Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Empty Netters,
The thing that is really striking about these two teams is the relative ease in which they’ve progressed through the playoffs. Detroit is on the verge of completing its second sweep in a row, and the Penguins have only lost one game in the postseason.
Should both of these teams complete sweeps in the conference finals, they will have combined to play 27 games this postseason (The Penguins would have played 13 and Detroit 14.) That would be the fewest postseason games among any two Cup finalists since the NHL went to the current playoff format of four rounds of seven-game series in 1987.
from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,
Given the distain the locals here hold for young Sidney, the sight of his old man wandering through the stands during Game 3 tonight would provide easy fodder for the Philly Phanatics who already refer to Crosby as “Number Hatey-Seven.”
Yet while the majority of boos will be reserved for Crosby when the Pittsburgh captain shows up, count on there being a few aimed at Daniel Briere if he does not.
from E.J. Hradek of ESPN,
The Stars were so full of life in the first two rounds of the playoffs, taking out the Ducks and Sharks in impressive fashion. Dave Tippett’s team played with so much energy and enthusiasm.
That’s all gone now.
The Red Wings have sucked all the life out of the Stars. That’s what happens when you’re forever chasing your opponent around the ice, unable to pry the puck from their talented clutches.
In case you haven’t caught on yet, these Wings are that good.
from Terry Frei of the Denver Post,
Detroit assistant coach Todd McLellan came off the ice after the Red Wings’ game-morning skate Monday at the American Airlines Center and was about to step into the visiting dressing room when I, well, ambushed him.
I asked McLellan, in his third season with Detroit, if he would be interested in the Colorado coaching job, vacant since the Avalanche and Joel Quenneville parted ways Friday.
“I would be very interested,” McLellan, 40, said several hours before the Wings beat the Dallas Stars in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals. “I think right now there are a number of young coaches who have come up from the American League and have done a good job, and I consider myself one of those.”
Sharkspage does a great job covering the Ron Wilson firing and takes a look back at his coaching career in San Jose.
Update 11:34am ET (alanah): An article that I don’t think PJ references at Sharkspage, that I also thought was very good—Ray Ratto of the SF Chronicle considers that the issues in San Jose may be more systemic than specific to Ron Wilson.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Whereas Lidstrom is one of the steadiest, smartest rearguards in the game, he plays the classic “contain” style. He makes excellent first passes, eats minutes and generally plays a textbook style of defence. Pretty soon, he’ll be in the heady company of Bobby Orr and Doug Harvey in terms of the number of times they have won the James Norris Memorial Trophy.
Kronwall is different. Less is known about him because he always seems to be hurt, suffering one freak injury after another, year after discouraging year. It’s contributed to his anonymity and obscures the fact that he plays more like Ulf Samuelsson than Anders Eriksson; he is arguably Detroit’s most physical defenceman since Vladimir Konstantinov was lost after that limousine accident.
from Phil Sheridan of the Philadelphia Inquirer,
It doesn’t make for as catchy a slogan as “Vengeance Now” - the Flyers’ declaration of war on an NHL that thumped them mercilessly last season. It just makes sense tonight.
The Flyers can busy themselves trying to get square with Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin for his cheap-shot-from-behind elbow to Danny Briere’s head, or they can busy themselves trying to keep their hope alive by winning Game 3.
They can’t do both.
“We’re in no position to go after retribution,” Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said. “We need to win games.”
added 7:17am, also from the Philadelphia Inquirer,
“We played better in Game 2 than Game 1, but we need to play better to have success against Pittsburgh,” Flyers coach John Stevens said yesterday. “Sometimes you have to work hard for your breaks. Things happen in a hockey game you’re not always going to agree with; you just have to deal with it.
“That’s what we have to get back to. The ‘Why not us?’ There’s a lot more we have to do to be the ‘us’ we want to be.”
For starters, the Flyers need to be more physical.
from Jim Reeves of the Star-Telegram,
Does the NHL have a mercy rule? Can we apply it now, please?
Show a little compassion, guys. Let our gritty little Dallas Stars limp off to the golf course right now, before somebody really gets hurt.
If you listened closely enough at the AAC last night, you could practically hear the ice beginning to melt.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
The lesson on Monday night: It doesn’t take much for Detroit to turn nothing into something. The Red Wings received three goals from the brilliant, mercurial Pavel Datsyuk, along with a back-breaking third-period shorthanded goal from Henrik Zetterberg, to engineer the victory which, once again, came without Johan Franzen, the leading goal-scorer of the 2008 playoffs.
Zetterberg’s goal was particularly significant, in that it came with the Stars down by just a goal and on the power play for the fifth time. But Zetterberg picked off an errant pass deep inside his own zone and went coast-to-coast, eventually turning Richards inside out with a little dipsy-doodle magic, before moving across the crease and burying his shot past Stars’ goaltender Marty Turco.
added 11:29pm, from Adam Proteau of the Hockey News,
Well, we just finished Game 3 of the third-round series between Detroit and Dallas, and while you may not have to hand it to the Wings, I certainly do.
Their 5-2 defeat of the Stars Monday left no more illusions as to which team deserves a shot at the equally imposing Pittsburgh Penguins for this season’s NHL championship, and which team will be contacting the moving van companies with a firm vacating date in hand.
from the CP via TSN,
While Briere realizes that prominent players have gotten protection from officials as long as the NHL has existed, some consistency wUnhappould be nice, too.
“I’ve never considered myself a superstar,” said a smiling Briere, who signed an US$52-million, eight-year free-agent deal with the Flyers last summer. “Obviously, they might get protected a little bit more. That’s understandable, but when they do some of the cheap shots that they’re doing I think it would be fair for everybody that they get the same treatment in that regard.”
This is all stuff the Penguins have heard before.
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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