Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
So far, Alfredsson has an NHL-best nine goals in 13 playoff games, has scored in all three games in this series and in six of his last seven post-season matches.
Not bad for a former sixth-round draft pick.
Not bad for a player roundly vilified for his weak defensive play against these same Sabres on the goal that eliminated the Senators from last spring’s playdowns.
“I’m a better player this year,” he said flatly when asked about the difference in his 2007 springtime performance compared to last year.
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
“Dom’s different. I talked to Ritch Winter (Hasek’s agent) and he said Dom wants to finish his career on the ice,” Holland said. “That was really important to him, finishing on his terms.”
The terms in this series have confounded the opposition Ducks. They have outplayed and out-chanced the Wings through the first two games in Detroit but have shot wide or high often on quality scoring opportunities, the ones Hasek hasn’t stopped.
“That’s what Dom does to people,” said Chris Chelios, another Red Wing veteran playing on the cheap. “He intimidates the other team. He gets in their head. Then they starting thinking they have to be perfect. Once he gets them thinking, he’s got them.”
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
They are on the verge of living the dream and going to the Stanley Cup final for the first time in team history with a series victory over the Buffalo Sabres and holding a 2-0 lead in the East final going into Game 3 last night at Scotiabank Place.
“They’ve had to go through some tough times along the way and I’m sure that’s toughened them up a little,” said former Red Wings captain Steve Yzerman, who as GM led Canada to a gold medal at the world championship in Moscow. “There’s no question that can happen to you. Sometimes you have to go through tough times before you can have success. You develop more of an edge and you get stronger. Every team goes through it and it takes hard to work to get out of it.”
from the Press Enterprise,
Unlike the regular season, which gives teams five minutes of ice time to settle a tie before going to the one-on-one shootout, postseason hockey eschews the gimmicky ending.
First team to score, unlimited time to finish, makes for passionate competition. Players can’t take a second off. Spectators hang in suspended angst.
In baseball, you’ve got at least 15 seconds between pitches to anticipate a game-ending hit, and maybe 15 minutes if a rally is building and pitchers are being shuffled in and out.
In football, you start anticipating an overtime outcome with the coin-flip winner. The team that gets the ball first often drives for 10 minutes and boots a three-pointer.
Hockey? Possession changes every few seconds. Every shot stops the breath of 18,000 spectators.
from The Maven,
• Chris Pronger has a legit gripe that J.S. Giguere gets the short end of the publicity stick compared to Eastern goaltenders. “East coast writers only want to talk about us (Ducks) when we’re playing in the East,” says the ace defenseman. “Dominik Hasek gets a lot of press because he plays in Detroit.”
• Not enough credit has gone to Bill Wirtz and Windsor attorney Patrick Ducharme for the behind-the-scenes work that helped expose union mismanagement, especially as it related to funds owed such players as Bob Probert, Denis Savard and Jeremy Roenick. Persistent queries on behalf of Ducharme’s clients to Saskin received nebulous answers. Nonetheless, Ducharme and Wirtz persisted when others would have thrown up their hands in frustration.
Ray Emery shuts down the Sabres tonight, 1-0.
Watch the post game interviews.
note 9:39pm: Video should be available shortly.
Q. Talk about the struggles five-on-five? Is it what they’re doing?
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: No. They’ve been good. I think you always got to give the other team credit. We’re good teams. Our power play and penalty kill has been good. Dom has been good. We haven’t been very good five-on-five. They’ve been better than us in that area. Yet in saying that, I think for the first 25 minutes of the game last night, they were better than us. Then I thought for the next 35, everything was pretty even. I thought they were better than us again in overtime.
When you’re playing good teams, there’s always going to be momentum swings in the game. You just want yours to be longer than theirs. I didn’t like our start last night. For whatever reason, they were able to establish a physical game early. We didn’t engage right I way. It took us a long time, I thought, to engage physically in the game and get involved.
from the CP via the CBC,
Todd Bertuzzi sounds like a man who finally gets it.
The insolence is gone. So is the arrogance and brooding. Instead of carrying a chip on his shoulder, Bertuzzi seems happy to have caught the life raft the Detroit Red Wings have tossed him and his NHL career.
“I’m very fortune to be in the position I’m in,” Bertuzzi said Monday about being involved in the chase for the Stanley Cup. “When you’re in this position you want to make sure you take full advantage of it and enjoy it. You never know when you’re going to be back.”
from the Toronto Star,
It may just be that those Red Wings fans who have missed playoff action at the Joe Louis Arena for eight games in a row will show up at the Honda Centre, otherwise known as the Duck Pond, in Anaheim on Tuesday.
That’s the fear of Ducks goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere.
“There’s a lot of Detroit fans in Anaheim,” says Giguere. “It’s going to be really loud in that building, it’s going to be really interesting.
via the Detroit Free Press,
Red Wings forward Kyle Calder will be benched for Game 3 on Tuesday in favor of Tomas Kopecky.
Calder hasn’t seen much ice time in the first two games against Anaheim, playing only 7:57 minutes in the first two games of the Western Conference finals. He has only one point this postseason, an assist in Game 5 against Calgary in the first round of the playoffs.
Kopecky hasn’t played since Dec. 14, when he suffered a broken collarbone against the Chicago Blackhawks.
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