Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Red Wings Corner,
Forgive me, for I am a stranger in a strange land. But in Orange County I’m not seeing the signs of hockey culture. (An oxymoron, I know.)
I have not seen any kids play hockey on a driveway or move nets to the curb when someone shouts, “Car!” I have not heard any locals dissect the local NHL team. And I do not see anyone outside of the Ducks’ arena wear anything with the word Ducks, colors of the Ducks or anything resembling a cartoon Duck not named Daffy in these parts.
So forgive me if it surprises me that this is the place from which Detroit was attacked as not being the hockey town that it once was.
One day before the start of the Western Conference final between the Anaheim Ducks and Detroit Red Wings the Los Angeles Times printed a column by Helene Elliott that assailed Detroit as having lost its status as Hockeytown because the Red Wings have not been able to sell out a single playoff game this spring.
Let’s get the terminology straight first. There’s a difference between the upper-case Hockeytown and a lower-case hockey town.
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
“Dom’s different. I talked to Ritch Winter (Hasek’s agent) and he said Dom wants to finish his career on the ice,” Holland said. “That was really important to him, finishing on his terms.”
The terms in this series have confounded the opposition Ducks. They have outplayed and out-chanced the Wings through the first two games in Detroit but have shot wide or high often on quality scoring opportunities, the ones Hasek hasn’t stopped.
“That’s what Dom does to people,” said Chris Chelios, another Red Wing veteran playing on the cheap. “He intimidates the other team. He gets in their head. Then they starting thinking they have to be perfect. Once he gets them thinking, he’s got them.”
Q. Talk about the struggles five-on-five? Is it what they’re doing?
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: No. They’ve been good. I think you always got to give the other team credit. We’re good teams. Our power play and penalty kill has been good. Dom has been good. We haven’t been very good five-on-five. They’ve been better than us in that area. Yet in saying that, I think for the first 25 minutes of the game last night, they were better than us. Then I thought for the next 35, everything was pretty even. I thought they were better than us again in overtime.
When you’re playing good teams, there’s always going to be momentum swings in the game. You just want yours to be longer than theirs. I didn’t like our start last night. For whatever reason, they were able to establish a physical game early. We didn’t engage right I way. It took us a long time, I thought, to engage physically in the game and get involved.
from the CP via the CBC,
Todd Bertuzzi sounds like a man who finally gets it.
The insolence is gone. So is the arrogance and brooding. Instead of carrying a chip on his shoulder, Bertuzzi seems happy to have caught the life raft the Detroit Red Wings have tossed him and his NHL career.
“I’m very fortune to be in the position I’m in,” Bertuzzi said Monday about being involved in the chase for the Stanley Cup. “When you’re in this position you want to make sure you take full advantage of it and enjoy it. You never know when you’re going to be back.”
from the Toronto Star,
It may just be that those Red Wings fans who have missed playoff action at the Joe Louis Arena for eight games in a row will show up at the Honda Centre, otherwise known as the Duck Pond, in Anaheim on Tuesday.
That’s the fear of Ducks goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere.
“There’s a lot of Detroit fans in Anaheim,” says Giguere. “It’s going to be really loud in that building, it’s going to be really interesting.
via the Detroit Free Press,
Red Wings forward Kyle Calder will be benched for Game 3 on Tuesday in favor of Tomas Kopecky.
Calder hasn’t seen much ice time in the first two games against Anaheim, playing only 7:57 minutes in the first two games of the Western Conference finals. He has only one point this postseason, an assist in Game 5 against Calgary in the first round of the playoffs.
Kopecky hasn’t played since Dec. 14, when he suffered a broken collarbone against the Chicago Blackhawks.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
The best thing any team looking to become more competitive in the NHL could do would be to immediately try to lure Yzerman to town, but that’s probably not happening.
It’s not clear what his plan is, but I doubt he’ll be leaving Detroit, even if it means Mike Ilitch has to give him a slice of the franchise.
But Hockey Canada, now that’s a different story.
In Wayne Gretzky, Ken Holland, Steve Tambellini and others, the national body has more than a few experienced choices when it comes to naming a general manager for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
from Adam Proteau of the Hockey News,
Perhaps the tint on my TV needs some adjusting, but I have to ask anyway: Did all those stationary bike sessions in the sauna turn Chris Chelios orange? Did he convert to Oompa-Loompa-ism? Has the league relaxed its laws on players camouflaging themselves during games?
more game talk... and I noticed that about Cheli. Unless he spent some time on the Cheli’s Chili Bar outside deck with album covers wrapped in aluminum foil, it looks like he may have used some kind of tanning lotion.
Scott Niedermayer scored in the first OT to give the Ducks a 4-3 win.
Hard fought game and both teams gave it their all.
Next game is Tuesday in Anaheim, 9pm EDT start.
Make sure to watch the post game interviews!
from Scott Burnside at ESPN,
A season ago in the first round of the playoffs, there were more than a few quiet little smirks and knowing nods in and around the Detroit Red Wings’ dressing room.
The object of their mild derision was hundreds of miles away in the Ottawa Senators dressing room. His name was Dominik Hasek and those around the Detroit Red Wings knew firsthand the kind of high drama that was unfolding in Ottawa, where Hasek was recovering from an adductor injury sustained in the first game of the Olympics.
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