Kukla's Korner Hockey
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.
from Scott Burnside at ESPN,
On Thursday evening, a rickety old contraption pulled up in front of the Anaheim Ducks’ dressing room and someone yelled, “Redemption bus, all aboard.”
And pretty much every Ducks player, who had been lousy or invisible or yanked or hurt or not even playing in this series, jumped on board.
The redemption bus that carried the Ducks to this strange and somewhat improbable 5-3 victory over the Detroit Red Wings wasn’t necessarily a thing of beauty. Much like this game, it had its warts, noisy springs and a bit of a foul smell about it. Think “Partridge Family” meets “Christine” and you’re close to understanding this conveyance.
Ducks even up the series with a 5-3 victory over Detroit tonight.
Now a best two out of three series, with 2 of those games in Detroit.
Watch the post game interviews (will become available shortly after the game).
from Al Strachan at Fox Sports,
If the National Hockey League is serious about cutting down on head-hunting — and you can make a good case that it isn’t — then a one-game suspension for Anaheim’s Chris Pronger is simply not enough.
Pronger attempted to perform an on-ice lobotomy on Detroit’s Tomas Holmstrom by slamming his head into the glass with a cross-check to the neck. Is it mere coincidence that Holmstrom just happens to be the key to power-play success for the Red Wings, and that by the time the infraction occurred, the game was out of reach?
Pre-game Q & A with Babcock and Carlyle…
Q. Do you try to do anything to exploit the fact that Pronger is not there or could you just play your game?
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: You always know who’s on the ice, who you’re playing against. We’ll do the same as always. What I found in this playoffs, if you go through our group, you know, we’re missing lots of people. I’d say we’re missing two of the top three on our team.
To me, they’re going to use that as a rallying thing. We’re going to use it as it doesn’t make any difference, we got to keep playing, playing hard, playing intelligent, keep our composure, get after them.
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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