Kukla's Korner Hockey
“They were busy making amends for [the Havlat hit]. In the end, we end up on the power play lots, which is beneficial for us.”
-Wings Coach Mike Babcock via Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.
from Cam Cole of the Vancouver Sun via Canada.com,
The Detroit Red Wings took the kids to school Sunday. They’ll pick ’em up next fall.
Actually, there’s a little paperwork to be done first, Wednesday night in Detroit — forms signed, concession accepted, and so on — but assuming that’s taken care of, the Chicago Blackhawks can take the rest of the summer off and try again next season.
The young Hawks received more education than they ever wanted in Game 4 of the Western Conference final at United Center, where the Red Wings — short-handed, on the power play, and every which way — showcased their incredible team depth and dominated the home team with a cool, controlled display of textbook positional hockey and opportunism.
added 7:04pm, from Steve Rosenbloom of RosenBlog at the Chicago Tribune,
A disaster, an embarrassment, a waste, pick one, pick ‘em all, you wouldn’t be wrong in trying to describe what passed for Blackhawks hockey in a 6-1 loss in Game 4 of what used to be a competitive Western Conference finals against the vexing Red Wings.
added 7:21pm, from Darren Eliot of Sports Illustrated,
Detroit gave a clinic on what gut-check time is all about. Playing without veteran faceoff specialist Kris Draper, Hart nominee Pavel Datsyuk and surprise scratch, captain Nicklas Lidstrom—only the best defenseman of his generation—the Red Wings played with composure and competitiveness. They were outwardly abrasive in the early going, not shying away from post-whistle scrums, actually initiating much of the pushing and shoving.
That edginess was merely a demonstrative form of their intent. As is the norm, it was their execution that led to the Red Wings’ domination.
added 8:40pm, from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Turns out big brother can pin down little brother even with two hands tied behind his back.
The Chicago Blackhawks looked as if they were more interested in seeking revenge for the Kronwall hit than winning the game.
Detroit was lead by Hossa, Filppula and Rafalski, all with 3 points.
added 6:06pm, Watch post game-press conference below, which should be starting soon.
added 6:22pm, As I mentioned in the comments, Babcock said Osgood suffered from dehydration. He was on an IV and did not recover fast enough, so he turned to Conklin for the 3rd period.
added 6:29pm, Quenneville in his post-game conference says the roughing call on Walker at the end of the first period was the worst call in hockey history and that changed the game.
added 6:32pm, Video hightlights from NBC added below (2nd video)....
added 7:16pm, added post-game transcript from Babcock in the comment section below…
added 7:33pm, added post-game transcript from Joel Quennville in the coment section…
Lidstrom out with lower-body injury, day-to-day, Datsyuk still out and Havlat will be playing for Chicago.
Chelios replaces Lidstrom for the Wings.
Q. How do you try to keep the focus going when you’re up three games in this series without looking at the next one?
COACH BYLSMA: I think the task at hand is clear. You know the series is 3?0. We know this team’s not going to quit. We know that’s their trademark, they’re going to keep coming at us. They’ve proven that even though the games have ended up with lots of goals on the board. They’ve been fighting right to the end.
The building was loud last night. I just watched the first period. The 7:00 minute mark of the first period their fans were really into it. The building was loud. We were under some pressure, and we know that’s what’s going to happen again come Tuesday.
While we have a lead, we know we need to get one more win to get this thing done with. Right now is better than waiting. So we’ll be ready on Tuesday for what we need to do.
Q. Everybody knows the odds and things like that. But also you get a game at home. What is the message to your team tomorrow?
COACH MAURICE: Just that most importantly, don’t view the whole picture. Just get a small glimpse. We need to have to get some relief to reclaim. And then there’s more of a chance to play after that game.
The question you asked me after Game 1 of the Boston series, we thought we were 0?6 against them at that point. That’s the most important thing. The reason we’ve gotten here is the belief to stay in the fight as long as we possibly can. Now we’re at a point there’s no tomorrow.
So I don’t know how many cliches that is, but insert your favorite cliche at this point.
from Michael Russo of the Star-Tribune,
Leipold wants aggressiveness, creative thinking and risk-taking—on and off the ice. And he believes Fletcher is the perfect guy to take the Wild to the next level.
One thing’s for sure. Fletcher will at least try to swing for the fences.
First of all, he knows that’s what Leipold wants, and he has been schooled by GMs who love taking chances—Bryan Murray, Brian Burke, Ray Shero, and his father, Cliff Fletcher.
You can bet Cliff’s son will jump feet-first into what is sure to be an active trade market this summer. Remember, many teams must dump salary in hopes of creating salary-cap flexibility, so Leipold had to find somebody not scared of maybe trading a Josh Harding or even a James Sheppard.
Leipold also needed somebody who doesn’t have a hatred of the agent who represents the best scorer the Wild has ever known. That doesn’t mean Fletcher definitely will be able to re-sign Marian Gaborik; it’s still an incredible longshot this close to free agency.
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
Here’s the dilemma facing Edmonton Oilers general manager Steve Tambellini.
Does he hire an older, experienced NHL head coach like Pat Quinn, Marc Crawford or Tom Renney? And if he does go for an older coach, he likely has to get a young gun as an assistant to take over behind the bench a few years down the road.
Or should he go with a fresh new face such as Kevin Dineen or Scott Arniel—both on the Oilers’ short list—but have an older right-hand man to help him learn the NHL coaching ropes?
Tambellini has interviewed Quinn, Crawford, and Renney, along with Todd Richards, the San Jose Sharks assistant coach, who might be at the top of the list with the Minnesota Wild now that Chuck Fletcher has taken over as GM.
But Tambellini is methodical and probably a little anxious. A general manager’s most important hire is his first head coach.
from Bob Verdi of the Chicago Tribune,
“What’s going on in Chicago is fantastic,” said Dick Ebersol, sports chairman of a network that had a profitable fling during Jordan’s reign. “The Winter Classic at Wrigley Field was the highest-rated regular season game in 34 years. Game 1 of this series was the highest-rated game on U.S. TV, not counting finals or the winter classics, in five years. There is an uptick in hockey, especially in Chicago.”
NBC’s contract is up at year’s end, but in a feeble economy, Ebersol hopes the network and league can continue to partner by sharing risk and reward. Ever the contrarian, he touts Versus as the solution, not the problem. From America’s most powerful TV executive, this is not the stuff of fluff.
“Versus treats hockey the right way, not second fiddle as it was on ESPN,” said Ebersol. “Versus is in 20 million fewer homes, but the holes are tightening. And don’t forget, Versus is owned by Comcast. I like that strength. I also liked Bill Wirtz. The new people in Chicago have done a great job, but Bill was a character, and he cared about the sport.”
more on the Blackhawks…
via Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
• Gary Bettman is so stubborn and small in his unwillingness to do business with BlackBerry boss Jim Balsillie that some league people actually are talking about the NHL buying the Phoenix Coyotes rather than allowing Balsillie to get his hands anywhere near the franchise. And to hell with the millions they’ll blow along the way.
• If Niklas Kronwall’s hit on Martin Havlat was illegal, then they should remove Scott Stevens from the Hall of Fame immediately and deem his entire career illegal. And since when does NHL stand for No Hitting League?
• Don’t know why, but there are all kinds of voices in the hockey wilderness—the entertaining Jeremy Roenick being the latest—who seem to rejoice in taking shots at Wings coach Mike Babcock. And all he does is win.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org