Kukla's Korner Hockey
NEW YORK (May 28, 2008) – Toronto Maple Leafs center Mats Sundin has been named the recipient of the Mark Messier Leadership Award for the 2007-08 season in recognition for his outstanding performance as a player, his leadership skills and his dedicated humanitarian efforts.
“The truest test of leadership comes during periods of adversity,” said Messier. “When presented with difficult times during the season, Mats Sundin remained committed to his teammates, his community and to the game of hockey. I am honored to present the Mark Messier Leadership Award to Mats Sundin. He understands the importance of his status in Toronto and his dedication to his community is unmatched. The strength of his character makes Mats a tremendous role model both on and off the ice.”
Q. Mike, do you expect to be aggressive in trying to maintain the matchup that’s worked for you at home or are you happy to just let your guys go?
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: Let ‘em go. We’re just going to play. I’m not going to make it as easy as that. But we’re going to get our guys on and off the ice as much as we possibly can. We’re real comfortable with three lines playing against anyone and four “D”.
Q. Could you assess, how do you think Sidney Crosby has performed throughout the playoffs, and what do you think this experience will do for him for the rest of his career?
COACH MICHEL THERRIEN: I really believe that he started to pick up his game against the Flyers. I thought he played well in the first two rounds, but you could see against the Flyers he brought his game to another level. He was a true leader in that series.
He’s working really hard. His first two games against Detroit, sometimes the results are not always there. But in the meantime, that’s going to give him - it’s like last year, we only played five games in the playoffs. That young team didn’t know what to expect in the playoffs.
Even as coaches, you prepare your players. You show a lot of videos. You share experience. You’ve got to feel it. You’ve got to be in there. Now, it’s his first experience in the Stanley Cup Final, and I’m sure it’s going to help him for the rest of his career.
from Bob Smizik of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
The Penguins, once so full of all that seemed necessary to become a champion, have been exposed in the first two games of the final. Not exposed as a bad team, but as a team not worthy of the most cherished trophy in team sports.
No one expected this—not the players, not the coach, not the fans. Everything had been near-perfect. All phases of their game were humming.
But this is what happens in athletic competition when one team is better than the other or, at least, when one team is playing considerably better at a particular time.
from Rich Liberio of NHL.com,
We reached Pittsburgh yesterday after some small difficulties. As you might’ve read, our bus broke down just as it pulled up to the hotel in Detroit. We doubled up with the PR staff (thanks!) and made it in time to catch the Red Wings’ media availability.
But what a contrast between two Rust Belt cities.
We resided in the monstrous Marriott Renaissance in Detroit. It’s all part of the General Motors complex. My room overlooked the Detroit River, Windsor, Ontario, the Ambassador Bridge and the three-day long techno festival that humming next door. The windows vibrated for three days straight from Noon until Midnight. Living more than 40 stories in the sky, I found myself constantly drawn to the window.
more on Detroit and Pittsburgh…
from Cam Cole of the Vancouver Sun,
The Pittsburgh Penguins are not alone among National Hockey League teams in having their crest sewn into the dressing room carpet, nor are they the only team that warns visitors: “Please don’t step on the logo.”...
What are they worried about, that it’s bad luck?” said a TV guy who accidentally stepped on the sacred cartoon Penguin. “Like, things are going to get worse? How?”
Not merely down two games, the Penguins haven’t yet scored a goal, or even looked very much as though they might.
Evgeni Malkin is in a funk, Marian Hossa is wearing the same red-clad, five-man hairshirt as his centreman, Sidney Crosby, and Marc-Andre Fleury has looked ordinary on more than a few Detroit goals in the first two.
From Helene St. James at the Detroit Free Press,
Quick update from Mellon Arena here in Pittsburgh: In an effort to stop a two-game losing streak, the Penguins are inserting 36-year-old defenseman Darryl Sydor into the lineup for Game 3.
Sydor won Stanley Cups in 1999 with Dallas and in Tampa Bay 2004, but hasn’t seen action in a single game in the 2008 playoffs, that’s how highly the Penguins have thought of him. So exactly what he can add now is going to be interesting to see.
Update 12:37pm ET: From the CP,
The 36-year-old will replace rookie Kristopher Letang, whose play has slipped of late. Sydor has yet to see any action in this year’s playoffs.
Maxim’s got an interview with Mike Bolt, the official keeper of The Cup,
Ever had to deck a drunk fan?
Again, we’re around bars and alcohol, and you do get the odd jerk who’ll mouth off to you. But big deal, I can take it. As long as this thing stays safe, I don’t care how much this guy’s chirping in my ear. I’d like to smack them, but I can’t. I had to push a fan away once because I thought he was going to urinate in it, but that’s about it.
From Paul Kukla at NHL.com,
I have made some observations while covering all the action from games 1 and 2 in Detroit.
Chris Simpson, the NHL reporter for Versus is as down to earth as they come. Her work continues to improve and I enjoyed speaking with her yesterday about the game of hockey.
I can’t tell you how impressed I was with the folks from CBC. In the past I have communicated with them from time to time, but they went out of their way to make me feel comfortable when around them. Now if only I could get my hands on one of those CBC towels!
And if you’re not familiar with the exclusivity of those CBC HNIC towels, here is the reason why Paul will never get his hands on one…
A refresher course from Jamie Fitzpatrick at About.com, on how to get one’s name on the Stanley Cup:
The Stanley Cup is the only trophy in pro sport that bears the names of players, coaches, management and staff from the winning teams.
Prior to 1977 only players who had completed the Stanley Cup playoffs were eligible. Today, players appearing in 41 regular-season games or one Stanley Cup Final game for the championship team have their names engraved on the Cup. The NHL makes exceptions for players who do not meet the standard because of injury or other extenuating circumstances.
That’s why Jiri Slegr was the luckiest guy in the NHL in the spring of 2002.
read on for more trivia
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.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org