Kukla's Korner Hockey
Q. Mike, 47 seconds left and they tie it up. When you go into the locker room there, how do you keep - especially with some of the younger guys, how do you keep the ball from falling on them, you were that close, and try to get them up? Did you feel you played as strongly as you could have in the overtime or was some of that nagging -
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: I don’t buy any of that. The playoffs are about adversity. Things go your way, sometimes they don’t. Their power play goals, the six-on-four goal that goes off our stick. It’s unfortunate. We had the chance to Cleary before Zetterberg missed the net. We didn’t get it out the second time. It’s in the back of your net.
But I don’t think - number one, we got a good veteran group in there. I don’t think anyone is dwelling on that. You’re just trying to find a way to get the next one. No one told us this was going to be easy.
We thought we played a pretty good hockey game here tonight. We felt we had our opportunities. They got one on the power play even though it was six-on-four. We didn’t get one on the power play in the end. That’s the game.
Can the Ducks finish off the Wings at home?
Teemu Selanne scores in OT for a 2-1 OT victory over the Wings.
Watch the post game presser (will start soon)
from Jerry Green at the Detroit News,
Afterwards, Barry Melrose, once a bright young NHL coach and currently an ESPN wizard, castigated the Ducks for their lack of discipline. Melrose maintained the Ducks had stolen the victory.
“They should all leave the rink wearing masks,” Melrose told his ESPN audience in the quote of the night.
The Ducks have played without much discipline—or subtlety—throughout this series, headed to Game 5 at Joe Louis Arena Sunday afternoon.
They have become my choice for the new dumbest team in sports.
read on... some great old-school stories…
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
We interrupt the multitude of Chris Pronger controversies for a quick and stunning Western Conference revelation: Todd Bertuzzi is starting to play like Todd Bertuzzi again.
And that can’t be good news for the Anaheim Ducks.
As if there isn’t enough for the Ducks to worry about, what with trying to control Henrik Zetterberg on one line and Pavel Datsyuk on another and trying not to let Dominik Hasek get in their heads, now they have this truck dressed in Red Wings garb to be concerned about.
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
The fifth game of the Western Conference finals will be the one in which they stop taking the careless penalties that have sapped their energy and fueled the Red Wings’ offense, or it will be another showcase for their lack of discipline.
It will be the day they realize that mental toughness is more important than sheer brawn, or another occasion on which they let their emotions overrule their heads.
It’s their choice.
They can use their abundant talent to its fullest, or they can be drawn into tripping and hooking and holding and continue to tax their overworked defense and disrupt the flow of their offense.
They say they have chosen how they want to be known.
more (reg. req.)
from The Milford Daily News,
But any fan of hockey - traditional, old-school hockey as it was meant to be played - should have their eyes glued to the ongoing Western Conference Finals between Anaheim and Detroit.
The series might be the last chance for traditionalists to save the game.
If hockey general managers have proven anything over the years, it’s that they’re not the most creative bunch. The NHL is a copycat league; when one system or approach proves successful, you can be sure a good chunk of the league will try to do the same thing.
That means the winner of this series, which is tied at two games apiece heading into this afternoon’s Game 5 in Detroit (NBC, 3 p.m.), could provide the blueprint for many other franchises, especially if the winner goes on to take the Stanley Cup.
Anaheim and Detroit couldn’t approach the game any differently. And ironically, the roles are opposite what you would expect from the respective cities they call home.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
Against Calgary and then San Jose, the Wings found themselves tied at 2 heading into home dates in Game 5. In both cases, they dominated the games en route to Game 6 series-clinching victories.
The Anaheim Ducks, however, are in uncharted territory. They dispatched Minnesota and Vancouver with relative ease in five games and now face their first must-win contest of the postseason.
Must win? History shows that when a series is tied at 2, the team that wins the fifth game has gone on to win 157 of 195 series (80 percent).
from the New York Times,
Sobotka remained a little-known player in the Red Wings’ organization until the early 1990s, when he unwittingly began what is perhaps the most wacky ritual in all of sports: the octopus twirl.
During a home playoff game in 1991, a fan tossed an octopus onto the ice after a Red Wings goal, a tradition that dates to 1952, when it took eight postseason victories to win the Stanley Cup.
As he had done for years, Sobotka quickly corralled the octopus with his bare hands. This time, however, Sobotka took a moment to greet the crowd, with eight tentacles.
“I just gave that octopus a little twirl over my head,” he recalled. “The place went nuts.”
from Tim Wharnsby of the Globe and Mail,
Babcock was incredulous to Pronger’s explanation, and turned to the moderator, NHL vice-president Jamey Horan, and said “we have one more question?” When he was told that was it, he walked off.
Pronger is many things: a Norris Trophy winner, a Hart Trophy winner, an Olympic gold medalist, funny, bold, honest and outspoken. He may also prove to be a motivator because his words on Friday appeared to have fired up the Wings. The big defenceman didn’t stop at his physics remark.
He also told the Roggin and Simers Squared radio show:
“The league should make its own calls, not be pressured into anything by the media, and more to the point, the Canadian media,” said Pronger, who was suspended for Game 4 on Thursday, when his teammates scored a 5-3 victory to tie the best-of-seven series at 2-2.
Read the full transcript from today’s Q & A with Babcock…
from Ralph Strangis at the Dallas Stars,
This is Ralph Strangis coming to you somewhere over the Rocky Mountains. Once again this season I’ve been given the task of ice-level reporter for NHL Radio for the Western Conference Finals and the Stanley Cup Finals….
So now we head back to what might be the hardest building in the hardest city in the National Hockey League (Joe Louis Arena). I’ve also discovered there is actually a worse place to work a game than the press box of Joe Louis Arena and it is the bowels of Joe Louis Arena. I’ve been roaming underneath the stands, having beer spilled on me, rat traps are all over the place (and I’m not kidding), and during the overtime of Game Two I was literally under the bleachers right next to Chris Osgood behind the Detroit bench and could not see a thing. But I had to report from ice level like I could see something.
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