Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Tim Wharnsby of the Globe and Mail,
The superstitious Pittsburgh Penguins are running out of hotels in Motown.
The Penguins ditched the Detroit hotel they stayed in last year when they lost to the Detroit Red Wings in the Stanley Cup final, and after dropping the first two games of the 2009 championship series, they moved out of their downtown digs for suburban lodging.
The ploy didn’t work because the Penguins were thoroughly beaten by the Wings 5-0 in game five as the older Detroit players survived five games in eight nights with their best effort yet to take a 3-2 series lead at Joe Louis Arena….
Near the end of Karen Newman’s rendition of the national anthem, a couple fans tossed customary octopi onto the ice surface at Joe Louis Arena. Penguins forward Maxime Talbot skated over and spit on one of the squid before the game five began.
Talbot’s questionable decision was a sign of things to come for the Penguins in the second period, when the Red Wings power play finally got on track to score three times.
added 11:47pm, from Adrian Dater of All Things Avs,
Can we officially call the Pittsburgh Penguins the Phoenix Suns/Utah Jazz now?
What a laydown, meek, terrible, abominable, atrocious, awful, putrid, lousy, rotten showing tonight by the best team in the Eastern Conference, the Penguins, in Game 5 of the Cup Finals at Detroit.
The Penguins are the old Suns and Jazz wrapped into one. The Suns and Jazz always had good years in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, but never could win it all.
These Penguins look like the NHL’s version of those two losers.
Absolutely awful performance tonight. I don’t care what the Pens do in Game 6; this series is over. And I suspect the Pens will do what they did last year in a Game 6 at home - play close for a while, then lose to the Wings.
Q. Your thoughts on the lift Datsyuk gave the team?
COACH BABCOCK: Well, I think I said this earlier, if he played the series without Malkin and Crosby and they suddenly come ?? this guy’s one of the best players in the world both offensively and defensively in the winter. Just makes the team more comfortable. We need plays, and suddenly we relaxed and we made plays.
We’ve been able to have success, but it’s been much harder, obviously, without him. And you have to learn to win a different way and find a way. I’ve been very impressed with our guys finding a way. We bought time so he can come back, and ideally he can help us get over the top.
Q. Seemed like you guys got out of the gate really fast. The first two or three minutes, looked as though you were off and running, what happened after that?
COACH BYLSMA: Well, I think we did start off well. I think we didn’t shoot the puck well enough or often enough when we had those chances. We were looking for the extra pass, when we had opportunities to get pucks on them early. Didn’t quite connect, and didn’t quite create the opportunities because we were looking to pass.
But, again, we came out skating well, and getting in the offensive zone and creating some scoring chances. You know, the game, they got that first goal, and then they got the goal on the power play right after the quick change. Quick up, and got that goal after the kill. That would have gotten us momentum, and they got that goal. I thought that was a big goal.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
The Los Angeles Kings have been linked all spring to Tampa Bay star Vincent Lecavalier, but we’re told those talks have cooled off for now. One Eastern Conference source told us Saturday the New York Rangers have made Scott Gomez available around the league, but we’re not sure how interested the Kings are in him. It’s a heck of a big contract.
For our money, we believe the guy the Kings covet the most is gritty and skilled winger Ryan Smyth of the Colorado Avalanche….
Goalie Manny Fernandez is an unrestricted free agent July 1, but he won’t be staying in Boston. The Bruins believe it’s time for Tuukka Rask to come up and back up Tim Thomas. Look for the Bruins to shop the rights to Fernandez and maybe move him at the NHL draft, giving a team exclusive negotiating rights before July 1….
more topics discussed…
from Phil Coffey of NHL.com,
Pavel Datsyuk’s return from a foot injury was just the tonic the Detroit Red Wings needed as they scored three power-play goals in the second period and five different Wings scored overall in a 5-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 5 that puts Detroit one game away from winning the Stanley Cup….
His return seemed to infuse the Red Wings with plenty of confidence and verve and put a deeper, more talented team on the ice for Detroit. Datsyuk is a finalist for NHL MVP honors.
added 11:18pm, from Cam Cole of the Vancouver Sun via the National Post,
Hands up, anyone outside the 313 area code who thought there was a snowball’s hope in Hockeytown of those tired, old Detroit Red Wings running the surging Pittsburgh Penguins out of Joe Louis Arena in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup final.
Nobody? Didn’t think so.
Wings played their best game of the series and it coincides with the return of Pavel Datsyuk.
Elimination game now stares the Penguins in the face on Tuesday night.
added 10:48pm, from Doug Guthrie of the Detroit News,
Pittsburgh Penguins fans were heading for the exits at Joe Louis Arena before the start of the third period Saturday night.
Trailing 5-0 after a four-goal blitz in the second period, they’d seen enough of Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals.
“A game like this shouldn’t be decided by power plays,” said Brad Smith, an Atlanta, Ga., veterinary technician wearing a Sidney Crosby jersey. Smith also was in Detroit for Game 1 and 2.
“This is a great building to watch a game, but it’s unfortunate that we didn’t have a better start to our season so we could have home ice,” he added. “A Game 7here is what we are going to need and that’s not going to be easy.”
added 11:03pm, Watch live press conference streaming below…
from Joe Henderson of the Tampa Tribune,
The cowboys who own the Tampa Bay Lightning told us last year they were hockey guys who would rebuild the franchise into a power once again. They would wheel, they would deal, they would spend whatever it took and we would all have a ball watching it come together.
Well, they wheeled all right - right into the ditch, cartwheeling several times along the path before bursting into flames. They made deals, spent lots of cash, and it really was entertaining as long as you didn’t actually have to watch too many games. They created a mess that had no chance to succeed under leadership that was doomed to fail….
mean, remember this quote to The Tampa Tribune from co-owner Len Barrie last July:
“You can hear from me first, our defense is better than people think. That’s why we are loading up on forwards because I really, really like our young defense,” he said.
He also predicted a division title to another media outlet.
Q. Can you compare what you sensed from your team in terms of what it’s thinking about right now, and the one you played for in Anaheim going into that Game 5?
COACH BYLSMA: I wasn’t ready for that one (laughing). You know, I think you know you have to win one on the road as the road team. In both the situations, you feel like you miss those opportunities in Game 1, you had to really fight back to get back to even. And this is a game where we think we’re going to have to play our best.
We think they’re going to come out really hard, and we think they’re going to play a very good game after having regrouped and coming home with their fans here. And this is going to be, in my estimation, probably the hardest fought game will be here tonight. To this point.
via Ansar Khan of Mlive,
Dan Cleary’s status for Game 5 tonight will be determined after the pregame warmups. Cleary, who didn’t skate this morning, said he sustained a “lower-body’’ injury in Game 4. Cleary was vague, as you would expect this time of year. Asked if it was a new injury or something that had been bothering him, he said, “a little of both.’’ He also said he had tests done but has not gotten the results back yet. He said it’s nothing that would require a pain-killing shot.
from Elliotte Friedman of CBC,
...And, no matter how rattled Detroit looked the other night, it would be a terrible mistake to assume Pittsburgh’s coronation. Truth is, the Penguins need Game 5 more than the Wings do.
“I expect Pittsburgh will be really fired up Saturday night,” said one NHL coach. “If they win, they have the chance to win the Stanley Cup on home ice. If they lose, then they know they have to win it on the road. The chance to win it at home is a huge motivator.”
Who would you bet on in a Game 7 at Joe Louis?
The schedule, which favoured the Penguins early in the series, helps Detroit at the end.
Battered and bruised much worse than they’re letting on, the Wings would be hugely helped by the two days off before Games 6 and 7.
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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