Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Jim Kelley at Sportsnet,
...Which brings us all the way back to 1994 when the New York Rangers battled the tenacious Vancouver Canucks through seven games at a time when the NHL was thought to be on the rise vs. NBA and within the company of other major sports leagues.
Detroit vs. Pittsburgh, the matchup that kicks off the 2008 Stanley Cup final this Saturday in Detroit, has that kind of cache.
It’s not just that it features many of the best young and old players in the game. That matters and so does the entertainment value of two teams that skate well and score goals in an entertaining fashion. But what’s good for the NHL and best for fan interest in markets that don’t usually care about hockey is that the league appears to have brought forth what people expect in a championship series: great players playing for what most everyone in and outside of hockey regard as the two best teams.
From Paul Kukla at Hockey.com,
Two weeks ago I wrote the Wings and Penguins were locks to meet in the Stanley Cup Finals. Somehow my wires got crossed and I predicted the Wings in five and Penguins in six. Does being close count?
Although I hate the prediction game, I do feel obligated to continue on. Therefore, I am taking the Detroit Red Wings route and saying Wings in 7. No matter how I look at this matchup, I cannot see one team being a dominating force and I just see a series that will be highly-entertaining and one that will draw the attention of sports fans worldwide.
from Ian Mendes of Sportsnet,
So as I sit here in the terminal waiting to board my flight to Windsor (sounds glamorous, doesn’t it?), here are my five notable things to look for in this year’s Stanley Cup Finals.
This series will be a showcase of the greatest skill and talent the game has to offer. But instead of watching this marvelous display of hockey artistry from the luxury of a modern facility, we will be confined to Joe Louis and Mellon Arena. This is like watching a Broadway performance of Les Miserables from a dinner theatre at your local Denny’s. It just doesn’t seem right.
After six weeks of marathon hockey, the stage is finally set for a Stanley Cup Final between the game’s marquee player and the game’s marquee franchise. At one end of the ice, it’s arguably the NHL’s best-run club in the Detroit Red Wings. At the other end, it’s a young and fiery Pittsburgh Penguins club led by Sidney Crosby.
And though both teams share the moniker as the NHL’s cream of the crop, their paths to glory have been very different.
In Pittsburgh, the Penguins were slowly and painstakingly built up from scratch.
From Paul Kukla at NHL.com,
I am taking a different approach today and will officially welcome you to the Metro Detroit area. I ask you to forget all the negative things you have read and heard about Motown. Sure there are areas you want to avoid, just like every large city in the world. Instead I will point out how the folks in Southeast Michigan will welcome you with open arms. We are a hard working bunch, and although this area is suffering through a down-turn in the automotive industry, we still are trying to keep our heads above water. Approach us, talk to us, we don’t bite and want to talk hockey with you and get your feelings on our game.
Michiganders love hockey, we love that is all that is good about the sport. It is in our blood and we have been playing in the NHL since the mid-1920’s. Our father’s father passed the game on to us. Our mother’s know the game too. We appreciate the special talents each and every NHL player has. We are amazed and hypnotized by the action on the ice and we feel part of the Detroit Red Wings family. Plain and simple, we are hockey fans.
from E.J. Hradek of ESPN,
There will be a lot written and said in the lead up to Saturday’s Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals between the perennial power Red Wings and the powerfully young Penguins.
Everyone, myself included, will try to dissect this very interesting matchup between two highly skilled clubs that didn’t skate against each other during the regular season. (Even if they did play once, what would we really know?)
There is one thing that stands out about Detroit and Pittsburgh. They both do really well when they score first.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
We haven’t seen a team boast this much world-class talent down the middle since maybe Joe Sakic and Peter Forsberg were in their prime in Colorado. Start with Crosby, who centers the Pens’ “1A” line. Then go to Malkin, who centers line “1B.” The Wings will have their hands full regardless of how good their defense is (and it’s plenty good). Crosby and Malkin have combined for 40 points in 14 postseason games, and Crosby will hit the finals tied with Zetterberg for the playoffs scoring lead. Almost lost in the shuffle is Pittsburgh third-line center Jordan Staal, who had a terrific series against Philadelphia (four goals).
more and Scott’s prediciton for the SCF…
Empty Netters has entertained me during this season and I really do enjoy many of the videos they have pointed out this season.
So as they say, here is the Best Penguins YouTube Video We Could Find:
Barry likes Detroit- experience counts!
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
For the most part, these teams can match each other in a lot of categories, but the Wings have large advantages in two areas.
First, they have all kinds of experience. Indeed, it’s surprising in this era of constant personnel turnover that Detroit still has eight players from its 2002 Cup-winning roster, although Hasek and Darren McCarty went away and came back in the interim. Steve Yzerman was the captain of that team and he’s now in the Detroit front office, which is led by GM Ken Holland and includes many of the same suits and bird dogs.
These people know how to win and have done it together.
Second, well, it’s simply the presence of Lidstrom, hockey’s premier defenceman.
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