Tampa Rays' Maddon has Stanley Cup fever

Who knew that Joe Maddon, the manager of the Tampa Rays, was a fashion plate too?

According to MLB.com, Maddon made hockey jerseys the team attire for their trip to Toronto to face the Blue Jays, and the players were coming up with jerseys from their favorite teams.

Maddon said he likes the Chicago Blackhawks' logo, even though he admits to being a St. Louis Blues' fan. The Blackhawks have offered to outfit any Rays' player who needs a jersey for the trip.

"How about that?" Maddon told MLB.com. "I walk in today and all of a sudden, the Blackhawks get in touch with us. I'm going to have John Madden's jersey, hopefully. I'm rooting for that now, No. 11 with an 'e.' "

Maddon is a pretty cagey guy, as well as an excellent manager. When asked what he would say to the Tampa Bay Lightning if they asked about him accepting a Blackhawks' jersey, Maddon smiled.

"They're not in the Stanley Cup Final this year and they didn't offer."

Sounds like that may be on someone's to-do list today.

Could be worse, could be raining -- Duncan Keith is one of those "glass is half full" kind of guys. Take his latest comments about losing a handful of teeth in the clinching win over the San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference Finals.

"In a lot of ways, I was lucky because it hit my teeth," Keith told reporters Tuesday.

"I was lucky enough that it didn't even break my lip or let alone break my nose or anything of that magnitude. … I'm missing some teeth, but probably a lot better this way than breaking something else."

Well Said I -- "I think Pronger and Buff will probably be seeing a lot of each other." -- Patrick Kane provides a brief scouting report on the series

Homecoming of sorts -- Michael Leighton was selected by the Chicago Blackhawks back in 1999 with the 165th pick of the Entry Draft. Leighton, now the Philadelphia Flyers' playoff hero, played 42 games over portions of three seasons with the Blackhawks between 2001 and 2004, but never did established himself here.

So, is Leighton churning with vengeance now that he is facing his old team in the Stanley Cup Final?

"Any time you play for a team and you get traded off, they pick someone else over you, you look at it and say, 'OK, it was my own fault, I didn't do what I had to do to stay in their organization,' " Leighton said. "But … you're a little mad you didn't get a chance or you didn't play well and they ditched you.

"It just seemed like (Chicago) was the spot," Leighton told Shannon Ryan of the Chicago Tribune. "I got let go and I was disappointed. It was a great place to play and I was happy when I was there but it didn't last very long."

No, really, I'm not kidding -- Veterans on both teams have tried to get the point across to younger teammates that it's time to seize the moment now because you don't know when or if you'll be back with the Stanley Cup on the line.

"I know it's a hard message to get across when Marian [Hossa] has been to it and this will be my fourth Stanley Cup Final," the Hawks' John Madden told reporters. "This doesn't happen every day. I've been very fortunate to be on some very good hockey clubs, and [so has] Marian with Pittsburgh and Detroit. We had some good teams back then [with the New Jersey Devils]. Very few guys get here."

For the Flyers, defenseman Kimmo Timonen has a more convincing argument than Madden because this is his first chance at the Cup in a dozen seasons.

"I told a lot of guys that it took me 12 years to get to this point," Timonen said. "During those 12 years, there were obviously good times and bad times.

Three years ago, I had that blood clot [in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Penguins]. That was bad timing.

"Every summer, you think, 'Is this going to be my year? Is this ever going to be it?' Twelve years is a long time."

Well Said II -- "You want to stare down at some of the best players you are playing against, test yourself and your team. It's all about finding what you really got inside yourself when you are out there against players like Mike Richards when it really matters." -- Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews on facing former Olympic teammate Mike Richards

It makes sense now -- When the Flyers' acquisition of Chris Pronger was announced at the 2009 Entry Draft, the first reaction was to think Philadelphia had surrendered an awful lot for a defenseman in the over-30 club.

The Flyers sent two first round draft picks, winger Joffrey Lupul and prospect Luca Sbisa to the Anaheim Ducks for Pronger. But based on the importance of Pronger for the Flyers, GM Paul Holmgren is getting the last laugh and Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke had the best line of that night when he said "Pronger was made to wear orange."

And Flyers players now know why Holmgren made the move.

"We understand why they paid so much," Simon Gagne said. "He (Pronger) is perfect for the playoffs. He's played some big minutes. He's the piece of the puzzle that makes our team good."

Around the NHL -- San Jose Sharks GM Doug Wilson doesn't envision a wholesale makeover of his team after losing to the Blackhawks in the Western Conference Finals.

"We're proud of what this group has accomplished in the last year," Wilson told reporters. "It has been a big step for this organization. We're certainly not satisfied with where we're at. But there are a lot of things that took place in that dressing room and as an organization that puts us in the position to understand what it takes and how we need to approach things."

Still, coach Todd McLellan knows that some change is inevitable.

"There's never a team that stays completely together," McLellan said. "A lot of time with the system the way it works in the NHL, there are significant changes to a lot of hockey clubs. We're in that situation now where we could face that. Would we like to keep this group intact? Of course we would. But common sense and the system says it's almost impossible."

In Columbus, GM Scott Howson is conducting his due diligence regarding a new coach to insure he doesn't have to go through the process again any time soon.

"It's not something that any organization wants to go through on a regular basis," Howson said. "But it's clearly extremely important to our team and our organization and we'll put everything into it, make sure we don't rush into anything and pick the right person."