Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Michael Russo of Russo’s Rants at the Star-Tribune,
It appears all but certain that Chuck Fletcher at least wants to interview Wings assistant Paul MacLean, and maybe even Brad McCrimmon, so by the series continuing, it delays the interview(s) to this weekend at the earliest.
Fletcher attended last night’s game and is scheduled back in his St. Paul office today. In fact, he’s been hopping around the last couple days working on the coaching search. Peter Laviolette’s been MIA since originally being quoted in the Strib, so that often means you can bet your last dollar they’ve met within the last couple days.
And that is what I’ve been told by myriad sources. As I’ve written on here in the past, of all the former NHL coaches, Laviolette makes the most sense….
As for Heatley, there seems to be a perception out there that if the Wild loses Marian Gaborik, it can just go out and acquire $7.5 million players.
It’s a lot more complex than that, especially since it’s unknown where the salary cap will dip to in the next two or three years and because the team spent $6 million a year on Niklas Backstrom. That $4.08 million salary cap hit for Pierre-Marc Bouchard the next four years tightens things up as well.
Yes, the Wild could take Heatley’s $7.5 million cap hit the next five years, but it would affect any flexibility or ability to plug other holes, like center and defenseman though the end of his contract
Q. You mentioned last night after the game about telling the guys for Game 7 to go out, concentrate on trying to win, not to lose. When you got here in mid February, was that something overall you had to convince these guys? Because I know talking to a lot of them, they were saying how they felt like they were just trying to stay afloat, the difference between staying afloat and trying to win?
COACH BYLSMA: It wasn’t hard convincing them, I don’t think. The game by nature is aggressive, and in?your?face and confrontational. And if you’re not playing it that way, you know it. You know when another team’s taking it to you. You know when you’re waiting or letting the play come to you.
As players, every player in that room has had success at some point in time due to their skill level or the teams they’ve played on of being aggressive and taking the play to the other team. That’s the way the game should be played and needs to be played to tip the scales in your favor.
So it wasn’t a hard thing to do to say let’s get on our toes and let’s go after this thing and play the right way and get to the offensive zone, and play at a pace that makes it tough for other teams to play with us.
I think the biggest thing about what happened since February is how quickly the guys said that’s the way we need to play.
from Dmitry Chesnokov at Puck Daddy,
Pavel Datsyuk(notes) of the Wings and Evgeni Malkin(notes) of the Pittsburgh Penguins spoke after the Game 6 victory for the home team about a number of subjects, including what to look for in Game 7, being so close to winning the Stanley Cup and Malkin speaking about both Marian Hossa(notes) and his plans for octopi in Detroit.
First up is Datsyuk:
Q. Did you have a gut feeling before the final that this would be a seventh game series?
DATSYUK: To be honest with you, I didn’t think about it at all. I just want to win. It is clear that the Pittsburgh Penguins are an excellent team. So, I don’t think anyone thought it would be easy.
After your comeback from the foot injury it seems you have some special attention from some Penguins’ players: Like Max Talbot(notes) slashing you on your injured foot; and tonight Matt Cooke(notes) almost having a knee on knee collision with you.
To be honest with you, it is great! It just means they don’t like me for something. On a different hand, this is the playoffs and the game is very aggressive, especially in the finals. But it is all within the rules….
Can you almost feel the Stanley Cup in your hands?
MALKIN: No. But it is a lot closer this year. We have a more even team. And we are playing awesome as a team. And now we have a Game 7. I think Detroit will also be nervous. We have our strengths. We have to play our hockey and not adjust to Detroit’s style.
from Tim Panaccio of CSNPhilly,
Both (Barry) Smith and Emery’s agent, J.P. Barry, say the KHL was no summer vacation. It was serious hockey with primitive conditions outside the rink that most NHLers wouldn’t have the fortitude to tolerate.
“To go overseas to Russia to play, to me, means you really want to play,” Smith said. “It’s not easy. It is the hardest place in Europe to go and play hockey – for sure. So he chose the hardest place to play and he played very well, taking his team to first place.
“I think this speaks volumes for a kid who wants to get back in the league [NHL].”
Playing in Russia was very different than North America. Emery would have to show up at 5 p.m. – more than 24 hours before his game – at a gymnasium with other team members where they would bunk-in overnight.
“Forget what these guys were earning, they slept on cots in a gym before the game,” Barry said.
The Flyers will be announcing today the signing of Ray Emery. Good move?
added 11:16am, Official release from the Flyers on the signing…
from Dave Stubbs of Habs Inside/Out,
Le Journal de Montréal reports today that interested groups – and it says there are six – have until the end of the day today to table their offers to buy the Canadiens and the Bell Centre.
The paper says that three American groups are interested in purchasing the club, along with three Canadian groups, the latter including Québecor, Molson family members, and a third Quebec group whose participants the story does not identify.
from Seth Rorabaugh of Empty Netters at the Pittsburg Post-Gazette
, Is he just lost in the depth Detroit has? Is he just not being asked to do nearly as much as he was in a Penguins uniform? Or is he just gripping his stick a little too tightly? Was 2008 a fluke?
NEW YORK (June 10, 2009) —The Rematch is going the distance. The 2008-09 Stanley Cup champion will be crowned Friday when the Detroit Red Wings host the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final at Joe Louis Arena (8 p.m., ET, NBC, CBC, RDS). The Penguins avoided their fate of 2008, when the Red Wings captured the Stanley Cup on Pittsburgh ice in Game 6, by posting a 2-1 victory Tuesday at Mellon Arena.
The Red Wings seek the 12th Stanley Cup in franchise history and their fifth championship since 1997. They would be the first repeat champion since they captured consecutive titles in 1997 and 1998.
The Penguins are seeking their third Stanley Cup and first since 1992. A victory would mark just the third time in NHL history a road club captured Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final.
from James Cook of the Traverse City Record-Eagle,
Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals will be a big advantage for the Detroit Red Wings.
And not necessarily because of the crowd, says former Red Wing and Traverse City resident Dallas Drake.
“The matchups are probably the most important thing,” Drake said Tuesday. “They get last (line) change and get certain people on the ice against certain people. That makes a lot more difference than a lot of people give it credit for. (Pittsburgh coach) Dan Bylsma is able to get who he wants out there and keep (Sidney) Crosby away from (Henrik) Zetterberg, so it makes a big difference.”...
Crosby has long been the NHL’s darling, compared by many as the next Wayne Gretzky. Crosby and Evgeni Malkin have been one of the most potent one-two punches in the NHL this season, but neither factored into Tuesday’s scoring as Pavel Datsyuk and Zetterberg shut down the duo.
“I think the NHL would love to see Crosby win a Stanley Cup,” Drake said. “I don’t know why they don’t promote Datsyuk and Zetterberg as much as they promote those guys. But they just don’t.”
from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province via Canada.com,
In short, you couldn’t ask for much more of a series. But has anyone else noticed outside the game’s traditional fan-base?
That’s the big question and, again, the signs are encouraging for the NHL. The American TV numbers are up significantly and Friday night’s Game 7 should provide a ratings bonanza for the league. But this is also about something different, something that can’t be measured by viewer-households or audience shares.
This series, more than anything, has given the NHL an event which has made an impact on the American sporting conscience and when was the last time the league could say that? Crosby and Malkin have cemented their place as crossover stars. Pundits are actually expressing an opinion on the game’s finer points. There is interest everywhere and it doesn’t hurt that the Kobe-LeBron dream matchup didn’t materialize in the NBA final.
from Brian Compton of NHL.com,
Now, incredibly, Hossa and the Wings must beat the Pens in a Game 7 to determine the Stanley Cup champion. It’s a scenario not many envisioned prior to the start of the regular season—and certainly not when the Penguins were two games above the .500 mark in mid-February and fired coach Michel Therrien.
“Who would?” Hossa said when asked if he ever thought it would come down to this. “Would you? I don’t think many people, but the situation is right now how it is. I have to deal with it and we have to make sure we give it 100 percent and be good at home.”
Hossa’s certainly hoping to make more of a contribution on Friday, and more than he has in this series. He has just three assists through the first six games, and just three shots in the last two.
“It’s definitely frustrating,” said Hossa, who had just one shot on goal in 18:27 of ice time. “We didn’t play bad, but they scored two goals and we scored one. We didn’t create lots of clean chances.”
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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