Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Ryan Kennedy at The Hockey News,
Now, I know the anti-fun militia won’t like this, but let’s take a cue from the most successful sport in North America – NFL football – and schedule some sort of pre-final Stanley Cup extravaganza. In the days leading up to the Super Bowl, you can’t turn around without hearing about some sort of event hyping up what usually turns out to be a mediocre game (and in Canada, we don’t even get to see the good commercials).
Let’s have a fanfest. Bands will play, the Cup will be there, Mark Messier will sign autographs and give out bags of potato chips – it’ll be fun. This year, an event in Detroit could have featured Kid Rock and Bob Probert. Pittsburgh could counter with Mario Lemieux and a reunion of his buddies from the 1991 and ’92 Cup teams. Bring the kids, we’ll party until at least 9:30.
Note: Perhaps an octopus-taste-test in Detroit counts as a fanfest?
Dallas Drake’s first Stanley Cup Final game is finally going to happen in the 15th year of his career. From Scott Erskine via Yahoo!,
“Last summer, I didn’t know if I was going to play anymore,” said Drake, whose Red Wings host the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game One of the Finals on Saturday. “I was very fortunate the way things worked out with me and Detroit. I didn’t know if my career was over or not (after leaving St. Louis). I knew I still wanted to play, it was just a matter of, I wanted to play for a team that had a chance to win a Stanley Cup.
“So it’s a huge thrill for me. You think about (playing in the Finals). Sometimes you’re laying in bed at night and you can’t get it off our mind. But yeah, I’m not going to lie to you - I thought about never winning it, and it bothered me quite a bit.”
From the Globe & Mail,
How did these teams end up on hockey’s biggest stage? In part, super scouting.
A well-used hockey saying goes like this: “Great players make great coaches.” That’s true.
The corollary: Great scouts make great general managers. (Ask Wings GM Ken Holland.) Take it a step further, and scouts make GMs look good by acquiring the right players either through the draft, trades or signings.
It’s not a secret: Scouting is the life blood of any successful hockey team.
more on the scouting backgrounds of the two finalists
Update 8:11am ET: Dan Rosen at NHL.com has more on team-building on the Pittsburgh side, going back to the Craig Patrick era.
Fish markets in Pittsburgh won’t be selling octopus to just anyone. If your driver’s license reads “Michigan” you’ll have to import your 8-legged splatter bombs from out-of-state. [ESPN]
Sabres coach Lindy Ruff is currently working as a golf caddy this summer. Says PGA golfer and friend Dudley Hart, “He’s trying to stay out of the way.” [Dallas Morning News]
Forget the SCF games… the important question is: Which city has the better arena? Distinguising Mellon Arena and The Joe. (I’ve been told one smells better, but that issue is tastefully not discussed…) [Puck Daddy]
Anaheim Ducks’ Todd Marchant will be appearing as a panelist on the website SheKnows.com, as one member representing the New Faces of Fatherhood. Todd will be sharing his thoughts on topics of parenthood, sex education and more. [press release]
Some NHLers have hot wives. (Who knew?) [Waiting for Stanley]
The Crazy Canucks podcasters talked hockey in a panel discussion in Vancouver a few months ago. (Nothing that fascinating, but yes, that’s me making an ass of myself in public, alongside my much-smarter cohorts.). [YouTube]
From Dr. Larry Lauer at NHL.com,
The Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins now stand four wins away from achieving their mission—winning the Stanley Cup. But just making it to the Stanley Cup Final is an accomplishment. The long journey begins with the preseason, carried through the grind of 82 regular-season games, and then six weeks of physical, intense playoff hockey.
This has to be truly one of most exciting times in a player’s career—the anticipation of a championship, the anxiety of the “what will it be like” and “everyone is watching,” the confidence of having disposed of three tough opponents, and the desire to make an impact in the biggest series of your life.
From Chuck Gormley at The Sporting News,
But for all of the players who have had their names inscribed on the Cup, an equal number have fallen just short in their quest for Lord Stanley’s coveted mug. So what separates the winners from the losers? What makes the 34 1/2-pound silver chalice so difficult to attain?
For answers, we sought out current and former players who have reached the finals.
continued with memories and opinions from the likes of Mike Knuble, Georges Laraque, Bobby Clarke and others
Can we all say enough predictions and analysis!
I am heading to NHL Media Day in about an hour or so and Alanah will soon be joining you at KK.
Hopefully I will be able to file some reports throughout the day and remember, you can watch a live stream of NHL Media Day beginning at 2pm ET today.
from Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun,
“I try not to think about where I am right now,” said Helm, a fifth round choice (132nd overall) of the Red Wings in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. “Obviously, I’m going to cherish this moment but I’m not going to get to caught up in it.
“Every kid growing up wants to play in and win the Stanley Cup. We’ve still got another huge step to make but it’s a dream to get this far.”
Helm’s rise through the Red Wings system is nothing short of remarkable.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
Still, it’ll be the Lidstrom versus Crosby confrontation that will be worth the price of admission.
Aside from his obvious talent, it’s Crosby’s industriousness and strength on his skates that truly make him a handful. Lidstrom, of course, has made a living playing against the best forwards on the opposing roster every night for 16 years, playing more of a contain-type game than an attacking one and rarely being caught out of position.
If Babcock goes for this matchup in Detroit, it will be intriguing to see whether Penguins head coach Michel Therrien accepts it, or tries to get Crosby away from the multiple Norris Trophy winner.
from Ryan White of the Oregonian,
Watch. Watch for the little things. Watch the way Lidstrom holds the puck a second longer than anyone else, and opens up a world of passing lanes. Watch the way Crosby finds lanes not even Lidstrom could imagine. Watch Datsyuk and Zetterberg and Malkin move through traffic, so calm in the middle of so much chaos.
Watch what should be one of the best Cup finals in a long, long time. Go ahead. Do it. You work hard. You deserve the pleasure this series should provide.
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.
Email Paul anytime at email@example.com