If you're not a huge hockey fan, there's nothing sexy about the NHL conference finals. Of course, I'm a hockey fan, so I'm thinking we'll get two enjoyable series. In the East, New Jersey visits the Garden to battle the Rangers starting Monday night. Two longtime rivals who play in the same division, with visions of 1994 never too far away when the teams meet in the playoffs.
Of course, we can always hope that Sean Avery finds his way back into the Rangers lineup. Then, we can get a replay of this:
Ah, yes. The Sean Avery rule.
In the West, Los Angeles has a 1-0 series lead on Phoenix after a 4-2 road win Sunday night. Dustin Brown and Jonathan Quick are staging a pretty impressive duel for the Conn Smythe, with Brown currently holding a lead, at least in my view.
The Star Tribune's Mike Russo reports that Gophers' play-by-play voice Anthony LaPanta is on the verge of becoming the new guy for the Wild. LaPanta has done high school hockey, and spent two seasons as the Gophers' television voice on Fox Sports North. It's not a sexy hire, but it's a familiar voice to replace another familiar voice (Dan Terhaar). The Wild have re-signed TV analyst Mike Greenlay and the radio team of Bob Kurtz and Tom Reid, so this is the only change that will be made in terms of Wild broadcasters.
The move will leave the Gophers without a television voice. We'll see how that develops during the summer.
Finally, a brief note ... St. Cloud State athletics lost a close friend over the weekend with the passing of Marty Sundvall. Marty was a statistician at football and hockey games, always making his presence known in the press box. When you travel with a hockey team through the winter, you meet some really interesting people in press boxes around the sport. Some of them stand out more than others, and Marty was indeed one of those. He was a joy to deal with, and he will be missed. My thoughts are with his family and all those who were close to him.