Kukla's Korner Hockey
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.
from Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun,
Losing Pronger for a game is one thing. Having everybody else not show up, again, would be something else again.
Yesterday was all about Pronger. But today has to be all about the Ducks who so spectacularly no-showed in losing 5-0 to the Detroit Red Wings in Game 3.
Ducks GM Brian Burke was screaming injustice, of course. Burke enjoys nothing more in life than to be outraged. And he talks such a good game, he can almost pull you in with him. But the last thing Carlyle needs here is for the Ducks to go on the ice tonight using not having Pronger as an excuse.
from Mark Whicker of the OC Register,
Suddenly it’s not the playoffs for Teemu Selanne.
Nobody is clipping him in the face. Nobody is nailing him with a puck during warm-ups. Nobody is driving him to the dentist.
Nothing’s going in.
“When I’ve gotten into position, I haven’t gotten the puck onto the net,” Selanne said. “It’s playoff hockey. I’ve been through things like this before. All that needs to happen is for one of those shots to go in.
“I could either be smiling or crying about this. I’d rather be smiling.”
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
It’s the kind of decision that could easily cost the Ducks Game 4 on Thursday. And if it costs them Game 4 it will give Detroit a 3-1 series lead and hence almost certainly cost the Ducks the series. And by extension, a loss to Detroit Thursday will likely cost the Ducks a trip to the Stanley Cup and the Cup itself.
If there has been a suspension handed down to a more high profile player than Pronger, a former Hart Trophy winner and nominated once again this year for the Norris Trophy, at a more crucial time of the season in recent memory, we couldn’t recall it.
But that’s the point of the matter, isn’t it?
read on, including Brian Burke comments…
added 8:37pm, more on this from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail…
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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