2003 NHL Draft Getty

Did You Know? The 2003 Draft was a good one

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The “Did You Know?” series ties in the news of the day with some little-known hockey factoids and/or trivia. It’ll be fun. Trust me.

The 2003 NHL Entry Draft is regarded as one of the most talented groups of all time. There are others in the mix, like 1979 (Mark Messier, Ray Bourque, Mike Gartner, Glenn Anderson, Michel Goulet) and 1990 (Jaromir Jagr, Martin Brodeur, Keith Tkachuk, Doug Weight, Sergei Zubov) but given the NHL’s current landscape, 2003 is right near the top.

The first round was loaded with stars. It boasts THOMAS VANEK, Stanley Cup winners (Marc-Andre Fleury, Eric Staal, Nathan Horton, Brent Seabrook, Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry), guys that played in and lost Cup Finals (Braydon Coburn, Jeff Carter, Ryan Kesler, Mike Richards, Jeff Tambellini) and then a whole bunch of really good-to-solid players: Brent Burns, Milan Michalek, Ryan Suter, Dion Phaneuf, Andrei Kostitsyn, Dustin Brown, Zach Parise, Brian Boyle and Eric Fehr.

(In fact, you could argue there were only seven first-round busts: Nik Zherdev at No. 5, Hugh Jessiman at No. 12, Robert Nilsson at No. 15, Steve Bernier at No. 16, Marc-Antoine Pouliot at No. 22, Tambellini at No. 27 Shawn Belle at No. 30)

But what sets the 2003 Draft apart is its depth. Let’s go round by round.

Round 2: Shea Weber, Patrice Bergeron, David Backes, Loui Eriksson, Matt Carle, Corey Crawford, Jimmy Howard, Maxim Lapierre, Kevin Klein, BJ Crombeen.

Round 3: Clarke MacArthur, Dan Carcillo, Ryan O’Byrne, Colin Fraser.

Round 4: Paul Bissonnette, Jan Hejda, Kyle Quincey, Corey Potter, Philippe Dupuis.

Round 5: Lee Stempniak, Brad Richardson.

Round 6: Marc Methot, Mark Flood, Drew Miller, Bruno Gervais.

Round 7 : Joe Pavelski, Kyle Brodziak.

Round 8: Dustin Byfuglien, Tobias Enstrom, Shane O’Brien.

Round 9 (and this is kinda nuts): Matt Moulson, Jaroslav Halak, Brian Elliott, David Jones, Tanner Glass, Chris Porter.

In conclusion, pretty solid draft.

Datsyuk ‘wants to make sure the Wings have options,’ says his agent

TAMPA, FL - APRIL 21:  Pavel Datsyuk #13 of the Detroit Red Wings checks his stick before a face-off against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the second period in Game Five of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena on April 21, 2016 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images)
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Pavel Datsyuk‘s future with the Detroit Red Wings and in the National Hockey League has been up in the air for a while now, as he’s linked to rumors of a return to Russia and the KHL.

His agent, Dan Milstein, recently explained to the Detroit Free Press that Datsyuk’s future should become clear in mid-June after meeting with Red Wings general manager Ken Holland.

As per General Fanager, Datsyuk has one more year left on his current deal, which comes with a cap hit of $7.5 million.

From the Detroit Free Press:

“He would like to leave, but at the same time, he wants to make sure the Wings have options,” Milstein said. “He wants to help the team any way he can with the salary cap issue.”

Wings general manager Ken Holland has said there are no loopholes. Because Datsyuk signed his last contract after he turned 35, his $7.5 million salary cap hit remains in tact even if Datsyuk departs. The Wings’ only option is to trade his contract to a team such as Arizona or Carolina that could use the hefty cap hit in order to be above the salary cap minimum.

At the age of 37, his career in the league started in 2001-02, and has spanned 953 regular season games in which he’s accrued 918 points.

He’s had a highly decorated career, with two Stanley Cup championships with the Red Wings, three Selke and four Lady Byng trophies.

Allen or Elliott? Another goalie decision looms for Hitchcock

ST LOUIS, MO - MAY 23:  Jake Allen #34 of the St. Louis Blues tends goal against Nick Spaling #16 of the San Jose Sharks during the third period in Game Five of the Western Conference Final during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scottrade Center on May 23, 2016 in St Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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The St. Louis Blues need to win Game 6 on Wednesday, or their season is over. Who they decide to turn to in net is likely to be a talking point — heated debate, maybe? — leading up to that contest.

Do they go back to Jake Allen for a third consecutive start, despite the fact he allowed four goals on 25 shots in Monday’s Game 5 loss to the San Jose Sharks? Or, will head coach Ken Hitchcock turn once again to Brian Elliott, who started every single game from the series opener of the first round versus Chicago to Game 3 of the Western Conference Final.

Hitchcock at least felt that going with Allen over Elliott in Game 4 provided the necessary spark for his team, as the Blues evened the series.

But on Monday, the Sharks, on the strength of two Joe Pavelski goals, eventually overpowered the Blues for the win, moving San Jose one victory away from the Stanley Cup Final.

“I thought he was fine. I don’t know, those are decisions we make in a day or so. But I thought he was fine today. He stopped some point-blank shots, especially early, three times early,” Hitchcock told reporters.

“I don’t know. That’s stuff we’ll talk about tomorrow.”

Feeding frenzy: Sharks send Blues to the brink of elimination in Western Conference Final

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The San Jose Sharks won a back-and-forth Game 5 to take back the lead in a back-and-forth Western Conference Final, moving one victory away from appearing in the Stanley Cup Final.

After scoring the tying goal late in the second period, Joe Pavelski notched his 12th of the playoffs to give San Jose the lead for good just 16 seconds into the third period.

The Sharks earned a 6-3 victory on the road, in a bounce-back effort from Saturday.

Twice, the Blues grabbed the lead. Troy Brouwer gave them the advantage in the first period, showing off his baseball skills by batting the puck into the net on a rebound. Robby Fabbri gave them another lead in the second period, making Roman Polak pay for snapping on Dmitrij Jaskin along the boards.

But the Blues couldn’t hold on. The Sharks scored twice on three power play opportunities and can now clinch the Western Conference on home ice in Wednesday’s Game 6.

As for the Blues, will Ken Hitchcock change up his starting goaltender again? It’s certainly an aspect of this series that will once again be up for debate leading up to Wednesday’s game.

After Brian Elliott had backstopped the Blues through the first two rounds and started the first three games of this series, Hitchcock decided to start Jake Allen in Game 4.

Allen recorded the win Saturday, and was called upon again in Game 5 as expected, but gave up four goals on 25 shots Monday.

Video: Sharks’ Polak snaps, Blues make him pay on the power play

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San Jose Sharks defenseman Roman Polak took serious issue with St. Louis Blues forward Dmitrij Jaskin during the second period, as the two eventually threw off the gloves off in a fight in the corner.

In the process, Polak let his emotions get the better of him — he snapped — by also taking a roughing minor to give the Blues a power play.

The Blues made him — and the Sharks — pay on a blast from Robby Fabbri, who was a game-time decision for Monday’s contest.

The Sharks tied the game at 3-3 before the end of the second period on Joe Pavelski‘s 11th of the playoffs. Pavelski struck again in the third period, giving San Jose the 4-3 lead.