Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Pierre LeBrun at Sportsnet,
The Wings’ top four on defence—Lidstrom, Rafalski, Brad Stuart and Niklas Kronwall—is of a quality that the Penguins have not faced this year.
For the first time in these playoffs, the Penguins won’t have home-ice advantage. They’re a perfect 8-0 at Mellon Arena.
Sid and the boys will make this a tougher final than many will predict, but in the end, experience and home ice are the difference for me.
Wings in a very difficult seven. And let’s enjoy every minute of it.
LA Kings executives met with season ticket holders…
from Inside the Kings,
The next fan had wide-ranging criticisms, mostly about the signings of underachieving free agents, and summed up his question by basically asking, ``Why should I give you my money now, and not wait two or three years to see how this turns out?’‘
(Ron) Hextall said, ``I’m not going to try to sell you on the fact that we’re going to win the Stanley Cup next year, because quite frankly I don’t see it happening. We’re trying to build the team. ... The guys we signed last year, we didn’t expect them to step in and be star players. Michal Handzus, that was the worst year I’ve seen him have. ... You won’t see how good he is until we get to the playoffs and he shuts down a guy like Ryan Getzlaf or Joe Thornton.
Pittsburgh Penguins GM Ray Shero participated in a NHL teleconference today. Below is the transcript from the Q&A.
Q. Being swept up in the middle of this playoff run, have you had a chance to step back and appreciate what your team has done, the rebuilding process that has gone on in the last couple of years?
RAY SHERO: I think so. In between every round, there’s a different challenge, the first one being Ottawa, which was, honestly, a little nerve-racking. They were a team that beat us last year quite handily in five games. Trying to see how the team would react. Getting the early goal from Gary Roberts in Game 1, that was great.
But it’s been a great experience for our club here. Every round we’ve gone on, I think we’ve got more confidence. Hopefully we’re going to be ready for Saturday night.
Ryan Malone participated in an NHL tele-conference today…
Q. Could you sit back and look at the big picture, where this franchise and team was about 15 months ago when it looked like the team might possibly move, the arena deal was difficult to negotiate. Nervous time for everyone in Pittsburgh. 15 months later you’re in the Stanley Cup final, sold out every game, a new rink on the way. Has that been kind of a fun but nervous ride?
RYAN MALONE: A little bit. I think especially being from Pittsburgh, even being with the team early on, when you heard all the rumors about we might be moving, I think deep down inside with the fan support we had at the time, it was great, so it would have been tough to leave such a good hockey town with the support we were receiving at the time.
I think deep down inside we knew we weren’t really going anywhere. For some reason, people were dragging their feet, finally got the rink deal done. It would have been crazy to think at the end of this year we would be going somewhere else.
Definitely great to see. I think you really have to thank the fans for the way they supported us. Had big rallies during that time to make sure we knew they were supporting us. It was great.
From The Sporting News,
Coyotes left winger Daniel Carcillo—5-11, 203 pounds with a crazy-high 324 penalty minutes in his first full season—is learning the hard way that competitiveness and chaos can be tough to tell apart. Here are his 10 tips for surviving and thriving as a middleweight fighter, as told to SN’s Steve Greenberg.
1. You have to want to do it. Unless you’re 6-8, 250 pounds, you should never let a coach force you to fight. I’m a pretty mellow guy off the ice; a lot of people who get to know me say I’m totally different than the guy they see at the arena. But I’ll tell you something my coach, Wayne Gretzky, and my teammates already know: I like to fight.
Get all Carcillo’s tips for the trade. A great piece.
And if you want to think about fights even more this week, Patrick Hruby at ESPN writes about The Men Who Love Goons.
from Spector at Fox Sports,
They’re now facing a healthy, fast and deep Penguins team that plays a very aggressive offensive style that won’t be as easily contained, which should prove the biggest test of the playoffs for the Red Wings defense.
It’ll also prove a major challenge for Chris Osgood, who’s played well but hasn’t been nearly as busy as Pittsburgh netminder Marc-Andre Fleury, who leads all playoff goalies in wins (12) and shutouts (3), and sports a slightly better save percentage (.934) than Osgood (.931).
Osgood will certainly face more shots and offensive pressure in this series than he did in the previous three, while Fleury is used to facing more shots and could adjust more quickly to the Red Wings offensive attack. It’ll be interesting to see how well Osgood fares under the heavier workload.
read on for his Stanley Cup winner…
The 2008 Stanley Cup Final marks the first playoff series between the Red Wings and Penguins in the 41st season that both clubs have been members of the NHL. It is the first postseason meeting of pro franchises from Detroit and Pittsburgh since the 1909 World Series, when the Pittsburgh Pirates topped the Detroit Tigers four games to three in a celebrated competition between Hall of Fame shortstop Honus Wagner for the Pirates and outfielder Ty Cobb for the Tigers.
from Mike Brophy of the Hockey News,
While everyone in the hockey world will be focused on the exploits of Crosby, Malkin, Datsyuk and Zetterberg, you’ll have to forgive me if I zero in on two other players who I think will be paramount to their teams’ success: Tomas Holmstrom of the Wings and Ryan Malone of the Penguins.
Through three rounds, Malone stood tied for eighth in playoff scoring with six goals and 15 points in 14 games while Holmstrom was tied for 24th with three goals and 10 points in 16 games.
Why these two?
from Red Fisher of the Montreal Gazette,
What you have here now is that while the Red Wings made a few hearts flutter by losing twice to the Stars, the NHL’s best two teams are meeting for the Cup.
What you have is a team that won the Presidents’ Cup during the regular season meeting the NHL’s second-best team, even though the Penguins finished No. 2 behind the Canadiens in the East in the regular season.
What you have is a matchup to die for.
from John Buccigross at ESPN,
What happens in the first two games in Detroit will go a long way in determining the series. Most of the Wings’ lineup has been in this spot before; most of the Penguins have not. But that doesn’t matter if one team is simply better. If the Penguins are to win it all, they have to simply believe they are better and then go out and work harder. If they have any doubt, they will get manhandled.
I’m sure I am in the minority here. Most Web-perts are probably taking the Red Wings. If you go back to ESPN.com’s preseason predictions, you’ll see my preseason Stanley Cup winner in black text: “Pittsburgh Penguins.”
I’m sticking with that. Black and bold. Penguins in six.
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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