Greetings from Pittsburgh, where the Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe Trophy are in the house just in case they're needed.
If you didn't see, I wrote a feature on Sidney Crosby today with a look back at his one year dominating prep hockey down at Shattuck-St. Mary's. Here's that article.
No Tomas Hertl in Game 5 for the Sharks. Pete DeBoer, San Jose's coach, joked that the Sharks' entire motivation is to make the media get on a plane tomorrow and fly back to San Jose.
John Torchetti, the Wild's interim coach who guided Minnesota to a 15-11-1 record and a trip into the postseason for a fourth consecutive season, has been named an assistant coach with the Detroit Red Wings.
Torchetti, who once upon a time was GM of the International Hockey League Detroit Vipers, was a candidate for at least the Florida Panthers assistant opening as well. Last week, the Panthers settled on former Wild assistant coach Dave Barr to assist Gerard Gallant.
For Red Wings fans, here are a couple Torchetti features I wrote last season:
This is Torchetti's seventh NHL franchise after working in Tampa Bay, Florida, Los Angeles, Chicago (won Cup in 2010), Atlanta and Minnesota.
This also officially opens a head coaching position in Iowa, the Wild's AHL affiliate.
Iowa GM Brent Flahr, who doubles as Minnesota's assistant GM, has gotten some calls. The Wild is in the midst of amateur meetings this week as it makes its final preparations for the draft, but afterward, the Wild would like to address the Iowa opening before the draft, if not sooner.
David Cunniff, who took over for Torchetti on an interim basis when he was promoted to Minnesota, will get strong consideration. He is the son of former New Jersey Devils and Hartford Whalers Head Coach John Cunniff.
Cunniff was 8-11-2-3 after replacing Torchetti. His .438 points percentage is best in Iowa history, believe it or not. Iowa was 19-19-3-3 after Christmas after a 5-22-2-3 start.
Here in Pittsburgh, the Penguins are hoping to close out the San Jose Sharks tonight and hoist their fourth Stanley Cup win in franchise history.
Veteran Matt Cullen, who played the tail end of Game 4 on a line with Sidney Crosby, looks primed and ready to go.
His parents, two brothers, sister and a ton of cousins are currently en route to Pittsburgh for the potential decisive game.
"That makes it extra special," Cullen said.
But he added, "The biggest challenge on a day like today is not to get too carried away with all the extra thoughts that come into your mind. It's a special time, it's emotional, but ultimately, you have to force yourself to really think about the job at hand because it's easy to get carried away."
His wife, Bridget, has secured 40 tickets for family and friends tonight.
When you're in the Penguins' room, it's clear to see how respected Cullen, who won a Stanley Cup in 2006 with Carolina, is.
"We use him in so many important situations," coach Mike Sullivan said. "I have a tremendous amount of respect for Matt as a person and how he's able to have an impact on our locker room and on the bench. He's accomplished a lot in this game. I think he brings a certain experience level, a certain perspective having gone through some many different experiences as a player. And just his ability to share that with players in the locker room I think has been invaluable for our team. And I think he relishes that role with our group.
"I look at him as an extension of our coaching staff. He has a certain demeanor about him that's composed when the stakes are high, and I think that has an everlasting impact on the rest of our group."