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[Sunday's FTB]: Best of the west; best of the world

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The western conference finals begin, and Canada faces Russia for the world championship

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The Rangers defeated Tampa yesterday 2-1. Moore scored the game wining goal with only 2:25 left on the clock.

Lightning fall to Rangers 2-1 on late goal in a close Game 1 - Raw Charge recap
The matchup stayed close, but in the end fell in the Blueshirts' favor.

Rangers vs. Lightning: Moore the Hero, Rangers take Game One - Blueshirt Banter recap
Game 1 is in the books and the Rangers have an early 1-0 lead in the Eastern Conference Final.

The western conference final starts today at 3pm EST. We'll have a preview up later, but if you want to read something about it now:

Annoying Blackhawks fans coming your way - The Orange County Register
They really don't like Hawks fans in Anaheim.

The IIHF world championship finals are also today. The USA faces the Czech republic in the bronze medal game at 10:45am. Canada will play Russia at 2:45pm. Too bad that game is on at the same time as the western conference final. We will cover both games in today's game thread.

World Championship Preview: Canada vs. Russia - Sportsnet.ca
Canada is going for its first gold since 2007.

Alex Ovechkin Scores as Russia Moves on to World Championship Gold Medal Game
Ovechkin has just joined the Russian team and is already making an impact.

Perhaps Russia should let Putin join the team.

Vladimir Putin skates with retired NHLers, scores 8 goals
Russian President Vladimir Putin played in an exhibition hockey game and scored one goal after another on assists from retired NHL players.

Other news:

Mike Babcock's Coaching Decision: The Year-by-Year Waiting Game - Winging It In Motown
We can't go a day without talking about the most desired coach in hockey.

Mike Emrick’s ‘Nervous Eating’ Overtime Soliloquy From Game Seven Is Even More Confusing Transcribed
Was he having a stroke when he said this?

Confusing decisions may have forced the Canadiens into another 'transition' year - Eyes On The Prize
There's such a thing as too much patience, and the Montreal Canadiens might be guilty of it.

Seen & Heard – Weekend Edition Toronto Sports Media Blog
Mike in Boston has a great roundup of the media's week, including Jays coverage and more on Dean Blundell's ratings. I also agree with this aside on the FHRITP incident: "the kind of reporting that led to FHRITP would not be missed if it disappeared entirely. Man on the street interviews are perhaps the least informative type of reporting. It takes no real talent to hold a microphone in front of drunk fans at sporting events, and the type of response you get is beyond useless. I really don’t care to hear people scream "WOOOO TFC" or some version of that. I have no idea why news programs think we want this. It’s demeaning to the people holding the microphone. Give them more meaningful assignments."