BOSTON – Not much to report on the Wings side of things. The Hockey Ops side of the club is getting ramped up for the NHL Draft. The league’s General Managers will also meet on Wednesday before Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final in Boston.
About that Stanley Cup Final, which has seen a direct run-in with Murphy’s Law. Literally. Little did we know what type of controversy would ensue last Wednesday, as Colin Campbell stepped down from his post as the NHL’s discipline enforcer before Game 1.
Brendan Shanahan doesn’t start his new job until next season, leaving Mike Murphy, who due to a potential conflict of interest with Campbell’s son Gregory on the Boston squad, in charge of all punishment and authority for the most important series of the year.
Given the nature of the Stanley Cup Final, the league would prefer to have everything settled on the ice, giving as much leeway as possible to the players. That was until Vancouver’s Alex Burrows bit Patrice Bergeron’s finger in a scrum along the boards after the first period of Game 1. This wasn’t a hard hit, but something according to many, seen as beyond the realm of gamesmanship.
Then, much to the surprise to many, Burrows wasn’t suspended for the action, with the league ruling that they couldn’t conclusively determine if intent was involved.
And that’s where Murphy’s Law comes into play. Not only did Alex Burrows play in Game 2, he scored a pair of goals, including the game-winner just 11 seconds into overtime, the second fast OT goal in the history of the Stanley Cup Final.
The headlines just wrote themselves. It was also a play, ruling notwithstanding, that the Boston trio of Andrew Ference, Zdeno Chara and Tim Thomas would love to have back.
“No comment,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said of the Burrows non-suspension after Game 2. “They (The NHL) made a decision. We moved on. For us, if we start using it as an excuse, we’re a lame team.”
The thing is, ‘bite gate’ has diminished the attention that should be given to a pair of outstanding hockey games. Not just because of the Burrows angle, but because Max Lapierre was caught on camera taunting the aforementioned Bergeron about it during the third period of Game 2.
The long-term statistics favor the Canucks, as teams that have taken a 2-0 series lead at home are 32-2 in the Cup Final. We all remember one of those two, as Pittsburgh beat the Red Wings by winning all three games at Mellon Arena and Game 7 at the Joe.
Though since the end of the lockout in 2005-06, the higher seeded team has taken a 2-0 lead in each of the last six Stanley Cup Final series. The lower seeded team has gone 5-0 in Game 3. Only once, in 2007, has the series not gone at least six games.
Other festivities surrounding Game 3 include four of the top North American skaters in the NHL Draft meeting the media, and Mark Messier will talk about his leadership award, of which Nick Lidstrom is nominated for.
- Winging it in Motown has grades for Todd Bertuzzi and Danny Cleary.
- Our own Mickey Redmond will be honored by the Hockey Hall of Fame! Congrats Mickey!
- A little feature on the artwork on Jimmy Howard’s mask.
- Jakub Kindl was named the team’s rookie of the year by the Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association.