• Patrick Kane’s Cup-winning goal set off the weirdest celebration I’ve ever seen in my 30 years of covering hockey. From my angle in our NHL International broadcast booth, I never saw the puck leave Kane’s stick. Then the puck got lodged behind the padding at the base of the net completely out of sight. The only person in the arena who knew right away it was in was Kane himself. As Kane skated wildly down the ice in celebration this is what I saw: stunned Flyers around the net looking for the puck, including goalie Michael Leighton; some of the Blackhawks hesitant to join Kane until there was some official indication of the goal; one linesman frantically waving to league officials at the Zamboni entrance not to let the media onto the ice (they didn’t want a repeat of Buffalo in 1999); the Chicago coaches sort of hugging in celebration but also looking towards the Flyers’ goal for a signal that the puck was in; then, finally, an eruption of emotion as the officials signaled that the goal was good.
• It wasn’t until I watched a replay of the goal that I saw how similar Kane’s goal was to the one Sydney Crosby scored in overtime of the gold medal game in Vancouver. Kane, a left-hand shot like Crosby, came off the boards from the goalie’s right towards the net and shot it quickly.
• I also needed to slow down and rewind the replay of the goal to see exactly how the puck went in: under Leighton’s stick, under his right pad, behind his left skate and inside the post. At least that’s how it looked from the overhead replay!
• Blackhawks G.M. Stan Bowman handing the Cup to his dad Scotty was a nice moment during the post-game celebration. It was Scotty’s 12th Cup (nine as coach, three as management). How ironic that the last time the Cup had been awarded in Philadelphia was 1976 when Scotty Bowman’s Canadiens completed a sweep of the two-time defending champion Flyers.
• Speaking of Stan Bowman, what a task he has in constructing a roster that will fit under the 2010-11 salary cap. Even with the cap going up, the Blackhawks appear to be millions of dollars over the cap already with only 14 players under contract.
• Jonathan Toews, Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith join Steve Yzerman, Brendan Shanahan and Ken Morrow in the select group of players who have won Olympic gold and the Stanley Cup in the same year. Toews separates himself by adding the Conn Smythe. Wow!
• Congratulations to Don Maloney on winning the inaugural NHL G.M. of the Year Award. It’s a well-deserved honor. With his budget in place for 2010-11, Don already has made a key signing in forward Scottie Upshall. If Upshall makes a complete recovery from his knee injury, his energy and talent will be a welcome sight once again at Jobing.com Arena. Maloney has also announced two promotions within his hockey operations department with Assistant G.M. Brad Treliving and Pro Scout Frank Effinger getting expanded roles.
|Jukka Nieminen |
• The sudden death of Coyotes massage therapist Jukka Nieminen is sad beyond words. But, our colleague Todd Walsh always finds the right words for difficult situations. Click here
to read his comments on Fox Sports Arizona.com:
Jukka sat right behind Todd and me on the team plane and usually had a smile on his face as well as a comment or two about a recent telecast. He always seemed to be in a good mood. Jukka will be missed. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family.
• As I rode the Amtrak train from Philadelphia to Albany, N.Y. the morning after Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final, I realized I had just completed my 30th year in hockey/basketball broadcasting: six seasons as the radio voice of the Adirondack Red Wings, 11 seasons as the TV voice of the Detroit Red Wings, eight seasons with ESPN, two seasons as TV voice of the Florida Panthers and three seasons as TV voice of the Phoenix Coyotes. It’s been a fun ride but I’d really like to settle down in one place for a while...
• While 30 years seems like a long time, hats off to LA Kings TV voice Bob Miller who recently celebrated 50 years in broadcasting! He’s been the voice of the Kings since 1973. Bob is a class act and Kings fans have been blessed to hear his call for so many years. Congratulations Bob.
• One positive about moving around as much as I have over the course of my career, I’ve had the pleasure of working with some outstanding people in the industry. The 2010 SCF was the 13th I’ve covered for NHL International. All 13 have been with Mike Finocchiaro as the lead operations person and Lisa Seltzer as producer. The last 10 have been with Joe Micheletti as analyst. They are three of the very best at what they do and they’re even better people. It’s a privilege to call them colleagues and friends.
• This SCF was also a chance to work with and get to know the people with NHL Network. Working with Brian Duff and Kevin Weekes was a blast as well as producers Mark Jacobson, Sam Cicirello and Garrett Hansford.
• During my two weeks at the SCF, it was nice to hear so many positive things said about the season that the Coyotes enjoyed. A lot of people around the NHL are pulling for a positive outcome in the ownership situation. As I look back on everything that has transpired since May 5, 2009 when the Coyotes went into bankruptcy, I hope somebody writes a book!
Thanks for reading and I’ll be back periodically throughout the off-season as the Coyotes gear up for the 2010-11 season!