Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
However, with no championship since 2002, the Red Wings are in a mood to push past the Stars, even if there isn’t the rivalry between the teams that exists, say, in the all-Pennsylvania Eastern Conference final.
The goal, for the Stars tonight, is to do what they did in the previous two rounds — sweep the first two games, on the road, and get the home team back on its heels.
“Every series is different,” said Stars’ captain Brendan Morrow. “Every team is different. We’re just going to try and play to our strengths, get pucks deep, try to finish some checks and see where the chips fall.”
From Chris Kuc at the Chicago Tribune,
“I knew this day was coming—I think we all did,” said Eric Rabbers, a season ticket-holder in the 300 level of the United Center for three years who saw his tickets increase from $13.50 per game to $25. “We realized, especially in my section, the prices we were paying were pretty cheap.
“The problem I have is [accepting] an 85 percent increase for my tickets in one year. I think that’s out of line, especially seeing the team didn’t make the playoffs. I have a buddy who sits in the 100 level and his seats went up from $67.50 per to $115. I know the prices have been cheap for the past 10 years, but to try to make it up in one off-season is kind of ridiculous.”
From Shelly Anderson at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
After he had a goal and three assists in a 4-3 win Feb. 10 that broke a four-game losing streak to the Penguins’ cross-state rivals, Malkin said he didn’t like the Flyers, playing against them or playing in Wachovia Center, where, he said, fans pelt the Penguins’ bench with popcorn.
Despite gaining that insight on the rivalry, he wasn’t quite willing to repeat that with the playoff matchup looming.
“I don’t like anybody,” Malkin, 21, said in what would have been a snappier retort if it hadn’t had to be cycled through interpreter George Birman. “If I like them or not, we have to play them.”
from Andy Vineberg of the Buck County Courier Times,
For you non-hockey fans out there, the Penguins’ Crosby is Sidney, not to be confused with David or Bing. But really, what kind of a name for a hockey player is Sidney? Of course, compared to the first names of the Penguins’ other two top scorers — Marian and Evgeni (the Russian form of Eugene) — Sidney sounds positively manly. Seriously, Sidney, Marian and Eugene?
Sounds more like the starting lineup of a chess team than a hockey team.
I’ll take my chances with Mike, Jeff, Danny and R.J., thank you very much.
from Jennifer Floyd Engel of the Star-Telegram,
Guys like him may not walk away. It doesn’t mean they do not think about it, especially when they are 37 going on 38 and being asked to embrace the role of “the old guy.”
“I think about it a lot now lately, certainly when you have gone this deep,” Modano said. “And so you wonder if this will be it.”
If so, if this indeed turns into his final season, then this West Finals against Detroit might well be his last kick at the Cup. Like .001 percent of hockey experts give the Stars a flying Fig Newton of a chance in this series.
They are underestimating this Stars team.
from the Philadelphia Inquirer,
The club still glorifies fighting on the video board at the Wachovia Center, but the game has changed dramatically since the Broad Street Bullies captured the hearts of their fans by ripping the hearts out of any team that got in their way.
Bench-clearing brawls have been legislated out of the game, and the third man in on a fight faces a game misconduct. Still, there remains a place in the NHL for the guys who bring that certain element.
The Penguins, the Flyers’ opponent in the Eastern Conference finals that begin tomorrow night in Pittsburgh, have the game’s most feared fighter in Georges Laraque, who carries 245 pounds behind his bad intentions. Laraque’s tough-guy reputation is such that few among the league’s fighters will even take him on. One of them is the Flyers’ Riley Cote.
from Spector at Fox Sports,
The Western Conference finals pit a Red Wings team that finished first overall during the regular season and cruised past Nashville and Colorado in the first two rounds against a Stars club that finished fifth overall in the conference and nearly 20 points back of the Wings.
It’s the “Battle of Pennsylvania” in the Eastern Conference, featuring a Penguins team that finished second overall and quickly dispatched of the Senators and Rangers against a hardworking Flyers team that required a strong finish in the regular season to clinch sixth overall.
While the regular season stats favor the Red Wings and Penguins, both clubs must be wary of their upstart opponents. The Stars advanced to the conference finals by knocking off the defending Stanley Cup champion Anaheim Ducks and the Pacific Division champion San Jose Sharks, while the Flyers bounced the Southeast Division champion Washington Capitals and the conference-leading Montreal Canadiens.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
From the day Richard Peddie’s lips were caught moving while Fletcher made the opening remarks on his second tour of duty with the Leafs to yesterday’s rather laughable press conference, it’s become pretty clear why the MLSE board hired Fletcher.
They wanted him to do their bidding – just as he did in 1996 when he was instructed to trade away a slew of high-priced veterans and not to sign free agent Wayne Gretzky – and they want his immense credibility in the industry to hide behind.
Beloved in the hockey world, he’s the perfect front man.
via the LA Times,
According to theSpread.com’s betting chart, Detroit had received 75% of the bets to win Game 1 and at Wagerline.com, the Red Wings had received 71.10% (844-343) of the picks as of Wednesday afternoon.
At Bodoglife.com, Detroit is listed at 6-1 to win the series in four games; at 3-1 to win in five games; at 7-2 to win in six games, and at 7-2 to win in seven games.
The Stars are listed at 30-1 to sweep the series in four games; at 15-1 to win in five games; at 7-1 to win in six games; and at 8-1 to win in seven games.
from the Star-Ledger,
There haven’t been many missteps this season for Rafalski or the Red Wings. The 34-year-old Dearborn, Mich., native has a chance to win his third Stanley Cup (he won in 2000 and ‘03 with the Devils).
“It would be crazy around here,” he said. “Personally, it would be special winning it in front of family and friends after growing up watching the Red Wings and then being part of the organization.
“Not many people were picking us to win. Everyone picked Anaheim, San Jose or the Rangers. The critics said we weren’t built for the playoffs and we didn’t have the goaltending. There was some added pressure because of the history of this team going out early in the playoffs.”
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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