Good day from beautiful Minneapolis.
Today's the June 1 NHL deadline to sign certain draft picks. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, the Wild's opted not to sign Eero Elo (145th overall, 2008), Niko Hovinen (132, 2006) and Harri Ilvonen (170, 2007). Elo and Ilvonen will be deleted from the Wild's reserve list and can re-enter the Draft later this month in L.A. Hovinen will be deleted from the Wild's reserve list and will become a draft-related free agent.
Luckily, none of the Finns play for Ilves Tampere, so they won't get a chance to stick it to the Wild in the Oct. 4 exhibition game between the Wild and Ilves in Tampere, Finland.
Anyway, this is common thing. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, teams never sign all their draft picks.
Congrats to colleague Marc De Foy, who's covered the Canadiens for more than 30 years, for winning the Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award for hockey journalism. Congrats to Ron Weber, the original play-by-play voice of the Capitals, for winning the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for outstanding contributions as a hockey broadcaster.
They'll receive their awards at the Hockey Hall of Fame Induction Weekend Nov. 5-8. This year's Hockey Hall of Fame inductees will be announced June 22.Here's a list of eligible players (first-year eligible and other eligible players). Joe Nieuwendyk probably has the best chance of the first-year eligible players to get in this year (564 goals, 3 Cups, 3 different teams).
So could this be Dino Ciccarelli's year? There are 18 600-goal scorers in the history of the league and Ciccarelli and Dave Andreychuk are the only eligible 600-goal scorers who aren't in the Hall. How about Phil Housley (highest-scoring American defenseman ever), Doug Gilmour or Adam Oates (1,400-points each)?
I think Housley deserves it especially. I love Hall of Famer Larry Murphy, but is Housley any less deserving to be in the Hall? Only difference is Housley didn't get lucky enough to play for the Red Wings late in his career. And Ciccarelli was unfortunate enough to be dealt from the Wings prior to their Cup run.
The Chicago Blackhawks have a 2-0 series lead over the Philadelphia Flyers in the Stanley Cup Finals. Game 1 was a wild 6-5 affair. Last night, the Blackhawks won 2-1 in a predictably tighter contest in which both goalies discarded the butterflies.
Both games were highly entertaining. Also entertaining has been Chris Pronger's antics or what's being called "gamesmanship." After each loss, he's swiped the game puck from the ice to keep it out of the hands of the Blackhawks.
He's clearly trying to get under Chicago's skin and says it's working. Is it? Chicago's two wins from the Cup.
I'm most amazed that Pronger's first thought after each of these one-goal defeats is to go find the puck. How about winning a game first? It just looks so childish, besides being disrespectful.
I'm sure the Blackhawks have no problem with Pronger resorting to mind games, especially when it's his mind in the waning seconds of another loss that's keeping one eye on the puck so he can retrieve it.
Sometimes I think Pronger's too "smart" for his own good.