Murray will likely rely on Vernon to start the postseason, but don't be surprised if he switches back and forth. Murray is an impatient sort who constantly tinkers with his personnel. "I've got to get to the point where I'm not switching line combinations every half-game" he said recently.
When the Panthers obtained Vernon, they got more than a top-flight goalie—they added a little intrigue as well.
Lester Patrick Award
Don't Forget Old Gold
Penguins great turned owner Mario Lemieux, Pittsburgh general manager Craig Patrick and longtime USA Hockey coach and administrator Lou Vairo each will receive the NHL's 35th annual Lester Patrick Award on Friday for contributions to the sport in the U.S. Over the years entire teams have also won the prestigious honor, including the 1980 gold-medal-winning U.S. Olympic squad and the '98 U.S. women's gold medal club. Next year the league should recognize the original Miracle on Ice team, the '60 Olympic squad that won gold at Squaw Valley. That team's thrilling 3-2 victory over the Soviet Union in the championship round set up a 9-4 win against Czechoslovakia that legitimized the U.S. in international hockey—an accomplishment that has been overlooked for too long.