Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Mike Babcock woke up Thursday, after the Detroit Red Wings’ first loss in the Stanley Cup final and did what he usually does the morning after a game: He talked to his wife and he talked to a fellow coach Dave King — and not necessarily in that order, either.
Babcock did it for reasons that he patiently explains all the time: That lifetime learning is a core belief; and that no matter how long he stays in the game, he doesn’t pretend to have all the answers.
Luc Bourdon of the Vancouver Canucks was killed today when his motorcycle crashed
into a tree
into another vehicle.
Alanah at Canucks and Beyond is providing updates to this tragic story.
from Empty Netters,
We don’t care what team you root for. If you’re a fan of hockey, you were a fan of that game last night. That was perhaps the best final game since Game 1 of the 2006 final between Carolina and Edmonton (AKA, the “Ty Conklin” game). There was end-to-end action. Big shots, big saves, even bigger hitting. When you tune in on television or plunk down your money to attend a game, you want games like that.
The hitting was intense but clean. The sport is never more beautiful to watch than when two teams are doing everything to beat the daylights out of each but not resorting to the cheap stuff like the Penguins initiated at the end of Game 2.
Q. Mike, you have a younger, bigger team than Detroit. Brooks was up here earlier talking about how you had hoped to make this a long series, and if so, that you thought you could pound them a little bit and take advantage of the fact that they’re an older team. Can you talk about that a little bit?
COACH MICHEL THERRIEN: There’s no doubt we want to be physical. And we’re both here to play a physical game. But honestly, we’re taking - the way I see it, we’ll take it game by game. And we’ll see at the end where the result’s going to be.
One thing for me that I see, our team, first of all, is getting better every game. Our team is getting more comfortable every game. Our team’s got more confidence every game.
Update 1:01pm ET: Interview with Ryan Whitney & Brooks Orpik now added below.
Q. What do you feel like you did better in Game 3 than you had done in the previous two games, and what do you feel like you have to do better still in Game 4?
ADAM HALL: Well, I think we were just able to do a better job limiting our turnovers and forechecking, and I think that was kind of a key to help creating more offense for us.
MAXIME TALBOT: Yeah, we made some little adjustments. And obviously I think that the desperation in and the crowd got us going. Yes, we had a little slow start, but I think after that yesterday it was a cliche but we talked about getting the first goal, and that was huge for us. And we got it, and it was a different game for us. Because it’s easier to play, when you play against the Detroit Red Wings and they have the lead, it’s kind of hard to come back because they’re so smart and experienced.
From Ben Wright at Blueland Blog,
I was told John Kincade mentioned it on the air yesterday so I don’t feel like I’m spilling the beans, but I wanted to be one of the first to congratulate Craig Custance on an upcoming career move. Craig is leaving the AJC to become the national hockey writer for The Sporting News. Craig has done a great job as the Thrashers beat writer and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working alongside him as both of us covered the Thrashers in our own ways. I’ve learned plenty from Craig and he’s been nice enough to let me jump in on interviews on many, many occasions.
KK passes on our congratulations as well. We’ve cited many, many stories from Craig over the past couple seasons and he’s always done a thorough job covering the Thrashers for both his newspaper and in the online format. We’ll look forward to his national perspective in The Sporting News.
Update 1:11pm ET: Added another interview to this post. Below you’ll find words from Niklas Lidstrom and Henrik Zetterberg.
Q. Chris, this week all your teammates and coaches have been saying that your ability to bounce back from losses or bad goals and things like that is really one of your strengths. How do you do that so easily, and last night is a game that’s easier or tougher to get past?
CHRIS OSGOOD: It’s over. We didn’t come into the series thinking we were going to win four straight. We were hoping to. But to say we expected it to be a hard series would be right on. Just play the game tomorrow. I mean, the next day, just keep doing the same thing as I’ve been doing. That’s about it. I haven’t really put any thought into last night, this morning.
I thought it was a real good game. Both teams played real well, and somebody has to win and lose every night. We were on the short end last night.
Q. If I could get you both to comment on this. Mike Babcock came in this morning, the morning after a loss, jovial with the media and joking. Can you talk about the way he kind of sets the mood for the team and kind of understands when to go at you and when to give you your space and how his feelings for that kind of thing?
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.
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