-Is the Penguins' payroll top heavy?
-According to ESPN's Pierre LeBrun, Ray Shero is expected to meet with Kent Hughes, the agent for Kris Letang, today in Boston.
-Today would've been the 73rd birthday of former Penguins forward Keith McCreary (right). Acquired from the Canadiens in the 1967 expansion draft, McCreary spent fives seasons with the Penguins. During the teams inaugural season of 1967-68, McCreary appeared in 70 games and scored 26 points. In 1968-69, McCreary once again played in 70 games and led the team with 25 goals while scoring a career-high 48 points. The 1969-70 season saw McCreary play in 60 games while scoring 26 points. During that spring's postseason, he appeared in 10 games and recorded four points. The following season in 1970-71, McCreary once again led the team with 21 goals while scoring 33 points in 59 games. McCreary was limited to 33 games and eight points in 1971-72. He appeared in one postseason game that spring and failed to record a point. In the 1972 offseason, he was claimed by the Atlanta Flames in the expansion draft. In 292 games with the Penguins, McCreary, one of two players to wear No. 21 for the franchise - Michel Briere was the other - scored 141 points, 58th-most in franchise history. In 11 postseason games, he had four assists. He died, Dec. 8, 2003, at the age of 63.
Blackhawks - Bruins
-Blackhawks forward and former Penguin Marian Hossa (right) is expected to return to the lineup for Game 4 after missing Game 3 due to an "upper-body" injury.
-“I think it’s amazing; you know [Zdeno Chara is] such a big guy, but he’s so mobile for his size. You look at a lot of bigger guys around the league, they might not be able to move quite as well, but Zee doesn’t get beat wide, and it’s not just because of his size but because of his speed too.” - Bruins defenseman Torey Krug on captain Zdeno Chara.
-“Yeah, I’ve got a nice scratch on my forehead right there, a little claw mark. Like a kitty cat. But that stuff happens in scrums.” - Bruins forward Brad Marchand on a fight he had with Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw in the third period of Game 3.
-"I mean, it hurt a little bit. It was sore. But your adrenaline's going pretty good at that point. You're stuck on the ice with a couple of the best players in the world. You really don't have much time to think about anything else but trying to help out and kill a penalty." - Bruins forward Gregory Campbell on suffering a broken leg while blocking a shot from Evgeni Malkin in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference final.
-“It was pretty bad. When you try to shoot, try to swing your blade on the ice, it feels like it's sandpaper. It's really rough. When you try to pass, the puck bounces. That's why you have to keep the game simple, like I said. If there's a play to be made, you have to make sure it's an easy one. If not, you rather choose to go over the wall and out.” - Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg on the ice conditions at TD Garden for Game 3.
-WDIV, the NBC affiliate in Detroit, will air a fireworks celebration in Detroit instead of Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final.
Calder Cup Playoffs
-Two goals by Tomas Tatar gave the Grand Rapids Griffins, the Red Wings' AHL affiliate, a series-clinching 5-2 win against the Syracuse Crunch, the Lightning's AHL affiliate in Game 6 of the Calder Cup Final. Grand Rapids won the series, 4-2.
-The Red Wings signed defenseman Pavel Datsyuk (right) to a three-year contract extension worth a total of $22.5 million. Entering the final year of a contract with a salary cap hit of $21.5 million, Datsyuk's new deal will have a cap hit of $7.5 million. In 47 games last season, Datsyuk, 34, had 49 points (15 goals, 34 assists).
-EN Says: Datsyuk is one of the best players in the game. Additionally, he's on ove the best defensive forwards in the game. He can play against any top-tier forward in the NHL and shut them down. This is a more than fair price for that type of player even if he's in his mid-30s.
-The Predators re-signed forward Kevin Henderson to a two-year, two-way contract.
-Nashville is looking for a new backup goaltender.
-"If we do pick first, we're leaning more toward one of those three forwards." - Avalanche vice president Joe Sakic about the first overall pick in the draft. Defenseman Seth Jones is expected to be the best player available in the draft.
-EN Says: Something tells Sakic is allowing this information to go public for the sake of potentially trading the pick. If a team feels it can make a good deal for the top pick in order to draft Jones, Sakic just gave them some incentive to sweeten any offers.
-It looks like a shoulder injury will prevent the Wild from using a compliance buyout on forward Dany Heatley (right).
-After acquring him from the Panthers in exchange for a fourth-round pick in this year's draft, the Flames signed forward Corban Knight to a two-year entry-level contract.
-The Kings signed restricted free agent defenseman Slava Voynov to a six-year contract extension worth a total of $25 million. Coming off an entry-level contract with a salary cap hit of $816,666 at the NHL level, Voynov's new deal will have a cap hit of $4,166,667. In 48 games last season, Voynov, 23, scored 25 points (six goals, 19 assists).
-EN Says: Voynov broke out in a big way during the postseason by scoring six goals in 18 games. For a player who is still no where his ceiling, this is a bargain. Voynov is a legit top four defenseman who provide so much for the Kings.
-The Sharks signed forward Logan Couture (right) to a five-year contract extension worth a total of $30 million. Entering the final year of a contract with a salary cap hit of $2.875 million, Couture's new deal will have a cap hit of $6 million. In 48 games last season, Couture, 24, had 37 points (21 goals, 16 assists).
-EN Says: Couture is one of the best all-around forwards under the age of 25 in the NHL. He's a player who produces offense, can play reliable defense in his own zone and more often than not, scores goals when they really matter. He's a player the Sharks will be built around for several years. This is a fair contract.
-The Ducks have signed former Avalanche defenseman Kyle Cumiskey. Terms have not been reported.
-Former Maple Leafs/Thrashers/Jets forward Tim Stapleton, Lightning/Blue Jackets forward Alexander Svitov, Stars/Avalanche forward Tomas Vincour and former Penguins/Capitals/Bruins forward Chris Bourque have joined Ak Bars Kazan of Russia's KHL.
(Photos: McCreary-Penguins Hockey Cards; Hossa-Perry Nelson/Getty Images; Datsyuk-Gregory Shamus/Getty Images; Heatley-Claus Andersen/Getty Images; Couture-Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)