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Author Topic: HOCKEY HOCKEY HOCKEY
Kwea
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wOOt! GO WINGS!!!
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Lyrhawn
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Hell yeah! Sweet overtime goal. Absolutely sweet play by Samuelsson, Hudler and Filppula!

2-0 Wings!

ooooh we're halfway there!

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Kwea
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wOOt!
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Goody Scrivener
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Yeah, the Hawks are done. I'm proud of em for getting this far, but we're not gonna get past the Wings this year. They definitely looked better tonight than they did on Sunday, though.
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Derrell
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Hawks are up 3-0 in the 2nd period.
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Lyrhawn
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Excellent comeback attempt by the Wings in the second period. Three quick unanswered goals. I think if they Wings had won, it would have been devastating for the Hawks, not just to do down three games, which is in itself nearly impossible to overcome, but to give up that kind of lead like that.

I thought the call on Kronwall was overly strict. It looked like a fair, clean hit to me.

I knew the Hawks would win one at home, I was figuring we'd split the series there and come back to Detroit 3-1, and I still think that will happen.

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Derrell
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Yeah, Kronwall got the shaft. It looked pretty nasty, though.
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Flaming Toad on a Stick
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Wow, that was a trouncing.
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Lyrhawn
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The Hawks totally broke down. I think some, SOME of the calls against them might have been excessive, but they took every opportunity to take a swipe at a Wing, and a couple of them were dirty, rather than actually play some hockey.

There was a lot of talk about how the speed and youth of the Hawks would overcome the experience and composure of the Wings, but I think that was an excellent example of how losing your composure can lose you a game. They stopped playing hockey for most of that game.

And for that matter, the Wings did it without Datsyuk and Lidstrom. Hossa and Zetterberg really stepped up, and I think Filppula was an unsung hero in that game two. He set up both of Hossa's goals beautifully, and scored one himself. He was responsible for setting up a lot of Franzen's goals when he was on a tear, and set up the OT winner a few games ago. Stunning assists.

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Goody Scrivener
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
They stopped playing hockey for most of that game.

Exactly. I really hoped we'd win so we had the momentum going back to Detroit. I had a feeling it wouldn't happen, though. Hey, we still got further into the post season than anyone expected and further than we've gone for the last 15 years.
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Lyrhawn
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Well with the finals set, there are some big questions being asked before the finals:

Will the Wings be healthy (enough) by game time?

Will Crosby and Malkin keep up their high level of play against a defense the likes of which they haven't faced yet (and stifled them last year)?

Will Fleury and Osgood keep up their amazing goaltending?

And in my mind most importantly: What the hell is up with the scheduling?

Two days off and then back to back Sat/Sun games? Three games in four days? I've a number of thoughts on this that range from "what's the rush?" to "why is the NHL being treated like collegiate baseball?" And yes I admit my bias; the Wings are a little banged up and I'd like them to have more than 48 hours to rest a little bit before the finals start, but is that really so unreasonable a request? The Finals NEVER start this fast. Everyone thought there was going to be a week off (and even that was at NBC's demand) before the Finals started, now it's just a couple days before back to back games. Maybe the Wings should have thrown Wednesday night's game just to push the Finals back a week.

Seriously though, I don't get it. Personally I say screw NBC. Show the whole thing on Versus, or Fox Sports local cable stations. They aren't even paying for the rights, and they get to dictate an awful schedule for a major national sporting final that is unheard of and disadvantageous, not just to one team, but to the sport in general, just because they don't want to take up weeknight time or risk OT ruining Conan's debut?! It's clear where their priorities are, but Bettman should have been focused on HOCKEY, not kissing NBC's collective ass.

If the Wings lose, I won't come back and complain that we only lost because of the schedule, despite the role it might play, but I do think it's crap, and it'll be a factor now, and if anything, the schedule should favor the team with home ice advantage, which is nearly negated by a back to back performance.

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Xavier
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It was going to be 10 days off for the Penguins and 9 for the Red Wings. And then it STILL was going to be back to back games.

As odd as this schedule is, the other one would have been worse, in my opinion. They are clearly bending over for NBC either way.

I can understand them wanting to showcase the matchup on a prime network, having the most popular and successful team in the last 15 years playing against 2 out of the 3 top young NHL stars. Still, I can certainly understand those who are complaining about it.

quote:
If the Wings lose, I won't come back and complain that we only lost because of the schedule
I think you'll be the only one who doesn't [Wink] . During the playoffs I spend more time over at HFBoards than even hatrack, and I can guarantee it will be a common excuse if they lose.

Of course, there's a very good chance the Red Wings win the series, in which case no excuses needed [Smile] .

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Lyrhawn
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Yeah, 10 days off followed by back to back games would have sucked too, but at least then the teams would be well rested, and I don't think they would have had to contend with three games in four days, which I think might be more of a killer than the back to back games.

If Game 1 goes into OT, Game 2 is going to be a snooze fest.

But no, I won't complain after the fact (that's what right now is for [Smile] ). Overcoming injuries to win is one of the things that make winning the Stanley Cup so special, certainly I think more unique than other sports who are less injury prone (I'm looking at you NBA and MLB). It's extremely disadvantageous, but we'll see how it goes.

I think things are still far more evenly matched than a lot of people give the Wings credit for. With Lidstrom back (likely) and Ericsson (also likely), the Wings will have an overpowering defense, which will negate the supposed advantage of the Pens offense (top heavy and not a great deal of depth). So for me, when the Wings win it in six or seven, despite all the things stacked against them, it'll be that much sweeter.

But nothing will change the fact that I don't think NBC should get the Finals.

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solo
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10 days would have been much worse for the league and its attempts to build a larger U.S. fanbase. Right now there is some built up interest due mostly to Malkin and Crosby. With a 10 day break viewership stands a good chance of losing a lot of ground. Better to keep it fresh in the minds of the people.

The Penguins only have 1 additional day of rest though so I don't think that can really be considered. Yeah, the Wings have some injuries but the Penguins had just as much potential to be in that situation.

I do think it is stupid that game 2 is at noon on Sunday. Sunday night would have been a stretch but to only have 12-14 hours between the end of the first game and the start of the second? That's stupid.

Though, maybe someone has seen the problem there. I just checked the schedule on nhl.com and they are saying the time of game 2 is TBD.

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solo
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Also, NBC having the finals - it's one of the ways to get national exposure. Hopefully they gain some fans for it. It's just too bad the commentators for NBC suck. I'm glad I get the CBC for that.
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Xavier
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quote:
which will negate the supposed advantage of the Pens offense (top heavy and not a great deal of depth)
With the way that the Penguins have been running their lines since Gonchar got injured, that's not really true.

Kunitz Crosby Guerin
Fedotenko Malkin Talbot
Kennedy Staal Cooke
Satan Crosby/Malkin Adams

Malkin and Crosby take turns double-shifting on the 4th line, and with Satan playing pretty well right now, it's a very dangerous line. The third line hasn't been scoring many goals, but is still pretty solid.

Not saying they are guaranteed to produce, but their bottom is almost as heavy as their top.

I'm gonna say Penguins in 6 or 7, though it could easily go the other way.

Added: I think the thing that will decide the series is Fleury's play. He's been both unbelievably good in some games, and completely mediocre in others this playoffs. He needs to bring his A-game for the Pens to have a chance.

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Lyrhawn
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Wings win the first one in a weird game. Fast pace, heavy on defense on both sides, very physical, most of the goals were a little on the flukey side.

Stuart's goal was a lucky bounce off the boards, Franzen's was going to get stuffed in by Cleary either way, Fedotenko's was a nice backhand after Osgood coughed up the puck, and Abdelkader's first postseason goal was a nice grab out of the air and top shelfer.

I thought Malkin getting denied by Ozzie was fitting considering he tripped Kronwall to get the puck on his breakaway. All in all Ozzie got both lucky and stood on his head. Fleury caught a couple bad breaks, but also made some nice stops. Ozzie's stop on Crosby's sweet little turn around move was probably a combination of luck and skill.

All in all, the Pens look a hell of a lot more impressive than they did in last year's Game 1. Tomorrow will be interesting, and I think for the Wings, their third and fourth lines will be huge role players, since they're largely made up of younger guys who play fewer minutes. They're rested.

Though, if we're getting goals from a Leino/Abdelkader combination, two guys who wouldn't even be in the lineup if three forwards ahead of them weren't out with injuries, I'm feelin damn good about those last two lines. [Smile]

This is going to be a heck of a series. I still say Wings in 6.

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Kwea
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I say they win in 5. [Big Grin]
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Lyrhawn
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Wings are up 2-0!

Five would be awesome. I'd love to win it at home. Royal Oak, where I live, is always the place on TV when the Wings win, as people stream out of the bars, clog the streets, and just plain party. It's a lot of fun.

Tonight's game was great. Filppula's backhand goal was amazing. I've wanted a Filppula jersey for awhile now, but can't justify the expense.

So much for the Pens being hungrier and the Wings being banged up and decrepit!

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Kwea
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LOL...I posted that last comment BEFORE I knew they won tonight. LOL
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Lyrhawn
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I think it's just a matter of how many games it will be before they win. I'm hesitant to count my chickens, but the Pens winning 4 out of 5? Highly unlikely against the Wings, and nearly unheard of historically.

::knocks on wood, turns around three times and spits::

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Lyrhawn
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Series is at 2-1 now after the Penguins win last night. Puck drops in less than 15 hours for Game 4, a pivotal game in the series. Either they'll even it up, or go down a punishing 3-1.

Pavel Datsyuk may very well be back for Game 4. Depending on how he does in his first game back, he could have a huge impact on the game. He was already due for a scoring comeback, but given his drought before his injury, he might not be a scoring juggernaut in his return. For sure though he'll be a welcome relief for the PK unit that has struggled against the Pens offense. Datsyuk is a favorite to repeat for the Selke Trophy for best offensive forward, and that sort of defensive play will help tamp down the Pens defense, and especially their PP unit. He could have a huge impact on the game.

But we'll see. Game 3 was wacky in a number of ways. The Wings dominated the second period but had nothing to show for it. The first period was back and forth, and the third was a rather low energy. I think tonight almost starts the series over again. The Wings will be rested, with their main players back, and looking to put a death knell on the Pens. The Pens will be looking to capitalize on their win and momentum to even up the series.

This game should be sweet!!!!!

::PUMPED!::

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Valentine014
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Yeah, this is clearly a must-win for the Pens.

I cannot friggen believe how well the Red Wings have shut down Crosby so far. He's still had a bunch of chances, but keeping him off the scoreboard (besides one secondary assist) for three games is a hell of an accomplishment considering how great he played against the eastern teams.

I really want to see him bury a couple tonight. If the Pens have any hope of winning this series, his line needs to produce some offense.

Edit: This is Xavier.

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solo
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Wow, the Wings kinda fell apart there. They were being outrun to the puck in key situations - especially on the Staal goal. I was surprised that after the early goal for Detroit in the second that the Pens weren't totally thrown off their game.

Now that Crosby is on, it's gonna be an exciting finish to this series. I think it'll go 7 and I can't decide who I think will win it.

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Xavier
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quote:
I was surprised that after the early goal for Detroit in the second that the Pens weren't totally thrown off their game.
They've been incredibly resilient this playoffs. They are much more confident than last year.

The Penguins definitely outworked Detroit last night. When they are "on" like that, the whole team goes after every puck like their lives depend on it. It makes for very exciting games, and they are very hard to beat.

They seem to turn it up when their backs are against the wall, like any great team. Hopefully they can win one in Detroit tomorrow. They'll have to win one game there at least to win the series.

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solo
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I like Detroit quite a bit. They are a very talented team. They are tough without being cheap and I respect their game.

That being said, I am really hoping that the Pens can take the cup. They are an exciting team and I really enjoy watching them play.

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Kwea
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I told my cousin, who is from Pittsburgh, that the Pens would only have a chance if they could make this a 6 or 7 game series. I honestly think it can make a series of it now, because their young team will have the better legs in a game 7.

That being said.....


GO RED WINGS!!!

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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by solo:
Wow, the Wings kinda fell apart there. They were being outrun to the puck in key situations - especially on the Staal goal. I was surprised that after the early goal for Detroit in the second that the Pens weren't totally thrown off their game.

Now that Crosby is on, it's gonna be an exciting finish to this series. I think it'll go 7 and I can't decide who I think will win it.

To be fair, the only reason Crosby was "on" was because Babcock took Zetterberg off him to rest him. Back home, with the last change, Crosby is going to get smothered again, especially with Datsyuk back in the lineup. Any time you inject a Hart & and Selke finalist, and Selke defender for that matter, into a lineup, it changes the game, and even if he only plays at 75%, it'll make a difference, and I think we're going to see that tomorrow night.

That being said, the Wings totally let up last night. I thought the last 10 minutes of the first period was great, and the third period in general was good, but that second period was God awful. The defense collapsed and let the Pens waltz in, and the forwards couldn't keep the puck in the other end. I expect tomorrow to be different, and for games 6 and 7, with more rest in between games, I expect a more up tempo match.

I still say Wings in 7. It's a new series, but with a well rested Datsyuk back for the Wings, and Draper on the PK and faceoffs, the Wings just got a shot in the arm.

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Lyrhawn
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5-0 crushing shut out win for the Wings!!

Wow, it was like the teams did a role reversal. The Pens totally lost their composure, taking bad penalty after bad penalty. Cheap slashes, elbows and hooks led to three Wings power play goals, and their penalty kill was top notch to boot.

I think Datsyuk was huge in that game. The Wings played like the Wings again after a horrible Game 4. The Pens I think really, really let themselves go. When they're on, they're great, but I think the inexperience they claimed to be over bled through tonight. They could have made that game a lot closer by taking fewer stupid penalties.

It goes back to Pittsburgh on Tuesday, where the Cup will be in the Igloo! Anything goes after tonight I think.

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Kwea
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Almost time for the wrap-up, isn't it? One more day.... LOL
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Lyrhawn
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Puck drops in 15 hours.


tick tock tick tock...

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Kwea
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Not that we are counting....lol...
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Flaming Toad on a Stick
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Game seven, eh? We're gonna see some octopus flying, I guarantee it.
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Lyrhawn
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It's gonna be epic!
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Xavier
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Jeez that one was tense. I don't think I have any fingernails left to bite.

Normally my opinion on game 7 would be that all bets are off, but with the Pens being dominated in the other 3 games at JLA it's hard for me to feel that way.

Still, I'm betting the Pens at least try to come out flying. If Crosby can elevate his game like he's done in the past (and bury his chances), I think they have reasonable odds of coming away with the win. Or maybe if Malkin goes into "my Mom's in the crowd maybe I should dominate this game" mode. Of course Fleury playing like he did last night would help as well.

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Lyrhawn
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Wings get the last change at home. I wouldn't put a whole lot of money on Crosby's impact Friday night.
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Xavier
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Well hopefully he can make you eat those words [Smile] .

He's been pretty well contained so far, but he is still Crosby.

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Lyrhawn
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And Zetterberg is still Zetterberg, and Datsyuk is still Datsyuk, and Malkin is still Malkin. Blah blah blah.

I think he's good, but I think the hero worship he gets is a little crazy. I know Bettman is trying to build a new viewership around his golden boy, but he's been shut down by the Wings. Look at his production in the first rounds, and in the Cup finals. Zetterberg has been his constant shadow, and he can't get away from him.

I guess some of it comes from the fact that I only watch the Pens when they play the Wings, and sometimes in the semis, so the only real image I have of them is Crosby getting shut down by Hank, so I really don't see what everyone else sees when it comes to Crosbyphilia.

I just don't see him as being any better than most of the top notch players on any other team.

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Xavier
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quote:
I guess some of it comes from the fact that I only watch the Pens when they play the Wings, and sometimes in the semis, so the only real image I have of them is Crosby getting shut down by Hank, so I really don't see what everyone else sees when it comes to Crosbyphilia.
Yeah, there's your problem. He was amazing this playoffs in much of the first three rounds. He's been largely shut down by Zetterberg and Lidstrom so far this series though, so I can certainly understand your skepticism.

I'd love for him to break out and show you what he's capable of in game 7, but if he gets shut down again and Pens still manage to win it, I'd be very nearly as happy [Smile] .

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Lyrhawn
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I'll give you this, with Crosby being hamstrung, the Pens secondary scoring is stepping up in a way they didn't really have to in the first few rounds.

quote:
I'd love for him to break out and show you what he's capable of in game 7
The hockey lover in me would certainly love to see that. But the Wings fan would like to see him with his face jammed into the boards as often as possible. [Smile]

I saw some of the highlights from him in the Caps series, and he really was quite good. I don't know if he's better than Ovechkin, but then, Crosby has a lot more behind him than Ovechkin does, and that'll be even more pronounced when the Caps get gutted in the off season.

I hope the Pens make a game of it tomorrow night. They've managed to score only two goals in three games, with an 11-2 goal differential in those three games. The Wings have only lost one game at home so far in the playoffs. I thought Game Six was the closest game yet, but the Pens badly outplayed the Wings in the first 30 minutes. Osgood was the main reason the score was so low. Tomorrow night will be about playing with energy, but also poise. Desperate teams make mistakes if they can't control themselves.

Either way, someone is walking out of that building with the Cup tomorrow. Hopefully the Wings will bring it downtown after the game tomorrow night so I can see it. [Smile]

::knocks on wood::

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Fusiachi
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....This isn't happening.

We might be witnessing the end of hockey.

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solo
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Wow. I missed the two Penguins goals (well, the first 13 minutes of the second period actually). What I saw of the game was incredible. Fleury stood on his head. Play was great in both directions. Emotions were high. Great hockey game. I don't think there could have been a much better end to the playoffs. Either team winning at this point would have been a great story but I'm happy to see the kids take the cup.
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Xavier
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Beating the Flyers, the Caps, and the Red Wings in one playoffs... Wow, this really couldn't have been much better for the Pens.

Another crazy finish. What a game, series, and playoffs.

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Kwea
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Great series. I said from the beginning that if the Pens wanted it it would take a game 7, where their youth would make a game of it. It's kinda sad, as the Red Wings outscored them at home for the series by far, but what a game. [Big Grin]

I still think the Red Wings were the better team, but the Pens played amazing. Their goalie should have won MVP, because without him tonight it was game over for them.

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Lyrhawn
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I'm not sure if Fleury deserved the Conn Smythe. You can't just look at the Finals, you have to look at play all throughout, and he played some weak games over the course of the whole playoffs.

Picking a playoff MVP winner was a lot easier for the Pens than it would have been for Detroit.

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Fitz
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So the Oilers and the Senators had a deal all but carved stone: Cogliano, Smid, and Penner in exchange for Dany Heatley. Heatley requested a trade because he wasn't happy with his relationship with Ottawa's coach. All that remained was for Heatley to waive his no movement clause, and everyone thought the deadline was yesterday at midnight, either Heatley accepts the trade or he stays with Ottawa and gets paid a $4 million bonus. Apparently now the deadline is tonight at midnight eastern, but Edmonton fans who were ecstatic about the news yesterday are now extremely bitter that Heatley has pretty clearly indicated that he has no desire whatsoever to play in Edmonton.

Another rumor floating around was that Hossa might actually want to play in Edmonton. That was bullshit apparently, as he signed with Chicago even though they offered less money than Edmonton.

Sigh, at least we got Khabibulin, and maybe Edmonton will snag another decent FA. Gaborik maybe *fingers crossed*.

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Fitz
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As I was writing that post it was announced that Gaborik signed with the Rangers. Woohoo...
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Lyrhawn
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The reason Hossa went with the Hawks over the Wings or Oilers is because he wants money and a cup. Edmonton can't give him the cup, the Wings can't give him the cash, and the Hawks provided a reasonable happy medium between the two.

They lost Havlat, but the Hawks are going to be real cup contenders next year. Now they have experience, talent, and though I still think they are a little weak on defense, especially if they expect Huet to backstop them, I think they're one of the better teams in the West now. Besides, Chicago is paying Hossa 7.9 million for like the next six years until the contract drops off dramatically. They front loaded it on purpose, and that's some serious cash.

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Fitz
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Well he's got a longterm contract now, so when Chicago doesn't win the cup (and they won't) Hossa won't be able to join the next potential big contender. We'll see if this bites Chicago in the ass. They have some top players who are coming up on free agency and will be demanding top dollar, so Chicago is gonna feel the pinch of that frontloaded $7.9mil when they're looking for cap space.

Meanwhile Heatley again refused to waive his no-movement clause, meaning Ottawa owes him $4 million. I really wish Tambellini would've learned from the horrible mismanagement of Kevin Lowe the past few years. You don't put all your eggs in one basket! They could've spent some time trying to sign other free agents, but instead they flew out to Kelowna to talk to Heatley, for all the good that did. I don't know what's going to come of all this, but I fear Heatley has hurt his reputation in a big way. As disgruntled as I am, I'd still love to have him in an Oilers jersey.

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Lyrhawn
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The Wings are 2-0 in the first days of preseaon (useless numbers sure, but still fun!). I'm liking a lot of what I'm seeing from the youngsters in the AHL and OHL system. Lots of good little Wings are in the pipeline for years to come [Smile] .

It looks like the third line is going to be solidly composed of Ville Leino, Valtteri Filppula and Jason Williams, two of whom are Finns, and Williams played the lockout season in Finland. As such, I'm trademarking the phrase the "Finn Red Line," as I can already see the marketing and sports columns waxing poetic about their awesomeness.

Despite losing Hossa, Samuelsson and Hudler, I think we're actually going to come out of the offseason just as good as we were before. I'm not happy about picking up Bertuzzi, but so long as he does his job and we trade him between now and next year, I can't really complain. I think we're going to end up with more third and fourth line scoring than we did last year, which will more than make up for Hossa's lost production.

It's, as always, a good time to be a Wings fan.

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