Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Craig Custance of the Sporting News,
Q: Things are going well in the Eastern Conference finals. Is this where you expected the Penguins to be when the playoffs started?
A: We knew we had a good team, had a good chance. It depends on if we play our game, if we play to the best of our potential. And so far, we’ve been doing that.
Q: How has skating on a playoff line with Evgeni Malkin been?
A: It’s been great. He’s a good player. Some games we’re on it, some games not as well. It’s like any other team, any other player. It’s trying to make more consistent games and be a big factor to help the team.
from Damien Cox of The Spin at the Toronto Star,
The Hawks ruined their own chances by trying to get chippy, the same approach that worked so beautifully against Vancouver in the Western Conference semi-final because the Canucks were so very willing to engage in a tit-for-tat battle.
But not the Wings. They just won’t. So when the Hawks tried to get in Detroit’s face - “scare ‘em off the puck” as Jonathan Toews put it - the Wings just ignored the nonsense as they always do and let the Hawks beat a steady path to the penalty box. The Wings then killed Chicago on the power play, and Mike Babcock kept putting his best guys out at extra strength late in the game as if to tell the Hawks if they wanted to play cheapshot hockey they were going to suffer for it.
from E.J. Hradek of ESPN,
According to multiple sources, if the Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings can wrap up their respective Conference final series by Wednesday night, the Stanley Cup finals likely would start on Saturday, May 30 in Detroit. In this scenario, Game 2 would be played on Sunday, May 31.
This is a change from a May 22 press release from the league that indicated that the championship series would begin on Friday, June 5, if both Conference final series didn’t end in four-game sweeps.
from Craig Button at NHL.com,
Come playoff time, we hear the word “experience” being used constantly. “They have a lot of experience on that team.” “That is a very good team, but they lack experience.” “The experience of losing will help them in the future.”
So, is playoff experience, and specifically Stanley Cup-winning experience, mythical or is it a tangible aspect of success?
We often hear that experience is a teacher, and in the playoffs, there are many lessons to learn. At times, teams and players are trying to learn them versus very accomplished players. If you ask players if they want to win, the answer is an absolute yes. If you ask if they are prepared to pay the price, the response will be yes once again.
The tricky part is when you ask if they know what the price is. That is where one can draw on experience.
from Bruce Dowbiggin of the Globe and Mail,
What does a team owe its media and fans when it makes a coaching change? There are rules for opening dressing rooms after games, but after firings? The Calgary Flames employed that old political gambit of releasing bad news late on a Friday afternoon to announce that Mike Keenan was out as coach after two seasons. The Flames put out a terse press release and said GM Darryl Sutter would have no further comments till tomorrow, four days later. And that comment would not include the identity of Keenan’s replacement.
While Calgary may not equal Toronto in its media urgency, waiting four days to explain a major personnel change still smacks of arrogance for a franchise that promised it would be more fan friendly when it almost expired earlier this decade.
more plus other NHL topics, including how HNIC viewed the Kronwall hit…
from Mick Kern of Home Ice XM 204,
A large number of books have been written about Bowman and his coaching style. Suffice to say, Bowman is arguably the greatest head coach in NHL history. His two greatest stretches of accomplishements happened in Montreal, and Detroit. Each incarnation was impressive to behold. My heart says Scotty Bowman is first-and-foremost identified with the Montreal Canadiens, but my head says that his most impressive coaching job was with the Red Wings.
The better question might be, who would win in a best-of-seven battle between the 1977 Montreal Canadiens and the 1997 Detroit Red Wings?
“They were busy making amends for [the Havlat hit]. In the end, we end up on the power play lots, which is beneficial for us.”
-Wings Coach Mike Babcock via Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.
from Cam Cole of the Vancouver Sun via Canada.com,
The Detroit Red Wings took the kids to school Sunday. They’ll pick ’em up next fall.
Actually, there’s a little paperwork to be done first, Wednesday night in Detroit — forms signed, concession accepted, and so on — but assuming that’s taken care of, the Chicago Blackhawks can take the rest of the summer off and try again next season.
The young Hawks received more education than they ever wanted in Game 4 of the Western Conference final at United Center, where the Red Wings — short-handed, on the power play, and every which way — showcased their incredible team depth and dominated the home team with a cool, controlled display of textbook positional hockey and opportunism.
added 7:04pm, from Steve Rosenbloom of RosenBlog at the Chicago Tribune,
A disaster, an embarrassment, a waste, pick one, pick ‘em all, you wouldn’t be wrong in trying to describe what passed for Blackhawks hockey in a 6-1 loss in Game 4 of what used to be a competitive Western Conference finals against the vexing Red Wings.
added 7:21pm, from Darren Eliot of Sports Illustrated,
Detroit gave a clinic on what gut-check time is all about. Playing without veteran faceoff specialist Kris Draper, Hart nominee Pavel Datsyuk and surprise scratch, captain Nicklas Lidstrom—only the best defenseman of his generation—the Red Wings played with composure and competitiveness. They were outwardly abrasive in the early going, not shying away from post-whistle scrums, actually initiating much of the pushing and shoving.
That edginess was merely a demonstrative form of their intent. As is the norm, it was their execution that led to the Red Wings’ domination.
added 8:40pm, from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Turns out big brother can pin down little brother even with two hands tied behind his back.
The Chicago Blackhawks looked as if they were more interested in seeking revenge for the Kronwall hit than winning the game.
Detroit was lead by Hossa, Filppula and Rafalski, all with 3 points.
added 6:06pm, Watch post game-press conference below, which should be starting soon.
added 6:22pm, As I mentioned in the comments, Babcock said Osgood suffered from dehydration. He was on an IV and did not recover fast enough, so he turned to Conklin for the 3rd period.
added 6:29pm, Quenneville in his post-game conference says the roughing call on Walker at the end of the first period was the worst call in hockey history and that changed the game.
added 6:32pm, Video hightlights from NBC added below (2nd video)....
added 7:16pm, added post-game transcript from Babcock in the comment section below…
added 7:33pm, added post-game transcript from Joel Quennville in the coment section…
Lidstrom out with lower-body injury, day-to-day, Datsyuk still out and Havlat will be playing for Chicago.
Chelios replaces Lidstrom for the Wings.
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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