-Are the Penguins worried too much about offensive-minded defensemen?
-Better get used to seeing the world "Bridgestone" plastered everywhere at Heinz Field Jan. 1.
-Over 200 Hill District residents applied for jobs at Consol Energy Center.
-Happy 34th birthday to former Penguins forward Richard Park (right). The second native of South Korea to play for the Penguins as well as in the NHL (Jim Paek being the first), Park was a second round pick of the club in 1994 and spent parts of three seasons in Pittsburgh. He made his NHL debut in 1994-95 by appearing on one game and recording one assist He would play in three playoff games that season. In 1995-96, he played in 56 games and recorded 10 points. He appeared in one game in 1996-97 before being dealt to the Mighty Ducks at the trade deadline in exchange for Roman Oksiuta. He is currently a member of the Islanders.
-Happy 70th birthday to former Penguins defenseman Ed Van Impe. An all-star with the "Broad Street Bully" Flyers, Van Impe came to the Penguins late in the 1975-76 season along with Bobby Taylor in a deal which sent Gary Inness and cash and spent parts of two seasons in Pittsburgh. He finished that season by appearing in 12 games and recording five assists. He appeared in all three of the team's playoff games and netted one assist. In 1976-77, he was limited to 10 games and three assists and retired in midseason.
-Flyers goaltender Brian Boucher might be able to return to the lineup from his double MCL sprains in order to back up starter Michael Leighton.
-Bill McCreary, Dan O'Halloran, Kelly Sutherland and Stephen Walkom will serve as referees for the Final. Jean Morin, Greg Devorski, Steve Miller and Pierre Racicot will be the linesmen.
-Blackhawks forward Andrew Ladd (right) skipped practice due to an "upper-body" injury.
-Blackhawks forwards John Madden and Marian Hossa are giving their teammates advice about playing in the Stanley Cup final. Hopefully for their sake, they're getting more of it from Madden.
-And don't forget about Ben Eager either.
-The iconic lions at the Art Institute of Chicago are sporting lids with visors:
Calder Cup Playoffs
-The Texas Stars, Dallas' AHL affiliate, beat the Hamilton Bulldogs, Montreal's AHL affiliate, 4-2 in Game 7 of the Western Conference final. Texas will face the powerful Hershey Bears, Washington's AHL affiliate, in the championship final.
Atlantic Division-Devils defenseman Anssi Salmela will undergo knee surgery and is expected to miss the start of the season.
-The Senators re-signed unrestricted free agent goaltender Mike Brodeur (right) to a one-year two-way contract.
-The Sabres signed defenseman Alex Biega, a fifth-round pick in 2006, to a two-year entry-level contract.
-The Thrashers offered unrestricted free agent forward Maxim Afinogenov a one-year deal. Also in that article, Donald Meehan, the agent for Afinogenov and teammate/former Penguin Colby Armstrong said Armstrong will field offers from other teams beginning July 1.
-Capitals owner Ted Leonsis got all "no-you-didn't" with a writer with the Washington City Paper when it was suggested the Capitals' 2004 deal which sent Jaromir Jagr to the Rangers in exchange for Anson Carter was the "worst trade in NHL history.
-We would argue the Capitals' previous trade involving Jagr had much better credentials for that honor.
-Red Wings forward Dan Cleary underwent surgery on his left knee.
-The Predators signed goaltender Anders Lindback, a seventh-round pick at 2008, to a two-year entry-level contract.
-The Avalanche signed defensemen Joel Chouinard and Jonas Holos, both sixth-round pick in 2008, to entry-level contracts.
-The Kings re-signed restricted free agent forward Scott Parse to a two-year contract worth a total of $1.8 million.
-Kings general manager Dean Lombardi doesn't sound too optimistic about being able to keep unrestricted free agent forward Alexander Frolov (right).
-"Let's face it, the mission is not accomplished yet. I want to be a part of it, but I don't know if it's up to me." - Sharks unrestricted free agent goaltender Evgeni Nabokov on his team's failure to win the Stanley Cup once again.
(Photos: Staal-Jamie Sabau/Getty Images; Park-Penguins Hockey Cards; Ladd-Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press; Lions-Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images; Brodeur-Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images; Frolov-Elsa/Getty Images)