* I'm tickled that Jim Rutherford bounced right back on his feet in Pittsburgh.

* Jimmy paid his dues; built a fan base in Raleigh and crafted a Cup-winner.

* The Rutherford Trick will be finding a sage coach to turn Sidney Crosby into full team players not a duchy within the Kingdom of Penguins.

* My choices are (alphabetically) 1. Mike Keenan; 2. Tom Renney; 3. Ron Wilson.

* Amazing how a campaign to land Pierre McGuire a g.m. job emerges every Spring.

* I like Pierre but I wonder how many club owners -- the ones who pick the g.m.s -- like McGuire as much as I do, not to mention Scotty Bowman.

* The Rangers ability to compete wholly against Los Angeles will depend in part on Dan Girardi's rebound from his fall that cost New York Game One.

* By far the journalistically strangest aspect of the Girardi faux pas is that not a single reporter managed to get the defenseman to full explain precisely what went wrong on his pratfall.

* Something tells me that someone high up in Bettman, Inc. has told Darryl Sutter to cut his imitations of the Sphinx and return to humanity.

* Has anyone got around to figure that the Kings uniforms are downright intimidating; not that there's anything wrong with that.

* With all the informational missives distributed by the NHL and its respective contenders, how about another tip of the hat to Joe Kadlec.

* Joltin' Joe -- p.r. for the Flyers original 1967-68 franchise -- was the man who originated the press notes now so ubiquitous today.

* Right now, Jonathan Quick and Henrik Lundqvist are dead-even on ability. A fascinating sidebar will be which of the pair emerges as the better goaltender as the Final round unfolds.

* Will someone please -- please! -- tell me what black magic Darryl Sutter employs to motivate his men. Right now, I have no clue.

* I wonder whether Milan Lucic is over his stew.

* I mean did he really believe that his Bruins were so, so good that they couldn't possibly be beaten by the Habs?