Kukla's Korner Hockey
Q. Would you like to get the obstruction stuff out of the way first, before I ask my…
COACH MICHEL THERRIEN: (Laughter) I said what I had to say yesterday, so let’s move on (Laughter.)
Q. You said the first couple of games nervousness could have been an issue with your team. Do you sense going on in the series that’s less and less the case, and do you think that will be less the case tonight?
COACH MICHEL THERRIEN: Absolutely. And it’s part of the process with a young team. And the more the series goes on, the more we’re going to feel comfortable and we’re going to be better.
And we got better every game. Our focus gets better every game. And tonight I’m expecting we’re going to play ‑ we played a good game, Game 3, but tonight I’m expecting we’re going to be better as well.
From Larry Wigge at NHL.com,
But the trade to Pittsburgh came as a complete surprise.
“I was actually negotiating on a new contract with Atlanta and I’d been teasing ‘Hoss’ for more than a month before the deadline about how much he was going to like going back to Ottawa or playing in Montreal,” Dupuis explained. “In the end, he got the last laugh.
“At first, I joked with reporters that I was coming along to carry Hoss’s bags. But I got the dream-of-a-lifetime job of playing on a line with Sid and Hoss.”
From Chris Cochrane at The Chronicle Herald,
This year’s Stanley Cup final has been a good example of how well the new rules work.
No longer do veteran defencemen dominate playoff games simply by mugging opponents in front of the net. There’s also no place in this final for those defensive specialists who survived by a reliance on hooking and holding strong offensive players at both ends of the ice. The new game has evolved beyond those prodding type of players.
Star offensive players are getting more room to be star offensive players. They’re still targeted, but now it has to be by players who can keep up with them and don’t rely on obvious illegal tactics to slow them down.
From Dave Molinari at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
“For us, basically, [Game 4] is a do-or-die game,” [Petr Sykora] said. “We know that if we can come up with a win, there is a lot of pressure on them, going into Game 5 [Monday at Joe Louis Arena].
“Basically, the whole Stanley Cup playoffs is going to [come down to] the game [tonight]. We’ve worked so hard to get to this position. This is a big chance for us, to tie it up, 2-2. You never know what’s going to happen then.”
From Sean Fine at the Globe & Mail,
What happened? Detroit is the highest expression of the game’s new ethos: puck ownership. Not long ago, the idea was to give the other team the puck deep in its zone, and then with brute force take it back. Own the ice, not the puck.
Detroit doesn’t do that. It takes the puck and keeps it. During perhaps 80 per cent of the first two games, Detroit possessed the puck. It often seemed as though Detroit had eight players on the ice, and Pittsburgh three. In those two games, Sidney Crosby was sighted with the puck on his stick for perhaps a dozen seconds — in total.
And that is why this dream matchup in the new open-ice era was so dull in the first two games: Detroit’s offence was in effect a stifling defence. “The puck-possession game is a defensive game in a sense because the other team doesn’t have the puck,” says Mr. Watt. He likens it to shooting pool: “It’s not what you make, it’s what you leave.” Detroit left nothing for Pittsburgh.
from Mike Prisuta of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
Osgood is a relentless challenger of shooters, but on several occasions in Game 3, he appeared to struggle when moving laterally.
So, the question for the Penguins heading into Game 4 has become one involving quantity or quality.
Do they continue to fire away at every opportunity in search of rebounds and “dirty” goals, or do they try to take advantage of Osgood’s aggressiveness or his relative post-to-post issues by making the extra pass?
The answer might be yes to both.
From Helene Elliott at the LA Times,
Not having Holmstrom in his face would make it even better for Fleury.
“It’s always tougher as a goalie when you have somebody in front,” said Fleury, who was the first pick in the 2003 entry draft. “At the same time, every playoff, every series, every team, they put that guy in there. We always did a good job with him, and we always came out on top.”
Holmstrom isn’t just any guy. He has four goals and 12 points in the playoffs and is a perfect complement to linemates Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg.
The Red Wings have no shortage of talent—Johan Franzen has a playoff-high 13 goals, Zetterberg has 12 and Datsyuk nine—but they have no one as effective at going to the net and refusing to budge come high stick or high water.
more… on Holmstrom’s condition and his importance to the Wings
Q. Will you give us your understanding of Holmstrom’s injury and his chances of playing tomorrow?
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: What are the rules? Do we have to talk about the injury or just what part of the body or what do we have to do?
FRANK BROWN: The type.
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: I do a lot of stuff with kids cancer, and there’s a thing called HIPAA-compliance where you can never reveal anything about the person, how come we have to do it in the League? (Laughter.)
Oh, anyway, Holmer’s just got - Holmer’s got the back of his leg, the hamstring. He’s got a little problem there. We think he’ll be fine. He’s a tough guy.
From Eric Duhatschek at the Globe & Mail,
Maybe we’ll see a comeback yet in these Stanley Cup finals. Maybe we’ll see one team spot the other a lead and then roar back, on the strength of their talent or their will or even just because the puck took a funny hop on the soft ice of the Mellon Arena.
That was how it was supposed to be in the new NHL, right? Players told you all the time: No lead was safe anymore. With the dark forces of obstruction finally exorcised from the game, teams could not go into lock-down mode if they got an early advantage. They had to play until the final whistle.
Except … in these playoffs, with these two teams, every lead but one has been safe. The Pittsburgh Penguins are a perfect 11-0 when they score the first goal; the Detroit Red Wings are almost as efficient, at 12-1.
Q. Holmstrom may or may not play. What does that change, if he’s not in the lineup?
COACH MICHEL THERRIEN: They still have a lot of quality players. And it’s not going to change anything for us. It might change something for them, but for us our focus will remain the same.
Q. The numbers with Fleury on home ice are pretty staggering. Is there something that you’ve noticed, something in his play, like is there something that changes for him in this building?
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.
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