Here are your Evening Puck Headlines and Previews: A glorious collection of news and views collected from the greatest blogosphere in sports and the few, the proud, the mainstream hockey media.
• Mayoral wagering is go! Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl has put up "Isaly's chipped ham, three dozen pierogies, and a case of Iron City Beer." Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker has put up "10 pounds of Carolina barbecue and a case of locally brewed Big Boss Beer." Meeker attempted to expand the bet to NFL quarterbacks; Ravenstahl politely declined. [USA TODAY]
Keys for the Hurricanes: Lose. Throw the game. Crap the bed. Seriously: Based on Carolina's track record in the 2009 Stanley Cup playoffs, why even try? They were played out of the building against the New Jersey Devils. The Boston Bruins whupped'em so badly that they underestimated the Hurricanes for the next three games. In both cases, Carolina went on to win in seven. No offense to our friends at Versus, but this could be the most inconsequential Game 1 in the entire postseason.
OK, if they're going to attempt to win this game and screw up their strategy, it starts with getting Marc-Andre Fleury(notes) out of his comfort zone and, more importantly, out of his crease playing the puck. Carolina has the speed to play dump-and-chase if it chooses to, and the forecheck has been the engine for its offense throughout the playoffs. Play responsible team defense in front of Cam Ward(notes); and hope that their offensive depth can continue to shine if Eric Staal(notes) is somehow neutralized by baby brother and the Hal Gill(notes)/Rob Scuderi shutdown duo.
Keys for the Penguins: Mike Green's(notes) ineffectiveness hindered the Washington Capitals' ability to really get the defense active offensively, but Carolina's D-men are an active bunch. Joe Corvo(notes) and Joni Pitkanen(notes) are in the top four for Carolina in playoff shots on goal. Something to be weary about. Faceoff success is a must against the Hurricanes, as is matching their energy level with likes of the Jordan Staal(notes) trio. The Penguins have scored some huge power-play goals in the postseason, but Carolina's the best killer left in the tournament. Sergei Gonchar(notes) is a key in that battle; he's expected to play, but the Penguins are also expected to dress seven D-men if he does.
Meanwhile, in the rest of creation ...
• Patrick Roy, through a junior team spokesperson, claims he never received "a formal offer" from the Colorado Avalanche to coach their team. Which of course depends on what the definition of "formal" is. A briefcase full of cash? Something delivered by a butler? Sounds like we've got some wiggle room. [AP]
• It's official: The Avs are a circus. [Jibblescribbits]
• Daniel Briere of the Philadelphia Flyers is scheduled to have a photorefractive keratectomy, which evidently isn't a Flaming Lips song but some sort of corrective eye surgery. Briere began noticing his vision problems when he was having trouble locating the decimal point on his contract while laughing uncontrollably to the bank. [AP]
• Incredible: An April e-mail from NHL Commissioner Gary Bettmen entered into court reads that the League might have to "start looking at the moving option" for the Phoenix Coyotes and that "if this team had to move it should first be offered to Winnipeg." Thomas Steen's phone must have been ringing all day. [Globe & Mail]
• Editorial on Bettman: "Maybe Bettman doesn't have an 'anti-Canadian' bias per se, but we remained convinced that he has a misguided obsession to push the game in 'Sun Belt' locations where the sport never will be fully appreciated." In comparison to what? Because by that thinking, Omsk should have a team before Hamilton does. [National Sports Review]
• Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal takes a look at the multi-media barrage from the Jim Balsillie group seeking to move the Coyotes to Hamilton. [WSJ]
• The 10 key players in the NHL "final four." Guess goalies are just assumed to be "key." [The Hockey Writers]
• Finally, here's the Boston Bruins' exit press conference with Peter Chiarelli and Claude Julien, as they discuss a "variety of injuries" that affected their playoff fate. Along with complete apathy for three games against the Hurricanes.