Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Chris Stevenson of the Ottawa Sun,
This Penguins fun is a different kind of fun than the “old” Stanley Cup-winning Penguins used to have which was more like the fun you’d see at 11 o’clock at, say, McNabb Arena on a Monday night.
The old birds would skate around in practice without helmets or shoulder pads and coach Eddie Johnston would blow his whistle a couple of times. Tom Barrasso would scowl at somebody and 20 minutes later somebody would undo Mario Lemieux’ skates for him.
These new Penguins are having fun, too, but it’s the fun that comes when some kids realize they have a chance to do something special for the first time. Fun for them; fun for those of us who watch.
from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
Over the past three months, the Penguins have been among the hottest teams in the NHL, posting a 25-7-3 record with two six-game winning streaks as part of a 16-game points streak that vaulted the team into contention with New Jersey for first place in the Atlantic Division.
“They have no fear, and that’s the scary part of our team,” Penguins coach Michel Therrien said Monday. “The second half of the season, (experts) were saying that a veteran team would have more success because it’s more like a man’s game, but the second half of the season we’ve played our best because we have no fear and we got better and better.”
from Shawn P. Roarke at NHL.com,
At just 19, Crosby has the brightest of futures still ahead of him. Barring injuries, Crosby should have at least two decades to engineer what promises to be a stunning assault on the NHL record book.
Wayne Gretzky, the current holder of most of the NHL’s offensive records, can’t wait for the assault to begin.
“What he is accomplishing now is truly remarkable,” Gretzky told NHL.com. “He deserves all the accolades he is getting. It will be great to watch his progress here.
from Terry Frei of the Denver Post,
Thanks to the schedule format, the NHL has become two leagues.
That has been my feeling all along the past two seasons, but it truly sunk in last week when the Avalanche issued a booklet extolling the virtues of Paul Stastny as a candidate for the Calder Trophy, the league’s rookie-of-the-year award.
Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin is the favorite, and if this offends anyone, so be it: I’m planning to put him No. 1 on my ballot and Stastny at No. 2 when the voting is conducted in the next week.
But I’m uneasy, and not out of homerism.
It’s because they might as well be playing in different leagues, and it makes head-to- head comparisons difficult and even a bit unfair.
from the Times-Tribune,
Sure, the money is much better in the NHL and there’s always that bit about fulfilling one’s lifelong dream of playing in the best league in the world, but the move also required the atmospheric change of going from a winning team to a losing environment and a sold-out building to a half-empty one.
Those days are officially over.
The parent Penguins are now the next big thing in the NHL, a club with plenty of offensive flash and some of the best young talent in the world. Not only have they clinched a postseason berth, they’re heading into the last week of the regular season with a chance to win a division title.
And perhaps more than any other player, Erik Christensen is riding the wave.
from the Pittsburgh Penguins,
“You don’t play at 40 years old unless you take care of yourself. Fortunately, I was given the opportunity to come back and play at age 30 after two neck surgeries. I knew that the only way to do that was to change my lifestyle and change eating habits and my training routine,” he said. “I always worked hard, but not with much of a purpose. So, between the ages of 30 and 40, I have basically changed the way I live and it’s given me this opportunity to continue to play hockey, which I am thankful for.
“For me, it’s a quality of life change; it’s not something I do just because I play hockey. I know I feel better when I eat right and take care of myself. I recover a lot better and that’s why I am able to play at this age. It really is something that I enjoy doing, too,” he continued. “Once you stop enjoying the preparation part of it, that’s when you know you’ll be done because at 40 you have to do a little more preparation to be able to play. You need soft tissue work on your days off, cold tubs, extra nutrition. If you don’t do that, you’re not going to have any chance at more longevity.”
from the Pittsburgh Penguins,
Q: How have you spent the majority of your free time when not practicing or playing?
EM: Compared to Russia, we play many more games over here. Every time I have free time, I just try to relax. I am still going shopping and to restaurants and to different places. When we have free time, I just watch TV and movies.
Q: How important is winning the Calder Trophy to you?
EM: It’s important to me. I want to prove I am better or not less than Ovechkin, who won that award last season. Another side, I just want to help my teammates to win games. It is important, but there are two sides to it.
via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
Penguins forward Gary Roberts did not practice today and is unlikely to play Thursday night against the Boston Bruins.
Roberts, 40, was injured Wednesday night during the Penguins’ 4-3 win over the Washington Capitals when he was struck by a shot from teammate Sidney Crosby during the second period. The knee remained swollen today.
from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
Sidney Crosby recalls attending prep school in Minnesota in the spring of 2001, getting ready for his entry into major-junior hockey a couple of years later.
Ryan Whitney was a senior at Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor, Mich., where he was participating in the U.S. national developmental program.
And Mark Recchi was a respected veteran, with a Stanley Cup ring and hair that was thinning a bit on top.
OK, so not everything has changed over the past six years, but one thing finally has: The Penguins are part of the NHL playoffs again.
from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,
Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Ray Shero, son of famed coach Fred Shero, grew up with a far greater understanding of the league’s history and tradition than others who have risen to his rank.
He appreciated the difficulty of the playoff gauntlet long before he had his first NHL job, and he can testify to the stages of building a championship team, including the time-honored tradition of a team needing to know playoff failure before it knows playoff success. But he doesn’t necessarily buy the idea that history has an impact on the future.
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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