Kukla's Korner Hockey
An interview today with Pittsburgh Penguins coach Michel Therrien.
Q. Can you describe the conversation you had with Georges Laraque after the end of last year when you told him what you wanted him to be like physically, and what role in order to fulfill a role here?
COACH THERRIEN: Well, if there’s someone who knows Georges really well, it’s me, because I coached Georges in Juniors. I know what he’s capable of. We won a Memorial Cup together. He was an impact player on our team. That was a guy that we were looking to bring to our club. I thought we really did a great job to bring Georges in, but the Georges Laraque that I saw last year was not the Georges Laraque that I knew.
I told him at the end of the year that he needs to be in much better shape. He could be an impact player, and he took care of himself over the summer. Reported in great shape, and got a great season as far as I’m concerned.
from Pierre LeBrun at Sportsnet,
This is a magical time for the Pittsburgh Penguins franchise.
On the ice, the Penguins are playing some of the most elegant hockey in the league, led by the twin superstar attack of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Is it even fair that the same franchise can ice a team with Crosby and Malkin a decade later after having Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr on the same team?
Off the ice, the business side has never been on more solid ground.
Don Cherry on ESPN breaks down game 2 ECF and talks Wings/Stars too.
from Bob Smizik of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
So is it Fleury or is it the team concept?
“I will say it is a combination of both,” said coach Michel Therrien. “First of all, Marc-Andre, he’s really square to the puck. The game slowed down in front of him. That’s normal. Well, he’s only 23, but he has got a few years of experience and you ask any goalie with time and experience, and the game slows down in front of you so he doesn’t have to make those big saves when he’s out of position.
“And in the meantime, we’ve played a much better defensive game as well. You put those two together, and you get the result that defensively you are better.”
There’s no question Therrien’s coaching style has helped Fleury, just as it would help any goalie.
from Tom Reed at Puck-rakers,
Why are the Penguins 10-1 overall and 7-0 at home in the playoffs? Because they have outrageous depth. Coach Michel Therrien isn’t afraid to play his fourth line in a tie game with less than 12 minutes left.
“That’s huge for us,” captain Sidney Crosby said. “That has been the story for the playoffs so far. Those guys have stepped up. And by “those guys,” I mean, the guys on the third and fourth line have come up with some huge goals, and have played well for us even if they haven’t showed up on the score sheet sometimes. They create a lot of momentum for us. Those guys, they are going to make the difference between winning and losing lots of times.”
from Tom Benjamin’s NHL Weblog,
I don’t think Don Cherry is right when he linked the attendance “problems” in Detroit with their style of play, but I think he does have a point. Despite all the raves about the European style and the “puck possession” game, this group is giving new meaning to the phrase the Dead Wings. The Detroit game is not very entertaining to watch.
from Jamie Fitzpatrick at Jamie’s Hockey Blog,
For all their formidable talent, the Red Wings and Penguins are winning with efficient, well-organized hockey. If they keep it up, we could see an efficient, well-organized Stanley Cup Final. Maybe they’ll serve tea and crumpets.
The first two rounds of these playoffs were fantastic. So what’s the problem?
Are Detroit and Pittsburgh so much better that they can win games at three-quarter speed?
from Mike White at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
John Challis yawned.
“Smiling so much makes me tired,” he said.
A Freedom High School athlete dealing with terminal cancer, John couldn’t stop grinning during his experiences last night at Mellon Arena. The Beaver County teenager’s recent successful at-bat in a varsity baseball game has gained national attention, and last night he was a guest of the Penguins for their National Hockey League playoff game against the Philadelphia Flyers.
The Penguins brought John, his parents and younger sister, Lexie, to the game in a limousine.
from Bruce Garrioch at Off the Posts,
The talk is Florida Panthers GM Jacques Martin is going to turn to an old friend for the coaching post in the Sunshine State.
Sources told me today that Pittsburgh Penguins assistant Andre Savard has emerged as one of the top candidates for the vacant coaching post with the Panthers.
a little more...
Flyers coach John Stevens and Penguins coach Michel Therrien met with the media earlier today…
from Shelly Anderson of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
Now that Therrien and the Penguins are within sight of the Stanley Cup final, he is more experienced and wiser than in his early days as a coach—and those stretch to when he was 23, after knee surgery ended his playing career—but he carries the same approach.
“Everybody to some degree changes a little bit, but he keeps the same drive, the same enthusiasm,” said Penguins assistant Andre Savard, who, as the Montreal Canadiens’ general manager, had the displeasure of firing Therrien from his first NHL head-coaching job during the 2002-03 season.
“He wants to win. He wants to be prepared. He works hard to be prepared for the opposition. His drive to win, that hasn’t changed.”
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