Friday, June 26, 2009

Draft Day Wheeling and Dealings

So first of all, TGIF even though most of my weekend will be spent at a lacrosse tournament in the scorching heat (the things we do for kids' sports - yet another reason to love hockey is that you don't sweat your mascara down your face while watching). Of course tonight marked the start of the NHL draft from Montreal and to no one's surprise, the New York Islanders took John Tavares as the number one pick (despite all the Matt Duchene rumormongering swirling throughout the day).

Man-beast Victor Hedman is heading down to the beach to join last year's number one pick Steven Stamkos with the daytime drama that has become the Tampa Bay Lightning. And Matt Duchene, the third pick, is heading for the mountains to join the Colorado Avalanche organization. And a huge Hockey Mom high-five to Nick Leddy, an Eden Prairie, Minn. youngster who was drafted sixteenth to play for the Minnesota Wild. Way to represent your home state!

And as if they needed more nasty, the Philadelphia Flyers have acquired veteran d-man Chris Pronger (and winger Ryan Dingle) in a trade with the Ducks, who in turn get Joffrey Lupul and Luca Sbisa (okay, the Flyers just lost a teeny bit of nasty dealing Sbisa). Lots more movin' and shakin' to come, I'm sure so stay tuned!

In Caps notes, Alex Ovechkin has been nominated for two ESPN Espy Awards - Best Play and Best NHL Player – with the winners determined by fan voting (hopefully there will be no automated ballot box stuffing with this contest)! Be sure to get your votes in for the Great Eight by July 11 by voting here.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Feds Heading Home for KHL

After defecting from his country of birth back in 1990, looks like Caps' locker room leader and certain future Hall of Famer Sergei Fedorov is returning to Russia to finish his career in the KHL. According to Tarik El-Bashir, Feds has signed a 2-year contract for $3.8 million per season, numbers he would probably not see again in the NHL due to his age. I know the younger guys in the Caps' dressing room, along with thousands of Caps fans, will be sorry to see him go. One of my recent hockey converts and dearest friends who I dub "Feds Fan" is going to be inconsolable today. I sense either a retail or cocktail therapy session to ease her pain is in order later this evening!

So this summer, we say farewell to Viktor Kozlov, Sergei Fedorov and most likely our dear Donald Brashear. Not sure who's going to fill Brash's knuckle busting shoes but Johnny Erskine and Matt Bradley sure don't hesitate to throw down the gloves should they have to.

The anticipation of what GMGM will or will not do during the NHL Draft (starts tomorrow in Montreal) and free agency period is starting to build. The New York Islanders will most likely pick up young phenom John Tavares and are hosting a draft party at the ancient Nassau Coliseum tomorrow night for 22,000 of their closest friends. HM predicts that if they don't pick up Tavares (or at least man-beast Victor Hedman) the fans might raze the Coliseum themselves and save management some cash in taking down the old arena for a new and improved home!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Hockey Player Gets Cold Feet; Cancels Wedding via E-mail

A huge Hockey Mom head thump to L.A. Kings' player Jarret Stoll, who cancelled his wedding to former supermodel Rachel Hunter via e-mail. Now it's perfectly understandable that a 27-year old marrying a gal 13 years his senior might get cold feet, but Stoll might have consulted Miss Manners on how to properly cancel (or maybe even postpone) his star-studded nuptials in the technology age.

Just thought all you sports fans out there might like a little celebrity gossip (that doesn't involve Jon and Kate + 8 - Jon). Seriously, TLC please pull the plug for the love and from a fellow mom of multiples: Kate, you need to get a life and be a mom instead of tabloid fodder.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Another Bear Joins the Capitals' Den...

Bob Woods of Hershey Bears

The well-trodden path from Hershey, Pa. to Washington, D.C. just saw another huge imprint of "bear tracks" as the Capitals just announced the hiring of Bears' coach Bob Woods as new assistant bench boss for the big club.

From the team press release:

Capitals Hire Bob Woods as Assistant Coach

ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals have hired Bob Woods from the American Hockey League’s (AHL) Hershey Bears as an assistant coach, vice president and general manager George McPhee announced today.

Woods, 41, served as Hershey’s head coach last season and guided the Bears to a Calder Cup championship in six games against the Manitoba Moose. He was an assistant coach with the Bears and helped current Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau lead the Bears to a Calder Cup title in 2006. Woods was appointed head coach of the Bears when Boudreau was hired by the Capitals on Nov. 22, 2007.

The Leroy, Saskatchewan, native compiled an 83-47-15 (W-L-OT) record in 145 regular season games with Hershey and was 17-10 in 27 Calder Cup playoff games. Prior to joining Hershey as an assistant coach for the 2005-06 season, Woods was the head coach of the ECHL’s Mississippi Sea Wolves from 2001-05 and compiled a 169-94-25 (W-L-T) regular-season record.

Woods was selected in the 10th round, 201st overall in the 1988 NHL Entry Draft by the New Jersey Devils. He played 13 seasons of professional hockey, including 10 in the ECHL and was a player/assistant coach with Mississippi from 1998-2001. He was a member of the 1999 Kelly Cup championship team that was coached by Boudreau. The 1998-99 season was the only year that Woods and Boudreau spent together in Mississippi.

He retired from competitive play after the 2001 season and at that time was the ECHL’s all-time leader in games played with 559 (record has since been broken). He also set an ECHL record on March 14, 1998, as a member of the Tallahassee Tiger Sharks when he fired 17 shots on goal against the Louisiana IceGators. Woods was named second team defenseman on the ECHL’s 15th anniversary team in 2003 and was also named second team defenseman on the Hockey News’ 50th anniversary All-ECHL team in 1997. He scored 176 points in 209 games with Mississippi and the Sea Wolves retired his number in October 2002.

Woods also played for Hampton Roads, Johnstown and Mobile in the ECHL and for Hershey, Portland and Utica in the AHL. He won the 1997 Calder Cup with Hershey, making him involved in the organization’s last three Calder Cups. He is the only player in Hershey’s 71-year history to win a Calder Cup as a player, assistant coach and head coach.

Caps' GM George McPhee has a media conference call scheduled for later today to discuss this hiring along with this weekend's upcoming draft.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Green and Ovie Named to NHL First All-Star Team

The accolades continue for the sizzling hot Capitals as both Alexander Ovechkin and Mike Green were named to the NHL's First All-Star Team, as voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers' Association. Ovie has been named to the first team in each of his four years in the league. He joins former Montreal goaltender Bill Durnan as the only two players in NHL history to earn first team status in each of their first four seasons.

Ovie and Green’s appearance on the NHL First All-Star Team marked the first time the Capitals have had two players on the first team. Both players were selected by the Capitals in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.

Congrats to both and HM is hoping the Great Eight will be given another key to the city of Washington to celebrate his second Hart trophy in hopes that he waives the speed limit for another week (oh wait, we're in D.C. - these folks make up their own speed limits regardless).

Congrats to both Ovie and Mike along with the their other first team All-Star mates: goaltender Tim Thomas (Boston), defenseman Zdeno Chara (Boston), center Evgeni Malkin (Pittsburgh) and right wing Jarome Iginla (Calgary).

Thursday, June 18, 2009

It's a Major Award!

So tonight marks the NHL Awards Ceremony, which saw the one and only Chaka Khan open the show rocking the red hair streaks (along with a few stellar examples of "What Not to Wear"). There weren't many major surprises as far as award winners, but HM kind of liked the way they did it last year with youth players from across North America flanking the nominees. Yeah, I know - you don't want to have the young 'uns romping around Vegas -maybe next year.

It was definitely a good night for Boston Bruins fans, with Zdeno Chara winning the Norris for best defenseman, a choked-up Tim Thomas snagging the Vezina for best goaltender (HM was getting verklemped right there with him), and coach Claude Julien winning the Jack Adams award. A huge Hockey Mom high-five to Big Z and Pavel Datsyuk for the message they sent to youth hockey players to work hard and never give up!

Blue Jackets' goalie Steve Mason (who looks to be the same age as my boys) won the Calder award for his unbelievable rookie season and HM fave Jarome Iginla won the Mark Messier leadership award.

Our own Alex Ovechkin took home his second Lester B. Pearson award as voted on by his fellow players and was a class act, congratulating the rival Penguins on their Stanley Cup win. Ovie also drew some laughs from the star-studded crowd when he commented on Geno Malkin's English being better than Pavel Datsyuk's (who won the Selke Award for forward with best defensive prowess and his second consecutive Lady Byng for good manners and gentlemanly behavior on the ice).

AO also thanked the Caps' equipment manager Brock Myles as he accepted the Rocket Richard award for the second year in a row. As you would expect, the Great 8 goes through a lot of sticks in a season!

The highlight of the evening was Alex Ovechkin collecting his second Hart Trophy in as many years for MVP, beating out Evgeni Malkin and Pavel Datsyuk! In addition to recognizing the other nominees, Ovie thanked all of the fabulous Caps fans out there! As HM predicted, there will be some major bling on display at Kettler Capitals' Iceplex this season.

So hope you all will join me in a toast to all of tonight's winners and a special clink of the glass to Alex Ovechkin!

Speaking of major awards, congrats to all of HockeyBarn's 2009 New Media Award winners (which include yours truly - thanks so much to all of the judges for such an honor!):

I'm hoping that my "major award" leg lamp clad in some sleek Bauer Vapor skates gets here soon - those boys better not break it playing house hockey either!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Summer Signing Season: Laing Gets New Contract

The Washington Capitals have made their first off-season signing, inking a one-year deal with Hockey Mom fave Quintin Laing. The tenacious Laing, he of little teeth and huge "moxie", only played in one game last year for the Caps and suffered a torn spleen after blocking a shot (his specialty, thus the many missing pearly whites).

From the team's press release:

ARLINGTON, VA. – The Washington Capitals have re-signed left wing Quintin Laing to a one-year contract, vice president and general manager George McPhee announced today. In keeping with club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Laing, 30, played one game for Washington last season. He was recalled by the Caps from the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League on March 19 and played the entire game (10:19) at Tampa Bay despite suffering a torn spleen on his second shift in the first period. Laing ended the game with a +1 rating.

The 6’2”, 210-pound native of Rosetown, Saskatchewan, spent most of the season with the Calder Cup champion Bears. He tallied 25 points (9g-16a) in 55 regular-season games before his recall. Laing missed more than two months with his spleen injury, but he returned to the Bears during the Calder Cup playoffs and had two goals and two assists in nine games.

Laing was drafted by Detroit in the fourth round of the 1997 NHL Entry Draft, 102nd overall. He has played in 43 career NHL games (40 with Washington and three with Chicago) and has one goal and six assists. He was signed by Washington as a free agent on July 18, 2006.

Quintin Laing

Left Wing

Ht.: 6’2” Wt.: 210
Shoots: Left

Born: June 8, 1979 (Rosetown, Saskatchewan)
Drafted: Detroit’s fourth-round choice, 102nd overall, in the 1997 Entry Draft
Acquired: Signed as a free agent, July 18, 2006

Congrats Quintin and look forward to seeing you at Kettler when camp rolls around!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Countdown to Vegas

Now that Lord Stanley's Cup has been awarded to the Pittsburgh Penguins and they all went 'dawntawn' for the parade n'at, next up is the NHL Awards which will be broadcast on VERSUS this Thursday. Puck Daddy and JP of Japer's Rink are throwing a viewing bash in Arlington - a good time should be had by all, especially if our boys bring home more NHL Award bling!

Of course Alex Ovechkin will be awarded the Rocket Richard trophy for the second year in a row and he is also nominated for the Hart Trophy and Lester B. Pearson, as voted on by his peers in the NHL. Should Ovie win the Hart, it will be presented by fellow Capital(but for how long?) and countryman, future Hall of Famer Sergei Fedorov. Ovie made quite the splash this season, accumulating the following honors: He has been named the best player in the NHL in a vote of his NHL peers (the Sporting News Player of the Year), a vote of NHL journalists (USA Today panel), The Hockey News and by Hockey Mom fave Phil Esposito (the NHL Home Ice Espo Award).

And we can't forget Mike Green, who is up for his first Norris Trophy nomination. Best of luck to you both and HM can't wait to see the after party photos - should be quite the soiree!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Hershey Bears win Calder Cup!

Kudos to the Hershey Bears upon winning their 10th AHL Calder Cup with a 4-1 mauling of the Manitoba Moose. A special shout out to goalie Michal Neuvirth for earning the title of series MVP - Caps fans hope we'll being seeing some of you guys drop by for spell next season. In the meantime, savor your record-breaking Cup win and enjoy the brief off-season!

Game 7 – Penguins Win the Cup in 2-1 Win over Detroit

Game 7 – the one all youth players, beer leaguers and the NHL’s finest all dream of at some point in their hockey careers. It doesn’t get any better than this – at the end of three periods, one team will experience the indescribable ecstasy of hoisting the coveted Stanley Cup and the other the crushing defeat of coming so close and falling short. And here we are…

Note to NBC: Please don’t let Pierre McGuire and Mike Milbury do the cheesy pretend coach pep talk from each dressing room before the game starts…um, ever.

The first period was a battle for both teams and both clubs went into the locker room scoreless.

The Penguins got on the board first with a biscuit that bounced off of Geno’s skate right to Maxime Talbot’s stick – how’s that for some good karma? The resulting goal went five-hole on Wings’ net minder Chris Osgood. The Pens’ second goal was also courtesy of Max Talbot and a result of yet another flub from Wings’ d-man Brad Stuart. In the middle of the second period, Sidney Crosby was in a Mack truck of a collision with Johan Franzen and left in obvious pain for the locker room.

In their captain’s absence, the Pens stepped it up and saw great efforts by Jordan Staal, Chris Kunitz, Hall Gill, Geno and the rest of the supporting cast. Hockey Mom was right behind a sharp-dressed Jordan Staal in the halls of the Phone Booth after a Caps/Pens playoff game – two words: big dude. I’d love to see all of those brothers play a spirited game of pickup during the off-season in Thunder Bay, Ontario but I digress. Back to the game! Meanwhile, Marc-Andre Fleury had his best game of this series, stopping 23 shots.

The third period saw the return of Sid (albeit a very shaky one) as well as an early Detroit power play. Crosby was on for a brief shift and then went back to the bench in obvious discomfort. The defending champs finally got on the board after peppering Fleury’s goal for what seemed an eternity until the tally from Jonathan Ericsson lit the lamp to tighten the score 2-1. The last three minutes were action-packed as the Wings battled to stay in it and thought they had a tying goal near the two-minute mark but Kronwall’s shot pinged off the post. Ozzie evacuated the net for the extra skater at about 1 minute and change.

And much to Marian Hossa’s dismay, the Pittsburgh Penguins are the 2009 Stanley Cup Champions, overcoming a mid-season slump and a transition with a new coach in former AHLer, Dan Bylsma. And congrats to Geno Malkin for earning the Conn Smythe award for his contributions to this hard-fought victory.

had to choke back a few coughs and gags watching Sidney Crosby skate the Cup but alas, his team truly earned it. Their victorious Cup run teaches a valuable lesson to pros and house players alike, in that it’s anybody’s game til it’s OVER. Congrats to the Penguins and their fans (except for those in my family who are playoff fans only) – and to Dan Bylsma for leading his team to the pinnacle of hockey in such a short period.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Mid-Week Odds and Ends

For you Caps fans who can't wait til training camp (me included) - here's some insight from TSN analyst Scott Cullen on what the Caps need to do in the off-season (in addition to Ovie bringing home more "major awards" next week a la The Christmas Story). Somehow HM can envision Alex displaying the leg lamp with pride if he'd ever won such a thing of beauty!

Other schtuff going on as hockey fans count the minutes until the big Game 7 tomorrow:

  • Another one bites the dust as the Dallas Stars fired their bench boss Dave Tippett.
  • He's baacck - bad boy Ray Emery has signed a contract with the Philadelphia Flyers - might we see flashbacks of Ron Hextall at Wachovia Center next season with another hothead minding the crease?
  • Penguins' Petr Sykora may not get to play in the biggest game of the year tomorrow as he is ailing from an injured foot.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Hockey Mom Up for New Media Award

HM is very excited to report that Musings of a Hockey Mom has been nominated for a 2009 New Media Award in the (what else - Hockey Mom/Dad Writer of the Year Category).

As hockey moms are a tenacious bunch, I am honored to be included among two other fabulous nominees: Liz Goddard of and Dani Muccio, a pioneer of the NHL Tweetup movement.

Here are more details about the 2009 New Media Awards from the Press Release:

The final nominees for the 2009 HockeyBarn New Media Awards have been announced. Nominees were selected based upon their outstanding levels of commitment, quality, and service to new media in hockey. Nominations from peers, readers, and fans were carefully considered in the selection process. The award winners will be presented by Hall of Famer Glenn Anderson from Las Vegas, Nevada on June 17. Each winner will receive a gift package presented by Zamboni®. The Writer of the Year will receive a ticket to attend the 2009 Hockey Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony with Glenn Anderson on November 9, 2009.

The Caps-centric Japers Rink has been nominated for the Glenn Anderson Leadership Award: and the wild and wacky Puck Daddy himself (whose blog makes me laugh out loud and spit out my coffee on a daily basis), Greg Wyshynski is up for Writer of the Year. HM wishes all the awesome hockey writers who keep us in the loop on the sport we hold so dear the best of luck! is an online community for all grassroots players, coaches, parents, and fans who love the game of ice hockey. The site provides an in-depth and complete hockey online experience through the fusion of social networking with the latest hockey news & editorial, trends and technologies.

Penguins/Moose Stave Off Elimination

The Pittsburgh Penguins won a 2-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings last night in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals and the Manitoba Moose staved off elimination at the hands of the Hershey Bears in the Calder Cup Finals (Hockey Mom is sensing a zoo theme with all these critter-related teams in the finals).

Penguins' d-man Rob Scuderi momentarily tried his hand at goaltending by kick-saving a last second goal attempt by Detroit's "Mule" Johan Franzen to preserve the win. In a game that saw a lopsided 12 shots on goal for the Pens to the Wings' 3 in the first period, Crosby and pals showed no memory of the 5-0 losing debaucle that was Game 5. In addition to stellar goal tending from Marc-Andre Fleury, the Pens saw fabulous efforts by the likes of Jordan Staal, Brooks Orpik and Scuderi. Plus they did have a few calls in their favor (yes, Bill McCreary - Matt Cooke's hit on Pavel Datsyuk should have been an interference but that's now water under the Mon River bridge).

So Game 7 moves back to Detroit on Friday night in what will prove to be a true-nailbiter for fans of both teams. HM may have to throw up just a little should I have to watch Crosby hoist Lord Stanley's Cup, but on the other hand it would reinforce the lesson I'm always preaching that "anything is possible when you refuse to quit" - which applies to the Pens, our beloved Capitals and of course my kids' youth hockey teams. I admire the grit and determination that the Pens have shown throughout this series, especially after coming back from that ugly Game 5 thumping. That said, I still am not and probably will never be, a big Sid fan - Geno Malkin on the other hand is cool in my book.

Meanwhile down at the farm, the Hershey Bears saw goals last night from Graham Mink and John Carlson but ultimately lost a 3-2 decision in Game 5 of the Calder Cup Finals. The Bears still lead the series 3-2 and will attempt to clinch the title on Moose home ice on Friday.

While we're on the theme of zoo animals, the Philadelphia Flyers might get a little more thugnasty (if that's even possible) as rumor has it that the team is close to signing former Ottawa goalie and poster boy for detention hall, Ray Emery.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Gabby to Cheer on Hershey Bears

Caps bench boss Bruce Boudreau will forego throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at tomorrow's Washington Nationals game and head up to Chocolate Town to cheer on the Hershey Bears!

From the Caps PR staff:

Bruce Boudreau first pitch canceled

ARLINGTON, Va. – Washington Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau will no longer throw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Washington Nationals game on Tuesday, June 9. Instead, Boudreau will be at Game 5 of the Calder Cup finals between the Hershey Bears and the Manitoba Moose in Hershey, Pa. The Bears lead the best-of-seven series 3-1 and have a chance to win their tenth Calder Cup on Tuesday and first since Boudreau guided the Bears to the Calder Cup in 2006.

Say it one more time (LOUDER) - Let's go Bears! Be the WALL Michal Neuvirth...

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Feathers Fly for Penguins at the Joe

The Pittsburgh Penguins had some bad mojo at Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena in last night’s 5-0 thrashing at the hands of the Red Wings. The Penguins disintegrated in Game 5, taking 12 penalties including three 10-minute misconducts from Talbot, Craig Adams and mean ole Matt Cooke. Sidney Crosby took a completely undisciplined slash to Hank Zetterberg’s ankle in Period 2 that brought back memories of Tonya Harding trying to eliminate Nancy Kerrigan (though next time Sid, you may want to borrow Tonya’s bodyguard – that was a weak effort).

With Pavel Datsyuk (one of the most disciplined players in the game who's a finalist for yet another Lady Byng award for gentlemanly behavior), the Pens could ill-afford to self-destruct in the penalty department. Datsyuk had an incredible return after missing the first four games due to injury and kicked in assists on goals from Dan Cleary and Brian Rafalski. Marc-Andre Fleury was pulled for bench duty for the first time in these playoffs after letting in five goals on 21 shots. Backup goalie Mathieu Garon stopped the remaining eight shots he faced but the writing was on the wall for the self-destructing Pens. The ice birds face elimination but will be playing in front of their raucous home crowd when Game 6 returns ‘dawntawn to the Igloo’ on Tuesday night.

Meanwhile down on the farm, the Hershey Bears won another big one in the Calder Cup Finals last night, beating the Manitoba Moose 3-0 in the land of chocolate kisses. Graham Mink and Alexandre Giroux both lit the lamp for the Bears and once again, Quintin Laing topped it off with an empty-net tally. Goaltender Michal Neuvirth stonewalled all 28 of Manitoba’s attempts. The Bears lead the best of seven series two games to one and Game 4 takes place today Chocolate Town at 5 p.m. Let’s Go Bears!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Is This Bogus or What?

One of Hockey Mom's fabulous readers recently brought a situation to my attention that leaves me speechless. Check out this article on United States Air Force Academy hockey player, Kevin Wright, and his issues with eligibility according to the NCAA's hare-brained rules.

You have got to be kidding me with this. In the world of collegiate sports, it seems like every day there is a front-page sports story of some Division 1-A athlete in trouble for sexual assault, theft, drug use, accusations of accepting gifts from overzealous alumni, the list goes on. Yet, the NCAA wants to penalize a true student-athlete, whose only offense was trying to further his academic career (and on the advice of an academic counselor no less). And who upon graduation, will be serving our country as a member of the armed forces.

Bogus - completely and utterly incomprehensible....HM is pulling for you Kevin.

Monday Musings

Hockey Mom has a confession to make - yes, I fell asleep last night before the third period of Red Winds/Penguins Finals Game 2. I know - what kind of hockey fan am I? But with marathon lacrosse tryouts, a house hockey game, co-worker's baby shower plus the zillion other items on my to-do list every weekend, I was just plain spent. Turning on the NHL Network this morning, I thought I was seeing the score from Saturday night's game (Wings 3 - Pens 1) but the Wings rolled through Game 2 with the same end result as Game 1. Frustrate the heck out of the Penguins' offense, hold Sid the Kid scoreless and plant yourselves in the paint in front of your goalie Chris Osgood (who has been phenonemal).

It's been fun watching the Penguins get feisty (though HM thought Crosby's "love tap" on Kurt Maltby's ankle at the end of Game 1 was uncalled for). And Evgeni Malkin's fight against Wings stud Henrik Zetterberg last night was beautiful (not in an enforcer sense but nice to see Geno drop the gloves). Old time hockey - jerseys, fists and sticks flying. This series is getting ugly fast.

But watching the Red Wings - there are so many reasons why they've been so great for the past few seasons (and why Gabby the cat picked them to repeat as Cup champions). Their play as a "team" is stellar - yes, they have some of most elite players in the game in Nick Lidstrom, Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Marian Hossa and yada yada yada. But from the minute the puck drops, there is no "I'll just do it myself" mentality on this bench.

I'll say it again: They are crazy-deep in talent (and secondary scoring). They have dudes like Justin Abdelkader, (HM just calls him "The Abdelkader" for fun) - who never scored an NHL goal before the Finals and now has two! And what more needs to said for The Mule (Johan Franzen) - who is one of the hardest-working players in the game today?

And though it seems like the refs have stashed their whistles in their pockets for the duration - the Wings had virtually no penalties in last night's contest (with the exception of that mean ole Nik Kronwall cross-checking Malkin).

Plus, they have Chris Osgood, who despite being a bit shaky during the regular season, has become an absolute wall in stopping 62 of the 64 shots he faced in Games 1 and 2.

But it's not over til the fat lady sings so the Pens' faithful better be cheering loud and waving those terrible towels furiously tomorrow night at the Igloo.

In other miscellaneous news, the Montreal Canadiens have a new bench boss in Jacques Martin, former GM of the Florida Panthers.

And the Washington Capitals can add one more Cap-crazy fan to the masses. Always a sucker for a happy ending, HM reads Date Lab in the Washington Post magazine every Sunday. So Carolyn, who got set up in this issue, may or may not have found true love but the Caps have added another fun gal to proudly rock the red:

UPDATE: Happy hour didn't work out, but the two did go to a Capitals game together. "We had lots of fun," Carolyn says. A bonus: "I'm a huge ice hockey fan now."