ITEM: Well, Lokomotiv has fallen in the first round. Evgeny Ketov scored twice in a 1:02 span of the third, the first time on a penalty shot after Staffan Kronwall took him down, to lead the Steelers to the second round with a 3-1 in game six and a 4-2 series victory. The Steelers go on to face St. Pete in round two.
In the other conference, all three remaining series are now knotted at 3 games apiece. Siberia got there with a 3-0 win over Vanguard; SYU beat the Metallurgists after a wild 3-minute span of the second period in which SYU scored 3 times to Metallurg's one to turn a 2-0 deficit at one point into a 5-3 lead, and hung on to win 5-4; and the Kazakh Snow Leopards get 2 more goals from Nigel Dawes, one into an empty net with 32 seconds left, for a 4-2 win. The trio of series will be decided Tuesday.
ITEM: I am also watching playoffs in other leagues, as everyone with the exceptios of the Asia League, Germany's DEL, Finland's S-M Liiga, and the UK's Elite League are in the playoffs. While I won't report with such thouroughness on them as the KHL, I will mention a few things here and there, such as:
In Poland Sanok won the regular season at 28-6-4, got a first round bye, and kicked off a second round series with fourth-place Krakow- a team they finished 30 points ahead of- by losing the opener 4-3 in OT.
In Norway, Valerenga, who won the league with a 30-9-6 mark, openned their first round against 8th-place Stjernen with a more proper 9-0 romp.
In Italy, Vallpelice, Val Pusteria, and eternal pest Asiago have won through into the second round, awaiting game seven of the Renon-Cortina series. You may recall from past reports that Asiago has a habit of loafing through the regular season and turning it on in the playoffs. They won the championship that way two years ago, and darn near did it again last year. This time they finished sixth, beat five other teams for one of the bottom three spots by winning the loser's stage, and took out second seed Bolzano in six games.
In Austria, my VSV Villacher team is on the verge of elimination after a game 4 3-2 loss to Black Wings Linz that put them 3-1 down.
In Denmark, my SonderjyskE team finished fourth, while hated rivals Herning Blue Foxes won their last 4 to nip Fredrickshaven at the buzzer for the regular season title. They had the same amount of points but won on a better winning percentage.
In Germany, Eisbaren Berlin put a big dent in my Grizzly Adams Wolfsburg's playoff chances, a 5-4 loss leaving us one point back in a 3-team race for the last playoff spot with two games to go.
ITEM: Read two of the "dumbest criminal candidates" in yesterday's Journal. Contestant #1 pulled his van in front of a car stopped at a red light in New Haven. He got out, ordered the lady and her 11-year old daughter to get out. The girl did, running to a nearby gas station screaming for help. Captain Courageous, promptly fled, going back to mama's place. He told mama what happened, then went to the drug store- whereupon mama called the cops and told them where to find them. Somehow, mama just wasn't someone you could tell anything to, huh?
ITEM: Contestant #2 was found to have meth, meth labs, a marijuana growing operation, and other illegal items in his house, and faces 5 felony counts. And, why, pray tell, did the cops choose to check him out? Well, "King Ed", as he calls himself, prided himself ( to the extent of posting videoes on YouTube) in his nine home made CANNONS, the firing of which caused neighbors to report him for disturbing the peace, and the rest is history. Maybe it's just me, but if I was growing MJ and cooking meth for resale, I'd keep a low profile, maybe cut down on the cannon blasts.
ITEM: NBC is reportedly going to have Jay Leno "retire", and give the Tonight Show spot to Jimmy Fallon. Stop me if you've heard this one before...