Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Scott Burnside & Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Red Wings coach Mike Babcock is one of the NHL’s heavyweights in the coaching fraternity, not only for his on-ice performance, but also for his savvy off it.
He knows how to use the media to his advantage, and it’s no coincidence that for the second straight day, he poked Sidney Crosby yet again with a head-hunting charge.
“To me, the battle they had going last night between [Henrik] Zetterberg and Crosby was a great battle, I thought,” Babcock said this morning. “I thought he went head-hunting right off the hop. His ability to respond was good. I think that’s a game within the game. If you’re a hockey purist and you like superstars who bring it, that’s a nice matchup.”...
“I’m not going to get involved with the games,” Crosby said this morning after being asked about Babcock’s comments. “He can say whatever he wants. I don’t think I’ve been known as a head-hunter throughout my career. He’s the first one ever to say that, so it’s pretty interesting stuff.”
Babcock just said no lineup changes tonight. No Datsyuk. No Draper.
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
They are a machine, but not the usual kind they build here in Motown.
The Detroit Red Wings can operate with most of their parts, still managing to motor along just fine without the odd key component, whether it be their leading scorer in Pavel Datsyuk, or the best defenceman in the world, six-time Norris Trophy winner Nicklas Lidstrom.
Take the drive train out of a Ford, and it just won’t run. Take Datsyuk and Kris Draper out of the Detroit lineup, and they still beat the Pittsburgh Penguins comfortably, cruising to a 3-1 win and a 1-0 lead in this 2009 Stanley Cup final rematch.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
All I know is this: The Coy otes wouldn’t have gone bankrupt if Gary Bettman had been able to get “cost certainty” into the collective bargaining agreement.
Do you know what the Coyotes’ calamitous financial state tells us? It tells us that the league’s claims that a hard cap would ensure league-wide prosperity were bankrupt. It tells us that percentage of the gross means as much to low-revenue clubs as the commissioner’s assurances during the season that the media was blowing the Phoenix issue out of proportion.
continued plus some salary cap talk too…
from Larry Wigge of NHL.com,
Justin Abdelkader has almost always played close to his home in Muskegon. So scoring an insurance goal in his first Stanley Cup Final game with the Detroit Red Wings was like heaven on earth….
“It’s pretty crazy ... first Stanley Cup Final game and I get a goal. Wow! My family and buddies I grew up with are never going to believe this,” the 22-year-old said after his third-period goal helped the Detroit Wings beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-1 in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. “I’ve played on every stop on I-96 from Muskegon to Detroit, so you can’t believe the great taste I have in my mouth after savoring that one….
“He’s big. He’s strong. A tremendous skater. You could say he’s been on our radar for a long time,” Red Wings General Manager Ken Holland said. “Not to say he won’t score goals, because he was pretty productive at Michigan State and at Grand Rapids (AHL). But we see him as a physical player who someday we envision as a shutdown forward, someone who can help neutralize the other team’s best forwards.
“That job may not sound glamorous, but to the Red Wings, it’s an essential part of winning—one of those important puzzle pieces.”
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
• Why Detroit should win the Stanley Cup: Nicklas Lidstrom, Brian Rafalski and Niklas Kronwall are better than any single Pittsburgh defenceman.
• Smart: Hiring Pat Quinn to coach the Edmonton Oilers. Smarter: Hiring Tom Renney to assist him. And now that GM Steve Tambellini has fixed his coaching staff, all he has to do is fix his messed-up roster.
• An NHL scout on pending free agent Jay Bouwmeester: “The hardest thing to do is evaluate a defenceman on a bad team. I don’t think anybody really knows how good this guy is.”
more hockey notes…
from David Staples of The Cult of Hockey at the Edmonton Journal,
All three of Detroit’s goals were a bit lucky. In the end, the Wings were also out-chanced by the Penguins 14 to 13, with Pittsburgh getting 12 Grade “A” chances in total, the Wings only eight.
Detroit’s Zetterberg also got away with a crucial foul, putting his hand over the puck in the crease to stop a goal against. Zetterberg has a knack for smart but illegal plays. Last season in the Cup final, on a key penalty kill, he took out Crosby before the puck was anywhere near Crosby, stopping him from scoring when the puck did arrive.
Neither time was Zetterberg called, so one could blame the referees or give credit to Zetterberg for crafty and stealthy play. I tend to do a bit of both.
In the game, I kept track of scoring chances, counting a Grade “A” chance as a hard shot from the slot or crease area. I also counted the players who were most responsible for each scoring chance for and against, settling on as many as three players who contributed to each scoring chance, and as many as three culprits on each scoring chance against.
from Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press,
That’s the way the puckie bounces …… around here.
What? You never heard of the famous shoot-it-off-the-boards-and-let-it-trickle-off-the back-of-the-goaltender shot? We use it all the time in Detroit. None of us was surprised when Brad Stuart scored the first goal of the Stanley Cup finals with that old chestnut.
What? You never heard of the shoot-it-off-the-boards-and-backhand-it-lightly-so-it-scrapes-off-the-goalie’s-leg maneuver? Of course Johan Franzen scored the second goal that way. We have fifth-graders who know that move.
from Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
The Penguins are down one game-to-none to the Detroit Red Wings in the Stanley Cup final, just as they were last season. They had major difficulties scoring goals in the 3-1 loss at Joe Louis Arena last night, just as they did last season. They were beaten in the second half of the game, just as they were last season.
We are not—say it again, not—looking at a repeat of last season when the Red Wings looked like the old Soviet Red Army teams and dominated the first two games of the final at home on their way to taking the Cup in six games. It was so ridiculously lopsided early in the series—the Red Wings won those first two games, 4-0 and 3-0—that I remember writing they could win in three.
Not this time.
I’m still thinking the Penguins are the better hockey club.
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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