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Round 2
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Stanley Cup Final

Hurry up & wait

Tuesday, 06.09.2009 / 10:31 AM / 2009 Stanley Cup Final: Detroit vs. Pittsburgh

By Paul Kukla - NHL.com Correspondent

Monday night I could not sleep. I must have checked the bedside clock 10 times throughout the night and finally said enough of this and jumped out of bed around 5 a.m.

Now what do I do? I have too many hours to kill before the puck drops Tuesday night in Pittsburgh. Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final and the Detroit Red Wings have the chance to raise the Stanley Cup above their heads.

How do I get through this day and early evening? The clock is moving slowly, I have read every Game 6 related story available on the internet and then went back to the stories and read them again.

I plan on taking a nap around 5 p.m. today, after all, it could be a long night ahead, but knowing me, I won't nap. I am afraid I will sleep through the alarm I set and miss the most recent biggest game of my life.

It is now 6 a.m. and I am watching the morning news, but not really listening to the words, my mind is racing -- come out strong, score early, no bad goals, no bad penalties. I pour my first cup of coffee, strong and black and the coffee settles into my cup and I only see a hockey puck.

6:30 a.m. I decide to head outside for a brisk walk, get some fresh air into my lungs and hopefully clear my head too. It doesn't work. I can't stop thinking about line matchups while I avoid stepping on any cracks in the sidewalk. Next thought to race through my brain -- a black cat is going to walk across my path! Can't have that happen, I hurry home with my eyes closed.

Now it is time for a shower and a big decision must be made. I haven't shaved since the Wings lost Game 4 to the Penguins. They won Game 5 and now do I shave or not? I decide not to, but will do so tonight after the first period if the game is not going the way I want it to.

Twelve hours to go before the start of Game 6, what to do now? I survey my home office, it is a mess, papers all over the place, dishes and glasses laying around, but I can't even think of cleaning up now, I just may jinx a winning streak. (I sort of like this don't change a thing mode, it sure gets me out of a lot of work around the house.)

Now about 11 hours before the action starts. Just thinking about the game brings my heart rate up and my mouth becomes dry. I must think of something to occupy my mind. I turn on the NHL Network and start watching On the Fly. This doesn't help, it leaves me with more questions that cannot be answered until tonight.

I think about going back to bed, but only briefly. Once my head hits the pillow, I will only be thinking about tonight and what a night it could be. I guess I will just do what I normally do on just about every day of the year, look for hockey news, read about hockey players and think and live the game I love.

I've settled in and I am now in preparation mode. I just hope I don't have to do this all over again Friday night, but I don't want to get ahead of myself here. Whatever happens tonight I know I cannot control, but I do like to think I can!

Enjoy the game tonight and feel free to leave a comment below or email me at pk@kuklaskorner.com.

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It's hard to walk into that locker room and look those guys in the eye when they've played -- clearly, that was our best game we've played in the series -- and I thought we deserved a better fate tonight.

— Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper on his team's 3-2 loss to the Canadiens in Game 3 on Sunday