Kukla's Korner Hockey
Pierre LeBrun and Scott Burnside recap game 4.
from Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
Memo to Detroit Red Wings star Pavel Datsyuk: Take a shot in that broken foot and get your fanny on the Joe Louis Arena ice tomorrow night. Your team needs you.
If one thing became clear last night in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup final, it’s that the Red Wings can’t match the Penguins’ high-end talent—OK, Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby—without Datsyuk, their Hart Trophy candidate as NHL MVP.
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
Despite all the denials coming out of the Sunshine State, the Tampa Bay Lightning is trying to deal C Vinny Lecavalier. A league source told Sun Media yesterday the Bolts have informed the NHL they intend to spend at the salary floor of approximately $40.5 million next season….
A proposal deal to send Lecavalier to the Kings for D Jack Johnson is still on the table. Sources say Johnson, who is coming off an entry-level contract, is seeking a four-year deal worth $5.5 million per season….
There is talk the Rangers might waive D Wade Redden at the start of next season and send him to the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack to get his $6.5-million salary off the books
from Craig Custance of the Sporting News,
It was something he has seldom seen from Detroit Red Wings players, and Brooks Orpik is getting to know them pretty well. On their way to a series squaring 4-2 win, the Penguins took a one-goal lead when Sidney Crosby scored his first goal of the Stanley Cup finals.
Fellow defenseman Mark Eaton nudged Orpik and told him to check out Detroit’s bench after Crosby’s goal.
The players were slumped over. Exhausted. Nothing close to the dominant, immovable force the Penguins saw last year….
Even worse, Orpik said he noticed Red Wings players getting on each other.
“Which you never see out of those guys,” he said. “It’s something you don’t expect from them or see too often. I guess, a good sign for us.”
from David Staples of The Cult of Hockey,
Evgeni Malkin, the New M, is like Tom Brady and Randy Moss all at the same time.
One minutes he’s throwing the long bomb, the next minute he’s catching it.
In Thursday’s game, a dominating 4-2 win by the Pittsburgh Penguins over the Detroit Red Wings, Malkin was in the middle of as many excellent scoring chances in both the first and the second periods as the Detroit Red Wings had all game.
Malkin had a goal and an assist for the game, but the damage could have been much worse, as he and fellow dynamo Sidney Crosby started to dominate, just as the sly, talented and seemingly tireless Henrik Zetterberg appeared to start to wear down.
For the fourth game in a row, Pittsburgh had more scoring chances than Detroit, but this time the margin was overwhelming. The Penguins had 28 scoring chances to 15 for the Wings.
When it came to Grade “A” chances, hard shots from the slot, Pittsburgh had 17 while the Red Wings had just four, by my count.
from Jamie’s Hockey Blog at About.com,
We’ve seen that when the Red Wings are on their game, they will beat Pittsburgh.
Getting them on their game is where the coach comes in, and doing it under less than ideal circumstances should be what sets elite coaches above the pack.
The NHL season is down to a best-of-three. The Stanley Cup is on the line.
So is Mike Babcock’s reputation.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
In shocking fashion, the champs have taken a standing eight-count.
Whether the dazed Detroit Red Wings can stumble back to their feet, regain their senses and recapture the momentum they once had in this Stanley Cup final, well, that will be illustrated for the hockey world to see in Game 5 tomorrow night, a Saturday Night Special in Motown. Never in the four championships the Wings have won over the past 12 years have they been tested quite like they are now being tested by the gutsy, youthful Pittsburgh Penguins.
The series shifts to Detroit for game 5 on Saturday. Exciting hockey coming up!
from Al Strachan at Fox Sports,
..what do the Hawks do about Nikolai Khabibulin and Martin Havlat? They were two of the Hawks’ best players this season and the feeling on the team is that Khabibulin has to stay if the Hawks are to see themselves as serious Stanley Cup contenders. As for Havlat, once he got healthy, he became a major contributor to the Hawks’ cause and a fan favorite.
The Hawks want to keep both those players, but if they are to give themselves some wiggle room to handle Kane, Toews and Keith, they can’t do long-term deals. Yet that’s what both players want.
The answer? Who knows? That’s what they pay GMs for. But this much is certain: The NHL has hoped for decades that it could get a strong presence in Chicago. Now it has one, but the salary cap has put it in jeopardy.
more plus head-shots and Lecavalier talk…
via Scott Burnside of ESPN,
It looks like the potential opponents for the Boston Bruins in next New Year’s Day outdoor game at Fenway Park has been narrowed to two teams, the Philadelphia Flyers or Washington Capitals, ESPN.com has learned.
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