Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
It was expected to be a clash of young versus old, of the geezer Detroit Red Wings, including several players who won the Cup wearing the winged wheel in 1997, 1998 and 2002, wheezing and trembling as the young Penguins tried to defeat them with doses of phenomenal skill, dazzling speed and who knows what heights of brilliance.
So much for soothsayers.
Crosby, poked and prodded and bashed from his first shift—mostly courtesy of Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall—was held to three harmless shots.
added 11:31am, from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
For his first act as a participant in the Stanley Cup final, Sidney Crosby disappeared. Actually, the Detroit Red Wings made him vanish.
Evgeni Malkin, too, and the absence of the two Pittsburgh Penguins stars from the scoresheet and, to a great degree, from the action, was a big part of how the Wings humbled the Pens to open the best-of-seven series last night.
from Tom Reed of Puck-rakers,
The Penguins’ lack of experience on hockey’s grandest stage could not have been better illustrated than Marc-Andre Fleury’s tumble as he led his team onto the ice Saturday night for Stanley Cup finals opener.
The anxious Fleury, 23, ran down the Joe Louis Arena tunnel and splat. He tripped on the last step and fell headlong into the rink. Fleury is lucky his teammates didn’t topple like dominoes behind him. The Penguins real stumbling block, of course, was the Detroit Red Wings.
Watch the Fleury trip below with some ‘creative’ music…
from Seth Rorabaugh of Empty Netters at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
-That was a butt kicking plain and simple. Detroit executed their game plan and completely disrupted the Penguins’. They out-hit and out-shot the Penguins and they out-hustled them as well. That was as dominant of a playoff game we have seen this season.
-For as much talk there is about the Red Wings ample offensive skill, their defense won this game and has pretty much carried them to this point. There isn’t a finer defensive team in the league. Playing from behind on this team is tough.
from the 2008 Stanley Cup Playoffs Blog at CBC,
The job the Red Wings did against Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin was what most impressed the legendary Bowman.
“We were talking about it with Babcock, and he said what he wanted to do with Malkin was give him some offence with [Valterri] Filppula and [Jiri] Hudler, and then give him some checking with [Kris] Draper, [Dallas] Drake and [Mikael] Samuelsson,” Bowman said. “Give him some variety, you know? He had some good matchups tonight. Babcock did a good job in that one.”
Already, the Penguins sound confused. That’s what the Red Wings do to teams. You think you can play a finesse game against them, but they pick you apart on any turnover or soft transition play. Then, when that doesn’t work, you try to play a grinding, dump-and-chase game.
more and a note on Franzen too…
E.J.Hradek of ESPN talks with Tomas Holmstrom about his interference call and game 1 in general.
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
“I just live in the moment,” said Samuelsson, who had scored two goals in the first 16 games of the playoffs and doubled his output in Game 1. “I’m lucky to be the one who scored a couple of goals.”
What he represented last night is just one of the myriad of weapons the Red Wings possess and the many different ways in which they can defeat the Penguins.
“That’s how we play,” said goalie Chris Osgood, who recorded his second shutout of the post-season. “We possess the puck.”
from Gene Collier of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
But Game 1 wasn’t a total waste for the Penguins, who learned that they’re merely up against an awfully good hockey team, not some impenetrable monolith.
“We can compete with these guys,” Hal Gill said confidently afterward. “We were just a step behind here, a step behind there, and it cost us. We’ll work on some things and be better on Monday.”
“We always bounce back,” Therrien said. “And I expect us to.”
The National Hockey League’s ‘dream match-up’ was a nightmare for the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup final.
It started badly enough when goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury fell face first as he made his customary pre-game sprint on to the ice, while veteran public address announcer Budd Lynch mistakenly called captain Sidney Crosby ‘Steven’ during the ceremonial faceoff.
But more importantly, the Penguins’ youth and inexperience caught up with them in a 4-0 loss to the Detroit Red Wings, giving the Western Conference champions a 1-0 lead in the best of seven series.
From Eric McErlain at The Sporting News,
When the Detroit Red Wings and the Pittsburgh Penguins open up the Stanley Cup Finals tonight in Detroit, you couldn’t be blamed for forgetting which team has home-ice advantage. It’s hard not to find similarities between Detroit and Pittsburgh—two tough, blue-collar cities that love their NHL hockey—just ask Larry Murphy.
The Hall of fame defenseman has a skate in both camps this week. When I talked to him a couple of hours before the opening faceoff of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals, he had to stifle a chuckle when he told me it was “scary” how many parallels there were between his experiences in the two cities.
Now working as a broadcaster for Fox Sports Net Detroit, HD Net and the NHL Network, Murphy was an integral part of four Stanley Cup winning teams: Two in Pittsburgh in 1991 and 1992 and another two in Detroit in 1997 and 1998.
From the Detroit Free Press:
Mayor Kwame M. Kilpatrick and Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl have reached a gentleman’s wager over the Stanley Cup series between the Detroit Red Wings and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
If Detroit wins, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl will send Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick goodies from the Steel City, including Heinz Ketchup and Primanti Sandwiches. He will also ship Mayor Kilpatrick an octopus from Wholeys Fish Market. Dan Wholey, the market’s owner, made news this week when he said he would not sell octopi to any Red Wings fans during games in Pittsburgh.
If the Penguins win the Stanley Cup, Kilpatrick will send some of Motor City’s favorites such as Little Cesar’s Pizza Kits, Faygo Pop and a proclamation declaring Pittsburgh “America’s Hockey City,” according to a statement issued by Kilpatrick’s office.
Clearly, neither of these cities are going to prove themselves to be bastions of fine American cuisine…
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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