Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
In the final moments of today’s playoff game between the Penguins and the Flyers, a pile of “if-when” contracts could be triggered.
If Pittsburgh clinches, thousands of Eastern Conference championship T-shirts and hats will be rushed into production and shipped to stores. If Philadelphia wins, those contracts sit in limbo for whenever the series comes to a decisive conclusion.
This is the “chase business,” said John Horan, publisher of trade publication, Sporting Goods Intelligence. Even as Sidney Crosby and Scottie Upshall chase pucks around the ice, vendors and retailers are poised to chase the sales that victory brings. Blink and the business opportunity might go flying by.
From Steve Simmons via the Winnipeg Sun,
Should it happen that the Pittsburgh Penguins win the Stanley Cup, and that’s at least a 50-50 bet, then Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin will be accomplishing something that has never happened in an expanded hockey world.
For Crosby, this is only season No. 3 in the National Hockey League, all of it post-lockout, all of it intended to save the Pittsburgh franchise. For Malkin, this is only his sophomore year: Whatever and whenever this team was supposed to find itself in contention, all this has happened faster than ever before.
Wayne Gretzky was in his sixth NHL season and seventh pro season when the Edmonton Oilers won their first Cup in 1984. Mario Lemieux was in Year 7 in Pittsburgh when the Penguins won their first of two Cups.
continued… and more NHL notes
Q. I guess is there any concern about Malkin and Sykora for tomorrow?
COACH THERRIEN: They should be ready for tomorrow. They should be there.
Q. Is it just a sickness?
COACH THERRIEN: A sickness. And we believe at this time of year rest sometimes can be more important than practice, and they should be there tomorrow.
from Bob Smizik of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
Seems hard to believe that about a week ago Malkin was being talked about as possibly the best player in the game. He was mentioned frequently as a leading candidate for the Conn Smythe Trophy, which goes to the MVP of the playoffs. While Sidney Crosby struggled to score, Malkin was a goal-scoring machine.
But look what he has done lately. His only point in the past three games was the second assist on Malone’s score that gave the Penguins a two-goal lead midway through the third period of Game 3. He has managed only seven shots on goal in those three games, compared to 10 in the final game against the New York Rangers. He has been charged with eight giveaways.
There’s no Conn Smythe candidacy in those numbers.
More talk from the coaches today, this time from the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Michel Therrien. Here’s the transcript.
Q. I was wondering if you could assess Evgeni Malkin’s play the last three games of this series? What have you seen in him the last three games?
COACH THERRIEN: Yeah, you know what, he hasn’t been productive like he was in the past. But he’s going to have to find a win next game to make sure he’s going to be productive like he used to be as soon as the playoffs start.
Some questions for Philadelphia Flyers coach John Stevens today.
Q. Can you talk about what Kimmo will mean not just on the ice, but off the ice in the room if he does come back and play on Sunday?
COACH STEVENS: Well, he’s a huge part of our team. I mean, through this year he’s progressed and in the playoffs he’s really taken his game to another level. I think just his presence around our team all year, he’s got deep respect by all his teammates. He just has composure all the time. I think that’s infectious on our team.
from Doubt About It,
So no, my problem isn’t with the Flyers. Not their players, and not even their fans. The fights at the end of the game? Whatever. It happens. My problem is with Versus tonight. It is bad enough to watch your team lose in the playoffs, but it is even worse when you have to basically listen to the opposing team’s broadcast.
Think I am being overzealous? Consider that when the Flyers played in Pittsburgh, Versus showed footage of Flyers fans in bars at Philly. Was similar footage shown of Penguins fans Tuesday night or tonight? Unless I missed it on the way to the fridge or the John, I dont think so. Nothing. Nada. Instead they showed all the Flyers fans signs and continually remarked how “funny Flyers fans are”.
thanks to the Pensblog for the pointer…
Don Cherry at ESPN wonders why Crosby and Malkin were on the ice with ten seconds left in the game.
from Joe Starkey of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
Forget about this one. Burn the tape.
That needed to be the Penguins’ mind-set the instant the buzzer sounded on their 4-2 loss Thursday night.
Forget about the retaliatory penalties, the phantom penalties, the ghastly turnovers and the failure to clear the front of the net early in the game.
Forget about the rowdy, hostile crowd that must have launched into its beloved “Crosby Sucks!” chant 10 times or more.
Forget about a wasted chance to not just eliminate the hated Flyers but humiliate them with a sweep and a post-series handshake on their home ice.
Q. You had talked all series about the team’s execution offensively. Do you think something in their minds was different for this game? A little less nervousness, perhaps, or they had nothing to lose?
COACH STEVENS: Yeah, but I just thought we’d come out with real good energy. We were skating with the puck. We got pucks, we didn’t just get pucks through the neutral zone, we had speed after the puck, which I thought made a difference. We got our power play, we started shooting the puck again. You know, I think we were trying to pass the puck to the net.
They’re a very good penalty killing team, and sometimes you don’t score on the initial shot, but you create secondary chances at the net. I thought the power play did that early, and really gave us momentum. Obviously, getting the lead was big for us, but we did some really good things in the game, especially early.
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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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