Here’s a statistic you won’t hear Chico Resch cough up on a break in play: There are three Jewish players on three different teams in the playoffs for what may be the first time in NHL history. Jeff Halpern (Kings), Mathieu Schneider (Coyotes) and Mike Cammalleri (Canadiens) are all vying for a chance to make kiddish in the Stanley Cup.
Cammalleri and Schneider were teammates on the LA Kings, but by the time Cammalleri arrived in 02-03, the Kings were no longer a regular playoff team. Halpern was a regular playoff player with the Capitals, but went to the Stars in 2006 as the Kings sank into high draft pick territory. Halpern was traded from the Stars to the Lightning, so while Schneider was back in the playoffs with the Red Wings, he was alone in counting the omer on off days.
Not only are there three Jewish guys skating, but I believe this accounts for all active Jewish players in the NHL (discounting claims that Eric Nystrom is Jewish). Cammalleri sniped the first goal of the Habs-Caps game tonight; Schneider was a scratch for Phoenix, and right now Halpern is sitting in the box in the Kings-Canucks game. Not exactly a minion, but something to write home about.
With the Devils enjoying an early summer, the Rangers thankfully out of the running, and the work-related Sharks also exiting in the second round, I am running out of teams to cheer for or against. Fortunately, we can claim weak affiliation with the Ducks thanks to former NJ Devil Scott Niedermeyer and former NJ Devils Youth Hockey Club and Princeton University winger George Parros. If so many people from work didn’t love the Red Wings, I’d find a reason to cheer for the Squidward crowd, due to the presence of Matthieu Schneider (the highest scoring Jewish player ever in the NHL).
It’s getting hard to cheer for Parros, though, because he’s been scratched nearly every game of the Conference Finals. I’ve voiced the opinion in these very blog pages before that if Parros was given the chance to play, regularly, he might turn into a solid fourth line wing, rather than the very narrow “goon” role into which he’s been forced. The guy is far from a goon — Pronger is the one who is suspended for unclean play, yet Parros is watching from the press box with him? Attention Randy Carlyle — you might actually need everyone skating to win 6 more games.
If it comes down to Detroit-Ottawa, I’m going to cheer for it to be over in four so the free agency fireworks can begin.