Kukla's Korner Hockey
The television cameras caught NHL commissioner Gary Bettman in his seat during the second period as the Wings poured it on.
Bettman’s expression said it all. Watching the team he’s tied his league’s future to go up in flames, he looked a guy who was suffering from kidney stones.
-Bob Duff of the Windsor Star & contributor at NBC Sports. More from Duff on the game last night…
from Bob McKenzie of TSN,
The last time a Canadian player slashed a Russian player in an attempt to break an ankle was 1972. Everyone thought it was great then, but somehow I think the Red Wings are not going to think too highly of the Max Talbot slash on Pavel Datsyuk in Game 5.
Was it a ridiculously vicious chop? No. Was it a targeting of an injured player? Absolutely. And some people might suggest that’s what the Stanley Cup playoffs are all about but I’m sure the Red Wings would say otherwise as they don’t embrace that whole concept of vigilante justice very much. Their idea of getting back at the opposition is to do what they did in Game 5 – score lots of goals.
more on game 5…
added 7:48am, from Craig Custance of the Sporting News,
Talbot was called for slashing—and it certainly appeared he was trying to aggravate Datsyuk’s bad foot. Talbot knows that critics probably will suggest his intentions were bad.
“They can suggest whatever they want. I went for the puck and his foot was there,” Talbot said.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
For almost a week, the dominant theme was how the Pittsburgh Penguins appeared to be coming of age, ready to be the best.
Last night, however, they looked far too immature to win a Stanley Cup.
Funny thing, the Pens started well against the defending champion Detroit Red Wings. But it all went downhill after the opening three minutes. By the second period the rout was on, the classy Motowners showed they might still have a lesson or two to teach their opponents about composure, and multi-talented Pavel Datsyuk had made a triumphant, two-assist return in an overwhelming 5-0 Detroit win.
“The more I played the better I felt,” said Datsyuk.
Did he have his injured foot frozen in order to play?
“I don’t know,” he said with a slight smile. “It’s a secret.”...
In fact, the comments from Pittsburgh players like Brooks Orpik and head coach Dan Bylsma that Detroit players, specifically Henrik Zetterberg, looked tired in Games 3 and 4 in Pennsylvania rankled the veteran Wings.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
The Penguins have Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby, the Caps have Alex Ovechkin, Alexander Semin, Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Green, the Hurricanes have Eric Staal, and the Rangers . . . well, and the Rangers have no one remotely comparable. Fact is, the Blueshirts don’t have a forward who would be selected in the top, what, 100 in a league-wide dispersal draft.
Fact also is that it has become nearly impossible to get a top-end, difference-making talent any way other than by bottoming out and hitting the draft lottery jackpot, for it is rare indeed that an elite player gets to free agency in his prime.
Which brings us to 28-year-old Marian Gaborik, eligible to become a free agent on July 1 following a season in which he, a) turned down an $80 million contract extension from the Wild because he had no interest in continuing to play for Jacques Lemaire; and, b) was limited to 17 games because of a hip injury for which he underwent surgery in early January.
from Joe Starkey of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
If you listened to all the hyperbole heading into Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final, you would have thought the Detroit Red Wings were now known as the Decrepit Red Wings.
Their top center, Henrik Zetterberg, who is all of 28, was apparently going to be fitted for a walker, a respirator, bifocals and false teeth on the club’s off day.
The rest of this ancient group —- including guys such as 22-year-old Darren Helm, 25-year-old Valtteri Filppula, 28-year-old Niklas Kronwall, 29-year-old Johan Franzen and 30-year-olds Daniel Cleary, Marian Hossa and Pavel Datsyuk — was so drained that cots were going be placed in the dressing room for between-periods naps.
Well, guess what? The Red Wings probably have enough energy left to take the Stanley Cup for a little stroll around Mellon Arena come Tuesday.
Doc Emerick of NBC with the call…
from Tim Wharnsby of the Globe and Mail,
The superstitious Pittsburgh Penguins are running out of hotels in Motown.
The Penguins ditched the Detroit hotel they stayed in last year when they lost to the Detroit Red Wings in the Stanley Cup final, and after dropping the first two games of the 2009 championship series, they moved out of their downtown digs for suburban lodging.
The ploy didn’t work because the Penguins were thoroughly beaten by the Wings 5-0 in game five as the older Detroit players survived five games in eight nights with their best effort yet to take a 3-2 series lead at Joe Louis Arena….
Near the end of Karen Newman’s rendition of the national anthem, a couple fans tossed customary octopi onto the ice surface at Joe Louis Arena. Penguins forward Maxime Talbot skated over and spit on one of the squid before the game five began.
Talbot’s questionable decision was a sign of things to come for the Penguins in the second period, when the Red Wings power play finally got on track to score three times.
added 11:47pm, from Adrian Dater of All Things Avs,
Can we officially call the Pittsburgh Penguins the Phoenix Suns/Utah Jazz now?
What a laydown, meek, terrible, abominable, atrocious, awful, putrid, lousy, rotten showing tonight by the best team in the Eastern Conference, the Penguins, in Game 5 of the Cup Finals at Detroit.
The Penguins are the old Suns and Jazz wrapped into one. The Suns and Jazz always had good years in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, but never could win it all.
These Penguins look like the NHL’s version of those two losers.
Absolutely awful performance tonight. I don’t care what the Pens do in Game 6; this series is over. And I suspect the Pens will do what they did last year in a Game 6 at home - play close for a while, then lose to the Wings.
Q. Your thoughts on the lift Datsyuk gave the team?
COACH BABCOCK: Well, I think I said this earlier, if he played the series without Malkin and Crosby and they suddenly come ?? this guy’s one of the best players in the world both offensively and defensively in the winter. Just makes the team more comfortable. We need plays, and suddenly we relaxed and we made plays.
We’ve been able to have success, but it’s been much harder, obviously, without him. And you have to learn to win a different way and find a way. I’ve been very impressed with our guys finding a way. We bought time so he can come back, and ideally he can help us get over the top.
Q. Seemed like you guys got out of the gate really fast. The first two or three minutes, looked as though you were off and running, what happened after that?
COACH BYLSMA: Well, I think we did start off well. I think we didn’t shoot the puck well enough or often enough when we had those chances. We were looking for the extra pass, when we had opportunities to get pucks on them early. Didn’t quite connect, and didn’t quite create the opportunities because we were looking to pass.
But, again, we came out skating well, and getting in the offensive zone and creating some scoring chances. You know, the game, they got that first goal, and then they got the goal on the power play right after the quick change. Quick up, and got that goal after the kill. That would have gotten us momentum, and they got that goal. I thought that was a big goal.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
The Los Angeles Kings have been linked all spring to Tampa Bay star Vincent Lecavalier, but we’re told those talks have cooled off for now. One Eastern Conference source told us Saturday the New York Rangers have made Scott Gomez available around the league, but we’re not sure how interested the Kings are in him. It’s a heck of a big contract.
For our money, we believe the guy the Kings covet the most is gritty and skilled winger Ryan Smyth of the Colorado Avalanche….
Goalie Manny Fernandez is an unrestricted free agent July 1, but he won’t be staying in Boston. The Bruins believe it’s time for Tuukka Rask to come up and back up Tim Thomas. Look for the Bruins to shop the rights to Fernandez and maybe move him at the NHL draft, giving a team exclusive negotiating rights before July 1….
more topics discussed…
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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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