Kukla's Korner Hockey
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.
From Steve Simmons via the Winnipeg Sun,
Should it happen that the Pittsburgh Penguins win the Stanley Cup, and that’s at least a 50-50 bet, then Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin will be accomplishing something that has never happened in an expanded hockey world.
For Crosby, this is only season No. 3 in the National Hockey League, all of it post-lockout, all of it intended to save the Pittsburgh franchise. For Malkin, this is only his sophomore year: Whatever and whenever this team was supposed to find itself in contention, all this has happened faster than ever before.
Wayne Gretzky was in his sixth NHL season and seventh pro season when the Edmonton Oilers won their first Cup in 1984. Mario Lemieux was in Year 7 in Pittsburgh when the Penguins won their first of two Cups.
continued… and more NHL notes
Q. I guess is there any concern about Malkin and Sykora for tomorrow?
COACH THERRIEN: They should be ready for tomorrow. They should be there.
Q. Is it just a sickness?
COACH THERRIEN: A sickness. And we believe at this time of year rest sometimes can be more important than practice, and they should be there tomorrow.
from Bob Smizik of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
Seems hard to believe that about a week ago Malkin was being talked about as possibly the best player in the game. He was mentioned frequently as a leading candidate for the Conn Smythe Trophy, which goes to the MVP of the playoffs. While Sidney Crosby struggled to score, Malkin was a goal-scoring machine.
But look what he has done lately. His only point in the past three games was the second assist on Malone’s score that gave the Penguins a two-goal lead midway through the third period of Game 3. He has managed only seven shots on goal in those three games, compared to 10 in the final game against the New York Rangers. He has been charged with eight giveaways.
There’s no Conn Smythe candidacy in those numbers.
More talk from the coaches today, this time from the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Michel Therrien. Here’s the transcript.
Q. I was wondering if you could assess Evgeni Malkin’s play the last three games of this series? What have you seen in him the last three games?
COACH THERRIEN: Yeah, you know what, he hasn’t been productive like he was in the past. But he’s going to have to find a win next game to make sure he’s going to be productive like he used to be as soon as the playoffs start.
Some questions for Philadelphia Flyers coach John Stevens today.
Q. Can you talk about what Kimmo will mean not just on the ice, but off the ice in the room if he does come back and play on Sunday?
COACH STEVENS: Well, he’s a huge part of our team. I mean, through this year he’s progressed and in the playoffs he’s really taken his game to another level. I think just his presence around our team all year, he’s got deep respect by all his teammates. He just has composure all the time. I think that’s infectious on our team.
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