Snoop Dogg gets down with 'Hockey Night' at Cup finals

Updated: May 31, 2007, 2:29 AM ET
By Scott Burnside | ESPN.com

ANAHEIM -- Kudos to hip-hop star Snoop Dogg for his appearance on "Hockey Night in Canada" during the second intermission of Wednesday night's game.

In an interview with the CBC's Scott Oake, Mr. Dogg spoke of his love of hockey and how, along with starting youth football leagues in the Anaheim area, he might have to start some youth hockey leagues, too.

Snoop Dogg
John M. Heller/Getty ImagesIf there is ever another lockout, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman can now call on Snoop Dogg for help.

Then, in a classic television moment, he threw back to legendary play-by-play announcer Bob Cole with his signature fashizzle patter. Very cool.

• Scoring hero Samuel Pahlsson and his checking amigos Rob Niedermayer and Travis Moen have now collected five game-winning goals this spring between them. Pahlsson also dominated on the draw, winning 10 of 12 faceoffs.

• Anaheim is now 11-2 in one-goal games this playoff year, one off the NHL record shared by the 2003 Ducks and the 1993 Montreal Canadiens.

• Although Ottawa coach Bryan Murray didn't complain about the Ducks' obstructing his team as he did the past two days, forward Dany Heatley said the Ducks are playing them differently than any of their three previous playoff opponents.

"No question. No question," Heatley said. "They do a good job, whether it's subtle or whether it's blatant. They definitely play a real hold-up style, defensive style. We just have to find ways to battle through it."

Isn't that supposed to be illegal under the new rules?

"Yeah, it is," Heatley said.

• There was an unfortunate mutilation of "O Canada" by recording artist Holly Cole before Game 2. Perhaps someone in the anthem-singing department should provide prospective anthem singers a copy of the lyrics and music before pushing them out onto the ice.

• One of the nice things the NHL does during the Stanley Cup finals is bring in a handful of the top-rated draft prospects to meet with the media, players and, the coupe de resistance, Canadian hockey icon Don Cherry.

Among the group at this year's finals are teammates Patrick Kane and Sam Gagner of the OHL's London Knights. Gagner is the son of former NHLer Dave Gagner. The elder Gagner is an assistant coach with the Knights and has passed along not only his hockey knowledge and bloodlines, but also his agent Mike Gillis, who now represents the second generation of Gagners headed for the NHL.

• The No. 1 rated North American player heading into the draft is a player from British Columbia's highly touted Junior A league, forward Kyle Turris. The league has become popular with talented players who don't want to give up the possibility of playing NCAA hockey by playing in Canada's major junior leagues. Turris, from Burnaby, British Columbia, will play at the University of Wisconsin next year.

"It's incredible. The whole experience of meeting the guys who are playing for the Stanley Cup, meeting Don Cherry," Turris said Wednesday. "My dad's just as excited as I am. It's something I'll remember for the rest of my life."

Turris' father, Bruce, said the experience here in California is a proud moment for a parent, but also the realization that a son is no longer a child but a young man.

The draft will be held June 22-23 in Columbus, Ohio.

• Among those on hand at the prospects' luncheon was Mel Bridgman, the first general manager of the Ottawa Senators and a former No. 1 draft pick of the Philadelphia Flyers back in 1975.

Bridgman and his wife live in nearby Manhattan Beach and operate a gardening center in California. He also coaches youth hockey in the area. Although he oversaw the Senators during the team's difficult first season, Bridgman is pleased for the franchise.

"It's been a long time," he told ESPN.com. "But it's really nice to see a Canadian team here and to see the Senators here."

Although the team may have been short on talent in that first season (they finished with 24 points in their inaugural 1992-93 campaign), Bridgman said he tried to create an atmosphere where character and a good work ethic would ultimately lead to on-ice success. Bridgman was fired after one season at the Senators' helm.

• For the third year in a row, uncertainty over the availability of Russian players is likely to alter how teams approach the draft and reduce the number of Russians taken in the draft.

Because the Russians have balked for two years at signing a transfer agreement in an effort to try and extort more money from NHL teams for top Russian players, many NHL teams are expected to wait until later rounds or pass altogether on drafting Russians given the uncertainty over when they might become available for NHL clubs. Only 16 Russians were drafted last year and 11 the year before, down from an all-time high of 44 in the 2000 draft.

The head of Russian hockey, Hall of Fame netminder Vladislav Tretiak, has warned that they will implement new legislation that will restrict the ability of Russian players to escape contracts with Russian elite league teams. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said Wednesday the legislation was supposed to have been in place early this year, but hasn't materialized.

Among the players that will be interesting to watch is highly skilled forward Alexei Cherapanov, who may or may not be under contract to Omsk in the Russian elite league. That's part of the problem facing NHL teams, Daly said. It's often difficult to get accurate information about a player's status in Russia.

IIHF president Rene Fasel recently told Daly he needed a couple of months, but was hopeful of getting the Russians on board.

"I've stopped holding my breath because I'd be well past blue by now," Daly said.

Scott Burnside is the NHL writer for ESPN.com

ALSO SEE