Puck Podcast – May 24th, 2008

In this week's episode of the Puck Podcast we recap the conclusion of the Eastern and Western Conference Championships as well as preview the Stanley Cup Finals with a complete breakdown, analysis and predictions. We also talk about the latest coaching news in Colorado and Vancouver, GM news in Dallas and we'll discuss the World Championships and Memorial Cup. We also read your e-mails and get you up-to-date on all the players that have signed new contracts and a whole lot more.

MP3 File

About Doug Stolhand 26990 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.

36 Comments

  1. You brifely talked about the KHL for a moment about Chris Simon going, You thought a level below the Russian SuperLiga, we’ll this is the new RSL. It’s going to be an open league now, the biggest change is the expanson from 20 to 24 teams and also including 3 teams (1 each) from Latvia, Belarus and Kazkhastan. All the existing teams are back and the 2nd divion champion who got promoted.

    It will be 24 teams divided into 4 divisions of 6. The divisions are named after Soviet Hockey Legends.

    Bobrov Division
    Salavat Yulaev Ufa (2007-08 RSL Champions)
    Dynamo Minsk (Belarus)
    Spartak Moscow
    Metallurg Novokuznetsk
    Severstal Cherepovets
    Atlant Mytischi

    Tarasov Division
    Metallurg Magnitogorsk
    Avtomobilist Ekateringburg
    Traktor Chelybinsk
    HC MVD Balashikha
    SKA St. Pettersburg
    CSKA Moscow

    Kharlamov Division
    Avangard Omsk
    Lokomotiv Yaroslav (2007-08 RSL Runner Up)
    Lada Togliatti
    Sibir Novosibirsk
    Amur Khabarovsk
    Dinamo Riga (Latvia)

    Chernyshev Division
    AK Bars Kazan
    Barys Astana (Kazkhastan)
    Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod
    Vityaz Chekhov
    Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk
    Dynamo Moscow

  2. Sure, the Wings and Pistons both started at 8:00, and the Tigers started at 7:05. But the Tigers game ended during the second intermission of the Wings game, and the Pistons game went on after the Wings game was over. So, fans had a chance to watch the end of all three if they stayed home. Feel bad for the people trying to commute, as all three teams played at home. (Although I had no problems getting home from the Tigers game to see the Wings)

    And about waiting until Saturday – blame Canada. HNIC has all powerful rights, I believe. The NHL may want ratings in America and, even though CBC would likely show a game on Thursday night, Saturday makes more sense.

    The Wings are in the Cup Final for the first time since 02, and the Pistons have made it to the East Final for what, five straight years? Doesn’t seem like a tough choice to me. Watch the Wings, then the Pistons if they advance.

  3. Doug & Eddie – First let me say that you have, by far, the best and most complete information on hockey anywhere! Thank you from hockey fans everywhere.

    I do want to question your statement that Mark from Detroit was “dead wrong” with his opinion that Mike Babcock should be a candidate for Coach of the Year. “Opinion” is defined as, “a view or judgment about something, not necessarily based on fact.” Therefore, you may disagree with Mark, but that is his view and it cannot be either right or wrong.

    I happen to agree with Mark that Babcock should be one of the candidates, as did the people who made the nominations. Is Coach of the Year open only to those coaches that take on a lousy team from the previous year and move it to the top of the division standings? In your comments about the Hotline call, Eddie said: “He has a great team. What did he do?” When he came to Detroit, Babcock did not start with a “great” team; a winning team, true, but not a “great” team. What he did was develop a great team over three years using his coaching ability. Consider these facts:

    1. Babcock is only the 2nd coach in NHL history to coach a team to three consecutive 50-win seasons (Toe Blake had 4 in a row from 1975-79).

    2. The Detroit roster has very few early draft picks. The lowest pick is Brad Stuart (1st Rd – 3rd) who only joined the team in March. Of the three top stars, Lidstrom was the earliest pick (3rd Rd – #53), while Zetterberg (7th Rd – #210) and Datsyuk (6th Rd – #171) were very late picks. Dan Cleary was a 1st Rd pick (Chicago) but never reached his potential until he got to Detroit and was coached by Babcock and his staff. Most of coaching is working with the team during practice to develop the underlying talent of your players and get them to play your system. Coaching from the bench during games is all the fans really see.
    What is my point? Without the benefit of high draft picks, the Red Wings have had to find players with potential and rely on the coaching staff to develop that potential. Of the top players on the team, only Lidstrom was fully developed as an All-Star when Babcock came to the team. Zetterberg and Datsyuk had horrible playoff records before Babcock became their coach. Chris Osgood has completely changed his goal-tending style since coming back to Detroit. He has been coached to use a butterfly style and it had resurrected his career.

    3. Everyone says that the Red Wings play a “puck possession” and “smothering” style of hockey. Where do you think this system comes from? The Head Coach!! Babcock has convinced the entire roster that his system is the way to win. Every forward is as committed to defense as they are to offense and it is that defensive style that creates turnovers, resulting in shots on goal. It also limits the opposition’s offense. Detroit allowed the fewest goals in the NHL in the regular season and was third in total goals scored. Those statistics can only be achieved with day-to-day attention to details by a dedicated coaching staff, headed by Mike Babcock.

    However, keep in mind, that this is only my opinion!

    It is also my opinion that, if they selected a Podcast of the Year, you guys would win, hands down!

  4. Clark: Well said. I am in full agreement with your opinions: this is certainly the best hockey podcast available, and, Babcock’s nomination for coach of the year has validity. Thanks for participating, I was getting shelled here. After watching all press conferences and video comments after game one from anyone with Pittsburgh, I am shocked how dejected they all seem. The head coach was absolutely miserable, rather than stating how “they’d be ready for the next game, etc.” The players interviewed except for Crosby could only repeat “that’s a good team over there”…they seemed shell shocked. Where the Hell was Malkin, did he get scratched or was he out there drifting around aimlessly. I watched the game on CBC and did not hear the guys mention his name even three times during the game. Although I do not predict a sweep, I think the veterans have shown the kids exactly what the Cup finals are about. Crosby talked about their speed but they need more than that. I can’t imagine how quickly this one would of been over if we’d of stayed out of the box. Lastly, for Dustin, I hope you noticed the chicken-shit call on Lidstrom, once again in the third period with 5 minutes to go, to put the Pens on the PP…nothing changes. The call on Holmstrom was equally ridiculous but then again, I’m sure the refs caught an earful in Toronto for that one. It seems the rules change every game, now Holmstrom can’t even put his stick between the goalie’s legs…this is becoming laughable.

  5. My favorite part of this article…are these two sentences:
    “Roberts wasn’t pleased at not playing in the Cup opener but Therrien had himself a trump card in case his team struggled out of the gates. Now he can unleash the 42-year-old winger on the Wings.”

    Michel Therrien and the Penguins are going to “unleash” 42-year old healthy scratch Gary Roberts on the Red Wings? HA! Maybe if the Penguins win a game or two in this series the Red Wings can “unleash” Chris Chelios on Pittsburgh.

  6. Wow! They issued missing persons reports for Malkin and Crosby tonight and the Pens overall look completely lost. They aren’t hurt, they’re smothered, there’s a difference. How anyone could of picked the freshman over the varsity in this series is beyond me.

  7. I can’t find it anywhere, but I believe Detroit has set a new NHL record for scoring the first seven goals in a Final series. I’m pretty sure VS said they tied it at six when it was 2-0 Wings.

  8. So, I understand why the NHL has to get their games on Versus during the season and when there are other conflicts in the league. But you have to be KIDDING ME when I have to turn it to Versus during the STANLEY CUP FINALS!!! Come on NHL. What’s your deal? Get somebody in that marketing department of yours to do their job. Just terrible.

    Great show fellas. Keep doin your thing!
    -G-

  9. Have to give some kudos to ya Doug… After watching the first two games it’s fair to say you were spot on in saying the Wings’ team defense is shutting down the mighty Penguins’ offense. Detroit is just sick sick sick. It’s amazing watching the Wings off the puck, they’re almost always where they’re supposed to be, and that’s the biggest difference between these two teams right now. Good show as always guys.

  10. Tanner,
    Great info on the Russian Leagues – thanks very much for posting that!

    Dustin,
    The NBA and NHL have to schedule their Finals long in advance, as Gary Bettman said during his State of the League address, and it’s just unfortunate that the Pistons games are on at the same time as the Red Wings games. Of course, it doesn’t matter to me – I hate the NBA and haven’t watched a game in over six years and have no plans to start anytime soon.

    Clark,
    Everyone is entitled to their opinion, of course. I know that Mike Babcock is a good coach but I feel that there were other guys more deserving, that’s all.

    Mark,
    When, exactly, did Tomas Holmstrom become a marked man by the NHL? The calls against him recently have been absurd. If he’s not in the crease it shouldn’t be called, period.

    Nate,
    Thanks for the kudos. So far the Red Wings have done exactly what I’ve expected them to do – smother the Penguins.

    By the way – check out this article. Apparently more people watched the Stanley Cup Finals in the United States than in Canada. That’s shocking to me. Are Canadians really that disinterested if the Finals do not involve a Canadian team?

  11. Kudos to you as well Ed – I could care less what the NBA is doing, or the NFL or MLB for that matter. I fell in love with hockey long before I laced up my first pair of skates and after that… every mainstream American sport became almost unbearably slow and boring, especially to watch. But I agree with you… I could care less if hockey gets back into America’s good graces, I’ll continue to watch and play it regardless.

  12. Well that’s it then, the lockout was now completely pointless.

    The first two games of these playoffs have been as boring as any game that I watched pre-lockout. What is the point of getting rid of the clutch and grab if a team can just play the trap, run four across the blue line, and take away 2/3 of the ice?

    People are saying that the Detroit coach should win coach of the year? For what? Developing a style of hockey even Jacques Lemaire would find tedious? Finding a way to bring a bi-polar patient out of a manic phase by subjecting them abject boredom?

    Half way through the first game I had to switch over to curling for a bit to find some excitement. I’m not kidding you, I have gotten a higher heart rate from watching Antiques Roadshow.

    I feel bad because somewhere there was a man in intensive care that turned on the game and was so bored that he decided to give up on life. No wonder people in Detroit didn’t go to games this year – they had more exhilarating things to do like scrap-booking. If I was subject to this type of hockey all year around I would senselessly abuse invertebrates also. I am not sure if I would throw them on the ice though because later in the game you might want to use the eight legs to strangle yourself to death in hopes that hell is less of a punishment for your soul. The most excitement that a Detroit fan has is not knowing if you are going to get mugged on the way back to the car.

    I can’t believe we lost a season over this…

  13. Mathew: I can’t believe you’re actually a fan of hockey. If you were, you’d change as the game changes. Is this what you do in life, cast off whatever evolves? I can only imagine how rigid you are inside if you’re that rigid on the exterior, lighten up.

  14. Doug: You rarely see Babcock get lit like he has when Holmstrom is getting called for this ticky-tack crap–both behind the bench and in the press conferences. He fully believes the rules are changing as they go because Homer is SO GOOD at this. There is no player in the NHL that willingly takes this abuse for his team. If they are going to call Homer for this, then they should also call the shots he takes to his knees and calves for the time he’s out there, it’s insane. Despite this, there is no NHL team that is going to beat the Wings 4 out of 5 games, the Cup will be in Hockeytown in June. The Wings are schooling the Pens just like they did Dallas, after Dallas eliminated the two teams most thought could end up in the finals.

  15. Mark

    I am passionate about the game I love. In the 90’s NHL hockey took a huge dive due to the clutch and grab “evolution” of play. It got to the point that they needed to pass a series of rules to encourage more exciting hockey and… more importantly allow for the skilled talents in the NHL to play the game.

    Detroit’s mind-numbing style of play is reflective of the NHL’s lack of due diligence and foresight. On the NHL Hour with Bettman I have heard him mention a few times that they didn’t expect the teams to adjust as quickly as they have and that more changes are going to have to be made in the future to improve play.

    I don’t blame the Red Wings for being exceedingly boring. They are doing what they need to do to win games but as a passionate fan I am going to voice my opinion and do all that I can to make sure that we don’t de-evolve back into 90’s style play.

    What could have been one of the better playoff series in the last 10 years is going to quickly become one of the most forgettable.

  16. Mathew: It’s a matter of taste, obviously. Although I love the guy, Don Cherry is a thowback but someone I’m sure you agree with in many ways. He was from a time when the game was a battle, bloody and ugly and dislikes today’s game as well but like I said, he’s old. Times have changed and the game has changed. When you watch a Wings game you are bored, when I watch I am astounded at the level of skill, that’s the difference. I don’t need to see Zetterberg clipped in the face and grabbed like a kid on a skateboard grabbing a car bumper, while going end to end to score to be entertained. It’s simply a matter of taste, to me, skill has always been more interesting and impressive than goonery (i.e Gary Roberts last night (what a clown)). I was here for the Probert/Kocur days, they were exciting yes, but the actual hockey skills of those guys and their era vs. now can not even be compared. I doubt you’d disagree.

  17. Wow! I just had the time to watch Michelle Therrien’s press conference after last night’s clinic. I now see why Crosby is a whiner, his coach is a whiner! For four minutes all he did was blame the refs for calling a one-sided game and accused the Red Wings of not being good at the game of hockey but good at obstruction. The Pens are imploding and this is definitive proof. When your coach blames the refs rather than admitting the truth, you’re done. I fully assume now that after his bitching session, and the game being on NBC tomorrow in Sid’s own arena, the Wings will be penalized beyond belief in game three. Either way, put a fork in em’, they’re done.

  18. Well for one thing Dora on Ice has more tallent than the Bruise Brothers.

    I mentioned nothing of enforcers or goons. The fact of the matter is that obstruction and the trap stifles a skill based game. That is why they changed the rules and removed the red line. Many of the players that were on the ice in the late 90’s had no business in the NHL but the clutch allowed for them to thrive in a slow skating environment. I am talking to you Darien Hatcher.

    Becuase of how boring these games are by mid-season next year people are going to be asking, “Who won the cup again last year?”

    “I think it was the Ducks.”

    “No that was the year before.”

    “Hmmm I donno then.”

    Just like the waste that was 1995 – 2004.

    I will always remember who won the ’06 and ’07 cups but ’08 will be forgotten just like I will always remember the Oilers, Islanders, and Penguins eras. It was just great hockey. Last season’s finals were a ton of fun to watch.

    But if you want to call Wings style of hockey evolution that is fine becuase it certainly isn’t by way intelligent design.

  19. You keep clutching the past. Pro sports evolve, just like life. The NBA, NFL and MLB are not what they were 25 years ago either. You might consider embracing the change rather than being annoyed at the state of the game, what choice do you have? Believe me, as riveting as curling is for you, it will get old as well, then evolve.

  20. Or I could agree with the NHLPA, GM’s, and the Bettman that it is in the NHL’s best interest to encourage a more open style of game that allows for more skill based play.

    This year is a de-evolution to pre-lockout hockey. There is a reason why the rule changes occured. The NHL shouldn’t cater to mediocre players and sub par teams.

  21. We get it already! You don’t understand or appreciate skill, you want goonery, clutching and grabbing and boxing on ice, we get it. I’m sorry for you that you don’t appreciate the game. Enjoy your misery.

  22. If you watched Game 3 and didn’t find yourself completely caught up in the amazing play by both teams, do yourself a favor and stop watching hockey because it doesn’t get much better then that. The only thing that would have made the game more amazing was an overtime game winner. Here is hoping every game the rest of the way will be just as hard fought and hard hitting.

  23. Remember when you guys were talking about that new puck-tracking malarkey last week?

    Gaze upon the ruins of your world and weep.

    Seriously, I couldn’t actually follow what the hell was going on in that clip because my eyes kept being drawn to this three-foot ring around the damned puck. If this is the same sort of thing VS is going to be doing next year, even if it’s just on replays, we’re all doomed.

  24. Sweet Enola Gay! That clip is unwatchable, Jason. We can only hope that Versus is NOT planning on using that particular piece of technology. Why not just have a little cartoon professor float on the ice and point at the puck instead? You could even program him to yell “Goal!” when a team scores or “There it goes!” when a team clears it. If the puck goes into the crowd the professor can yell “Look out!”

    I need to cleanse my eyes and my mind of that horrible scene…off to YouTube to watch clips from an insane Japanese gameshow.

  25. That beach ball they seemed to be playing with is ridiculous… which makes me think they must be serious about implementing it.

    Sweet Enola Gay is right…

  26. I will agree game 3 was about as good of a game as I have watched in a long time. Games 1 and 2 not so much.

  27. Just as a side note, Michael Therrien after the first two games took some of the NHL Supervisors aside and to show them videos on how Detroit made infractions in order to slow down the Pens between the blue lines. We saw a direct result with the Johan Franzen penalty. The Pens did a much better of getting the puck in early and legging it out before the Wings set up their D but also a large portion of the change came from hindering Detroit’s ability to obstruct.

    In the end the Pens simply don’t match up to Detroit. If they can take game 4 they have a slim chance at the cup but if they lose tonight there is no way that Pens go 3-0.

  28. With respect to Michelle showing video to officials, I heard it mentioned that she did that, and thought the penalty calls would be flying, however, they were actually pretty fair last game. The difference was the Wings not producing on the PP, otherwise, it likely would of been a different outcome. When your coach has to do such things, you’re grasping at straws–these are the best officials at this point and to assume they need a video lesson is both idiotic and arrogant.

  29. First off a coach isn’t allowed to show anything to the officials and there is no guarantee that any discussion with the NHL supervisors will be passed along to the officials.

    Babcock has also had some very heated discussions with the supervisors. It is very common for the coaches to meet with officials leading up to a match and in the playoffs it would be an odd occurrence if they did not. Both coaches are working the supervisors as hard as you can imagine. They wouldn’t be doing their job if they failed to do so.

  30. Babcock said something very interesting the other day about his meeting with the officials. He said “what I was most impressed with was that they had no interest in what I had to say” and he stopped talking. What he said without saying it was that they had no interest in whatever Michelle was saying in the media about obstruction either. We all know that no matter if they have interest in it or not, they heard it and that was Michelle’s goal.

  31. Great show, as usual, guys. I just LOVED listening to you go on and on about how great the Penguins are and that there is nothing they need to work on, with the benefit of knowing they were about to get shut out in their first two games in Detroit. Of course, nobobdy could have seen that coming, but much fun all the same!
    Game 3 was much more exciting to watch – especially the 3rd period. Here’s to more of the same on Saturday.

  32. Sorry I am behind on this, but one note: I thought it was very interesting how whiney the Penguins’ coach and captain were about Detroit’s defensive style, but it was very obvious (even to a novice fan like myself) how they had no problem with head-hunting in Franzen’s first games back from concussion. A direct punch to the temple did not draw a penalty, so maybe they should not be so surprised at the obstruction no-calls… let’s shut up and play hockey. Babcock is a class guy and did not fall to the baiting by the press when they tried to get him to whine about the goalie interference calls.

  33. I haven’t seen anyone else ask this… Why didn’t Babcock pull Osgood with 1:30 left and his best five guys on the ice??? I couldn’t believe it. Here I was thinking NBC was being stupid for not putting up their “Empty Net” graphic, but Ozzie was on the ice! Then the Pens finally get the puck out after a good 20-30 seconds, and Osgood goes. I don’t know who’s fault that was, but I was in shock.

  34. Jason. Holy crap. I was so focused on that orb, I wasn’t even watching the players. No one is going to appreciate the moves Franzen made past five guys when they’re eyes are drawn directly to the puck.

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