Kukla's Korner Hockey
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.
From Helene St. James at the Detroit Free Press,
Quick update from Mellon Arena here in Pittsburgh: In an effort to stop a two-game losing streak, the Penguins are inserting 36-year-old defenseman Darryl Sydor into the lineup for Game 3.
Sydor won Stanley Cups in 1999 with Dallas and in Tampa Bay 2004, but hasn’t seen action in a single game in the 2008 playoffs, that’s how highly the Penguins have thought of him. So exactly what he can add now is going to be interesting to see.
Update 12:37pm ET: From the CP,
The 36-year-old will replace rookie Kristopher Letang, whose play has slipped of late. Sydor has yet to see any action in this year’s playoffs.
To call Pittsburgh’s top regular-season scorer a non-factor so far in the Stanley Cup final may be generous. Malkin’s penalty minutes (four) easily exceed his number of shots on goal (one), and his minus-3 rating reflects the defensive contribution he made as the Penguins were manhandled by a combined 7-0 in the opening two games in Detroit.
Malkin often found himself bothered by Niklas Kronwall and the other bone rattlers on the Red Wings’ defence corps, something the Russian acknowledged in his halting English before a 3-0 loss in Game 2.
“Detroit have a good defenceman. Kronwall,” Malkin said. “I need to be more physical play. Have to pressure defenceman. Hit. Yeah, hit.”
more on Malkin and possible new pairings
Empty Netters is in a bind. They enjoy posting Penguins goal calls from Mike Lange, so far zero, nada.
from Mark Spector of the National Post,
“You feel like you’re chasing the puck all night. That’s really what it’s felt like for us, chasing the puck all night,” Roberts said of Game 2, which was identical to Game 1. “You use up so much energy trying to find the puck, that by the time you get it you’re exhausted.
“We’ve played good hockey. We’re just up against a better team, and we’ve got to find a way to get a little more jump in our step, and play with that confidence that we’ve played with.”
By “better team” Roberts of course meant, better than any of their previous playoff opponents. Not better than the Penguins.
from John Buccigross of ESPN,
It would be more appropriate to call the Red Wings the Red Army. Expressionless, machinelike, almost joyless, Detroit is marching through the Stanley Cup finals the way the Soviet Union marched through the early portion of the 1980 Winter Olympics….
So, Detroit leads the series 2-0, which will give Wednesday’s Game 3 in Pittsburgh a Game 7-type atmosphere. We all know the Penguins have to win Games 3 and 4 to have a chance. The Penguins improved in Game 2 and should play even better in Game 3. The Penguins are 8-0 at Mellon Arena in the postseason and have a 16-game home winning streak dating back to Feb. 24.
With that expected improvement and incredible atmosphere, I’ve decided to hit the road and take in Game 3 in person. Of course, I will sit among the people to let the passion, love and desperation wash over me like a cold shower after 18 holes at Oakmont Country Club. I will write about the experience in this space as well.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
The Hall of Fame captain of the Pittsburgh teams that won Stanley Cups in 1991 and 1992, and who later revived a franchise that seemed destined to wither on the vine in Pittsburgh, maintains his self-imposed media blackout even though his team is in the finals for the first time in 16 years.
When requests are made to talk to Lemieux, either in a one-on-one setting or in a group format with reporters covering the finals, word politely comes back through the team that the man who is the Penguins’ part-owner doesn’t want to take the spotlight away from his young team.
What a load of hooey.
This has nothing to do with taking any spotlight away from his players. They have been playing in the spotlight for weeks now. And since Sidney Crosby became a Penguin three seasons ago, the spotlight has never been far from this Penguins team.
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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