Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Phil Coffey at NHL.com
The Stanley Cup is returning to “Hockeytown!”
The Detroit Red Wings, stunned to have lost Game 5 at home in triple overtime, played a perfect road game Wednesday night at Mellon Arena, defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins, 3-2, in Game 6 of the 2008 Stanley Cup Final to go wire-to-wire as the best team in the National Hockey League this season.
Henrik Zetterberg was named the winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player of the postseason.
The Wings won the Presidents’ Trophy for the best record in the regular season and proved to be the best team in the postseason as well, utilizing the smart, selfless brand of puck-possession hockey that has become the trademark of coach Mike Babcock.
From Cory Wolfe at the Star Phoenix,
When Mike Babcock raised the Stanley Cup Wednesday night in Pittsburgh, he fulfilled a dream that took root in Saskatoon.
“If you don’t dream, you cap your potential,” the Detroit Red Wings’ head coach told The StarPhoenix. “I’ve always been a big dreamer. For a kid from Saskatoon to get to do what I get to do, I’m living proof that dreams do come true.”
From Dave Waddell at Canwest via the National Post
Johan Franzen, also a Conn Smythe candidate, said people don’t realize how ultra competitive Zetterberg is even in off-ice pursuits.
“He’s one of a kind competing that hard in both ends,” Franzen said. “I can’t come up with anyone (comparable).”
Chris Chelios can.
The veteran defenceman said Zetterberg’s playoff performance reminded him very much of retired Wings captain Steve Yzerman.
“I’d have to think, but Yzerman is the only one,” Chelios said.
From the CP via TSN,
Undervalued. Underappreciated. Whatever, Osgood has always been considered merely an average NHL goalie, but he proved this spring that he’s more than that - although it seems, whatever he accomplishes, he’ll never convince everybody. That’s just the way it is with some athletes.
Some will say any goalie would look good behind the best defence in the NHL. With five-time Norris Trophy winner Nick Lidstrom anchoring the blue-line corps, and with Selke Trophy finalists Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk headlining a cast of forwards who forecheck and backcheck like no others, Osgood had to face an average of only about 22 shots a game.
Regardless, nobody can deny that Osgood is one of the feel-good stories of the post-season.
From Eric Duhatschek at the Globe & Mail,
Few remember any more, but nine years ago, Nicklas Lidstrom thought about leaving the Detroit Red Wings to return to his native Sweden. It wasn’t a money grab, either. In the pre-salary-capped NHL, the Red Wings weren’t about to lowball their rising star on the blueline, the second runner-up for the Calder Trophy in his rookie season and a player they projected would one day win a Norris Trophy.
No, Lidstrom considered it purely for personal reasons. His children were approaching school age; if they grew up in the Detroit area, would they ever be able to settle back into Swedish life, upon the end of his playing career? Lidstrom discussed the topic with family and friends and ultimately was convinced he could have the best of both worlds — a professional life in North America; and remain true to his Scandinavian roots.
Lidstrom’s decision altered the course of many lives and the direction of an NHL organization. Where would the Red Wings be without Lidstrom leading the way?
From the CP via TSN,
Next time he’s in the Stanley Cup final, here’s betting Sidney Crosby will be able to better fill out his playoff beard.
He’ll certainly have more experience under his belt. The 20-year-old superstar centre and captain of the Pittsburgh Penguins was the best player on his team in this year’s NHL playoffs. Especially in the Cup final when a few of his teammates looked in awe of being on the game’s biggest stage.
Crosby put up 27 points (6-21) in 20 playoff games, tied for the playoff lead with Conn Smythe Trophy winner Henrik Zetterberg.
From Bob Duff at Canwest News via the National Post,
Wednesday was that day. The Red Wings’ day to lift the Stanley Cup. Finally, Babcock’s chance to embrace hockey’s ultimate reward.
He savoured every minute of it.
Not just Wednesday’s 3-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins at Mellon Arena that sealed Detroit’s title with a 4-2 decision in the best-of-seven series, but every step along the way.
“I think what I’ve gained out of that experience and what I’ve tried to do through the whole playoffs is understand that it’s the best time you could ever be having in your life, besides family things,” Babcock said. “So enjoy every single minute you get to be in the playoffs and enjoy the process of preparing and working and going through match-ups and the highs and the lows and then come in here tomorrow and enjoy that again. And play the best we can possibly play, be as good as we can be, and ideally, that will be good enough.”
And a great series, Penguins! Post-game video at NHL Network Online.
More to come…
In 1991, the Giants won the Super Bowl
In 1991, there was a Bush in the White house
In 1991, there was a Clinton running for President
In 1991, there was a war in Iraq
In 1991, the Penguins won the Stanley Cup
In 2008, the Giants won the Super Bowl
In 2008, there is a Bush in the White House
In 2008, there is a Clinton running for President
In 2008, there is a war in Iraq
In 2008, the Penguins?
source: The Pittsburgh Channel.com
from the CP,
The NHL should probably send a note of thanks to everyone involved with the Red Wings and Penguins after the series they’ve put on.
It was a dream matchup that was in danger of turning into a dud after two easy wins by Detroit to open the series. However, it got dramatic after that and the six-period marathon the teams played in Game 5 essentially ensured that this Stanley Cup final will go down as a classic.
There will be a lot of people who remember it, too, because it was the most-watched NHL game in the U.S. in six years.
That’s only part of the evidence that the quality of this series might be helping sell the sport to some Americans. Rich Baker lives a couple hours away in Cleveland but was hanging around Mellon Arena on Wednesday afternoon and doing something totally unfamiliar - talking hockey.
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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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