Finals Almost Here

I’ve been traveling a lot for work lately, mostly in Wings country.  I made a day trip into Blackhawk territory and had a great time, as always, back in my adopted hometown.  While I was out, the Blue Jackets decided to test their fans patience further by dismissing Jim Day.  It doesn’t bother me that much what the organization decides, because when all is said and done, it’s their world and we just live in it.  If Fox Sports was my only insight into Blue Jacket hockey, I might get upset.

Down in Phoenix, we await the next step of the Kabuki theater in the quest to see who owns the Phoenix Coyotes and therefore who has the right to manage and sell the operation.  If the NHL wins, I would be very wary if I were a wealthy man who wanted to own a hockey team.  If the court rules that the League can grab the franchise away from the former owner, why would anyone want to buy a team but not have any rights as to its operation?  If your franchise is in trouble and you can’t make it work in the city where it lives, shouldn’t you have the right to move out if the market dictates that?  Or does the NHL work under a different type of capitalism?

Speaking of capitalism, three Russian players (all right, one of them is Ukranian) are making news.  Viktor Kozlov of the Washington Capitals has reportedly jumped to the KHL.  Kozlov is a big man who had a decent playoff, but is 35 and on the down-side of his career.  Sergei Fedorov is considering a nice contract with Metallurg of the KHL to end his caeer.  And Nik Zherdev says that he is not going to jump to the KHL and wants to remain in New York with the Rangers, where he is not as loved as he once was.  I really think that Zherdev is going to have a difficult time playing for John Tortorella, a guy who makes Ken Hitchcock look soft.  So maybe Nik and his agent should look for a good team and coach that will be the right fit.

Last night, I was glad to see the Penguins put the tired Hurricanes out of their misery.  That is not intended as disrespect towards Carolina, but an acceptance that the Hurricane season had run its course and that maybe the Penguins really should get a re-match with the Red Wings.  Matt Cooke and Chris Kunitz better watch themselves against Detroit.  The Wings will not put up with the stuff that those two got away with in the early rounds and I would not want to give the Wings a lot of powerplay chances.

Yes, that last paragraph more or less indicates that I think it will be a Detroit-Pittsburgh final.  I like the Blackhawks, but Detroit is too good, too smart, and too disciplined.  Maybe next year, as the Cubs always say.


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