Kukla's Korner Hockey
Q. It seems like each of these games has had its own sort of identity or personality instead of one sort of leading or following naturally. Do you think that’s accurate? If so, why do you think that dynamic has been this way in this series the first six games?
COACH BABCOCK: Well, I think four of the games were anybody’s game. I think two of the games were Game 4 and Game 5 to me were one team. I think they’ve both been momentum games where teams have carried momentum for large portions at a time, really tilted the rink. The other team looks like they can’t get out of their end. And then the other team seems to come back, and it just goes back and forth.
We’re not going to have to worry about any of that stuff now. It’s just an opportunity here now for both teams.
You know, I have to tell you I’ve been real impressed. I think they played hard. I think our team has played hard. The playoffs for our team this year has been as big a battle as we’ve ever had for sure. Just with what’s gone on and some of the injuries we’ve had and that. I’ve been really impressed with our team’s will, and our guys’ attitude over the last couple of days. Excited to go.
from Adam Proteau of The Hockey News,
When the game is over and Gary Bettman appears at center ice with a microphone in one hand and the Cup at his side, he will be booed.
Allow me to emphasize that for a second. The league commissioner will be booed long and booed hard. He will be booed as if he and he alone mismanaged Michigan’s automobile industry. At least one square mile of vocal chords in attendance will be blown out amid the Bronx cheering.
He won’t deserve all, or even most of the ill will, but the crowd will bestow a virtual beret of raspberries (and not the kind you find in a second-hand store) on him nonetheless. And that is my big problem whenever I see Bettman handing the Cup over to a championship team’s captain.
from Jason Kay of The Hockey News,
The question that niggles and nags me as we approach what we all hope is an epic Game 7 is: What’s up with Sidney Crosby?
I’m not talking about the anaemic production – one goal and three points through six games. He has played well through much of the series and hasn’t had much puck luck.
But in Game 6, ‘The Kid’ was most noticeable by his absence on the ice. The game sheet showed he had his lowest ice-time total of the series…
It was further piqued at the conclusion of Game 6 when, about an hour after the contest ended, Crosby was sitting on a chair outside the club’s dressing room, far away from attention, huddled with his dad, Troy, and agent, Pat Brisson. Why the chairs for the little gathering, someone asked, when everyone else was standing and milling about? Is he overly fatigued from the intense attention night after night? Maybe injured?
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
Maybe his former boss in Toronto, GM Brian Burke, and longtime Burke associate Dave Nonis, now the assistant GM in Toronto, whispered in Nieuwendyk’s ear about the virtues of their old Vancouver pal and former coach Marc Crawford.
But the one thing that is patently clear is this is a mistake that is going to rest solely on Nieuwendyk’s shoulders. And this is certainly a mistake.
The old adage about judging a hockey trade by which team obtains the best player applies here. With Crawford becoming the new coach in Dallas, it is a step down on almost every level from what Tippett brought to the table.
One NHL coach told ESPN.com on Wednesday he thinks Tippett is one of the best coaches in the league, bar none.
added 3:43pm, from Damien Cox of The Spin,
Tabbing Marc Crawford to be the club’s new head coach just one day after officially firing Dave Tippett - hmmm, any possibility Crawford was talking to the Stars while Tippett still had the job? - doesn’t exactly put a progressive new face on the Dallas franchise.
While young still at 48, Crawford has that odour of “yesterday’s man” about him.
from Sean Gordon and Andrew Willis of the Globe and Mail,
Talks surrounding an eventual sale of the Montreal Canadiens are building to a final crescendo: As of the close of business yesterday, all formal offers were to be lodged with the investment bank steering the bidding process…
Financial sources told The Globe and Mail that each of the three known bidders has already secured at least $200-million in bank financing to help push a deal through.
According those familiar with the process, Péladeau’s group is expected to make the richest opening bid, in excess of $420-million.
But sources suggest a Molson family bid – which is believed to be supported by telecom behemoth BCE Inc. – could carry the day, even if it is closer to $400-million, given the family’s long-standing NHL ties and the fact Molson Coors already owns 19.9 per cent of the team.
from the Dallas Stars,
Dallas Stars General Manager Joe Nieuwendyk announced Thursday that the club has hired Marc Crawford as the 20th head coach in franchise history, and has relieved Dave Tippett of his head coaching duties. Crawford will be formally introduced at a press conference this afternoon at American Airlines Center.
added 11:56am, from Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News,
I just got off the phone with Dave Tippett, and he was philosophical.
“It’s just what you sign up for as a coach, and I don’t think you can ever let it get to you,’’ he said. ``In this business, you have to focus on the job at hand and do it to the best of your ability. Then, if you are moved on, you have to see that as an opportunity. When one door closes, another one opens.”
Tippett said he will head to his summer home in Noirthern Minnesota today and will try to take a step back from the situation and breathe a little bit.
from Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press,
It’s a showcase for the next hot rivalry in professional sports.
The Wings and Penguins possess all the natural ingredients—skill, antagonism and, perhaps most important, the likelihood they’ll meet again in years to come.
The teams could meet for a third straight time in the finals next year, so winner beware.
Revenge is the lifeblood of any legitimate rivalry.
The NHL has struck the mother lode.
NBC may be looking at a ratings bonanza Friday night because they have two star-laden teams and two more traditional hockey franchises. The Wings are one of the Original Six. The Penguins are part of the Next Six that came into the league for the 1967-68 season.
from Tim Wharnsby of the Globe and Mail,
The Penguins are a confident bunch after staving off elimination. But if they are going to succeed in Detroit, they will have to overcome a mental hurdle of winning at Joe Louis Arena. In the three previous games in Detroit in this series, Pittsburgh has been outscored 11-2, and the Penguins are coming off a 5-0 blanking there in game five.
The Penguins’ lack of success at Joe Louis Arena has little to do with the home team getting the last change or the supportive Red Wings crowd. It has more to do with the fact that the Penguins haven’t been as aggressive in their pursuit of the puck on the road in this series and they haven’t been as determined around Detroit goalie Chris Osgood as they have been at Mellon Arena.
from Damien Cox of The Spin,
Talk to Dany Heatley once and you understand you’re not talking to a MENSA candidate.
That’s okay. As probably more a few coaches have told Heatley along the way: don’t think, it just hurts the team.
But where Heatley really kept his synapses in reserve this time was his timing concerning a request to have his hockey contract traded to another NHL club.
I get the part where he doesn’t want to live in Ottawa. Neither would I. I get the part where after being allowed to freelance continuously during his years as a heroic Senator he might chafe at the notion of being asked to play a larger team game.
Geez, if he’d known he’d have to play in three zones he’d have asked for more money.
No, the part where I don’t get Heatley’s timing is when it comes to the fact that just about every Canadian hockey player is trying to be on their best behaviour these days in hopes that Steve Yzerman might find them worthy of being part of the Olympic effort next winter.
via the National Post,
Nine-time Grand Slam champion Monica Seles is dating Thomas Golisano, owner of the Buffalo Sabres, the New York Post reports.
Golisano confirmed the relationship to the Post’s Page 6 on Tuesday when the newspaper asked if the two were dating.
“Why do you want to know?” he asked coyly, before replying, “Monica and I see each other.”...
There are 32 years difference between Seles, 35, and Golisano, 67.
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