Kukla's Korner Hockey
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?
from Loose Change at the Hockey News,
One look at the Detroit lineup and you’ll realize the United Nations seems sectarian by comparison. Aside from a Japanese player and a Samoan, the Red Wings have every nation on earth represented on their roster….
The Penguins have an average age of 14. They have raging hormones, but are also brutally self-conscious. Intimidation is simply a matter of pointing out their pathetic attempts at playoff beards (“I’ve seen more hair on a parrot”). That one was easy.
Please, don’t put your first born child on the line because of what any of our writers or editors predict will happen…except maybe Edward, that guy is on fire!
So, for the final time this playoff season, here is our rundown of who each one of us thinks will win the Cup, in how many games and a quick one-liner why.
If you’re sitting on the edge of your seat, dying for the updated standings, the waiting has ended. Here are the rankings heading into the final:
read on at the Hockey News…
from Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette,
Where to begin with the remarkable career of Les Binkley, the Pittsburgh Penguins’ first No. 1 goaltender who wore 15 sweaters from his junior debut in 1949 through his pro-hockey retirement in 1976?
Surely with his highlight-reel goals-against:
- Being scored on twice by future motorcycle daredevil Evel Knievel in a train-wreck-ugly, 1970s World Hockey Association penalty-shot publicity stunt at Maple Leaf Gardens.
added 9:32am, for more on Les Binkley and some great pictures too, check out Habs Inside/Out...
from Empty Netters,
The NHL has staged a player draft every year since 1963. That’s 45 different drafts with 45 different first overall picks. Surprisingly, only 12 of those men have their name on the Stanley Cup. Should Sidney Crosby and Marc-Andre Fleury lead the Penguins to their third Stanley Cup title, they’ll be two the “earliest” former No. 1’s to claim the trophy.
In other words, among all former top overall picks, they’ll have played the fewest seasons in the league before winning their first championship:
check the chart for more…
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
Every 20 years or so—or in this case 19—Gary Roberts and Chris Chelios play against each other for the Stanley Cup.
It happens about as often as all-Canadian final, which it happened to be when Roberts and Chelios met for the Cup in 1989.
For Chelios, this really is nothing new. He has rings older than Evgeni Malkin and trips to the final with Montreal and Chicago in ‘89 and 1992, and of course, a Cup ring from the Red Wings six years ago.
But for Roberts, this wait has almost been forever. From the time he won his first and only professional championship, so much has happened.
Leyland’s boss, Tigers owner Mike Ilitch, also owns the Red Wings. They’re in the finals for the first time since 2002. Leyland has frequently expressed his gratitude and appreciation for Ilitch and the way he allowed the Tigers to make the moves they felt they needed.
On the other hand, Leyland is a Pittsburgh resident who attended some Penguins games over the offseason with former Tigers first baseman Sean Casey, who is a Penguins season ticket holder. They’re in the finals for the first time since 1992.
It’s an exciting matchup for fans around the league, but not the best matchup for Leyland. So when a reporter asked him about it, Leyland tried to be diplomatic.
“That’s obviously a no-win situation for me,” Leyland said. “I have no comment. May the best team win.”
from the Columbus Dispatch,
Dispatch hockey reporters Aaron Portzline and Tom Reed discuss the key issues heading into the best-of-seven series:
Question: Is this the Stanley Cup Finals matchup that could spring the NHL back into mainstream sports fans’ consciousness?
Portzline: If it doesn’t, the NHL might forever be a fringe sport. A great sport but a fringe sport. This is a dream matchup because both clubs have dynamic players that can get fans out of their chairs. Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg—these are four of the top six or seven players in the league. Even halfhearted hockey fans might tune in to watch these clubs go back and forth.
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