Here are your Evening Puck Headlines and Previews: A glorious collection of news and views collected from the greatest blogosphere in sports and the few, the proud, the mainstream hockey media.
• Just a reminder that you can follow my snarky musings, press conference coverage and random headlines on Twitter every day. Hey, Alyssa Milano is. Seriously.
Keys for the Hurricanes: Well, it's clearly time to bring out the big guns. And since Eric Staal isn't showing up anytime soon, that means it's time for former Pittsburgh Steelers Coach Bill Cowher to sound the Hurricane Warning siren before the game. Sidney Crosby's reaction ... was pretty much what you'd expect it be. But Max Talbot's reaction: "You want to kind of prove him wrong ... that he should be cheering for us instead of them." God bless the interesting.
As for keys for Game 4, we already covered how much a Staal goal changes things. But it could be something as simple as making their chances count instead of expending energy in the offensive zone to just miss the net or get a shot blocked. And hey, maybe not allowing Malkin and Crosby to waltz down to Cam Ward untouched could be something they might be interested in.
Keys for the Penguins: As The Pensblog (brilliant banner, boys) puts it: killer instinct. The Penguins haven't earned their coffee yet during this postseason when they have their first crack at eliminating a foe. The Philadelphia Flyers prolonged their series. The Washington Capitals pushed it to Game 7. So the challenge is to end this thing on the first try, with the knowledge that they're one win away from a crap-ton of rest before it's Hossa time.
Other than that ... just keep on keepin' on. The defensemen have done a number on the Hurricanes' key players, to the point where the Staal/Whitney tandem has been playing to a minus at home despite have the last change. And hopefully Crosby and Malkin continue their own private Conn Smythe derby.
Meanwhile, in the rest of creation ...
• Sad to report that Peter Zezel has passed at age 44. [Comcast]
• Jim Balsillie will withdraw his $212.5-million bid for the Phoenix Coyotes if "the sale and relocation of the Coyotes to Hamilton are not approved by June 29." See, now here's the problem with Jimmy Balls: The court has a timetable. The NHL has a timetable. Both of those timetables supersede the one that he's mapped out in his head. The judge already admonished all parties for their haste in the entire matter. And Balsillie's just continuing the practice. [Globe & Mail]
• "NHL's desert experiment with Phoenix Coyotes hasn't drawn the fans." Here are the hockey teams that have played in Phoenix, AZ, since the 1950s. Will the Canadian Press be calling Dallas an "experiment" too, going forward? [CP]
• In a stunning development, Martin Havlat doesn't practice and is questionable for Game 5. Nikolai Khabibulin also didn't go, and appears doubtful for the Blackhawks. No Pavel Datsyuk or Nicklas Lidstrom, either, at Wings' practice. [Daily Herald]
• Calgary Flames GM Darryl Sutter thinks there are three coaches in the NHL who are "excellent" and that he's the fourth right behind them. So that makes him the top candidate for the Flames' job heading into the interview process, which hopefully will involve Sutter interviewing himself with some sort of sock puppet. [CBC Sports]
• If for some reason Sutter doesn't blow himself away in the interview, there are a few other lesser names that could move behind the bench in Calgary. [Matchsticks and Gasoline]
• Radek Smolenak, a restricted free agent for the Tampa Bay Lightning, has signed with Niznekamsk of the KHL. Don't worry: He's a winger, not a defenseman; the Bolts still have roughly 43,000 of those guys. [Lightning Strikes]
• Cool interview with Mike McGrath, Pro Hockey Product Manager for Easton. Did you know Tijuana is "the birthplace of nearly 60% of the NHL's composite sticks?" [Here Come The Bruins]
• Finally, our old pal Steve Dangle is doing some nice video features that involve player interviews. Here's his chat with Peter Holland of the Guelph Storm, slated as a potential 1st-round pick in the 2009 NHL entry draft in Montreal. Check out Dangle's channel for more.