Kukla's Korner Hockey
There is no relaxing,” Detroit defenseman Niklas Kronwall told me after this morning’s game-day skate. “We are not about to let them have anything if we can help it.”
more on tonight’s game from Kostya Kennedy at Rink Side Blog at Sports Illustrated…
NEW YORK (May 28, 2008) – Toronto Maple Leafs center Mats Sundin has been named the recipient of the Mark Messier Leadership Award for the 2007-08 season in recognition for his outstanding performance as a player, his leadership skills and his dedicated humanitarian efforts.
“The truest test of leadership comes during periods of adversity,” said Messier. “When presented with difficult times during the season, Mats Sundin remained committed to his teammates, his community and to the game of hockey. I am honored to present the Mark Messier Leadership Award to Mats Sundin. He understands the importance of his status in Toronto and his dedication to his community is unmatched. The strength of his character makes Mats a tremendous role model both on and off the ice.”
Q. Mike, do you expect to be aggressive in trying to maintain the matchup that’s worked for you at home or are you happy to just let your guys go?
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: Let ‘em go. We’re just going to play. I’m not going to make it as easy as that. But we’re going to get our guys on and off the ice as much as we possibly can. We’re real comfortable with three lines playing against anyone and four “D”.
Q. Could you assess, how do you think Sidney Crosby has performed throughout the playoffs, and what do you think this experience will do for him for the rest of his career?
COACH MICHEL THERRIEN: I really believe that he started to pick up his game against the Flyers. I thought he played well in the first two rounds, but you could see against the Flyers he brought his game to another level. He was a true leader in that series.
He’s working really hard. His first two games against Detroit, sometimes the results are not always there. But in the meantime, that’s going to give him - it’s like last year, we only played five games in the playoffs. That young team didn’t know what to expect in the playoffs.
Even as coaches, you prepare your players. You show a lot of videos. You share experience. You’ve got to feel it. You’ve got to be in there. Now, it’s his first experience in the Stanley Cup Final, and I’m sure it’s going to help him for the rest of his career.
from Bob Smizik of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
The Penguins, once so full of all that seemed necessary to become a champion, have been exposed in the first two games of the final. Not exposed as a bad team, but as a team not worthy of the most cherished trophy in team sports.
No one expected this—not the players, not the coach, not the fans. Everything had been near-perfect. All phases of their game were humming.
But this is what happens in athletic competition when one team is better than the other or, at least, when one team is playing considerably better at a particular time.
from Rich Liberio of NHL.com,
We reached Pittsburgh yesterday after some small difficulties. As you might’ve read, our bus broke down just as it pulled up to the hotel in Detroit. We doubled up with the PR staff (thanks!) and made it in time to catch the Red Wings’ media availability.
But what a contrast between two Rust Belt cities.
We resided in the monstrous Marriott Renaissance in Detroit. It’s all part of the General Motors complex. My room overlooked the Detroit River, Windsor, Ontario, the Ambassador Bridge and the three-day long techno festival that humming next door. The windows vibrated for three days straight from Noon until Midnight. Living more than 40 stories in the sky, I found myself constantly drawn to the window.
more on Detroit and Pittsburgh…
from Cam Cole of the Vancouver Sun,
The Pittsburgh Penguins are not alone among National Hockey League teams in having their crest sewn into the dressing room carpet, nor are they the only team that warns visitors: “Please don’t step on the logo.”...
What are they worried about, that it’s bad luck?” said a TV guy who accidentally stepped on the sacred cartoon Penguin. “Like, things are going to get worse? How?”
Not merely down two games, the Penguins haven’t yet scored a goal, or even looked very much as though they might.
Evgeni Malkin is in a funk, Marian Hossa is wearing the same red-clad, five-man hairshirt as his centreman, Sidney Crosby, and Marc-Andre Fleury has looked ordinary on more than a few Detroit goals in the first two.
From Helene St. James at the Detroit Free Press,
Quick update from Mellon Arena here in Pittsburgh: In an effort to stop a two-game losing streak, the Penguins are inserting 36-year-old defenseman Darryl Sydor into the lineup for Game 3.
Sydor won Stanley Cups in 1999 with Dallas and in Tampa Bay 2004, but hasn’t seen action in a single game in the 2008 playoffs, that’s how highly the Penguins have thought of him. So exactly what he can add now is going to be interesting to see.
Update 12:37pm ET: From the CP,
The 36-year-old will replace rookie Kristopher Letang, whose play has slipped of late. Sydor has yet to see any action in this year’s playoffs.
Sources tell TSN that the New York Rangers will have to pay former Ranger and current Atlanta Thrashers forward Bobby Holik $3.5 million over a contract dispute in 2004-2005.
Because of the lockout that wiped out the 2004-2005 season, the Rangers argued that Holik needed to play to earn his signing bonus.
An arbitrator disagreed and made the ruling in favor of Holik and Jed Ortmeyer, who the Rangers will also have to pay an undisclosed amount.
To call Pittsburgh’s top regular-season scorer a non-factor so far in the Stanley Cup final may be generous. Malkin’s penalty minutes (four) easily exceed his number of shots on goal (one), and his minus-3 rating reflects the defensive contribution he made as the Penguins were manhandled by a combined 7-0 in the opening two games in Detroit.
Malkin often found himself bothered by Niklas Kronwall and the other bone rattlers on the Red Wings’ defence corps, something the Russian acknowledged in his halting English before a 3-0 loss in Game 2.
“Detroit have a good defenceman. Kronwall,” Malkin said. “I need to be more physical play. Have to pressure defenceman. Hit. Yeah, hit.”
more on Malkin and possible new pairings
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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