Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
The Hall of Fame captain of the Pittsburgh teams that won Stanley Cups in 1991 and 1992, and who later revived a franchise that seemed destined to wither on the vine in Pittsburgh, maintains his self-imposed media blackout even though his team is in the finals for the first time in 16 years.
When requests are made to talk to Lemieux, either in a one-on-one setting or in a group format with reporters covering the finals, word politely comes back through the team that the man who is the Penguins’ part-owner doesn’t want to take the spotlight away from his young team.
What a load of hooey.
This has nothing to do with taking any spotlight away from his players. They have been playing in the spotlight for weeks now. And since Sidney Crosby became a Penguin three seasons ago, the spotlight has never been far from this Penguins team.
The media had some questions today for Penguins coach, Michel Therrien. Transcript is below.
Q. A couple of your players last night after the game said that they thought the style that you guys had used to great success to get to this point wasn’t working because of what Detroit was doing. What can you do as a coach to switch up the strategy on this? Does it need to be switched up?
COACH MICHEL THERRIEN: First of all, you’re not coming to the Stanley Cup Final and start to change all your system. It takes years that players feel comfortable. That’s not the way it works.
You have give credit to the Red Wings. They played well. They played well in their building. This is a tough place to play. Yesterday, I liked our work ethic. I think our intensity was there. We have all the reasons in the world to be optimistic as well for Game No. 3. As good as the Red Wings is in their building, we are as good at home, too.
from the AP via the Globe and Mail,
The NHL is awash in sparkling new revenue-generating arenas with cozy locker rooms, plush luxury boxes and dazzling video scoreboards.
Visitors to Detroit’s 29-year-old building get very little of that kind of modernity. What they do find, however, is a loyal, energetic fan base with a high hockey IQ and a wealth of popular — if unusual — traditions.
Every fans who has caught a playoff game along the Detroit River knows about octopi flying toward the ice, rousing national anthem renditions by local songstress Karen Newman and goofy aisle dances by superfan “Mo Cheese” and his Stanley Cup hat.
more and Mellon Arena talk too…
from John Glennon of Chilling Out at the Tennessean,
Casual hockey fans tuning in to see the magic of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin must be wondering just what the fuss is all about. Crosby at least managed six shots on goal on Monday, while Malkin (zero shots on goal, minus-two rating) continued to perform as if he’s in some type of witness protection plan.
Hockey fans who’ve watched the Wings play all season have become somewhat accustomed to Detroit’s suffocating, puck-possession style. But still, is the Penguins’ effort thus far really the best the Eastern Conference can offer?
from Spector at Fox Sports,
Domination is the only word required to describe the Detroit Red Wings performance over the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first two games of the 2008 Stanley Cup Finals.
The Red Wings have owned the Penguins in almost every aspect of the game thanks to a strong team system based on puck possession, skill, speed, discipline, patience and physical hard work.
From Michael Farber at SI.com’s Rinkside Blog,
The sound you heard after Detroit’s ditto 3-0 victory Monday was all the people clicking off their Versus telecast of the game, at least by folks who can find the NHL’s subterranean cable partner. NBC picks up the Stanley Cup final with Game 3, which looks like the network is getting the rights to air Titanic but only after the ship is halfway submerged. Still, The Peacock will be cranking up the hype machine at any moment:
“See Sidney Crosby, the future of the NHL, as he tries to escape the straitjacket of the Detroit Red Wings! Harry Houdini did it. Why not Sid? Can the Penguins win a game? Can the Penguins score a goal? See it live on NBC, Wednesday at 8 p.m.”
Of course, there have been soporific starts to recent Stanley Cup finals, including a pair of 3-0 shutouts in the opening two games of the 2003 match between Anaheim and New Jersey when apparently the Mighty Ducks were not informed the final had actually begun. The Ducks rallied at home and indeed the series dragged on for seven games, but the difference was these were not terribly appealing teams that operated in smaller markets.
and more on the Pens/Wings series thus far
Update 1:30pm ET: Darren Eliot, also at SI’s Rinkside Blog, writes on what Pittsburgh must do now to turn the series around.
from Scott Morrison of the CBC,
No goals, no chance.
But after 4-0 and 3-0 losses in Detroit, the Penguins can lament the chances they missed, the troubles they had generating scoring opportunities, the flopping of the goaltender, and the zeroes on the board - but their biggest concern should be the next goal to be scored in the series.
If it doesn’t belong to the Penguins, look out. If it does, then we might have a series yet.
from the NHL blog at the NY Post,
Maybe ... just maybe, the East isn’t nearly as good as the West. The best in the East has yet to mount a challenge against the Western Conference champion Red Wings. With the scene shifting to Pittsburgh, the Pens are likely hoping their 8-0 form at Mellon Arena in these playoffs is something they can parlay into a win. Else, if Detroit takes Game Three, Crosby and Co. could find themselves swept out of the playoffs by a juggernaut.
From Dan Rosen at NHL.com,
Instead of playing in Peterborough the last two seasons, [Jordan] Staal has made it big with the Pittsburgh Penguins, so big that now he’s the first teenager to play in the Stanley Cup Final since Dainius Zubrus did it as a 19-year-old with Philadelphia in 1997.
“This is what I have always dreamt about doing, so I haven’t thought about missing anything else,” Staal told NHL.com. “The only thing I would miss is the Cup if we don’t win it. There is no other place I’d rather be.”
That he’s already here is quite an amazing story.
more on the career journey of Jordan Staal
The Hockey News has been archiving audio from the winner’s dressing room after each game.
Go here to hear Scotty Bowman share his thoughts, then scroll down the page and you’ll find links to commentary from Niklas Lidstrom, Brad Stuart, Valteri Filpulla and Johan Franzen.
On a related note, a comment from Paul that I thought I’d pass on:
After Babcock finished his post game press conference, he met with Scotty for about ten minutes, one on one, going over the game. How much of a help Bowman is to the Wings, we may never know, but it certainly cannot hurt to have Bowman use his “consultant” role to the fullest extent.
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.
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