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Stanley Cup Finals: A few thoughts

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  • One intermission appearance by Don Cherry won't do anything to build a nation-wide American TV audience for hockey. Versus and NBC need to figure out a way to get Cherry on a more regular basis, like a "Coach's Corner" on their Monday night game, for example.
  • While it's common practice to describe Ottawa as the skating team and Anaheim as the more physical squad, the bottom line is that you can't lay the body on the puck carrier as often as Anaheim does without skating your butt off in hot pursuit. The tempo at which the Ducks play can be very impressive.
  • No, Daniel Alfredsson didn't kick that puck in during Game Three. He was in the midst of making a hockey stop with a defenseman all over him, leaving little room to make such a play.
  • I don't agree with those who think kicking the puck in should be legal - can you imagine the chaos on a goal-mouth scramble? You'd have defensemen going down to block, and forwards kicking those skate blades around... sounds like a sure-fire recipe for another Clint Malarchuk episode.
  • It's hard to believe Chris Pronger only got a one-game suspension for the elbow he delivered to Dean McAmmond's head, only a couple weeks after a similar suspension for his hit on Tomas Holmstrom. Surely there should be some sort of graduation in penalty - if you get suspended for a game early in the playoffs and repeat the offense, tack an extra game on to the second suspension at least. The current "make it up as we go along" style of punishment doesn't leave anybody happy.
  • It's good to see the NHLPA leadership acting in a deliberate, professional manner and are talking to all the right people about how they should go about recruiting a new executive director.
  • As has been noted by many others, Ottawa's handling of the national anthems has been simply amazing. They give genuine, gracious applause to the Star Spangled Banner, and belt out O Canada with simple, straightforward enthusiasm. I have never seen the likes of this on U.S. soil, period.
  • You have to give credit where it's due - the in-game crew working the games on NBC is top-notch, better than any group put together by ESPN or Fox in years past. The intermissions don't work as well, however, because Bill Clement simply isn't the studio-host type who can orchestrate a lively discussion, and frame questions in the right manner for ex-jocks like Brett Hull and Ray Ferraro to respond. His analysis as a color man is usually quite good, but for some reason Versus and NBC keep pounding that square peg into a round hole.
  • One of my favorite moments from Game Three was when Ottawa's Jason Spezza had to wear the #44 of teammate Patrick Eaves for a short while, since his own #19 was torn by Sammy Pahlsson. Stuff like that happens all the time to us beer-leaguers, but I've never seen that before at the NHL level. Next thing you know, Daniel Alfredsson is going to show up in Anaheim for Game Five with two strips of tape on his back for #11...
  • Along those same lines, you have to feel for Eaves in that spot. Everybody has their role on a given team, but "Clothes Hanger" won't exactly ring the cash register at contract time.

Please pardon the lack of posts in recent days - work's quite busy, but the pace will pick up again shortly.