Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
Nobody’s looking at Detroit’s goaltending this year, though. Hasek hasn’t given up more than two goals in seven straight playoff games, with the Wings poised to close out the Sharks to-
night. He doesn’t have the Gumby-like reflexes he had at, say, 32, when he was taking the Buffalo Sabres to the Stanley Cup final en route to two Hart trophies, six Vezinas and six first-team all-star berths. He doesn’t lose his stick quite as often, or do as many snow-angels in the crease as he did back in 2002 when the Wings won their third Cup in a six-year span.
Expect the Sharks to lay the body on the Wings defense every chance they get tonight. How the Wings “D” holds up will be the key to the game tonight.
Brent Lebda is a game time decision and if he is not ready to go, Derek Meech will be the Wings 6th defenseman.
from the AP via the Monterey Herald,
Though the Red Wings can finish off Wilson’s faltering club in Game 6 at the Shark Tank on Monday night, the coach isn’t certain what else he can do about his sputtering offense, his awful power play and a club that retreats into a shoddy defensive shell after taking the lead.
He’s just hoping his veteran players, outside of do-everything center Joe Thornton, finally take charge against the Red Wings, forcing their teammates to overcome an inexplicable pattern of retreating with a lead.
“It’s not by design,” Wilson said. “It just seems to have happened. We’ve got to get our defensemen to be more aggressive. We give up a lot of space in the neutral zone, and the ice tilts. ... We can prevent them from tilting the ice by playing hard for 60 minutes.”
from the Mercury News,
So how are the Red Wings - who have beaten the Sharks twice since Holmstrom’s return from an eye injury - a different team with him in the lineup?
“I don’t think they do anything differently. But I think he is doing his job better than anybody in front of the net,” Nabokov said of Holmstrom, mentioning forwards Todd Bertuzzi and Dan Cleary as two Red Wings who played a similar style in the first three games. “But this guy seems like he’s just finding a way to knock the puck out of the air or pass the puck right in there. He draws the defensemen to him. He’s talented.”
from Ray Ratto of the San Francisco Chronicle,
It’s the sameness that seems to be getting to the San Jose Sharks. Give 10, 14, maybe 18 minutes of top-quality play, then disintegrate.
Or maybe it’s the history, now that Evgeni Nabokov has added his name to the pantheon of Sharks goalies who have been pantsed while trying to handle the puck.
Or maybe it’s finding out what they should already know, that Tomas Holmstrom is to be minded far more diligently than he has to date.
Katrina Hancock of WDIV in Detroit, “Pavel, what happened today?”
Pavel Datsyuk, “We won.”
from Sam McCaig of the Hockey News,
Two straight tough losses for the Sharks is probably too much to overcome, but these guys aren’t the Atlanta Thrashers, either. Expect Game 6 in San Jose Monday to be as hotly-contested as every other showdown between these two teams.
more on the game…
Schneider left today’s game early in the first period with a left forearm injury. Looked harmless but will not return.
update 5:07pm, Broken wrist for Schneider, done for the year according to Babcock presser and the comment left in this post.
from the Toronto Star,
The crowd gathered around Wings forward Tomas Holmstrom, his left eye is still bloody, his left pupil still dilated from a stick injury suffered against Calgary.
“How’s your eye?” a reporter asked.
“Where are you?” joked Holmstrom, feigning blindness and getting a few yuks….
Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said the Wings are different team with Holmstrom.
“When (Holmstrom) gets the puck you don’t get one chance, you get a bunch of chances,” said Babcock. “The power play is about work ethic. It’s about getting the puck back, it’s about winning battles.”
from Mark Purdy of the Mercury News,
With the Sharks and Detroit tied 2-2, we face the very realistic possibility of the series going seven games. If it happens, that would entail a major back-and-forth cross-country hockey slog. Today’s game at Joe Louis Arena will be followed by a plane ride back to San Jose for a Game6 on Monday. And that would be followed by another potential flight back to Detroit for a Wednesday conclusion.
If you’ve taken careful notes, that works out to three games in five days - sandwiched around two flights across a combined six time zones. Or three flights across a combined nine time zones, if you include the trip both teams made here from San Jose for today’s game.
Frankly, I became fatigued just typing out that scenario. You probably were pooped just reading about it. Imagine if you had to play hockey, too, while icing down your bruised body somewhere over Nebraska both ways. It only stands to reason that the younger team might have an edge.
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