Kukla's Korner Hockey
from John McGourty at NHL.com,
While Anaheim Ducks defenders Chris Pronger and Scott Niedermayer vie for their second Norris Trophies, Detroit Red Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom is seeking his fifth. The trophy honors the former owner of the Red Wings.
Pronger, the 2000 Norris Trophy winner, and Niedermayer, the winner in 2004, could become only the second pair of teammates to run 1-2 in Norris balloting by the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association. Lidstrom edged teammate Chris Chelios, a three-time winner, in 2002.
What can be said about Lidstrom that hasn’t been said before?
from the Vancouver Sun,
Let’s face it: in the Canucks, Anaheim had to worry about two-thirds of one forward line, a banged-up defence and a great goaltender, and still were a bounce here or there from losing four games.
It would have been a grave miscarriage of justice, but the scores (if not the games) were really that close.
But now, they’ve drawn the Nucks Deluxe.
Like Vancouver, Detroit has a potential series-stealer in goal with Hasek. Like the Canucks, the Wings can play a team defence so confounding, it gets in their opponents’ heads. Like Vancouver, Detroit hangs around, and often finds a way to make something out of nothing at the end.
from Mark Whicker of the OC Register,
Detroit has 42-year-old goaltender Dominik Hasek. Detroit has 45-year-old defenseman Chris Chelios.
Hasek is 20 years older than Ryan Getzlaf, who marks his 22nd birthday today.
Chelios came into the NHL when there were just 21 teams. Heck, his first fight was with Joe Louis.
This is why the Western Conference finals will be such a different series from the first two.
Not because the Ducks won’t beat Detroit, because they should.
from Red Fisher of the Montreal Gazette,
The Buffalo Sabres finished No. 1 overall during the regular season with inoa franchise-high 113 points. The Detroit Red Wings matched them. Anaheim, with 110 points, led the Pacific Division. Ottawa, after a terrible first half, finished with 105 points, only two behind New Jersey.
Get the picture? No surprises. In a league that almost always delivers upsets during the playoffs, it’s only right that the NHL’s Big Four have made it to the finals in the East and West.
Now the fun really begins.
from Mike Waldner of the Daily Breeze,
All that separated the Ducks from possession of the Stanley Cup was a loss in the seventh game of the Finals.
Mike Babcock was the relatively young 40-year-old rookie NHL coach who molded the Ducks into a formidable team. He was bright, passionate, committed and, so it seemed, settling in for a long run in Anaheim.
You know, you never know.
from Randy Youngman of the OC Register,
Obviously, a one-year offer meant there were some doubts about whether Babcock could be the coach Burke wanted him to be, and Babcock wanted more than that.
“He said, ‘One year is not a lot of security,’” Burke recalled. “So he asked for permission to look around. ... He asked for a window (to negotiate with other teams) and he later asked for an extension to that (negotiating window).”
And a few days later, Babcock accepted a multiyear offer to coach the Red Wings.
from Loose Change at the Hockey News,
And all we wanted was the Detroit Red Wings to (a) embrace their spineless-ly Poker-ish ways and fold early and (b) realize that two of their key cogs in the bid for a championship were, at one time, deck hands on The Ark. Now you have the Red Wings getting unexpectedly vital contributions from players with names ending in “son”, “ov”, “berg” and “Datsyuk” and they really have this belief that a route to the Cup doesn’t necessarily require taking the Yzerman Parkway.
more on all of the teams in the CF…
Scott Burnside of ESPN breaks down the WCF,
Many preseason prognosticators believed this was the Ducks’ season. For those who like their foul West Coast style, Anaheim has done nothing to disappoint. The team is 8-2 through the first two rounds and hit the Western Conference finals for the second straight season, well-rested and hungry to take that next step to the Stanley Cup finals.
Now onto the ECF,
At the start of the playoffs, this looked like an absolutely perfect matchup for the right to go to the Stanley Cup finals. And now that it’s here, there’s nothing to suggest this won’t be anything but a terrific showdown between the two best teams in the conference.
from the CBC,
Carlyle doesn’t like his team’s chances to advance to the Stanley Cup final if players continually commit costly penalties.
“Those things are draining. If you continue to give teams opportunities they are going to find a way to put the puck in your net.”
The concern for Carlyle extends beyond Anaheim’s penchant to play short-handed.
Despite their seemingly comfortable elimination of Vancouver, the Ducks looked susceptible at times with some sloppy play.
Earlier today, Anaheim Ducks’ coach Randy Carlyle and player Ryan Getzlaf participated in a media teleconference:
Q. We know that you don’t know who you’re going to be facing yet, but in winning two series in five games, is there anything that you want to see your team do better than they have done throughout the tournament?
COACH CARLYLE: Well, I think there’s always areas of improvement. I don’t think that you could ever say that we’re completely satisfied with our whole team game. I think there’s been parts of our game as a group that we went for stretches where we’ve been very ineffective. We turned the puck over far too many times, and I guess the hugest area of concern for us right now would probably be our penalties. I don’t think that we can continue to take the penalties at the rate that we have in the first two series to continue to have success here as we go forward.
Q. You guys were heavily penalized throughout the regular season; is there a bit of a changing of the gears that your team needs to EMBRACE here in the playoffs where things are more magnified?
from the OC Register,
No Vancouver players were conspicuously absent from the traditional postgame handshake line. Canucks coach Alain Vigneault made a point of congratulating Ducks counterpart Randy Carlyle and his staff. Vancouver general manager Dave Nonis went to Carlyle’s office after the game to commend Ducks coaches and management.
“I expected nothing less from Dave Nonis and Alain Vigneault,” said Ducks general manager Brian Burke, who formerly held the same position with the Canucks….
“We got beat by a better team. It’s as simple as that,” Vigneault said. “The games were tight, but overall they had more speed. They were better than we were.”
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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