Kukla's Korner Hockey
San Jose finding the positives from losing to the Wings…
from the Mercury News, -
-You’d be amazed how easily a player’s day with the Stanley Cup can end with a brawl and an arrest at a strip club. No worries here.
-Ron Wilson can watch “The Sopranos” on Sunday nights. What if the Sharks had a game to play and Wilson had to record it and not watch until Monday or even Tuesday? And what if someone on the radio revealed a spoiler as Wilson was driving to work? No telling how salty he might get then.
from TBM at NBC Sports,
In other words, the Sharks need to grow a set, and I don’t mean teeth.
What the San Jose does have in abundance is depth, at almost every position. GM Wilson has made astute moves before, but now is forced to question the very foundation of his group, and wonder if it’s good enough to win the big prize.
from Mike Brophy of the Hockey News,
The Red Wings were clearly the hungrier team in this series. They refused to let injuries get them down and they pressed on offense. Game 6 was not one for the ages; in fact, it was a bit of a yawner. But the defensive tone was pure Mike Babcock, a coach who leans on his players to get the job done in their own end. Now we will see if Detroit’s weakened defense and so-so offense can contend with the Anaheim Ducks.
more on last night’s game…
from the Mercury News,
So what happened? Well, the Red Wings happened, which means that winning a few more games during the regular season to get a higher seeding might have been a good idea. Ten days ago, there seemed to be an odd amount of confidence going into a series against a team with such tradition and determination.
“This wasn’t the Little Sisters of the Poor, you know,” Coach Ron Wilson barked to reporters after the game.
Hasek came up big tonight, frustrating the Sharks and leading the Wings to a 2-0 victory.
Wings open at home against the Ducks on Friday night.
added 11:58pm, from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
On the opening day of their playoff series against the Detroit Red Wings, San Jose Sharks’ coach Ron Wilson was asked about the importance of goaltending.
“That’s all playoffs are,” replied Wilson. “It’s goaltending. I don’t have to say anything more.”
For the normally loquacious and talkative Wilson to say no more was unusual, almost extraordinary, but his words also proved prophetic — for the wrong team. Of all the things that helped the Red Wings advance to the Western Conference finals Monday night, the primary factor was the play of 42-year-old Dominik Hasek in goal.
fromm Jim Kelley at Sportsnet,
A team that was poised, relentless, blessed with timely (and reasonably proficient) scoring, defensively sound play and soundly physical play in eliminating Nashville in five games seemingly has chucked all of the things it did well in that series. The Sharks haven’t just lost their bite; they’ve gone belly-up in the face of a Detroit attack that has been neither withering nor relentless.
In fact, the Red Wings have pretty much been fortunate given the number of injuries they’ve had before and during this series.
more... plus some Sabres/Sens talk…
Expect the Sharks to lay the body on the Wings defense every chance they get tonight. How the Wings “D” holds up will be the key to the game tonight.
Brent Lebda is a game time decision and if he is not ready to go, Derek Meech will be the Wings 6th defenseman.
from Ray Ratto of the San Francisco Chronicle,
Secondly, this isn’t a 1-8 thing; the Sharks are the lower-seeded team here, but most people saw them as one of the two best teams in the West (with Anaheim the other). The Wings were older and smaller and seemingly ripe for a beating from the right team.
Only the Sharks don’t seem to be that team after all.
Despite a regular season in which they walked the talk awfully convincingly, they have established a disturbing trend of getting complacent and/or compliant after 15 or so minutes in each of the first five games, and each game the difference has become increasingly pronounced.
from the AP via the Monterey Herald,
Though the Red Wings can finish off Wilson’s faltering club in Game 6 at the Shark Tank on Monday night, the coach isn’t certain what else he can do about his sputtering offense, his awful power play and a club that retreats into a shoddy defensive shell after taking the lead.
He’s just hoping his veteran players, outside of do-everything center Joe Thornton, finally take charge against the Red Wings, forcing their teammates to overcome an inexplicable pattern of retreating with a lead.
“It’s not by design,” Wilson said. “It just seems to have happened. We’ve got to get our defensemen to be more aggressive. We give up a lot of space in the neutral zone, and the ice tilts. ... We can prevent them from tilting the ice by playing hard for 60 minutes.”
from the Mercury News,
So how are the Red Wings - who have beaten the Sharks twice since Holmstrom’s return from an eye injury - a different team with him in the lineup?
“I don’t think they do anything differently. But I think he is doing his job better than anybody in front of the net,” Nabokov said of Holmstrom, mentioning forwards Todd Bertuzzi and Dan Cleary as two Red Wings who played a similar style in the first three games. “But this guy seems like he’s just finding a way to knock the puck out of the air or pass the puck right in there. He draws the defensemen to him. He’s talented.”
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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