Saturday, 30 May 2009

Two For One Finals

Are you excited? I am. The Stanley Cup Final starts momentarily. The following will have been thought by me during the progress of the game. It's not necessarily pretty, but it is what was going through my head. While that game is on, I'll also be listening intently to the AHL Calder Cup Final Game One between Hershey and Manitoba, and adding my thoughts on that series. AHL thoughts will be made separate by the use of italics and the colour of yellow, so skip by them if that doesn't interest you. Ready? Let's begin.

  • Huge props to the CBC for carrying the Stanley Cup Final. I absolutely love their introductions, and they really do set the standard in hockey broadcasting. Jim Hughson will be calling the game tonight, and he might be the best play-by-play guy in the game right now. Also, no Pierre McGuire on CBC, so that's a huge plus for this series.
  • The Moose-Bears game tonight officially sold-out as of 1:30 this afternoon. That's a phenomenal showing from the people of Manitoba, and should give the Moose a big jump in the game.
  • Game Two of the Calder Cup Final has already sold two-thirds of the available tickets. If you're from Manitoba, and you want to go, grab your phone and call Ticketmasker immediately!
  • Fleury is giving out rebounds like they are gifts. He needs to start controlling these rebounds better if Pittsburgh is going to prevail.
  • Brad Stuart vs. Brooks Orpik? If I'm Stuart, I back away.
  • Osgood makes a good first save on Jordan Staal. He appears to be ready.
  • Zetterberg rings one off the post. Is there any team more dangerous in transition than the Red Wings?
  • It will be interesting to see how Detroit plays this series. They struggled against the Ducks' cycling game, and the Penguins play a down-low game very similar to what Anaheim does.
  • You heard it here: Orpik will be to Hossa what Scott Stevens was to Eric Lindros. Solid open-ice hit, and Hossa is wincing on the bench.
  • Is it just me or does Fleury play the puck just a wee bit too casually?
  • Brent Lebda literally saved a goal. Kennedy had an easier tap-in than Tiger Woods in mini-golf if he hadn't deflected that puck.
  • Puck officially has dropped at 7:41pm on the Calder Cup Final. And just seconds in, Mario Bliznak of the Moose draws a penalty. Moose to the powerplay. Chris Bourque in the sin bin for two minutes or less.
  • Those live boards in Detroit strike again. Stuart's point shot rebounds off the boards and hits Fleury in the back of the leg. Activate the red light, judge. Detroit leads 1-0.
  • I can't stress this enough: Detroit's transition game is second-to-none.
  • Hershey's Chris Bourque has been called for his second penalty of the night. He's not happy as he yaps at referee Kyle Raymond. Again, Bourque will sit for two or less.
  • Hershey will be down 5-on-3 as a slashing call is made. Jason Krog's stick is slashed in half, and Manitoba will look to take the lead with this chance. Mark Cullen scores on the backdoor chance!Manitoba leads 1-0.
  • Malkin's blast can't be corralled by Osgood, and Ruslan Fedotenko pots the goal. Is there anyone on Pittsburgh who has scored more clutch goals in their post-season career? Game is tied 1-1.
  • Alexandre Giroux picks up a loose puck and nets a shorthanded goal against Manitoba. Game is tied 1-1.
  • Moose whistled for a penalty, and the Bears' potent attack goes to work.
  • Michal Grabner finds a seam behind the defence, and Cody Hodgson hits Grabner at full-speed with an incredible pass. He breaks in alone and nets another Moose goal. Manitoba leads 2-1.
  • Hershey is whistled for another penalty in the first period - their fourth minor penalty. Another slashing call as Guillaume Desbiens streaks in on Neuvirth puts the Moose on the man-advantage.
  • CBC's Elliott Friedman is a highly under-appreciated reporter. I'd take him over McGuire any day of the week and twice on Sundays.
  • It almost appears that Osgood has no clue where the puck is once it hits his pads. If I'm Pittsburgh, I'm taking a lot of hard, low shots and looking for rebounds.
  • Malkin... breakaway... off Osgood's glove. Still a tied hockey game as Osgood wins that battle. Why didn't Malkin deke?
  • Brett Lebda receives the first penalty in the Stanley Cup Final as he slashes Talbot's stick out of his hand. This is the PK vs. PP matchup that Pittsburgh wanted, and they need to establish the powerplay right now.
  • Detroit's penalty kill is doing a superb job with their aggressive play. Detroit should be happy with that result.
  • Mikael Samuelsson gets tagged for holding. Penguins will go back on the powerplay.
  • Penguins needs to change up their powerplay. The Red Wings close quickly on the half-boards and neutralize the passing that Pittsburgh does. I propose they work behind the net like Anaheim did, and try to get Detroit turned around in their own zone.
  • This NHL game is opening up, and it looks really good. If you're not a hockey fan after this last five minutes of play, capped by Sidney Crosby's spin-o-rama backhanded shot, I'm not sure why you're watching.
  • Midway through the second period in Winnipeg, and Michal Grabner is making a serious run at the playoff MVP in the Calder Cup Final. Picking up the puck near center ice, Grabner found nothing but open ice between himself and Neuvirth. Breakaway Grabner. Deke. Buries it. Grabner's second breakaway goal this game, and his speed is being showcased tonight. Manitoba leads 3-1.
  • Can I ask why neither TSN nor Rogers' Sportsnet is covering the AHL Final? Neither of them have NHL rights any longer. What's the deal?!?
  • Again, those lovely boards in Detroit score a point. Rafalski's point shot bounces off the boards back out to Franzen who banks it in off Fleury's leg. Right now, the Conn Smythe Trophy is going to the endboards in Detroit. Detroit leads 2-1.
  • Manitoba's Matt Pope has a partial breakaway, and Staffan Kronwall trips him up. Pope heads to center ice for a penalty shot against Neuvirth. Neuvirth reads the deke well, and prevents the Moose from taking a three-goal lead.
  • Fleury with a good stop on the speedy Darren Helm early in the third period.
  • Justin Abdelkader scores on another weird bounce. The initial shot by Abdelkader is stopped, but the rebound goes up into the air. Neither Fleury nor Jordan Staal, Abdelkader's check, can find the puck in the air, but Abdelkader does. He gloves it down, and whacks it into the net. Detroit leads 3-1.
  • Kudos to Detroit. They are tenacious on defence. Nothing is getting through to Osgood.
  • And I was interrupted by a phone call. For like 10 minutes. Don't people know that playoff hockey is more important than my social life? Ok, I can't actually back that up. But it does rank high. The hockey, that is.
  • I come back to find that Oskar Osala has scored a second goal for Hershey. This is why you don't interrupt a hockey game, people. Manitoba leads 3-2.
  • The only way you're going to beat Detroit is to play perfect hockey. Or pressure them heavily to force mistakes. Pittsburgh, please refer to the Ducks-Wings series for more information.
  • Alexandre Giroux scores on the powerplay after the puck deflects off Nolan Baugartner's face and past Schneider. Weird goals all around tonight, both in Detroit and Winnipeg. We've got a tight game again, folks! Game is tied 3-3.
  • It's officially over in Detroit. Detroit takes Game One of the Stanley Cup Final by a 3-1 score.
  • Oskar Osala scores on a wrap-around with 4:36 to play, and three third period goals are showing how dangerous the Bears' offence is. Hershey leads 4-3.
  • Matt Pope is in on another key play. He draws a four-minute, double-minor high-sticking penalty at the top of the crease from Tyler Sloane. Manitoba needs a powerplay goal like no one's business. Especially if they want this game to see overtime at least.
  • The Bears are playing ridiculously careless. Staffan Kronwall will head to the box as he clears the puck over the boards from his defensive end. With 2:03 left in the game, they will finish the game on the powerplay, and will have an excellent chance to tie the game. This is the equivalent of a two-minute drill in football. And, I should point out, if they score within 53 seconds, they will continue on the 5-on-3.
  • Holy Dinah! Max Fortunus has tied the game on the powerplay, and it will remain 5-on-3 as they converted within the 53 seconds! Manitoba will have a HUGE chance to win this in regulation! Game is tied 4-4.
  • Ladies and gentlemen, we will have overtime in Game One of the Calder Cup Final. And the Moose will still have 44 seconds of powerplay time to work with in the extra frame. Just as a note: Moose are 1-9 in their last ten overtime games in the AHL Playoffs. It's time for the law of averages to start evening this out, don't you think?
  • Osala almost completed the hat-trick, but Schneider recovers in time to keep the puck out of the net. If the rest of this series is this good, there are a lot of people missing very good hockey action.
  • Osala is robbed again by Schneider in front of the net in overtime. Schneider is looking sharp after giving up three in the third period.
  • Chris Bourque gets robbed by Schneider, but Nolan Baumgartner is being sent off for high-sticking. No blood, no additional foul, though, and Baumgartner will sit for two or less in overtime.
  • Alexandre Giroux scores on the powerplay as he completes the hat-trick! Giroux rips a shot from about three feet outside the crease past a sprawling Schneider to give Hershey the win in Game One of the Calder Cup Final. It's official: Hershey wins the game 5-4 in overtime.
Wow. What a night of hockey, kids. That's what great playoff hockey is all about. Just a heads-up for tomorrow as I sign-off: it'll be a later post than normal as I am headed out to Selkirk again to do a little reporting on the Don Cherry movie. According to the info given, this will be a 1973 game, so the era of dress will be a little different than last time.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

1 comment:

Wing Nut said...

Ozzy was absolutely ridiculously fantastic last night. Helm is playing like a seasoned vet. Lidstrom is doing what he does best - quietly neutralizing the opposition.

Crosby is hitting - but not scoring. Malkin looks to be on the verge of his second straight finals scoring shutout.

It's great to be a Red Wing fan.

{did I mention the ref's shouldn't have bothered coming to the game - pathetic calls and no calls on both sides!}