With the start of the Stanley Cup Final looming, here’s this morning’s collection of NHL headlines.
USA TODAY: Joe Thornton said he never lost faith in the San Jose Sharks reaching the Stanley Cup Final. “Even last year, not making the playoffs, I honestly thought we were a couple of pieces away and here we are,” said Thornton.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Thornton had to endure being stripped of the Sharks captaincy two years ago, a messy public feud with GM Doug Wilson and calls from some fans and pundits to waive his no-movement clause and accept a trade. Now, he’s being rewarded for his patience and faith in the team.
NBC SPORTS: Pittsburgh Penguins winger Phil Kessel isn’t bothered by being passed over for Team USA at this year’s World Cup of Hockey. “Obviously, you’re disappointed,” Kessel said Sunday. “But it is what it is. I think I’ve had a pretty good playoffs, I’ve always done pretty well for (Team USA) in all the tournaments I’ve played in for them. But we’re in the Stanley Cup Final. I can’t be disappointed.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Penguins win the Cup, Kessel will probably be too busy planning his day with the trophy to worry about being snubbed by Team USA.
ESPN.COM: Penguins defenseman Trevor Daley (broken ankle) isn’t ruling himself out of playing in the Stanley Cup Final.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I admire Daley’s determination, but I doubt very much he’ll be able to play.
ESPN.COM: Sharks winger Joel Ward believes the NHL should discuss retiring Willie O’Ree’s No. 22. O’Ree was the first black player in NHL history.
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Keith Gave believes Pavel Datsyuk might not have his No. 13 retired by the Detroit Red Wings if he decides to play in the KHL next season, rather than complete the final year of his contract with the Wings. Gave cites the fact the Wings haven’t honored Sergei Fedorov’s No. 91 after he rejected a contract offer in 2003 and instead joined the Anaheim Ducks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I disagree. There’s no comparison here between Datsyuk’s situation and Fedorov’s back in 2003. Datsyuk’s decision is being made solely for family reasons. Fedorov had contentious contract negotiations with the Wings stretching back to 1998 when he inked an offer sheet with the Carolina Hurricanes, which the Wings decided to match.
CSN CHICAGO: Thirteen members of the Chicago Blackhawks will be playing on various teams in the World Cup of Hockey this September.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With half the regular roster missing training camp, it will be interesting to see how that affects the Blackhawks at the start of next season.
THE GLOBE AND MAIL: Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Mitch Marner was named MVP of the Memorial Cup tournament as he led his London Knights to a 3-2 overtime victory over the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies in the championship game.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Prior to this tournament, there was some concern about Marner’s conditioning for the Leafs training camp this fall. As this tweet indicates, he’s been lifting weights for weeks.