Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Dr. Larry Lauer at NHL.com,
The Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins now stand four wins away from achieving their mission—winning the Stanley Cup. But just making it to the Stanley Cup Final is an accomplishment. The long journey begins with the preseason, carried through the grind of 82 regular-season games, and then six weeks of physical, intense playoff hockey.
This has to be truly one of most exciting times in a player’s career—the anticipation of a championship, the anxiety of the “what will it be like” and “everyone is watching,” the confidence of having disposed of three tough opponents, and the desire to make an impact in the biggest series of your life.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
Still, it’ll be the Lidstrom versus Crosby confrontation that will be worth the price of admission.
Aside from his obvious talent, it’s Crosby’s industriousness and strength on his skates that truly make him a handful. Lidstrom, of course, has made a living playing against the best forwards on the opposing roster every night for 16 years, playing more of a contain-type game than an attacking one and rarely being caught out of position.
If Babcock goes for this matchup in Detroit, it will be intriguing to see whether Penguins head coach Michel Therrien accepts it, or tries to get Crosby away from the multiple Norris Trophy winner.
from Ryan White of the Oregonian,
Watch. Watch for the little things. Watch the way Lidstrom holds the puck a second longer than anyone else, and opens up a world of passing lanes. Watch the way Crosby finds lanes not even Lidstrom could imagine. Watch Datsyuk and Zetterberg and Malkin move through traffic, so calm in the middle of so much chaos.
Watch what should be one of the best Cup finals in a long, long time. Go ahead. Do it. You work hard. You deserve the pleasure this series should provide.
from Empty Netters,
What if the Penguins win the Cup?
continued... and that was enough Cup talk Seth!
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
Declared dead after the lockout of 2004-05, the league is now being hyped as prime for the mass-market breakthrough it has yearned for since Commissioner Gary Bettman was in short pants.
Its showcase event, the Stanley Cup finals, will begin Saturday in Detroit with Crosby and Fleury’s whiz-kid Pittsburgh Penguins facing Lidstrom’s savvy Red Wings. The games should be entertaining, with clear storylines:
from Jim Kelley at Sportsnet,
A matchup of the two best teams in hockey, something of a rare occurrence in hockey and a series where a great many in the business of sports forecasting would be willing to just throw up their hands and yell “pick’em”.
But not your humble Sportsnet. ca correspondent.
What follows is an expanded Sportsnet.ca breakdown complete with an overview, an explanation of what both teams need to do to win, an analysis of the key players and, as always, an unshakeable prediction in regards to how it will all turn out.
You don’t have to thank me now, but feel free to send a cheque in my name to any charity of your choice including the Kelley’s Kids foundation a group that has had it’s hand in my wallet for decades.
from the Good, The Bad And The Duthie,
If Malkin is sensational, I think Pittsburgh wins the cup. If he is just average, or disappears, as he was sometimes prone to do before he blew up in the second half of this season, Detroit wins.
Sure, it’s a lot more complicated than that. But I’m a simpleton. And simply put, Malkin’s play, more than any other single factor, will decide the Stanley Cup Champion.
From Paul Kukla at Hockey.com,
Some people have written the SCF should be starting tonight and I can see where they are coming from. But the hype has not even reached its high point yet—that begins later today and extends into Friday. The national media types will be settling into Detroit today. Media day is scheduled for tomorrow and then the stories really start rolling out.
I have this distinct feeling the SCF will attract the casual sports fan. Call it the Crosby Coming Out Party if you wish, but everything points to a series of skill, speed and great players. Both sides have the ability to turn it on offensively and that translates into “can’t turn away from this game” for that casual fan.
from Stan Fischler at Game On,
I can’t wait. The Maven foresees a classic series which I expect to end short of the wire. That is, Red Wings in six—in spite of Sid The Kid and his Clan, and whether concussion-bothered Johan Franzen is in the Detroit lineup or not!
from Damien Cox at ESPN,
Now, with the Penguins about to face the Detroit Red Wings in a glitzy 2008 Stanley Cup finals filled with marquee names and intriguing story lines, Crosby, as the league’s top individual marketing tool, is being asked to deliver a virtuoso performance that will somehow vault the NHL into a new level of success and profitability.
Oh yes, and be a humble, unselfish teammate at the same time while figuring out a way to outfox the Red Wings, merely the NHL’s best team this season.
Sounds doable for a 20-year-old, yes?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org