Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Bob McKenzie of TSN,
I said before this series that the big factor that the Detroit Red Wings had on their side was experience. That’s not just the experience of 23 Cups to just four on the side for the Pens. It is the experience of the last four seasons that twice saw the Wings capture the Presidents’ Trophy and then have dismal post-seasons.
That’s the type of experience you need to win the Cup. Whenever things got tough, the Wings had something to draw upon. Pittsburgh didn’t have that, and that was the difference in this series.
From Ron Cook at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
Two-time Stanley Cup champion Bob Errey, as recognizable a hockey name in Pittsburgh as just about any short of Lemieux and Crosby, laid out the hard truth before the Stanley Cup final.
“Only one team can win,” he said. “Two weeks from now, you’ll either be the happiest guy in the world or the forgotten bridesmaid.”
Kind of makes you sick this morning, doesn’t it?
With the Detroit Red Wings the kings of the hockey world and the Penguins, well, you know?
From Chuck Carleton at the Dallas Stars blog at the Dallas Morning News,
This time, Pittsburgh ran out of miracles and the Detroit Red Wings claimed the Stanley Cup with a 3-2 nail-biting win.
1. Detroit remains a hard team to figure. The Red Wings were the best team in the NHL in the regular season and the best team in the playoffs—great skill, veteran leadership, smart coaching and the most accomplished braintrust in hockey. At the same time, they were capable of lapses that could make you wince, like Game 5 and almost in Game 6. Give them credit for rebounding from what could have been a catastrophic triple-overtime loss.
more thoughts on the game from the former Wings beat writer
And some reflections from Jim Kelley at Sportsnet.ca:
Hossa’s effort just missed Detroit goalie Chris Osgood’s glove and had it hit it, it likely would have gone in, setting off a debate as to whether or not there was any time left on the clock.
It was that close.
As finishes go, it was more dramatic than most of the game that featured a gritty effort from both sides, but one that was clearly marked by fatigue on both sides, something that took away from the overall contest.
And from Mitch Albom at the Free Press:
“We always have to make it interesting,” Osgood would tell the TV cameras.
Interesting? That ending would have killed most mortal men. But here, in enemy territory, the Wings used the courage and the pounding heart that got them this far, and in their 104th game of the season, they took it over the mountaintop.
All’s well that ends red.
And from Bob Wojnowski at the Detroit News:
They took it in gasping, grasping fashion - fitting fashion, really - with Chris Osgood swiping at Pittsburgh’s final, desperate shot. As the puck slid perilously past the open goal, the crowd shrieked and the final horn sounded, and then the Wings leaped in celebration and launched another rollicking Detroit summer.
Q. What was harder, the last 30 seconds or the long wait before the game began?
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: You know, even in the last game, the last minute and stuff like that wasn’t long or harder, it was just doing what you do.
The interesting thing is when you’re playing in the Stanley Cup Final like this and it’s a closeout game, the emotion on your bench is so much more than you’ve had to deal with. Getting guys on and off the ice is more difficult, and yet we have a real committed group.
Nicklas Lidstrom, in my opinion, is a phenomenal leader and captain. And with his poise and his skill. And then the support group in Chelios and Draper. And Datsyuk and Zetterberg, for their leadership. You know, we have a very special team, and we’re thrilled to be in this situation, obviously.
Q. Coach, first of all, congratulations on a great season. Your assessment of the game, and what did you tell your players after the game?
COACH MICHEL THERRIEN: I’m almost speechless. It’s tough. We were that close. It is really tough, because this is a group that gave what they got. They deserve a lot of respect. We got beat by a quality team. They showed it all through the regular season and through the playoffs. They played really well. They were tough to play against, and the hockey god was not on our side tonight.
But they deserved to win the Stanley Cup.
From the NHL Network Online, the highlights from Game #6.
From Ken Campbell at The Hockey News,
The Red Wings would not allow the powerful Penguins to unleash their offensive prowess even once, but what makes this so great for hockey was the Wings never collapsed into the trap, even when they led by a goal late in a game. The Penguins didn’t get any shots because they couldn’t touch the puck.
Clearly, these Red Wings are not the Stanley Cup posers the Tampa Bay Lightning and Carolina Hurricanes were. Their history suggests they’ll at least be a serious contender every year, but their future says it with a great, big exclamation mark.
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.
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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