Kukla's Korner Hockey
NEW YORK (May 19, 2008)—The National Hockey League announced today that the 2008 Stanley Cup Final will open on Saturday, May 24, when the Western Conference champion Detroit Red Wings host the Eastern Conference champion Pittsburgh Penguins at Joe Louis Arena.
VERSUS will telecast Games 1 and 2 of the best-of-seven series in the U.S., while NBC will broadcast Games 3 through 7. In Canada, CBC and RDS will provide coverage for the entire series. All start times are 8 p.m., Eastern.
The NHL Network, the League’s 24-hour, all-access pass to the most comprehensive hockey coverage, will feature special programming surrounding the Stanley Cup Final. NHL Network will air a live pre-game edition of NHL On The Fly from the host arena at 6 p.m., ET, as well as live, on-site, post-game coverage featuring press conferences, highlights and analysis.
from Mark Spector of the National Post,
There is a running joke inside the Pittsburgh Penguins dressing room that goes something like this: As long as Sidney Crosby captains the team, there can be no such thing as an optional practice.
Sure, the coach will write “Optional” on the white board now and again. But when your captain, leader and best player laces up his skates for an optional practice - something Crosby does every single time - there is no way that a lesser player cannot follow and still look his teammates in the eye.
Now, look at how these Penguins have gone in one year from first-round fodder to a berth in the Stanley Cup final.
from Al Strachan at Fox Sports,
If you look at the Stanley Cup playoffs over the years, especially in the modern era, a clear trend emerges. Teams that can get themselves at least one short series along the way are much more likely to hoist the Cup than a team that had to battle hard all along the way.
Similarly, that’s why the fourth and fifth holes are so dreaded. For those teams, every round is a tough one and less likely to produce a short series. Under the current format, no fourth-seeded team has managed to win the Cup.
So the Red Wings did themselves no favors by failing to put away the Stars after going up 3-0 in the conference final. In fact, most hockey observers felt that one of the reasons the Wings were able to open that lead was the fact that the Stars exhibited a similar failing in the previous round.
Shelly Anderson, Pens beat writer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette had an online chat today…
CupHolder92: I keep hearing that the Western Division plays a different style of hockey, but after watching a few playoff games it seems pretty similar to the East. Maybe a little more wide open, but not by much. Is there something I am missing? How do you think the Pens style meshes with the West style?
Shelly Anderson: First, you would have to define the Penguins’ style, and that’s not a simple thing. Their game is both defensively sound and, because of their speed, high-voltage on offense. Detroit has similar attributes. Both teams can win playing different styles. So there’s probably not a big difference based on which conference they play in. Not too many years ago, the East was considered more defense- and trap-oriented (New Jersey had a lot to do with that) while the West was more wide open, but since the lockout with the new rules and rules interpretations, things have evened out across the NHL.
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
This leaves an interesting battle ahead for the Penguins, who have lost just two games so far in the playoffs. Assuming the Detroit Red Wings will finally put the Dallas Stars away in the Western Conference final, the Penguins will face a complete team with more experience.
However, the Red Wings are weaker in one crucial spot: goal. Chris Osgood is not Fleury’s equal, which could be fatal given the quality of the Penguins’ shooters.
Fleury came into the season with a lot of questions surrounding him. But after he returned from an ankle injury late in the season, he began living up to the promise the Penguins saw when they took him first overall in the 2003 draft.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
But just 17 months after Canadian technology mogul Jim Balsillie walked away from his offer to buy the team—and presumably begin the process of moving the team to Canada—these same Penguins are headed to the Stanley Cup finals for the first time since Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr were leading the Pens to the second of back-to-back Cups in 1992.
From chaos to the Cup finals in the blink of an eye.
“It seems like a long time ago. It really wasn’t, but it just seems we’ve come a long way, on and off the ice,” GM Ray Shero said after the Penguins ended this Eastern Conference finals series with an emphatic 6-0 shutout of the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 5 on Sunday. “It’s a great thing for the city of Pittsburgh and this franchise.”
from Mike Brophy of the Hockey News,
American TV executives must be tickled pink. It doesn’t matter who the Western Conference champion is, they got The Kid.
Sid the Kid.
Say what you want about the best two teams making the final each year; it means squat to American television and no matter what your sensibilities are concerning this issue, the NHL is still very much trying to sell itself as a major attraction in the USA.
Having Sidney Crosby in the final does that.
Penguins defeat the Flyers 6-0 to advance to the SCF.
This game was over midway through the second period. Flyers gave it their all, but the talented Penguins were just too much for them.
via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
“Those players have made a commitment on both sides of the puck that leads to success,” Lamoriello said. “If you watch what they’ve done and have followed them during the year, you shouldn’t be surprised. It’s only been a surprise if you try to bring the past into the present, and the present is what you look at.”
more on the Penguins…
from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
In the final moments of today’s playoff game between the Penguins and the Flyers, a pile of “if-when” contracts could be triggered.
If Pittsburgh clinches, thousands of Eastern Conference championship T-shirts and hats will be rushed into production and shipped to stores. If Philadelphia wins, those contracts sit in limbo for whenever the series comes to a decisive conclusion.
This is the “chase business,” said John Horan, publisher of trade publication, Sporting Goods Intelligence. Even as Sidney Crosby and Scottie Upshall chase pucks around the ice, vendors and retailers are poised to chase the sales that victory brings. Blink and the business opportunity might go flying by.
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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