Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Paul Kukla at Hockey.com:
Can the Stars make a sudden turnaround and take control of the series? Sure they can, but I don’t see it happening. Led by coach Mike Babcock, the Wings are on a roll and are determined to erase the memories of losing to the Anaheim Ducks in last year’s Western Conference Final.
The Pittsburgh Penguins have showed they can adjust to any style of play their opposition throws at them. The Flyers are trying to be physical with the young Pens, but it hasn’t worked for them to this point. Talent-wise, the Flyers just don’t match up with Pittsburgh and must play perfect games from here on out in order to extend this series past five games.
Once again, the Flyers can make a make a comeback, but I don’t see it happening.
From Damien Cox in The Spin at the Toronto Star,
Sure was nasty watching the fine young Philadelphia defenceman, Braydon Coburn, take a puck in the face Sunday night in Game 2 between the Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins.
He was cut badly near the eye, and may or may not be able to play in Game 3.
Surely, it could have been worse. Yet wasn’t it also preventable?
Given where the injury was, it would appear a half-shield would have blocked the puck from hitting Coburn in the face. But he doesn’t wear one, and so he was lost for the game, and maybe more.
*And more on this topic today from Greg Wyshynski at the Yahoo! Sports blog, Puck Daddy
An interview today with Pittsburgh Penguins coach Michel Therrien.
Q. Can you describe the conversation you had with Georges Laraque after the end of last year when you told him what you wanted him to be like physically, and what role in order to fulfill a role here?
COACH THERRIEN: Well, if there’s someone who knows Georges really well, it’s me, because I coached Georges in Juniors. I know what he’s capable of. We won a Memorial Cup together. He was an impact player on our team. That was a guy that we were looking to bring to our club. I thought we really did a great job to bring Georges in, but the Georges Laraque that I saw last year was not the Georges Laraque that I knew.
I told him at the end of the year that he needs to be in much better shape. He could be an impact player, and he took care of himself over the summer. Reported in great shape, and got a great season as far as I’m concerned.
from Spector at Fox Sports,
It was not the start to the conference finals that the Philadelphia Flyers and Dallas Stars envisioned, down 2-0 in their respective series against the Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings.
Both clubs must now find ways to rebound quickly in their next games or face the prospect of facing a deficit in the series too steep to overcome.
Don Cherry on ESPN breaks down game 2 ECF and talks Wings/Stars too.
from Rich Hofmann of the Philadelphia Daily News,
Single-handedly, shorthandedly, Richards gave his team life. Alone, unassisted, Richards turned a game where his team still wasn’t good enough into a game where his team still had hope.
It is a remarkable quality that some athletes have - rising above the adversity. It is about skill and it is about effort and it is about backbone - and nobody ever doubted Mike Richards in any of those categories, and nobody would think of doubting him now.
He will allow, quietly, “It’s frustrating.” But that is it as far as his obvious public disappointment will go. He is very clinical in his dissection of a hockey game, even a game as big as this one. There is no pretense, no false bravado.
Asked what has to improve for Game 3, he says: “Similar things to what we did tonight. We just need to play better and more consistent throughout the game. We still feel we can play a little bit better and get more consistent.”
Flyers coach John Stevens and Penguins coach Michel Therrien met with the media earlier today…
from Jack McCaffery of the Delco Times,
There is no secret to holding a lead; if there were, there would be no reason to watch a sporting event after the first team scores. But if there was a theme dominating the Flyers’ clubhouse conversation Saturday, it was that they would be better off continuing to attack while ahead rather than earning a lead and then start looking at the clock and listening for the horn.
It’s three series into a four-series tournament, but apparently the Flyers have decided that the next time they are ahead in the game, they’ll try to pretend that they are behind.
“We’ve done a great job at getting leads —- and that’s important,” Scottie Upshall said. “But keeping it is another thing. For us, we have to concentrate on having good starts. In the playoffs, you see two-goal leads just turn into tie games right away. So we have to keep playing that aggressive style of play.”
from Mike Sielski of phillyBurbs,
“Vinny’s a great passer,” Stevens said yesterday at Mellon Arena, after the Flyers practiced. “He’s got great vision with the puck. He gets standing still and not moving his feet too easily when he gets checked, and I thought that was the case (Friday) night. When he’s moving his feet, when he’s jumping off the wall, when he’s giving and going, more things happen for him. I thought he got a little bit away from that.”
Though the jargon and coded language of a coach and teammate too generous to call out Prospal publicly, there came a clear message: Start skating, Vinny. Start working harder and doing more.
from Phil Sheridan of the Philadelphia Inquirer,
With all this talk about time and space, you half expect Albert Einstein to turn up at the morning skate.
The Flyers need to create time and space for their best players, especially Danny Briere’s line. They have to deny time and space to Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, the Pittsburgh Penguins’ stars. The Flyers’ theory of hockey relativity - E=mc2 - stands for Energy equals Malkin/Crosby to the second power.
Of course, all this time/space continuum chatter is just modern coachspeak that means, We have to hit their guys before they can move with the puck.
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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