limbo and that team will not try to retain him. Richards is the one impact offensive UFA coming available, so the price will get extremely high. The Blues, like the Stars, are for sale. This franchise is in no position to bid for him. The Leafs, on the other hand, will go "all in" to get him . . . The NHL's coaching carousel is spinning at warp speed. Among the candidates for the Ottawa job are former Blues players Craig MacTavish and Paul MacLean. Among the candidates for the Stars opening is Predators assistant coach Peter Horacheck . . . Canucks Roberto Luongo is now three games from winning the Stanley Cup and shutting up critics for good. His Game 1 shutout in the Cup Finals was a classic . . . Sidney Crosby is working out again, which is a good sign that his post-concussion 571299 St Louis Blues Look for the Blues to explore the trade market to add to their roster. Anyone interested in Paul Stastny? The Blues would have to shed some dollars to take on his contract. Ownership limbo likely to handcuff Blues in free agency St Louis Post Dispatch LOADED: 06.04.2011 By ROGER HENSLEY | Posted: Friday, June 3, 2011 9:30 am QUESTION: Given the Blues’ ownership situation, do you believe the team will have the funds necessary this offseason to sign a legitimate free-agent goal scorer? If so, who is out there that you think could be in their price range? JEREMY RUTHERFORD Until the team is sold, or Dave Checketts comes up with new investors who have more resources, the Blues can’t afford a “legitimate” free-agent goal scorer. Outside of Paul Kariya’s three-year, $18 million contract in 2007, for which I’ve given Checketts big props in the past, the Blues have not proved they have the financial ability to sign a key free agent. Why now would ownership, which is said to be losing money and doesn’t know when a sale will be finalized, pony up and become a player in the free-agent market? On top of that, there’s only one name in the upcoming free-agent market that fits the description of a “legitimate” goal scorer, and that’s Dallas’ Brad Richards. And not only is he going to cost $8 million per year, but teams may have to give the Stars a bundle in a trade just to acquire his negotiating rights before July 1. Other potential free agents are Washington’s Jason Arnott, LA’s Michal Handzus, Tampa Bay’s Simon Gagne, Carolina’s Erik Cole, Nashville’s Joel Ward and Boston’s Michael Ryder. So there’s not a lot to be had in this year’s market, and until the Blues clear up their ownership situation, I don’t see them being as involved as many fans would like. DAN O’NEILL Given the Blues ownership situation, there is a better chance of Maria taking Arnold back than of the Blues taking on salary. Their goal this summer will be to get the players they have signed. They will not be signing free agents, not substantial ones anyway. Doug Armstrong perhaps can be creative and package some draft picks – the Blues have a number of secondary picks – in order to make some trades. That is the best fans can hope for. That said, I’m not sure a goal scorer is the biggest need here. The Colorado trade changed the landscape on this team. I would like to see them add size on the backline, and a secondary scorer, which might be more plausible. JEFF GORDON Stars center Brad Richards could really help boost this team to a new level, but he is the star of the free-agent class and almost certainly to be well beyond what this team can afford. Beyond him, not a lot of big difference makers seem likely to hit the market. Perhaps the Blues could take advantage of a team looking to move salary at some point. This team has a bit of budget space, but wisely John Davidson and Doug Armstrong are focused on locking in the team’s nucleus. ANDY STRICKLAND (TrueHockey.com, KFNS) Goal scorers will be at a premium this summer as this group isn’t characterized as a strong free-agent class. The ownership question is one that’s on everyone’s mind. Any hope of a new ownership group being in place less than a month from now is unrealistic. The fact that Doug Armstrong has yet to be given a hard budget number for next season is discouraging. There are some decent players that could be available though. Obviously NHL clubs still have time to get their players signed before they hit the open market on July 1. Brad Richards is the cream of the crop but is more wishful thinking for Blues fans. Others that interest me are Flyers’ forward Ville Leino, who will be looking for a contract in the $4.5 million range, Bruins forward Michael Ryder, who earned $4 million this season, and Avalanche forward Tomas Fleischmann, whose season was cut short because of blood clots. Fleischmann is a very good player and his agent tells me he’s been medically cleared. He could be had for a decent price. 571300 St Louis Blues Belleville News-Democrat LOADED: 06.04.2011 Polak gets new deal from Blues By NORM SANDERS - News-Democrat St. Louis Blues General Manager Doug Armstrong likes to reserve long- term contracts for players that define themselves. Armstrong believes defenseman Roman Polak is at that stage, which is why the team signed Polak to a five-year contract extension Thursday worth $13.75 million instead of opting for a short-term deal. The Blues also are believed to be close on a three-year contract extension for forward Vladimir Sobotka. "I use that word 'define' and 'definition' for our younger players, and I have a strong belief of what he's going to be," Armstrong said of Polak. "He's going to be a primary shutdown defenseman and he's proven he can do that role. He's going to being playing in our top four (defensemen). We know the minutes he's going to log and there's real definition in his game right now." Another thing the 25-year-old Polak does well is add stability to the Blues' back end. He's a big defenseman who can move bodies and kill penalties, but also is a strong skater who can move the puck. "My belief is to reward those guy that have to do the real dirty work," Armstrong said. "When you have to expose yourself nightly to shot blocking and playing that physical. ... I was glad we could put some security toward Roman. "Now he can just go out and play that hard-style game we need him to be successful." The 6-foot, 1-inch, 227-pound veteran had three goals, 12 points and 33 penalty minutes last season. In 227 games with the Blues, Polak has eight goals, 49 points and 143 penalty minutes. He was the Blues' sixth-round pick in 2004. Polak missed 26 games this season, undergoing wrist surgery after suffering a skate cut by Pittsburgh star Sidney Crosby. Armstrong was asked about the Blues' ability to provide long-term contract with the team up for sale. He spoke about the desire to keep Polak under contract during the prime of his career, rather than offering another two-year agreement and then dealing with the possibility of losing him to free-agency. "We think Roman has defined himself and we think he was going to be a very attractive player if he got to free agency," Armstrong said. "We didn't exactly want to have to find out what that value may be." Will a move like this affect the Blues' signings of other restricted free agents like forwards T.J. Oshie, Matt D'Agostini and others, or their ability to look at unrestricted free agents? "You deal on a year-to-year budget," Armstrong said. "We're not projecting out five years because after this season the collective bargaining agreement is going to be expired and they're going to come up with a new set of parameters that they're going to work under. "I was very comfortable in the breakdown with how the contact is paid out. It fits in on what we're looking to this year and it also reflects Roman's true value moving forward." Sobotka, acquired in a trade with Boston prior to last season, had seven goals and 29 points in 65 games with the Blues. He eventually assumed the defensive checking center role after Jay McClement was traded to Colorado. "He's an excellent young player that really has all the qualities that we want in our organization, some tenacity and competitiveness," Armstrong said. Contact reporter Norm Sanders 571301 Tampa Bay Lightning Bolts' Yzerman named Bay area's top sports executive By JOEY JOHNSTON | The Tampa Tribune TAMPA -- Even after a breakthrough season for the Tampa Bay Lightning, who finished one victory from the Stanley Cup finals, first-year general manager Steve Yzerman was preaching perspective. "We're not where we want to be," Yzerman said. "It's a positive start. But there are always ways to improve. You never really relax and feel comfortable about things." For a brief moment on Thursday night, though, Yzerman enjoyed some well-deserved praise. Yzerman was named the Tampa Bay area sports Executive of the Year during the inaugural Sneaker Soiree at TPepin's Hospitality Centre. The event, presented by the Tampa Bay Sports Commission, was organized to honor excellence in the Tampa Bay sports business world. Award winners in 16 categories were announced. Yzerman, who was Team Canada's executive director and oversaw the nation's gold medal-winning team in the 2010 Winter Olympics, might need to clear his mantle for another award. He is a finalist for the NHL's GM of the Year — along with Vancouver's Mike Gillis and Nashville's David Poile — which will be presented on June 22 in Las Vegas. He had similarly formidable competition for Thursday night's honor. Yzerman was selected ahead of Bucs general manager Mark Dominik, whose team transformed from 3-13 to 10-6, and Rays president Matt Silverman, who heads the business side of an organization that won two AL East titles in the past three seasons. Award nominees were selected and voted upon by the Tampa Bay Sports Commission's board of directors, with two awards decided with online voting from fans. Rob Higgins, the commission's executive director, said the event's proceeds will benefit youth sports. "It's hard not to notice the strength of the decisions that each of our local sports properties are making off the field, and there (wasn't) anything being done to honor these success stories," Higgins said. "Our overall event concept was our version of the ESPY's meets your local high school pep rally." Tampa Tribune LOADED: 06.04.2011 571302 Tampa Bay Lightning Exit interview: Sean Bergenheim says Game 7 vs. the Bruins was "the biggest disappointment for me" In this installment of the exit interviews done while Tampa Bay Lightning players cleaned out their lockers, wing Sean Bergenheim, whose nine playoff goals made him one of the big stories of the postseason, describes the disappointment of not being able to play in Game 7 with the Bruins and how he sees, or doesn't see (for now) his contract situation playing out. On what kept him out of Game 7: I don't think there's any point saying what it was. It was something that prevented me -- I wasn't able to skate. We, definitely, with the training staff, did everything if not more thsn what we could do to try to get me back in there. It seems that every hour of the day I was in some kind of treatment. I felt we did everything we could to get me back there but it wasn't enough. We did different kinds of massages and therapies that's not only going to help the problem area but is going to loosen things up around it. Eventually, the thing was that I wouldn't be able to help the team. It wasn't a nice game to watch from the stands, that's for sure. On how he was hurt: It was just something that was there the previous game and just became worse and I couldn't go. On getting tangled up with Dennis Seidenburg in Game 5, when he was hurt: No, that was just a Charley horse. I got a Charley horse but that wouldn't keep me out. That hurt but it's something you play through. On looking good in warm-ups for Game 7: Yeah, when it was controlled. But I think in games when you can't control how you skate, I think it was just I couldn't go. It was too painful, and I think if I would have played I definitely would not have been able to play later on. It was unfortunate. On how difficult it was to watch: You want to be part of that game so much, help the team and do whatever. Watching it, it was just so frustrating. Yo9u can't do anything. You see everybody else battling, and I don't think I've been as nervous about a game, watching a hockey game like that in probably, I can't remember. I hope I don't have to do that again. On returning in 2011-12: Obviously, I've thought about it and I've really liked it here a lot. But that's something we haven't talked with the team. If they want me back, they'll contact my agent and that's how it always goes and we'll see. But like I said, I like to play for this organization. It's a very good organization. It's a good team, the teammates we have, the coaching staff, it's a great thing for a player to be part of. On his postseason: I think (my name) is out there more now than what it has been before. It felt obviously good to be able to help the team. And, again, my line, we did a good job and, obviously, a lot of the guys, everybody did a very good job. What we did I thought helped the team and we feel good about that. On his criteria for picking a team: That's too early for me to comment on. I haven't thought about ... I can't really answer that. We'll see. There's not five or six teams that want me right now. I'm a Lightning, still, and July 1, that's when I can talk to other teams. Hopefully, it won't go there but we'll see. On Tampa Bay being a destination for players: Definitely. I think a lot has happened to this organization this year. It's been a great turnaround from a few bad years. It's such a great place to live and to play hockey. I see many players want to play here. On dealing with emotions of the season: It is hard. After that game I would say it was probably the biggest disappointment for me, personally. I know a lot of guys feel the same way, losing that game, because you come so close to being able to play for the Stanley Cup. Everybody felt that we could have won it. You play for a team where everybody is close in here and you don't know what the team is going to look like next year. But we really have a special, special feeling amongst this group. Posted by Damian Cristodero St. Petersburg Times LOADED: 06.04.2011 571303 Toronto Maple Leafs Leafs, Rangers, Kings and Wings interested in Richards Kevin McGran Could Brad Richards be a Toronto Maple Leaf sooner, rather than later? A look through the list of impending unrestricted free agent centres with the attributes GM Brian Burke is looking for puts Richards at the very top. He’s only 31 and not just a proven winner, but a leader and a Conn Smythe Trophy recipient. He’s big and he can score. In short, he’s everything the team has lacked in a No. 1 centre since Mats Sundin left in 2009. And now, he’s available, sooner than anticipated. The Dallas Stars — a team without an owner — announced they would try to trade his rights before July 1 — essentially trying to get something for a player they risk losing for nothing once July 1 rolls around. It’s believed the New York Rangers, Los Angeles Kings, Detroit Red Wings and the Maple Leafs — all big-market, big-money teams with holes to fill — are all interested in the native of Prince Edward Island. Richards earned $7.8 million (U.S.) last year. The front-runner is believed to be the Rangers, given Richards’ history with coach John Tortorella. They won a Cup together in Tampa in 2004. Burke denied through the Canadian Press Twitter feed that he had acquired Richards negotiating rights with an emphatic, “No, no, no, no.” A day earlier, he was interviewed on NHL Network about whether he’d try to go after negotiating rights of a player under contract and gave a contradictory answer. “I haven’t ruled that out,” he said at the beginning of the answer, but added at the end: “It’s not something we’re in the process of looking at.” Richards has said his first choice was to stay in Dallas, but without an owner, that seems unlikely. “We have had talks with Brad throughout the year, and he’s not going to sign with us unless we have the ownership situation resolved, and it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen by the start of free agency,” GM Joe Nieuwendyk told the Dallas Morning News. “So we would like to see if we could get something for his rights and allow another team to have a chance to sign him, but a lot of that is up to Brad and his agent.” Richards, however, has a no-movement clause. He waived it once before, when he allowed himself to be traded from the Tampa Bay Lightning. His agent, Pat Morris, said he may not allow it again. “Accepting a move to another team creates an obligation, and you have to be pretty sure about that obligation,” Morris told the Morning News. “I think Brad has to do what’s best for himself and keep his options open.” It wouldn’t be the first time an impending UFA was traded in the month leading up to his free agency, but would be the first time one with a no- movement clause was traded. Mats Sundin famously wouldn’t allow himself to be traded by the Leafs to Montreal on draft day in 2009 a deal that would have landed Toronto Montreal’s first-round pick along with Mikhail Grabovski. The pre-July 1 strategy worked in 2009 when the Calgary Flames traded Jordan Leopold to Florida for the final few days of Jay Bouwmeester’s contract, then used the exclusive bargaining window time to lock up the defenceman to a long-term deal. The strategy has its pitfalls. Last year, the Philadelphia Flyers traded defenceman Ryan Parent to the Nashville Predators on June 19 last year for the last two weeks of Dan Hamhuis’s contract. The Flyers and Hamhuis couldn’t come to an agreement and Hamhuis signed with the Vancouver Canucks as an unrestricted free agent. Toronto Star LOADED: 06.04.2011 571304 Toronto Maple Leafs Are the Leafs interested in the Brad Richards sweepstakes? Kevin McGran Could Brad Richards be a Toronto Maple Leaf sooner, rather than later? A look through the list of impending unrestricted free agent centres with the attributes GM Brian Burke is looking for puts Richards at the very top. He’s only 31 and not just a proven winner, but a leader and a Conn Smyth Trophy winner. He’s big and he can score. In short, he’s everything the team has lacked in a No. 1 centre since Mats Sundin left the team in 2009. And now, he’s available, sooner than anticipated. The Dallas Stars — a team without an owner — announced they would try to trade his rights before July 1 — essentially trying to get something for a player they risk losing for nothing once July 1 rolls around. It’s believed the New York Rangers, Los Angeles Kings, Detroit Red Wings and the Maple Leafs — all big-market, big-money teams with holes to fill — are all interested in the native of Prince Edward Island. Richards earned $7.8 million last year. The front-runner is believed to be the Rangers, given Richards’ history with coach John Tortorella. They won a Cup together in Tampa in 2004. Burke was tied up with the NHL scouting combine and could not be reached for comment. “We have had talks with Brad throughout the year, and he’s not going to sign with us unless we have the ownership situation resolved, and it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen by the start of free agency,” GM Joe Nieuwendyk told the Dallas Morning News. “So we would like to see if we could get something for his rights and allow another team to have a chance to sign him, but a lot of that is up to Brad and his agent.'” Richards, however, has a no-movement clause. He waived it once before, when he allowed himself to be traded from the Tampa Bay Lightning. His agent, Pat Morris, said he may not allow it again. “Accepting a move to another team creates an obligation, and you have to be pretty sure about that obligation,” Morris told the Morning News. “I think Brad has to do what’s best for himself and keep his options open.” It wouldn’t be the first time an impending UFA was traded in the month leading up to his free agency, but would be the first time one with a no- movement clause was traded. Mats Sundin famously wouldn’t allow himself to be traded by the Leafs to Montreal on draft day in 2009, a deal that would have landed Toronto Montreal’s first-round pick along with Mikhail Grabovski. The pre-July 1 strategy worked in 2009 when the Calgary Flames traded Jordan Leopold to Florida for the final few days of Jay Bouwmeester’s contract, then used the exclusive bargaining window time to lock up the defenceman to a long-term deal. The strategy has its pitfalls. Last year, the Philadelphia Flyers traded defenceman Ryan Parent to the Nashville Predators on June 19 last year for the last two weeks of Dan Hamhuis’s contract. The Flyers and Hamhuis couldn’t come to an agreement and Hamhuis signed with the Vancouver Canucks as an unrestricted free agent. Toronto Star LOADED: 06.04.2011 571305 Toronto Maple Leafs Leafs scouts getting busy 0 By Rob Longley ,Toronto Sun TORONTO - With three picks in the top 35 spots, the 2011 NHL Entry Draft can’t begin soon enough for Maple Leafs head scout Dave Morrison. He heads a department that didn’t have a first-round pick last year, after all, and works for a boss who isn’t shy about making a big deal. But before the draft, which takes place June 24-25 in St. Paul, Minn., Morrison and his staff have plenty of work to do. And that includes their own version of this week’s NHL scouting combine which wraps up Saturday at the Toronto Congress Centre. Morrison said on Friday that the Leafs will work out 40 of the top 100 prospects already in town in a special session at the Mastercard Centre on Sunday. “We’ve got a bunch of kids coming for a quick follow-up for us,” Morrison said as Friday’s physical testing was getting under way. “They will do a quick medical and what we call a fitness assessment to augment what they are doing here. “There will be a lot of stretching and balance exercises. What we do is something a little different just to help us to get a better picture.” Led by the two first-round picks and a high second-rounder, the Leafs are expected to not only get three players in the top 35 but 11 overall as it stands now. General manager Brian Burke could alter that if he’s able to make a trade for a veteran in the days leading up to the draft, but Morrison and his staff are expecting a busy and productive couple of days. “I worked for Brian in Vancouver an I learned early on with him that you have to be prepared for anything,” Morrison said. “We’ve put a couple of different scenarios together. “Brian has said it publicly: If we can (move up) to get somebody we want, we will do it. But by the same token, if it’s not there and we don’t make a deal we will be quite happy to pick with the picks that we have.” With minimal expectation that the players selected will be in the lineup next season, Morrison said the Leafs are unlikely to draft for immediate need. “You have to take the best player because even though players are making it quicker now than they did perhaps years ago, but normally it takes a guy a few years to get there and by that time our needs may have changed,” Morrison said. “Our job really, is to get the best available NHL talent and then Brian and management can use that for assets. You hope they play for your team but at some point if they don’t the goal is to make your team better.” So if Burke deals some of those high picks away for a proven player, will his head scout be crushed? “One hundred per cent no,” Morrison said. “It’s the big team that has to win. If we can do something to make the big team better, I’m all for it.” Toronto Sun LOADED: 06.04.2011 571306 Vancouver Canucks Uncertainty about Malhotra, Hamhuis Canucks coach shuffling with stacked deck By MIKE ZEISBERGER, QMI Agency VANCOUVER - Given the number of injuries his Vancouver Canucks have endured this season, Alain Vigneault has been forced to shuffle his deck almost as much as the blackjack dealers at the nearby Edgewater Casino. That's not about to change in the Stanley Cup final. With question marks dangling over the heads of defenceman Dan Hamhuis and forward Manny Malhotra, Vigneault's juggling act likely will extend into Game 2 Saturday at Rogers Arena. The Canucks have used 13 different defencemen dating back to the beginning of the season, which makes their first place finish overall that much more impressive. Hamhuis did not practise Friday, so the consensus is he will not be in the lineup Saturday against the Boston Bruins. That was not confirmed by the tight-lipped Vigneault, who would say only that Hamhuis and Malhotra (eye) are day to day. If Hamhuis can't go, many observers figure Andrew Alberts will get the nod, especially since he lined up alongside Christian Ehrhoff during Friday's workout. One aspect that Alberts brings to the table is familiarity with the Bruins, having played for Boston from 2005 to 2008. "There are only about four guys left from when I was there but I do know some of the tendencies of the guys who are left," Alberts said. Should he get the call, Alberts might be used to clear out any Bruins who might be loitering in front of the Vancouver net. At 6-foot-5, he could handle most of the players on the Boston roster. Except for 6-foot-9 Zdeno Chara, that is. Bruins coach Claude Julien has been putting Chara in front of the opposing net on the power play in an attempt to create chaos for the opposing goaltender. For Alberts, trying to move his former teammate out of goalie Roberto Luongo's way might be futile. "He's too big," Alberts said with a laugh. "You either have to block the shots coming through or tie up his stick. But once he claims his spot, he's there to stay." Meanwhile, there is as much uncertainty about Malhotra as there is about Hamhuis. Having been out since mid-March with an injured left eye, Malhotra appeared eager to return for Game 1. But an apparent setback left him sitting in the press box for the Canucks' 1-0 victory, leaving Canucks fans to wonder if he had played his final game of 2010-11. Now the door for his potential comeback appears open again, especially after he returned to the ice Friday from a three-day absence. But before Canucks fans start pencilling Malhotra's name into the lineup, know this: His left eye appeared to be much more closed on Friday than it was six days ago. "I'll see how I feel after our morning skate and we'll make a decision at that point," Malhotra said. "From one day to the next, things have changed. I didn't feel proper to go on the ice so I took a couple of days off. "I obviously don't want this to be a sideshow, We always talk about (it) in our dressing room ... the whole is much greater than the individuals." If Malhotra and/or Hamhuis are not able to play, Vigneault won't panic. Far from it. When you've shuffled the deck as much as he has this season, lineup juggling is just a part of everyday life Winnipeg Sun LOADED: 06.04.2011 571307 Vancouver Canucks Bieksa faces tall task in Chara By CHRIS STEVENSON, QMI Agency VANCOUVER - Defenceman Kevin Bieksa is used to having his hands full in front of the Vancouver Canucks net. Battling with 6-foot-9 Boston Bruins defenceman Zdeno Chara in front when the B's are on the power play takes it to new heights. "A lot of the guys are taking runs at him, trying to check out the big guy, see what he's made out of," Bieksa said. "It's fun to play against him. We're going to play hard against everybody. When you're playing against the biggest and the strongest guy in the league, you want to test yourself. We're going to be physical every chance we get." "Obviously, it's a little bit different from being on the point. But I think the main purpose of the whole thing is the same: You have to be willing to do whatever it takes," Chara said. "All five guys have to do their jobs on the power play to be successful." With the Bruins power play just 5-for-67 in the playoffs (0-for-6 in Game 1), Boston coach Claude Julien put Chara in front of the opposition net during the Eastern Conference final to screen the opposition goaltender. Bieksa said there are certain qualities a player needs to be effective in front of the net like Detroit Red Wings forward Tomas Holmstrom, recognized as one of the best around the blue paint. "The guys who want to be there in front. Some guys are standing there just to be there because they're told to and there's other guys who want to be there," Bieksa said. "A guy like Holmstrom wants to be there. You're not going to move him and he's got a great stick for tipping shots. When a guy has a really good stick in front, you really have to respect him. "It's definitely an art." Winnipeg Sun LOADED: 06.04.2011 571308 Vancouver Canucks Bieksa suddenly blooming By KEN WIEBE, QMI Agency VANCOUVER - Kevin Bieksa has gone from fringe prospect to the linchpin of the Vancouver Canucks defence corps. When asked how far his game has come since making his professional debut with the Manitoba Moose in the spring of 2004, Bieksa could only chuckle "It has improved obviously," said Bieksa, who has five goals and nine points in 19 Stanley Cup playoff games heading into Game 2 of the final Saturday at Rogers Arena. "It has been seven years. I've kind of taken the approach that I want to get better every year and I've learned from a lot of the great players I've played with. I understand the game a lot better than I did before and it's just part of growing up." When he rolled into Winnipeg after completing his college career at Bowling Green University, little was known about Bieksa and he wasn't even registering on the Vancouver Canucks radar screen. But the Moose were struggling and Bieksa got an audition and made the most of it. Fast forward to 2011 and Bieksa plays on the Canucks' top pairing and is just three wins away from sipping out of the Stanley Cup. Sharing the experience with guys he learned the ropes with in the minors -- such as Ryan Kesler and Alexandre Burrows -- has heightened the experience. "It's special for sure to get to this point," said Bieksa, a fifth-round pick (151st overall) in the 2001 NHL entry draft by the Canucks. "To start in the organization from the bottom and work your way up and to do it with two guys the whole way, it's extra special. We're obviously pretty close friends." It's funny how things work out. Many had Bieksa on the trading block this season, but coach Alain Vigneault instead made him an alternate captain and the Grimsby, Ont., product flourished on a pairing with Dan Hamhuis. Now Bieksa figures to be one of the hottest commodities among defencemen on the free-agent market on July 1 -- provided the Canucks don't get him signed to an extension after the final. "I had a couple of good years early in my career and it took some time to get back (to that level)," Bieksa said. "I really had to start thinking the game more. At the beginning of my career, like most people, you rely on your physical ability -- your skill, your strength and all that stuff. If you have that and you're thinking the game, you can be that much better." Two veterans also helped Bieksa take the next step in his progression. "Willie Mitchell was a big help for me," said Bieksa, who will turn 30 June 16. "He was my partner for two years and we talked a lot. He's a student of the game and helped me with body position, where to have your stick, how to bait guys into going where you want to. And watching Mattias Ohlund, too. "You take in everything like a sponge early in your career and you try to get better. That's what I did." Vigneault talked Friday about the evolution of Bieksa's game. "His intentions are so good and he's so competitive, that sometimes he gets a little ahead of himself," Vigneault said. "Sometimes when you try to do a little bit too much and instead of it working out well, sometimes it turns out the other way. All year long, he hasn't chased the game. He has read the play well, offensively and defensively and with his competitive nature, you've seen what the end results are. "He has been one of the best defencemen throughout the playoffs and the regular season." Winnipeg Sun LOADED: 06.04.2011 571309 Vancouver Canucks "It's the Stanley Cup final, so as long as you get a to be a part of it, it's a pretty special experience," Bolduc said. "We're just happy to contribute, one minute, two minutes. As long as we're dressed, and we're playing, we're Lots of sitting for Canucks' checkout line happy no matter what they need from us. "I don't mind being a grocery stick on the best team in the league." By CHRIS STEVENSON, QMI Agency Winnipeg Sun LOADED: 06.04.2011 VANCOUVER - End of the bench or "grocery stick?" It's the decision seldom-used fourth-liners, or guys who have been benched, have to make. It's a decision the fourth-liners for the Vancouver Canucks had to make in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup final and, given the benefits of the schedule, likely will have to make again for Game 2. Grocery stick applies to the guy who settles in to that spot on the bench right between the defencemen and the forwards. The players come and go on either side of the guy and he doesn't have to move. He divides the two groups, like a grocery stick on the conveyor belt at the supermarket. It's a taunt some players use. "I've heard it here and there. We try not to get too familiar with it," Canucks forward Jeff Tambellini said with a laugh. He played just four shifts in Game 1. "It is funny," Tambellini said. "I heard that first from one of our tough guys a couple of years back. He didn't play a shift. Had him on the bench. He didn't touch the ice. He sat right in the middle the whole game. I like to move around, get up, get going. Some guys just plant themselves." Tambellini, Andre Bolduc (three shifts, one minute 39 seconds) and Victor Oreskovich (four shifts, 1:54) hardly played in Game 1. Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault, benefiting from eight days off from the end of the Western Conference final to the Cup final, knew his big horses would be fresh and opted to play them a lot. Forward Daniel Sedin played 23:01, up almost three minutes over his playoff average. Centre Ryan Kesler was at 24:23, up more than a minute from his playoff average of 23:15. That meant the fourth line sat. With two days off between Games 1 and 2, it's likely Vigneault will have the luxury of going with three lines again in Game 2, which is a big advantage when you have high-end talent at your disposal like he does. The Boston Bruins have been at their best when they have had the chance to play a lot of 5-on-5 and roll four lines, so the schedule would appear to be a bigger benefit for the Canucks. The best-of-seven final will settle into the every-second-day mode for Games 3 and 4 in Boston Monday and Wednesday. "Our fourth line hadn't played very much in the round against San Jose and in the first game," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said Friday. "In the first game, I think it's mostly (because) we had been off for eight days. I knew our guys were real fresh. I just played them. The fact that we had three other days in between that first game (and Game 2) enabled me to play them a lot. "I think as we move forward here, we're probably going to play a little bit more four lines, maybe not to the extreme we did during the regular season, but I would like to get that line out there a little bit more." Boston coach Claude Julien used all 18 of his skaters in Game 1. Daniel Paille was the least used with nine shifts and 5:15 of ice time. Next was rookie Tyler Seguin with 11 shifts and 6:21. The longer the series goes, being able to use fourth lines becomes a bigger advantage. When the prospect of overtime loomed in Game 1, Julien even started working some of his depth guys into the rotation so his bigger guns could be fresh. The Bruins would like to see the likes of the Sedins continue to be used a lot, all the better to have Bruins defencemen Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg wear them down. In the meantime, the Canucks dusters will bide their time and pick their spots. As for Bolduc, he is an end-of-the-bench guy. 571310 Vancouver Canucks Birthplace: Nesbitt, Man. Age: 27 Rome ready for increased role Height: 6-foot-1 Weight: 218 pounds By KEN WIEBE, QMI Agency Position: Defence Chosen by Los Angeles Kings in the fourth round (104th overall) of the 2002 entry draft VANCOUVER - All signs point to Aaron Rome taking on a larger role in the second game of the Stanley Cup final. Career NHL stats: 131GP, 2G, 10A, 12P, 110PIM Although coach Alain Vigneault said Dan Hamhuis (leg) was "day-to-day" 2010-11 stats: 56GP, 1G, 4A, 5P, 53 PIM and told the media not to put any stock in the line combinations or defence pairings the Vancouver Canucks used Friday during their skate at the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs: 12GP, 1G, 0A, 1P, 18 PIM University of British Columbia, it's looks like Rome will be paired with Kevin Winnipeg Sun LOADED: 06.04.2011 Bieksa for Game 2 of the Stanley Cup final against the Boston Bruins. That would mean more minutes for Rome and a large dose of the Bruins' top trio of David Krejci, Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton. "Obviously, you want to play the most minutes you can. It's exciting," said Rome, a 27-year-old who is in his second season with the Canucks. "Injuries are part of the game, it gives opportunities to other guys. It's tough to see a guy like Dan go down, he's such a good player, a good person and a big part of our team. But we've done a good job of filling those holes all year. "We have so many interchangeable parts on this team. Guys step in and it's like we don't miss a beat. Our guys have a lot of confidence in the six to eight D we have playing on a regular basis and even some of the callups that have been playing with us this year." Rome hails from the tiny farming community of Nesbitt, Man., and he's proud of his small-town roots. "My parents have a 1,000-acre grain farm, but my dad has rented it out for the last eight to 10 years," said Rome, who played minor hockey in Souris and still spends his summers in Brandon. "They still live on the farm." Over the years, Rome has played for a pretend Stanley Cup on the outdoor rinks but actually living his childhood dream has been everything he imagined -- and then some. "It's crazy. Sometimes you have to pinch yourself," Rome said. "You can't believe that you're here. There were tons of nerves, but I didn't have as many as I thought I would. It was like Christmas before the first game, because we had to wait -- you were counting down the sleeps to the first game. "It kind of took you back to your childhood. I was focused on the first shift, getting involved and then letting my instincts take care of the rest." It has been an up-and-down season for Rome, who started off as the odd- man out, worked his way into the rotation and held down a variety of roles -- even during these playoffs. "Getting a chance to play more as the season progressed has been awesome," he said. "At the start of the playoffs, I played one game against Chicago at forward, and then playing right off the bat in the second series against Nashville and working my way in, it has been a lot of fun. It helps you savour it more and enjoy it more because you worked a little bit harder to get to this position." To be blunt, Rome has earned the additional ice time. "He has been one of our most consistent Ds as far as reads, moving the pucks, (making) high percentage plays within his limits and he's a good physical presence out there," Vigneault said. "When the opportunity is there to play the man, he does and we're really happy with how he has played." Bieksa and Rome were paired together earlier this season when Hamhuis was out with a concussion. "There will be no problem if that's the case," Bieksa said. "They are different players, obviously. Aaron is pretty predictable with what he's going to do out there. Very steady, good defensively and he's good when he has to be. We'll talk a lot, communicate and we should be fine." --- Aaron Rome 571311 Vancouver Canucks Burrows bit off more than he could chew By MIKE ZEISBERGER, QMI Agency VANCOUVER - Alex Burrows has chatted to NHL disciplinarians on a regular basis over the years, so much so that he probably has their numbers on speed dial. We're not suggesting that Burrows should be lumped in with the likes of league bad boys Sean Avery and Matt Cooke. Indeed, in a lot of ways, the Vancouver Canucks first-line winger has cleaned up his act. But when he does display an emotional hiccup such as his biting incident involving the Boston Bruins' Patrice Bergeron in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup final, it usually means a subsequent conversation with the likes of NHL senior vice-president Mike Murphy. "I've had a few calls with the league over the years," Burrows said Friday, speaking for the first time since NHL officials decided not to deliver any supplemental discipline for his part in Bite-Gate. "They've always been great. I really respect those people. They have a tough job. They have tough decisions to make." Burrows and Murphy spoke Thursday. "At the end of the day, (Murphy) did a good job," Burrows said. "I respect his decision. He was great. That's all I can say about it." Burrows apparently left teeth marks in one of Bergeron's gloves during a first-period scrum Wednesday. While Burrows and the Canucks are putting the biting episode them, that doesn't mean there are not significant issues facing the forward heading into Game 2 on Saturday. At the top of Burrows' "to-do" list: Stay out of the penalty box, a place Burrows ended up on a regular basis in the Canucks' 1-0 victory in the opener. Burrows was slapped with four minors, including one for getting tangled with Bruins goalie Tim Thomas. Burrows appeared to be nudged into Thomas, who was out of his crease. "I haven't had any (clarification) so far," Burrows said. "I will probably get it later. "At the same time I've got to be aware of where I am around the net. I've got to make sure I can't bump the goalie. That's his ice if he's already there. "I have to be smarter and make sure I don't put my team down a man." Winnipeg Sun LOADED: 06.04.2011 571312 Vancouver Canucks Because here’s the big secret: Alex Burrows, the man who saved their season with both goals in Game 7 against Chicago, is one hell of a hockey player. His teammates, and his coaches, know it. Alex Burrows Canucks’ fearless foil to Sedins, for opponents “You talk about perseverance, hanging in there, finding a way to get Remarkable story of how a minor leaguer scrapped, skilled his way onto top yourself to be a player,” said Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault. “He’s a line of No. 1 NHL team very big part of our team. He's done that through hard work. He gets the game. He understands what you need to do out there.” What you need to do out there, often, isn’t pretty. Some of it isn’t very By Cam Cole subtle, either. But some of it is. And that’s the most amazing part of Alex Burrows’s game: that a guy with his background could think his way onto the line with Henrik and Daniel Sedin — who “communicate like dolphins,” as he put it — and figure out how to complement them better than anyone VANCOUVER — Love him (Vancouver does) or hate him (most everyone ever has. else outside of Pincourt, Que.), Alex Burrows has made himself into one of the National Hockey League’s most interesting stories. He plays the way they play, with half their skill. Not irresistible, mind you. Just interesting. When he talked about it the other day, you could see how much was instinct, and how much was observation and intelligence. The 30-year-old winger’s list of transgressions amounts to a sort of Claude Lemieux starter kit, and those who point out that his most heinous crimes — “I think it was more when I watched them play before getting matched with hair pulling and biting — leave him just one scratching incident short of a them,” Burrows said. “I watched them play three or four years with different catfight have solid, if legally inconclusive, evidence on their side. linemates, from Trevor [Linden] to Matt Cooke to Taylor Pyatt to Anson Carter — even previous to that when I wasn’t on the team, they played with Oh, and there’s the Stephane Auger accusation, too; Burrows’s 2010 Jason King and Trent Klatt. allegation that the referee told him before a game that he was going to get him, and in the end called the penalty on him that cost the Canucks a “I remember at the time I was playing with Kes, and we had some success game. You don’t hear that uttered every day, out loud. at shutting down lines as a third line, more of a grinding style of game, and when they split us up, Kes went with Mats [Sundin] and Demo [Pavol So he will never win the Lady Byng Trophy, or be guest of honour at the Demitra], and I went with the twins. annual Referees’ Benevolent and Protective Society gala. And maybe, because of all that — the sneaky little plays, the chirping, the play-acting — “Obviously, I knew playing with them you’re going to get points. But the he’s never going to be able to separate himself from the downside long biggest thing was I needed to keep working hard, get on the forecheck, get enough to be recognized for the player he has become. them the puck as much as I can, go to the net and bring a checker with me, and create a little bit of space for them. Undoubtedly, he is one of the reasons the Canucks are, shall we say, less than universally beloved among their hockey peers, as you might deduce “There’s only one puck on the ice, and it’s all about the law of averages. If from Chicago forward Dave Bolland’s post-Game 1 bashing of Burrows they get the puck 20 times a game when they have space, with time to (“Typical: pulling hair and biting people. Sort of like a little girl”) and settle the puck down where they can make those plays that nobody else in Edmonton defenceman Ryan Whitney’s take on the Canucks’ run (“This the league can make, saucer passes all over the ice, they’re going to create team is so easy to hate, it’s unbelievable. I’d say 90 per cent of he guys in chances.” the league want nothing to do with seeing them win. There’s no doubt their team is pretty amazing, but just who makes up that team makes them so Burrows, if he cared enough to get his critics to look past the mayhem that tough to like, it’s frustrating to see them do this well.”) follows him around, can be pretty spectacular himself. He just doesn’t. The thing is, the sports world has always had room for all kinds, even If the Canucks aren’t Canada’s team, he said, he can live with that. villains. “We want to win for my teammates, the organization and the fans,” he said. And if that is the role for which Alex Burrows is cast — or has cast himself “What happens outside doesn’t really impact my preparation or how I feel if — he’s quite okay with it. He plays the game, on the ice and with the media, I win the Cup or if I don’t. Obviously, I’d like to bring the Stanley Cup to with a twinkle in his eye. He’s having a ball playing at a level he must have Canada because I’m Canadian ... but at the same time I don’t really care a long thought was out of reach. whole lot about what people in Calgary or Edmonton or Quebec think.” He has dragged himself up, through hard work and relentless, cussed Vancouver Sun: LOADED: 06.04.2011 peskiness, from ball hockey and the depths of the East Coast Hockey League, to be the needed foil to the Sedin twins on the No. 1 line on the No. 1 team in the NHL. Chowing down on Patrice Bergeron’s glove at the end of the first period of the Stanley Cup final opener Wednesday, with the Boston Bruin centre’s index finger still in it, may not have been to everyone’s taste, but thanks to the Canucks’ penalty killers, it didn’t cost a thing. He doesn’t seem to have lost any sleep over the criticism he has faced the last couple of days. “They've been great actually,” Burrows said Friday. “It's the Stanley Cup finals. I've been working all my life to be in this position. Obviously with the last incident, the league's made a decision. I've moved on.” If he ever had uncertainty about whether he’d be suspended for The Bite, he wasn’t showing it. “Well, I've had a few calls with the league over the years,” he said, deadpan. “I really respect those people. They have tough decisions to make. At the end of the day [senior VP Mike Murphy] did a good job. He was great. That's all I can say about it.” What Burrows provides on the flip side of his occasional scrape with the law is valuable, and widely overlooked, and the Canucks will take it the same way they’ll accept Raffi Torres playing “a little outside the box” in return for the energy and fear factor his big hits create. 571313 Vancouver Canucks “He has been such a huge part of our team all year, one of the main reasons why we're here and why we got in the playoffs and why we won the Presidents' Trophy,” Canuck defenceman Kevin Bieksa said. “For him not to Manny Malhotra should be back with Canucks in Game 2 be able to participate … it hurts you a lot. But it looks like he might have the opportunity to play.” Injured faceoff ace back practising Friday with the team Winger Raffi Torres, who has known Malhotra since their minor hockey days in Greater Toronto, said: “It's amazing to see his recovery and the positive influence he's had on us all through the playoffs. And now to By Iain MacIntyre maybe play in these finals is incredible.” Malhotra's presence around Canuck players has been so regular and the trajectory of his recovery so encouraging,, that his appearance in the lineup VANCOUVER — It is a game of emotions. Hockey is not much good has became inevitable. But no one thought this possible after his surgery in without them. New York when Malhotra called a team meeting and told players he was When the Vancouver Canucks leap on to the ice late Saturday afternoon for done for the year and they'd have to win the Stanley Cup without him. the second game of the Stanley Cup final, and U2's music blares and “It was one of those moments when it's really somber in the dressing room, towels wave and pulses race amid the thunder of this moment, chances are and the fact it was a guy like Manny made it extra tough,” Bieksa recalled. no one will have as many emotions coursing through him as Manny “After that talk, I don't think anyone expected him to be back here skating Malhotra. with us, let alone playing. So obviously, we're really happy for him.” On March 16, a puck ricocheted into his left eye socket and Malhotra feared “It was very emotional,” defenceman Keith Ballard said. “I can't imagine the he might never see clearly again. Two weeks later, he underwent major mental struggle it has been for him every day. To have him on the ice, it's surgery in New York and few days after that had the courage to tell National so exciting. You could see it the first day he came out with us in a track suit. Hockey League teammates, some in tears, that he wouldn't play hockey Imagine what it means … if he gets the chance to play. I can only imagine again this season. And that there were no guarantees for the next one. how much that would mean to him.” Malhotra has been with his teammates all along. But come Saturday, he Hopefully, Malhotra will tell us Saturday. should be one of them again. Vancouver Sun: LOADED: 06.04.2011 The 31-year-old centre, who helped recast the Canucks' identity with his leadership and professional ideals, was expected after Friday's practice to return from his devastating injury Saturday against the Boston Bruins. Malhotra is day-to-day. How sick are you of hearing that? But it's one of the truest things said by Canucks coach Alain Vigneault, whose statement last Saturday that Malhotra was cleared to play was later contradicted by general manager Mike Gillis. Saturday could be different than Friday for Malhotra. But if he doesn't play Game 2, he should still play soon. It is merely timing and conditioning that are his issues now, not his eyesight — even after the mystery “procedure” he had Tuesday blew up into something worse in rumours and speculation that filled the information vacuum needlessly created by the Canucks. Malhotra is back. And that is amazing. “I realize the severity of the injury,” Malhotra, his eye looking puffier than it did a week ago, told reporters at UBC when asked about the chance to participate in the Stanley Cup final. “I realize the intensity of the moment and realize the intensity of play has picked up since I last played. [But] this is not me wanting to have a sentimental shift out there and be a part of it all. It's the fact I feel that I could contribute something to the team.” What Malhotra can contribute is faceoff dominance and penalty killing and more fourth-line minutes than anyone else has lately for the Canucks, who used three lines in Wednesday's 1-0 Stanley-Cup-opening win. But he'll also offer experience and guile, hopefully poise and maybe even further inspiration to a team that is only three wins away from Vancouver's first Stanley Cup since 1915. Malhotra practised Friday mainly with Victor Oreskovich and Jeff Tambellini. Cody Hodgson, the Canucks' most regular fourth-line centre in the playoffs, didn't even get to sit at the grownups' table. He skated with the Manitoba Moose extras. “I'll see how I feel after the morning skate and we'll make a decision,” Malhotra said. “I didn't want this to be a sideshow. We always talk about in our dressing room that the whole is much greater than the individuals. We have a very strong focus in the room. It's where it needs to be and I don't want anything to sidetrack that.” He needn't have worried. The story became a sideshow at times, anyway, partly because nature abhors a vacuum. But it never came close to derailing the Canucks. They are too strong for that. 571314 Vancouver Canucks Lucic, who led Boston with 30 goals in the regular season, acknowledged he and his linemates are under pressure to produce. "Yeah, obviously I had a breakout year scoring as much as I did with 30 Bruins in catch-up mode vs. Canucks, but used to it goals and leading the team in points," Lucic said. "You know, coming into Being down in a series nothing new for Boston in these Stanley Cup the playoffs, obviously you want production. You want to step up and get playoffs big goals and make big plays. "But also in my game, in my role, I bring a lot of other elements to our line and to the team. I think that's what makes our line so productive, is that By Brad Ziemer we're just not all about scoring; we can go out there and maybe create momentum off hits and having a strong forecheck, doing other things like that." VANCOUVER — The Vancouver Canucks have not trailed in a series in The Bruins seem concerned with the Canucks' speed and need to try and these playoffs, but playing from behind is nothing new for the Boston find a way to slow the game down. Bruins. "The neutral zone, we weren't getting pucks deep," Bergeron said. "That's The Bruins opened the playoffs by dropping the first two games of their first- what was giving them, I guess, the speed that they want, the counter-attack round series with the Montreal Canadiens at home before rallying to win in that they wanted. We're going to need a better job, especially in the neutral seven games. Following a second-round sweep of the Philadelphia Flyers, zone, at putting pucks deep and having a better forecheck." the Bruins opened the Eastern Conference final by losing Game 1 at home to Tampa Bay before finishing off the Lightning in seven games. The Canucks also see some room for improvement in their game. They were especially disappointed with their power play, which has been so good So if the Canucks think the Bruins are in panic mode following Wednesday in the playoffs. It went 0-for-6 in Game 1. night's 1-0 loss in the opener of the Stanley Cup final, they are sadly mistaken. "I think overall we can be better," Bieksa said. "We won the game 1-0, we're happy with the win, but I think there is definitely areas we can be better at. The Bruins have been there, done that. The power play can be a little cleaner. "You know, like everybody else knows, in the playoffs a win is a win, a loss "But it's tough to get shots through in the playoffs, everybody is blocking is a loss," Bruins defenceman Zdeno Chara said Friday after both teams shots. You've got the goalie and four guys in front of him. You need practised at UBC. "You have to regroup after each game. Can't be getting movement, you need to create open lanes and we didn't do enough of that too high or too low. You lose a game, you have to move on, get ready for in the first game." the next one. You know, it's just one of those things. You have to kind of park it and move on." Vancouver Sun: LOADED: 06.04.2011 The best-of-seven series resumes at 5 p.m. Saturday at Rogers Arena (CBC, Team 1040). Still, the law of averages certainly suggest the Bruins need to win Game 2. Teams that have fallen down 2-0 in best-of-seven Stanley Cup finals have a record of 4-42. "Obviously, we want to get back in this series," said Boston centre Patrice Bergeron. "It's very important. We approach the next game always as the most important one. Now it's about Game 2. It's the biggest game right now of the series. It's always like that." The Bruins outshot Vancouver 36-34 in Game 1, but conceded that stat is a little misleading. The Bruins acknowledge the quality of their shots simply wasn't good enough. Too many came from the outside and the Bruins hope for more offensive zone time and more traffic in front of Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo in Game 2. "We managed 36 shots on net," said Boston coach Claude Julien. "That's just a number. The scoring chances are what you have to look at. I think we can be better in regards to that." The Bruins are in search of goals. They have managed only one in their last two games. Boston desperately needs production from its top line of Nathan Horton, David Krejci and former Vancouver Giant Milan Lucic. That trio likes to dump pucks in and bang the opposition defence, but in Wednesday night's series opener the Canucks did a good job of getting the puck out of their zone quickly. "We are just trying to move the puck out of our zone as quick as possible," said Vancouver defenceman Kevin Bieksa. "We know they want to get the puck down low and crash and bang. For us, if we can get back there first and make that first pass, it eliminates that whole area of their game." Bieksa may have to do that Saturday without regular shutdown defensive partner Dan Hamhuis, who was hurt Wednesday night and did not practise on Friday. Bieksa skated with Aaron Rome in Friday's practice. "They are different players," Bieska said of Hamhuis and Rome. "There are some similarities. I think Aaron is pretty predictable with what he is going to do out there. He's very steady, good defensively, he's physical when he has to be. We'll talk a lot out there, we'll communicate. We'll be fine." 571315 Vancouver Canucks Manny whammy: Malhotra back practising with Canucks today By Brad Ziemer VANCOUVER — The Manny Malhotra saga took another twist as the Vancouver Canuck centre practised with the team today at UBC. Malhotra hadn't skated since Monday but returned today and took most of the reps at fourth-line centre, indicating there is a chance he could actually play Saturday in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Boston Bruins (5 p.m., CBC, Team 1040). Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault continues to describe Malhotra's status as "day to day." Malhotra suffered what was announced as a season-ending injury March 16 when he took a deflected puck in the left eye. He practised full out with the team last Friday, Saturday and again Monday, and both he and the Canucks said Saturday he was medically cleared to play, raising hopes that he might be in the lineup for Game 1. But when he didn't skate on Tuesday those hopes were dashed. Meanwhile, it looks like Andrew Alberts, not Keith Ballard, will play on Saturday if defenceman Dan Hamhuis can't play. Hamhuis, who was injured when he hip-checked Boston winger Milan Lucic early in the second period of Game 1, did not practise today and the team has made no comment on his injury. Alberts practised today alongside Christian Ehrhoff. The other two defensive pairings were Aaron Rome with Kevin Bieksa and Sami Salo with Alex Edler. Ballard and rookie Chris Tanev skated as the extra pair. Vancouver Sun: LOADED: 06.04.2011 571316 Vancouver Canucks playing at his best when he got pucks behind their D’s, played a real physical game. Made it real hard on the other team’s D. That’s what we expect him to do here.” Canucks’ Victor Oreskovich is once again enjoying hockey Oreskovich and the fourth line aren’t getting many minutes. He played only four shifts and saw just 1:56 of ice time in Game 1. By Brad Ziemer But he’s not complaining. He’s back playing the game he loves again and competing for the Stanley Cup. Sometimes he has to pinch himself. “We need three wins here,” he says. “I can’t imagine what it’s going to feel VANCOUVER — When Victor Oreskovich decided to embrace hockey like if we pull this off. I am very excited, the energy in the city is crazy. It’s a again a couple of years ago, the sport didn’t exactly hug him back. lot of fun to be a part of this.” Far from it. Vancouver Sun: LOADED: 06.04.2011 Many teams didn’t want anything to do with a young man who had been drafted in the second round and then walked away from the game. “There was that perception of me that was like, ‘What’s wrong with this kid, he’s a quitter,’ ” the Vancouver Canucks winger said Friday. “But I guess in a sense I was and I don’t blame teams for not wanting me or not being interested in having me at camp.” But Oreskovich wouldn’t change a thing in his strange, circuitous route to the Stanley Cup final. “Stepping away from the game allowed me to gain an appreciation for it,” he says. “For a while there I really wasn’t enjoying playing. It’s a game, it’s the best game on Earth and I wasn’t taking it for that. Stepping away allowed me to get my priorities straight and gain that appreciation back.” He’s never appreciated it more than right now. “It just makes it feel so surreal, that feeling of being here in the Stanley Cup final, coming from a place where I wasn’t even playing hockey,” he says. “I don’t think anyone, including myself, ever would have expected this. So it’s an honour to be here and every day I have to be very thankful.” Oreskovich looked like he was destined to be a NHLer when the Colorado Avalanche selected him late in the second round of the 2004 draft. The native of Whitby, Ont., accepted a scholarship to Notre Dame University in Indiana and played two years of college hockey before leaving school to play major junior in the Ontario Hockey League. But after a season and a half with the Kitchener Rangers, Oreskovich was tired of the game and felt he had to get away. In the fall of 2007 he returned to Notre Dame, this time without a scholarship, to continue working on a finance degree he had started when he was playing hockey for the Fighting Irish. This time, he didn’t go near the rink. “I didn’t skate, didn’t touch my gear, nothing, for about 18 months,” he says. “And I decided to come back.” That was early in 2009. “I can still remember the first time I stepped on the ice,” he says. “My dad was there and he was the guy who pushed me my whole life and was instrumental in my hockey career. It was kind of fitting that he was out there, but I just remember it actually came back a lot quicker than I thought it would.” Getting his game back was one thing, getting a team to take him back quite another. He and agent Pat Morris figured the Florida Panthers might be a fit as they were being coached by Peter DeBoer, who had coached Oreskovich in Kitchener. He got a tryout and after a short time in the minors was called up by the Panthers. Oreskovich played 50 games for them in the 2009-10 season. “Pete gave me a great opportunity, I had a good camp and things worked out tremendously well,” he said. “Really, I can’t thank Pete enough.” Oreskovich, 24, became a Canuck in the draft-day deal last summer when the Canucks acquired he and defenceman Keith Ballard from the Panthers in exchange for Steve Bernier, Michael Grabner and a first-round pick. He spent more time with the American Hockey League’s Manitoba Moose this season than the Canucks. He played only 16 regular-season games with the Canucks, but has already appeared in 13 of Vancouver’s 19 playoff games. Coach Alain Vigneault likes the speed and size the 6-3, 220-pound Oreskovich brings to the team’s fourth line. “What he brings is the speed element,” Vigneault said. “He’s a natural right- winger. He’s got size. I think in the Chicago series, you saw Victor probably 571317 Vancouver Canucks Alberts in on Canucks’ blue line for Hamhuis? It's a good bet, says Ehrhoff By Elliott Pap VANCOUVER — It was a highly unusual move for the playoffs, especially this year with the Vancouver Canucks guarding their injuries and lineup intentions as if they were vital to world peace. Then it happened. Christian Ehrhoff, who plays defence for the Canucks, actually admitted post-practice Friday that the team would have “another guy coming in” for Saturday’s Game 2 of the Stanley Cup final (5 p.m., CBC, Team 1040) because fellow defenceman Dan Hamhuis would be out. He went even further to say that, yeah, he thought that guy coming in would be Andrew Alberts. It was a tell-tale comment and one that hopefully doesn't get his knuckles wrapped by the boss. Only minutes earlier, head coach Alain Vigneault, who is the boss, told an assembly of sports journalists that Hamhuis was day-to-day and that he (Vigneault) had no intention of disclosing who might play in Hamhuis's absence — if Hamhuis was indeed absent. “Even if I had decided, I wouldn't tell you,” said Coach Vee. “Don't put anything into the lines or the defensive pairs you saw today.” Well, why not? The Canucks usually play the way they practise and Alberts was paired Friday with Ehrhoff, Aaron Rome was in Hamhuis's spot alongside Kevin Bieksa and Alex Edler remained with Sami Salo. A fourth pairing of Keith Ballard and Chris Tanev looked suspiciously like extras. “It looked the same to me as it looked to you guys,” Ehrhoff smiled when asked if he expected Alberts to be by his side in Game 2 against the Boston Bruins. “So, yeah, that's what I think at this point. We skated together in the practice and I think that's how we're going to start out. “I'm not concerned about him being rusty,” added the German. “When you have a chance to play in the Stanley Cup final, you're going to be ready to play, no matter how long it's been since you stepped on the ice. Obviously I'll try to help him early in the game and try to get him in the game as quickly as possible.” Alberts last played in Game 3 of the Nashville series on May 3. He's dressed only three times during the Canucks' playoff run and averaged 11:21 of ice. He's also been down this road before — in Game 4 against San Jose — when it was expected he'd suit up after both Ehrhoff and Rome went down thanks to big hits from Shark forward Jamie (I Finish My Checks) McGinn. Instead, Vigneault went with Ballard and Tanev. “It was disappointing, but we got the 'W' so I was happy about that,” Alberts said Friday. “I'm not sure of Dan's status. I haven't been told I'm playing for sure. I practised with Hoffer so we'll see what happens. I hope I'm playing and I think am. It's nice to finally get a shot here, hopefully.” Alberts admitted it hasn't been easy playing spectator when everyone else was playing games. He turns 30 on June 30, so this isn't about apprenticing anymore. “It's never easy to sit out, but as long as the team is winning, I'm happy for them,” Alberts explained. “You try to do what you can in practice to help guys out on and off the ice. You want to bring a positive influence. If you're being negative, you're just going to bring the guys down and we don't want that in our locker room.” One reason Alberts has played so little has been the emergence of Rome. The latter was long thought to be No. 8 on the depth chart — assuming full health — but he's impressed Vigneault and remained in his lineup, bumping both Ballard and Alberts to the press box. “Aaron has been one of our most consistent d-men as far as his defensive reads and moving the puck,” said Vigneault. “He's stayed high-percentage and played within his limits. He's a good physical presence out there. When the opportunity is there to play the man, he does. We're really happy with how he's played.” Vancouver Sun: LOADED: 06.04.2011 571318 Vancouver Canucks Vancouver native Lucic's sorry, but he's busy with Bruins Notebook: 'I'll be back here in the summer, so they can see me as much as they want, says rugged winger By Ian Walker VANCOUVER — Milan Lucic has a message for all of his friends and family: If he hasn't returned your text or phone call from the past couple of days, it's nothing personal. As you could well imagine, the east Vancouver native has had to limit the number of distractions as the Boston Bruins prepare for Game 2 of the Stanley Cup final against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena on Saturday (5 p.m., CBC, Team 1040). “You know, obviously I'm from here, so people are definitely going to want to see you and want your time,” said Lucic. “But this is the most important time of year. After this series, I'll be back here in the summer, so they can see me as much as they want.” It's a delicate thing, balancing the demands of loved ones and being responsible to the team. “I think it's a give-and-take.” said Bruins head coach Claude Julien. “You have to understand that he's in his hometown. Certainly you want to please those people to a certain extent, but at the same time you don't want it to be a detriment to his preparation and rest and everything else. He does a little bit of both: Get the rest that he needs and does as much as he can to please the people from around here.” It's not the first time Lucic's faced such a challenge. The 22-year-old won a Memorial Cup with the WHL’s Vancouver Giants, who played host to Canadian junior hockey's biggest tournament in 2007. BOY OH BOY: Bruins defenceman Johnny Boychuk has come under fire from the Boston media after being on the ice for the team's past seven goals against. Worse yet, it was his aggressive play on Ryan Kesler that led to Raffi Torres's heroics in Game 1. Boychuk attempted to play the body on the Canucks centre at the Bruins blue line, but lost the one-on-one battle, leaving Torres to skate into the zone alone for the tap-in goal with 18.5 seconds left in regulation. “Let's put it this way, at this time of the year, I'm not going to come in here and criticize my players,” said Julien, when asked about the play of his defender dating back to the Bruins series with the Tampa Bay Lightning. “So I'm not going to answer that question as far as we're going to deal with it internally. I think what we have to do here is regroup as a team and play better. Right now I'm not going to stand here and start answering questions about people criticizing individuals. I'm going to stay with the team concept. “I think if you ask him, he knows he probably could have played that last goal a lot better. We all know that, but we all need to move on right now.” IN THE ZONE: Zdeno Chara is an impressive 100 per cent in the faceoff circle in the playoffs. Yes, you read that right. The towering Bruins defenceman is 2-for-2 on draws this post-season, most recently beat Ryan Kesler during a four-minute power play early in Game 1. Chara also beat Montreal's Mike Cammalleri in Game 6 of the Bruins' opening-round series against the Canadiens. The Bruins captain did not take a faceoff in the regular season, but was 1-1 in 2009-10, making him perfect in the circle over the past two years. Chara has won 12-of-19 draws over his career, with most of them coming while a member of the Ottawa Senators. The two faceoffs he’s taken this spring are the only two he’s had in the playoffs during his career, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. “I used to take those in Ottawa,” said Chara, who is being used in front of the net on the Bruins power plays. “It's just one of those things that sometimes I was used for those faceoffs. I don't know, it's been awhile obviously. But, you know, when there's need, I don't mind it.” Vancouver Sun: LOADED: 06.04.2011 571319 Vancouver Canucks after sitting out the first two series of this playoffs. He was able to step in and play the way that he did. He was professional about it. He wasn't pouting that he wasn't in the lineup. He wasn't being a bad guy because he Bruins rookie Tyler Seguin’s real welcome to the NHL a welcomed playoff wasn't in the lineup. He understood what was going on.” moment Four more wins and there'll be no debating Seguin's “Welcome to the NHL Moment.” By Ian Walker Vancouver Sun: LOADED: 06.04.2011 VANCOUVER — It's called a “Welcome to the NHL Moment” and most players have at least one of them during their rookie season. Basically, it's a specific point in time they'll never forget and will look back on with great affinity once their career is over. For some it's lining up against a childhood hero, while for others it's getting crushed with an open-ice hit coming through the neutral zone with their head down. Then again, it could be skating out for warm-up only to realize you're the only one on the ice after the rest of your teammates remained in the tunnel for a practical joke. Or just simply, one's first goal or fight. Either way, Tyler Seguin swears he didn't have one this season. Well, at least until a couple a weeks ago, anyway. It came early in the first period of the Bruins' 5-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference final. “I heard before that players have that one thing, but mine would have to be a Welcome to the Playoffs Moment,” said Seguin, following the Bruins practice at UBC's Thunderbird Arena on Friday. “On my second shift, Tampa scored two goals against my line.” A sly smile splashed across the 19-year-old Brampton, Ont., native's face as he recalled the memory, before adding it wasn't all bad as he scored a goal on his next shift in what was his NHL post-season debut. He then followed it up with two goals and two assists in Boston's 6-5 victory two nights later in his second playoff game. One year ago, Seguin was in Toronto among the dozens of top junior prospects at the NHL's combine. He and Taylor Hall were the two big names, with one of them making history only a few weeks later. We all now know it was Hall who went No. 1 in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. Still, it was Seguin who was the big winner. The 6-foot, 185-pounder is playing on hockey's biggest stage while Hall's Edmonton Oilers will be lucky to make the playoffs next season. “I think back then, Hall and I were saying the same thing, obviously going number one would have been a privilege and still is, it's saying you're the best of your age in the world, but in the end we both kept saying that our dream or goal has never been to go first overall, it's to win the Stanley Cup,” said Seguin, who has three goals and six points in eight playoff games. “I wouldn't trade it.” Not that it was easy. Seguin may not have even made the Bruins and could very well have been back with the Ontario Hockey League’s Plymouth Whalers this season if not for Marc Savard's concussion. Seguin played 74 regular-season games, scoring 11 goals and recording 22 points in limited minutes. His ice time declined further as Boston entered the stretch drive and he was relegated to a black ace through the first two rounds of the playoffs. “Tyler was in maybe a different position I think than Taylor Hall, where he came to a team that obviously had a lot of veterans established,” said Bruins head coach Claude Julien. “I guess his presence in our lineup wasn't maybe as easy as it would have been in other circumstances. But what I liked and admired about Tyler is that he wanted to be part of a winning team. He was certainly willing to pay the price and learn throughout the season. His attitude has been great. He's definitely bought into what we're trying to do with him, to make him a real great hockey player in the future.” Seguin was front and centre as Julien drew up drills on the whiteboard during Friday's practice and could be seen getting advice from veteran Mark Recchi, who at 43 is only two years younger than his teammate's dad. Recchi has been a shoulder to lean on since training camp and a voice of reason when times got tough. “He had a lot of expectations coming in, a lot of people around him and I think he's dealt with it real well,” said Bruins winger Milan Lucic. “Our leadership group and our veteran players have helped him mature throughout the season. I think a sign of that was you see how he responded 571320 Vancouver Canucks Hodgson has been with the main group throughout the playoffs, although that could change if fellow centre Manny Malhotra is deemed healthy enough to take all the practice reps. ruins’ Seidenberg not slighted that Canucks getting all the Nowitzki love “It was just numbers,” Vigneault said. “Cody will be back with the group Notebook: NBA superstar came out for fellow German Ehrhoff’s here. It would have been too many numbers. Our players get a better skate team during Game 1 and those guys [the Moose call-ups] get a better skate when the numbers make more sense.” The Canucks have a game day skate scheduled for Saturday morning at By Elliott Pap, 9:30. Vancouver Sun: LOADED: 06.04.2011 VANCOUVER — It appears that Dallas Mavericks basketball star Dirk Nowitzki is rooting only for the Vancouver Canucks, despite the fact the big German has countrymen on both the Canucks and Boston Bruins. During a Game 1 television timeout Wednesday, Nowitzki had this to say on the Rogers Arena in-house video screen: “I'm Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks and I just want to wish the Vancouver Canucks, and especially my boy Hoff, [Christian] Ehrhoff from Germany, all the best in the Stanley Cup.” There was no mention made of Dennis Seidenberg, the Bruins' German defenceman, which perhaps played to the Vancouver home crowd. But according to Ehrhoff, there won't be a similar message waiting for Seidenberg when the series shifts to Boston for Game 3 on Monday. “Dirk is rooting for us,” declared Ehrhoff following practice Friday at UBC. “I don't know what Seidenberg thinks. Dirk is rooting for us and that's all that matters.” Naturally, Seidenberg was asked whether his feelings were hurt. Nowitzki apparently wasn't even aware that another German was playing in the series. “I don't know what I'm supposed to say to that,” responded an amused Seidenberg. “I follow him a lot. Obviously, he's a superstar. I still think he's a great player. It doesn't change anything.” LOUIE, LOUIE: Like the rest of his teammates, Canucks netminder Roberto Luongo is rolling merrily along. He's 10-3 since Game 7 of the Chicago series and 6-1 since Game 6 vs. Nashville. His playoff goals against average is a sublime 2.17 and his save percentage is .927. Luongo has had hot stretches before but never this deep in the playoffs. Asked by a reporter if he felt it was the best he has performed in his five seasons with the Canucks, he was stumped. “I don't know,” replied Bobby Lou. “That's a tough question to answer. I think, given the fact right now that we're in the Stanley Cup final, I mean, I think as a team this is the best we've played. I like to include myself in that as well. I think you measure success in this league obviously by winning. Right now, we're three wins away from our ultimate goal. That's all I really can say about that.” Alas, that was not the reply the reporter was seeking so he followed up by again asking Luongo for an assessment of his own play. “Yeah, I mean, I can't answer that,” Luongo repeated. “I've had some good streaks. I've played well. What can I tell you? I'm in the final. I guess I'm playing pretty well.” It's safe to say he guessed right. HAIR CARE: Canucks forward Chris Higgins has almost reached the two- month mark since a razor last touched his face. He began growing his playoff beard even before the playoffs began. “My last shave? It was right after the last regular season game,” Higgins said Friday. The last regular-season game was April 9. He admits he's moved well beyond the itchy stage. “We've passed that,” he winked. “Now it's just all in my food and spit and everywhere. It's disgusting.” Saved us the problem of bringing it up ... NO CODY: Rookie centre Cody Hodgson did not skate with the big club at practice Friday but coach Alain Vigneault claimed there was nothing sinister about dispatching the 21-year-old to work out with the Manitoba Moose extras. 571321 Vancouver Canucks Ryan Kesler is totally into you, Canada Pass it to Bulis: Posted by Harrison Mooney ? No Gravatar Ryan Kesler, pretending Henrik Sedin is Canada. If there was ever any uncertainty about Ryan Kesler’s commitment to winning, it left us forever when he suited up for his country at the 2010 Winter Olympics and immediately turned heel. Kesler was so determined to bring home the gold that thumbed his nose at his NHL affiliations, chirping and taunting friend and Canuck teammate Roberto Luongo and professing his abhorrence for Canada, the country in which he plays. “I hate them,” Kesler said, in the soundbyte of the tournament. He then proceeded to check “no” on this note Canada passed him in class. Okay, maybe he was referring to the national hockey team, and not, as some presumed, the nation, but ’round these parts, one is the other. Canadians took it personally, especially Canuck fans, many of whom lost their heads and began crying for Kesler be traded out of town. It’s probably a good thing those cries were ignored. While some, even within Vancouver, will never forget or forgive Kesler’s abrasiveness last February, his play this postseason has likely inspired many Canadians to changed their opinions on Kesler. And so too has Kesler changed his position on Canada. From Ian Busby: Before Wednesday’s Game 1, the usually laconic Vancouver Canucks centre tried to say he’s a true Canuck during an interview with CBC’s Scott Oake. “We love our hockey up here,” the American said. “I say ‘we’ cause I almost feel Canadian.” It seems the Livonia, Mich., product is starting to adopt his NHL home of the past eight years. Makes sense. Kesler and this country were made for each other. Ryan Kesler’s heart is probably the only place on the planet where hockey is taken as seriously as it is in Canada. Vancouver Sun: LOADED: 06.04.2011 571322 Vancouver Canucks "Roberto played sort of the same way (as Thomas) last year," Vigneault said of the positioning. "We got in trouble because of that. We fixed that this year." 'Travelin' Tim Thomas troubles Canucks As for Thomas's tendency to charge out of his net, the Canucks believe they can target it for goals. His challenge on Jannik Hansen left Torres with an empty net driving backdoor for the winning goal Wednesday. Associated Press "We can't take runs at him even though he's outside," Hansen said. "It's a matter of being careful. If he's out there, there should be room around him and behind him, so it's something we can take advantage of as well." VANCOUVER — The Vancouver Canucks weren't surprised by Boston goalie Tim Thomas's outstanding play in the Stanley Cup final opener. Vancouver Sun: LOADED: 06.04.2011 They simply took issue with where Thomas played. Coach Alain Vigneault joined several Canucks in questioning Thomas's aggressive positioning well outside his crease, complaining specifically about a tripping penalty to Alex Burrows for bumping Thomas outside the blue paint. But as Thomas and Bruins coach Claude Julien both pointed out ahead of Game 2 Saturday (5 p.m., CBC, Team 1040), the goalie's right to stop the puck unimpeded is not limited to the crease. "I have the right to go anywhere there's open ice," said Thomas, who made 33 saves — many spectacular — before Raffi Torres scored Game 1's only goal with 18.5 seconds to play Wednesday night. "If I'm set, I have a right to that ice," Thomas said. "If I'm out of the paint and I'm set, I also have the right of way to get back to the crease. That's the way I understand it." There's no doubting Thomas, who joined Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo as a finalist for the Vezina Trophy as the league's top goalie, is more aggressive than most. He relies on his ability to read and react to plays from his skates, rather than playing the more passive, on-the-knees butterfly style common today. Thomas, whose style was labeled "battlefly" by teammate Patrice Bergeron, also will challenge shooters two or three feet outside his crease, and he's willing to battle for that position because he knows his 5-11 frame doesn't take up enough space if he sits back in his net like the 6-3 Luongo. "I just play my game," said Thomas, who has drawn just three goaltender interference penalties in 19 playoff games although, like the Burrows call, not all contact might have been recorded that way. "It's not always in the blue." The Canucks don't seem to have a problem with that, as long as they aren't penalized for being there, too. That appeared to be the case on Burrows' penalty, but Daniel Sedin wasn't punished for knocking Thomas flat after a push by Boston defenceman Andrew Ference. Ryan Kesler, who sets screens on Vancouver's power play, continuously looked at his skates to make sure he wasn't in the crease. "I mean, 90 per cent of his saves are outside the blue paint," Vigneault said. "A lot of times he does initiate contact. That's the way he plays. We're going to look to get a little bit of clarification." Vigneault may not like what he finds. As Thomas suggested, Rule 69.4 states that "a goalkeeper is not 'fair game' just because he is outside the goal crease," and the onus is on the attacking player not to make "unnecessary contact." "The rule is pretty clear. You're entitled to your ice," Boston coach Claude Julien said. "If he steps out and he's got that ice, he's entitled to it. We all know goaltenders are to be protected. If you're going to say he's out of his crease, he's fair game, that should be the same thing behind the net." Julien pointed out the rules are the same for Luongo, which is ironic because his struggles with congestion outside the crease during last year's playoffs led in part to the Canucks changing how he plays. Under new goalie coach Roland Melanson, Luongo is deeper in his net now, which not only shortens the distances he has to move his size-13 skates, but also keeps him out of traffic. So rather than worrying about fighting past 6-9 Boston defenceman Zdeno Chara atop the crease on the Bruins' power play, Luongo only has to worry about seeing around him. After struggling to recover on rebounds because he got tangled up with crease-crashing opponents last season, Luongo now finds less resistance as he slides around on his knees to square up to second chances. 571323 Vancouver Canucks Scallen brought NHL to Vancouver, then his world came crashing down By Greg Douglas, CENE & HEARD: It was recognition long overdue. "The American who delivered the Canucks to Canadians" was a headline on the front page of Wednesday's Globe and Mail. Writer Josh Wingrove interviewed Tom Scallen, the original owner of the Vancouver Canucks, from his home in Minneapolis. Now 85, Scallen discussed how he purchased the NHL franchise for Vancouver in 1969, when local businessmen balked at the $6- million expansion fee. Scallen's medical supply company -Medicor -owned 60 per cent of the Canucks and, in late 1970, the team issued a stock offering that raised $3 million. As president of both Medicor and the Canucks, Scallen transferred the money to Medicor on a shortterm arrangement. In April of 1973, Scallen's world came crashing down when he was convicted of securities fraud and issuing a false prospectus. Scallen was originally sentenced to four years. He appealed and the term was reduced to two years. What did not appear in the Globe and Mail story Wednesday were a series of disturbing incidents in Scallen's life in the 1970s that have never been published. While he was being delivered from the Vancouver Courthouse to the medium-security Oakalla Prison by paddy wagon in June 1974, he persuaded his uniformed escorts to allow him one telephone call. He said he needed to talk to his wife in Minneapolis. They bent the rules and, under supervision, allowed Scallen a brief visit to a pay telephone booth, where he immediately made an unsuccessful attempt at suicide. For some unexplained reason, Scallen was moved from Oakalla Prison to the maximum security B.C. Penitentiary. After two months of sharing his life with hardened criminals and witnessing a prisoner clubbed to death during recreation hour, Scallen eventually became cellmate No. 7954 at the Agassiz Correctional Work Camp, a minimum security institution. The once-respected Minneapolis lawyer worked in the cook shack peeling potatoes and making stew. His pay was 60 cents per day. The day he was to be released from Agassiz, there was a move made from within the prison for guards to catch Scallen in possession of alcohol. He was tipped off and the sting never happened. Through the unwavering efforts of Sen. Ray Perrault and newspaper publisher Erwin Swangard, both deceased, Scallen was granted a parole in 1975 and pardoned in 1982. To this day, Scallen maintains that he was set up by some of those same Vancouver businessmen who were scared off by the $6-million NHL franchise fee, several of whom Scallen appointed to the Canucks board of directors in 1970. On a lighter note, Scallen always wanted to pass along this message to retired Canucks play-by-play man Jim Robson: "When Jim used to say a special hello to all the shut-ins and those who couldn't get out to games, the inmates would rattle their tin cups against the prison bars. I know. I was one of them." Vancouver Sun: LOADED: 06.04.2011 571324 Vancouver Canucks Presidents' Trophy," Canucks defenceman Kevin Bieksa said. "For him not to be able to participate ... it hurts you a lot. But it looks like he might have the opportunity to play." Miraculous Manny appears destined to play Winger Raffi Torres, who has known Malhotra since their minor hockey Team leader may be in the lineup tonight, but his return seems to be a days in the Toronto area, said: "It's amazing to see his recovery and the question of when, not if positive influence he's had on us all through the playoffs. And now to maybe play in these finals is incredible." Malhotra's presence around Canuck players has been so regular and the By Iain MacIntyre, trajectory of his recovery so encouraging, that his appearance in the lineup has become inevitable. But no one thought this possible after his surgery in New York when Malhotra called a team meeting and told players he was done for the year and they'd have to win the Stanley Cup without him. It is a game of emotions. Hockey is not much good without them. "It was one of those moments when it's really sombre in the dressing room, When the Vancouver Canucks leap on to the ice this afternoon for the and the fact it was a guy like Manny made it extra tough," Bieksa recalled. second game of the Stanley Cup Final, and U2's music blares and towels "After that talk, I don't think anyone expected him to be back here skating wave and pulses race amid the thunder of this moment, chances are no with us, let alone playing. So obviously, we're really happy for him." one will have as many emotions coursing through him as Manny Malhotra. On March 16, a puck ricocheted into his left eye socket and Malhotra feared "It was very emotional," said defenceman Keith Ballard. "I can't imagine the he might never see clearly again. mental struggle it has been for him every day. To have him on the ice, it's so exciting. You could see it the first day he came out with us in a track suit. Two weeks later, he had major surgery in New York and a few days after Imagine what it means ... if he gets the chance to play. I can only imagine that had the courage to tell National Hockey League teammates, some in how much that would mean to him." tears, that he wouldn't play hockey again this season. Hopefully, Malhotra will tell us tonight. And that there were no guarantees for the next one. Vancouver Sun: LOADED: 06.04.2011 Malhotra has been with his teammates all along. But tonight, he should be one of them again. The 31-year-old centre, who helped recast the Canucks' identity with his leadership and professional ideals, was expected after Friday's practice to return from his devastating injury today against the Boston Bruins. Malhotra is day-to-day. How sick are you of hearing that? But it's one of the truest things said by Canucks coach Alain Vigneault, whose statement last Saturday that Malhotra was cleared to play was later contradicted by general manager Mike Gillis. Today could be different than Friday for Malhotra. But if he doesn't play Game 2, he should still play soon. It is merely timing and conditioning that are his issues now, not his eyesight -even after the mystery "procedure" he had Tuesday blew up into something worse in rumours and speculation that filled the information vacuum needlessly created by the Canucks. Malhotra is back. And that is amazing. "I realize the severity of the injury," Malhotra, his eye looking puffier than it did a week ago, told reporters at UBC when asked about the chance to participate in the Stanley Cup. "I realize the intensity of the moment and realize the intensity of play has picked up since I last played. [But] this is not me wanting to have a sentimental shift out there and be a part of it all. It's the fact I feel that I could contribute something to the team." What Malhotra can contribute is faceoff dominance and penalty killing and more fourthline minutes than anyone else has lately for the Canucks, who used three lines in Wednesday's 1-0 Stanley Cup-opening win. But he'll also offer experience and guile, hopefully poise and maybe even further inspiration to a team that is only three wins away from Vancouver's first Stanley Cup since 1915. Malhotra practised Friday mainly with Victor Oreskovich and Jeff Tambellini. Cody Hodgson, the Canucks' most regular fourth-line centre in the playoffs, didn't even get to sit at the grown-ups' table. He skated with the Manitoba Moose extras. "I'll see how I feel after the morning skate and we'll make a decision," Malhotra said. "I didn't want this to be a sideshow. We always talk about in our dressing room that the whole is much greater than the individuals. We have a very strong focus in the room. It's where it needs to be and I don't want anything to sidetrack that." He needn't have worried. The story became a sideshow at times, anyway, partly because nature abhors a vacuum. But it never came close to derailing the Canucks. They are too strong for that. "He has been such a huge part of our team all year, one of the main reasons why we're here and why we got in the playoffs and why we won the 571325 Vancouver Canucks Deja vu: Malhotra skates with team, could play Game 2 By Jason Botchford Manny Malhotra could play in Game 2. Back on the ice after three days off and following one more eye procedure Tuesday, Malhotra said he is again cleared to play and may, depending how he feels after Saturday's game day skate. "This is not me wanting a sentimental shift out there to be a part of it," Malhotra said. "It's the fact, I feel I can contribute something to the team." Malhotra, whose eye was more swollen and closed than it was a week ago, did admit something happened after he practised on Monday. Following that scrimmage, he took three days off and underwent another procedure GM Mike Gillis said was minor. Gillis said Malhotra has similar procedures regularly. "It's a day-to-day situation and from one day to the next, things had changed," Malhotra said about what happened after Monday. "I didn't feel proper to go on the ice so I took a couple of days off." Gillis said Malhotra is "questionable" for Game 2, adding that it was never in the Canucks plan for him to play in Game 1. Gillis seemed to muddy the story Tuesday when he said Malhotra was not cleared play, despite what both the player and head coach Alain Vigneault had said on Saturday. So what was it? Is he cleared to play or no? "As of today, yes," Malhotra said. "I don't want to sound redundant, but it's going to be a day-to-day process. I've been cleared for contact and am able to participate in full practice." Malhotra suggested his vision won't be an issue. "It's how I feel on a whole," Malhotra said. "As far as my comfort level on the ice and my conditioning. "There's a lot of things that are going to go into that decision." The Canucks would get an instant boost from Malhotra in the lineup. Their fourth-line centre Alex Bolduc played under two minutes in Game 1. Malhotra said the fact this is the Stanley Cup is weighing in on his desire to play as soon as possible. "At the same time, I realize the severity of the injury and I realize the intensity of the moment," he said "I realize the intensity of play has picked up since I last played." Vancouver Province: LOADED: 06.04.2011 571326 Vancouver Canucks Alberts 'gets shivers' at prospect of playing Game 2 By Jim Jamieson It's the chance Andrew Alberts wasn't sure he'd get, but it appears the big Canucks defenceman will play in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup final against the Boston Bruins on Saturday. Head coach Alain Vigneault offered all the requisite disclaimers about not reading anything into practice alignments, but it's pretty clear that Alberts will draw into the lineup if injured D-man Dan Hamhuis is not able to play. Hamhuis was hurt early in Game 1 on Wednesday when he hit Boston's Milan Lucic with a hip check along the boards. He left the game and didn't practice with the team on Thursday or Friday. It's a bit of a surprise that Alberts — who hasn't played since Game 3 of the Nashville series on May 3 — would get the call instead of a faster puck- moving Keith Ballard. But it appears the coach wants to ramp up the physical play on his back end. “It's huge,” said Alberts about the opportunity to get into his first Stanley Cup final. “I get shivers just thinking about it. When you're a kid in the basement shooting the tennis ball around you're always thinking it's the Stanley Cup finals and you've got the last shot. It's a dream to be here and hopefully I can attain that goal.” Vigneault paired the 6-foot-5, 210-pound Alberts with high-skill Christian Ehrhoff, while Aaron Rome skated in Hamhuis' spot with Kevin Bieksa. The Sami Salo-Alex Edler pairing stayed the same. Alberts played in Boston for three seasons, ending in 2008, when he was traded to Philly. He knows the organization, but said many of the players have changed since his time there. “I played with (Patrice) Bergeron, (Zdeno) Chara, Tim Thomas, (Andrew) Ference and (Shawn) Thornton,” said Alberts. “But it's really a different team over there.” Alberts, who's played in three playoff games, said he wasn't concerned that he hasn't played in more than a month. “I think I've just got to get out there, you get a hit in you relax a little bit,” he said. “Just make the simple play and keep the game easy and stay out of trouble.” Vigneault said he expects Alberts to use his size and strength if he plays. “He's a big body, he's a physical presence,” said Vigneault. “Every time we've used him he's played extremely well and hard for us.” Ehrhoff has played with Alberts before at times, this season and last, so the familiarity is there. “I've probably played with everybody in the lineup, so for me it doesn't make a difference,” said Ehrhoff. “He brings a physical element to our defence and he can make solid breakout passes. He's going to be ready. When you get thrown into a Stanley Cup final, that's a stage where everybody wants to be.” email@example.com twitter.com/jamiesoncanucks ICING Vigneault said Cody Hodgson was absent from the main group because the numbers were too large, so he practiced with the smaller group. Vancouver Province: LOADED: 06.04.2011 571327 Vancouver Canucks Mavs' Nowitzki backs Canucks for Cup By JIM JAMIESON There are two German players in the Stanley Cup final, but NBA star Dirk Nowitzki is going with Christian Ehrhoff and his team, the Canucks. The Dallas Mavericks player gave an entertaining scoreboard video tribute to Ehrhoff and the Canucks during the first period of Game 1. Ehrhoff met Nowitzki, who plays for the Dallas Mavericks, once in 2003. “When I was with San Jose in Dallas, they were playing too and I came out (off the rink) and he was standing there, so I walked up and introduced myself to him,” recalled Ehrhoff on Friday. “We chatted for a few minutes. He's a real nice guy.” Ehrhoff said he’d seen the tribute earlier in the day, but was surprised. “It was really nice,” he said. “It surprised me a little bit. He obviously knows I am playing here so it's pretty cool that he sent that message.” The other German player is Boston defenceman Dennis Seidenberg, who Ehrhoff knows well and played with as defence partner in the 2010 Olympics. But Seidenberg said he didn’t feel snubbed by Nowitzki. “I don't know what I'm supposed to say to that,” said Seidenberg with a smile. “I follow him a lot. Obviously, he's a superstar. I still think he's a great player. It doesn't change anything.” Vancouver Province: LOADED: 06.04.2011 571328 Vancouver Canucks Bruins go back to drawing board By Jim Jamieson, The ProvinceJune 3, 2011 The Boston Bruins know they need to get more quality scoring chances against Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo in Game 2. The Bruins trail the Canucks 1-0 in the Stanley Cup final. They worked on neutral zone play in practice at UBC on Friday and a number of Bruins players were acknowledging that the need to make life more uncomfortable for Luongo. It's tempting to point a finger at the Bruins' leading scorer in the regular season, Milan Lucic – who has just one goal in eight games – but head coach Claude Julien said the team needs better performances from the bottom of the roster on up. “I think we need more out of everybody, if we plan on winning tomorrow,” said Julien, following practice. “Milan is capable of that. When he's on top of his game his skating is good, his presence is good and his scoring chances are there. Certainly he's a big part of our club and you rely on those guys.” Boston outshot Vancouver 36-34, but the Canucks had more quality chances. Bruins goalie Tim Thomas was outstanding, turning all but one aside. "We managed 36 shots on net, but that's just a number,” said Julien. “The scoring chances, we can be better in regards to that.” Lucic said the Bruins' formula for success hasn't changed since the playoffs began. They just have to be better at executing it. “It's been the same since the first series,” said the East Vancouver native. “I mean, you look at where most of our goals are scored. It's in front of the net, getting in those dirty areas, getting those rebounds and fighting for pucks. Their defense does a really good job of battling with who ever's in front of net. "Our guys go to the net. For us, we got to get there, create a screen. Like I said, we got to find those loose pucks, work hard, bear down once we get those opportunities.” Lucic's line, with centre David Krejci and Nathan Horton, had Boston's best chances as a unit and finished with 13 shots collectively. Many of them were on the power play, which went 0-for-6. That also must improve, but Krejci said he saw positive signs in Game 1. “I thought the passes were sharp and we got some traffic, but it just didn't go in for us,” he said. “But I thought we moved the puck pretty well. We need to be hard on the puck and get to rebounds.” Bruins second line centre Patrice Bergeron said doing a better job in the neutral zone is will help Boston create offensive pressure in the Vancouver end. “Well, I think it starts obviously in the neutral zone,” he said. “Once we're in their zone, we got to find a better way to get to the net and battle for those loose pucks, but also fight for ice. They're doing a good job of boxing us out. "That being said, we have to make sure we're getting in front of net, creating some havoc, having some better looks.” Vancouver Province: LOADED: 06.04.2011 571329 Winnipeg President expects quick sale of remaining NHL season tickets in Winnipeg By: Scott Edmonds, The Canadian Press WINNIPEG - The president of the group that owns Winnipeg's new National Hockey League team says the goal of selling 13,000 season tickets could be reached by the end of the day. True North Sports and Entertainment plans to open up the online sale to the general public on Saturday. For the last three days, only the 2,000 or so fans who had season tickets to the AHL Manitoba Moose could buy NHL seats. As of Friday afternoon, they had scooped up more than 7,100. True North president Jim Ludlow says he doesn't expect it to take long for the rest to go. The as-yet unnamed NHL team was bought by True North from owners in Atlanta and the company is hoping to sell 13,000 season seats ahead of the NHL's vote on the approval of the sale later this month. "There's lots of anticipation, seems to be a lot of demand," Ludlow said Friday. "It could go fairly quickly." While the so-called pre-sale was brisk, Ludlow said the team made sure there were some season seats left for the general public by putting a cap on the number of tickets Moose fans could buy. There is no lining up for tickets. All purchases must be made online. If all 13,000 season tickets do go there will be just over 2,000 tickets remaining for each game at the MTS Centre. It is the NHL's smallest arena, holding just over 15,000 people. But unlike the old Winnipeg Arena, where the Winnipeg Jets used to play before they left in 1996, MTS Centre has corporate suites, ranging in price from $105,000 to $197,000 a season. Those help fatten the club's bottom line. Ludlow isn't providing any hints about what the new team will be called nor exactly when the name will be announced, but he said it won't be long. Many fans would like to see the return of the Jets name. Other names bandied about include the Manitoba Falcons, which would assuage those who live outside Winnipeg and feel the name should reflect the province as a whole, and pay homage to Canada's first Olympic gold- winning hockey team, the 1920 Winnipeg Falcons. Winnipeg Free Press LOADED: 06.04.2011 571330 Winnipeg Winnipeg in a trade the two began a friendship that far exceeded the boundaries of hockey. "He'd be excited and real happy for the people of Manitoba," said Carlyle of Kind words from Carlyle Ferguson, who died in 2007. "I'm sure he's upstairs looking down over this Ex-Jet, Moose GM ecstatic that Manitoba is back in the bigs taking that big cigar out of his mouth and with a smile on his face going, "Ha, ha, ha. They're back." Winnipeg Free Press LOADED: 06.04.2011 By: Gary Lawless Randy CARLYLE was the face of hockey in Manitoba for close to 20 years but he knows he's about to have a new role when next he slips into town on a business trip. "I guess I'll be the enemy. Yeah, I'm the enemy now," chortled Carlyle from his summer home just outside of Sudbury, Ont. "I'm excited to come into the building for the first time and I'm happy for the people of Manitoba, but at the same time I'll have a job to do. I think the NHL belongs in Winnipeg and I'm glad they've got their team back." Carlyle came to the Winnipeg Jets as a player. When Mark Chipman brought the Moose to Winnipeg he was an assistant coach, but quickly moved on to hold the head coach and GM titles and even spent a year as team president. If anyone knows the inner workings of True North and the personalities of Chipman and his hockey man, Craig Heisinger, it's Carlyle. "It's been a long process and they've taken a long look at this and they've developed a plan," he said. "They've done all their homework and due diligence and they've made an educated assessment. The feedback they've got from the people of Manitoba allowed them to move forward. It took five- plus years to get here and this is the end result." Carlyle also knows the people of Manitoba and he's both happy for them and confident in their will to make this work. "It's great for the community and I think it gives them the respect they deserve in the hockey world and nationally in Canada," said Carlyle, coach of the Anaheim Ducks and a Stanley Cup winner in 2007. "Winnipeg has taken a lot of negative press over the years for various reasons but if you've lived there and experienced what the people are all about and how hard they work and how committed they are to their communities and the province of Manitoba, you get an appreciation for them. One thing I've always said about Manitobans, 'Just don't tell them they can't.' " Vancouver Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault stood behind the Moose bench for one season before moving to the West Coast and he took time out from fielding questions about his club's pursuit of the Stanley Cup to discuss his old bosses. "I think Winnipeg is going to do great. Working with Mark and Craig for a whole season, seeing how professional they are, running an American League franchise in an NHL fashion. The way they treated their players, the way they treated the staff," said Vigneault. "I know Mark is a very persistent individual. He had been working a long time to bring NHL back to Winnipeg. " I think the fans there are real passionate, love their hockey. There's no doubt in my mind that it's going to work." Carlyle says he doesn't care what the team is called. "I don't really have an opinion one way or another. I can understand why people would be passionate about the Jets. But I can see on the other hand, that's an era that's gone by. This is a new era of hockey in Manitoba and I can see lots of reasons for it to have another name." Heisinger was an equipment man with the Jets while Carlyle was a player and the careers of the two men are intertwined. "I was the guy that converted him from an equipment guy to a hockey management guy because I just felt his skills were being... not wasted that's not the correct term. But the one thing about Zinger is if you gave him an assignment he always found a way to get it done. It wasn't about excuses," said Carlyle. "There's no such thing as an excuse for him. He still maintains that same level of commitment and competitiveness and work ethic." A Norris Trophy-winning defenceman with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Carlyle was coveted by then-Jets GM John Ferguson and after he came to 571331 Winnipeg Bettman not welcome at salon Owner says 'he can suck it' By PAUL TURENNE, QMI Agency Evander Kane, Andrew Ladd, and the rest of the boys are welcome to free haircuts any time, but Gary Bettman, well, he can suck it. That's the message from Ashley Newton, owner of Vixin Salon and Beauty Bar on Princess Street, who is proof Winnipeg's NHL games won't be attended only by men in sports jackets and beer-fuelled college boys. "Do you think in Atlanta there are two girls in a hair salon talking about hockey? I don't think so," Newton said while discussing the NHL with client Lindsey Anderson on Friday. Anderson got season tickets Thursday, while Newton plans on getting some Saturday. "I never thought I'd get season tickets to the NHL, so I'm pretty stoked," said Anderson, who was sporting a hoodie from the band Comeback Kids that was made to resemble a Jets logo. When Newton heard the big news Tuesday, she decided to decorate the salon's windows in celebration. "I just thought it was awesome we got them back and I think we should support them," she said. One paint job reads "NHL, welcome back baby," while another one on the front door invites NHL commissioner Gary Bettman to "suck it." "I think he's a snake," Newton said. "The booing at the speech he gave (in Winnipeg Tuesday) is an indication of our feelings towards him in Winnipeg. I remember going to Jets games when I was little. There's some bitter feelings there even though I was very young." Newton made an informal offer Friday that she'd happily give free haircuts to any of Winnipeg's new NHL players, as well as offering discounts to season ticket holders. That courtesy will not extend to the commissioner. "Gary Bettman isn't welcome in my salon. If he came in I'd tell him to get out," Newton said. Winnipeg Sun LOADED: 06.04.2011 571332 Winnipeg Seriously, I suppose it’s even possible the hockey team will get turned down by the odd corporate client who’s committed to buying space in the stadium. NHL season tickets a big-league committment “I hear what you’re saying,” True North’s Ludlow said. “None of us want it to Winnipeg only market selling ducats for such long terms be one to the exclusion of another. The seasons are different. We hope to find a balance in the community for that.” The Bombers should be fine as long as they run a tight ship. By PAUL FRIESEN, QMI Agency And that means they can’t go another 20 years, not even close, without winning a championship. WINNIPEG - So today’s the day we find out exactly how hockey-mad this Those of us who were around for the NHL’s first run have fond memories of town really is. the two-sport double-header: a Bomber game on an October afternoon, a Jets game at night. Now that the NHL pre-sale for Manitoba Moose customers is over, Joe Public gets his turn. If both teams are winning, we’ll rediscover how sports-mad this town can be. Expect the remaining season tickets to go faster than cans of bug spray at a midsummer Manitoba nudists retreat. Winnipeg Sun LOADED: 06.04.2011 Even though fans are being asked to do something no other NHL fans have been: mortgage a small part of their futures to watch big-league hockey. You may not be aware of this, but in no other city are all season-ticket buyers forced to make multi-year commitments. If you want to guarantee your seats, you have to sign three-year to five-year contracts and hand over an additional $500 to $1,000 just for that right. When the term is up, expect to be asked to sign up for another. Yes, the little city that for so long couldn’t is believed to be breaking new ground, now that it’s getting a second chance to reside in Gary Bettman’s kingdom. “My guess would be if there are any clubs doing it, they’re doing it in certain sections of the building (only),” True North Sports and Entertainment’s Jim Ludlow told QMI Agency. “As it relates to the entire building, it’s unique. And creative. And a strong message that’s going to go back to the NHL.” Who knows, this might even set a precedent for other cities. Then again, it could be the price Manitobans, and nobody else, must pay to prove we can afford to rub shoulders with the big boys on Broadway or Bay Street. “You could look at it as a lot to ask,” Ludlow said. “It’s a lot to ask a community like this to have an NHL team, or a company like this.” But it’s what True North needs to guarantee its revenue for at least the first few years. If the season-ticket count hits 13,000 within days, maybe even hours, as I suspect it will, we’ll know what we’ve suspected for a while now. That the appetite for NHL hockey in this town is at a fever pitch. Maybe unlike anywhere else in North America. So how would you like to be Jeff Thompson these days? The man making corporate calls on behalf of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and our new stadium has to phone businesses in this town and sell something other than the NHL. So how’s it going, Jeff? “They’re excited and eager to continue,” Thompson said of the Bombers’ corporate partners. “The level of excitement surrounding us is electric. It’s a great time to be a Winnipegger.” Apparently, nobody’s telling the Bombers their money is tied up downtown for the next while. “We have two different products at two different times of the year,” Thompson said. “If anything, we actually compliment each other. That’s the vibe we’re getting.” Not sure if Thompson was wearing his blue-and-gold coloured glasses at the time, but he also suggested the mosquitoes wouldn’t be a problem this summer and neither would the rain. 571333 Winnipeg True North eyes 'Hawks AGM NHL draft looms over front office question By KEN WIEBE, QMI Agency VANCOUVER - With the True North season ticket drive to 13,000 moving at a brisk pace and tracking to hit its mark sometime during the weekend, look for the decisions in hockey operations to soon take centre stage. To this point, True North has kept the nature of the discussions regarding decisions in hockey operations private and you can expect that to remain the same moving forward. But with the NHL Entry Draft less than three weeks away, the leadership of the hockey operations department is a priority. While the results of the meeting between chairman Mark Chipman and Craig Heisinger remains a mystery, another potential candidate who surfaced on Friday is Kevin Cheveldayoff, an assistant general manager with the Chicago Blackhawks who was part of the Stanley Cup run last season. In order to speak to Cheveldayoff, True North would first need to obtain permission from the Blackhawks. It’s believed Cheveldayoff would likely require a promotion in order to join True North’s hockey operations staff. Cheveldayoff has a long history with Chipman and Heisinger from the days of the International Hockey League. Cheveldayoff, who was in Toronto for the draft combine, could not be reached for comment. Meanwhile, St. John’s, N.L. moved another step closer to becoming the new home of True North’s American Hockey League affiliate as St. John’s City Council unanimously approved a the lease agreement (in principle) with St. John’s Sports and Entertainment. Moving the Manitoba Moose franchise to Newfoundland requires AHL board of governor approval and the next meeting is in early July. Winnipeg Sun LOADED: 06.04.2011 571334 Winnipeg Instead, I found myself swept up in the excitement, the enthusiasm for a much-loved team and the display of solidarity to try to see them stay in a prairie town on the cusp of losing them. Emotional Jets assignment And I understood why my grumpy editor insisted THIS was the story of the Winnipeg rally to save NHL club in 1996 memorable experience day. Last week, 16 years later, I was back in my hometown when word came the city would again have a hockey team. By NADIA MOHARIB, QMI Agency As citizens took to the streets to play hockey — mock fisticuffs and all — critics weighed in, already convinced the team wouldn’t get the support needed. It was one of my first few weeks on the job as a newspaper reporter. Others argued Winnipeg wouldn’t be attractive to big-time hockey heroes And it was busy. who could play in much more desirable U.S. and Canadian cities. The overnight police blotter in Winnipeg — the city dubbed Murder Capital But in a city where there are still big, old trees and where a house costs plenty of times over the years — offered up a healthy, albeit unfortunate, much less than in bigger centres, there is a real sense of back-your-team dose of crime stories. community. There were stabbings, kidnappings, carjackings and such to easily fill the No doubt, time will prove critics wrong. pages of the Winnipeg Sun. Yes, it is pitched into a deep freeze for nine months of the year, with As a rookie, I was happy to score plenty of material to stack the news roster mosquitoes — although their plague is exaggerated — making it their and also added ‘Save the Jets’ rally to my to-do-list. mecca for the other few. My editor, an often-angry man who literally frothed at the corners of his But the hockey team moving from Atlanta to Manitoba will surely find an mouth and unconsciously bulged his eyes when he wasn’t pleased, walked enviable fanbase and score big-time by choosing Winnipeg as its home. in and quickly showed me I was skating on thin ice. Winnipeg Sun LOADED: 06.04.2011 “You have the Jets rally and that’s it,” he spat. “This is a huge story.” Of course, not knowing much about hockey and how its fans are so rabid and passionate they are willing to break with rules of good fashion and wear white pants in public, I argued a bit. But the editor hurled a few profanities my way while shaking his head, apparently at the unfathomable reality he had actually hired this dopey scribe, and sent me kicking and screaming to the rally held as a last-ditch effort for a city desperate to keep its beloved sports team. Prone to trying to put myself in the position of story subjects, I tried to grasp how so many would feel compelled to cram into the decrepit arena — teary- eyed and all — to chant like cult followers for, of all things, men on skates. Certain it was nothing but a time-wasting exercise, I joined reporters standing on a wooden platform at centre ice while the lights dimmed. The crowd, one minute obnoxious and utterly irritating in its loudness, hushed in an instant, becoming so quiet even a puck-drop could be heard. Massive spotlights followed superstar stick-handlers onto the ice as they one-by-one made their arrival. Some hoisted children on their shoulders, others shook their arms triumphantly in the air, and the arena shook. As they chanted “Save Our Jets,” the vibrations ripped across the rink like an electrical current, finding its way from my feet into the depths of my skeptical grey matter. I still knew nothing about the game and couldn’t care less about the all- Canadian pastime — but I could not deny the emotion of it all. I think a tear escaped from my eye, quickly wiped away to maintain an objective reporter stance, only to be followed by a quiver of my betraying bottom lip. My massive cellphone rang (it was early days for mobile phones,) and it was perhaps one of the team’s biggest fans — a diehard, longtime season- ticket holder who stayed until the end of every game, win or lose. “Nadia, can you see me?” my father shouted as I scanned the crowd in utter disbelief. “I’m wearing white.” Yes, he was, head-to-toe, taking the team-colour dress code to extremes a la the Glad Man. Needless to say, I did not spot him in the sea of white, where most were dressed in Jets jerseys and violently shaking pom-poms. 571335 Websites "The toughest guys are the guys with good sticks in front of the net. Like Holmstrom," said Vancouver defenceman Kevin Bieksa. "The guys who want to be there, in front. There are some guys who are just standing there Sportsnet.ca /Not in his element because they're told to, and there are other guys who want to be there. "A guy like Holmstrom wants to be there. You've got to respect him, and you've got to be close to him." VANCOUVER -- What the Bruins are doing is disrespectful, when it comes right down to it, to those players who have spent a lifetime perfecting the Read between those lines, for a minute. This is what Roberto Luongo said art. after Game 1, when asked to compare Chara's work down low to that of former Blackhawk Byfuglien: Take a big defenceman like Zdeno Chara, station in the low slot on the power play, and expect him to be as effective as guys like Tomas "It's not the same," Luongo said of Chara's work. "I think he's a big body, Holmstrom, Ryan Smyth and Dustin Byfuglien. but at the same time we decided that it's best if we just leave him alone and let me take care of him." The Bruins' sad power play numbers will tell you that there just might be more to the gig than standing in front of the goalie. Leave him alone? I don't recall them saying that about Holmstrom and Smyth over the years. "You don't just stand there," began Smyth over the phone, who plans to watch Chara work the top of Roberto Luongo's crease Saturday night in Mark Spector Game 2 of this Stanley Cup final. "You try to get in the line of sight of the Sportsnet.ca LOADED: 06.04.2011 goalies' eyes. "It's the timing. When the 'D' is going to shoot it, getting your stick right in front of his eyes. He loses it for a split second. And then you get that rebound." It has become the sore point of the Boston Bruins post-season, a power play so pungent, you wonder how this team got so far on five power play goals all spring long. It has produced one lonely goal on the road in these playoffs, and thus, a pathetic success rate of 7.5 per cent after going 0-for-6 in a 1-0 Game 1 loss. And you'll recall that the Bruins became the first team in the history of the game to win a seven-game series without a power play goal, in Round 1 versus Montreal. Mark Recchi continues to hold down a spot on the No. 1 unit, despite the fact he has not counted a single point on the PP all post-season, and begging the question as to when Tyler Seguin will replace the aging warrior. And at practice Friday, Chara continued to be deployed in the low slot. The problem is, he's just not very good at the gig, like, say, a big power forward like Milan Lucic might be. Chara did spend some time tipping pucks after practice, but where Holmstrom has about an 85 per cent success rate in getting a stick on hard slap shots in one of those sessions, Chara redirected the puck about 40 per cent of the time -- and his defencemen were floating in weak wristers. "It's not that I'm learning it. I was in that role before (in Ottawa as well)," said Chara, by way of defending his ability to be an effective low-post on the power play. "Obviously it's a little bit different from being on the point, but I think the main purpose of the whole thing is the same: you have to be willing to do whatever it takes. "You know, whatever position I'm on or in, I just try to do my best." No one is questioning Chara's will to win. What is at question is the deployment of a guy with a 105-mph bomb from the point, and the assertion that he can become an effective crease player while learning on the job in a Stanley Cup final. In Game 1 he did not show the ability to re-direct a point blast, nor was he quick to find a loose puck and jam it home. And, as Byfuglien perfected in those Vancouver-Chicago series, Chara never once found a way to crash into Luongo, or fall on the sprawled goalie as hard as possible at the end of the play. Smyth doesn't want to come across as criticizing Chara, who is doing his best to learn an element of the game that a guy like Detroit's Holmstrom has worked years and years to perfect. But Smyth knows he wouldn't have any more success trying to learn how to play defence at such a crucial point in the season. "The old cliché is, practice makes perfect. It takes time," Smyth said. "I (tip pucks) every game day, every morning skate. Like Holmstrom does. It takes time, and it takes practice." The Canucks, meanwhile, would be happy to see Boston coach Claude Julien continue to stuff this square peg in a round hole for a few more games. 571336 Websites Seguin was all the rage when he popped a goal and an assist in his first- ever playoff game May 14 against Tampa Bay and then when he exploded for two goals and four points the next game. Sportsnet.ca /Sizing up the Sedins The Bruins' power play, such as it is now, kind of sucks. Seguin might not be the answer, but we'll never know unless he's given a chance. It's time to make him the central focus of the power play and see where it goes from Do Daniel and Henrik need their names etched on the Stanley Cup to be there. considered great players? Mike Brophy Are we -- members of the media and ardent hockey fans alike -- too hard on the Sedins? Sportsnet.ca LOADED: 06.04.2011 While it is true the measure of the individual hockey player is generally judged by team championships, there have been countless stars that were unable to lift their clubs to a title despite doing everything in their power. But at the end of the day, was Marcel Dionne any less a superstar because he did not hoist the Stanley Cup? His brother, Gilbert, was a fringe player who had the good fortune to play on the 1993 Cup champion Montreal Canadiens. Which Dionne would you rather have playing for your team? The Sedins bring it every night and yet following a 1-0 win over the Boston Bruins in Game 1 of this year's Stanley Cup final Wednesday, one of the hot topics of conversation is how the shutdown pair of Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg neutralized the Vancouver Canucks' twin scoring threats. True enough, Chara and Seidenberg had a game to be proud of, but the Sedins hardly mailed it in. Daniel played 23:01 and had eight shots on goal. Henrik played 22:22 and was responsible for setting his brother up for countless scoring opportunities. Currently Henrik, the NHL's reigning Hart Trophy winner as most valuable player in the league, leads all playoff scorers with two goals and 21 points in 19 games. Not too shabby. Daniel, a finalist for the Hart Trophy this season, ranks ninth in scoring with eight goals and 16 points. There have indeed been times in this year's playoffs when the Sedins were not as productive as they have been in the past. They certainly had their share of troubles against the Chicago Blackhawks' shutdown pair of Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook in the opening round and again in the second round against Nashville's Shea Weber and Ryan Suter. In fact, both Daniel and Henrik have been held pointless in exactly half of their post-season games this year, but it doesn't mean they failed to contribute in the games they were held off the board. The opposition can never afford to take their eyes off the twins and when they are being thoroughly covered, it means other players should be open. As individuals, the Sedins don't come close to being as dynamic as the likes of Sidney Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin or Pavel Datsyuk, but as a duo, there isn't another pair of linemates in the league who can read the mind of their partners like the Ornskoldsvik, Sweden natives. It is absolutely uncanny how they are able to predict what one another is going to do on the ice. I guess that comes from playing together virtually every shift of their entire careers. We will all continue to analyze their performances on a game-to-game basis because that's what fans and media do. In terms of points, the Sedins don't deliver every game, but have you ever questioned their effort? While there's no question their reputation will be greatly enhanced if the Canucks are successful in beating the Bruins in the final, for my money these two guys are among the best who have ever skated in the NHL. Tyler's time Isn't it high time for the Bruins to insert Tyler Seguin onto the first unit of their power play? After going 0-for-6 in Game 1 of the final which left them operating at a sorry 7.5 per cent success rate in the playoffs, the Bruins may as well roll the dice on a kid they drafted second overall last June to be a scorer. What have they got to lose? Seguin was a scoring ace in junior with Plymouth of the Ontario Hockey League. Last season he scored 48 goals and 106 points in 63 games. Of those 48 goals, 13 came with his team holding the man advantage. He also had 30 power play assists. It is true that Seguin didn't make a sudden impact with the Bruins this season. He didn't come close to having the success other teenage freshmen such as Carolina's Jeff Skinner and Edmonton's Taylor Hall enjoyed, but there have been glimpses of potential greatness. 571337 Websites guy they want, even though he's smaller and less physically mature than everybody else. Conversely, teams will look at it and say that they are scared of a high risk TSN.CA Ray Ferraro / Memorial Cup MVP Huberdeau deserves a break defenceman who maybe can't play five-on-five minutes in the NHL, at least not to begin with, the same thing Ryan Ellis went through in his draft year. Bob McKenzie Murphy will be in my top 10, but whether he gets taken there remains to be seen. TSN.CA LOADED: 06.04.2011 Some thoughts from the NHL Scouting Combine on Friday: When it comes to the NHL Scouting Combine, you always look at all the different results and the kids coming in. Rocco Grimaldi is 5'6 and he's absolutely ripped. He has one of the lowest body fats and he's leading the way in so many areas as the tests unfold in terms of vertical leap, pushups everything else. The guy is obviously jacked. He's a tremendous athlete, which is probably not telling the scouts anything they don't know, because if you are that small, to be an elite world class athlete then you need to be. On the flip side, Jonathan Huberdeau is one of the top guys in this draft, maybe a top three selection. He did two on the bench press, while other guys are knocking off eight, 10, 12, 15. People can spin the results whichever way they want because they look at Huberdeau and say 'Only two on the bench press? Great, he's one of the very best players in the draft and he's not really strong yet, imagine how good he's going to be when he gets some strength to him.' Huberdeau, Zack Phillips and the players from the Saint John Sea Dogs just finished playing the other day in the Memorial Cup. That's a long season for a bunch of 18-year-old kids. A long, long year for Huberdeau started at the Under-18 last August in the Czech Republic. So absolutely he gets a break for that. Taylor Hall came here last year after back-to-back Memorial Cups. Hall said he was banged up, battered, and bruised and he did none of the strength testing last year. Do you think the Edmonton Oilers backed off because he didn't do any of the testing? Of course not. Some would go one step further and say that bench press is a nice thing that the football combine started and the NHL does it as well, but there are a lot of strength and conditioning coaches who would tell you that bench press isn't a great hockey measuring stick. There is hockey strength, which is mainly core and legs as opposed to a lineman in football where you are doing a lot of pushing, which is what the bench press is all about. All it does is give benchmarks to the teams, to know where these guys are in terms of their overall physical maturity and their conditioning and where they can go from there. For a lot of these players, all it means is that they haven't worked out at the pro style level. As long as the guys see that they have a good attitude and they are prepared to do it once they understand what's required of them, I don't think anybody comes out of this terribly disadvantaged because they didn't lift 150-pounds enough times or they can't vertical leap as well as some other people. Number One Pick I think the Oilers have a decision to make between Red Deer Rebels centre Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Adam Larsson, the big Swedish defenceman. I think Jonathan Huberdeau, the way that he has played in the second half of the season, especially the QMJHL playoffs and the Memorial Cup, is at least going to come into the discussion. Gabriel Landeskog would be the fourth guy that they will have discussions on, but for me I think Edmonton has a two-horse race for number one. Off The Radar Ryan Murphy of the Kitchener Rangers is an offensive defenceman who was a star for Team Canada at the Under-18 tournament in April. He's an interesting player. Murphy is an all out, one-dimensional offensive defenceman. He's dynamic, but very small and not very physically mature, as he only did two in the bench press. Some people are going to love the skill and the daring part of his game where he just wants to decide it every time, he wants to have the puck on his stick. Those teams are going to look at that and say that's the kind of 571338 Websites USA TODAY / Game 2 preview: Bruins at Canucks Saturday night By Mike Brehm, USA TODAY Sizing up the Stanley Cup Final matchup as the Vancouver Canucks and Boston Bruins head to Game 2 Saturday (8 p.m. ET, NBC) in Vancouver: Situation: The Canucks hold a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series heading into Saturday's Game 2 (8 p.m. ET, NBC). Vancouver has won its last eight Game 1s, and it has won Game 2 two times in its first three series this postseason. Goaltenders: Vancouver's Roberto Luongo vs. Boston's Tim Thomas. You couldn't ask for anything more from the Vezina Trophy finalists, who stopped everything until Raffi Torres scored with 18.5 seconds left. Who's hot: The Canucks' third line. Even before the Torres goal, Jannik Hansen and Maxim Lapierre had excellent chances. Who's not: The Bruins' power play, but that's sounding like a broken record. It's 5-for-67 in the playoffs. What the Canucks want to do: 1. Attack with speed. Once they got on track in the third period, their speed gave the Bruins problems. 2. Play more disciplined. The Canucks were short-handed too often early on. One of these days, the Bruins' power play will connect. 3. Make more quick side-to- side passes. If Thomas is going to make saves outside the crease, force him to move more. What the Bruins want to do: 1. Find a way to get the power play going. Moving Zdeno Chara up front helped. The Bruins had their chances. 2. If they can't score on the power play, be brilliant on the penalty kill. Both teams went 0-for-6 Wednesday. Said Bruins coach Claude Julien: "As long as we're able to stay on even terms with them when it comes to special teams, we're OK with that." 3. Get the puck in deeper and forecheck hard. If the Canucks don't have injured defenseman Dan Hamhuis, it could change up two of their defensive pairings. The Bruins can take advantage of that. Fast fact: The top-seeded team has opened 2-0 in seven of the last eight Finals. USA TODAY LOADED: 06.04.2011 571339 Websites “Thomas does some incredible things out there,” Schneider said. “He makes some really tough saves look easy, but he also makes some pretty easy saves look hard. YAHOO SPORTS / Luongo tries taking it to the distance this time “So Lou tries to find a bit of a balance where he’s just trying to be consistent and our guys know what to expect from him. … He just looks relaxed. He looks at ease and comfortable in the paint, just making stuff look simple. Nicholas J. Cotsonika He’s not extending himself. He’s not on his back or his stomach or swimming around. He’s really composed and just playing big and tight and letting pucks hit him.” VANCOUVER, British Columbia – With every save, with every victory, the It’s amazing how quickly things can turn. Knowing that, let’s wait at least a crisis fades farther into the past and the Stanley Cup comes closer. little bit longer to crown Luongo or call his comeback complete. But let’s also appreciate how Luongo, who for so long had all those great regular- Roberto Luongo is only three wins away now. He led the Vancouver season statistics but heard how he had never won when it mattered most, Canucks to a 1-0 victory over the Boston Bruins in Game 1 of the Cup final has made that Chicago series seem like a bump in the road to something with a 36-save shutout. Coach Alain Vigneault, who benched him in the first bigger. Let’s listen carefully to something else he said when asked when he round, said Luongo is playing “some of his best hockey … that I’ve seen has ever played better, turning an old criticism against itself. him play.” “I mean,” he said, “I think you measure success in this league obviously by Asked when he has ever played better, at least in Vancouver, Luongo winning. Right now we’re three wins away from our ultimate goal. That’s all I hesitated. At first, he said: “I don’t know. That’s a tough question to really can say about that.” answer.” Pressed, he smiled and conceded: “What can I tell you? I’m in the final. I guess I’m playing pretty well.” Right now, that’s all there is to say. I guess so. YAHOO.COM LOADED: 06.04.2011 I don’t know if Luongo will give up another goofy goal and lose Game 2 on Saturday night. I don’t know if all the concerns about him will come back just like that. I don’t know if he wins the Cup if he will necessarily be validated as a big-game goaltender, either, because he wasn’t when he won gold for Team Canada at the Vancouver Olympics last year, was he? But I know this: Luongo already has shown guts by making it this far. It looked like it would all fall apart just a few weeks ago. Luongo allowed 10 goals over two games and was pulled twice. He was benched the next game. He returned to the net only after backup Cory Schneider suffered a cramp on a penalty shot, and he allowed the losing goal in overtime. The Canucks blew a 3-0 series lead to the Chicago Blackhawks, the team that had eliminated them from the playoffs each of the past two years, the team they had fortified themselves to beat. Vigneault had risked alienating the Vezina Trophy finalist who was signed through 2021-22. But since then, Luongo has gone 10-3 with two shutouts and a whopping .941 save percentage. He won Game 7 in overtime against the Blackhawks. He helped dispatch the Nashville Predators with fellow Vezina finalist Pekka Rinne at the other end of the rink. The guy who had never escaped the second round won his first appearance in a conference final, beating the San Jose Sharks’ Antti Niemi, the guy who had a 6-0 record in playoff series. He began the Cup final by outdueling another fellow Vezina finalist, the Bruins’ Tim Thomas. Luongo has had his hiccups. He allowed some behind-the-net goals against the Predators, and he put a puck right onto the stick of Sharks captain Joe Thornton and watched it end up in his net for the first goal of that series. But none of the gaffes were fatal, and none seemed to faze him. At least at this point, most importantly, they have been trending downward. “A lot of people took that Chicago series and kind of held it against him, but I think that was more of the exception and not the rule,” Schneider said. “I think he was just determined to finish out that first series and to come back from two games that weren’t up to his expectations and to answer all the critics and all the questions about him, and he’s done that and more.” Winning games might be easier than winning over the critics for Luongo, because when he screws up, he looks bad, and when he plays well, he looks unremarkable. Under new goalie coach Roland Melanson this season, Luongo has become more efficient. He has stayed deeper in his crease, which keeps people from pestering him in front – like former Blackhawk Dustin Byfuglien used to do, like Bruins behemoth Zdeno Chara tried to do on the power play in Game 1. He has tried to stay more upright, keep his shoulders more square and move post-to-post more fluidly. In other words, Luongo is everything Thomas is not. Thomas was more spectacular in Game 1 even though he made three fewer saves and lost – because he faced more dangerous scoring chances, but also because he has the more spectacular style. He comes out to challenge. He flops all over the place. He seemingly has no pattern and just battles, somehow getting something in front of the puck. 571340 Websites It’s not just that he has gotten to know the players – and he has known basically everyone who has played for the Canucks in their NHL history. It’s that he has gotten to know the people in and around the game. It’s that he YAHOO SPORTS / ‘Shooter’ has been Canucks’ stick boy for 50 years has gotten to be a part of it, all of it, the lean years and the losses and the empty seats, the high points and the wins and the chase for the Cup. * Nicholas J. Cotsonika The first time the Canucks made the Cup final, it was 1982. They beat the Blackhawks in Chicago and went straight to New York to face the Islanders. Shute went straight to the principal of his school and asked if he could go, VANCOUVER – From where he watches games at Rogers Arena, just too. behind the Vancouver Canucks’ bench, in the tunnel to their dressing room, Ron Shute can see the special logo at center ice. It features the number 40, The principal said yes, of course. So Shute, unable to find a flight out of celebrating the number of years the Canucks have played in the National Vancouver, caught a flight out of Seattle. He made friends with an Islanders Hockey League, also indirectly noting how long they have waited to win fan and hitched a ride to the rink. When he got there, the Canucks were just their first Stanley Cup. finishing their morning skate before Game 1. The players were so impressed he had made it, they took up a collection and handed him a wad For Shute, though, the number is 50. of cash to pay for his flight and give him some walking-around money. That’s right. Fifty. He has spent a half-century with the Canucks, longer Game 1 went to overtime. Shute remembers running down the tunnel to set than any other member of their staff, since they were a minor-league team up for the first OT intermission, only to hear the roar of the crowd and that played in a little wooden barn. He started as a stick boy at age 13, and realize that meant the Canucks had lost. They ended up being swept. But in he’s still a stick boy at age 64 – only they call him a dressing room a way, that was OK. attendant now. “We really were the underdogs, didn’t expect to win,” Shute said. “But it was His story symbolizes Vancouver’s as the Canucks hold a 1-0 lead over the just really exciting to be there.” Boston Bruins in the Cup final – the work, the wait, the journey, the connection between the community and the team, the childlike dream still The second time the Canucks made the Cup final, it was 1994. This time held by grown men, the old memories mixing with the anticipation of what, the series went the distance. Shute was invited to join the team charter finally, could come true. flying family and team officials to New York on the day of Game 7 against the Rangers. It hit him early this season, when the Canucks held a pregame ceremony for the 40th anniversary. They asked him to walk out last with the Canucks’ But the charter was cancelled. The plane needed a part. So Stan first NHL captain, Orland Kurtenbach, and present a sweater to their newest McCammon, the Canucks’ president and CEO, chartered a private jet. He captain, Henrik Sedin. had room for eight other people. Shute was one of the lucky few who hadn’t headed home yet and caught a ride. They took off hoping to make the “When I was walking out there, that’s kind of what came to me – all the opening faceoff. years that I’d been doing this and all the different captains,” Shute said. “It was an acknowledgment of all those years for me, and it just was very But there were headwinds, and they couldn’t get clearance to land in New emotional for me at that time. I could hardly keep it together.” York, and they had to land in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., and they had to wait for a customs official to come from home to clear them, and they had to hop on How would he feel if the Canucks won the Cup then? What would it mean two helicopters for Manhattan. They took off hoping to make the end of the to him? What would it mean to everyone? second period. “Everything,” he said. But there was an electrical storm, and they had to fly around it, and they didn’t touch down in Manhattan until there were about five minutes left in * the game, and the Canucks were losing 3-2. They hopped into waiting It was the 1960-61 season. The Canucks were playing in the Western limousines and listened to the game on the radio, hoping for a goal and Hockey League, then a minor professional league one step below the NHL. overtime. It was the Original Six era, and the big clubs would blow through Vancouver But by the time they got to Madison Square Garden, there was about one in the fall to play exhibitions. minute left, and it was too late. The Canucks lost. One of the owners’ wives On this night the Detroit Red Wings were in town, and 13-year-old Ron called her husband and asked what they should do. He told them to go to Shute was in the stands as a fan when one of his schoolmates spotted him. the airport and wait for the team, and so they did. The kid needed help. He was the stick boy for the Canucks, and the guy “Never got in the Garden,” Shute said. who was supposed to work for the visiting team hadn’t shown up. After all those years, after all those miles, Shute had come so close to “I said, ‘What would I have to do?’ ” Shute recalled. “He said, ‘Well, you seeing the Canucks win the Cup and didn’t even get to see them lose it. might have to give Gordie Howe a roll of tape or Alex Delvecchio a stick. Maybe it was better that way, he reasoned. He said the flight home was You might have to get a glass of water for Bill Gadsby.’ I’m speechless. I very quiet. can’t talk. I’m just nodding my head.” “Nobody was crying or anything like that,” Shute said. “It was just â¦ Shute served as the stick boy for the Red Wings. He said he was in “shock disappointment.” and awe.” He saw those legends in real life, and they treated him like a human being, too. No tricks. No requests for a bucket of steam. * The Toronto Maple Leafs came to town next. Shute’s schoolmate This is the third time the Canucks have made the Cup final. This time, suggested he show up in case the other guy didn’t show up again. unlike 1982 and 1994, it isn’t new. It isn’t unexpected. This team isn’t an underdog; it won the Presidents’ Trophy as the NHL’s top regular-season “Well, he didn’t, and I did it,” Shute said, “and it just started from there.” team and is favored to win the Cup. For 50 years – 40 years since the Canucks joined the NHL in 1970-71 – the “It’s kind of like you’re writing a book, and you write each chapter, and job has been essentially the same. It’s a little more complicated now, with you’re waiting for the ending chapter,” Shute said. “That’s what it would more support staff and more equipment and more stuff in general, but not mean for me. I can’t imagine doing this my entire life and never having a much. As he went through school, as he spent 34 years as a schoolteacher, chance to be part of a (Cup-)winning team. I think we have a really good even after he retired from his day job, Shute moonlighted with the Canucks chance this year, and I’m really hoping that â¦” as a labor of love, showing up for home games and doing all the humble duties that need to be done. He laughed. Take care of the jerseys and socks. Refresh the food, beverages, tape and “It would mean everything,” he said. towels. Clean up the dressing room, set up the bench and the penalty box, run errands for the players. All the drudgery that he says is no drudgery at Would it mean the end for Shute? The kid they call Shooter will turn 65 in all. July. He has already retired from his teaching job, and every year he cleans out his locker and goes home for the summer without assuming the Canucks will ask him to come back. But, no. Not yet. He’s really hoping that the Canucks write that last chapter, but he’s really hoping there’s an epilogue, too. “It’s been so much fun this year,” Shute said, “even if we win, I think I’d like to be back next year.” After waiting 50 years for one Cup, how much fun would it be to go for two? YAHOO.COM LOADED: 06.04.2011
"SPORT-SCAN DAILY BRIEF"