Kukla's Korner Hockey
Can Chris Osgood improve his Stanley Cup Finals record to 7-0?
Can the Penguins extend their home win streak to 17-0 (last loss was in February)?
Will the Wings improve their record to 15-1 in their last 16 SCF games?
Mark-Andre Fleury lost at home in late November, since then he is 18-0. Can he make it 19-0?
*original post-time 8:55am ET
From Mike Toth at Sportsnet.ca,
With their record of sustained excellence over the past 16 years, the Detroit Red Wings definitely qualify as hockey royalty.
And since Detroit Rock City appears to be rolling to another Stanley Cup, it’s time to connect the red and white dots.
So, with apologies to Kevin Bacon, we proudly present Six Degrees of Stanley: The Red Wings Way.
From Stu Hackel at Slap Shot in the NYT:
So we spoke to Pierre McGuire earlier today and asked him what changes he thinks Therrien should make tonight. He phoned The Morning Skate from The Morning Skate at Mellon, or as we like to affectionately continue to call it, the Igloo. Pierre, or as we like to affectionately continue to call him, Pete, will be between the benches again tonight for NBC, doing his usual superlative job of spying on each team’s bench and deciphering what is happening on the ice both before and after the whistles.
“You’ve got to change the schematic of the series real quick,” he said. “Not a lot of adjustments, but simple adjustments.
“You’re not going to be able to carry [the puck into the Wings defensive zone], so you have to have a lot of short side shoot-ins where Osgood can’t get to the puck, And you know the boards here, you’re comfortable playing in this building, because you know the boards. So short side shoot-ins and overload one side and go on attack — not with three guys but two. The third guy stays high all the time, because you can’t give up odd-man rushes. Detroit’s too good.”
There is no relaxing,” Detroit defenseman Niklas Kronwall told me after this morning’s game-day skate. “We are not about to let them have anything if we can help it.”
more on tonight’s game from Kostya Kennedy at Rink Side Blog at Sports Illustrated…
NEW YORK (May 28, 2008) – Toronto Maple Leafs center Mats Sundin has been named the recipient of the Mark Messier Leadership Award for the 2007-08 season in recognition for his outstanding performance as a player, his leadership skills and his dedicated humanitarian efforts.
“The truest test of leadership comes during periods of adversity,” said Messier. “When presented with difficult times during the season, Mats Sundin remained committed to his teammates, his community and to the game of hockey. I am honored to present the Mark Messier Leadership Award to Mats Sundin. He understands the importance of his status in Toronto and his dedication to his community is unmatched. The strength of his character makes Mats a tremendous role model both on and off the ice.”
Q. Mike, do you expect to be aggressive in trying to maintain the matchup that’s worked for you at home or are you happy to just let your guys go?
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: Let ‘em go. We’re just going to play. I’m not going to make it as easy as that. But we’re going to get our guys on and off the ice as much as we possibly can. We’re real comfortable with three lines playing against anyone and four “D”.
Q. Could you assess, how do you think Sidney Crosby has performed throughout the playoffs, and what do you think this experience will do for him for the rest of his career?
COACH MICHEL THERRIEN: I really believe that he started to pick up his game against the Flyers. I thought he played well in the first two rounds, but you could see against the Flyers he brought his game to another level. He was a true leader in that series.
He’s working really hard. His first two games against Detroit, sometimes the results are not always there. But in the meantime, that’s going to give him - it’s like last year, we only played five games in the playoffs. That young team didn’t know what to expect in the playoffs.
Even as coaches, you prepare your players. You show a lot of videos. You share experience. You’ve got to feel it. You’ve got to be in there. Now, it’s his first experience in the Stanley Cup Final, and I’m sure it’s going to help him for the rest of his career.
from Bob Smizik of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
The Penguins, once so full of all that seemed necessary to become a champion, have been exposed in the first two games of the final. Not exposed as a bad team, but as a team not worthy of the most cherished trophy in team sports.
No one expected this—not the players, not the coach, not the fans. Everything had been near-perfect. All phases of their game were humming.
But this is what happens in athletic competition when one team is better than the other or, at least, when one team is playing considerably better at a particular time.
from Rich Liberio of NHL.com,
We reached Pittsburgh yesterday after some small difficulties. As you might’ve read, our bus broke down just as it pulled up to the hotel in Detroit. We doubled up with the PR staff (thanks!) and made it in time to catch the Red Wings’ media availability.
But what a contrast between two Rust Belt cities.
We resided in the monstrous Marriott Renaissance in Detroit. It’s all part of the General Motors complex. My room overlooked the Detroit River, Windsor, Ontario, the Ambassador Bridge and the three-day long techno festival that humming next door. The windows vibrated for three days straight from Noon until Midnight. Living more than 40 stories in the sky, I found myself constantly drawn to the window.
more on Detroit and Pittsburgh…
from Cam Cole of the Vancouver Sun,
The Pittsburgh Penguins are not alone among National Hockey League teams in having their crest sewn into the dressing room carpet, nor are they the only team that warns visitors: “Please don’t step on the logo.”...
What are they worried about, that it’s bad luck?” said a TV guy who accidentally stepped on the sacred cartoon Penguin. “Like, things are going to get worse? How?”
Not merely down two games, the Penguins haven’t yet scored a goal, or even looked very much as though they might.
Evgeni Malkin is in a funk, Marian Hossa is wearing the same red-clad, five-man hairshirt as his centreman, Sidney Crosby, and Marc-Andre Fleury has looked ordinary on more than a few Detroit goals in the first two.
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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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