Randy Carlyle sighting in Winnipeg.

The Manitoba Moose, an AHL affiliate of the Vancouver Canucks and Randy Carlyle’s employer previous to the Ducks, got a visit from their old coach on the eve of the Calder Cup Finals.

Former Moose coach Randy Carlyle, now the head coach of the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks, walked into the team complex about 10:45 a.m. and paid Moose coach Scott Arniel a visit.
Carlyle, who’s expected to attend tonight’s game, coached the Moose from 1996-2001 and again in the 2004-05 season.

Interesting Stanley Cup finals note.

I don’t specialize in betting advice, but if you’re looking for signs that predict either a Detroit or Pittsburgh victory, here’s something to consider. Only eight times in NHL history prior to this year have the same two teams played for the Stanley Cup in back-to-back years.

In those eight series, the defending champion has won the last seven (Montreal, 1978; Montreal, 1969; Toronto, 1964; Montreal, 1960; Montreal, 1958; Detroit, 1955; Toronto, 1949). Not surprisingly, there haven’t been many repeat Finals matchups since the NHL doubled from six to 12 teams in 1967.

Stanley Cup rematch is set. Updates with schedule.

The Detroit Red Wings just beat the Chicago Blackhawks, 2-1 in overtime to win the Western Conference championship. They’ll play the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Stanley Cup Finals. Your schedule:

Game 1: Saturday at Detroit, 5 pm, NBC.
Game 2: Sunday at Detroit, TBD-Night, NBC.
Game 3: Tuesday, June 2 at Pittsburgh, 5 pm, VERSUS.
Game 4: Thursday, June 4 at Pittsburgh, 5 pm, VERSUS.
Game 5* Saturday, June 6 at Detroit, 5 pm, NBC.
Game 6* Tuesday, June 9 at Pittsburgh, 5 pm, NBC.
Game 7* Friday, June 12 at Detroit, 5 pm, NBC.

Turtle wrestling fans, stand up and be counted!

NHLPA President Paul Kelly had some harsh words for Versus, the network which is broadcasting most of the NHL’s playoff games. From the Sports Business Journal:

NHL Players’ Association Executive Director Paul Kelly is calling for league TV partners Versus and NBC to do more to promote the NHL and NHL players, citing players’ growing frustration over hockey coverage.

“We have to push our two partners to do a better job of covering our sport … or we have to go in a different direction when that contract comes to an end,” Kelly told the Sports Lawyers Association on May 16. Kelly has called in the past for the NHL to return to ESPN.

Kelly said the fact that people in the U.S. could not watch most of the Boston-Carolina playoff Game 7 earlier this month because Versus was airing Anaheim-Detroit Game 7 “is a source of great frustration” to NHL players as well as the union.

Kelly conceded that Versus has improved production and has increased the number of homes and sports bars where it is available. However, he said, “There are still problems.”

“It is not ESPN,” Kelly said. “It doesn’t have a sports highlight show. It doesn’t have a lot of properties people want to tune in to, unless you are a hunter or a fisherman or you like turtle wrestling.”

Report: Chuck Fletcher to Wild

From NHL.com:

TheMinnesota Wildhired Chuck Fletcher on Thursday to take over as general manager, the second GM in their brief history.

A person with knowledge of the hire confirmed it to The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity because an official announcement wasn’t planned until Friday afternoon.

The Penguins hosted theCarolina Hurricaneson Thursday night in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals. Friday is a travel day between games, allowing Fletcher to attend his introduction in Minnesota.

Fletcher replaces Doug Risebrough, who held the Wild’s top front-office job from their founding in 1999 until he was dismissed in April.

Fletcher has been with the Penguins since 2006. Before that, he spent four years with theAnaheim Ducksas director of hockey operations, assistant GM and overseeing scouting and player development.

Fletcher spent nine years with theFlorida Panthersbefore joining the Ducks, including seven as assistant GM and one as interim GM.

Fletcher is the son of Cliff Fletcher, the current senior advisor for theToronto Maple Leafsand a former general manager for the Maple Leafs, Atlanta andCalgary FlamesandPhoenix Coyotes.

Agent’s interview sparks Niedermayers-to-Vancouver rumor

Oh, if only we got the Team 1040 down here … from TSN.ca:

With the Vancouver Canucks attention focused on the fates of brothers Henrik and Daniel Sedin, the agent for another set of hockey siblings, Scott and Rob Niedermayer, told the Team 1040 Sports Radio they would be interested in playing for Canada’s West Coast club.

The Niedermayers, natives of Cranbrook, BC, are unrestricted free agents once the signing period begins on July 1 and a return home could help provide the Canucks with the first answer to a the laundry list of questions they are facing regarding their roster.

“Before they signed in Anaheim that was definitely a big discussion. But at that time, it was difficult because Rob was in a situation where he was still one year away from being an unrestricted free agent, so he still had a year left to stay in Anaheim,” explained Kevin Epp, who represents both players. “In Scott’s case, he was unrestricted, and considered very much playing in Canada for the Canucks or Calgary or somewhere near his off-season home and staying out West. I think everyone dreams of playing near your hometown or in Canada or in British Columbia.”

According to Epp, Scott and Rob will consider all options before making a decision, but with the 2010 Winter Olympics on the horizon, Vancouver is an attractive a destination.

“It obviously depends on the Canucks and their situation and where they’re at financially, so they’re going to have some decisions from their end,” said Epp. “It depends, too, if Scott’s going to play and how that’s going to play out, and the Olympics.  It’s just a little bit of everything for those guys.”

Nokelainen out of surgery.

A team spokesman confirmed today that Ducks center Petteri Nokelainen had successful surgery yesterday to repair a fracture in his left hand.The injury was suffered early in Game 7 in Detroit. The routine procedure was performed at the Kerlan-Jobe Surgery Center in Los Angeles by Dr. Steve Shin. Nokelainen is expected to be fully recovered for training camp.

Prospect McMillan scores big goal.

From the Canadian Press:

RIMOUSKI, Que. — There’s life in the Rimouski Oceanic after all.

Logan MacMillan’s short-handed goal 34 seconds into the third period stood up as the game-winner as the Oceanic bounced back from a tough loss to upset the Windsor Spitfires 5-4 on Sunday at the MasterCard Memorial Cup.

The host club of the four-team tournament looked dead in the water after a 4-1 loss to the Kelowna Rockets on Friday, but they jumped on the mistake-prone Spitfires to even their record at 1-1 going into their final round robin game against the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League champion Drummondville Voltigeurs on Wednesday.

“It’s huge,” said MacMillan, an Anaheim Ducks prospect. “If we lost this one, there wasn’t much chance of us making it through.

“And it’s also great for our confidence. After Game 1, the guys were kind of skeptical – that maybe we were off too long – but we bounced back great. We played really well.”