Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Red Fisher of the Montreal Gazette,
What you have here now is that while the Red Wings made a few hearts flutter by losing twice to the Stars, the NHL’s best two teams are meeting for the Cup.
What you have is a team that won the Presidents’ Cup during the regular season meeting the NHL’s second-best team, even though the Penguins finished No. 2 behind the Canadiens in the East in the regular season.
What you have is a matchup to die for.
from John Buccigross at ESPN,
What happens in the first two games in Detroit will go a long way in determining the series. Most of the Wings’ lineup has been in this spot before; most of the Penguins have not. But that doesn’t matter if one team is simply better. If the Penguins are to win it all, they have to simply believe they are better and then go out and work harder. If they have any doubt, they will get manhandled.
I’m sure I am in the minority here. Most Web-perts are probably taking the Red Wings. If you go back to ESPN.com’s preseason predictions, you’ll see my preseason Stanley Cup winner in black text: “Pittsburgh Penguins.”
I’m sticking with that. Black and bold. Penguins in six.
from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
Athletic equipment maker Reebok and the Penguins asked city officials last week if they could drape banners of Penguins Captain Sidney Crosby and goalie Marc-Andre Fleury on Fifth Avenue Place, Downtown, city officials said.
The temporary promotion would require City Council’s approval, but no one has yet proposed the required legislation even though the Penguins are set to play the first game of the Stanley Cup finals against the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday in Detroit.
From Dan Rosen at NHL.com,
If you search hard enough, you’ll still find Greg Malone’s name in the Pittsburgh Penguins media guide. He’s listed in Ryan Malone’s bio as the forward’s father, and in other places showing his season and career stats as a Penguins’ center from 1976-83.
But Greg Malone’s present value to these Penguins extends way beyond any miniscule mention in a media guide. Even though his job title now refers to him as a professional scout for the Phoenix Coyotes, Malone was one of the architects who put together the team that will represent the Eastern Conference in the 2008 Stanley Cup Final starting Saturday [...]
As the Penguins’ head scout from 1990-2006, Malone was at the forefront of every Penguins draft, meaning he had his hand in selecting 11 of the 20 players that should dress for Game 1 against the Detroit Red Wings Saturday at Joe Louis Arena.
Some of the stuff going on at these blogs is way over my head (maybe below my head too) but the pasion is genuine, from both sides.
I will be an innocent bystander over the next two weeks, watching as one blog goes down on the canvas, only to get back up and deliver a round-house right punch.
I just hope they fight fair, remember, no low punches allowed.
from Michael Farber of Rink Side Blog at Sports Illustrated,
This might be mere serendipity or a sign of something more significant at work. Three seasons past the lockout, maybe it is time for the NHL to take a bow. The game was re-worked in the 2004-05 hiatus in an effort to end the old hook-and-hold-‘em rodeo and reward skilled players. Although the pace of progress seemed glacial—the so-called officiating standard can be maddening—there is an increased flow and indeed beauty to the NHL game. The league seems to have found its happy place.
When the two teams that play the most exemplary hockey get to do it in a Stanley Cup final that starts Saturday, the NHL has got it right.
from Shelly Anderson of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
The Penguins watched the game Monday night, and many have watched the Red Wings other nights.
From that, and from reputation,, the Penguins are well aware of Detroit’s tight defense, led by captain Niklas Lidstrom. And the potent offense led by Henrik Zetterberg, who is tied with the Sidney Crosby atop the playoff scoring race with 21 points. And the shutdown goaltending of Chris Osgood, whose 1.60 goals-against average is the best of the postseason.
“We didn’t play all season, but we saw them enough,” winger Georges Laraque said of the Red Wings who have been among the NHL’s elite teams the past several seasons.
from Jacques Demers at USA TODAY,
These Stanley Cup Finals are filled with stars. Though the NHL would never say so, this is their dream matchup.
The Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins are what hockey in the post-lockout era is supposed to be about: great scoring chances, puck control, great passes. Pittsburgh defensemen Ryan Whitney and Sergei Gonchar and Detroit’s Brian Rafalski and Nicklas Lidstrom can get the puck up ice quicker than anyone.
Both teams love the transition game. Their coaches are among the elite of the NHL. Even if they’re strong defensively, you’re still going to see a lot of offense.
from Ross McKeon at Yahoo Sports,
Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins are going to win a Stanley Cup. You can bet your bottom dollar on it. It’s a lock, a sure thing, guaranteed.
But it just isn’t going to happen this year. Not against this group of Detroit Red Wings. So with all due respect to the Penguins, and the late, great Herb Brooks, this is not your time.
Now before you hit the reply button and fire off that nasty email I’ve just inspired, hear me out. No, I don’t hate the Penguins. I don’t love the Red Wings. I’m not a fan of any one team in the NHL, nor do I have any rooting interest unless it comes to overtimes.
From NHL.com’s series breakdown:
Several weeks into the playoff journey, two hockey-crazed cities will duke it out through the two weeks to determine who will be the 2008 Stanley Cup champion. As a hockey fan, you truly couldn’t ask for much more than this.
Truth be told, this series pits Goliath vs. Goliath. Both teams possess superstar forwards, as Crosby is joined by Evgeni Malkin and Marian Hossa. On the opposite side of the ice, the Red Wings counter with phenomenal two-way forwards Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk, who combined for 189 points during the regular season and are finalists for the Selke Trophy as the NHL’s top defensive forward.
Go here for NHL.com’s opening look at the series, with links to various stories, trivia and other information available at the top of the article. And new stories will be updated as they’re published on this page.
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.
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