I didn't get home until a few minutes earlier, and I felt the need to get right to the old blog and start putting pen to paper. Er, make that fingers to keys. Lots of stuff happening in the world of hockey, and some stuff that has already passed, so I need to get the updates out. Of course, I'll put my own spin on some of these stories, making them infinitely more biased than they seem, but I appreciate you reading. So without further fanfare, here are your delicious stories from the past few days.
- The ECHL's Kelly Cup was handed out on Monday night as the South Carolina Stingrays downed the Alaska Aces by a 4-2 score to win the title in seven games. This is the third Kelly Cup Championship for the Stingrays, having won in 1997 and 2001, and ties them as a three-time ECHL Champion with only the former Hampton Roads franchise in ECHL history. Congratulations to the South Carolina Stingrays: the ECHL Kelly Cup Champions!
- Some interesting facts on South Carolina's road to glory: (1) The Stingrays travelled more than 18,000 miles in this series against Alaska. It's 4517 miles from Charleston, South Carolina to Anchorage, Alaska, eclipsing the previous record set in 2005 when Alaska travelled 4444 miles to Trenton, New Jersey. (2) South Carolina won the Kelly Cup without home-ice advantage in any series, marking them as only the fifth team to do so. (3) South Carolina became only the second road team to win a Game Seven in the ECHL Final, joining the 1989 Carolina franchise in doing so.
- Jim Playfair, former head coach of the Calgary Flames, has been handed the reins to the AHL's Abbotsford Heat. His previous stint in the AHL saw him coaching the Saint John Flames where he compiled a record of 83-77-22-10, and was named Minor Professional Coach of the Year by The Hockey News. Playfair should be a good teacher for the AHL ranks, and the baby Flames should be better than what they fared in Quad City with Playfair at the helm.
- The ECHL announced yesterday that it is adding a new franchise into the fold. The Kalamazoo Wings will move from the IHL to the ECHL for the 2009-10 season. Kalamazoo finished fourth in the IHL standings this season. Kalamazoo will be placed into the ECHL North Division, joining the Cincinnati Cyclones, the Elmira Jackals, the Johnstown Chiefs, the expansion Toledo Walleye and the Wheeling Nailers.
- Lots of chatter about "The Piece" and his impending free agency as Penguins' defenceman Rob Scuderi makes a name for himself throughout these Stanley Cup Playoffs. His rock-bottom bargain price of $750,000 per season will undoubtedly go up after his showing in this post-season, but let's not forget his regular season. Scuderi led all Penguins with a +23 rating this season on the strength of one goal and 15 assists in 81 games. His durability will give him a big bargaining chip, especially if he comes to play every night like he has thus far. My thoughts? I'd offer him $2.5 million per season for three years. The Penguins have all the cornerstones in place, and, at 30 years-old, Scuderi may take success over big money somewhere else.
- There is also rumours floating about that if Scuderi's asking price is above what the Penguins think he may be worth, Anaheim Ducks' defenceman Francois Beauchemin might be on GM Ray Shero's radar in Pittsburgh. Beauchemin would bring that Western Conference grittiness that the Eastern Conference seems to be lacking, and they have a pretty good read on his character with former Duck Chris Kunitz sitting in the Penguins' dressing room. I, for one, wouldn't complain if Beauchemin suited up for the Arctic Fowl next season.
- The Bleacher Report puts together a phenomenal article on the "40 Greatest Players to Never Scratch Their Name on the Stanley Cup". Highly-recommended reading, and one that really puts into perspective how hard that trophy is to win. Some of the names in that list really deserve it.
- With Jim Balsillie's Make It Seven website plastered all over since he announced his intentions to buy the Coyotes, there have been a few sites that have taken jabs at the Canadian billionaire. However, one site has gone further with their newest idea: Make It Five! Priceless comedy here. Check it out.
- Dave Tippett's time as Dallas' bench boss is over. Tippett was fired today by new Stars' GM Joe Nieuwendyk as the team looks to change the pattern it was developing over the last few seasons. Personally, this change was needed. The Stars were getting progressively worse, and Tippett never seemed to change with the more offensive NHL. While a large part of last season's disappointment can be attributed to some key injuries, it's time that the Stars look at a more offensively-minded coach. And yet the Stars have asked to speak to Marc Crawford. Go figure.
- Lastly, I want to welcome Matt Proctor to the blogosphere. Matt has started a blog called The Hockey Jerseys Guide, so I thought I'd help him get a few new readers. Personally, his Top Five Jerseys of All-Time article has a few flaws in it from my point of view, but if those are his all-time favorites, who are we to judge, right? Check him out. Give him a chance.
Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!