Come hell or high water, the 2008-2009 season will conclude on Friday with a Game 7 match-up between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings. This has probably been the most entertaining finals since the fabled ’94 match between the Rangers and Canucks.
For those who were unable to watch or chose not to, Game 6 ended with a flurry of activity, all of which was created by the Wings. Penguin goalie Marc-Andre Fleury saved the game when he stopped Dan Cleary on a breakaway with less than 2 minutes left in regulation. The breakaway came after defenseman Brooks Orpik coughed up a puck after an offensive zone face-off win. Hmmm, where have I seen that before, minus the goalie making the save.
Alas, this series has my full endorsement.
–Anyone who was curious as to what exactly Niklas Lidstrom kept out of the majority of the Western Conference Finals, here’s why. I liked it better when I just thought he had a lower body injury. No need for specifics on something like that.
–With the NHL draft just two weeks away, the Hawks have some holes to plug in their depth chart. Look for them to go heavy on defensemen and centers. The Hawks are pretty thin in both areas.
On defense, the only player they have of considerable value is Shawn Lalonde, last year’s third round pick.
At center, they appear even thinner. Nathan Davis, Evan Brophey, and Jake Dowell all spent the year in Rockford and none look like anything other than a 3rd line center at best.
On the bright side, we said last summer Kris Versteeg would never be a big contributor and he turned a major corner this year. The main reason for that is because the Hawks aren’t looking for saviors anymore, so guys like Versteeg can step in and be a pleasant surprise. Not to mention, skating on a line with Patrick Kane or Patrick Sharp will make a lot of guys look better. We’ll just have to wait and see.