Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
For the most part, these teams can match each other in a lot of categories, but the Wings have large advantages in two areas.
First, they have all kinds of experience. Indeed, it’s surprising in this era of constant personnel turnover that Detroit still has eight players from its 2002 Cup-winning roster, although Hasek and Darren McCarty went away and came back in the interim. Steve Yzerman was the captain of that team and he’s now in the Detroit front office, which is led by GM Ken Holland and includes many of the same suits and bird dogs.
These people know how to win and have done it together.
Second, well, it’s simply the presence of Lidstrom, hockey’s premier defenceman.
from Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
Marc-Andre Fleury and Jordan Staal? They aren’t going anywhere. Evgeni Malkin and Ryan Malone? That’s a bit more problematic. Marian Hossa and Brooks Orpik? It has been nice knowing those guys, and their major contributions to what could be a Stanley Cup team will never be forgotten by an appreciative franchise and city.
What a hectic offseason it will be for Penguins general manager Ray Shero, one he hopes won’t begin until after a Cup victory parade through town next month. Only one thing is certain: The team that has dazzled during these playoffs by going 12-2 and advancing to the Cup final won’t be the same. Just how much it will change is the pertinent question.
Signing Fleury and Malkin to long-term deals has to be priorities No. 1 and 1A for Shero. How nice must it be to be in their shoes? They are about to become filthy rich.
added 7:15am, from Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
The truth is that this team, as currently constituted, has a limited shelf life. Seven more games, max.
Not just because NHL rosters are almost constantly in a state of flux, with pieces being added or removed. The Penguins aren’t facing the usual offseason personnel changes all teams experience; they’re facing the possibility of something more like a seismic upheaval.
Of the 26 players on their NHL roster at the moment, 12 will qualify for unrestricted free agency July 1.
from Mike Celizic at NBC Sports,
It’s not like hockey is poised to blow baseball or the NBA out of the water. But Sid the Kid and the Pittsburgh Penguins are going to play for Lord Stanley’s big silver punch bowl, and that’s already the best thing to happen to the game since Mark Messier took the New York Rangers to their first Cup in 54 years back in 1994.
It’s always been the greatest game nobody watches, better even to these eyes than that other great game nobody watches — soccer. But now, thanks to Sidney Crosby and the young and exciting team from Pittsburgh, there’s interest and buzz and — if you can believe it — a growing TV audience.
When Detroit eliminated Dallas on Monday night, the NHL has everything it had been hoping for ever since it canceled an entire season and almost committed labor-relations suicide three years ago.
Mike Babcock, Nick Lidstrom, Dallad Drake and Chris Osgood…
Q. Did you realize your team had that in it tonight, the start it came out with?
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: We thought we were going to be good. We didn’t play bad last game. But our start got us behind the eight ball. We were nervous early. We’ve got a professional team, a good team. We just talked about doing what we do, just getting started on time, doing it harder, doing it for longer. We thought we’d have success.
I thought we drove the net hard early and were rewarded.
Q. Did you think the guys were flat in the first period or how did it look to you?
COACH DAVE TIPPETT: I thought it was a combination of us hoping to win and Detroit pushing the issue to win. I think they had a real hard focus around our net early. The first three goals, right at the crease and in. Once you get trailing, you’re chasing the game. That’s where we were: chasing the game most of the game.
The first goal they get, comes across the crease. Yeah, we get not beat outright, but we get beat on a couple plays. Comes across, hits Draper right in the face, goes in. I mean, hard goals to give up. That’s the way it went.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
In one corner, there are the Pittsburgh Penguins, champions of the Eastern Conference, the young upstarts, closing in on a Stanley Cup championship in only Sidney Crosby’s third season.
In the other corner, here come the Detroit Red Wings, the model of NHL stability, experienced, steady, making their fourth appearance in the Stanley Cup final in the past 11 years.
It is a battle for the ages — the young star power of the Penguins against the defensive efficiency of the Red Wings.
added 11:50pm, from Michael Rosenberg of the Detroit Free Press,
The Red Wings are going to face the Penguins in the Stanley Cup Finals, which is all sorts of perfect. The television ratings will be comically low; that’s just reality for hockey right now. But forget TV ratings for a minute. Anybody who likes this game has to love this matchup.
NEW YORK (May 19, 2008)—The National Hockey League announced today that the 2008 Stanley Cup Final will open on Saturday, May 24, when the Western Conference champion Detroit Red Wings host the Eastern Conference champion Pittsburgh Penguins at Joe Louis Arena.
VERSUS will telecast Games 1 and 2 of the best-of-seven series in the U.S., while NBC will broadcast Games 3 through 7. In Canada, CBC and RDS will provide coverage for the entire series. All start times are 8 p.m., Eastern.
The NHL Network, the League’s 24-hour, all-access pass to the most comprehensive hockey coverage, will feature special programming surrounding the Stanley Cup Final. NHL Network will air a live pre-game edition of NHL On The Fly from the host arena at 6 p.m., ET, as well as live, on-site, post-game coverage featuring press conferences, highlights and analysis.
from the CP via TSN,
Dominant in the regular season, superb again in the post-season, the Detroit Red Wings are headed back to the Stanley Cup final.
With gusto, too.
Just when the Red Wings lost consecutive games and were starting to look vulnerable, they bounced back strong in Game 6 of the Western Conference finals, getting first-period goals from Kris Draper, Pavel Datsyuk and Dallas Drake on their way to knocking out the Dallas Stars 4-1 on Monday night.
Game highlights added 11:47pm
from Mark Spector of the National Post,
There is a running joke inside the Pittsburgh Penguins dressing room that goes something like this: As long as Sidney Crosby captains the team, there can be no such thing as an optional practice.
Sure, the coach will write “Optional” on the white board now and again. But when your captain, leader and best player laces up his skates for an optional practice - something Crosby does every single time - there is no way that a lesser player cannot follow and still look his teammates in the eye.
Now, look at how these Penguins have gone in one year from first-round fodder to a berth in the Stanley Cup final.
via the Dallas Stars Blog,
“... if you score first, you’re in the lead, you control match-ups better more often because the other coach is trying to get his offense out there,” Babcock said. “Often what happens in games where you’re behind, you don’t play as many people. You got to play the guys who can score.”
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.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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