Kukla's Korner Hockey
From NHL.com’s series breakdown:
Several weeks into the playoff journey, two hockey-crazed cities will duke it out through the two weeks to determine who will be the 2008 Stanley Cup champion. As a hockey fan, you truly couldn’t ask for much more than this.
Truth be told, this series pits Goliath vs. Goliath. Both teams possess superstar forwards, as Crosby is joined by Evgeni Malkin and Marian Hossa. On the opposite side of the ice, the Red Wings counter with phenomenal two-way forwards Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk, who combined for 189 points during the regular season and are finalists for the Selke Trophy as the NHL’s top defensive forward.
Go here for NHL.com’s opening look at the series, with links to various stories, trivia and other information available at the top of the article. And new stories will be updated as they’re published on this page.
from Eric Adelson at ESPN The Magazine,
The league gets a mulligan for scheduling its thrilling outdoor game in Buffalo against the New Year’s Day bowl games. (What, Super Bowl Sunday wasn’t available?) But now, a far worse offense: the first three games of the Stanley Cup finals will be played at the same time as Games 3, 4 and 5 of the NBA’s Eastern Conference finals.
Who cares, you say? Well, just about everyone in Detroit, to start with, as fans here will now have to choose whether to watch the Red Wings or the Pistons. On Saturday, Monday and Wednesday, Detroit will face off against Pittsburgh at 8 p.m., and then Detroit will tip off versus Boston at 8:30 p.m
Scotty Bowman Q & A at Sportsnet,
Q: What are your thoughts about the Pittsburgh-Detroit matchup?
A: “You’ve got two good teams. They both finished right at the top in the regular season. Pittsburgh didn’t have (Sidney) Crosby the last little while and Detroit’s the best team in the West, so you’ve got the two best teams.”
Q: So this is like the cream rising to the top?
A: “Both teams had terrific seasons, that’s exactly right. Pittsburgh most likely would have been No. 1 if they had Crosby all year. You’ve got some real good forwards on both teams. You’ve got a lot of youth on Pittsburgh and a lot of experience on Detroit.”
from the Hockey News,
This has the potential to be one of the best Stanley Cup finals in years. Or, if Detroit’s experience is the deciding factor, it could be over in four games. Given the fact the Penguins have not lost at home in this year’s playoffs, we don’t see that happening. And when you have the best player in the world on your team – Crosby - that can also be a deciding factor. Pittsburgh in six.
read the breakdown…
from the CP via the Globe and Mail,
The Boston Bruins have signed defenceman Aaron Ward to a multi-year contract extension.
In today’s Mercury News, Mark Purdy points out that the San Jose Sharks host their ““State of the Franchise” session tonight at HP Pavilion, and team executives will be taking questions from fans. Purdy isn’t too optimistic however, and predicts some of the not-so-insightful information to be gained from the event. Such as:
Santa Clara Sam: “This question is for General Manager Doug Wilson. Is Patrick Marleau on the trading block? I keep hearing he is, because he has a no-trade clause that kicks in July 1. Marleau was struggling so much until the very last part of the season and the playoffs. Wouldn’t it make sense to deal him now, with his value up, for a strong defenseman or a top-line forward?”
General Manager Doug: “Our priority is to have as many good players as possible on the roster next season. Patrick is a good player except when he isn’t. And there are many other good players in the NHL who often aren’t as good as Patrick when he is good. Likewise, some are as good as Patrick is when he is not good. I think you see where I’m heading.”
Santa Clara Sam: “No. I don’t.”
from Darren Rovell of CNBC,
The big question is not how well with the Finals rate. We’re pretty sure this is going to be a winner, with the first two games on Versus and the rest on NBC. The real question is, can a good series bring in any additional hockey fans? (Go to the poll to answer that for us!)
Ratings are up again we know and the NHL is doing a million times better than I thought it would do when they became the first sport to sit out the entire year due to a work stoppage. But when you stack a network game on NBC versus other network sports, the NHL is still far behind.
read on plus a video interview with Gary Bettman…
From Sergei Balash at Russia Profile.org,
The twists and turns of the final game were reminiscent of what the sport itself had gone through over the past decade and a half. After winning the Olympic hockey tournament in 1992 and capturing the world title in 1993, all of Russia’s major hockey accomplishments came just on the junior level, with the U20 team winning gold thrice from 1999 to 2003. Back then, the decline was evident in all winter sports, historically Russia’s strongest sport.
The long way back
“It’s always easy to ruin something,” said Vyacheslav Fetisov, director of the Federal Agency for Physical Education and Sport. “We were unbeatable in hockey. If someone said back in 1988 or 1989 that we’d win just two World Championships in the next 20 years, nobody would believe it.”
more on the road map Russia has followed to rebuild its hockey (and general sporting) dominance
From the Sporting News,
Before the Stanley Cup finals begin, it’s time to hand out Sporting News’ 2008 NHL Awards. Winners were determined by a vote of their peers, and all voting was conducted before the playoffs. Individuals could not vote for themselves, and players could not vote for teammates.
Player of the year: Alex Ovechkin, LW, Capitals
continued with more on AO, plus naming the Coach of the Year, Rookie of the Year and Executive of the Year
from Jim Kelley at Sportsnet,
...Which brings us all the way back to 1994 when the New York Rangers battled the tenacious Vancouver Canucks through seven games at a time when the NHL was thought to be on the rise vs. NBA and within the company of other major sports leagues.
Detroit vs. Pittsburgh, the matchup that kicks off the 2008 Stanley Cup final this Saturday in Detroit, has that kind of cache.
It’s not just that it features many of the best young and old players in the game. That matters and so does the entertainment value of two teams that skate well and score goals in an entertaining fashion. But what’s good for the NHL and best for fan interest in markets that don’t usually care about hockey is that the league appears to have brought forth what people expect in a championship series: great players playing for what most everyone in and outside of hockey regard as the two best teams.
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.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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