Kukla's Korner Hockey
From the hockey bloggers of The New York Times,
Despite the five-day wait for them to start, this year’s Stanley Cup finals have fans more excited than they have been in a long time: a dream matchup between two electrifying, star-studded teams from cities steeped in hockey culture.
No matter what happens, the Detroit-Pittsburgh Cup series stands as perhaps the biggest success for the N.H.L. in a season with many positive developments.
Below, the writers and editors of The Times’s Slap Shot blog look back at 10 key issues, good and bad, that defined the 2007-8 hockey season:
From Eric McErlain at The Sporting News,
When the Detroit Red Wings and the Pittsburgh Penguins open up the Stanley Cup Finals tonight in Detroit, you couldn’t be blamed for forgetting which team has home-ice advantage. It’s hard not to find similarities between Detroit and Pittsburgh—two tough, blue-collar cities that love their NHL hockey—just ask Larry Murphy.
The Hall of fame defenseman has a skate in both camps this week. When I talked to him a couple of hours before the opening faceoff of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals, he had to stifle a chuckle when he told me it was “scary” how many parallels there were between his experiences in the two cities.
Now working as a broadcaster for Fox Sports Net Detroit, HD Net and the NHL Network, Murphy was an integral part of four Stanley Cup winning teams: Two in Pittsburgh in 1991 and 1992 and another two in Detroit in 1997 and 1998.
From the Detroit Free Press:
Mayor Kwame M. Kilpatrick and Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl have reached a gentleman’s wager over the Stanley Cup series between the Detroit Red Wings and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
If Detroit wins, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl will send Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick goodies from the Steel City, including Heinz Ketchup and Primanti Sandwiches. He will also ship Mayor Kilpatrick an octopus from Wholeys Fish Market. Dan Wholey, the market’s owner, made news this week when he said he would not sell octopi to any Red Wings fans during games in Pittsburgh.
If the Penguins win the Stanley Cup, Kilpatrick will send some of Motor City’s favorites such as Little Cesar’s Pizza Kits, Faygo Pop and a proclamation declaring Pittsburgh “America’s Hockey City,” according to a statement issued by Kilpatrick’s office.
Clearly, neither of these cities are going to prove themselves to be bastions of fine American cuisine…
Some questions for Pittsburgh Penguins coach Michel Therrien today.
[Update 5:01pm ET: And for some thoughts from Sidney Crosby, you can check out his ESPN interview here.]
Q. Can you talk about the decision not to practice here yesterday and not to get on the ice here until today?
COACH MICHEL THERRIEN: I’m not a big fan to change preparation, the way we do things. It’s always been like this. We’re not going to change because we’re in the Stanley Cup playoff.
Q. Is there any update on Franzen?
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: No.
Q. He went to the doctor, is he playing tonight or anything?
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: He’s at the doctor’s or whatever. If we keep sending him to doctors, pretty soon we’ll find someone who will shut him down for his life, I’m pretty sure. (Laughter).
Make sure to check out the work of the NHL.com writers and maybe a blogger too. There will be many updates to it throughout the SCF and some exclusive content too..
Visit the Stanley Cup Final 2008 Blog Page…
Steve Levy and Barry Melrose of ESPN report on the SCF from Joe Louis Arena.
from Red Fisher of the Montreal Gazette,
The start of the Stanley Cup final most people will agree will be the hardest-fought and most exciting in recent memory is only hours away. On one side, at home in Detroit, a Red Wings team clearly blessed with experience. On the other, the Pittsburgh Penguins, losers of only two games in three series and armed with a maturity far beyond their years.
What’s not to like, eh?
They are, clearly, the two best teams in the league. Teams that deserve to be where they are, strong in every area from the nets outward. Everything points to a long series of either six or seven games, but no matter who wins, a word of caution: let’s not get carried away to the point of anointing the survivor the beginning of a dynasty.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
The prospect of holding the NHL Winter Classic at Yankee Stadium on Jan. 1, 2009 is in the bottom of the ninth inning, with the Yankees New York Yankees attempting to convince the city that a pair of major concerns can be overcome so the Rangers New York Rangers can play an outdoor game in The Bronx before the World’s Most Famous Stadium closes its doors.
“We’re negotiating with the city on two issues that need to be resolved within the next few days in order for us to be able to go forward with the NHL,” Yankees’ COO Lonn Trost told The Post last night. “We want to have the game here and the NHL wants to have the game here, so now it’s a matter of us settling these concerns.”
from Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News,
Pittsburgh and Detroit, the two teams that struck the right balance between talent and toughness, have taken their rightful place in the Stanley Cup finals. The best-of-seven series begins tonight in Joe Louis Arena. The matchup is precisely what the NHL had in mind while coming out of its darkest era.
Ability or aggression? Why not have both? Both teams did and were superpowers during the regular season. Detroit won the Presidents’ Trophy for having the NHL’s best record. Pittsburgh finished second in the Eastern Conference even though it was without superstar center Sidney Crosby for 29 games.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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