Time is on the Pittsburgh Penguins' side, with or without momentum.
Up 2-0 on the Nashville Predators in the Stanley Cup Final, the defending champions have no problem with the schedule that would require 17 days to complete the series if it goes seven games. That's how the Penguins won the Cup a year ago, following this exact pattern in beating the San Jose Sharks.
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"It's tough to know what it's all about until you go through it and we were able to go through it last year," goaltender Matt Murray said. "(You learn about) a lot of little things: How to deal with travel is one of them, how to deal with an opposing building is another one."
More than anything, the Penguins know how to deal with time off that more resembles a playoff series in the NBA than the NHL. While the NBA Finals would take 18 days to complete if the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers go seven, this Cup Final is an anomaly.
Since the NHL salary-cap era began in 2006, only the 2016 and 2017 Cup Final series have been spread out over more than 15 days. No series in the first three rounds this spring was scheduled for more than 15 days, and all this following a super-condensed schedule because of the World Cup and bye weeks that squished an 82-game regular season into 180 days.
Penguins coach Mike Sullivan considers it a benefit because banged-up and tired players get an extra 24 hours to rest. He doesn't think it does anything for momentum, which a lot of coaches don't believe in, anyway.
"I'm not sure it's much different than some of the other series that we've been involved with, other than the rest component," Sullivan said. "My experience of going through these playoff runs in the past has been that each game is its own entity. It seems to take on its own story" (see full story).
Predators: How the catfish toss became a thing
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Detroit Red Wings fans have their octopi. The Panthers' faithful in Florida had the "rat trick."
Nashville? The Predators have catfish, the Southern staple that has become a beloved badge of honor fans delight in throwing onto the ice for good luck.
Who started Music City's slippery tradition? This fish tale stretches from the home of one of the Original Six NHL franchises to what once was one of Nashville's seediest neighborhoods a generation ago, following the long and twisting path of a man who has been a country music drummer, disc jockey, chef and restaurant owner. And, as he tells it, Nashville's original catfish chucker.
That man is Bob Wolf, and he feels his need for secrecy finally is at an end.
"It's been 20 years almost, and it's time," Wolf said.
Indeed it is. The Predators are about to host their first Stanley Cup Final game, on Saturday night. Pittsburgh leads the best-of-seven series 2-0, but that's another story.
Nashville's catfish tradition is well known around here, but it became national news earlier this week thanks to Jacob Waddell, 36 .
After an extraordinary effort to conceal a flattened catfish on his person, Waddell threw it onto the ice -- in Pittsburgh -- on Monday night. The Predators then scored three goals before Pittsburgh pulled out a 5-3 win in the opener. Waddell was charged with disorderly conduct, possessing instruments of crime and disrupting meetings or processions before they were withdrawn (see full story).
Ducks: Coach Carlyle gets 1-year contract extension
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Coach Randy Carlyle has received a one-year contract extension through the 2018-19 season from the Anaheim Ducks.
The deal announced Friday also includes an option for 2019-20.
Carlyle began his second stint in charge of the Ducks last year and immediately led the team to its fifth consecutive Pacific Division title. The Ducks also reached the Western Conference finals, losing to Nashville in six games.
Carlyle is the winningest coach in franchise history and the only Ducks coach to win the Stanley Cup, triumphing in 2007 during his first successful stint with the club.
Carlyle returned last summer to replace Bruce Boudreau, who had replaced Carlyle in late 2011.
The Ducks also announced the return of assistant coaches Trent Yawney and Rich Preston. Assistant Paul MacLean left the team Thursday.
Bruins: Prospect Arnesson to return to Sweden
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney says prospect defenseman Linus Arnesson is returning to play in his native Sweden to rediscover his game after an injury-plagued season in the minors.
Sweeney says the Bruins will extend Arnesson a qualifying offer to retain the rights to the 2013 second-round draft pick who completed the final year of his entry level contract. Though disappointed in the decision, Sweeney referred to Arnesson as still having "a lot of upside" while acknowledging injuries took a toll on the player's confidence.
Sweeney spoke in Buffalo on Thursday while attending the NHL rookie combine.
Swedish Hockey League team Orebro HK announced on its website a day earlier that it had signed Arnesson to a multiyear deal. The 22-year-old was quoted as saying he was seeking "a fresh start."
Arnesson was limited to playing just 20 regular-season games with AHL Providence this season because of injuries to his shoulder and Achilles tendon. He also had an assist in 13 playoff games for the Bruins' top minor-league affiliate.