Kukla's Korner Hockey
By George James Malik
Chris Pronger needs to take his nose out of Playboy (audio interview, go to 24:28 mark and listen thru to 36:30 mark) and open up a physics book.
Physics does not explain why a 6’6” player is allowed to hit a shorter player in the head simply because he is taller than the shorter player. That’s a cop-out and rationalization of Burkeian proportions.
Does the “law of physics” state that, because players like Bertuzzi and myself are so massive (245 pounds), we’re allowed to shrug our shoulders when we take runs at players, and those players are injured?
When people like us play contact sports, we hurt people, and we don’t even mean to do it, because Newtonian physics state that momentum is conserved in collisions (barring factors such as friction and metabolism [body heat] dissipating some energy into the surrounding environment), or, in other words, when I hit somebody who’s lighter than me, they have to accelerate faster than I do, or absorb more force (force [in Newtons] = mass x acceleration).
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
Against Calgary and then San Jose, the Wings found themselves tied at 2 heading into home dates in Game 5. In both cases, they dominated the games en route to Game 6 series-clinching victories.
The Anaheim Ducks, however, are in uncharted territory. They dispatched Minnesota and Vancouver with relative ease in five games and now face their first must-win contest of the postseason.
Must win? History shows that when a series is tied at 2, the team that wins the fifth game has gone on to win 157 of 195 series (80 percent).
Q. Chris Pronger was quoted in the radio station back home for you guys saying that the officiating has been an absolute joke. And I wonder what your thoughts are on that, and if it troubles you to hear that your players might be sort of speaking out about the officials like that?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: Everybody’s entitled to their own opinion. And in the case of officiating, obviously we think, and every coach does, that at times calls didn’t go your way. And I’m sure Detroit feels that there are some calls that didn’t go their way.
It’s a game of intensity that gets ramped up in the playoffs, as there’s more pressure on players to perform, there’s more pressure on officials to perform.
As far as that, that’s the way I look at it. You can’t, from my standpoint, sit here and criticize. It’s more about playing for the next one. It’s more about giving the respect that’s necessary to the people that are in charge of the hockey game.
from Tim Wharnsby of the Globe and Mail,
Babcock was incredulous to Pronger’s explanation, and turned to the moderator, NHL vice-president Jamey Horan, and said “we have one more question?” When he was told that was it, he walked off.
Pronger is many things: a Norris Trophy winner, a Hart Trophy winner, an Olympic gold medalist, funny, bold, honest and outspoken. He may also prove to be a motivator because his words on Friday appeared to have fired up the Wings. The big defenceman didn’t stop at his physics remark.
He also told the Roggin and Simers Squared radio show:
“The league should make its own calls, not be pressured into anything by the media, and more to the point, the Canadian media,” said Pronger, who was suspended for Game 4 on Thursday, when his teammates scored a 5-3 victory to tie the best-of-seven series at 2-2.
Read the full transcript from today’s Q & A with Babcock…
from Ralph Strangis at the Dallas Stars,
This is Ralph Strangis coming to you somewhere over the Rocky Mountains. Once again this season I’ve been given the task of ice-level reporter for NHL Radio for the Western Conference Finals and the Stanley Cup Finals….
So now we head back to what might be the hardest building in the hardest city in the National Hockey League (Joe Louis Arena). I’ve also discovered there is actually a worse place to work a game than the press box of Joe Louis Arena and it is the bowels of Joe Louis Arena. I’ve been roaming underneath the stands, having beer spilled on me, rat traps are all over the place (and I’m not kidding), and during the overtime of Game Two I was literally under the bleachers right next to Chris Osgood behind the Detroit bench and could not see a thing. But I had to report from ice level like I could see something.
If he’s a difference-maker, now would be a good time to show it.
Up to this point, any comparison of Pronger, a one-time Norris Trophy winner, to the Red Wings’ Nicklas Lidstrom, who has won the award four times, has looked like a media invention for which we should apologize profusely to the elegant, nearly error-proof Lidstrom.
It’s been no-contest.
from the OC Register,
“What I want to say and what I actually say are two different things,” Pronger said. “No matter what I say, it’s not going to matter.”
Pronger and teammate Rob Niedermayer sandwiched Holmstrom against the boards, with Holmstrom’s helmet popping off and him suffering two cuts that required 13 stitches when his forehead hit the glass.
“I’m going in for the hit, and I don’t see Robbie coming in as I’m hitting him,” Pronger said. “It’s a nothing play if Robbie doesn’t hit him. Just the sheer force of him coming back at me, of course I’m going to hit him in the head as he’s coming back to me. He’s quite a bit shorter. It’s just the law of physics.”
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Overshadowed in the Pronger melodrama was the fact that Red Wings-Ducks match-up is slowly morphing into the most compelling playoff series since the opening round. Anaheim played its two best games of the series on the road and earned only a split. Detroit upped the tempo in the two games in Anaheim, held an overall edge in play, but also earned just the split. It’s hard to argue that the series isn’t exactly where it should be — deadlocked at 2-2 and waiting to see which team can raise the level of its play still another notch.
Red Wings’ coach Mike Babcock put forward a theory the other day — that in most playoff series, one team tends to get better while another team tends to get worse. If that is the case and holds true, then the Red Wings are in the stronger position.
from Jim Kelley at Sportsnet,
They may be a bit raw and certainly a tad too undisciplined for any hockey purist, but they certainly didn’t lack the courage to win.
That’s no small accomplishment, especially against a team as deep and as mentally tough as the Red Wings.
You knew coming in it could go only one of two ways for the Ducks. Never a particularly good team when Pronger was out of the lineup in the regular season, they had to decide whether they would suck it up and do whatever it took to make up for the loss of perhaps the league’s best two-way defenceman or do the old woe-is-me routine and falter in his absence.
Teemu Selanne, Ryan Getzlaf and Randy Carlyle after the game…
Q. Teemu, the power play tonight, do you think you were a little more patient, passing on the power play?
TEEMU SELANNE: I think we did better job. I’m not so happy still you know. We can do better job. But I think we were making better decisions and we were not rushing the plays and forcing the pass.
Better job, but still I’m expecting we’re going to be better.
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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