Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Eric Duhatschek at the Globe & Mail hockey blog,
Funny moment at the day-of-game skate – funny if you’re a print reporter, less so if you’re a broadcaster:
A handful of TV crews had staked out Tomas Holmstrom’s locker, by the entrance to the Detroit Red Wings’ dressing room in the hopes he would definitively declare his status for tonight’s fifth game of the Stanley Cup final. I was standing in the corner, near to the training room, in the vague hopes of getting one question asked to Nicklas Lidstrom before the pack descended. Holmstrom came by, surveyed the crowd, decided he didn’t want to chance it and said, at the top of his voice: “I’M PLAYING TONIGHT. SEE YOU TONIGHT.” Then, he turned and made his way out the back exit. I felt especially badly for Ryan Rishaug of TSN, because he too was hovering nearby, but Holmstrom came and went so quickly, they didn’t get any tape of him making his announcement.
It was a zoo, even by Stanley Cup final standards this morning – everybody anticipating a Detroit win, so that they could a jump on their post-game stories, which are next-to-impossible on a tight deadline on a championship night.
Update 1:30pm ET: Shawn O’Roarke at NHL.com also shares some thoughts on today’s atmosphere.
Q. Michel Therrien has been talking about how as this series has progressed, you guys as a team have gotten better. How do you think you’re better equipped to handle the pressure of maybe playing in this building tonight, than maybe you were heading into Game 1?
SIDNEY CROSBY: I think we saw some pretty good results. We haven’t come out with a win in a couple of different occasions where we played pretty well. The chance has been there. Last game, we didn’t give them a whole lot. I think we played our position a lot better as the series has gone on and been more patient. We just have to keep doing the same thing.
From Ken Campbell at The Hockey News,
If the Detroit Red Wings manage to complete their quest for the Stanley Cup tonight and I’m presented with a ballot for the Conn Smythe Trophy, I’m inclined to leave it blank and give it right back to the NHL.
It’s not out of protest or a desire to be a conscientious objector. The fact is, going into Game 5 of the final, I don’t believe anyone deserves to win the Conn Smythe. That could all change with some kind of superhuman performance tonight, but personally, I’m having a hard time coming up with a single player who has delivered an indisputable MVP performance in these playoffs.
continued… and Campbell does take a closer look at the likely candidates
Q. How did you sleep last night given what’s at stake tonight?
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: Outstanding. Slept really good.
Q. Can you just talk about being in the moment and how locked-in your team is, because this city and the fans are planning a big party tonight, and how your team doesn’t get caught up in any of that?
From Jim Kelley at Sportsnet.ca,
After all, a Pittsburgh loss in the Joe Louis Arena and the Detroit Red Wings are Stanley Cup champions. The kids, well, deep down in their collective hearts, you just know they believe there will be a second chance, maybe even a third or fourth if they can keep the core of the team together.
Not so for Roberts.
“Deep down I know this is probably the last time for me,” Roberts said in the hours before the team plane departed for what could be the last game of the season and possibly Roberts’ career.
From Mike Brophy at The Hockey News,
This has not been the close Stanley Cup final many hoped for when two high-powered offenses like the Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins hooked up.
In fact, there is a good chance it’ll all be over on Monday.
But here’s the thing – the hockey has been great. The NHL appears to be inching closer and closer to what it set out to accomplish following the lockout with a greater emphasis in speed and skill.
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
When it ended, the painful one-goal loss in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup final, Evgeni Malkin sat at his locker, face in hands, not moving.
It was the first visual sign from one of the young Pittsburgh Penguins that this dream season was not to be.
And it wasn’t just Malkin. When Penguins coach Michel Therrien sat at the podium to answer questions, the tone lacked his usual bravado and humour.
Simply, he sounded frustrated and defeated.
Tonight, the Penguins have an enormous test against the Detroit Red Wings, not just to score some goals, but to try to win a game on the road and keep the Stanley Cup final alive.
From Jacques Demers in USA Today,
Four numbers stuck with me after watching the Detroit Red Wings take a 3-1 series lead on the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night:
•Defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom, the 38-year-old captain of the Red Wings, played more than 28 minutes, skating 37 shifts, an average ice time of 44 seconds.
•Pavel Datsyuk played 19 minutes, averaging 39 seconds.
•Henrik Zetterberg played close to 23 minutes, averaging 43 seconds.
•Johan Franzen averaged 42 seconds.
Press Release from the Pittsburgh Penguins:
Pittsburgh Penguins have recalled defenseman Alex Goligoski from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (AHL), it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Ray Shero.
From Jeremy Sandler at the National Post,
Originally the itinerary included golf and sightseeing, but finding pubs or Internet cafes with access to hockey broadcasts got added to the agenda once the Pittsburgh Penguins qualified to battle for the NHL’s ultimate prize.
It is safe to say that among people not directly connected to the Penguins, the 62-year-old [Craig] Patrick has a greater rooting interest in the final than most.
As the Penguins general manager for 17 years, he assembled about half of the players who tonight will try and even the finals at two games apiece.
more on Patrick extensive history with the Penguins
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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