Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
Since when did Mike Babcock become the next Scotty Bowman?
There seems to be sentiment out there that Babcock, the Detroit Red Wings coach, would solve all that ails the Penguins. That belief is so strong among many in the Penguins fan base that they virtually are willing to write off next season to wait for Babcock, who has a year left on his contract and said he won’t leave Detroit until after the youngest of his three children graduates from high school next spring. That’s crazy for a couple of reasons. One, Babcock might not leave Detroit at all. And two, he’s not another Bowman, who won nine Stanley Cups as a coach and four more as an administrator. No one is, of course....
By some measurables, Bylsma has been a more successful NHL coach than Babcock. Bylsma’s regular-season winning percentage is .670, Babcock’s with Detroit, .654. Bylsma’s playoff winning percentage is .551, Babcock’s with Detroit, .557. Since 2009, when Bylsma’s Penguins beat Babcock’s Red Wings to win the Cup in seven games, the “underachieving” Penguins have gone 4-5 in postseason series, the Red Wings, 3-5. The Red Wings won the Cup in 2008 under Babcock, beating Michel Therrien’s Penguins in six games.
Many will say not to blame Babcock for the Red Wings coming up short the past five seasons, that the team didn’t have Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. But a strong argument can be made that Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg and Nicklas Lidstrom (for the first three of the five seasons) provided a pretty solid foundation in Detroit. If the Penguins underachieved, didn’t the Red Wings?
One of the more compelling reasons being pushed for the Penguins trying to get Babcock at all costs is that he would make Crosby happy.
Okay, who stole Howard's head?
If the video is giving you problems, here is the direct link to the video.
Well what a night that was! Three Game Sevens and now we start the second round later today.
Before the second round starts let’s take a look at how we did predicting the first round.
Huge night for hockey fans out there! Kings, avs and rangers are my picks!— anthony brodeur (@abrodeur30) April 30, 2014
I will put my own predictions up to bat:
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An Original Six playoff matchup between the Boston Bruins and the Detroit Red Wings had not taken place since 1957 and this afternoon it could come to an erupt end for the Red Wings.
Detroit clutch and grabbed their way into a playoff spot by taking the second wild card position in the new playoff format from being relocated into the Eastern Conference. The Bruins won the Presidents’ Trophy being the NHL’s top team for the regular season.
via Don Cherry tweets,
Everybody's blaming Fleury for the loss to Columbus, saying here we go again. They don't realize shots were 46-25. It certainly wasn't all Fleury's fault. And I really do believe Crosby is hurt.
from Ken Campbell of The Hockey News,
Nobody, but nobody in the hockey world would blame the Detroit Red Wings if they went quietly into the night on Saturday. Technically, they would go quietly into the afternoon, but you get the idea.
The NHL does not hold an Everyone Gets a Trophy Banquet at the end of the season, so it’s unlikely the Red Wings will be rewarded for everything they’ve endured in 2013-14, a season that looks as though it will come to an end in Game 5 of their first-round series Saturday afternoon at the TD Garden in Boston. (Then again, this team is like Jason in the Friday the 13th movies. Just when you think they’re finally dead, they stagger up with that hockey mask on to wreak more havoc on their opponents.)
Actually, Game 4 of the series, won 3-2 by Boston in overtime, was a microcosm of the series. Detroit started well then flagged and was worn down and ultimately outclassed by a bigger, better, younger and much healthier team. For this, the Red Wings have no reason to hang their heads in shame. There’s considerable reason to doubt whether the Red Wings at their best and healthiest would have been able to handle this Bruins team in a best-of-seven series. But as they’re currently constituted, they shouldn’t, and don’t, stand a chance.
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
Another Boston win here Thursday would be the de facto series closer. The difference in these two teams is as obvious as it is stark for the Wings. Their alleged speed has been neutralized, if nonexistent. Their goaltending less than average. Their will, sense of urgency, and pushback just not there.
True, it’s the playoffs, and crazy things do happen, but right now it would be crazy to think this ends well for the Wings. Their feet have failed them, and when that happens, everything else usually follows.
The game was played on the eve of what promises to be one of the more emotional days in the history of Boston. The game was played on the one-year anniversary of David Ortiz declaring, “This is our [expletive] city.’’ It was on national television, and there was simply no way the Bruins were slinking out of town trailing two games to none to the eighth-seeded Red Wings. No team in the Hub does Boston Strong better than the local hockey team. On the Garden ice, all the words are fighting words.
-Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe on yesterday's Boston/Detroit Game. Read more on the game...
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
The Bruins, their mind-set fixed that Detroit’s speed was too much to handle, spent the night like a bunch of flat-footed window shoppers, looking longingly through the glass, ready to purchase, the game never quite in their hands. The few times they appeared set to buy, they were denied entry to the store or they were essentially told, too bad, the model in the window wasn’t for sale. They landed a total 25 shots on net (one more than those blazing, too-fast-to-handle Red Wings), but few were of much value, and even fewer led to follow-up sustained pressure on goalie Jimmy Howard or even fewer to a second or third shot on net. One and done. At best.
Shift after shift, the Bruins were short on possession, presence, and patience. Give the Wings credit for that, too. But overall, the Bruins needed to display more faith in their game, one constructed all season on strong, confident, and physical play. Rarely, if ever, did they display that in Game 1. The Wings did not burn by them. The Wings did handle the puck very well in their end — better, in fact, than they handled it in Boston’s end — and that is where the Bruins will have to reestablish themselves in Game 2.
Now, that’s easier pointed out than it is implemented. To negate Detroit’s fine work and finesse back there, it will mean the Bruins increasing their possession, presence, and patience game. How to do that? With a faster forecheck, hand in hand with creating mismatches against Detroit’s defensemen, ideally by putting pucks into areas and fixing battles where Bruins forwards know they can regain those pucks and then do something with them — like, say, bring them to the net to create real, meaningful pressure on Howard. The ex-University of Maine goaltender saw far busier, hectic games in his Hockey East days.
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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