The Bench Boss has a few bones to pick and would like to weigh in with his own thoughts in response to some of the things that the O-Dman said about the cup finals.
1. Huet isn’t good just because he made one nice save. He is terrible and that is why he has never been able to cut it as a starter. Not in Montreal, not in Washington and not in Chi-town.
2. You aren’t seriously giving the goaltending advantage to Detroit are you? Yes, Ozzy has been solid, but let’s get serious here. In the Chicago series the Wings pretty much dominated every game and he only needed to make a timely save every now and then which to his credit he did. However, in the Ducks series when the play was much more even, he was very average. Fleury is probably the best “goaltender” in the league, and by that I mean he’s not just a big log like Luongo who’s game consists of simply covering the entire net. Fleury is not a big goalie by any means and has to actually rely on anticipation, quickess and reflex to make saves. He is proving more and more to be a great big game goalie (unlike Luongo). I’d actually rank him and Lunqvist as the top 2 netminders in the game.
3. The key to Pittsburgh’s defence is not the undersized and erratic Kris Letang, and certainly not the offensive minded Gonchar. The key to Pittsburgh’s success defensively has been and will need to continue to be the underrated and steady play of the likes of Hal Gill, Rob Scuderi and Brooks Orpik. These three can’t be any fun to play against, especially Gill and Orpik, who may lack some foot speed but you can be assured that they will be in your face and there to battle all night. Think back to why Anaheim ws so successful against Detroit. They were in the Wings kitchen all night. Those three Pittsburgh d-men need to be the same way.
Sidney instructing Gill and Orpik to kill Holmstrom
4. The one thing we can agree on is the outcome of the series. I will also go with Detroit in 7 simply because I have now come to the conclusion that Detroit is the best skating team I have ever seen. From top to bottom I have never seen a team skate the way they can. Even bigger players like Franzen and Samuelsson can fly. For Pittsburgh to win its simple really. They need to watch the tape of Anaheim and try and do everything they did, and then watch the tape of the Chicago series and try NOT to do everything that the Hawks did.
The Wings and Penguins will hook up again in this year's Cup Final
Following Detroit’s well-earned 2-1 overtime victory against the Chicago Blackhawks last night, we hockey fans are being treated to a rematch of last year’s Cup final. When I say “treated,” I mean it. While I may be an anti-Detroit fan, I readily admit that they are the class of the NHL in terms of pure skill. The Hawks fought hard last night, and the determination they showed while fighting back to tie the game in the third will only prove to be invaluable experience for future playoff runs. I have to mention Cristobal Huet’s performance as well, as his play last night probably redeemed him in the eyes of many Blackhawks fans. Here’s the clip of his save on Johan Franzen with about 15 seconds left in regulation that sent this game into overtime. Seriously, watch it until you can check out the slow-motion replays of it – it’s not a “lucky” save, as I’ve read on some blogs. You can clearly see Huet’s head / eyes follow the puck to Franzens’ stick, and he reacts accordingly. Huet puts himself in postition and makes it possible to stop the puck:
I did a little bit of digging into the season’s archives, and I actually found out where Huet learned to make a save like this. You can’t specifically see Huet in the following clip, but I imagine him on Chicago’s bench taking detailed notes of what Marty Turco did to the Hawks earlier this season:
Now that I’ve given Huet some props, it’s time that I turn my attention to his Detroit counterpart, Playoff-Chris Osgood. As you can see, I’ve separated him from Regular-Season Chris Osgood, who enjoys giving up about 4 goals on 20 shots on an average night. In the playoffs, however, Ozzie becomes superhuman and makes almost every difficult save look routine. He was beat only once last night, on a beauty of a goal by Patty Kane (who had some serious jump in his step last night after being smothered the first few games of the series). I struggle to understand the change that Osgood undergoes once the playoffs hit. Some players raise their game a notch; Osgood raises his about 10 notches. The question, now that the Cup Final is set, is if Marc-Andre Fleury will be able to match Osgood shot-for-shot. Here’s my take on the upcoming series, and how it will be different (and ultimately, similar) compared to last year’s final.
7:26 pm EST – Good evening hockey fans. Both The Bench Boss and Offensive Defenceman are here for tonight’s Game 4 action between the Carolina Hurricanes and the Pittsburgh Penguins. Obviously, we’re both hoping that Pittsburgh squashes these Hurricane idiots, or else this blog will get nasty very quickly. As any proud Canadian, we’ll be taking in the game on CBC (currently wrapping up another dynamite episode of This Hour Has 22 Minutes). Next post at the start of the broadcast. Click Keep Reading to follow along.
Just a little note to all you readers out there, tonight myself and the Offensive Defenceman will be conducting a live blog of tonight’s game 4 between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Carolina Hurricanes, much like our very own Big Aristotle did during the Pens-Caps series. The festivities get under way at 7:30 ET so check back then for our attempt at humour and analysis of the game. Or if you aren’t comfortable with trying to read and watch at the same time, atleast hit us up after the game…unless you would rather listen to the thrilling and insightful post game of Ron Maclean, PJ Stock and Kelly Hrudey.
“…with the journey hoping to culminate some time in May with the Memorial Cup.” http://distinctkickingmotion.com/2009/03/18/ready-for-take-off/
Those were the words the Bench Boss spoke now more than two months ago when the Windsor Spitfires were beginning the OHL playoffs, and as fate would have it, that is exactly what happened. Yesterday, the Spitfires beat the Kelowna Rockets 4-1 to claim the franchise’s first Memorial Cup championship as the best team in Canadian junior hockey. The victory also marked the first time that a team went on to win the title after losing their first two games of the tournament. The Spitfires did so by beating Kelowna in their final round robin game to force a tie-breaker game against host Rimouski in which they defeated the Oceanic 6-4. In the semi-final, Windsor beat the Quebec league champs Drummondville Voltigeurs on an Adam Henrique overtime goal to set up a rematch against Kelowna in Sunday’s final. Playing their fourth game in six days, the Spits showed no signs of fatigue, jumping out to a quick 3-0 first period lead. From there, the game was never really in doubt with Windsor going on to win 4-1. Windsor forward Taylor Hall was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, proving why he is considered to be the top prospect for the 2010 NHL Draft.
Michael Jordan, seen here gambling on NBA games.
Okay, so I may have come off as a bit of a homer with my last post on how the Kronwall hit on Havlat was not a penalty (though I still stand by that).
That being the case, here is a post dedicated to your beloved Chicago Blackhawks. I start with Michael Jordan being at the game the other night, and end with the Hawks scoring 22 goals in 10 minutes. Enjoy.
From Gene Wojciechowski of ESPN.com
CHICAGO — So I’m standing in the United Center suite with Mr. Hockey himself, Michael Jordan, and his buddy, Kid Rock. We’re killing time between the first and second periods of the Chicago Blackhawks–Detroit Red Wings playoff game, and I’m thinking, “NHL, where have you been all my life?”
I mean, when’s the last time you saw MJ at a hockey game? Even more incredible, when’s the last time Jordan slipped on a personalized No. 23 Hawks sweater (but only after team officials sewed a red patch over the maker’s company logo), walked out to his seat and happily posed and waved to the geeked crowd as the Versus cameras recorded every surreal moment? After all, who thought MJ would commit to the Indian?
“That’s never happened,” says an amazed Jay Blunk, the team’s senior vice president of business operations. “We celebrate the little things.”
“It’s validation,” says Hawks president John McDonough, who has known Jordan for years. “It’s validation.”
Keep Reading at ESPN
Now – after the jump – for video of the old Chicago Stadium and The Blackhawks scoring 22 goals in 10 minutes. It is a must see.
The Pink Floyd jams only add to the mystique:
1. It was not interference.
2. Kronwall did not leave his feet prior to hitting Havlat.
3. Clean hit. The Chicago scrum afterward was more dangerous (in terms of inducing injury on Havlat) than the hit itself.
Judge for yourself: