Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Wings vs Pens - History of Final Game Sevens

Game Sevens always make me nervous.

The last home team to lose a game seven in the finals was the Chicago Black Hawks in 1971. They lost to the Montreal Canadians. That Hab team had Ken Dryden in goal. He won the Conn Smythe (Playoff MVP) trophy that year. The Habs brought him up to the big club late in the year. He won the Rookie of the year trophy the following season because he had not played enough regular season games to qualify as a rookie the previous year. I expect that feat (winning the Conn Smythe one year, and the rookie of the year the next season) will never be duplicated. The series winning goal was scored by Henri Richard (the Pocket Rocket) at 2:34 of the third period.

Since 2000, four Cup finals have gone to a seventh game. The Hurricanes beat the Oilers in 2006, the Lightning beat the Flames in 2004, the Devils beat the Ducks (coached by Mike Babcock) in 2003 and the Avalanche beat the Devils in 2001.

In the nineties only one Stanley Cup Final went the distance. In 1994, the Rangers beat the Canucks to end a long drought.

In the eighties, only one Stanley Cup Final went the distance. The Oilers beat the Flyers in 1987.

In the seventies, the only final that went seven games was the aforementioned 1971 final between the Hawks and the Habs. The Hawks won the first two games at the old Chicago Stadium. The Habs won game seven in Chicago by a final score of three to two.

In the sixties, two final series went the distance. The Habs beat the Hawks in 1965 and the Leafs beat the Red Wings in 1964.

I'm looking forward to a great game at the Joe on Friday night. History is on the side of the Wings, but there is a reason that we play the games!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Wings vs Penguins - Game 6 Preview

I'm looking forward to this. The Penguins will play desperate hockey. The Wings know that they can win the cup tonight. I expect the Wings to play a solid, professional game and win the series tonight.

Datsyuk makes a big difference, even though he is not playing at 100%. He is one of the best back checking forwards in the game. His vision on the ice allows him to make passes that most other players dream of making. His return was a big part of the Wings victory in Game 5.

I hope NBC keeps their isolation cameras on Crosby and Malkin when the Wings celebrate with the Cup!

I smile every time the announcer says that the goalie "waffle boarded that one away." The goalie's blocker has not looked like a waffle board for twenty years or more.

I heard on the radio this morning that NBC will not allow the Wings to have a "Joe Vision" party and show the game on the big screen at Joe Louis Arena. If NBC are being pinheads, why don't the folks at the Joe just broadcast the CBC telecast instead? The Wings games in the finals have delivered huge ratings numbers in Detroit for NBC. Why do the suits at NBC have to be butheads about this? I hope that someone from the media asks Gary Bettman about this.

I watch the NBC (or Versus) broadcasts because I get them in High Def. I do switch to CBC for their intermissions. What hockey fan would miss Coach's Corner? I also watch the pre-game on CBC, because they show the national anthem, unlike NBC, which shows beer commercials instead.

Go Wings!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Wings vs Penguins - Game 5

It looked like the Penguins were believing all of that press about "old guys out of gas" that we've been hearing for the last couple of days. They seemed frustrated that the old guys did not just get out of their way and wave them on to their victory parade.

I did not join the panic attack that swept hockey town after the two losses in Pittsburgh. I expected that the Wings would play better back at the Joe.

I asked this when the series started, but will NBC finally get a clue and stop putting isolation cameras on Crosby and Malkin now? The only good thing about the isolations on the Penguins is that we get a nice replay of each whack they take at a Red Wing. At least NBC did not pretend that the slashes did not happen. I'm suprised, however, that they didn't edit out the crowd at the Joe chanting "Crosby Sucks!"

They showed Gary Bettman in the third period. He did not look very happy.

The Wings showed poise and the Penguins lost their cool. This game reminded me of Game four against the Black Hawks.

How can Crosby be considered a great player when he does not kill penalties? I take that back...he did kill a penalty last night....he took the first penalty on what ended up being a Wing five on three, so he did step out on the ice when his penalty was done, and technically, he did kill a penalty for all of twenty seconds. By the way, that was twenty more seconds of penalty kill time than Malkin had.

Ozzie played another solid game, stopping twenty two shots to earn the shutout. That's his fifteenth Stanley Cup Shutout. Ozzie is now fourth all time in Stanley Cup shutouts. He also got an assist on Detroit's second goal by Valtteri Filppula.

So, now we get game six in the Igloo. I expect the Penguins to play better (could they play worse?). I hope that the Penguins and their fans get to watch the Wings accept the Cup for the second year in a row!