2) It appears to be so, but it remains to be seen if that's true with respect to scheduling the Finals. The league first announced that IF both series ended by Wednesday evening the Finals wouldn't commence until a WEEK from that Saturday! A whopping and totally insane 9 day layoff! Its not like most folks can't find other activities this time of year to occupy their time. To allow so much time to pass and let hockey escape the consciousness of fans to accommodate NBC TV was beyond dumb. Come on Bettman, what does NBC net the league, like 3 bucks? To do all kinds of contortions to say they have a national TV contract is getting from absurd to bizarre here. Thankfully the response/cacophony of negative press has apparently altered these original plans and the Finals Could begin as early as THIS Weekend, which certainly makes more sense. Of course they will then probably force the teams to play back to back games to placate the network, followed by a 4-5 day layoff! Morons!
3) Meanwhile we hear there may be news from New Jersey with respect to their coach. Brent Sutter has one year remaining on his current contract. He has done a very good job in our opinion. In fact, if not for a late season swoon or sorts he probably would have been our Adams pick having guided his Devils team to an Atlantic title without Brodeur most of the season. This time it may not be the trigger happy Lou Lamarello who will let Sutter go, but Brent may prefer to give up his coaching duties to return to Red Deer and resume his duties in Junior / and or his family farm duties, etc. (There also is a job opening in Calgary and he kinda knows the boss there) Its no secret that Sutter heads back to Alberta whenever possible and isn't found in Jersey any more than he is obligated. Therefore our sources tell us it may be a mutual agreement to allow Sutter to get out of his final year (not being fired and not quitting) of his deal and basically retire from coaching. We hear this may come to a head within the next couple of weeks.
4) In other Devil news (and possibly related) Bobby Holik announced his retirement after a long career that saw the Czech win a few Cups with the team. He stated that he longed to spend more time with family, but our NJ sources tell us to not be shocked to see Bobby pop up behind the Devils bench as an asst some time in the future. "Lou loves the guy, and he's a very intelligent hockey tactician", is what we were told. We don't expect him to be the #1 guy right away, but its a matter of time we believe.
5) Another observation ( and to keep this post Devil filled) is the apparent outlawing of Scott Steven type hits. Another occurred this past weekend in the Wings-Hawks series when Martin Havlat had his bell rung by Niklas Kronwall. It appeared to be totally legal. The puck was at Havlat's feet and Kronwall led with his shoulder into Havlat as the Hawk forward was bending downward with his eyes away not expecting Kronwall's hit. The referee inanely gave him a 5 minute 'interference penalty'. We're sure they would have figured a way to give him a major somehow when Havlat failed to get up right away. Scott Stevens made a hall of Fame career out of such hits. Ask Eric Lindros (well, don't ask him, he probably doesn't even recall his own name these days). Stevens would deliver hits to unsuspecting forwards and level them. Few, if any received penalties. In the "new NHL' he probably would be banned from playing!