Kukla's Korner Hockey
Ryan Malone participated in an NHL tele-conference today…
Q. Could you sit back and look at the big picture, where this franchise and team was about 15 months ago when it looked like the team might possibly move, the arena deal was difficult to negotiate. Nervous time for everyone in Pittsburgh. 15 months later you’re in the Stanley Cup final, sold out every game, a new rink on the way. Has that been kind of a fun but nervous ride?
RYAN MALONE: A little bit. I think especially being from Pittsburgh, even being with the team early on, when you heard all the rumors about we might be moving, I think deep down inside with the fan support we had at the time, it was great, so it would have been tough to leave such a good hockey town with the support we were receiving at the time.
I think deep down inside we knew we weren’t really going anywhere. For some reason, people were dragging their feet, finally got the rink deal done. It would have been crazy to think at the end of this year we would be going somewhere else.
Definitely great to see. I think you really have to thank the fans for the way they supported us. Had big rallies during that time to make sure we knew they were supporting us. It was great.
from Spector at Fox Sports,
They’re now facing a healthy, fast and deep Penguins team that plays a very aggressive offensive style that won’t be as easily contained, which should prove the biggest test of the playoffs for the Red Wings defense.
It’ll also prove a major challenge for Chris Osgood, who’s played well but hasn’t been nearly as busy as Pittsburgh netminder Marc-Andre Fleury, who leads all playoff goalies in wins (12) and shutouts (3), and sports a slightly better save percentage (.934) than Osgood (.931).
Osgood will certainly face more shots and offensive pressure in this series than he did in the previous three, while Fleury is used to facing more shots and could adjust more quickly to the Red Wings offensive attack. It’ll be interesting to see how well Osgood fares under the heavier workload.
read on for his Stanley Cup winner…
The 2008 Stanley Cup Final marks the first playoff series between the Red Wings and Penguins in the 41st season that both clubs have been members of the NHL. It is the first postseason meeting of pro franchises from Detroit and Pittsburgh since the 1909 World Series, when the Pittsburgh Pirates topped the Detroit Tigers four games to three in a celebrated competition between Hall of Fame shortstop Honus Wagner for the Pirates and outfielder Ty Cobb for the Tigers.
from Mike Brophy of the Hockey News,
While everyone in the hockey world will be focused on the exploits of Crosby, Malkin, Datsyuk and Zetterberg, you’ll have to forgive me if I zero in on two other players who I think will be paramount to their teams’ success: Tomas Holmstrom of the Wings and Ryan Malone of the Penguins.
Through three rounds, Malone stood tied for eighth in playoff scoring with six goals and 15 points in 14 games while Holmstrom was tied for 24th with three goals and 10 points in 16 games.
Why these two?
from Red Fisher of the Montreal Gazette,
What you have here now is that while the Red Wings made a few hearts flutter by losing twice to the Stars, the NHL’s best two teams are meeting for the Cup.
What you have is a team that won the Presidents’ Cup during the regular season meeting the NHL’s second-best team, even though the Penguins finished No. 2 behind the Canadiens in the East in the regular season.
What you have is a matchup to die for.
from John Buccigross at ESPN,
What happens in the first two games in Detroit will go a long way in determining the series. Most of the Wings’ lineup has been in this spot before; most of the Penguins have not. But that doesn’t matter if one team is simply better. If the Penguins are to win it all, they have to simply believe they are better and then go out and work harder. If they have any doubt, they will get manhandled.
I’m sure I am in the minority here. Most Web-perts are probably taking the Red Wings. If you go back to ESPN.com’s preseason predictions, you’ll see my preseason Stanley Cup winner in black text: “Pittsburgh Penguins.”
I’m sticking with that. Black and bold. Penguins in six.
from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
Athletic equipment maker Reebok and the Penguins asked city officials last week if they could drape banners of Penguins Captain Sidney Crosby and goalie Marc-Andre Fleury on Fifth Avenue Place, Downtown, city officials said.
The temporary promotion would require City Council’s approval, but no one has yet proposed the required legislation even though the Penguins are set to play the first game of the Stanley Cup finals against the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday in Detroit.
From Dan Rosen at NHL.com,
If you search hard enough, you’ll still find Greg Malone’s name in the Pittsburgh Penguins media guide. He’s listed in Ryan Malone’s bio as the forward’s father, and in other places showing his season and career stats as a Penguins’ center from 1976-83.
But Greg Malone’s present value to these Penguins extends way beyond any miniscule mention in a media guide. Even though his job title now refers to him as a professional scout for the Phoenix Coyotes, Malone was one of the architects who put together the team that will represent the Eastern Conference in the 2008 Stanley Cup Final starting Saturday [...]
As the Penguins’ head scout from 1990-2006, Malone was at the forefront of every Penguins draft, meaning he had his hand in selecting 11 of the 20 players that should dress for Game 1 against the Detroit Red Wings Saturday at Joe Louis Arena.
Some of the stuff going on at these blogs is way over my head (maybe below my head too) but the pasion is genuine, from both sides.
I will be an innocent bystander over the next two weeks, watching as one blog goes down on the canvas, only to get back up and deliver a round-house right punch.
I just hope they fight fair, remember, no low punches allowed.
from Michael Farber of Rink Side Blog at Sports Illustrated,
This might be mere serendipity or a sign of something more significant at work. Three seasons past the lockout, maybe it is time for the NHL to take a bow. The game was re-worked in the 2004-05 hiatus in an effort to end the old hook-and-hold-‘em rodeo and reward skilled players. Although the pace of progress seemed glacial—the so-called officiating standard can be maddening—there is an increased flow and indeed beauty to the NHL game. The league seems to have found its happy place.
When the two teams that play the most exemplary hockey get to do it in a Stanley Cup final that starts Saturday, the NHL has got it right.
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