The Conference finals are in full swing, and everything appears to be in order. The Penguins are heading into Philadelphia up two games to none, and the Detroit Red Wings are a game away from running the table on the Dallas Stars. It is at this time that my pick of Dallas in seven games seems a little ill advised, but I guess that's the risk you run going out on a limb like that. With everyone else picking the Wings I would look like a genius if the Stars took this one, but that's looking a little unlikely.
Actually, with everything unfolding pretty much exactly as was expected the big stories in hockey have been from matters outside of the playoffs. Well, except maybe Mike Ribeiro and Chris Osgood's attics following game two. Just recently the head coach of the San Jose Sharks Ron Wilson became the former head coach of the San Jose Sharks. This sets the score for an off-season that could be as much about signing free agents as it is about locking down a head coach. Along with the Sharks, the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Colorado Avalanche, and the Florida Panthers are looking for someone to fill that spot behind the players on the bench. Also the Thrashers have to be looking for a coach to take over for GM Don Waddell who has assumed the duties since Bob Hartley has fired early in the season.
In my preview for the Eastern Conference Finals I mentioned how I didn't think everyone realized how big of a deal Kimmo Timonen's absence would be. Fire that, sniffing out a juicy storyline the hockey media are now painting the 33 year old defenseman as if he is a first ballot hall-of-famer. The guy is solid, but Versus answer to every Penguins goal is to question what would have been differently had Timonen been in the lineup. I'd say it's about time for everyone to calm down, but with the puck dropping in Philadelphia later this evening, I think we all know there is little hope of that.