Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 05/31/09 at 10:32 AM ET
from Larry Wigge of NHL.com,
Justin Abdelkader has almost always played close to his home in Muskegon. So scoring an insurance goal in his first Stanley Cup Final game with the Detroit Red Wings was like heaven on earth….
“It’s pretty crazy ... first Stanley Cup Final game and I get a goal. Wow! My family and buddies I grew up with are never going to believe this,” the 22-year-old said after his third-period goal helped the Detroit Wings beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-1 in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. “I’ve played on every stop on I-96 from Muskegon to Detroit, so you can’t believe the great taste I have in my mouth after savoring that one….
“He’s big. He’s strong. A tremendous skater. You could say he’s been on our radar for a long time,” Red Wings General Manager Ken Holland said. “Not to say he won’t score goals, because he was pretty productive at Michigan State and at Grand Rapids (AHL). But we see him as a physical player who someday we envision as a shutdown forward, someone who can help neutralize the other team’s best forwards.
“That job may not sound glamorous, but to the Red Wings, it’s an essential part of winning—one of those important puzzle pieces.”
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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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