Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Chuck Gormley at The Sporting News,
The reason the Penguins-Oilers comparisons don’t hold any water is because the days of NHL dynasties are over.
There is simply too much parity in the NHL. As good as the Penguins are right now—and they are good—Crosby and Evgeni Malkin will need to get past players such as Mike Richards and Jeff Carter of the Flyers, Alex Ovechkin and Alexander Semin of the Capitals and Chris Drury and Scott Gomez of the Rangers every year to have a shot at consecutive Stanley Cups. That won’t be easy in a salary-cap driven NHL, rendering the days of NHL dynasties as a thing of the past.
more plus other NHL talk
Stamford, CONN. (May 13, 2008)—VERSUS, the exclusive cable television home of the NHL and the 2008 Stanley Cup Playoffs, garnered a 1.7 National HH rating for its telecast of the Flyers/Penguins Game 2 Conference Final round match-up on Sunday, May 11. It was the most-watched telecast ever in network history among total viewers (2,345,834) and the highest rated and the most-watched NHL telecast ever on the network.
Viewership for the May 11 telecast topped the previous record set during the 2008 Conference Semifinal round with Game 4 of the Rangers/Penguins series on May 1 (1,184,519 total viewers) and the rating surpassed the previous high (1.1) set during the 2006 Conference Final round with Game 7 of the Buffalo/Carolina series.
Maybe not, but according to this poll at Philly.com (via Pensblog) they’re certainly not feeling very optimistic, either:
Update 12:28pm ET: From CBC, the fans will be a factor…
We’re talking the 19,000-plus wacko Philly fans in the stands, considered by everyone the toughest in all of sports. If those folks can intimidate the 2-0 Penguins just a little, it might be enough to crawl back into this Eastern Conference final.
“I would say it’s a pretty tough place to play,” said Penguins star Sydney Crosby, after a light skate on Monday. “At the same time, in the playoffs it makes for a great atmosphere. They’re just a tough crowd. They’re not afraid to say anything.”
from Empty Netters,
The thing that is really striking about these two teams is the relative ease in which they’ve progressed through the playoffs. Detroit is on the verge of completing its second sweep in a row, and the Penguins have only lost one game in the postseason.
Should both of these teams complete sweeps in the conference finals, they will have combined to play 27 games this postseason (The Penguins would have played 13 and Detroit 14.) That would be the fewest postseason games among any two Cup finalists since the NHL went to the current playoff format of four rounds of seven-game series in 1987.
from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,
Given the distain the locals here hold for young Sidney, the sight of his old man wandering through the stands during Game 3 tonight would provide easy fodder for the Philly Phanatics who already refer to Crosby as “Number Hatey-Seven.”
Yet while the majority of boos will be reserved for Crosby when the Pittsburgh captain shows up, count on there being a few aimed at Daniel Briere if he does not.
from Phil Sheridan of the Philadelphia Inquirer,
It doesn’t make for as catchy a slogan as “Vengeance Now” - the Flyers’ declaration of war on an NHL that thumped them mercilessly last season. It just makes sense tonight.
The Flyers can busy themselves trying to get square with Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin for his cheap-shot-from-behind elbow to Danny Briere’s head, or they can busy themselves trying to keep their hope alive by winning Game 3.
They can’t do both.
“We’re in no position to go after retribution,” Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said. “We need to win games.”
added 7:17am, also from the Philadelphia Inquirer,
“We played better in Game 2 than Game 1, but we need to play better to have success against Pittsburgh,” Flyers coach John Stevens said yesterday. “Sometimes you have to work hard for your breaks. Things happen in a hockey game you’re not always going to agree with; you just have to deal with it.
“That’s what we have to get back to. The ‘Why not us?’ There’s a lot more we have to do to be the ‘us’ we want to be.”
For starters, the Flyers need to be more physical.
from the CP via TSN,
While Briere realizes that prominent players have gotten protection from officials as long as the NHL has existed, some consistency wUnhappould be nice, too.
“I’ve never considered myself a superstar,” said a smiling Briere, who signed an US$52-million, eight-year free-agent deal with the Flyers last summer. “Obviously, they might get protected a little bit more. That’s understandable, but when they do some of the cheap shots that they’re doing I think it would be fair for everybody that they get the same treatment in that regard.”
This is all stuff the Penguins have heard before.
from the 2008 Stanley Cup Playoffs Blog at CBC,
The Flyers are down 0-2 in the Eastern Conference finals to those upstart Pittsburgh Penguins. Truth is, can anyone say they’re surprised? The Penguins have a better, all-around skill set than the Flyers.
On the other hand …
As Flyers’ general manager Paul Holmgren said Monday, “We’re 0-2. We have to play better if we expect to win a game.”
Flyers’ defenceman Braydon Coburn is “doubtful” for Game 3 Tuesday at the Wachovia Center. He has no structural damage to his left eye.
“We’re still waiting to hear how his eye is,” Holmgren said. “Right now, it’s swollen shut. There are no fractures. He’s doing better. We have no reason to think there’s anything wrong with the eye.”
From Paul Kukla at Hockey.com:
Can the Stars make a sudden turnaround and take control of the series? Sure they can, but I don’t see it happening. Led by coach Mike Babcock, the Wings are on a roll and are determined to erase the memories of losing to the Anaheim Ducks in last year’s Western Conference Final.
The Pittsburgh Penguins have showed they can adjust to any style of play their opposition throws at them. The Flyers are trying to be physical with the young Pens, but it hasn’t worked for them to this point. Talent-wise, the Flyers just don’t match up with Pittsburgh and must play perfect games from here on out in order to extend this series past five games.
Once again, the Flyers can make a make a comeback, but I don’t see it happening.
From Damien Cox in The Spin at the Toronto Star,
Sure was nasty watching the fine young Philadelphia defenceman, Braydon Coburn, take a puck in the face Sunday night in Game 2 between the Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins.
He was cut badly near the eye, and may or may not be able to play in Game 3.
Surely, it could have been worse. Yet wasn’t it also preventable?
Given where the injury was, it would appear a half-shield would have blocked the puck from hitting Coburn in the face. But he doesn’t wear one, and so he was lost for the game, and maybe more.
*And more on this topic today from Greg Wyshynski at the Yahoo! Sports blog, Puck Daddy
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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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