Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Red Fisher of the Montreal Gazette,
The Buffalo Sabres finished No. 1 overall during the regular season with inoa franchise-high 113 points. The Detroit Red Wings matched them. Anaheim, with 110 points, led the Pacific Division. Ottawa, after a terrible first half, finished with 105 points, only two behind New Jersey.
Get the picture? No surprises. In a league that almost always delivers upsets during the playoffs, it’s only right that the NHL’s Big Four have made it to the finals in the East and West.
Now the fun really begins.
from Mike Waldner of the Daily Breeze,
All that separated the Ducks from possession of the Stanley Cup was a loss in the seventh game of the Finals.
Mike Babcock was the relatively young 40-year-old rookie NHL coach who molded the Ducks into a formidable team. He was bright, passionate, committed and, so it seemed, settling in for a long run in Anaheim.
You know, you never know.
from Randy Youngman of the OC Register,
Obviously, a one-year offer meant there were some doubts about whether Babcock could be the coach Burke wanted him to be, and Babcock wanted more than that.
“He said, ‘One year is not a lot of security,’” Burke recalled. “So he asked for permission to look around. ... He asked for a window (to negotiate with other teams) and he later asked for an extension to that (negotiating window).”
And a few days later, Babcock accepted a multiyear offer to coach the Red Wings.
from Loose Change at the Hockey News,
And all we wanted was the Detroit Red Wings to (a) embrace their spineless-ly Poker-ish ways and fold early and (b) realize that two of their key cogs in the bid for a championship were, at one time, deck hands on The Ark. Now you have the Red Wings getting unexpectedly vital contributions from players with names ending in “son”, “ov”, “berg” and “Datsyuk” and they really have this belief that a route to the Cup doesn’t necessarily require taking the Yzerman Parkway.
more on all of the teams in the CF…
via the Detroit Free Press,
This is the scenario: In order for the Florida Panthers to get this year’s first-round pick three things have to happen: 1) The Wings have to be in the final four of the playoffs, 2) Bertuzzi has to play in two-thirds of the playoff games, and 3) Bertuzzi has to be among the top-five scorers.
If the first two happen but Bertuzzi is not a top-five scorer, then it’s a second-round draft pick – unless the Wings go to the Stanley Cup finals, in which case it reverts back to a first-round pick. If Bertuzzi re-signs with the Wings, the Panthers get a second pick in 2008.
Many Wings fans know Hasek has been bothered by a left hand problem.
Our Detroit media types don’t keep us posted on some of the possible injuries players may have… But TSN does…
from Brian Cazeneuve at Sports Illustrated,
This six-game series didn’t fully convey how well the Wings have been playing. They have now allowed two goals or fewer in eight straight playoff games, and have been remarkably resilient. This was only the first game during the series with San Jose in which Detroit never trailed….
The series was a case of a better team being led by veteran players and a captain, who made a timely game-changing play, something the Wings have been used to for years. They’ll need a lot more of that kind of leadership and heroics against the Ducks.
more and thanks to a KK member for the pointer…
Scott Burnside of ESPN breaks down the WCF,
Many preseason prognosticators believed this was the Ducks’ season. For those who like their foul West Coast style, Anaheim has done nothing to disappoint. The team is 8-2 through the first two rounds and hit the Western Conference finals for the second straight season, well-rested and hungry to take that next step to the Stanley Cup finals.
Now onto the ECF,
At the start of the playoffs, this looked like an absolutely perfect matchup for the right to go to the Stanley Cup finals. And now that it’s here, there’s nothing to suggest this won’t be anything but a terrific showdown between the two best teams in the conference.
from Mike Brophy of the Hockey News,
The Red Wings were clearly the hungrier team in this series. They refused to let injuries get them down and they pressed on offense. Game 6 was not one for the ages; in fact, it was a bit of a yawner. But the defensive tone was pure Mike Babcock, a coach who leans on his players to get the job done in their own end. Now we will see if Detroit’s weakened defense and so-so offense can contend with the Anaheim Ducks.
more on last night’s game…
from Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press,
As we always say, you can never have enough Swedes on your hockey team. Mikael Samuelsson may not be the first name you think of when rattling off Swedish Wings, but Monday night he was the Nordic Nuke, the Scandinavian Slayer, the Go-To Goteburger. His two goals in less than five minutes continued a streak of Swedish successes that have finally, finally, given the Red Wings two things they desperately wanted:
1) A return to the Western Conference finals for the first time in five years, and ...
2) A day off.
Swedeness and light.
Hasek came up big tonight, frustrating the Sharks and leading the Wings to a 2-0 victory.
Wings open at home against the Ducks on Friday night.
added 11:58pm, from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
On the opening day of their playoff series against the Detroit Red Wings, San Jose Sharks’ coach Ron Wilson was asked about the importance of goaltending.
“That’s all playoffs are,” replied Wilson. “It’s goaltending. I don’t have to say anything more.”
For the normally loquacious and talkative Wilson to say no more was unusual, almost extraordinary, but his words also proved prophetic — for the wrong team. Of all the things that helped the Red Wings advance to the Western Conference finals Monday night, the primary factor was the play of 42-year-old Dominik Hasek in goal.
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.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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