Last night the Devils dispatched the Flyers, creating three-quarters of a final four that few would've predicted. Already the talk turns to whether Jaromir Jagr will be back for another go. And the Ryan Kesler labrum surgery -- playing hurt since February -- is another reminder that at this time of year if a good player doesn't look right, there's a good chance he's hurt, and not "disinterested" or "choking" or whatever.
- Isles tent sale Saturday with all sorts of goodies at Dix Hills Ice Rink
- Brock Nelson named UND MVP.
- London is up 2-1 on Niagara in the OHL final, with coverage here and here. More Hunters than you want here. Game 4 is tonight, but Mitchell Theoret (injury) is not expected to play.
- Doing double-duty as last night's playoff thread, don't miss PGI's send-up of discipline for Finland party boys Perry and Getzlaf. (Getzlaf, by the way, said the events were overblown. Which makes it more fun.)
- Two interesting FanShots: On rushing teenagers, and on what scouts said going into the 1987 draft.
- On that note, various thoughts on how to handle Ryan Strome next fall.
- You can still vote early and often for Tavares for the NHL 13 cover. If you didn't see Grabner's support, well...
- Literally: John Candy with Isles Cabbage Patch Kid
- NEW: Elliotte Friedman's 30 Thoughts
- The Avs will play a preseason game against the Rangers in Kansas City ... so I guess the Smurfs are moving.
- Plenty of IIHF coverage at Puck Worlds
- Popeye Jones' son Seth isn't going to North Dakota; he's going to Nino land with WHL Portland.
- Oh my: Watch Gabriel Landeskog and Victor Hedman sing ABBA, and prepare to send an S.O.S. | Puck Daddy
- Don't assume anything about the latest Phoenix ownership update; plenty of skeptics remain.
- A story told often, but Rick Dudley, who Marc Bergevin wants in Montreal, is quite the rink rat.
- Chicago coaching drama update: Quenneville stays, his inherited assistant goes.
- Draft: NHL.com - Galchenyuk: Focus now on the future - NHL.com - 2012 NHL Draft
Finally, Dean Lombardi sure likes to chat, possibly a market necessity for his franchise; but certainly his thoughts as the team advances farther than it's been since 1993 -- my, the things that happened since then -- are how you hope to draw the whole thing up:
"I remember five years ago when we were a bad team, we were picking second in the draft and on Fan Appreciation Day this place was filled," Lombardi recalled after the Kings second round sweep of the St. Louis Blues on Sunday afternoon. "Now, those people are being rewarded. Like anything in life, it’s what you do during the tough times that really says what you’re all about..."
That's the idea, anyway. Every franchise that goes through hard times hopes for that moment.