Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Mike Brophy at the Hockey News,
Unlike the Eastern final between Ottawa and Buffalo, where the two teams actually try to score goals, the Western finale will be a battle of wills – which team can prevent the other team from scoring instead of which team can score more often. Yuk!
Regardless, the best team on the night won. Detroit continues to plow ahead regardless of the fact it has lost two of its three best defensemen, Mathieu Schneider and Niklas Kronwall.
Post game Q & A with Babcock, Zetterberg and Homstrom…
Q. Sure you’re not looking for style points on goals; you’ll take them any way you can get them?
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: No, I mean, it’s the goal. We got the puck in the net on the power play. We had traffic. It was a good goal. We missed a layup. Samuelsson and Zetterberg should have had three power?play goals tonight when you look at it that way. He missed a wide?open net. He had all day. I don’t know if he just let up on whatever.
It was good to see our power?play work. It’s important in this series just because of the fact they’re way more prone to taking penalties than we are. Normally that straightens out as the series goes on. That will be advantage to us then.
Hasek stopped 31 of 32 shots from the Ducks, many of the scoring chance variety.
Game 1 goes to the Wings 2-1.
Ducks won’t change a thing for game 2, Wings need to create more offense.
added 10:24pm, Watch the post game reaction from the coaches & players.
Mike Babcock and Randy Carlyle met with the media today…
Q. Tell me what Dan Cleary has meant to your team in these playoffs?
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: He’s a great person, a good, good player. He’s worked hard enough over the last while in his career to get his game back. He’s a physical guy for us. He played on our puck-control unit there with Draper and Maltby. He’s good on the power play, real good on the penalty kill. He plays hard.
He was a child phenom. It got away from him. Through maturity and work ethic, he turned out to be the real good player in the league that he is.
Paul Kukla and I had a chance to speak briefly with Kelly Hrudey of Hockey Night in Canada. From his CBC television bio:
Hrudey became a full-time hockey analyst during the 1998/99 NHL season, after providing stellar commentary during the previous four playoff seasons alongside Ron MacLean. And during the 1999 NHL playoffs, Hrudey’s segment Behind the Mask became a regular feature on Hockey Night in Canada.
During his 15-year NHL career with the Islanders (six years), Kings (seven years) and Sharks (two years), the former Medicine Hat Tiger compiled a record of 271-265-88, with a goals against average of 3.43, with 16 shutouts.
The conversation can be downloaded here, or listened to on the player below. Our sincere appreciation to Mr. Hrudey for taking the time to chat with us about the Conference Finals now underway.
I had a chance today to speak with L.A. Times sports columnist, Helene Elliott. Ms. Elliott is veteran hockey writer who also happens to be the first female journalist to be honored with a plaque in the Hall of Fame of any major professional sport. From Legends of Hockey:
“Helene Elliott is a pioneer among female sports journalists,” said Kevin Allen, president, Professional Hockey Writers’ Association. “But she has truly been a role model for sportswriters of both genders. Her ethics are unquestionable. Her reporting is beyond reproach. Her prose is lively. Her professionalism is of the highest order. There is no one in this business any more respected than Helene.”
Our conversation can be downloaded here, or listened to on the player below. My sincere thanks to Ms. Elliott for taking the time to speak to me on a busy game day.
from Scott Burnside at ESPN,
Still, we can’t help but believe there’s a little bit of a trap being laid here. The Wings, considered old when they lose and savvy veterans when they win, are not really supposed to be here. And yet, they are slyly confident.
“I just think that expectations from within in Detroit are as high as they’ve ever been [regardless of what the outside perspective might be],” offered former Pittsburgh Penguins coach Ed Olczyk, now a national broadcast analyst.
“There’s no doubt in my mind, for most of this season, these are the two best teams [in the conference],” Olczyk said.
... in the end. As it should be.
from Tim Wharnsby of the Globe and Mail,
Nobody took the Red Wings’ first-round flop last spring, when Detroit was ousted by the Edmonton Oilers in six games, harder than the passionate Babcock. How could the first-place team perform so poorly in the playoffs? Babcock endeavoured to find out.
His father, a hard-rock mine pit boss, instilled in him a long time ago that if you want to get your employees to work hard and perform, the boss has to exhibit an even more inexhaustible work ethic. So Babcock scoured the game tapes from the Oilers-Red Wings series and arrived at training camp last September with a new message and the video evidence to support his new theme.
I spoke with Wings radio play-by-play man Ken Kal this afternoon.
Ken gives his views on the Wings/Ducks series and answered a few other questions I had.
It was a treat for me to speak with him and hope you enjoy the conversation.
from Terry Frei at ESPN,
Each of the NHL’s final four teams is battling a burden, fighting a perception, attempting to overcome bad karma that to some extent can add to the otherwise significant pressure.
t’s one more reason that when the Sabres, Senators, Ducks or Red Wings gather on the ice with the Stanley Cup and pose for the celebratory picture, they will have passed the most testing playoff process in sports.
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.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org