Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
But of the key players on both sides who have battled in two straight Cup finals and are likely to be the difference on Friday night at The Joe, none have ever been in this exact situation before.
Not Nicklas Lidstrom, Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Johan Franzen or Chris Osgood.
Not Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Sergei Gonchar, Jordan Staal or Marc-Andre Fleury.
“Now it’s anyone’s game,” said Crosby last night after his team’s gutsy 2-1 victory in Game 6. “Our team has proven we’re a true team.”
from Bob McKenzie of TSN,
The plays these guys make in tight are impressive, as are the plays they make defensively to turn it into offence. These guys were unbelievable to watch all night - they had five of the 12 shots that were blocked by the Red Wings, they’re terrific when they don’t have the puck, they’re magical to watch when they do, and it’s going to be terrific to see a Game 7 showdown between the best of the Penguins and the best of the Red Wings.
Really, offensively on the night, you noticed Datsyuk and Zetterberg a lot more than you did Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin but as I said, the supporting cast ruled the day, and Pittsburgh’s was a little better.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
What is the measure of a team’s will to win, to stay alive?
Is it measured in 13.2 seconds of chaos at the end of a 2-1 game with Pittsburgh defenseman Rob Scuderi blocking a sure goal with his shin guard and netminder Marc-Andre Fleury desperately sweeping his arm to block a loose puck inches from the goal line?
Is it measured in bulling your way to a 2-1 victory as the Pittsburgh Penguins did Tuesday night despite the fact their best players, Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby, were held off the score sheet for the second straight game?
If those are the touchstones for how you measure will or character, the Penguins proved they are a team that possesses those qualities in great measure as they denied the Detroit Red Wings a chance to duplicate last year’s feat of celebrating a Stanley Cup win on Mellon Arena ice.
Friday, 8:00pm at the Joe Louis Arena for the Stanley Cup!!!
added 11:06pm, from Bob Duff of the Windsor Star,
It will be the first Game 7 final in Penguins history and the first for the Wings since 1964.
“It’s the old cliche,” said Detroit winger Kirk Maltby. “Everyone gets tired of hearing about it, but it’s one win at a time.
“You can’t get too far ahead of yourself - which I think maybe we did.”
Just as in Game 5 of last spring’s final, when the Wings came home to Joe Louis Arena up 3-1 and positioned to take the title, the Penguins rose up and posted a stunning victory.
They were the better team most of the game.
Detroit will have a chance to close it out again in on home ice Friday, but they were left again wondering why they couldn’t get the job done the first time around.
added 10:43pm, Watch live streaming of the press conferences below…
from Steve Politi of the Star-Ledger,
The Devils proved this year to have plenty of skilled offensive players. Why squash that with a coach like Lemaire, who at 63 is nearing the end of his Hall of Fame career anyway?
Lamoriello has an opportunity to develop his own Hall of Fame coach now, someone who could run this young team from behind the bench for more than just a season or two.
John MacLean asked out of the Devils once before. Give him this opportunity, and you get the sense that unlike too many of his predecessors, he’d be the right fit—and in it for the long haul.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
Here are things we will be looking out for in tonight’s Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals between the Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins:
1. The Fleury factor
Can Marc-Andre Fleury shrug off his Game 5 performance in which he was yanked after giving up five goals on 21 shots? He will have to be every bit as good as he was in Games 3 and 4 or the Pens are cooked. Most important, he cannot allow a soft goal as he did when he failed to corral Dan Cleary’s long wrist shot in Game 5. But Penguins coach Dan Bylsma and Fleury’s teammates believe the young netminder has the right personality to do just that. We’ll see.
2. Looking for backup
Anyone other than Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby care to add a little scoring help? Bill Guerin, Ruslan Fedotenko, Maxime Talbot and Chris Kunitz, the four wingers who normally play with the two big centers, have combined for just three goals…
From Jeff Schultz at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
And then there’s the Teflon Don.
“I put myself in good company,” he said, managing a smile.
He’s employed. He’s fortunate. He knows that.
More than likely, if he worked in a bigger hockey market and for owners who cared about the sport and maybe something other than the next court hearing, he’d be out of work. So you could say heading an after-thought of a franchise has its benefits.
But I had to ask: Aren’t you surprised you still have a job?
“Not at all,” he said. “We’ve had to deal with a lot of adversity here . . .”
The Toronto Maple Leafs will not bring Curtis Joseph back for the 2009-10 season, reports the Toronto Sun.
General manager Brian Burke told the newspaper the Maple Leafs will look for another option as their backup goaltender in the coming season.
“Great service as a Leaf,” Burke told the Sun on Monday. “But we are moving on.”
*Original report from the Toronto Sun is here
From Al Cimaglia at ESPN Chicago:
Cam Barker is one Hawks defenseman who may not return next season. Barker has power play skill that would be desirable on the trade market. His Chicago future could be impacted because he is too similar to other players already on the Hawks defense.
Chicago general manger Dale Tallon may choose to trade Barker at the NHL entry draft for a pick and/or prospects. That would create approximately a $2.7 million salary cap savings.
We can’t forget about forwards Dave Bolland and Kris Versteeg, who are also due significant raises. Plus Marty Havlat’s new contract could be a factor. By dealing Barker, the Hawks could use the savings for different needs or can seek help in the free agent market.
It would be nice to believe the current roster will stay intact and lead the Hawks to the Stanley Cup. But that is not going to happen. There will be some difficult choices for Hawks management, and they will become apparent very soon.
Paul Kukla will be on the air in a few hours, 5pm ET, joining the crew at ESPN 770 to talk about Game 6 tonight between the Penguins and Red Wings.
Head over here and follow the link on the left side of their web page to listen live.
update 5:26pm, Well, that did not go well. No call back from the show, I was listening and heard Buccigross on. I must have been bumped by him.
Guess that is the way the radio biz goes but a email would have been nice notifying me of what was going on. First time something like that has happened to me.
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.
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