Commentary

Wings taking advantage of all the little things

Updated: May 12, 2008, 12:54 PM ET
By Scott Burnside | ESPN.com

1. Thought for a moment it was Dominik Hasek in net the way Chris Osgood went down like a felled tree when he was hacked by Mike Ribeiro at the end of Game 2 of the Western Conference final. No doubt Ribeiro shouldn't have gone Paul Bunyan on the Detroit netminder. But Osgood deserves an Oscar for his performance, given that the blow landed on his chest protector which, as far as we know, isn't made of tissue paper. Whether he meant to or not, Osgood got Ribeiro with the butt end of his stick as Ribeiro went around the net in the waning seconds of the Wings' 2-1 victory. In the end, it might have been a foul, but there was no real harm done, and the NHL did well not to levy suspensions, choosing instead to fine the two players involved.

2. The impressive part of the Wings' 2-0 series lead has been how well they are doing the little things. For instance, the Wings won 71 percent of faceoffs in Game 2; they also outhit the Stars by a 39-26 margin and outshot them 34-18 en route to a 2-1 victory. Taken individually, these elements do not necessarily mean the difference between winning and losing, but in a tight game, this suggests the Red Wings have the puck a lot more than the other team. Unless the Stars can start to even out these disparities, this series is going to be over in a hurry.

3. With all due respect to the Stars and Flyers, who both are heading home to try to salvage their respective playoff series trailing 2-0, it's already become a popular press-box pastime to imagine the skill and up-tempo game that would be on display in a Pittsburgh-Detroit Stanley Cup final. Can't think of two teams that represent the opposite sides of the championship coin from last year's punishing Anaheim Ducks. Wonder what all the GMs who loaded up on toughness after the Ducks' win are thinking now.

4. I don't quite understand the whole video review process if, at the end of the day, logic gets tossed out the window because technology fails. We understand there never will be the perfect video system for determining whether a puck has fully crossed the goal line. There always will be the issue of what happens under a goalie's glove or if a view is obscured by a player, stick or goalpost. We get that. But that doesn't mean the system shouldn't allow people to use their own common sense to make what is at least most likely the right call. Exhibit A comes from Game 2 of the Pittsburgh/Philadelphia series, when late in the first period it appeared a Sergei Gonchar shot bounced off Derian Hatcher and into the Flyers' net. If you were to poll every person in the press box from officials on down, we're guessing 95 percent would say they believed it was a goal. But the initial call on the ice was that it was no goal. Fair enough. But the video review could not offer conclusive evidence that the puck did indeed fully cross the line. But if you watch every angle, you know in your heart of hearts the puck was in. We're not asking people to guess on goals, but a little latitude in applying common sense might be nice.

5. Ownership in Atlanta is disputing an ESPN.com report that Don Waddell has been asked to move into a senior management position and give up his role as GM. But ownership also won't say whether Waddell will handle the duties at the upcoming draft, and sources have told ESPN.com that ownership has been reaching out to hockey people for the past few months looking for advice on its management situation. It's a clear signal that the owners are looking to move the hockey team in a different direction -- not that anyone could blame them, given that the team has failed to win a single playoff game in eight seasons in the NHL. Sources also say Waddell already has moved into the office vacated earlier this season by former president Bernie Mullin. There were reports the Thrashers had contacted the Vancouver Canucks about talking to Dave Nonis, who was fired recently. Among those who would be interested in the GM position in Atlanta, if and when it becomes available, are former Calgary GM and longtime personnel man Craig Button, former New York Rangers GM Neil Smith and veteran broadcaster and former GM Pierre McGuire. And let's not forget Doug Armstrong, who was fired by Dallas this year but has seen his stock rise with the success the Stars have had in the postseason this year.

Scott Burnside is the NHL writer for ESPN.com.