Shrapnel - 6/1/12

It's June already.

Is this year going by incredibly quickly, or is it just me?

With Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final tomorrow night, the eyes of the hockey world are generally focused on the last day of the NHL combine, where Columbus' director of amateur scouting, Tyler Wright, is hoping to make a big impact on the future of the team.

We'd also be remiss if we didn't offer a salute to Nicklas Lidstrom, who calls it a career after 20 years of brilliance in Detroit.

The Central Division may get a little easier next season, but the NHL as a whole is a slightly diminished place with his departure.

Interesting idea at Icethetics - basically a Blue Jackets' soccer kit. Not sure I like it, but it's certainly different.

Meanwhile, one more relic of Atlanta hockey is going north - former Thrashers coach Bob Hartley will be the new man behind the bench of the Calgary Flames. Suddenly it feels like 1980 in here and I don't even know why.

Some good news for the growth of the game here in the US: the playing membership of USA hockey is up for the third straight year.

Over at #CBJ, a very appropriate community spotlight features Jas Chaffin, AKA @CBJProspects, a look at the DerekMacKenzie deal by the numbers, and the mistress of Russell stalking Hockey Snark, @Frickindannie.

Interesting stuff at Puck Daddy - Ilya Kovalchuk came close to asking for a trade because of friction between himself and former Devils coach John MacLean. He stuck it out (listen to your mother, kids!), and now he's fighting for the chance to take home the ultimate prize.

Puck Rakers' report cards are up to John Moore. Interesting to see the optimism about his future. I don't disagree, but even some of the better report cards so far came with a pretty fair dose of wormwood. In case you're wondering, Rick Nash should be next...and Jeff Little has a great piece comparing Nash and Kovalchuk up at THW Overtime.

DBJ+ has a look at the importance of the draft - and historically, we should expect a big impact from the team's first round pick.

At The Union Blue, the Coach does some more work on special teams scoring chance rates, and Ellen Etchingham skewers the CBC over at Backhand Shelf.

Last but not least, something fun for you all. Robert Vollman of Hockey Abstract has put together Player Usage charts for the entire NHL, and asked me to lend some thoughts about the Jackets. Want to take a look? Good thing we've got the file right here: Player Usage Charts

Enjoy your weekend!

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