Kukla's Korner Hockey
Mike Babcock and Randy Carlyle met with the media today…
Q. Tell me what Dan Cleary has meant to your team in these playoffs?
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: He’s a great person, a good, good player. He’s worked hard enough over the last while in his career to get his game back. He’s a physical guy for us. He played on our puck-control unit there with Draper and Maltby. He’s good on the power play, real good on the penalty kill. He plays hard.
He was a child phenom. It got away from him. Through maturity and work ethic, he turned out to be the real good player in the league that he is.
Paul Kukla and I had a chance to speak briefly with Kelly Hrudey of Hockey Night in Canada. From his CBC television bio:
Hrudey became a full-time hockey analyst during the 1998/99 NHL season, after providing stellar commentary during the previous four playoff seasons alongside Ron MacLean. And during the 1999 NHL playoffs, Hrudey’s segment Behind the Mask became a regular feature on Hockey Night in Canada.
During his 15-year NHL career with the Islanders (six years), Kings (seven years) and Sharks (two years), the former Medicine Hat Tiger compiled a record of 271-265-88, with a goals against average of 3.43, with 16 shutouts.
The conversation can be downloaded here, or listened to on the player below. Our sincere appreciation to Mr. Hrudey for taking the time to chat with us about the Conference Finals now underway.
from the CP via Canada.com,
Getzlaf, who grew up in Regina, turned 22 on Thursday and went out for dinner with a group of other Ducks.
Perry is from Peterborough, Ont., and turns 22 next Wednesday.
Both were major junior stars — Getzlaf with the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen and Perry with the OHL’s London Knights.
They skate on the Ducks’ No. 2 attacking unit with Justin Penner, 24, who was cut from his hometown Winkler, Man., midget and junior teams. He went off to play college hockey for the Maine Black Bears to get noticed, and everybody notices him now.
I had a chance today to speak with L.A. Times sports columnist, Helene Elliott. Ms. Elliott is veteran hockey writer who also happens to be the first female journalist to be honored with a plaque in the Hall of Fame of any major professional sport. From Legends of Hockey:
“Helene Elliott is a pioneer among female sports journalists,” said Kevin Allen, president, Professional Hockey Writers’ Association. “But she has truly been a role model for sportswriters of both genders. Her ethics are unquestionable. Her reporting is beyond reproach. Her prose is lively. Her professionalism is of the highest order. There is no one in this business any more respected than Helene.”
Our conversation can be downloaded here, or listened to on the player below. My sincere thanks to Ms. Elliott for taking the time to speak to me on a busy game day.
from Scott Burnside at ESPN,
Still, we can’t help but believe there’s a little bit of a trap being laid here. The Wings, considered old when they lose and savvy veterans when they win, are not really supposed to be here. And yet, they are slyly confident.
“I just think that expectations from within in Detroit are as high as they’ve ever been [regardless of what the outside perspective might be],” offered former Pittsburgh Penguins coach Ed Olczyk, now a national broadcast analyst.
“There’s no doubt in my mind, for most of this season, these are the two best teams [in the conference],” Olczyk said.
... in the end. As it should be.
I spoke with Wings radio play-by-play man Ken Kal this afternoon.
Ken gives his views on the Wings/Ducks series and answered a few other questions I had.
It was a treat for me to speak with him and hope you enjoy the conversation.
Randy Carlyle, Chris Pronger, Teemu Selanne and Scott Niedermayer took part in a press conference today…
Q. Randy, Giguere had to go through a lot at the end of the season, start of the playoffs. Are you impressed by the way he focused on the game still?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: Again, you know, I think that when people go through hurdles in life and things that do happen outside of the game, then get an opportunity to go back to work, I think work becomes a little bit of a haven. Once you can satisfy in your own mind that everything’s okay at home, the ability to go back to work is really a relief for the individual.
I think that was the case with Giguere. He was through a situation that took some time to resolve. He got the opportunity to come back and practice for a couple of days. He didn’t play right away. He probably felt that he was more deserved of playing right away, but we had a goaltender that won three in a row, and as a coach you have to make those decisions.
When we lost the game in Minnesota, he grabbed the net from then on he’s given us quality goaltending and has given us a chance in every game. That’s all you can really ask from him. It’s a tribute to the individual to go through the personal family situation and then to come back and be ready to play at a high level. He’s to be commended for that.
from Terry Frei at ESPN,
Each of the NHL’s final four teams is battling a burden, fighting a perception, attempting to overcome bad karma that to some extent can add to the otherwise significant pressure.
t’s one more reason that when the Sabres, Senators, Ducks or Red Wings gather on the ice with the Stanley Cup and pose for the celebratory picture, they will have passed the most testing playoff process in sports.
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.
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