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Category: Pittsburgh-Penguins

The Best Way To Beat The Wings

from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,

The last coach to win a playoff series against the Detroit Red Wings takes pride in that distinction, and he should. With Detroit poised to win its second straight Stanley Cup championship tonight with a victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins at Mellon Arena, Randy Carlyle might hold on to that honor for a while.

Carlyle’s Ducks defeated the Red Wings in the 2007 Western Conference finals before defeating Ottawa to win the Cup. The Ducks didn’t face Detroit in the 2008 playoffs but caused anxiety in Hockeytown during the second round this spring….

“The thing about Detroit is that the depth they’ve got throughout their lineup is starting to be the difference-maker in the games and inside the games,” Carlyle said by phone Monday.

“Pittsburgh seemed to have them on the run in the two games they won in their building, but the other night it seemed after the first seven minutes it was all Detroit.”...

At their best, the Penguins—like the Ducks—have initiated an aggressive forecheck and maintained a quick tempo. They’ve also tried to pressure Detroit’s defense by dumping the puck behind the defensemen and making them chase it while targeting them for punishing hits.

“I thought at times, especially in Pittsburgh, they really were able to get the body on them,” Carlyle said. “But again, you’ve got to put the puck into areas and skate off of it.”

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Anaheim Ducks, Detroit Red Wings, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: randy+carlyle

Conn Smythe Choices

from Roy MacGregor of the Globe and Mail,

This year, if Detroit were to repeat as Stanley Cup champions, the Conn Smythe pickings are curiously thin.

Detroit as a team may be unmatchable, but its usual stars have not shone nearly as brightly as they have in the past. The two finest players, forward Pavel Datsyuk and defenceman Nicklas Lidstrom, have been injured, missed games and have not been able to play quite at their highest standards. Lidstrom, of course, won the Conn Smythe in 2002. Last year’s winner, Henrik Zetterberg, has had another superb playoffs – leading the team in scoring while checking the other teams’ star players – but he was even more dominant last year when he did win the trophy.

The early chatter line among the media who vote appears to be leaning toward Detroit goaltender Chris Osgood, whose numbers are good even if, at times, he appears to let in soft goals….

Which brings us to the two players who should be given serious consideration, even if the Penguins fail to mount this difficult comeback: 21-year-old Sidney Crosby of Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, and 22-year-old Evgeny Malkin of Magnitogorsk, Russia.

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What They Actually Meant

from Scott Burnside of ESPN,

Actual quote: Sidney Crosby was asked about his highly publicized slash of Henrik Zetterberg in Game 5.

“I haven’t seen it replayed, but I don’t have any regrets. He cross checked me earlier on. It’s not about getting back at guys at this point. We’ve got to play hockey here and worry about winning a game.”

Translation: I only regret I didn’t do it harder and before they started waxing us. And, as for getting back at someone, I’m working on a play where I bank it in off Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk and Don Cherry’s left knee for the winner. See you in Detroit on Friday.

Actual quote: Crosby also was asked about the team’s response to Game 5 and reminded questioners the Pens were in 10th place midway through the season and would gladly take a one-game shot to get to a seventh game of the Stanley Cup finals. “So, we’re keeping things in perspective here knowing what we have to do,” Crosby said.

Translation: If I have to watch Marian Hossa hoist the Stanley Cup on Tuesday night, I might throw up.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

No Hockey Tonight?  No Problem

Watch game 6, SCF from last year below.

note: Hulu only allows US based IPs to watch…

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Make Or Break Game

from Cam Cole of the Vancouver Sun,

The danger, of which Pittsburgh must be aware — even Bylsma, who wasn’t part of last year’s six-game defeat by the same Red Wings — is that the Penguins are approaching another defining moment for their franchise, and if it goes badly, it won’t be the definition they were hoping for.

“I like it being a defining moment,” said Bylsma. “Everyone in that room should be ready to play their best game and make a difference, by doing what we do as a team. Everyone needs to be ready to have the puck on their stick and make the play or make the defensive play or block the shot or make the save. That’s what we need. We need a defining game.”

Because here’s the thing: If not now, when? When does a group of talented kids stop being a sure thing, and start acquiring more baggage than promise?

Probably not yet — their core group of centres is still incredibly young — but before the questions get too onerous, they could use something a lot better in the way of a lasting memory than that 5-0 pratfall in Detroit on Saturday.

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ESPN Off-Day Report

Scott Burnside in Pittsburgh and Pierre LeBrun in Detroit file video report on the teams.

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Afternoon Line

“Being afraid to lose is not that bad of a mind set.  If you’re afraid, it means you’re going to do everything in your power not to lose.”

-Maxime Talbot of the Pittsburgh Penguins.  More on the Penguins from Scott Burnside of ESPN.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: maxime+talbot

Crosby & Fleury Today

Q.      What do you think it is about home ice advantage in the series that’s allowed every team to win the home game? Is it that important a match-up series in your mind?

        SIDNEY CROSBY:  No, I mean, it’s the way things have played out. But I think every game has been close up to the last game. So, you know, why, I don’t really know. But I think all the games have been fairly close.

        Q. Safe to say based on that though, if you’re going to be facing elimination game to be doing it for the first time in this series on home ice is a lot more favorable?

        SIDNEY CROSBY: Yeah, either way you’re going to be desperate whether you’re at home or on the road. And they’re going to want to finish things off. It’s the same for them, too. So I don’t think it has any bearing at this point. Both teams have had to win both at home and on the road to get to this point anyway. So I don’t think anybody really reads into it too much at this point.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: marc-andre+fleury, sidney+crosby

Bylsma Today

Q. Can you address just the advantage that the home team has had winning every game in this series? Are the match-ups that critical in this series? Does that have anything to do with it? Or what is your estimation of why the home team’s got everything?

        COACH BYLSMA: I don’t believe it’s the match-ups. You know, that does help out, does maybe - easier to get into your rhythm with your team and what your players are expecting because you get to make the final change.

        But I think you’re talking about two teams that are playing pretty hard with skilled players, and it’s even enough that the home ice is an advantage for you.

        I mean, playoffs it’s not always the case that home ice is a strict advantage or much easier to play at, but we played two pretty good games in Game 1 and Game 2, they were better. They were better in and around their net. They got those wins. We came home and played two pretty good games. And we got the advantage with two victories. And Game 5, they obviously were much better than us, and it’s that close.

        Now we have the task of having to come back here and use the home ice advantage, use the energy of our fans, and use our surroundings to draw even in the series and prove that we’re that close.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: dan+bylsma

You Can’t Fake A Playoff Beard

from Andrew Potter at MACLEANS,

Not all beards are created equal. Players like Detroit’s Dan Cleary or Maxime Talbot from Pittsburgh seem more like dispossessed men on skates than professional athletes. Sidney Crosby still looks like a prepubescent with alopecia. But there’s a naturalness to facial hair, in all its forms, that speaks to the fundamental authenticity of the display.

From the peacock’s tail to the Porsche, masculine status display throughout the animal kingdom tends to be a bit of a bluff. But NHLers stand apart from showy birds, middle-aged men, and recession-era rappers, who have lately started substituting cubic zirconia for real diamonds in their increasingly ostentatious bling. There’s no faking the playoff beard. In an era where technology too often seems to have triumphed over athleticism, with the players’ unique physicality constrained by the smooth, hard contours of lycra stretched over armoured plastic, the NHL playoffs signal an atavistic return to the sport’s battle-torn origins, archetypal wild men fighting it out on a frozen wasteland….

All of which leaves regular guys in a particularly sad and lonely condition. It also might help explain why growing a beard is becoming increasingly popular for hockey fans once their team enters the playoffs: it allows them to participate in one of the last symbols of male solidarity.

Not every man can shoot, skate, or throw a bodycheck a tenth as well as the players on the ice, but the one thing they all have in common is that they are men. But where there’s solidarity there is competition, and some men may find a minor satisfaction in knowing that even if they can’t play like their heroes, for a few weeks every spring, they can look like them.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

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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 pk@kuklaskorner.com

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