Seven former Michigan college players, including two who have already captured hockey's most prestigious prize, are on the rosters of the four Stanley Cup semifinalists.
Four alumni are skating for the Carolina Hurricanes, who have won a pair of seven-game series to advance to the Eastern Conference final against Pittsburgh. Carolina captain Rod Brind'Amour, the CCHA Rookie of the Year in 1989 with Michigan State, scored his first goal of the 2009 playoffs in last night's 3-2 overtime win at Boston. Brind'Amour also captained the Hurricanes when they defeated Edmonton for Lord Stanley's mug in 2006.
Defenseman Joe Corvo (Western Michigan, 1995-98) has appeared in all 14 postseason games for Carolina and produced a 1-5-6 scoring line. Rookie Dwight Helminen (Michigan, 2001-04) made his Stanley Cup playoff debut on April 23 against New Jersey for his only action to date. Forward Patrick Dwyer (Western Michigan, 2001-05), another former CCHA Rookie of the Year award winner, is on the Hurricanes roster, but has not yet dressed for a game.
The Pittsburgh Penguins will open the conference final at home against Carolina this coming Monday with Chris Kunitz (Ferris State, 1999-2003), the conference's Player of the Year in 2003, who won the Stanley Cup with Anaheim in 2007, and has earned seven assists in 13 playoff appearances for the Penguins.
The Detroit Red Wings play host to Chicago this Sunday to start the Western Conference final. Rookie forward Justin Abdelkader (Michigan State, 2005-08) played in the last three games versus Anaheim. He was recalled when the Grand Rapids Griffins' AHL season ended, made his NHL playoff debut on May 10 and earned an assist in the Wings' 4-1 victory over Anaheim.
The Blackhawks have a former MSU defenseman on their roster. Duncan Keith (2001-03), an assistant captain with Chicago, has averaged 25:15 of ice time per game with five assists in a dozen contests.