Kukla's Korner Hockey
via Tim Sassone of Between The Circles at the Chicago Daily-Herald,
Spent a lot of time Monday around the Red Wings and you come away so impressed with how these guys handle themselves. They are pros, through and through, and it starts with Nicklas Lidstrom, the best leader in the game.
Then you walk down the hall to the Hawks’ dressing room and you get the same feeling. These guys are mostly kids, but they handle themselves in the same professional manner as the Red Wings. That’s why this is a special team, folks. These kids get it and it starts with Jonathan Toews, who already had a Lidstrom-like presence in his room.
Toews is there every day, as captain and spokesman, answering wave after wave of questions from reporters like he’s been doing it 10 years.
In the end, the Hawks might get more out of this series, even if they lose, than they did from beating Calgary and Vancouver. The Hawks want to be the Wings, and they’re going to be someday with a few tweaks here and there. Mark my words.
Q. Before we get to X’s and O’s on the series, your thoughts on Patrick Roy being offered the Colorado Avalanche job?
JOEL QUENNEVILLE: I think it’s speculation. I don’t really want to touch that story. So we’ll see. I don’t want to talk about innuendo and speculation.
Q. Do you think a lot of adjustments need to be made by your team in Game 2 or do what you do better?
JOEL QUENNEVILLE: I think we got to do things better. You know, some things we’ll look at to maybe tweak a little bit along the way. But I still think we got to be—the pace of our game’s got to be consistent and stronger, and we got to be harder in the puck area.
George of SnapShots at Mlive posted the off-day press conference with Mike Babcock today…
Q. How much do you think the maturity factor plays into it at this time of year? It came up last year against Pittsburgh.
MIKE BABCOCK: Did it come up last year against Pittsburgh?
Q. We brought it up.
MIKE BABCOCK: So did that mean it actually happened?
Q. Well, I thought that throughout the course of the series, your experience came through.
MIKE BABCOCK: How do you tell that?
Q. I thought you guys weren’t as panicky with the puck as they were.
MIKE BABCOCK: Okay.
read the whole transcipt…
from Al Cimaglia at ESPN,
I am not sure why some had the notion the Blackhawks were going to overwhelm the Red Wings with their speed. Detroit has a very good skating club—as does Chicago, but no team skates faster than the puck can travel. The Red Wings are an older group, but age doesn’t prevent them from passing the puck as well or better than any other team in the NHL.
Much of the Wings’ fast play starts from their defensive zone. Same with the Hawks. The Wings were able to get out of their defensive zone more efficiently on Sunday and then moved the puck through the neutral zone quickly. Detroit won the battle between the bluelines as the Hawks could not gain speed for their attack during most of the game.
Another false impression in my view is the Hawks played the Wings’ style. Both teams want a fast pace and strive to control the puck. They have similar styles. In fact, the Wings played the Blackhawks’ style better than the Hawks. Detroit managed the puck, especially near the bluelines better than the Hawks.
via Puck The Media,
NBC’s coverage of Game 1 of the Detroit/Chicago series drew a 2.0/5 on Sunday. That rating marks the best ever rating for an NHL On NBC broadcast, excluding obviously the Stanley Cup Finals and Winter Classic.
Steve at PTM hopes to have local numbers later today, so check back for those.
added 1:18pm, The local numbers are in for Chicago and Detroit. People were watching in Detroit and Chicago. See the numbers by clicking the above link.
“They got a nice hockey club and, as we sit here and watch them, we’re watching them grow. We can’t wait for them to get into cap trouble, to tell you the truth. When you’re young like (the Blackhawks), and players are playing for cheap, you can have an abundance. But pretty soon, they’re not playing for cheap, and then, that’ll help us out.”
Wings Coach Mike Babcock on WDFN this morning. Listen to the interview at Mlive.
from Herb Gould of the Chicago Sun-Times,
Because it’s Chicago and Detroit, it’s hard not to think about a young Bulls team led by Michael Jordan needing to conquer Isiah Thomas and the NBA champion Pistons before winning championships. Those Bulls had to be frustrated by Detroit before maturing into winners, and these Hawks probably need more time, too.
The problem is, now that they have handled Calgary and Vancouver, it’s only natural to want more. It’s easy for hungry fans to rip into Kane, who followed up his hat trick against the Canucks on Monday with a dud at Joe Louis Arena. Nobody could make Kane feel any worse than he already felt, though.
‘‘We tried to make a statement,’’ the boyish Kane said glumly. ‘‘This was a big game for us. We had the start we wanted. We got off to a 1-0 lead. But they took it to us the second half of the game.’‘
from Stan Fischler of Game On,
• The Red Wings are not unbeatable; it’s just that it’s hard to catch them.
• I’d like to see what would happen if Chris Osgood REALLY was tested in the Detroit goal.
• If Nik Lidstrom got any better he’d be Zdeno Chara.
• I’m very interested in seeing how Sid (Days Of Whine and Roses) Crosby plays against team that can spell D-E-F-E-N-S-E; otherwise known as Carolina.
more bullet points…
from Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Tribune,
Still searching for an explanation for the Game 1 disappointment? Maybe the Hawks were simply overmatched.
“I don’t think we looked overmatched at all,” Seabrook said. “I think they’re a great team, and they come with a lot of speed. We had our chances too.”
Speed is supposed to be the Hawks’ advantage, and we’ll take it on faith that it eventually will show itself in this series. But speed doesn’t mean anything if you cough up the puck.
The Red Wings looked tired in Game 7 of their conference semifinal against Anaheim. But on Sunday, as Seabrook put it, “they kept coming, they kept coming and kept coming.”
They did indeed, and let it be a lesson to these baby-faced Hawks that the great teams know how and when to turn it on.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Game 1 of the Western Conference finals looked awfully familiar.
It reminded us of the first two games the young Pittsburgh Penguins played in Detroit last June in the Stanley Cup finals. The Pens never touched the puck and wondered what had just hit them. By the time they recovered in the series, it was too little, too late.
The Detroit Red Wings delivered that same lesson Sunday, controlling large stretches of the afternoon in a dominating 5-2 victory over the young Chicago Blackhawks.
The class in question Sunday was Puck Possession 101, a course the Red Wings have taught many times to the rest of the league.
“Welcome to the Western Conference finals, kids,” the Wings seemingly said loud and clear Sunday. “Did we tell you this was our eighth trip here in 14 seasons and third in a row?
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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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