Bits: Mikko on the move; Petrov rumblings; playoff polls

AHL Playoffs: By Sunday night, it could all be over for the Sound Tigers. That's not a prediction -- just a marvel at how fast things go in the AHL. After their heartbreaking and controversial OT loss in Game 1 Wednesday, Bridgeport has one of those only-in-the-minors weekends: Game 2 in Hershey tonight, Game 3 at Harbor Yard Saturday night, and Game 4 Sunday afternoon. Tonight's starting goalie is to be determined; so is the weekend's, as get this: Utah's second-round series with Idaho begins tonight, but Mikko Koskinen has been called up to join Bridgeport for this weekend's home games.

Kiril Petrov, and the KHL: Chris Botta has an interview with Petrov's agent that makes me equal parts hopeful and nervous. Maybe "nervous" isn't the right word: In the current NHL-KHL transfer climate, I just don't count on Russians, period -- not until they're here, signed, playing and happy. So I'm glad Petrov's committed to prospect camp and pre-training camp -- really, the player's desire is the first step -- but the agent's answers to Botta about a transfer agreement and about whether Petrov would accept a Bridgeport assignment leave my hopes tempered.

More playoff talk, info about a draft gathering for readers here, and your own playoff picks after the jump.

Site News/Admin Stuff

Playoffs?! You Talk about Playoffs?! I'll continue the polls on the last two first-round series today. But WebBard launched a bracket of sorts, so make your full playoff picks in this FanPost. Who's going all the way? I'll also add the tally for how many votes we had in each first-round series. I originally set each poll to close before Game 1 completed, but that's being a little too strict (and I never even got a Vancouver-L.A. one up before last night's game), so I'll re-open them for the next few days. Here they are if you haven't voted on who wins (and in how many games) yet:

Lighthouse Hockey Draft Party/Booze Cruise: If you missed it, WebBard and Hans und Franz and a few others were tossing around a June 25 (that's Draft Day) gathering for participants and friends here. Great chance to meet up with people you see commenting and shooting the bull here.

They were leaning toward meeting up in NYC, but keep an eye on this FanPost for details (it's featured in the right sidebar) and weigh in on the options if you're interested. Also, if you don't know, Lighthouse Hockey is on Facebook (link is also in the sidebars), and there is a Facebook invite to the event here. If you're interested, do let us know, because people will have to make travel plans. This sort of thing was one of my goals when launching this site ... so naturally I'm almost 95% certain I can't make it. I have an extended family trip that's all but certain to be that weekend, but if that date changes (and with my brother coordinating, that's always a possibility), I'll be booking plans for NYC that weekend.

On-going Conversations: Sorry that all these playoff series poll posts have bumped other on-going conversations down or even off the main page. If you use this site the way I use SBN sites, once a post gets bumped to the second page or archives, you stop checking for comments. But some of the more popular recent posts are in the "Featured Stories" box in the right margin. And I will try to remove the playoff polls from the front page as we go forward, so that will create some reading room for the on-going Isles-focused threads.

A final note on this, if you have a Lighthouse Hockey login, when you check the Lighthouse Hockey archives page, it highlights which posts have comments you haven't seen.

Canucks-Kings Poll

  • GAME 1: Thursday, VAN 3, LAK 2 (OT) 
  • GAME 2: @Vancouver, Sat. 4/17, 10 p.m.
  • GAME 3: @Los Angeles, Mon. 4/19, 10 p.m.
  • GAME 4: @Los Angeles, Wed. 4/21, 10 p.m.
  • GAME 5*: @Vancouver, Fri. 4/23, 10 p.m.
  • GAME 6*: @Los Angeles, Sun. 4/25, TBD
  • GAME 7*: @Vancouver, Tue. 4/27, TBD

SBN Coverage and links: Nucks Misconduct | Jewels from the Crown | Battle of California

This is one more chance for Roberto Luongo to seize an opportunity for playoff glory with a superb team in front of him, with the Sedins in their prime. There are still occasional questions about Luongo's "big game" readiness -- his Olympic performance was hardly inspiring despite the shiny medal -- but it's undeniable he's been one of the upper-tier elite goalies in this league the last few years. Which means his time will probably come one of these years, just as it came for Ed Belfour before him.

If you don't catch Western games much, Los Angeles is a fun, well-coached team that should make this an exciting series and might even make it a long one. Game 1 was no exception, though the Kings were outplayed in the third period and much of OT, during which their best opportunity was robbed by Luongo. They just look like a young team, still figuring themselves out. This will be a great experience for them, but that's probably it.

The only thing the Canucks don't have going for them is the continued absence of Willie Mitchell thanks to a concussion -- which is precisely why I wouldn't bid on him in free agency. Ironically, last night's ejection of Andrew Alberts helps the Canucks -- because Alberts isn't very good. Pop Quiz: Who helped John Tavares score five points in Vancouver? Answer: The dude named in the previous sentence.

Head Says: Canucks in five. Heart Says: Just give me a long series.

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