Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Dave Waddell via the National Post:
Detroit Red Wings forward Tomas Holmstrom, who was injured Wednesday when he was dumped by Pittsburgh defenceman Hal Gill, said he’s optimistic he’ll play in tonight’s Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final [...]
“Yeah, that’s how it looks like,” Holmstrom said when asked if he’ll play tonight. “It feels good.”
While opting not to discuss the nature of the injury, Holmstrom said it’s unrelated to his groin problem that caused him to miss almost all of March.
Plus more on practice lineups at Red Wings Corner.
From Erik Erlendsson at the Bolts Report:
This is also what I was able to surmise from conversations last night. Barry Melrose is not a done deal. No definitive offers have been made to anybody and the team is still talking to other candidates. And to clarify one other thing, no deal with Melrose, or anybody else for that matter, can be done anytime soon, and certainly not in the next couple of days. Oren Koules and his group were told by the executive board of the NHL the other day that the only issues that can be dealt with right now are those of a time sensitive manner. A head coach, is not a time sensitive matter. Nothing can be done until the board of governors meeting on June 17 in New York. So even if a deal was in place, it certainly couldn’t be announced.
Now my reaction to the Melrose news is the same as many of you guys. I’m not sold on a coach who has been behind a television camera the past 13 years, and not behind a bench. I also can’t believe that if this were to be true, that Melrose will command a $2 million annual salary - NHL coaches not named Scotty Bowman don’t make that kind of money.
Note: Melrose himself maintained that no deal had been reached when talking to ESPN’s SportsCenter last night.
Q. Game 4 is the swing game in any seven‑game series, and a lot of your guys admitted to being nervous before Game 1. Do you think all those nerves are gone for tonight?
SIDNEY CROSBY: Yeah, I think so. We know what we have to do. And this becomes the biggest game of the series. So probably a lot of guys are going to have a similar mind‑set to Game 3.
Q. Kind of a lighter question for you here about Colby Armstrong, who is serving as a guest analyst for us. And Colby actually predicted in Game 3 you’d have a big game and you guys would win 3‑2. Do you think he makes a perfect analyst?
Q. Would you like to get the obstruction stuff out of the way first, before I ask my…
COACH MICHEL THERRIEN: (Laughter) I said what I had to say yesterday, so let’s move on (Laughter.)
Q. You said the first couple of games nervousness could have been an issue with your team. Do you sense going on in the series that’s less and less the case, and do you think that will be less the case tonight?
COACH MICHEL THERRIEN: Absolutely. And it’s part of the process with a young team. And the more the series goes on, the more we’re going to feel comfortable and we’re going to be better.
And we got better every game. Our focus gets better every game. And tonight I’m expecting we’re going to play ‑ we played a good game, Game 3, but tonight I’m expecting we’re going to be better as well.
From Larry Wigge at NHL.com,
But the trade to Pittsburgh came as a complete surprise.
“I was actually negotiating on a new contract with Atlanta and I’d been teasing ‘Hoss’ for more than a month before the deadline about how much he was going to like going back to Ottawa or playing in Montreal,” Dupuis explained. “In the end, he got the last laugh.
“At first, I joked with reporters that I was coming along to carry Hoss’s bags. But I got the dream-of-a-lifetime job of playing on a line with Sid and Hoss.”
From Chris Cochrane at The Chronicle Herald,
This year’s Stanley Cup final has been a good example of how well the new rules work.
No longer do veteran defencemen dominate playoff games simply by mugging opponents in front of the net. There’s also no place in this final for those defensive specialists who survived by a reliance on hooking and holding strong offensive players at both ends of the ice. The new game has evolved beyond those prodding type of players.
Star offensive players are getting more room to be star offensive players. They’re still targeted, but now it has to be by players who can keep up with them and don’t rely on obvious illegal tactics to slow them down.
From Dave Molinari at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
“For us, basically, [Game 4] is a do-or-die game,” [Petr Sykora] said. “We know that if we can come up with a win, there is a lot of pressure on them, going into Game 5 [Monday at Joe Louis Arena].
“Basically, the whole Stanley Cup playoffs is going to [come down to] the game [tonight]. We’ve worked so hard to get to this position. This is a big chance for us, to tie it up, 2-2. You never know what’s going to happen then.”
From Sean Fine at the Globe & Mail,
What happened? Detroit is the highest expression of the game’s new ethos: puck ownership. Not long ago, the idea was to give the other team the puck deep in its zone, and then with brute force take it back. Own the ice, not the puck.
Detroit doesn’t do that. It takes the puck and keeps it. During perhaps 80 per cent of the first two games, Detroit possessed the puck. It often seemed as though Detroit had eight players on the ice, and Pittsburgh three. In those two games, Sidney Crosby was sighted with the puck on his stick for perhaps a dozen seconds — in total.
And that is why this dream matchup in the new open-ice era was so dull in the first two games: Detroit’s offence was in effect a stifling defence. “The puck-possession game is a defensive game in a sense because the other team doesn’t have the puck,” says Mr. Watt. He likens it to shooting pool: “It’s not what you make, it’s what you leave.” Detroit left nothing for Pittsburgh.
from Mike Prisuta of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
Osgood is a relentless challenger of shooters, but on several occasions in Game 3, he appeared to struggle when moving laterally.
So, the question for the Penguins heading into Game 4 has become one involving quantity or quality.
Do they continue to fire away at every opportunity in search of rebounds and “dirty” goals, or do they try to take advantage of Osgood’s aggressiveness or his relative post-to-post issues by making the extra pass?
The answer might be yes to both.
from John Henderson of the Tampa Tribune,
So we prepare to bid farewell to “shut yer yap” - to a driven, relentless hockey man who could never play the good corporate soldier. You’d never call Torts a company man and I mean that in a good way.
We’ll remember how he built a team that made a city care, however briefly, about hockey. We’ll remember the seven-game knockout of Philadelphia to go to the Cup finals for the first time. We’ll remember how, down 3-2 and headed to Calgary, where they had the celebration ready, he guaranteed the Bolts would win.
Winning is all he cared about.
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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