Monday, May 26, 2008

Stanley Cup Final Game 2

Not like the Pittsburgh Penguins had much of a chance heading into Game 2 against the Detroit Red Wings, but their coach helped lose the game for them before the puck even dropped. Michel Therrien made one of the biggest mistakes a head coach could make - he panicked. Juggling the lines that got him to the final after one bad game proved to be a mistake. The Pens offense looked disjointed and had little flow as the Red Wings played Detroit hockey and hammered them to the tune of a 3-0 shutout.

Not only was the result great, it also marked the last time we will be subjected to the horrid work of Versus until next season. Thank goodness. The pathetic, amateurish production made watching hockey almost unbearable and for someone as obsessed with pucks as I am, that means it was pretty damn bad. I also bid a not-so-fond farewell to Bill Patrick, Brian Engblom and Keith Jones, whose opinions were as annoying as the way they were presented.

*Was that Valtteri Filppula or Bobby Orr? I wasn't sure. What an incredible goal to put the nail in the coffin tonight. Just, wow; a fantastic display of intensity and skill by the young Finn.

*I busted out my old-school Red Wings barber pole Yzerman jersey to watch the game and through how incredible it would be if the teams went vintage for Game 5 (should it make it that far). That way each team would have two games to wear their usual kits - home and away - and would get a decent amount of merchandise money out of the revival of the classics. The Pens did so well with their baby blue at the Winter Classic that it is rumoured (bottom of that article) to be their third jersey next year ...

*Who was it who mentioned that Brad Stuart's acquisition at the deadline may be the best move made while raving about his Game 1 performance? Oh yeah, that was me. Great goal to open the game's scoring.

*Why didn't Tomas Holmstrom get a penalty instead of the Red Wings goal? He hampered Fleury's ability to stop the puck by slamming it in the net. Sorry, had to go there.

*Is it any wonder that moments after Holmstrom scored the refs find something to call to give Cindy a chance? They did what the Penguins offence could not - create a scoring opportunity. Yeah, all of that conspiracy talk was unfounded ... I wish I was at work so I could listen to the full, unedited postgame presser. And you just know Cindy is going to complain about the officiating since his team lost and looked like the petulant children that they are. What was that saying? A team takes on the character of their captain?

*The second period was painful to watch. It was like a cat batting around a mostly-dead bird before it finally kills it off.

*Gary Roberts: Tough meets classless. What Should Gary Roberts Do? Retire to save some face. Watching him punch Johan Franzen in the head and chase after Pavel Datsyuk at the end of the game was not old time hockey, it was just the last throes of a fading player. Call it a career Gary, you are only embarrassing yourself.

*Check out the picture to the right! I found Evgeni Malkin!! Let's hope that the Penguins don't see it because they could really use him ...

*Eddie O continued his personal public relations campaign for Cindy Crosby and the Pens. He is as inept as a broadcaster as he was a coach so it is of little wonder that there are so many head coaching jobs opening up around the league and Olczyk's name has not been mentioned once.

*If I see that Versus 'competition' commercial one more time I may puke. What kind of competition is hunting? Yeah, the animals really have a chance to fight back against guys with automatic rifles shooting from a blind. I'm not against hunting, I am against calling it a competition.

*While I am talking about the NHL's terrible broadcast partner, I have to give them a bit of credit. It has taken several years and their last game broadcast of the season but I really liked the new-look full screens. They have a nice portrait photo with a smooth animated background and a solid base text font. The info could use a little work, as could the font of the text that flies on, but its the nicest thing Versus has done yet.

*Will Big Z take the Big C? Henrik Zetterberg has been consistently superb on both sides of the ice and is showing off his diverse arsenal of weapons in this series. The impressive thing is that he has been just as good as he was against Dallas and Colorado so he should be a top candidate for the Conn Smythe once Nick Lidstrom raises the Cup.

*Chris Osgood's name will of course be in the running for the Conn but he wasn't really tested. Ozzy had to make a few big saves in Game 1 but Game 2 was pretty much a cakewalk. Plus his flair for the dramatic is just getting annoying. He looks like he is going for Oscar instead of Stanley with all of his embellishments - two in this game and that disgrace against Mike Ribeiro last series. That is why he will have no shot at being a Scotty Hockey Three Star. And speaking of those:

*PHW Three Stars
3-Brad Stuart - one goal and one assist.
2-Valtteri Filppula - one goal and one assist.
1-Chris Osgood - 22 save shutout.

Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Niklas Kronwall - Just like how he did it in the first game, Kronwall came out and dominated physically early. He sent a message and was rock solid defensively (even with Cindy holding his stick). For the stat people who put value in plus/minus, he was also +3.
2-Brad Stuart - Another fantastic game by the depth defenseman. Stuart was steady defensively and his goal was beautiful - a pin-point slapper as he was sliding backwards towards the boards.
1-Valtteri Filppula - As pretty as Stuart's goal was, Flip's was better. And his line pressed the action all night long - pretty good for three guys not named Zetterberg or Datsyuk ...


Graying Mantis said...

Sometimes I think I am one of the few Ranger fans who would stay up to watch the late night contests on Versus. All I kept thinking during the first 2 rounds was how great Detroit looked and how they did not look like prior years' folding chairs.

They are solid skaters and Osgood is having a great run since replacing Hasek. I enjoy watching them play and will applaud them if they win the Cup. But they are only halfway there.

I do like the idea of seeing Pittsburgh down 3-0 to give them some humility.

Sean said...

Thankfully, VERSUS uses the TSN feed for the Entry Draft.

I wouldn't want to try and listen to Keith Jones getting his QMJHL and WHL players mixed up.