Kukla's Korner Hockey
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.
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.
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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