Kukla's Korner Hockey
Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review previews game 6.
from Chris Echegaray and John Glennon of the Tennessean,
Every athlete who plays the Predators in Nashville would get slapped with a $2,500 “jock tax” for the privilege under a proposal a Tennessee Senate committee may take up today.
The Preds’ active roster would pay, too, but with a three-game cap of $7,500 a season. For team captain Jason Arnott, it’s just one more state getting its piece of his five-year, $22.5 million contract.
“We’re kind of used to it anyway,” he said. “They’re doing the same thing when we go into other states. So I guess why not pick up on that and make some money for Tennessee?”
from Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
I picked the Penguins to win the Stanley Cup final in six games because Sidney Crosby was playing out of his mind and wasn’t going to let the team lose. I’m still sticking with ‘em even though Crosby hasn’t done so much against the Detroit Red Wings and the Penguins find themselves in a big jackpot, needing to win Game 6 tonight at home and Game 7 Friday night in Detroit. I’ve learned from these Penguins in the Washington series that it’s never too late. I’ve been watching the great Crosby too long to think he can’t have two terrific games when it matters most.
Positive thoughts ...
Hey, it beats dwelling on the alternative.
Oh, what the hay.
Let’s dwell for just a moment.
If the Penguins fail—tonight or Friday night—no one will lose more than Crosby.
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
The last coach to win a playoff series against the Detroit Red Wings takes pride in that distinction, and he should. With Detroit poised to win its second straight Stanley Cup championship tonight with a victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins at Mellon Arena, Randy Carlyle might hold on to that honor for a while.
Carlyle’s Ducks defeated the Red Wings in the 2007 Western Conference finals before defeating Ottawa to win the Cup. The Ducks didn’t face Detroit in the 2008 playoffs but caused anxiety in Hockeytown during the second round this spring….
“The thing about Detroit is that the depth they’ve got throughout their lineup is starting to be the difference-maker in the games and inside the games,” Carlyle said by phone Monday.
“Pittsburgh seemed to have them on the run in the two games they won in their building, but the other night it seemed after the first seven minutes it was all Detroit.”...
At their best, the Penguins—like the Ducks—have initiated an aggressive forecheck and maintained a quick tempo. They’ve also tried to pressure Detroit’s defense by dumping the puck behind the defensemen and making them chase it while targeting them for punishing hits.
“I thought at times, especially in Pittsburgh, they really were able to get the body on them,” Carlyle said. “But again, you’ve got to put the puck into areas and skate off of it.”
from Paul Hunter of the Toronto Star,
Not only do players want to come, they want to stay. Stars such as Henrik Zetterberg and Johan Franzen worked creative, albeit lucrative, long-term deals in order to reserve a spot in Motown.
Goaltender Chris Osgood came back after leaving. So did Dominik Hasek, who retired again but not before winning a Cup.
That potential influx of players each summer allows the Wings to keep potential future stars such as Darren Helm, Jonathan Ericsson or Justin Abdelkader on the outside looking in until they are definitely ready or needed for salary cap purposes.
Despite that ability to sign new talent or consistently discover it through the draft, the Wings have four players who could win their fifth Stanley Cup with the team tonight. Nicklas Lidstrom, Kris Draper, Tomas Holmstrom and Kirk Maltby are all looking for thumb rings. A fifth, Darren McCarty, was on those first four Detroit winners. McCarty played only 13 games this season and practises with the subs but the Wings could ask for his name to be included on the Cup.
To have a core of name players stay that long and have success – along with a GM in Ken Holland who has held that post since 1997-98 – only adds to the image of Detroit as a stable franchise.
via Rich Hammond of Inside the Kings,
Jack Johnson is not asking for $5.5 million a year, regardless of what you might read. That comes from Dean Lombardi, who would probably know such things. Again, I’ll advise the same thing I advise all the time. Pop some popcorn, read the rumors, enjoy them and try to forget about them the moment that you click to another page.
The Kings are negotiating with Johnson’s agent, not his father, which is good for everyone. There’s no real urgency because there’s no need for urgency at the moment. There can’t be an offer sheet and there can’t be arbitration, so it’s quite different from the O’Sullivan stuff from last year.
“I’ve never been so close. It’s definitely exciting, but I know how hard it is to get that last win.
“I’m just waiting for the next game. Hopefully, we can finish it there, but it’s going to be really hard. That would be a dream come true, but it’s going to be a hard step.”
-Marian Hossa of the Detroit Red Wings. More on the Wings at the CBC 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs Blog.
CTV Calgary learned late Monday night that Brent Sutter will announce that he is stepping down as head coach of the News Jersey Devils on Tuesday.
This further fuels rumours that Brent Sutter will return to Alberta to join his brother Darryl, who is currently the Calgary Flames general manager.
There has been some speculation that Daryl Sutter has been waiting to make a decision on his team’s head coaching opening to see if Brent would be available.
added 11:14am, via Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice,
The Devils have scheduled a noon conference call today with Brent Sutter in which Sutter is expected to announce he is stepping down as head coach.
Sutter has been pondering his future with the team since the Devils lost Game 7 of their first round series against Carolina on April 28. He has admitted that it has been difficult for him the last two years to be away from his family in Red Deer, Alberta and the team he owns there.
from Roy MacGregor of the Globe and Mail,
This year, if Detroit were to repeat as Stanley Cup champions, the Conn Smythe pickings are curiously thin.
Detroit as a team may be unmatchable, but its usual stars have not shone nearly as brightly as they have in the past. The two finest players, forward Pavel Datsyuk and defenceman Nicklas Lidstrom, have been injured, missed games and have not been able to play quite at their highest standards. Lidstrom, of course, won the Conn Smythe in 2002. Last year’s winner, Henrik Zetterberg, has had another superb playoffs – leading the team in scoring while checking the other teams’ star players – but he was even more dominant last year when he did win the trophy.
The early chatter line among the media who vote appears to be leaning toward Detroit goaltender Chris Osgood, whose numbers are good even if, at times, he appears to let in soft goals….
Which brings us to the two players who should be given serious consideration, even if the Penguins fail to mount this difficult comeback: 21-year-old Sidney Crosby of Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, and 22-year-old Evgeny Malkin of Magnitogorsk, Russia.
from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,
“The first time I ever met Lidstrom what I remember is how quiet he was,” said Draper, who has played with him since 1993. “I’ve been very fortunate to see the evolution of Nick Lidstrom first hand.”
Maltby recalls that he was surprised the first time he heard Lidstrom speaking Swedish.
“He doesn’t even really have an accent, so the first time he started speaking Swedish, I said, ‘What the ... Oh, I forgot about that,’. ” Maltby said, laughing. “It was funny. ... You almost took it for granted he was North American. He’s the same way now. He’s quiet and he goes about his business.”
Although he was a coach’s dream as a defender early in his career, his quiet demeanor, coupled with Detroit’s high-profile dressing room, stunted his national attention. “For a while, he was the best-kept secret in the league,” Draper said.
With six Norris trophies, Lidstrom now has the best defensive credentials in the game.
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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