Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Jason Kay of The Hockey News,
If in two weeks or so the Detroit Red Wings win their fifth Stanley Cup in 12 seasons, we’ll have had the privilege of being witnesses to a remarkable period in hockey history.
Not only will the Wings have cemented “dynasty” status, but a case could be made it’s the NHL’s greatest sustained franchise achievement ever….
Another tentacle to this octopi-embracing juggernaut is the number of Hall of Famers who may be in their midst. By our count, we could be seeing as many as eight. Here’s the breakdown:
from Darren Eliot of Sports Illustrated,
Finally, if you’re looking for a couple of players out of the limelight who will thrust themselves into the glare with a special contribution, consider Valtteri Filppula of the Red Wings and Chris Kunitz of the Penguins. Both play significant minutes and during key situations. They’ve had good moments already during this playoff run, but with a single goal each, they are poised to really break out and make a difference. If either finds the net regularly with the Stanley Cup at stake, they will usurp the accolades reserved for the stars.
This should be fun. Enjoy.
more on the series…
from Damian Critodero of the St. Petersburg Times,
What was it like working with owners Barrie called “owner operators”?
“Last year, I did not feel comfortable at all,” Lawton said. “We had three people making decisions, everybody knows that, and it leads to a discombobulated effort. As an organization we sat down and straightened that out. Last year, I was exuberant for the opportunity. Now, I’m excited for the structure we have.”
A structure in which Lawton, 43, of Cumberland, R.I., gained influence.
He is a sounding board on business matters for Koules, who handles much of the day-to-day running of the team and Times Forum. He also apparently is the tie-breaker on hockey matters if Koules and Barrie disagree.
“Those guys have told me I’m the final word,” Lawton said. “That’s what they’ve communicated to me. That doesn’t mean I don’t notify them or I don’t keep them abreast of it. ... But at the end of the day, the way it’s set up is that’s my call.”
Koules acknowledged, “We’ve given Brian the authority to take the lead role in everything we do from a hockey operations standpoint.”
more including some Vinny talk…
from Greg Wyshynski of PuckDaddy,
1. Sidney Crosby’s Name on the Stanley Cup:
Alexander Ovechkin may still be the bigger star, crossing over to mainstream sports fans in a way Crosby doesn’t. But within the NHL, there’s no player with greater renown right now than the Penguins’ captain, thanks to his remarkable postseason run and unparalleled leadership in bringing his mates back to the finals. To end that run with his first Stanley Cup would be a defining moment. And to have a star of his magnitude lifting the Cup over his head is an image the NHL is ready to plaster across the globe.
read on for 19 more points….
So says Damien Cox…
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
Burke would rather deal with the reality of his position than anyone else’s supposition. He isn’t shy about listing his priorities of the next five weeks, which represent his first real opportunity to put his fingerprints all over the Maple Leafs.
Priority 1 is getting an answer from Swedish free agent goaltender Jonas Gustavsson. “We really like him,” Burke said. “If we can’t get him, we’ll have to trade for a backup goalie or sign one in free agency.”
In other words, see you later, Justin Pogge.
Priority 2 is the NHL entry draft on June 26 and 27. The Leafs have the seventh pick but Burke already has been on the record saying he would like to move up and select John Tavares. That’s his public stance. Fat chance. Privately, others insist he wants a top 4 pick—which would get him one of Tavares, Victor Hedman Matt Duchene or Luke Schenn’s brother, Brayden.
Update 7:12pm ET: From Tim Wharnsby at the Globe & Mail:
Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke and his Tampa Bay Lightning counterpart, Brian Lawton, were seen this week deep in discussion in the dining room at the hotel where the NHL was holding its annual prospects combine.
But Burke hasn’t made headway in his desire to move up in the 2009 NHL entry draft. The Leafs have the seventh overall selection. The Lightning has the second pick.
“I’ve knocked on a lot of doors and talked to a lot of other teams, but I’m not optimistic at this point. I hope it will heat up, but right now I haven’t had much success,” said Burke, who said that deals to move up in the draft usually don’t occur until draft day.
“You have to remember that I’ve been able to move up twice in the draft and both times it was done on the draft floor,” Burke added.
from Stan Fischler of Game On,
People ask me who I like in the Stanley Cup Finals: Detroit or Pittsburgh?
At the start of the season, I figured the Red Wings would make the Finals and win The Cup. No, this was not based on any complicated scientific analysis, but rather a simple theory: never bet against The Champs.
But that was then and this is now….
The Pretenders have everything in their favor, from a sizzling Sid Crosby-Ev Malkin duet right down to the mature goaltending of Marc-Andre Fleury, who’s fronted by a surprisingly solid defense.
Nevertheless, The Maven picks Detroit in seven games.
from Seth Rorabaugh of Empty Netters,
Five random things which haven’t changed from last year’s Stanley Cup final:
• Detroit’s Depth. Few teams have anything approaching the organization depth the Red Wings have. Players like Darren Helm (above) and Ville Leino could be second-liners on most NHL teams. With Detroit, they’re AHLers. The Red Wings were without players like Pavel Datsyuk and Nicklas Lidstrom in the Western Conference final but still managed to dispatch Chicago in five games.
• Osgood really that good? A common complaint about Chris Osgood is that he’s just the product of a good defensive system. We’ve made it and we believe it. If you stuck Osgood on the Penguins, they probably don’t get out of the first round. But he doesn’t play on the Penguins. He plays on the Red Wings. And he’s gotten them to the Stanley Cup final for the second consecutive season. Who care’s if he’s part of a system? Especially if it’s a really successful system.
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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