Puck Podcast – May 23rd, 2009

This week we recap the first few game of the Conference Finals which included some overtime thrillers, a controversial hit, a near death experience and one of the best playoff goals we've ever seen. We also discuss the Flames decision to fire Mike Keenan, whether or not the Avalanche are offering Tony Granato's job to Patrick Roy, the latest on the Phoenix Coyotes ownership debacle, a columnist who wants our help in being allowed to cover hockey and, of course, a whole lot more.

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About Doug Stolhand 27106 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. You wanna know why Detroit fans don’t talk down about Datsyuk – because he’s a better player than those guys out East that just score. Yes, I’m biased – but you guys go on about how this guy shouldn’t be a Hart Finalist. Well, he’s also a Selke finalist, a Selke winner and a Lady Byng Winner – when was the last time someone said “why isn’t this guy scoring goals” about a Selke winner? Brind’Amour? Lehtinen? Peca? Madden?

    Saying “Datsyuk looks invisible” because he’s not scoring is so easy. Nobody’s saying “Why isn’t Malkin backchecking?” I’ll never understand why hockey is the greatest team sport until you want to cut down a guy, then it becomes so one-dimensional. Or when talking about the “best players ever” which often consist of a list of guys who never saw the defensive end of the red line. Yeah, the guy wins faceoffs, plays in both ends against top players, has 15 takeaways, hits, but he’s not scoring!!

  2. I have never seen more plays in the playoffs that are so debated – and so many hits that are over-penalized in the moment, resulting in no suspensions. Strange, strange season.

  3. So, there’s a new way to spell Hurricanes: D-O-N-E.

    Malkin has six straight multi-point games and SEVEN points in the last two. This is dominance. He’s finally playing with Crosby like he plays WITHOUT Crosby! I think the debate concerning who the best player on the Pens is moot, insomuch that the tandem of Crosb and Malkin is so in sync in terms of playmaking and controlling the game even when they are not sharing the ice on the same line that to seperate the pair to decide who is better is pointless.

    And though he has not been in the box score as much as some would believe he should be, how about Kunitz’s pass to Crosby tonight? I think the Pens are showing that they are one of the best pure skill teams to take to the ice…

  4. Stop with the fanboyism: Datsyuk has been far from invisible, but to equate his play with “the guys out East (assuming Crosby and Malkin) who just score” is ridiculous.

    Dats has played well defensively (Zäta’s been better) while being at least visible in the offensive zone. He simply has not controlled games (cliché, but your best players must play as such). If Datsyuk is considered Detroit’s best player, he’s paled against opponents such as Getzlaf or compared to teammates Zetterberg and Lidström. It’s a credit to Ken Holland’s organization that a support player can compensate, that like Cleary or Franzen can either step up or dominate – think Claude Lemieux for the Habs and Devils.

    As for Hart finalist credentials: Ovechkin and Crosby, both Hart winners, have carried their respective teams this spring. Malkin, twice a finalist, has elevated his game to Crosby’s level after catching flak for an earlier level of play desirable to most others. In comparison, Dats has actually fallen off noticeably.

    Contrary to your detraction, Crosby and Malkin are far from one-dimensional players (I, for one, project Malkin’s defensive game to equal Datsyuk’s in the future). Both look like men on a mission – intent on fulfilling last year’s work. I assume that few would bet against Ward this round: he and his team look outmatched against the Pens under the lead of 71 and 87.

    As for your wild assumption about all-timers who “never saw the defensive side of the red line”: I ask whom you would choose over, say: LaFleur, Bossy, Gretzky, and Lemieux; three dynasty members and a repeat-winner since the 1970s. Such status is not given to stat compilers (though Lemieux had a reputation for cherry-picking prior to the Cup wins). All dominated the game and were considered vital cogs of Cup winners, if not the leader. If Bobby Clarke or Bryan Trottier retained defensive proficiency but lost their dominant offensive facet, they toe toward a support niche. Datsyuk’s effectiveness this spring has been a mere sliver of prior dominance.

  5. Hey Detroit Fan. I and a huge number of hockey fans think that Bobby Orr was the best player of all time. I don’t think that I have ever seen a list of best players ever that hasn’t included him. Datsyuk’s best +/- record is only about 80 less than Orr’s.

    Look it is the playoffs, during the Caps/Pens series Malkin was still averaging a point a game and people asked where he had gone. Players are going to be put under the microscope.

  6. Detroit Fan,

    People don’t comment about Malkin’s lack of backchecking because there is no lack of backchecking. He does play defense.

    Here are a few regular & post season stats from the NHL player stats database:

    RS 80 Malkin
    RS 76 Datsyuk
    PO 23 Datsyuk
    PO 21 Malkin

    RS 39 Malkin
    RS 33 Datsyuk
    PO 8 Malkin
    PO 3 Datsyuk

    RS 94 Malkin (led the league)
    RS 89 Datsyuk
    PO 15 Datsyuk
    PO 12 Malkin

    And just for shits & giggles, here’s the offensive comparisons.

    RS 35 Malkin
    RS 32 Datsyuk
    PO 12 Malkin
    PO 1 Datsyuk

    RS 78 Malkin (led the league)
    RS 65 Datsyuk
    PO 16 Malkin
    PO 6 Datsyuk

    Malkin has played brilliantly on both side of the ice. The same certainly can’t be said of Datsyuk these playoffs.

  7. Kris,

    I think this is a particularly interesting stat about Crosby and Malkin. Of the 28 and 26 points, respectively, Geno and Sid have put up, they’ve collaborated on only 10.

    People who don’t watch this team often assume they’re setting each other up, but 65 percent of Malkin’s points have been without Sid, and 62 percent of Sid’s points have been sans Geno.

    Teams MIGHT be able to contain one of them, but it will take a herculean effort to reign in both.

  8. Brian – Those are some interesting numbers on Malkin, who I always thought was a one-way player. According to the stats on NHL.com you seem to be spot on though. But you left out:

    RS +34 Datsyuk
    RS +17 Malkin
    PO + 4 Datsyuk on 7 points
    PO + 3 Malkin on 28 points

    Not trying to take anything away from Shrek, he’s been great so far in the playoffs. But that pesky plus/minus can be a big indicator of a player’s two-way play.

  9. Oh yeah, I recognize that a good deal of the work Malkin and Crosby are doing is apart. That’s a big part of why it’s so special. They are approaching playoff records and I BELIEVE Sid already is standing on top of the leader board in playoff PPG with a minium of 35 games. They aren’t just doing it on the power play and they aren’t doing the bulk of it together. That gives the Pens TWO lines to stop and you’ve gotta expend energy against their third and fourth that can easily play the bulk of their shifts in your zone.

    This should give Pens fans hope that the seemingly inevitable rematch of the Stanley Cup Finals can have a different result (I’m not counting OUT the Hawks, but I’m worried…). Unlike Ottawa’s run two seasons ago, the scoring isn’t coming from one line, but two, with a dangerous third and an experience fourth. Unfortunately Detroit has this same ability as well, so it may come down to whoever has the energy to spare. And, of course, goaltending.

  10. Nate,

    You’re right with the +/-, but what good are stats if people can’t selectively omit the ones that make the other guy look better than theirs? LOL

    Seriously, though, I steered clear of +/- because I’ve always felt it’s a better reflection of the team’s or line’s effectiveness, not necessarily a singular player’s. But still, the number is what it is, and it doesn’t lie.

    I’m not saying Geno’s a better defensive player than Datsyuk (when Geno is in his mid20s, we might think differently), but he is a pretty good defensive player. For the first poster to suggest otherwise is absurd.

  11. Well, I have to say this i the first time I’ve ever heard anyone comment about Malkin’s defense, good or bad. It is interesting that over the past 5 years, including and outside of Crosby, all the “best player” arguments have been about guys who amass a lot of points.

    Another number to look at as far as regular season numbers is ice time. Ovechkin, Malkin and Crosby were 1-2-3 in average minutes among forwards. Datsyuk was 46th.

  12. Dustin brings up a good point. Due to Crosby, Malkin, and Ovechkin’s age and endurance they are able to withstand longer shifts.

  13. I agree with Doug regarding Kronwall’s hit in Game 3. It’s conceivable that a 2 minute penalty could have been called for interference because Havlat hadn’t touched the puck but that’s all that should have been called. Check out how many times a defenseman goes back into his end to retrieve a puck and is crunched by a fore-checking forward. I’ll bet that, at least half the time, the defenseman has not yet touched the puck when the check is made. Kronwall’s hit was devastating but not dirty or gutless – just good old-time hockey. Hitting is designed to intimidate and to convince opposing players to shy away from the puck. This IS the Stanley Cup Playoffs, not some exhibition game.

  14. Watching the replay again, the guys on VS were right, it did look like the puck hit something. Havlet meant to touch the puck – he should’ve had the puck. Not his fault, but you can’t tell Kronwall he has to wait until the puck is on a guy’s stick.

  15. I have a person to put in the penalty box. Here is my weekend story. I took my daughter, her bff and her bff’s brother to sticktime at a rink by us. I invited a few other kids from her travel team and her 3×3 team (Mites so 7/8 year olds). One other kid showed up with his dad. At the rink a few other kids joined us, and after some drills (2x1s etc) we did a 4×4 scrimmage. One of the kids was playing a little dirty. And actually checked a 7 year old girl. I asked him to stay away and not hit her. He did a few more times. So i asked him go play with other kids, that i did not want him playing with us.

    Well a few minutes later the dad comes down banging on the glass screaming at me. I walked over. He started to curse me out saying that he paid $15 and he can play with my kids. I stated no he doesnt have to, there is a full rink. He threatened to get the owner, I asked him to. He threatened to wait for me outside and beat me up. He kept screaming that his kid should be allowed to play with my kids. I said sorry -that i didnt want him hitting anyone and to be responsible for anyone getting hurt, and he was being the aggressor. Finally he gave up yelling (which i hoped he would) and stormed off.. And i went back and just organized a few more drills instead of doing a scrimmage. The last thing i ever want to happen at stick time with the kids is getting anyone hurt.

    So i would like to put that hockey dad in the penalty box (btw – you havent had one in a few weeks)

  16. Nothing says “Class” like checking seven year old girls…

    If my math is right, the Penguins are 8-1 in their last nine, only losing game six to Washington. And they’ve been blowing out their opponents more often than not. And “Flower” – he’s GOTTA lose that name!!- is playing out of his mind. This team is playing as just that- a TEAM. The defense is good and the goaltending is great an that offense is on fire.

    I think this is a team that COULD beat Det. I won’t say will, because I thought Det was gonna lose to Ana and we all know how that turned out. Hopefully the VS commercial with Crysby saying he never wanted to “be a part of this picture again” will turn out to be prophetic..

  17. Where was this Shrek guy in last years’ playoffs? Wow! Would have been a different finals – fer sher. And the whole team is playing well together. The Pens are scary good.

    changing gears… while I agree that an MVP candidate needs to post some big numbers, if you watch Pavel skate, he is almost always a factor in Detroit’s play – points or not.

  18. Great third period on your show, guys – including Doug’s “The Getaway” analogy on the Colorado coaching situation. Sad to see the season ending soon, but you guys are good fun to listen too every week – even the off season will be great, to be sure.

  19. Hey, if someone’s near The Joe, can you ask the JACK @$$ in his brand new bandwagon bought Hossa jersey TO SIT THE $&@# DOWN ALREADY?!? We get it, @$$ clown, you’re at the game an you enjoy beer. You probably paid triple digits for that seat, now why doncha watch some of the bloody game instead of staring at the JumboTron to see when u can stand up and let all your drunk buddies know you’re there. Because I’m sure you’ve already told them and they already know. Or has the beer destroyed any sense of memory you have left?

  20. Kris,
    The Joe is the worst arena for those assclowns. They should be shot with a tranquilizer dart and dragged out of the building – especially in playoffs/Finals games. Unacceptable.

  21. It’s rematch time as the Red Wings just finished out the Blackhawks in OT just a few minutes ago.

    Detroit VS. Pittsburgh game 1 will be on May 30. Let’s get this Final Going!

  22. i think tonights detroit win proves how useless dats is. they didn’t need him or lidstrom. granted it would have been a diffeent game if either, or both had played, but imagine if malkin or crosby didn’t suit up for the pens… they’d be done.

    and as for ovechkins ice time… he won’t allow the coach to take him out of the game. do you remember the game that he was hurt in boston, he got up and slammed his stick on the boards and screamed as he got onto the bench. not because he was hurt, but because the coach told him to sit for the rest of the game.

    detroit is insanely deep offensively. thats why they can afford to sit dats a bit more. not to mention that most of the wings games throughout the season were won easily or by a large margin. in contrast, the pens had to fight to get back into the playoff picture for a few weeks… so they were playing malkin and crosby more because they needed to.

  23. Good to know that the Finals are here; alas, season’s end is near.

    Should Crosby and [especially] Malkin continue their dominance, the rematch will end differently. Not an easy task against the Red Wings (chugging along without Datsyuk and Lidström, no less), but I’m not sure I can bet against this year’s Pens.

    PS: Weird television schedule, though. All games are on NBC – save for 3 and 4 on Versus. The first two games are back-to-back, then normal breaks between until two days between the sixth and seventh. Here’s the kicker: the seventh game is also on a Friday – television’s least watched weeknight. I remember Pittsburgh and Detroit report good Nielsen numbers for hockey, but the television arrangement still seems awry.

  24. Correction: I carelessly skimmed; the two day breaks range from game 5 to game 7. In any case, still an awkward arrangement.

  25. I thought the back to back for games 1 & 2 was a little odd, too. Especially with game one being at seven local. At best, you’ll have two teams playing less than 24 hours, and playing a rough, intense playoff hockey. Game two could be a game of mistakes.

    Stop talking about how the Wings don’t NEED Datsyuk or Lidström. You think they would finish within a stone’s throw of another President’s Trophy without them there all season? They won two games against the Hawks WITHOUT a whole MESS of players, including their #1 goalie and one of their top six forwards. They’re not beating the Ducks without Lids and they’re not making the Finals without both of them. Doesn’t mean the Wings don’t have depth, but don’t think that the team doesn’t “need” them in a final against two offensive superstars and a goalie who is stopping nats from entering his net.

    Let’s drop the myopia, eh?

  26. Woohooo! First off Mike, you’re an idiot if you think Pavel Datsyuk is “useless.” Remember last year, when Pittsburgh kept winning without Fleury and even won some games without Crosby? Remember how St. Louis made the playoffs without, oh, everybody?

    And Kris, perhaps the Hossa jersey guy was just trying to one-up the Kane jersey guy right by him.

  27. Mike – your comment about Datsyuk makes no sense. The goaltending was a huge factor in the game last night. And who’s to say it ever would have gone into OT if Pavel (or Nick, or Marty Havlat for that matter) was on the ice. If you were trying to make a point about how deep Detroit is, I missed it. They are deep BECAUSE of having players like Datsyuk.

    But I will agree about the less-deep Penguins – Malkin faded last year and that was a big factor in their demise, making the arguement that he is not useless. But would Detroit even be where they are again this year without the ‘useless’ Datsuk? No.

    Dustin – good point, for some reason I only noticed the obnoxious Kane-jersey-guy!

  28. Yes, I saw the fat @$$ in the Kane jersey all night, too. Guess even Detroitians that root for the other team can be clowns, too, eh?

  29. Can Doug and Kris could get a room already?

    I expect this sort of drivel from Kris on the left-coast stuck watching beach vollyball most of the year, but Doug’s forgotten, or maybe never known, the first rule of broadcasting/media/hosting, maintain objectivity.

    Doug’s blatant disgust with the Red Wings and anything Detroit is tiresome. I’m now reminded, again, of why I pulled up this site for the first time since last Saturday.

  30. Hey Guys!

    Thanks for another great show. Just curious of what you think about the fact that the Finals will be rematch this year. Is this good for the NHL?

    Look forward to your response.


  31. Mark- Doug is not a journalist in his duties as a Podcast host. Neither he nor Eddie have ever hidden their objectivism and the teams they root for. If this was a Hockey News Podcast or a TSN Podcast, yes, I would expect them to leave their bias behind; and believe they would do so. But this is an unsponsored show of OPINION. All of us posters included.

    I’ve made no bones about my Red Wings dislike- even hatred. But I have also given them their due. I happen to be a huge Avs fan and I follow the Kings closely, and I take my lumps for it. Why are so many Red Wings fans incapable of the same? So many Wings fans take any criticism of their team or thier fellow fans as an affront to their sacred faith. Or they play the underdog card. Three West Con Finals and two Finals appearances and at least one Cup?!? Come off it!

    It’s easy to be a Wings fan. And yes, EVERYONE is gunning for you because you’re number one. Have some fun with it. It’s $&@#%^ing hockey, okay? To say that you’ve stopped visiting the board because some of us don’t like you team? Grow up! Your fans DO indeed act like assclowns in their arena when the camera swings their way and Holmstrom does play dirty. Happens with a bunch of other arenas and team’s players. Accept it and move on.

    We’re not curing cancer here…

  32. Mark in Hockeytown,
    Thanks for supporting the show and for taking the time to visit the website and express your opinion. I hope you are a loyal listener of the show for years to come and that you are able to turn other hockey fans onto it as well.

    Doug Stolhand

  33. Tim,
    We will answer your question on the air this week – thanks for posting it.


  34. I realize it’s early and the facts are not in, but any thoughts on the possible Caps steroids usage??

  35. What is the “Caps steriods usage” story? I can’t find anything on NHL.com or anywhere else.

  36. Dave,
    We will also be discussing that on the show this week so I’ll hold my comments for then.

    Google “Capitals” and “Steroids” and the news story will appear.

  37. Found it, thank u, Doug.

    As far as the story, these two drug dealers can say whatever they want, but I think that the NHL’s drug testing would have discovered anabolic steroids in a Caps player already. However, do we know WHAT the NHL tests for? There is the constant belief in the MLB that just about EVERYONE is on HGH because (I believe) it is not tested for. (Can it even be tested for yet? I really don’t know) Could there be something these people were suppling that is not covered in league tests? I guess we will have to wait and see if the accused provide any information as to what they supplied to the Caps.

    The story may BECOME big, as the NHL has steered clear of the performance enhancing scandals, but right now I think there isn’t much there.

  38. This dealer probably isn’t telling the truth but the NHL’s drug testing policy is easy to get around. I bet this got Dick Pound excited.

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