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Category: Pittsburgh-Penguins

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
 

The Real MVP

from Jamie Fitzpatrick of Jamie’s Blog at About.com,

Pavel Datsyuk can’t win the Conn Smythe Trophy as Stanley Cup MVP. His foot injury cost him too many games, and he wasn’t scoring much before he got hurt.

But in his return on Saturday night, Detroit’s finest looked like the best player in the NHL, which he might be….

He also reminded us that MVPs dominate the game at both ends of the ice.

After watching Datsyuk and company neutralize the Penguins, how could anyone consider Malkin a Conn Smythe candidate?

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: pavel+datsyuk

Penguins Must Grow Up

from Bill Simonson of the Grand Rapids Press at Mlive,

Watching Detroit crush the Penguins on Saturday night was as of fulfilling as anything I have ever witnessed in sports. Even better than when the Red Wings got Roy pulled in that epic Western Conference final Game 7….

The showboating and headhunting has no place in hockey. It’s obvious Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are the malcontents who run the show and when their game is on they dance and throw it in the face of their opponents. Did Stevie Yzerman or Wayne Gretzky ever show up other teams?

When the little baby Penguins are frustrated they can’t handle it and lose it on the ice for all to see. Great teams and great players win and lose with class like the Red Wings….

Lets be honest about Crosby. He’s got great talent with an immature side to him that probably will never see a Stanley Cup trophy parade as long as the Red Wings are in business. He knows this and it kills him so the little sniper and his Russian buddy Malkin bask in the glory of home ice but have curled in to the fetal position on the road in Detroit.

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Tell Me How The Penguins Can Win Game 6

OK Pens fans and NHL fans, tell me what the Penguins can and will do to win game 6 tomorrow night.

If you are a Wings fan, I don’t want to hear how the Penguins will not win, but if you have an idea on how the Penguins may win, feel free to comment.

My thoughts, Fleury has to be great and secondary scoring is key for the Penguins to survive game 6 and force a game 7.

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

Concentrating On One Win

from Jacques Demers at USA TODAY,

The Red Wings are smart enough to know they haven’t won anything and are in for a game Tuesday. Their veterans will benefit from an extra day of rest.

The Penguins, meanwhile, just have to concentrate on winning at home, where they’re 8-2 in the postseason, and take a chance in Game 7. In fact, just try to win the first period Tuesday. Get a lead and see how they play with it. And don’t get too cute.

Bylsma was smart to pull goalie Marc-Andre Fleury on Saturday. He did it at the right time and said the right things to make sure Fleury was not embarrassed.

Fleury knows he could have played better. As a result, he will be the Penguins’ most dangerous guy on the ice Tuesday. He has proved he can bounce back.

After all, he has character, too.

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Doing Whatever It Takes

from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,

...Mused veteran Red Wing Kris Draper, now with two shots, if necessary, to have his name inscribed on the Cup a fifth time, “For us, if we can put our power play on the ice, three, four, five times a night, we’ll take a slash, take a crosscheck, to do whatever it takes to get Pav [Datsyuk] and ‘Z’ [Zetterberg], and the mule [Johan Franzen], and those guys that do such a great job for us on the power play.

“If we can do whatever it takes to just kind of skate away and get the power play on the ice, we’re certainly going to do that.”

It’s a lesson in self-restraint the Penguins have yet to grasp completely. They are not short of the high-end talent or the overall depth or the skill it takes to win a Cup. But for all their glitz and exuberance, they have yet to master the Wings’ Zen-like focus, discipline, and summoning the champion within.

Now the Penguins have the unenviable task of trying to bring it all together, complete their playoff persona, while under the thumb of the Red Wings, with the clock set at 60 minutes to extinction.

Sure, still time to grow up, but a bad time to try.

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The Turning Point Of The Series

from David Staples of The Cult Of Hockey,

Though they won only two of them, the Pittsburgh Penguins looked to be the clearly superior team over the first four games of the 2009 Stanley Cup finals.

Then Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red Wings, the league’s rightful most valuable player, got in the game.

The moment when the series shifted, when Detroit established itself as the team that would almost certainly win the Cup, came at 8:11 of the first period, Game Five, when the Russian star of the Red Wings cranked the Russian star of the Penguins, knocking him over and knocking Pittsburgh off its high horse.

continued

added 9:05am, from Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press,

So, finally, no matter how grizzled, bearded or tired they looked, the Wings line up with all their big weapons, ready for 60 minutes at full strength against the Penguins. One victory needed. Two chances to get it. Datsyuk has Gordie Howe behind him, the ice in front of him, and a smile all over him. Dat’s the ticket. We’ll see if destiny punches it.

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Bylsma Believes

from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,

The Red Wings were immensely boosted by the return of center Pavel Datsyuk, who set up two goals after missing seven games because of a foot injury. Datsyuk said Sunday he’s “feeling good and more confidence,” which can’t be good news for the Penguins.

Bylsma professed a strong belief in his players, as he had to and should. He gave them a day off Sunday and will ratchet the intensity back up today.

“There won’t be a big change,” he said. “I think change is a sign of an alarm bell, and you set up the way you do things so that in situations like this we can act like we normally act and we can do the things that we normally do.”

Hating to lose must become as much a part of their normal routine as wanting to win. It already is for the Red Wings.

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Fleury Must Be Great

from Bob Duff of the Windsor Star,

He is their last line of defence and come Tuesday, he may very well be their last hope.

If the Pittsburgh Penguins want their Stanley Cup dream to remain a reality, Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury better be prepared to parry the flurry the Detroit Red Wings will throw at him in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup final at Pittsburgh’s Mellon Arena.

Behind 3-2 to the Wings following a stunningly-lopsided 5-0 setback Saturday in Game 5 at Joe Louis Arena, it all comes down to this:

Fleury must be huge. He must be virtually impenetrable.

Otherwise, for the second straight spring, the Penguins get to watch Detroit players parade the Stanley Cup around their house.

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

Penguins Need Some Offensive Help

from Darren Dreger of TSN,

While there was 53 minutes of forgettable hockey for the Penguins in Game 5, the first seven minutes or so was mildly spectacular.

The was a 47-second run in the offensive zone when Evgeni Malkin, Ruslan Fedotenko and Maxime Talbot absolutely controlled the puck, controlled the play and controlled the Red Wings.

While they’ll walk away from Game 5 with those positives, the Penguins know they will have to be a more disciplined team. Things got completely unruly in the second period with dumb penalties from a team that is otherwise very disciplined.

The Penguins also need to find other players to support them offensively.

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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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