Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
Last year when the Penguins fell behind the Detroit Red Wings, 2-0, in the Stanley Cup final, then-coach Michel Therrien commented on the subtle obstruction and interference that Detroit players were committing against his players.
In addition to the déjà vu element of being down, 2-0, to the Red Wings again in this year’s Stanley Cup final, the Penguins are encountering the same type of obstruction and interference by the Red Wings, who, it seems, are being allowed by the officials to toe that fine line between good defense and committing a penalty.
For the most part, the officials in Games 1 and 2 have ignored obstruction and interference penalties.
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
Jacques Martin is everything the Montreal Canadiens are not—and never have been.
They are blue, blanc et rouge. He is vanilla.
They are the home of firewagon hockey. He is the neutral-zone trap.
They are emotion and excitement and everything that encompasses the city of Montreal. He represents the yawn of a new era.
They are known for success. He is a epitome of the first-round playoff elimination.
They are the kings of the off-day press conference. He is equally dull in both of Canada’s official languages.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
He’s been hyped for so long, and has proven to be such a prodigious talent, that surely it’s only reasonable that with his team, the Pittsburgh Penguins, in such need of a saviour in this year’s Stanley Cup final, that he must be that saviour.
Well, consider the possibility that this is not Crosby’s time. Not yet.
Just because there’s a demand for a spectacular rescue performance with the Penguins down two games to none to the Detroit Red Wings, and just because so many have equated these Penguins with the 1984 Edmonton Oilers that finally knocked down the door and beat the New York Islanders to win their first Cup, doesn’t mean the script will unfold that way.
Crosby, you see, may not be ready for that. Not quite.
from Joe Starkey of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
Detroit coach Mike Babcock said that if someone had told him at the beginning of the year that he would be depending on the likes of Abdelkader (we’re now officially able to spell that name without checking), Ericsson, Darren Helm and Ville Leino, “I wouldn’t think we’d be in the Stanley Cup Final.”
The Penguins need an answer. Something from third-liners Jordan Staal, Tyler Kennedy or Matt Cooke would be nice. Taking this year’s final and last year’s into consideration, Staal and Kennedy have combined for zero points, 17 shots and a minus-13 rating in eight games.
Chris Kunitz has one goal and a boatload of missed opportunities in these playoffs.
Meanwhile, anyone criticizing Sidney Crosby for a pointless first two games is way off base. Crosby, playing against a couple of defensive demons in Zetterberg and Nicklas Lidstrom, generated several golden chances that were not converted.
from Michael Rosenberg of the Detroit Free Press,
As long as the Wings are winning, Draper will be watching. Babcock said he was reluctant to shuffle his lineup just to get Draper back in there. Babcock is not going to bench Justin Abdelkader or Darren Helm, who are playing better than some of their more famous teammates. Babcock could sit Ville Leino or Kirk Maltby again, but he apparently feels the team is better with them.
It is not entirely fair to say Abdelkader and Helm have surpassed Draper. First of all, while Draper is healthy enough to play, he is not 100%—he said Monday his groin injury is supposed to take two weeks to heal, and he “condensed it to seven, eight days because of the time of year.”
And second, it’s not like Draper suddenly was benched. Babcock has a good thing going and doesn’t want to tinker with it.
from David Staples of The Cult Of Hockey at the Edmonton Journal,
When someone tells you all four Detroit lines are getting the job done defensively, don’t believe them.
Yes, Henrik Zetterberg’s group is trading chances and fighting Sidney Crosby’s line to a draw, while Detroit’s third and fourth lines, led by the feisty Darren Helm, are beating up on their Penguin counterparts.
But one Pittsburgh line is rocking the rink. Evgeni Malkin’s unit is dominating the unit of Valtteri Filppula, Tomas Holmstrom and Marian Hossa, even if it hasn’t always played out that way on the scoreboard. Not yet anyway.
The Red Wings shouldn’t be complacent about this. Malkin, the New M, is putting his playoff failure of last season against Detroit behind him.
In the two games, he has been a major contributor on nine excellent scoring chances at even strength, by far the most of any player in the series.
from Dave Waddell of the Windsor Star,
For such a quiet player, Henrik Zetterberg sure seems to irritate the Pittsburgh Penguins.
In last year’s Stanley Cup final, Zetterberg drove Sidney Crosby into a screaming rage by the end of Game 4.
In this year’s final, it took Evgeni Malkin only a couple of games to drop his gloves and fight the Red Wings’ centre with 18 seconds left in Game 2.
Zetterberg was all smiles Monday when discussing the Penguins’ emotional eruptions.
“What I don’t understand about being in management here in Minnesota is that you’ve got really good Americans, not just in Minnesota, but in Michigan and other colleges, and everybody else is using them. I’m not trying to cut up Risebrough and Lemaire, but my point is that I don’t think they had the best interest in this area as far as American and Minnesota players.
“Nobody wants to say it; everybody’s scared.”
-Former NHLer Reed Larson on the Minnesota Wild. More from Charley Walters of the Pioneer Press including a mention of the Wings.
from Dan Rosen of NHL.com,
Hall of Fame manager Bill Torrey will select Jacques Martin’s successor, but Torrey, who turns 75 this month, insists he won’t choose the man he sees in the mirror every morning to be the next general manager of the Florida Panthers.
Torrey, the architect of the New York Islanders’ early 1980s dynasty and the 1996 Panthers, who won the Eastern Conference title, won’t be coming out of retirement.
“I think I have served my time as a general manager and I know where I am in this world and in this life,” Torrey, the Panthers’ alternate governor, said a conference call Monday. “My heart is with this franchise and I want to see a good choice come along.”
from Red Fisher of the Montreal Gazette via Canada.com,
Most of you can recall goals for the ages scored during the regular season and the playoffs. Goals from Alex Ovechkin. Sidney Crosby. Evgeni Malkin. No surprises there.
However, my choice for the best industry dedicated to winning I’ve seen this year, goes to a Detroit rookie named Darren Helm, who has yet to score a goal in the regular season. No goal in 16 games last season. None in seven regular- season games this season.
It happened in the Detroit-Chicago series. Helm was on the ice killing a penalty. For 20 seconds, he was behind the Blackhawks net flitting back and forth like a firefly, through and around Chicago players while they desperately tried to separate him from the puck. It was only when Helm, 22, somehow managed to shake off his pursuers, skated to the side of the net and almost scored, that play went the other way.
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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