Friday June 12th, 2009

The Penguins have completed the hotel hat trick in Detroit, staying in their third auberge in three trips during the final. For those keeping score at home, they started at the Westin for Games 1 and 2, moved out to the suburbs to a Ritz-Carlton for Game 5 and, after going 0-3, are now ensconced at the MGM Grand.

The players also changed stalls in the Joe Louis Arena dressing room Friday morning, not that these guys are superstitious or anything.

"They run it by me and a couple of guys," captain Sidney Crosby said of the switch to new digs. "You know at this point I don't think we have too many options."

Coach Dan Bylsma described the moveable feats as, ahem, "just good fun," but some smell the profit motive. If this coaching thing doesn't work out, he can always write a guide to Metro Detroit hotels. Working title: "How Suite It Is."

Zagats and Michelin, be alert. You could be supplanted by The Bylsma.

No complaints

The NHL has assigned veteran referees Bill McCreary and Paul Devorski to work Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final tonight, the most senior officials who have worked in the series.

While the officiating standard has at times been laissez-faire compared to the regular season, there were no objections to the choice.

"Two veterans, two of the best," Detroit forward Kris Draper said when told of the assignments.

Losing the snooze

Game 7 marks the end of the hockey season, of course, but it also concludes the generally underrated nap season. Like southern Europeans, the hours between two and four o'clock are sacrosanct as siesta time for NHL players. The Red Wings' Mikael Samuelsson, a world-class napper, suggested he would have no problems getting some shuteye in the afternoon. Said teammate Kirk Maltby, "With kids at home, I'd make it a 100-game schedule to take advantage of the naps."

Babcock: Let's hear it

The emotional lift from a crowd tends to be sustainable for the first eight to perhaps 12 minutes of the game before teams settle in, but Red Wings coach Mike Babcock wasn't shy about asking the Joe Louis Arena crowd for a boost. "I hope they're cheering the Zamboni before warmups," he said.

Assorted meaningless statistics

Home teams have won all the games to this point in the final for the fifth time since 1939 ...

The only Game 7 road victory in the final (after the home team won the first six games) came in 1971 when Montreal beat the Blackhawks at Chicago Stadium ...

The home team has won the last 18 championship series Game 7s across the various major sports. The last road-team winner in a Game 7 was the 1979 Pittsburgh ("We Are Family") Pirates, who beat the Orioles in Baltimore's Memorial Stadium ...

Visiting teams have won 10 of the past 12 overtime games in the Stanley Cup final and 15 of 19 since 1990. The last time a Game 7 ended with an OT goal was 1954 when Detroit's Tony Leswick scored to beat the Canadiens, 2-1.

Sidney Crosby has two assists in six games in Detroit during the past two finals ...

The Penguins are 4-0 in road Game 7s in franchise history ...

Evgeni Malkin's 35 playoff points are the most since Wayne Gretzky had 40 for Los Angeles in 1993. Toronto's Doug Gilmour also had 35 that spring....

Crosby's 1.31 playoff points-per-game average and Malkin's 1.27 ppg are the third- and fourth-best in NHL history, trailing only Gretzky and Mario Lemieux

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