Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Michael Farber of Rink Side Blog at Sports Illustrated,
This might be mere serendipity or a sign of something more significant at work. Three seasons past the lockout, maybe it is time for the NHL to take a bow. The game was re-worked in the 2004-05 hiatus in an effort to end the old hook-and-hold-‘em rodeo and reward skilled players. Although the pace of progress seemed glacial—the so-called officiating standard can be maddening—there is an increased flow and indeed beauty to the NHL game. The league seems to have found its happy place.
When the two teams that play the most exemplary hockey get to do it in a Stanley Cup final that starts Saturday, the NHL has got it right.
from Sam Donnellon of the Philadelphia Daily News,
Yesterday, Holmgren confirmed what many following this team during the postseason had suspected, that Smith, the Flyers’ captain, had suffered a separation of an already-ailing shoulder in one period against the New Jersey Devils on April 4, then separated the other shoulder the following period. It forced him to miss the final game of the regular season and the week of practice leading into the playoffs, forced him to alter his physical style, and forced him to receive repeated injections to numb excruciating pain.
He did not miss a playoff game, his minutes vacillating wildly as the injuries around him piled up. “I don’t know how he did it,” Holmgren said. “Jason Smith and Derian Hatcher brought toughness to a new level, in my mind. Neither of them should have been playing.”
from Shelly Anderson of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
The Penguins watched the game Monday night, and many have watched the Red Wings other nights.
From that, and from reputation,, the Penguins are well aware of Detroit’s tight defense, led by captain Niklas Lidstrom. And the potent offense led by Henrik Zetterberg, who is tied with the Sidney Crosby atop the playoff scoring race with 21 points. And the shutdown goaltending of Chris Osgood, whose 1.60 goals-against average is the best of the postseason.
“We didn’t play all season, but we saw them enough,” winger Georges Laraque said of the Red Wings who have been among the NHL’s elite teams the past several seasons.
from the San Jose Sharks,
Sharks forward Jeremy Roenick has agreed to terms with the Sharks for the 2008-09 season.
“Jeremy Roenick was a warrior for our team on and off the ice this past season,” said Sharks Executive Vice President Doug Wilson.
Update 12:09pm ET: From TSN,
TSN has learned that the contract is worth roughly $1 million, or slightly more than twice what he earned last season, however the paper work on the contract must still get approval from the NHL.
from Jacques Demers at USA TODAY,
These Stanley Cup Finals are filled with stars. Though the NHL would never say so, this is their dream matchup.
The Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins are what hockey in the post-lockout era is supposed to be about: great scoring chances, puck control, great passes. Pittsburgh defensemen Ryan Whitney and Sergei Gonchar and Detroit’s Brian Rafalski and Nicklas Lidstrom can get the puck up ice quicker than anyone.
Both teams love the transition game. Their coaches are among the elite of the NHL. Even if they’re strong defensively, you’re still going to see a lot of offense.
from Ross McKeon at Yahoo Sports,
Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins are going to win a Stanley Cup. You can bet your bottom dollar on it. It’s a lock, a sure thing, guaranteed.
But it just isn’t going to happen this year. Not against this group of Detroit Red Wings. So with all due respect to the Penguins, and the late, great Herb Brooks, this is not your time.
Now before you hit the reply button and fire off that nasty email I’ve just inspired, hear me out. No, I don’t hate the Penguins. I don’t love the Red Wings. I’m not a fan of any one team in the NHL, nor do I have any rooting interest unless it comes to overtimes.
From NHL.com’s series breakdown:
Several weeks into the playoff journey, two hockey-crazed cities will duke it out through the two weeks to determine who will be the 2008 Stanley Cup champion. As a hockey fan, you truly couldn’t ask for much more than this.
Truth be told, this series pits Goliath vs. Goliath. Both teams possess superstar forwards, as Crosby is joined by Evgeni Malkin and Marian Hossa. On the opposite side of the ice, the Red Wings counter with phenomenal two-way forwards Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk, who combined for 189 points during the regular season and are finalists for the Selke Trophy as the NHL’s top defensive forward.
Go here for NHL.com’s opening look at the series, with links to various stories, trivia and other information available at the top of the article. And new stories will be updated as they’re published on this page.
from Eric Adelson at ESPN The Magazine,
The league gets a mulligan for scheduling its thrilling outdoor game in Buffalo against the New Year’s Day bowl games. (What, Super Bowl Sunday wasn’t available?) But now, a far worse offense: the first three games of the Stanley Cup finals will be played at the same time as Games 3, 4 and 5 of the NBA’s Eastern Conference finals.
Who cares, you say? Well, just about everyone in Detroit, to start with, as fans here will now have to choose whether to watch the Red Wings or the Pistons. On Saturday, Monday and Wednesday, Detroit will face off against Pittsburgh at 8 p.m., and then Detroit will tip off versus Boston at 8:30 p.m
Scotty Bowman Q & A at Sportsnet,
Q: What are your thoughts about the Pittsburgh-Detroit matchup?
A: “You’ve got two good teams. They both finished right at the top in the regular season. Pittsburgh didn’t have (Sidney) Crosby the last little while and Detroit’s the best team in the West, so you’ve got the two best teams.”
Q: So this is like the cream rising to the top?
A: “Both teams had terrific seasons, that’s exactly right. Pittsburgh most likely would have been No. 1 if they had Crosby all year. You’ve got some real good forwards on both teams. You’ve got a lot of youth on Pittsburgh and a lot of experience on Detroit.”
from the Hockey News,
This has the potential to be one of the best Stanley Cup finals in years. Or, if Detroit’s experience is the deciding factor, it could be over in four games. Given the fact the Penguins have not lost at home in this year’s playoffs, we don’t see that happening. And when you have the best player in the world on your team – Crosby - that can also be a deciding factor. Pittsburgh in six.
read the breakdown…
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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