Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the Detroit News,
It takes more than hockey players to put on an NHL playoff game. An entire crew of Joe Louis Arena employees, independent contractors and others works around the clock to make sure the Red Wings game runs smoothly.
For many, including those who handle team equipment, audio/visual needs and concessions, the workday isn’t half done when the first puck hits the ice.
If he’s a difference-maker, now would be a good time to show it.
Up to this point, any comparison of Pronger, a one-time Norris Trophy winner, to the Red Wings’ Nicklas Lidstrom, who has won the award four times, has looked like a media invention for which we should apologize profusely to the elegant, nearly error-proof Lidstrom.
It’s been no-contest.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Overshadowed in the Pronger melodrama was the fact that Red Wings-Ducks match-up is slowly morphing into the most compelling playoff series since the opening round. Anaheim played its two best games of the series on the road and earned only a split. Detroit upped the tempo in the two games in Anaheim, held an overall edge in play, but also earned just the split. It’s hard to argue that the series isn’t exactly where it should be — deadlocked at 2-2 and waiting to see which team can raise the level of its play still another notch.
Red Wings’ coach Mike Babcock put forward a theory the other day — that in most playoff series, one team tends to get better while another team tends to get worse. If that is the case and holds true, then the Red Wings are in the stronger position.
from Jim Kelley at Sportsnet,
They may be a bit raw and certainly a tad too undisciplined for any hockey purist, but they certainly didn’t lack the courage to win.
That’s no small accomplishment, especially against a team as deep and as mentally tough as the Red Wings.
You knew coming in it could go only one of two ways for the Ducks. Never a particularly good team when Pronger was out of the lineup in the regular season, they had to decide whether they would suck it up and do whatever it took to make up for the loss of perhaps the league’s best two-way defenceman or do the old woe-is-me routine and falter in his absence.
from Scott Burnside at ESPN,
On Thursday evening, a rickety old contraption pulled up in front of the Anaheim Ducks’ dressing room and someone yelled, “Redemption bus, all aboard.”
And pretty much every Ducks player, who had been lousy or invisible or yanked or hurt or not even playing in this series, jumped on board.
The redemption bus that carried the Ducks to this strange and somewhat improbable 5-3 victory over the Detroit Red Wings wasn’t necessarily a thing of beauty. Much like this game, it had its warts, noisy springs and a bit of a foul smell about it. Think “Partridge Family” meets “Christine” and you’re close to understanding this conveyance.
Ducks even up the series with a 5-3 victory over Detroit tonight.
Now a best two out of three series, with 2 of those games in Detroit.
Watch the post game interviews (will become available shortly after the game).
added 5:36pm, from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
McLennan said: “Holmstrom has unbelievable moves. They’re not in your face. It’s guarding. It’s like – and here McLennan put his palm an inch from my face, completely blocking my view and said, in a children’s mocking, sing-song voice – ‘not touching you, not touching you.’”
Pre-game Q & A with Babcock and Carlyle…
Q. Do you try to do anything to exploit the fact that Pronger is not there or could you just play your game?
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: You always know who’s on the ice, who you’re playing against. We’ll do the same as always. What I found in this playoffs, if you go through our group, you know, we’re missing lots of people. I’d say we’re missing two of the top three on our team.
To me, they’re going to use that as a rallying thing. We’re going to use it as it doesn’t make any difference, we got to keep playing, playing hard, playing intelligent, keep our composure, get after them.
from Scott Burnside at ESPN,
It is almost sacrilege to suggest, but it is nonetheless patently clear that this Detroit Red Wings team is far better team now that icons and legends Steve Yzerman and Brendan Shanahan are gone.
This is not to diminish in any way the contributions both these players made to the Red Wings. Both are Hall of Fame material—Yzerman a first-ballot Hall of Famer to be sure. Both were crucial elements of three Stanley Cup teams between 1997 and 2002. Yzerman was the playoff MVP in 1998.
Each was, in their own way, a significant part of the team’s identity through the 1990s, a time when the Red Wings were the toast of the Motor City and the envy of other NHL franchises.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
It’s the kind of decision that could easily cost the Ducks Game 4 on Thursday. And if it costs them Game 4 it will give Detroit a 3-1 series lead and hence almost certainly cost the Ducks the series. And by extension, a loss to Detroit Thursday will likely cost the Ducks a trip to the Stanley Cup and the Cup itself.
If there has been a suspension handed down to a more high profile player than Pronger, a former Hart Trophy winner and nominated once again this year for the Norris Trophy, at a more crucial time of the season in recent memory, we couldn’t recall it.
But that’s the point of the matter, isn’t it?
read on, including Brian Burke comments…
added 8:37pm, more on this from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail…
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