Kukla's Korner Hockey
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
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.
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