Game 7 is tonight, just for your information. Plenty of lineup changes and notes to be aware of, among other things...
- Antti Niemi will start in goal for the San Jose Sharks. The news was broken by Joe Thornton, for some reason. Fear the Fin is pleased with the decision.
- Willie Mitchell will not play tonight due to [undisclosed injury], causing a relatively seamless substitution on the blueline. Jeff Schultz got called up to serve as the seventh defenseman/press box guy tonight, and Matt Greene will move back into the lineup on the third pairing with Alec Martinez. The potential ramifications: Robyn Regehr will likely take over Mitchell's PK assignment, and the Regehr-Slava Voynov pairing will probably have their minutes increased slightly. Overall, though, Greene and Mitchell are similar enough that this move doesn't change a whole lot for LA.
- Dustin Brown was nominated for the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award for the third straight season. When he wins and the hockey world cues up the outrage, I'm making popcorn.
- After his instrumental role in the Kings' Game 6 victory, Justin Williams is once again getting attention for his strong performance in elimination games, and Game 7s in particular. Jon Rosen has a story about it over on the Kings' website.
- Some controversy yesterday, as Kevin Kurz of CSN Bay Area either misinterpreted or misrepresented Dustin Brown's comments on Joe Thornton after Game 6. The Royal Half and Robert were among those providing snark, and even Fox Sports West had something to say about it.
- The Royal Half's PHBA Awards allowed bloggers to vote on the year-end NHL awards. Decent showing for Anze Kopitar in the Selke race, as well as evidence that Kings writers need to be WAY more biased.
- Battle of California's Kings and Sharks writers took different approaches to tonight's game. Ryan Dunn praised Dustin Brown's attitude after Joe Thornton attempted to destroy his knee, while Megalodon posted pictures of his cat. Both highly recommended.
- Finally, use the links below to read about Drew Doughty's impact on this series, the Kings' history in Game 7s, and more. We'll have a preview for you this afternoon.