-- The Boston Bruins are making the Chicago Blackhawks look a lot like the Penguins did in the Eastern Conference Finals. Game 4 is huge for the Hawks (says Captain Obvious) but it will be even more difficult to win if Marian Hossa is out of the line-up again. Either way, it will be interesting to see if Chicago can make any adjustments to help them out of the sleeper hold the Bruins have started to apply. Coach Quenneville probably shouldn't ask Dan Bylsma for any advice on that front.
-- Speaking of Bylsma, as we all know he got a vote of confidence from GM Ray Shero by receiving a contract extension a couple of days after the Penguins were eliminated from the playoffs. The comments from reliable sources seem to indicate that Mario and the ownership believe strongly in Shero as GM and Shero believes in Bylsma. The players like Bylsma too. Now that we have acknowledged the good feelings toward eachother by all of those involved, let's see if they ALL can't find a way to get back to the finals next year.
-- Speed is important but relative. I read a lot of comments about how slow the Penguins looked...especially their trade deadline acquisitions (The Turtle Trio?)...in the series against the Islanders and Bruins. When you lose you almost always look slower...most of the time because you are not controlling the game...thus you are chasing after the other team who has the puck. But the important thing, in my opinion, is that it's not speed that makes the difference, it's positioning. If you ask a guy that's slower than you might want (or need) to play a certain type of game that's so dependent on speed, he's gonna look and potentially be, snail slow when the opposition goes the other way. Bylsma is either going to need to get more players that can execute his style of play more consistently...or change his style. You can't keep pounding square pegs into round holes and expect there not to be a big mess as a result.
-- Speaking of big messes...did anybody see the jacket Don Cherry had on?
-- What are we to make of the Flyers signing of Mark Streit? OK...he has an offensive upside, even at 35 (will be 36 in Dec) but he's not exactly known for his play in the defensive zone. He was a -14 last season in New York and a -27 the year before. Sure, The Isles haven't been a great even strength team, but his defensive teammate Lubomir Visnovsky was a +12 last year. I'm sure it's part of other things the Flyers will do to bolster their defense this off season...so maybe we hold off judgement until we see more from them?
-- I was eating in a local restaurant the other day and happened to notice the two guys sitting at the bar looked very familiar. Upon closer inspection (which was more obvious than I would have liked) I saw that it was James Neal and Paul Martin. I was thinking of casually going over to ask them for autographs for my son but then more people started to arrive at the restaurant and I got the sense they probably just wanted to enjoy their dinner. I did ask the guy who waited on me if they came in often and he said 'Pretty often. I think they like it here 'cause they don't get bothered much. Kris Letang is usually with them.' I wonder if it was just coincidence or if maybe James and Paul are trying to get used to what it might be like next year?