Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
Mike Babcock did nothing but win in Detroit. He won without high draft picks. He won without large free-agent signings. He won without all-star goaltending.
He won — or better put, the Red Wings won — partly because of elite talent such as Nicklas Lidstrom, Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg — and moreso because the organization under general manager Ken Holland understood and fostered player development in a way few franchises ever have.
The model is there for the Maple Leafs.
It is Holland’s model with Jimmy Devellano’s signature on it and a clear mandate from management and coaching: Every spot on a team is earned.
Every player is developed with a sense of patience and logic.
There is a clear and unwavering plan that never changes.
The kind of plan Brendan Shanahan keeps referencing without much explanation.
The model to follow is partly Detroit, partly Tampa Bay for Shanahan’s Maple Leafs. It is not coincidence that Steve Yzerman is running the Lightning. It is not coincidence that Jim Nill traded for Tyler Seguin in Dallas. It is not coincidence that Todd McLellan is the new coach of the Oilers and Jeff Blashill is likely the new coach in Detroit and Paul MacLean is a former coach of the year before he was let go in Ottawa.
All learned the Red Wing way. All became part of that family — and are still, in a way, part of that culture.
As an analyst, based on what we've seen/heard, the prevailing sentiment is Babcock will stay in DET. That appears to be conventional wisdom
But I have to tell you, based strictly on not much more than instincts, I could see Babcock ending up in BUF. Like I said, just a hunch.
If I had to bet big bucks of my own money, I'd probably wager DET. If I could lay down a loonie or twoonie with a big payoff, I'd pick BUF.
-Bob McKenzie via Twitter this morning.
from Dave Hodge of TSN,
I guess Detroit could be mentioned as well, although anyone who thinks Babcock will remain where he is would have a hard time explaining why.
I won't pretend to guess where he might land, but I will tell you what I'd say if he asked for my advice.
If his main aim was to sign the most lucrative contract possible, I'd tell him to interview in Toronto in the morning and Buffalo in the afternoon and see which of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment and Terry Pegula would be willing to make him almost as rich as they are.
If he liked the challenge of re-making a dynasty and coaching hockey's next great superstar and working with people he knew well, I'd tell him to go to Edmonton.
And if he wanted to find the quickest way to win another Stanley Cup, he'd be advised to wait and see what happens with Ken Hitchcock in St. Louis before doing anything else.
more plus the waived off goal against the Caps last night...
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
If I had to put money on an early front-runner, I’d pick the Oilers given the exciting new direction of the team plus Connor McDavid's arrival in June. Oilers CEO Bob Nicholson has strong ties with Babcock from their Team Canada Olympic tournaments. New GM Peter Chiarelli intends to speak with Babcock soon.
The Sabres will make a push, too, with GM Tim Murray having ties to Babcock from hiring him to his first NHL head coaching job back in the Anaheim Ducks days.
And Sabres owner Terry Pegula won’t be shy to spend money.
There’s also Toronto, of course, but for me the Maple Leafs are only a serious player if they slap down crazy, crazy money. Their outlook isn’t as advanced as the Oilers or Sabres in terms of a rebuilding roster.
Could the Philadelphia Flyers or San Jose Sharks or another team make a call? No question, I would bet on it.
Detroit remains very much part of the mix, too. Babcock's desire to speak to other teams and what he ends up hearing from them may only re-affirm his realization of how good he has it with the Red Wings.
I had no intention of making the KK Hockey section 'The Babcock News' today so if you want everything that transpired today, check out The Malik Report where George did a great job on this topic.
from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of Yahoo,
Babcock faces the paradox of choice – more options, more anxiety. No matter which team he chooses, he will be turning down great opportunities elsewhere. If he leaves Detroit, he will be leaving an owner who has treated him well, a GM with whom he has worked well, a team with which he has won a Cup, a city his kids have called home. He will be saying somewhere else is better than a place he loves.
He needs to talk to his wife. He needs to talk to Holland. Maybe his wife tells him to stay. Maybe the Wings increase their offer and convince him the roster can contend for the Cup in the coming years. Maybe he needs to talk to other teams before he can evaluate, let alone decide. We can speculate, but he can’t explore his options legally until his contract expires July 1 – unless the Wings give him permission.
“I’m flattered,” Babcock said. “I really am. But my wife and I will go through a process, and Kenny and I will go through a process, and within 10 days we’ll have a plan. I’m not letting this go forever and ever. Kenny will decide what we do.”
Gonna be a long 10 days. At least.
from Tom Jones of the Tampa Bay Times,
You can open your eyes now. Go ahead and exhale.
The Lightning is still alive.
It is moving on after Wednesday's thrilling Game 7 victory over the Red Wings.
For the past week and a half, Tampa Bay gave you doubts and tested your faith as well as your blood pressure. Each game, each night, each shift left you breathless or exhilarated, frustrated or anxious. One moment, the Lightning looked like a team that could be fitted for Stanley Cup rings. The next, it was being measured for coffins.
Up and down. Back and forth. You've cheered and cursed, applauded and booed. You couldn't wait for the next game or wished never to see another hockey game again.
That's what the playoffs can do to you. That's what the Lightning has done to you. It's delicious and nauseating at the same time. And this has only been one round!
"It's fun," Lightning center Brian Boyle said. "It's the playoffs."
Tampa defeated the Detroit Red Wings 2-0 in game 7 and will play Montreal starting on Friday.
A tightly played game with not many scoring chances.
from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,
... But full marks to the DoPS, a group that too often falls short on the common sense scale. Then again, Kronwall's actions didn't leave them much wiggle room. By any definition this was a dangerous foul, a hit that involved leaping prior to the collision and the victim's head as the primary point of contact.
In fact, the infraction was so obvious that it leaves only one question: how did the on-ice officials miss it?
Given what was involved this was impossible to defend as a legitimate hockey play. And yet neither Dave Jackson and Steve Kozari, who can be seen in various replays to be looking directly at the two players at the moment of contact, thought it crossed the line. No penalty was called.
It's not like their whistles were stashed away. The pair called a total of 17 infractions on the night. All were minors, and not all of them blatant. In fact, many appeared to be of the “game management” variety. You know the type—send a couple guys to the box specifically to prevent a heated situation from escalating.
Those aren't bad calls. Some of them are ticky-tack, sure, but they suggest the officials are in control.
So given that apparent level of vigilance, how do they miss the single most blatant and dangerous violation of the rules on their watch?
But hey, at least they were consistent. They also overlooked a clear charge by Ondrej Palat that culminated in an elbow to the head of a vulnerable Luke Glendening behind the Detroit net.
Letting the boys play is one thing. Letting them play recklessly is something else entirely. The standard they set is one that could get someone seriously injured. If the league has any real interest in player safety, neither Jackson nor Kozari should be allowed to call another game in these playoffs.
added 8:25am, Below is the hitg on Glendening Muir is referring to...
from Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette,
The Canadiens will work out roughly 12 hours before knowing whether they’ll face the Detroit Red Wings or Tampa Bay Lightning in Round 2.
“No cheering from the press box,” the sportswriting saying goes, impartiality required to properly cover a game.
Well, forgive me if I cheer unashamedly for the Red Wings on Wednesday night in their sudden-death tilt vs. the Lightning in Tampa Bay.
It’s no secret that I’m a fan of the history of hockey and the legends and the traditions of the game. With all due respect to the Lightning, the Red Wings leave them in the dust in that regard.
The view from this keyboard, not to disrespect some wonderful rivalries throughout the NHL, is that Original Six playoff hockey trumps all. It was a special atmosphere when the Canadiens swept the Lightning in their Eastern quarter-final last season, but there was something magical when they beat the Bruins and then fell to the Rangers.
Maybe it’s the magnificent crests on the jerseys. Maybe it’s the history woven through them. But in a 30-team NHL, a meeting between two of the “original” clubs is cause for celebration.
Hockey Hall of Fame look at Marcel Pronovost.
Below, a video feature on him.
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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