The Pittsburgh Penguins won in thrilling double-overtime fashion last night to become the first team since 2009 to head to a second straight Stanley Cup Final. That 2009 team was of course another iteration of the Sidney Crosby-led Penguins, a group which would capture the franchise’s first championship since 1992. The team is looking to repeat as champions this year, which would be the first such feat in the salary cap era.
Amazingly, they’ve gone this far without their top defenseman Kris Letang playing a single game. Like last year, when the team brought in Trevor Daley and Carl Hagelin at the deadline, smaller moves have proved invaluable to the Penguins. Ron Hainsey played over 30 minutes for the Penguins last night, and has been a key contributor to a blueline decimated by injuries. The fact it took 907 regular season contests before ever suiting up for a NHL playoff game is a staggering thought, one that Hainsey would love to forget with a victory in the Finals this season.
- Though this week it was reported that the Colorado Avalanche had requested and been given permission to talk to Toronto Maple Leafs Assistant General Manager Kyle Dubas it seems as though a hiring is off the table. Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet was on the Boomer & Warrener radio show this morning, and said that “that window is closed” and that “it’s over”. Friedman specifies that he thinks that it was Toronto who “closed the window” not letting Dubas follow through with the process. Dubas is an up-and-coming GM candidate in Toronto, and is part of a crowded front office with Lou Lamoriello and Mark Hunter. It was surprising in the first place that Toronto would let him interview for what would likely be a lateral move, seeing as Joe Sakic seems safe for now in Colorado.
- Ben Kuzma of The Province spoke with Vancouver GM Jim Benning yesterday, specifically about unrestricted free agent Ryan Miller. The Canucks GM said that he does want to bring Miller back, explaining that even in a rebuild solid goaltending is an important factor in development. “There’s no worse feeling than trying to develop young players and get them up and going when you know you don’t have a chance to win,” said Benning, a similar stance to how John Chayka has referred to Mike Smith in Arizona. Bringing back Miller would be interesting, as it would likely be in a part-time role as Jacob Markstrom’s new deal kicks in and the team needs to see if he is a real #1 for them. Miller played the lion’s share of the games last season, starting 54 of 82 contests.