Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Cam Cole of the Vancouver Sun,
The danger, of which Pittsburgh must be aware — even Bylsma, who wasn’t part of last year’s six-game defeat by the same Red Wings — is that the Penguins are approaching another defining moment for their franchise, and if it goes badly, it won’t be the definition they were hoping for.
“I like it being a defining moment,” said Bylsma. “Everyone in that room should be ready to play their best game and make a difference, by doing what we do as a team. Everyone needs to be ready to have the puck on their stick and make the play or make the defensive play or block the shot or make the save. That’s what we need. We need a defining game.”
Because here’s the thing: If not now, when? When does a group of talented kids stop being a sure thing, and start acquiring more baggage than promise?
Probably not yet — their core group of centres is still incredibly young — but before the questions get too onerous, they could use something a lot better in the way of a lasting memory than that 5-0 pratfall in Detroit on Saturday.
Q. Can you just talk a little bit about focus and the idea that this is just one game? You’re coming here for one game. Not thinking about the Cup. You’re thinking about winning one game, and whether or not you actually say to the guys, don’t think about the Cup? To what extent do you just say this is only a game?
COACH BABCOCK: Well, we talk about a lot of things. You know, obviously, focus and preparation is absolutely critical, and being ready on time. We came in here last week or whenever it was, you know, with an opportunity and failed to do anything with that opportunity. Went home with two losses.
So here’s another opportunity for us. Hopefully we’ve learned. We haven’t handled the start of the game very good in here. And in the second game in here, we didn’t handle the end of the game very good.
You know, we’ve been in this exact situation before, and we’re going to do everything to be the best we can possibly be.
Scott Burnside in Pittsburgh and Pierre LeBrun in Detroit file video report on the teams.
from Ken Campbell of The Hockey News,
Ask Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland about it and you get a terse, “I’m not going there.” Ask Red Wings veteran Kris Draper and you get the death stare.
(Trust me, I got it when I asked him about it.)
But no matter what transpires over the next two games, the Red Wings – once again – will be faced with some difficult decisions over the summer and they know there are players in their dressing room who won’t be with them next season.
And we’re talking about core players here. If the Red Wings are intent on signing Marian Hossa this summer – and every indication is they are – it’s going to mean some very loyal and productive players are going to be leaving Hockeytown this summer.
from Bill Shea of Crain’s Detroit Business,
Don’t look for Joe Vision this year.
The Detroit Red Wings say they couldn’t reach a deal to air Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals for fans gathered at Joe Louis Arena, as the team has done in the past during road playoff games.
“We will not hold ‘Joe Vision’ for Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final as we were unable to secure the broadcast rights to show this game in the arena,” said Karen Cullen in an e-mail to Crain’s today. She’s the vice president of corporate communications for Ilitch Holdings Inc., the central business entity of team owners Mike and Marian Ilitch.
Here is my question, the Wings started promoting JoeVision yesterday on local radio, did someone mess up somewhere?
added 3:28pm, via Terry Foster of the Detroit News,
NBC representative Brian Walker did not immediately return a phone message for comment, but NHL media relations vice president Frank Brown confirmed the situation while expressing sympathy to Red Wings fans.
“We are very much in tune and very sensitive to the great experience that fans have by coming to a great venue and watching a great hockey game,” Brown said. “That said we need to be sensitive to the business end of things and that business is ratings driven.”
“Being afraid to lose is not that bad of a mind set. If you’re afraid, it means you’re going to do everything in your power not to lose.”
-Maxime Talbot of the Pittsburgh Penguins. More on the Penguins from Scott Burnside of ESPN.
from Damian Cristodero of Lightning Strikes,
The Lightning’s flirtation with Jacques Lemaire has come to an end, and apparently on good terms. Tampa Bay wanted to hire the former Wild coach as a senior consultant. But Lemaire said on Monday he has told Lightning GM Brian Lawton he has another offer that has gained his interest and which he is pursuing.
Q. I’m sure you were, when you were looking ahead during the season, you thought of the possibility that Helm and Ericsson would play a role in the playoffs. But one, did you anticipate they would play this big a role? And where is Helm’s game now compared to where it was when he helped you last year in the postseason?
COACH BABCOCK: Well, you’re right, I envisioned that maybe both guys would be here and never really thought about Big E playing so much just because we thought we’d have Lils. And, you know, that wouldn’t have worked out that way, probably, because he wouldn’t have been given the opportunity like he was in the regular season.
Helmer was very comfortable with, I mean, he made our team in training camp. With the salary cap we just thought this was better for him. And I never could have thought that he’d be this good. There’s no way. We brought him up in the regular season. We played him in the three hole on purpose. He was good, but not like this. And he’s been very good for us.
With the way things happened for us with Kopecky getting injured, he’s a physical guy for us. He’s getting six finished checks a game and we needed more of that.
So with Pavel injured, what happens is you move someone else up who normally finishes checks for you. Now you become a different looking hockey club. So Helmer has done a real good job to provide puck pressure, physicality, and give us a good face?off presence in the three hole. He’s been good on the penalty kill. So all in all he’s been excellent. The two of them have been great. When you look at Abby and Leino, they did a good job for us, too.
from Ben Wright at AtlantaThrashers.com,
It’s clear that that the Thrashers have embraced a youth movement, but veterans will still play an important role moving forward. The trick, as Executive Vice President and General Manager Don Waddell stated Monday morning, is to have the right veterans.
And that’s why forward Marty Reasoner, who set a new career high with 14 goals in 2008-09 in his first year as a Thrasher while playing a defensive role was re-signed for two more seasons with Atlanta. The 32-year-old from Honeoye Falls, NY led the Thrashers with six short-handed points (tied for fifth in NHL) and was the leader among Atlanta forwards in short-handed ice-time.
“He’s a very smart player,” explained Waddell. “We can play him in all situations. He’s very smart defensively and he’s an excellent penalty-killer. Even though our penalty-killing as a team wasn’t great, if you look at his stats he’s one guy who did a really good job when he was on the ice.”
Q. I how much do you relish these opportunities under these circumstances of going into an opponent’s arena when you know they’re going to be all over you from the first drop of the puck?
CHRIS OSGOOD: It’s fine. I’m not so sure they’re going to be all over us. But our goal is for them not to be. Our goal is for us to kind of take it to them this time. We learn from our mistakes.
I think the last time we went in there, I don’t think we were physically fatigued in Game 3, just mentally we weren’t as sharp as we usually are. So this time we’re going in fully rested and ready to go. So I expect us to play our best game. I really do.
Q. How good was it to have the day off? What did you do, and what was it like to get out there and get a spirited little workout in?
CHRIS OSGOOD: Yesterday just took a huge rest. Watched some TV. Watched the Tigers play. Took a two and a half hour nap. Haven’t gotten a lot. I’m banking some sleep here. I’ve been pretty busy. Just watched the basketball game. Just pretty much rested all day. Today felt a little stiff when I first got out there, obviously. But got loosened up as we went along. So it was good to get the kinks out today and feel sharp for tomorrow.
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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