Kukla's Korner Hockey
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.
Q. Jonathan Ericsson got to hoist the Cup here last year. Obviously, he didn’t play. Can you talk about how he’s evolved this postseason, and how nice it is to have a guy like Nick being a calming influence in the situation like the one we have tonight?
COACH BABCOCK: Well, he’s come a long, long way, obviously. And his development, I think they’ve done a good job. When he came here, if I’m not mistaken, he was a forward. And they kept him in the minors for a long period of time, even though the coach wanted him to come sooner. By the time he got here, he was a good player.
As you can tell by watching him, he’s going to be a good player for a long time. He’s a good first passer, he can play against big people, he’s a good body, good reach, good on the penalty kill. He probably has more offensive flair than he’s shown this far.
But for guys like that in the League, like Cheli and Nick and those guys around you, to talk to you and help you watch where they put their stick and their feet, and how they handle themselves professionally on and off the ice, I think those are invaluable things for a kid.
from Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice,
When asked what he will do now, Sutter replied, “I’m getting back to my life here as far as being in the office on a daily basis here with the Rebels and working between there and the ranch and spending some time with my family. I’m getting back to my life here that I’ve neglected somewhat over the last couple of years.”
There has been speculation that Sutter will join his older brother, Darryl, in Calgary. Darryl Sutter is the general manager of the Flames and fired Mike Keenan as head coach on May 22.
Brent Sutter said again that the Flames’ vacancy was not a factor in deciding his future with the Devils.
“I just want to get this out right now that that has zero impact on my decision-making here. None,” he said. “There’s been all of these rumors here before Edmonton had named their coaching staff. The reason why that’s all out there is because it’s an hour and 15 minutes from my farm and my ranch. It’s totally irrelevant.”
more on Sutter resignation today…
added 4:26pm, from Darren Dreger of TSN,
I don’t see Sutter returning to the NHL this year. I think he’ll get his affairs together both on the family front and the WHL front.
A year from now, who knows.
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 email@example.com