Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Darren Eliot at Sports Illustrated,
Everyone loves to hate a villain, and in the NHL, the Ducks are exhibit A—as in Anaheim. Even their makeover from the cartoonish Mighty Ducks to their more Dark Wing inspired motif fits. They fought more than any team during the regular season, and they continue to win in the playoffs despite taking penalties at an alarming rate. It’s part of playing a relentless forechecking style and banging bodies at every opportunity.
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
The best team in the Western Conference final is not winning the Western Conference final.
The deeper and stronger team on the ice is not leading 3-2 in the best-of-seven series.
When summer hits, and the Wings have not been part of any kind of parade, they may well look back at yesterday’s game at Joe Louis Arena, and at Game 4 in Anaheim, both of them one-sided, and tear themselves apart wondering how they let this opportunity pass.
from the LA Times,
“It’s huge,” Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf said. “To come up in this building and steal a game tonight and battle back the way we did, to stay focused and stay on the job at hand, it’s good for our group.
“We’ve just got to continue on, and hopefully we can get it done at home.”
Game 5 had been the Red Wings’ domain in this year’s Stanley Cup playoffs — they won it in the first two rounds against Calgary and San Jose to help them close out those series in six games.
more (reg. req.)
from Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press,
It wasn’t just the Datsyuk call that bordered on the ridiculous. The Wings got a power-play opportunity in overtime that was unwarranted when Travis Moen was nailed for hooking Danny Markov that challenged the Datsyuk penalty in lameness.
You don’t want special teams deciding special games such as these, but the NHL can’t see beyond its tunnel vision. But doesn’t the league see the headlights of the approaching train?
How stupid is this league?
It changes the rules to promote more offensive creativity with the hope of attracting more television viewers, then it lets NBC hijack the overtime period for what proved to be the decisive game in the Eastern Conference finals Saturday for 30 minutes of Preakness prerace coverage.
from Randy Youngman of the OC Register,
Put it this way: I lost count of the number of times Brett Hull used the word “terrible” to describe the Ducks and Game 5 hero Teemu Selanne, during Sunday’s NBC telecast.
Perhaps it’s a coincidence, but Hull, a former Red Wing who was on Detroit’s 2002 Stanley Cup championship team, sounded like a man who lost a bet on Game 5.
This is what Hull thought of the Ducks’ performance after they pulled out an improbable 2-1 overtime victory at Joe Louis Arena to seize a 3-2 lead in the best-of-7 Western Conference finals heading back to Anaheim for Game 6:
“They were terrible with the puck, they were terrible on the puck, they were terrible (on) positioning ... they were just terrible.”
Q. Obviously you talked about the last play, how did you see it develop and did you believe the puck was suddenly there in front of you?
EEMU SELANNE: I just tried to do some forechecking job, obviously made an unbelievable play as well. I was obviously surprised to get that puck so open.
But it was good bounce and it’s great to see that go in.
Can the Ducks finish off the Wings at home?
Teemu Selanne scores in OT for a 2-1 OT victory over the Wings.
Watch the post game presser (will start soon)
from Jerry Green at the Detroit News,
Afterwards, Barry Melrose, once a bright young NHL coach and currently an ESPN wizard, castigated the Ducks for their lack of discipline. Melrose maintained the Ducks had stolen the victory.
“They should all leave the rink wearing masks,” Melrose told his ESPN audience in the quote of the night.
The Ducks have played without much discipline—or subtlety—throughout this series, headed to Game 5 at Joe Louis Arena Sunday afternoon.
They have become my choice for the new dumbest team in sports.
read on... some great old-school stories…
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
The fifth game of the Western Conference finals will be the one in which they stop taking the careless penalties that have sapped their energy and fueled the Red Wings’ offense, or it will be another showcase for their lack of discipline.
It will be the day they realize that mental toughness is more important than sheer brawn, or another occasion on which they let their emotions overrule their heads.
It’s their choice.
They can use their abundant talent to its fullest, or they can be drawn into tripping and hooking and holding and continue to tax their overworked defense and disrupt the flow of their offense.
They say they have chosen how they want to be known.
more (reg. req.)
from The Milford Daily News,
But any fan of hockey - traditional, old-school hockey as it was meant to be played - should have their eyes glued to the ongoing Western Conference Finals between Anaheim and Detroit.
The series might be the last chance for traditionalists to save the game.
If hockey general managers have proven anything over the years, it’s that they’re not the most creative bunch. The NHL is a copycat league; when one system or approach proves successful, you can be sure a good chunk of the league will try to do the same thing.
That means the winner of this series, which is tied at two games apiece heading into this afternoon’s Game 5 in Detroit (NBC, 3 p.m.), could provide the blueprint for many other franchises, especially if the winner goes on to take the Stanley Cup.
Anaheim and Detroit couldn’t approach the game any differently. And ironically, the roles are opposite what you would expect from the respective cities they call home.
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