Here are the morning papers for the Western Conference playoff matchups:
Detroit versus Nashville:
- The Red Wings face-off against their old rivals in Colorado starting Thursday. Wings winger Kirk Maltby isn't sure he will be ready to play Game 1 of the second round. Meanwhile, it is no surprise that the NHL wants certain teams to do better than others.
- With new contracts in hand, the Predators coaching staff is already looking at things they'd like to change of next year. In injury news, Steve Sullivan is still under contract for the Predators for next season, so David Poile would like to come to some sort of plan to deal with Sullivan's status.
San Jose versus Calgary:
- Jeremy Roenick proved he is a big-game player last night, writes Ann Killion of the San Jose Mercury News. Every game was close in the series, but the Sharks did outshoot the Flames by a substantial margin. Ron Wilson was proud of the performance of his entire team after last night's 5-2 victory. The Sharks had it in them, writes Mark Purdy.
- The Flames don't take any solace in taking the Conference's number two seed to the brink of elimination. George Johnson of the Calgary Herald does not think coach Mike Keenan should have pulled Miikka Kiprusoff. Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun echoes the same sentiments as Johnson, stating that Kiprusoff was the team's best player in Game 7 before he was pulled.
Minnesota versus Colorado:
- There are going to be lots of Minnesotans playing at this year's World Hockey Championships.
- The Avalanche are facing off versus the Red Wings in the playoffs for the first time since 2002. Terry Frei likes the NHL a heck of a lot better than the NBA.
Anaheim versus Dallas:
- Dan Wood of the Orange County Register examines the possibility of Brian Burke leaving the Ducks for the Leafs. In the end, there is a reason the games are played on the ice and not on paper, writes Randy Youngman.
- It took him a while, but Mike Modano has really taken to his checking line role, writes Mike Heika.
For Illegal Curve, I'm Richard Pollock.
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