NHL Thought Number 1: After a recent Flyers practice I had a quick chat with coach Peter Laviolette who was still in his stocking feet after yanking off his skates. Laviolette grew up a Bruins fan in Massachusetts, and proof of his 11 seasons paying his dues in the minor leagues is etched all over his face. Game 7's in the NHL are, without question, some of the most intense, exciting events in all of sports. So I know Flyers fans are going nuts right now waiting for the game to start. Maybe this will calm your nerves a bit: the last time I talked to Laviolette was in 2006 when his Hurricanes went on to win the Cup.
NHLT2: Is it me, or are there a lot of awesome names in the NHL that would double as great dog names? I don't mean that these guys are dogs, as a dog lover I mean this as the highest form of tribute. But on the Pens alone you've got Letang, Kunitz, Gonchar and Dupuis. Any others you guys can think of? Halak, maybe? Datsyuk?
NHLT3: After the way they shut down Alex Ovechkin my theory on the Habs success was that they had so many talented left-handed defenders who just naturally match up and neutralize right-handed scorers. Of course, both Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are lefties.
NHLT4: The coolest thing I learned while writing this piece on hockey sticks for ESPN The Magazine was that the same carbon nanotube technology used to build lighter, stronger hockey sticks is also found in antennas built by NASA for the space shuttle.