It's one thing to be awakened at 5:30 a.m. by a false fire alarm at the team hotel. But when another false alarm awakened the Panthers at 2:30 p.m. the next day as they napped before Wednesday's game against the Flyers, that seemed like a plot.
Said Florida coach Mike Keenan: "I don't know if (Flyers coach Ken) Hitchcock set the alarm off in our hotel or not, but a 5:30 wakeup call is much too early without playoff competition."
Keenan was kidding, but there are plenty of stories about teams trying to gain a playoff edge.
Former Islanders defenseman Denis Potvin, a Panthers television analyst, told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that former OilerKevin Lowe admitted that then-Edmonton coach Glen Sather sent decaf coffee to the Islanders locker room during the 1984 final.
The Panthers accused the Devils of turning the hot water off in the visitors' dressing room during the 2000 playoffs.
"We were all tired," Panthers captain Olli Jokinen said. "These things don't usually happen at the five-star hotels we stay at."
As if challenging Edmonton's Georges Laraque isn't enough of a handful, Calgary's Krzysztof Oliwa swung, missed and fell to the ice. Laraque did not pounce. Instead he let Oliwa back on his feet. Oliwa fought hard but lost a close decision.
This all occurred two seconds into an Oct. 25 game?
"He didn't jump on me and gave me a chance to get up," Oliwa said. "I respect that a lot. You don't forget things like that. Then we had a good battle, you know? A good way to start the game."
Fighting etiquette II
Nashville's Scott Hartnell and Detroit's Jiri Fischer squared off Thursday in a battle that stemmed, in part, from the slew foot Hartnell threw last season that injured Fischer's knee.
Fischer dropped Hartnell with a left that bloodied his face.
"Not necessarily," Fischer said when asked if he was looking for Hartnell. "Nothing was planned. It just happened, fair fight. Nobody jumped anybody. It was just in the flow of the game."
With Sharks defenseman Brad Stuart:
Q: So when did you get into Pearl Jam?
A: Since I was about 15. They got me into being a real big fan of music.
Q: What's the appeal?
A: They've done the things they wanted to do. They don't do videos because they don't want to. They switch their concerts up every night so it's never the same show. It's not a cookie-cutter manufactured thing. It's a real experience.
Q: What was it like to do a sound check with them?
A: Awesome. It was surreal to think I was on stage and they were right there. I got to sit on the stage for their concert as well, so it was pretty sweet. Probably one of the best things I was ever able to do.
Q: What were you thinking during the concert?
A: I was just trying to imagine how awesome it would be to do that and see the fans going crazy over songs you have come up with.
Q: Don't you get that feeling when you score a goal?
A: I guess it's kind of similar. You get the fans cheering basically for something you've done.
Those lovable Lightning fans
Another in our series of how Tampa Bay fans compare with those around the league:
FANS WITH COLLEGE DEGREES
1. Washington Capitals 37.8% 6. Colorado Avalanche 30.6%
2. New York Islanders 33.6% New York Rangers 30.6%
Dallas Stars 33.6% 8. New Jersey Devils 30.5%
4. Columbus Blue Jackets32.6% San Jose Sharks 30.5%
5. Boston Bruins 30.7% 21. Tampa Bay Lightning 23.2%
_ Source: Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Journal
Around the league
The Oilers are shopping unsigned forward Mike Comrie. The asking price is around $4-million a season, so forget the Lightning. The Devils are a possibility. Detroit's Dominik Hasek was booed after he gave up four goals on 13 shots and was pulled from Wednesday's 6-5 loss to the Blues. "I know how they feel," Hasek said. "I just couldn't stop the puck." The Kings are still without forwards Jason Allison and Adam Deadmarsh. Damaged nerves in Allison's neck (the result of three whiplash incidents last season) bother his vision. Deadmarsh has been out since Dec. 15 with post-concussion syndrome. Toronto could be interested in Capitals defenseman Sergei Gonchar who may become part of a salary dump. The Islanders lost $20-million last season. Owner Charles Wang doesn't want to sell so he raised ticket prices 38 percent. Average attendance is down by 2,000.
"Usually I'm looking at roller blades. Now I'm looking at an Escalade." _ right wing Brent Burns, at 18 years, 7 months, the Wild's youngest player.
_ Compiled by staff writer Damian Cristodero using personal interviews and information from other news organizations.