Some thoughts about the first series to end:
1) The NHL does a few things better than the other big-league sports, and one of them is the post-series handshake, one of the coolest things in sports, still. That’s why it bothers me when a Scott Stevens—when he was a younger player—skipped a handshake at the end of a series with the Rangers and why it still bothers me that Sid Crosby didn’t shake hands with the Red Wings, especially captain Nik Lidstrom, after winning the Cup last season. I give Brodeur the benefit of the doubt with Avery two years ago, because I can only imagine what Avery was saying to him, not to mention the stick-waving. But if you have any sense of history, any sense of what’s right, you shake hands at the end of the series. Win or lose. You just suck it up and do it.
2) There’s no way Kovalchuk goes back to New Jersey. I think he will get crazy money, and if I’m the NYR—whether Glen Sather or somebody else is calling the shots—I ignore him and any other big-ticket guys this summer. But I would be interested in a Paul Martin.
3) Ian Laperriere. I loved the guy when he was a rookie with the Blues, I loved the trade the Rangers made to get him in 1995—for a downward-trending Stephane Matteau. And then the Rangers turned around and threw him into that one-sided trade that just keeps on getting worse: Ray Ferraro, Mattias Norstrom, Nathan LaFayette, Laperriere and a pick for Jari Kurri, Marty McSorley and Shane Churla. My God. I hope the guy’s OK.
4) Whenever the Penguins season ends, the best part for me will be the wrecking ball aimed at that crappy Igloo.
5) Do you think the Devils wish Olli Jokinen had done something better than that 5-hole try in that Game 82 shootout?
6) I agreed with Doc Emrick, and loved that he said it, when coincidental minors were called for a little shoving and facewashing: That no penalty would have been called on such a play in the playoffs 10 years ago. So true. So sad.
7) With the Devils out, so are my chances of going 8 for 8 in “The inaugural Olli Jokinen Five-Hole/Beat the Blogfather Challenge and Picnic.” But I’m guessing a lot of youse are 0-1 with me.
AFTERNOON UPDATE, 2: 48 P.M.: Norris Trophy finalists: Drew Doughty, Mike Green (ugh!), Duncan Keith.
I really hate it when guys who are all offense and no defense, like Green, get the award.