Sunday, 7 June 2009

For Whom The Bell Tolls

Two teams sit on the brink of elimination. The NHL Stanley Cup Final sees the Detroit Red Wings lead the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2 in their series with Game Six in Pittsburgh on Tuesday night. The AHL Calder Cup Final sees the Hershey Bears leading the Manitoba Moose 3-1 in their series with Game Five in Hershey on Tuesday night. Both Manitoba and Pittsburgh have been plagued with the same problem - namely the inability to generate any sort of consistent offence in their opponent's building. Manitoba has generated one goal in two games in Hershey, while Pittsburgh has put up two goals in three games. Needless to say, neither team will hoist a trophy this spring if they continue to have their offence stuck in neutral.

To say that Detroit made a statement in Game Five would be like saying that Santa Claus may have a weight problem. Detroit not only stomped all over Pittsburgh, but they were run up the flagpole via their underwear for all to see. An atomic wedgie like that can't feel good for the Penguins, so I assume they'll come out gunning in Game Six. However, they can't let their emotions take over.

Stupid penalties really hurt the Penguins in Game Five, and the Detroit powerplay ran roughshod all over the Penguins' penalty-killing units. It would also be nice to see someone other than Malkin or Crosby lead the way on the scoring sheet. Sure, the big guns are paid to score, but guys like Guerin, Kunitz, Fedotenko, and Staal need to come to play on Tuesday. Otherwise, the fans in Pittsburgh will watch the ceremonial skate with a team other than the Penguins underneath.

The Manitoba Moose actually ran into the same problem today as they fell into a deep hole in their series against the Bears. The Moose, a normally disciplined team, fell behind on a powerplay goal by the Bears as they had two men in the sin bin. Again, the Bears made good on their powerplay, and the Moose have a huge hole to dig themselves out of right now.

Goaltender Michal Neuvirth has been sensational on home ice, and the Bears, using last change, have a definite advantage, but the Moose need to play disciplined in Game Five if they hope to have a chance to extend the series at home. The Bears have been the better team since arriving in Pennsylvania, and the Moose need to change that quickly. Otherwise, the Bears will hoist the Calder Cup Trophy on Tuesday.

Both series have been phenomenal thus far, and I expect both games on Tuesday to be sensational as well. I just wish that they were on separate days so I can watch both.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

1 comment:

Sage Confucius said...

Datsyuk made a huge difference in Game 5. His offensive production has been disappointing to say the least, but who can argue with the impact he has had on defense? His puck handling skills, his defensive skills on Malkin and freeing up Holmstrom to put his big body in front of Fleury are all huge help. The Pens are rattled and they have to be thinking about last year a bit. I would personally like to see them win the Cup at home but don't want the series to go to a Game 7. The Wings have the hammer over the last nail in the coffin and need to drive it in Tuesday night. Go Wings!