Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Paul Kukla at NHL.com,
At one time, Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg were known as regular-season performers, meaning they could play out the season but come playoff time, well, they were a different story.
Datsyuk’s postseason stats line once read like this: 42 games, 3 goals, 12 assists and minus-1. Zetterberg’s were similar: 16 games, 3 goals, 2 assists and minus-4. To be fair with Datsyuk, many of those early games saw him on the fourth line and on the second power play unit, so his ice time was very low as compared to the amount of ice he sees now.
Both Datsyuk and Zetterberg were labeled as players who could not get it done during the playoffs. Well, that label is now gone, forever.
Stamford, CONN. (May 13, 2008)—VERSUS, the exclusive cable television home of the NHL and the 2008 Stanley Cup Playoffs, garnered a 1.7 National HH rating for its telecast of the Flyers/Penguins Game 2 Conference Final round match-up on Sunday, May 11. It was the most-watched telecast ever in network history among total viewers (2,345,834) and the highest rated and the most-watched NHL telecast ever on the network.
Viewership for the May 11 telecast topped the previous record set during the 2008 Conference Semifinal round with Game 4 of the Rangers/Penguins series on May 1 (1,184,519 total viewers) and the rating surpassed the previous high (1.1) set during the 2006 Conference Final round with Game 7 of the Buffalo/Carolina series.
Maybe not, but according to this poll at Philly.com (via Pensblog) they’re certainly not feeling very optimistic, either:
Update 12:28pm ET: From CBC, the fans will be a factor…
We’re talking the 19,000-plus wacko Philly fans in the stands, considered by everyone the toughest in all of sports. If those folks can intimidate the 2-0 Penguins just a little, it might be enough to crawl back into this Eastern Conference final.
“I would say it’s a pretty tough place to play,” said Penguins star Sydney Crosby, after a light skate on Monday. “At the same time, in the playoffs it makes for a great atmosphere. They’re just a tough crowd. They’re not afraid to say anything.”
From Tim Wharnsby at the Globe & Mail,
Nonis was expected to have dinner last night with Toronto lawyer Gordon Kirke, who is part of the Leafs’ search committee. Nonis is to then meet today with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment president Richard Peddie.
The Leafs aren’t the only team interested Nonis, as he continues to be wooed by the Atlanta Thrashers and an unidentified third NHL team that still has a general manager in place.
The third team is believed to be the St. Louis Blues. St. Louis president John Davidson could not be reached for comment last night.
Update 9:23pm ET: More from Wharnsby, later in the day,
The meeting between the Toronto Maple Leafs and prospective general manager candidate David Nonis was described more as a session of getting acquainted rather than a formal interview.
from Empty Netters,
The thing that is really striking about these two teams is the relative ease in which they’ve progressed through the playoffs. Detroit is on the verge of completing its second sweep in a row, and the Penguins have only lost one game in the postseason.
Should both of these teams complete sweeps in the conference finals, they will have combined to play 27 games this postseason (The Penguins would have played 13 and Detroit 14.) That would be the fewest postseason games among any two Cup finalists since the NHL went to the current playoff format of four rounds of seven-game series in 1987.
from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,
Given the distain the locals here hold for young Sidney, the sight of his old man wandering through the stands during Game 3 tonight would provide easy fodder for the Philly Phanatics who already refer to Crosby as “Number Hatey-Seven.”
Yet while the majority of boos will be reserved for Crosby when the Pittsburgh captain shows up, count on there being a few aimed at Daniel Briere if he does not.
from E.J. Hradek of ESPN,
The Stars were so full of life in the first two rounds of the playoffs, taking out the Ducks and Sharks in impressive fashion. Dave Tippett’s team played with so much energy and enthusiasm.
That’s all gone now.
The Red Wings have sucked all the life out of the Stars. That’s what happens when you’re forever chasing your opponent around the ice, unable to pry the puck from their talented clutches.
In case you haven’t caught on yet, these Wings are that good.
from Terry Frei of the Denver Post,
Detroit assistant coach Todd McLellan came off the ice after the Red Wings’ game-morning skate Monday at the American Airlines Center and was about to step into the visiting dressing room when I, well, ambushed him.
I asked McLellan, in his third season with Detroit, if he would be interested in the Colorado coaching job, vacant since the Avalanche and Joel Quenneville parted ways Friday.
“I would be very interested,” McLellan, 40, said several hours before the Wings beat the Dallas Stars in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals. “I think right now there are a number of young coaches who have come up from the American League and have done a good job, and I consider myself one of those.”
Sharkspage does a great job covering the Ron Wilson firing and takes a look back at his coaching career in San Jose.
Update 11:34am ET (alanah): An article that I don’t think PJ references at Sharkspage, that I also thought was very good—Ray Ratto of the SF Chronicle considers that the issues in San Jose may be more systemic than specific to Ron Wilson.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Whereas Lidstrom is one of the steadiest, smartest rearguards in the game, he plays the classic “contain” style. He makes excellent first passes, eats minutes and generally plays a textbook style of defence. Pretty soon, he’ll be in the heady company of Bobby Orr and Doug Harvey in terms of the number of times they have won the James Norris Memorial Trophy.
Kronwall is different. Less is known about him because he always seems to be hurt, suffering one freak injury after another, year after discouraging year. It’s contributed to his anonymity and obscures the fact that he plays more like Ulf Samuelsson than Anders Eriksson; he is arguably Detroit’s most physical defenceman since Vladimir Konstantinov was lost after that limousine accident.
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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