Kukla's Korner Hockey
via Bruce MacLeod’s Twitter this morning,
Datsyuk is practicing on the left wing of Zetterberg’s line with Franzen on teh right side. Filppula centering second line.
from Cam Cole of the Vancouver Sun,
In every great hockey coach, there are elements of tactician, bench manager, student of the human condition and snake-oil salesman — the latter coming in particularly handy just now for Mike Babcock.
His Detroit Red Wings have just finished letting the Pittsburgh Penguins up off the mat in this Stanley Cup final, having looked at times mentally tired and at other times physically whipped while doing so — and the same team that left Joe Louis Arena Sunday night up 2-0 with ideas of putting a hasty end to the Penguins are now, by all appearances, hanging on the ropes for dear life.
Babcock’s mission Friday — and how successfully he managed it may show itself Saturday in Game 5 — was to make a strong public affirmation of his faith in the embattled defending champs, while perhaps encouraging an “us against the world” frown to begin forming upon their knitted brows.
Mike G. Morreale of NHL.com has been doing an on-going ‘Behind the Scenes’ blog. Last night they took in a Tiger’s game and Mike mention’s this today in his blog…
If you’re looking for something to do leading up to Game 5 between the Wings and the Penguins on Saturday, you might want to check out the Hockeytown Riverwalk Party outside Joe Louis Arena beginning at 4 p.m.
The party will offer a variety of grilled favorites prepared by the Red Wings executive chefs along with beverages and beer for purchase. Live music will be provided by the local band Morning Glory and radio station 104.3 (WOMC) will be on-site playing the some of your favorite oldies. Face painting and other interactive activities will be available as well. The Riverwalk Party is open to the public and does not require a game ticket for entry.
Lyle Richardson of FoxSports.com gives us a preview of game 5.
TEAMS WINNING GAME 5 OF THE STANLEY CUP FINAL WITH SERIES TIED 2-2
In the 19 previous Stanley Cup Final series tied 2-2, the club winning Game 5 has won the Stanley Cup 14 times. The five clubs that successfully overcame a Game 5 loss: the 1950 Detroit Red Wings, 1964 Toronto Maple Leafs, 1971 Montreal Canadiens, 2001 Colorado Avalanche and 2004 Tampa Bay Lightning.
HOME CLUBS 4-0 IN STANLEY CUP FINAL FOR THIRD TIME SINCE 1978
Home clubs are 4-0 in the Stanley Cup Final for just the third time since 1978, when the Montreal Canadiens captured Games 1 and 2 in Montreal, followed by Boston Bruins victories in Games 3 and 4 in Boston. In 2003, the New Jersey Devils and Anaheim Ducks (coached by current Red Wings bench boss Mike Babcock) matched home victories in the first four games.
Since the best-of-seven format was implemented in 1939, home clubs have won all seven games in the Stanley Cup Final on three occasions, in 1955, 1965 and 2003.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
What the Wings need, of course, is more of a contribution in the physical department from all of their players. The defence tandem of Brad Stuart and Niklas Kronwall have been fumbling the puck more than banging bodies in the past two games, Johan Franzen hasn’t been as aggressive as he is capable of being and Tomas Holmstrom, struggling on offence, hasn’t been as effective at digging out pucks and keeping offensive zone sequences alive.
Whether the Wings are tough enough, of course, has been a question asked over and over since they became a high-skill, puck-possession style team in the early 1990s, and they’ve always answered it with goals and wins.
Even this spring, Anaheim challenged Detroit physically and nearly upset the Wings, losing in seven games but exacting a physical toll.
So with Datsyuk expected back tonight, that’s good for the champs, but they could really use the spirit of the defunct Grind Line to deal with these young whippersnappers from Pennsylvania.
from Tim Wharnsby of the Globe and Mail,
The defending Stanley Cup champions suddenly seem to be in a rut.
The fatigue theory: The older Detroit Red Wings, especially defenceman Nicklas Lidstrom, supposedly are exhausted after playing four games in six nights and appear to be a step slower than the young and restless Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2009 Stanley Cup final, tied 2-2 with Game 5 at Joe Louis Arena tonight.
The special-teams issue: The Wings cruised through the first three playoff rounds with an impressive power play that scored 19 times in 74 chances. Now, the Wings are not only struggling through a 1-for-10 slump against the Penguins…
from Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
Sounds like the Red Wings might have cracked, eh?
Not a snowball’s chance in you-know-where.
The Penguins had better know that or they are on the verge of making a terrible mistake. They had better be ready for the Red Wings’ best in Game 5 tonight. The Red Wings are proud defending Cup champions. They are back home at Joe Louis Arena, where they won Games 1 and 2 with some ease and where they have beaten the Penguins in four of the past five Cup final games going back to last season, the exception being the Penguins’ epic, 4-3 win in three overtimes in Game 5 a year ago. They also figure to get a big boost from the likely return of star center Pavel Datsyuk, their Hart Trophy candidate as NHL MVP.
The Red Wings?
from Tarik El-Bashir of Capitals Insider at the Washington Post,
I’m hearing that enforcer Donald Brashear’s future with the Caps could be determined next week, when he speaks to GM George McPhee.
Brashear, who is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, will represent himself in the discussion with McPhee.
It’s unclear if McPhee plans to ask Brashear, 37, to play for less than the $1.2 million he earned this season. It’s also unclear if Brashear would consider accepting less to come back to Washington, where he’s popular among his teammates and a locker room leader.
a bit more...
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
As the Pittsburgh Penguins crash the boards and lay the body on the Detroit Red Wings in these Stanley Cup finals, you can’t help but think they’ve watched a little video from the second round of the NHL playoffs.
The Anaheim Ducks pushed the Wings to seven games in Round 2 and did it in part by trying to hit every Red and White body they could lay their hands on.
“I think that’s what the Penguins are trying to do, they’re trying to be as physical as they possibly can,” Ducks coach Randy Carlyle told ESPN.com via phone Friday. “This is the Stanley Cup finals. You have to earn every inch of the ice and they’ve been as physical as anybody on Detroit.”
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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