Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Adam Proteau of the Hockey News,
Like millions of others in the know, I see the NHL playoffs for exactly what it is: the greatest sports tournament on the planet. But there’s one aspect of the Stanley Cup chase that grows more embarrassing with every year.
I refer to the “Bring the Cup back to Canada because it’s our game and nobody else, especially the soft Europeans and frigid Russians and easily-pleased Swedes and largely-disinterested Americans” routine. That’s right – the same act that has the preposterous “No team with a European captain will ever win the Cup” corollary.
Q. You mentioned last night that you thought you’d overplayed Datsyuk and Zetterberg, if I understand that. Can you explain what you meant and maybe talk a bit about how you assess their play through the first three games and maybe what you’d like to see from them going forward?
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: Well, our plan going into the game last night was, if you look at the game sheet, was to have our shifts at 35 seconds.
So you say that as a coach, you know that means 40. When they end up at 51 seconds and you pile that on over a period of time, 29 or 28 shifts end up to be too many minutes.
Don’t get me wrong. These guys are elite, elite players and they’re trying to win. And sometimes in doing that, instead of just doing your part, you’re on the ice too much.
From Paul Kukla at Hockey.com,
Let’s make this as simple as possible. Should the Pittsburgh Penguins win Game 4 of the 2008 Stanley Cup Finals, this series is going seven games. If the Pens lose game 4, this series is over in five games and that other team is declared the winner of the Cup by an ever-so-slight margin — the voting wil be that close!
This series is all about the Penguins. How they play will determine the Cup winner. If they play poorly, the team they are playing will be awarded the Cup. If they continue to play like they did last night in Game 3, they will win the Cup. The other team has no control of this series; it is all about Pittsburgh.
Sometimes I even forget who the Penguins are playing and as most of the media reports today prove, it is all about the Penguins.
Update 12:50pm ET: And more from Marty Henwood at Hockey.com:
Don’t yank that plug just yet. No need to call in the priest, either. Last rites on the Pittsburgh Penguins can wait.
The beak still has a little twitch in it.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
But they barely survived by a margin as thin as Crosby’s unfortunately wispy beard, and weren’t even the best team on the ice.
In what was the most physically intense and entertaining game of the three played so far, the series began to live up to its hype and promise.
Crosby, freed from having to play against five-time Norris Trophy winner Nicklas Lidstrom on every shift, was the first of the many stars on either club to actually play like a star.
But while the Penguins showed desperation in winning their 17th straight home game, the Wings were still superior, outshooting the home side 16-5 in the final period as Michel Therrien’s team frantically tried to hang on to victory.
Don and Barry liked the play of Pitsburgh last night.
Watch below and note, the video is a bit choppy at times…
from the Chicago Sun-Times,
The Blackhawks are expected to play the Detroit Red Wings at Wrigley Field in January in the NHL’s Winter Classic, Comcast SportsNet reported Wednesday night, with an official announcement perhaps coming this week.
thanks to a KK reader for the pointer…
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
Will Mats Sundin commit the ultimate act of betrayal in the eyes of Toronto Maple Leafs fans and bolt as a free agent this summer, possibly to the Montreal Canadiens?
KK will not become the Mats Sundin network. As many of you know, this type of story will continue to grow and grow until Mats make his decision. We will pick and choose carefully when pointing to Sundin stories.
Update 12:12pm ET: (alanah) To hear Sundin’s comments for yourself, they’re on video from the Canadian Press.
from Jim Kelley at Sportsnet,
“I see the train a comin’. It’s rolling down the track. It’s the Pittsburgh Penguins playoff hopes on Sidney Crosby’s back.”
OK, sorry, a little too much lyrical license there, but you get the point. In the most pressure packed moments of his still young NHL career, Crosby answered the call, shouldered the load, took his game to the next level or any other cliché you want to apply.
from Dan Wood of Ducks Blog at the OC Register,
The Pittsburgh Penguins deserve plenty of credit for the gutsy, gritty, inspired performance that produced Wednesday night’s 3-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals at Mellon Arena.
That’s the good news for Pittsburgh.
The bad news is the Penguins must duplicate that effort three more times in order to wrest the Stanley Cup away from Detroit.
While the Red Wings dominated and won the opening two games of the series in Detroit handily, Pittsburgh’s narrow triumph came in a game that easily could have gone either way.
from Mike Brophy of the Hockey News,
The biggest difference for the Penguins in Game 3 compared to the first two contests was their ability to get the puck deep in Detroit’s zone and keep it there. At the morning skate, a number of Pens said their goal was to generate scoring chances off the down low cycle and that is exactly what they did.
In fact, Pittsburgh’s constant pressure caused the Red Wings to make to make several bad passes up the middle, many of which were intercepted and allowed the Penguins to re-establish pressure in the Detroit end.
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.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
Email Paul anytime at email@example.com