Puck Podcast – May 10th, 2008

In this week's episode of the Puck Podcast we take a look back at the end of the second round and the beginning of the conference finals with complete recaps, highlights and analysis of each game. We also talk with Puck Podcast Playoff Correspondent, L.A. Kings goalie Jason LaBarbera about whether or not Evgeni Malkin has passed Sidney Crosby as the Penguins best player and what Dallas has to do in order to beat Detroit. We also talk about some coaching changes, a Hall of Fame goalie deciding to change teams, Don Cherry's American debut, where the latest Swedish sensation has decided to play and talk about the best hockey that nobody is watching. All that plus your e-mails, phone calls and a whole lot more on this episode of the Puck Podcast.

MP3 File

About Doug Stolhand 27032 Articles
Doug Stolhand is one of the co-founders and co-hosts of the Puck Podcast and has been a member of the NHL media since the show's inception in 2006.


  1. Regarding Jack Adams, you’re still wrong. You’re obsessed with this “overcoming adversity” characterization but that is nohwere in the definition of this award. Related to the rounds the players were taken in, you missed that point too. Yes, Nill and Holland and Andersson find these guys but they don’t become as good as they have all alone–that’s coaching. These guys weren’t taken 1st, they were in the 200s! Thanks for the comments.

  2. Here’s how the NHL’s official website defines the Jack Adams Award:

    “The Jack Adams Award is an annual award presented by the National Hockey League Broadcasters’ Association to the NHL coach judged to have contributed the most to his team’s success. The winner is selected in a poll among members of the NHL Broadcasters’ Association at the end of the regular season.”

    You’re right, Mark, “overcoming adversity” is not in that definition. Then again, neither is managing egos, getting the most out of low draft picks or dealing with two #1 goalies. In other words, how you determine which coach contributed the most to his teams success is up to you.

    I determine it as which coach got the most out of the least? Which coach overcame the most adversity during the season while still keeping his team at or above their expected level of success?

    Coming into the year most of us felt that the Red Wings would win the Central Division going away. That being the case all Mike Babcock did was coach the Red Wings to their expected level of success with little adversity to overcome along the way.

    Meanwhile, Bruce Boudreau took over a last place team mid-season and coached them to a Division title. Joel Quenville took a team that was expected to be a possible playoff team in arguably the toughest division in the sport and got them into the playoffs despite seeing his roster get decimated by injuries for a large portion of the season. Barry Trotz coached a team that had no owner, was facing relocation and who had just sold off their best players during the summer in exchange for cap space and he got them into the playoffs for a fourth straight season. I think those three guys, among others, contributed more to their teams success than Babcock.

    Thanks, as always, for listening to the show and for posting your thoughts here on the website.

  3. Nice recap, seems like as always it’s a matter of opinion and mine is that it’s much more difficult to maintain a high level than to work from the bottom. After all, a cadre of Broadcasters picked Babcock, not me, I just happen to agree completely. Maybe they should change the name to the underdog award. Thanks for the response and Happy Belated Birthday!

  4. As far as who is the better player Crosby or Malkin I still have to give the tip of the hat to Crosby. Malkin has the potential to be the better player but he is not at this time. One thing to note, and I am guilty of this also, is that we tend to quickly forget the past in the NHL. Crosby was a 120 point scorer last season and his line mates were questionable, other than Malkin, so I don’t think you can give all of the credit to Hossa. Sid also is still not 100% right now.

    One thing about Malkin is that he does tend to take nights off where I have yet to see Crosby do so… Malkin is a better puck handler, skater, and has a better shot but Crosby is stronger on his skates, a far better play maker and passer, and sees the ice better.

    Prior to the injury I rarely if ever saw Crosby lose a battle in the corner. He goes in deep, fights for the puck and powers out. It is during these battles that he usually draws the penalty. Malkin rarely goes into the trenches to fight for a puck. Malkin does have the height on Crosby but the players in the locker-room have commented a few times on the fact that Sid has tree trunks for thighs. This is the reason why he wins so many battles along the boards. When he sets his wide stance you could hit him with a wrecking ball and he wouldn’t fall over. Incidentally this is why so many players get upset at Crosby’s embellishing. A normal player might fall from a stick around the ankle or a push but they know what Sidney can do and they know that they can’t knock him over until he gets control of the puck.

    In the next year or so if Malkin puts his mind to it he could be the best player in the NHL. He has all the skills and the frame to go beyond that of any other player. When he hits the ice sometimes you know that something great is going to happen just like when Mario took the ice sometimes. I have never gotten that feeling from watching Crosby. Honestly I think that Malkin being the next Mario is more likely or at least a better comparison than Crosby being the next Gretzky. He is that good.

  5. Totally agree with you on the Adams subject Doug and you state the case well. No one is denying that Babcock is one of the best coahes in the league and that he obviously deserves much of the credit for Detroit’s success, but his nomination for the Adams is like giving an obscene tax break to the filthy rich. Everyone expected great things for Babcock and the Detroit Red Wings, everyone knows they ice one (if not THE) most talented teams in hockey in arguably one of the least competitive divisions. That alone makes Babcock’s nomination very hard to understand. Great coach but he desn’t deserve the nomination in my book either.

  6. Nate: Now wait a minute, you’re way out of line, what’s wrong with an obscene tax break for the rich?

  7. Animal rights, environmental awareness, impersonations… the show is gradually becoming even more entertaining. Eddy, I’m surprised you didn’t take the octopus’ side. I was sure that your bleeding heart would have skipped a beat on that one! Great show as always guys.

  8. I’m a huge Wings fan and Mike Babcock is my favorite coach so far. I love the way he speaks, the way he gives all the credit to the other teams that they deserve sounding genuine and not all all fake or full of cliches. That being said, it’s extremely difficult to know what exactly he does behind closed doors and during practice to keep the team going. The one thing that was talked about the most this season seemed to be whether or not Datsyuk and Zetterberg would play on the same line and if Holmstrom would be there too. To begin the season, I believe Hudler actually centered that first line with Z and Homer. Changing up lines to find a winning combination isn’t exactly tough. Babcock should get his Cup ring, but I’m not going to be too upset if he doesn’t get the Jack Adams award. Obviously the entire organization has been excellent handling the giant losses over the past five seasons (Yzerman, Fedorov, Shanahan, Hull, Robitaille, Fischer, etc.), but looking at this one year, it’s hard to give Babcock that much credit.

  9. I can at least appreciate your perspective, Doug, though I’m still siding with Mark on this. Overcoming the most gruesome injury or disease also seems to have become the new definition for the Masterton Trophy, and there are writers who actually believe that dedicated shutdown forwards like Sami Pahlsson shouldn’t receive the Bob Gain–er, Selke Trophy, because it encourages (gasp) defensive hockey, which is utterly absurd. So I guess all awards tend to take on a particular meaning apart from their originally intended purpose after a while.

    To add to the whole octopus thing, I guess I can see the emailer’s point, but I also side with Eddie. The slippery-slope fallacy Doug presents about the coyote, while humourous, does little to add to the debate. A more relevant example comes from the 2006 playoffs, when Oilers fans started a counter-tradition of sorts during the first round against Detroit, firing Grade A Alberta Beef on the ice in the form of raw steak at the same time as the octopus. If you believe in the mojo of the octopus, then clearly the beef countered it effectively, because the Oilers won that series in six, and the rest is (sort of) history.

    So what are the odds we have a Stanley Cup Final preview during Saturday’s show? And what are the odds that the Cup is actually awarded in May for the first time in nearly 20 years?

  10. Let me clarify something about what I said yesterday. It’s not that the “overcoming adversity” thing is inherently wrong — comparing it to the thoughts of a THN writer who likely needs to wear a helmet around the office, if you catch my meaning, sort of made it sound that way. I guess what I was really getting at is that a single criterion, rather than all of them, seems to be determining certain awards nowadays, and nowhere is that more clear than with the Masterton and Adams Trophies.

    Overcoming adversity is sexy; it plays well in the media. It fills inches and minutes easily, and everyone loves a good “human interest” or underdog story, right? But surviving a horrific disease isn’t the only way to win the Masterton — Lanny MacDonald basically got it for putting up with a lot of bullshit in Toronto and Colorado before making his homecoming* in Calgary in 1981 and scoring 66 goals. Similarly, many coaches have, in the past, won the Adams for taking a good team where it should go. Don Cherry’s Bruins, Pat Burns’ Habs and Leafs, and so on, were all good teams, and while the coaches got the most out of them, I don’t think they’d meet the “overcoming adversity/low expectations” criterion, in particular. That’s what I was getting at with my prior comment, and that’s why I think Mike Babcock is a worthy nominee, and I hope none of that was misconstrued.

    Thanks as always for the forum to post my rantings.

    * – Lanny is actually a native of nearby(ish) Hanna, AB.

  11. Happy birthday 6 days late Doug! I’m just listening to this week’s episode this morning, so I just found out. But I had to comment here, as May 10th is also my birthday. Small hockey blogosphere eh? Sorry to break up the thread of the rest of the comments.

  12. Thank all that is holy for you guys and your Puck Podcast. I was out of the country for 10 days and missed many games. You guys (and the DVR) are my salvation. Fortunately my new wife is also a big fan, or the honeymoon would SURELY be over now, with all the time we have spent catching up. Anyway, I am late to this string, but I just want to say – I still don’t see how you guys can honestly argue with Mark on the Jack Adams Award. Sure the Red Wings have all that hardware, but that has happened a lot in recent years and yet they have failed to get that single most important piece of hardware. The difference – Mike Babcock. Coincidence? I think not. As I pointed out before, you can see by their level of play, puck possession, and number of shots on goal the improvement from recent playoffs where they bombed out. I am no expert, but I believe that’s a sign of fine coaching, gentlemen.
    As another example, just look at the wonderful career of Scotty Bowman. Was it just coincidence what happened to all those teams pretty much every time he was added to the mix? Come on… wake up and smell the dead sea critters.
    And speaking of octopi, we just got back from Tahiti where we went scuba diving with sharks, sea turtles and, yes, an octopus or two. They are all beautiful, awe-inspiring animals and I have much respect for the ocean and it’s living things… that said, I can’t wait to see one of the many wonderful traditions of hockey continue when those cold, slimy critters get hurled onto the ice after a great Wings/Penguins final.
    Thanks for the great show and the chance for us fans to spout off.

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