Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Larry Wigge of NHL.com,
Datsyuk always was a skinny kid. That’s part of the reason why he wasn’t picked at all in his draft year and it wasn’t until the second year that the Wings finally took a chance on his brilliant skills, reasoning he could get stronger and might someday be ready to play in the NHL.
“It’s funny,” he told me earlier this season. “My first sport wasn’t soccer or hockey. It was chess.”
Valery, Pavel’s dad, drove a van for a company near their home in Sverdlovsk, Russia. He’s the one who introduced his son to chess. Pavel’s mom, Galina, worked as a cook for a military base. She’s the one who would take him to the skating rink.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
It matters not that the Pittsburgh Penguins have taken a different path to this critical juncture of the Stanley Cup finals, but the stark reality remains exactly the same: they must find a way to stop the Detroit Red Wings from winning a Stanley Cup in their own building, in front of their own eyes and the eyes of all of their fans.
The Penguins could not stop that from happening a year ago, and after losing 5-0 in Game 5 on Saturday night to give the Red Wings a 3-2 series lead, there are many who believe they are powerless to stop it from happening now.
Still, as painful as those memories must be—the jubilant Red Wings pouring onto the ice as Marian Hossa’s final effort skittered by the goal line, the Stanley Cup being paraded around the Mellon Arena ice—these young Penguins seem to have done a good job of keeping those dark thoughts at bay.
Q. Can you talk about the job that led to Pav coming back? That was the story, but he played pretty well especially in the early going there?
KRIS DRAPER: He was huge for us early on. They came out with a pretty great push, and Ozzie had to make some saves early. We had good battles that we had to win around the net. But after that, once Cleary scored, the team had to settle us down a little bit, and we were able to get into the way we want to play.
But our start, wasn’t nearly as good as it should have been from our team. And you give Pittsburgh credit, because they came in good.
Q. In what ways are Babcock and Bowman similar?
KRIS DRAPER: Similar? The passion to win. You know, Scotty at this time of the year was obviously the most successful coach of all time. And he always found ways to get the match-ups that he wanted.
I think Mike the last couple of years has done a great job bench coaching. But the one thing that you know from both coaches is that we always felt that we were prepared. That’s one thing that I know. Babs takes a lot of pride in just making sure that game?in and game?out that our hockey team is prepared and there aren’t any surprises.
You know, that’s exactly what he’s going to do over the next couple of days. He’s going to go over a ton of video to make sure that if there’s anything that we haven’t seen or that we need to do, that which make those changes and be prepared for Game 6.
Q. Mike, given the psychologists role in a head coaching job, and given the potential in swings this series has taken beyond just playing hard and playing smart, what are some of the nuances going into your particular thought process to prepare this team for a desperate situation on their home ice Tuesday?
COACH BABCOCK: It’s the same as always. It’s stuff that you guys, it doesn’t have a enough flair for you, but it’s the facts. And living in the present is no different than what I’m doing right now. If you’re here, you might as well do a good job of it.
It’s the same in our preparation, as much as everyone wants to get caught up in momentum and carryover and all that stuff. I’ve said many times I’m not a big believer in that. I’m a big believer in being prepared, getting focused and executing. If you do all those things, you have a chance to get lucky.
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
“They looked a little fatigued to us,” Orpik had said after Game 4. “(Henrik) Zetterberg … he looks so tired out there.”
“Any time we hear ‘too old,’ ‘too tired,’ or ‘too slow,’ it doesn’t bother us one bit,’” said Detroit winger Dan Cleary, whose game-opening goal stood up as the winner in a Chris Osgood shutout.
You don’t expect them to be “bothered” by it. But to not use a free bit of fuel like the Orpik quotes?
How could it hurt?
“We don’t need to do that,” Cleary said. “We’ve got guys in here with pride, and we’re going to play our hockey hard, work hard. Too old, too slow, too tired? We just play the game the right way.”
from The Hockey News,
Host Ken Campbell and Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland discuss… Proving the critics wrong… The improved penalty kill of the Red Wings… The skill and will to win… And what Detroit has to do to close the series out in Pittsburgh.
no embed option, so click to watch the video…
Q. I was curious, were you in the building last year in Game 6 when the Wings won the Cup?
COACH BYLSMA: I was not. We were in our own playoff battle with Wilkes?Barre in Chicago.
Q. Do you have a sense of what that was like for the players on this team who were here to watch the Wings win a championship in this building? And does that have any bearing on what you do between now and Tuesday night?
COACH BYLSMA: I don’t have a sense, other than it happening in ‘03, when we were in Game 7. We were on the road. It wasn’t our home building. But I can remember vividly, too vividly, what it’s like to have the clock ticking down and the other team. We were down 3?0 in the game in New Jersey.
So then to have the pomp and circumstance afterwards. So I do know what that is like personally. But that’s playoff hockey. You’re faced with elimination games and you’re faced with them on the road and at home sometimes. How you deal with them, and the focus you can have on playing your game largely dictates how those games unfold. And some teams rise to the occasion, some teams relish in that pressure and come out with big performances. But they are tough situations to be in, and we’re faced with one in Game 6.
Larry Murphy and Bob Errey have been providing their analysis of the Stanley Cup Finals for the NHL Network and I am noticing a bit of team pride coming through.
Murphy provides analysis for the Red Wings TV broadcast network during the regular season and first two rounds of the playoffs and Errey does the same for the Penguins. Both men did play for the other team too durng their NHL career but as this series goes deeper and deeper, their ‘homer’ hats are being worn.
I am enjoying the banter between the two, with Murphy having the last word after the Wings victory in game 5. What is next is a question yet to be answered, but I am sure the intensity between the two will pick up even more.
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal via Canada.com,
• Agent Bryon Baltimore wouldn’t be surprised if Bouwmeester’s negotiating rights were dealt to another club (Philadelphia Flyers, Columbus Blue Jackets, Montreal and Vancouver appear to be possibilities) for a player and/or high draft picks shortly before the free-agent doors open July 1.
Philadelphia would have to unload Daniel Briere first, however, and at a salary-cap hit of $6.5 million US for four more years - that’s a big gulp for anybody.
The Los Angeles Kings were close to signing Briere, along with the Habs, two years ago and that will be revisited because of the connection between Flyers GM Paul Holmgren and Kings GM Dean Lombardi and his assistant Ron Hextall.
• Minnesota has targeted four teams - the Edmonton Oilers, Colorado Avalanche, Detroit Red Wings and the Philadelphia Flyers - to try and trade backup goalie Josh Harding, who had a 2.21 goals-against average and .929 save percentage in 19 games in the 2008-09 season.
• San Jose Sharks captain Patrick Marleau has a no-trade clause in his contract, but you can bet GM Doug Wilson will ask him which three or four teams he would consider going to prior to the draft because they have to move him.
The Habs need a No. 1 centre, but Marleau is better in a support role, playing behind somebody else. If the Sharks do deal him, count on Dan Boyle being named captain.
more NHL talk…
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
• Tampa Bay co-owner Oren Koules insists that he and fellow owner Len Barrie get along and talk to each other, contrary to what many people in the hockey community insist. Koules is frustrated that the Tampa Bay Lightning has become the butt of many NHL jokes and he’s trying to let people know that all—finances, front office, future—apparently is well.
• Used to think the Colorado Avalanche had the biggest PR jerk in the NHL in Jean Martineau. Now we understand why with the once-proud organization run by the when-did-he-get-this-classless, Pierre Lacroix.
• Add the pursuit of Ray Emery to the ever-growing list of lousy goaltending decisions made by the Philadelphia Flyers.
a few more hockey notes…
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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