Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Jamie Fitzpatrick of Jamie’s Blog at About.com,
Pavel Datsyuk can’t win the Conn Smythe Trophy as Stanley Cup MVP. His foot injury cost him too many games, and he wasn’t scoring much before he got hurt.
But in his return on Saturday night, Detroit’s finest looked like the best player in the NHL, which he might be….
He also reminded us that MVPs dominate the game at both ends of the ice.
After watching Datsyuk and company neutralize the Penguins, how could anyone consider Malkin a Conn Smythe candidate?
from Bill Simonson of the Grand Rapids Press at Mlive,
Watching Detroit crush the Penguins on Saturday night was as of fulfilling as anything I have ever witnessed in sports. Even better than when the Red Wings got Roy pulled in that epic Western Conference final Game 7….
The showboating and headhunting has no place in hockey. It’s obvious Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are the malcontents who run the show and when their game is on they dance and throw it in the face of their opponents. Did Stevie Yzerman or Wayne Gretzky ever show up other teams?
When the little baby Penguins are frustrated they can’t handle it and lose it on the ice for all to see. Great teams and great players win and lose with class like the Red Wings….
Lets be honest about Crosby. He’s got great talent with an immature side to him that probably will never see a Stanley Cup trophy parade as long as the Red Wings are in business. He knows this and it kills him so the little sniper and his Russian buddy Malkin bask in the glory of home ice but have curled in to the fetal position on the road in Detroit.
OK Pens fans and NHL fans, tell me what the Penguins can and will do to win game 6 tomorrow night.
If you are a Wings fan, I don’t want to hear how the Penguins will not win, but if you have an idea on how the Penguins may win, feel free to comment.
My thoughts, Fleury has to be great and secondary scoring is key for the Penguins to survive game 6 and force a game 7.
from Greg Meachem of the Red Deer Advocate,
At some point this week, likely within the next two to three days, Brent Sutter will make an outright decision regarding his immediate hockey future.
Will he return to the New Jersey Devils for a third season in the role of head coach, or will he remain in Red Deer and make up for the time lost with his family and his ranch over the last two years, while overseeing the operations of his Western Hockey League team?
Only Sutter and those nearest and dearest to him know for sure, but everyone — most notably Devils president/GM president Lou Lamoriello — will be informed this week.
“I would say within the next week there will be a decision. I’m certainly leaning one way,” Sutter said Sunday, while taking in the final session of the Rebels spring camp at the Red Deer Arena. “Mr. Lamoriello and I have talked on a daily basis. He’s been so supportive because of the various circumstances that have come up through the last two years. Only he and I really know the in-depth of everything.”
from Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star,
It’s a mess that could blow up in the NHL’s face in court tomorrow, according to one legal expert who believes Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie has a strong enough case to win because his offer of $212.5 million (all figures U.S.) for the team ought to carry a lot of weight with Judge Redfield Baum.
“(If) Judge Baum is focused on helping creditors, (it) means Balsillie should win,” says Penn State law professor Stephen Ross. “But many judges are reluctant to challenge the tradition of sports, which helps the NHL.”
from Jacques Demers at USA TODAY,
The Red Wings are smart enough to know they haven’t won anything and are in for a game Tuesday. Their veterans will benefit from an extra day of rest.
The Penguins, meanwhile, just have to concentrate on winning at home, where they’re 8-2 in the postseason, and take a chance in Game 7. In fact, just try to win the first period Tuesday. Get a lead and see how they play with it. And don’t get too cute.
Bylsma was smart to pull goalie Marc-Andre Fleury on Saturday. He did it at the right time and said the right things to make sure Fleury was not embarrassed.
Fleury knows he could have played better. As a result, he will be the Penguins’ most dangerous guy on the ice Tuesday. He has proved he can bounce back.
After all, he has character, too.
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
...Mused veteran Red Wing Kris Draper, now with two shots, if necessary, to have his name inscribed on the Cup a fifth time, “For us, if we can put our power play on the ice, three, four, five times a night, we’ll take a slash, take a crosscheck, to do whatever it takes to get Pav [Datsyuk] and ‘Z’ [Zetterberg], and the mule [Johan Franzen], and those guys that do such a great job for us on the power play.
“If we can do whatever it takes to just kind of skate away and get the power play on the ice, we’re certainly going to do that.”
It’s a lesson in self-restraint the Penguins have yet to grasp completely. They are not short of the high-end talent or the overall depth or the skill it takes to win a Cup. But for all their glitz and exuberance, they have yet to master the Wings’ Zen-like focus, discipline, and summoning the champion within.
Now the Penguins have the unenviable task of trying to bring it all together, complete their playoff persona, while under the thumb of the Red Wings, with the clock set at 60 minutes to extinction.
Sure, still time to grow up, but a bad time to try.
from David Staples of The Cult Of Hockey,
Though they won only two of them, the Pittsburgh Penguins looked to be the clearly superior team over the first four games of the 2009 Stanley Cup finals.
Then Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red Wings, the league’s rightful most valuable player, got in the game.
The moment when the series shifted, when Detroit established itself as the team that would almost certainly win the Cup, came at 8:11 of the first period, Game Five, when the Russian star of the Red Wings cranked the Russian star of the Penguins, knocking him over and knocking Pittsburgh off its high horse.
added 9:05am, from Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press,
So, finally, no matter how grizzled, bearded or tired they looked, the Wings line up with all their big weapons, ready for 60 minutes at full strength against the Penguins. One victory needed. Two chances to get it. Datsyuk has Gordie Howe behind him, the ice in front of him, and a smile all over him. Dat’s the ticket. We’ll see if destiny punches it.
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
The Red Wings were immensely boosted by the return of center Pavel Datsyuk, who set up two goals after missing seven games because of a foot injury. Datsyuk said Sunday he’s “feeling good and more confidence,” which can’t be good news for the Penguins.
Bylsma professed a strong belief in his players, as he had to and should. He gave them a day off Sunday and will ratchet the intensity back up today.
“There won’t be a big change,” he said. “I think change is a sign of an alarm bell, and you set up the way you do things so that in situations like this we can act like we normally act and we can do the things that we normally do.”
Hating to lose must become as much a part of their normal routine as wanting to win. It already is for the Red 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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