Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Pittsburgh extends series

Stanley Cup final
(1) Detroit v. (2) Pittsburgh
Red Wings lead series 3-2
Tickets for Game 6 of the 2008 Stanley Cup Finals between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Detroit Red Wings will go on sale Tuesday at 10 a.m. Approximately 1,000 tickets will be available. Fans may purchase a maximum of two tickets.

Game 6 of the best-of-seven series will be played Wednesday, June 4, 2008 at 8 p.m. at Mellon Arena.

The Penguins encourage fans to order tickets online at www.ticketmaster.com. Tickets for all home playoff games have sold out in a matter of minutes.
>> team release
A really incredible hockey game. Few gave Pittsburgh a hope in Game 5, but after a triple overtime win, things are starting to look up.

Yes, the shots (58-32) and chances were heavily lopsided in favour of Detroit, but we're getting to the point that anything can happen. And the Penguins have still only lost one game in the past few months at home.

Marc-Andre Fleury was terrific, and that's exactly what Pittsburgh needs. The 23-year-old netminder moved up a mile in the Conn Smythe Trophy race on Monday night.

A player who played well but that you won't hear a lot about? Ryan Whitney, who led both teams with more than 50 minutes ice time and finished plus-2. He had to jump up from the third pairing when Sergei Gonchar went down with an apparent concussion, and didn't look out of place.
Finally, this series is living up to its billing.

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At 2:35 a.m., June 03, 2008, Blogger Hooks Orpik said...

Excellent usage of a Gary Roberts picture, Dr. Mirtle.

At 2:59 a.m., June 03, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just a beautiful game.

What was up with Holmstrom kicking Fleury on the play that resulted in Zetterberg's goaltender interference penalty though? I'm a little surprised no one seems to have mentioned it.

At 6:02 a.m., June 03, 2008, Blogger J. Michael Neal said...

I did not see Holmstrom kick Fleury, but I wasn't watching that part of the play. In addition, I'm sure that the Red Wings committed penalties in that game. However, the fact that Paul Devorski called four penalties on them, and got every single one wrong, should disqualify him from further service.*

Given the egregious non-calls down the stretch in Game 3, the penalties called on the Wings in OT were particularly galling. If Hal Gill throwing someone into the net away from the puck isn't worthy of a penalty, I have a hard time swallowing even the correct high-sticking call that ended tonight's game.

*I am pretty sure that the high sticking on Hudler was called by the other ref.

At 8:36 a.m., June 03, 2008, Blogger dying alive said...

It wasn't Holmstrom kicking away at Fleury's head, it was Franzen. And since goals that are kicked in aren't legal anyway, I'm not really sure what he was trying to accomplish there.

At 8:38 a.m., June 03, 2008, Blogger dying alive said...

"I have a hard time swallowing even the correct high-sticking call that ended tonight's game."

Just out of curiosity, why? If there is one penalty in that entire game that there can really be no arguing that the correct call was made, it's that one.

At 8:38 a.m., June 03, 2008, Blogger Hooks Orpik said...

Anon, I could be wrong but I thought it was Franzen that kicked Fleury....You might be right about it being Homer though, maybe I just remember the 9 as the first number on the jersey.

j. michael, Hudler got his stick up and there was blood. Clear-cut 4 minute penalty no matter what or when.

At 9:48 a.m., June 03, 2008, Blogger Hallock said...

There were a lot of non-calls for better or worse, but that high sticking call drew blood and it was a penalty. I'm sure the refs are actually disappointed their call was what ended the game, they know how much guff they'd take for it.

It was Franzen who kicked Fleury, by incidence, he was trying to kick the puck in. Obviously it would have not been a goal, but at that point you're trying to do anything you can.

Once again, the Wings get upended by a goalie with a hot streak. This should be considered worrisome going back to Pittsburgh.

At 12:03 p.m., June 03, 2008, Blogger poploser said...

I think people are missing J.Michael Neal's point - when obvious penalties are NOT called, it can make the fact that some penalties HAVE to be called more frustrating.

Basically, the league's officials set themselves up for this. They don't want to impact they outcome but not making the wrong call, and in doing so impact the outcome by NOT making the RIGHT call. They can't win either way.

I love the long OT games (especially no commercial breaks!), but if refs would just make the same calls in the OT periods that they do in the first 3 periods, I don't think we'd have these long OT games much.

At 12:27 p.m., June 03, 2008, Blogger Dario said...

Anyone know the official attendance at Joe Louis for that game? It looked dead.

At 1:42 p.m., June 03, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agreed on the penalties. They were letting *everything* go in the OT: holding, hooking, obstruction, the rulebook was out the window...but then an accidental high stick sets up a mandatory 4 minute PP and it's game over.

After watching Detroit dominate the night and pretty much the entire series to this point, to see it go that way (and all of the rah-rah NHL/Pittsburgh/Crosby hype that comes along with it...at least on NBC) left me nothing but disgusted.

At 1:53 p.m., June 03, 2008, Blogger saskhab said...

As the first prolonged hockey I've seen of the Finals (I was on vacation), I'll say this about the overtime penalties on Detroit:

They were correctly called.

In OT, when the whistles are clearly being put away, should they be called? Well, that's a weird argument altogether. But Zetterberg and Cleary went into the crease and bumped the goaltender unimpeded. You simply can't do that. The officials have not been calling these plays with any consistency, so I get Detroit's frustration, but these were legitimate penalties being called and you can't cry about them being called.

Those offences could've easily resulted in a goal. If Detroit scores after Zetterberg runs Fleury, and they start the SC celebration only to call the goal off on account of interference, this would be a huge story. I think, given that potential consequence, making the call when it happens is the right move.

Should more have been called? Well, by the regular standard, yes. By overtime's weird standard? Who really knows.

At 2:29 p.m., June 03, 2008, Blogger Hallock said...

I can understand the calls in light of that explanation, but only one of the two interference calls seemed to be legitimate--the other Fleury's leg was out of the crease in the way of the player (I can't recall if it was Zetterberg or Cleary).

Still, like I said Red Wings had more than enough chances.

At 3:28 p.m., June 03, 2008, Blogger saskhab said...

I'll agree that the Cleary one was more marginal than the Zetterberg one. Cleary was obviously trying to go behind the net, but he did make contact with Fleury who had established his position in the crease. That was more unfortunate than anything else, and yes, a tougher call to make than the Zetterberg one.

Zetterberg looked determined last night. I don't think this one is going back for Game 7, but you never know. The fact that this was Pittsburgh's best game is more concerning than encouraging for them, IMO.

At 4:49 p.m., June 03, 2008, Blogger J. Michael Neal said...

On the Zetterberg goalie interference call, he went to the net, tried to cut around Fleury, and there was a defenseman in the way, keeping him from getting clear. He wasn't pushed into Fleury, but it's also the case that it was a Pittsburgh player that made avoidance impossible. Further, you almost never see goalie interference called when it is the guy carrying the puck to the net that makes contact. It's the kind of thing that you absolutely can not start calling in overtime. If it had been a penalty all night, I wouldn't have a problem with it, but it wasn't.

The worst call, though, was the trip called on Datsyuk in the first period. It came right after the refs let an interference go that was much more blatant. It should have been a 5-on-3 for Detroit, not 4-on-4. Again, given the play that Pittsburgh got a two-man advantage in Game 4, I'm steamed that it doesn't go both ways.

As for the call on Hudler. Yes, it was the right call. Yes, it's a call that has to be made. It is not, however, a call that needs to be made more than the interference needed to be called on Gill in Game 3. The idea that penalties that leave physical evidence are any higher a priority to call than penalties for which there is conclusive visual evidence is dumb. Ei9ther call obvious penalties or don't, but pick one or the other. If you can ignore your own lyin' eyes, you can ignore a lyin' towel, too.

At 5:24 p.m., June 03, 2008, Blogger Bruce said...

I have big trouble with the stratification of penalties, where most calls give the official some latitude in interpretation, but some don't. It's a difficult issue, one the league has been struggling with (and mostly failing) for all the years I've been watching.

You want a cheap penalty? How about the delay-of-game call on Fleury back in Pittsburgh where he batted a rebound out of mid-air with his paddle and it went over the glass? If he reaches out and catches and freezes the puck it's OK, but if he whacks it over the glass it isn't?

Apparently it's OK for Gary "Diplomatic Immunity" Roberts to coldcock Franzen or for Roberts to hammer Lilja ten feet from the puck or for Roberts to crunch Filppula (?) from behind head-first into the boards or for Hal Gill to systematically separate Holmstrom limb from limb, but it's not OK for Fleury to clear the rebound into the netting.

I thought that penalty was supposed to stop players from shooting the puck over the glass, but when they start calling it on mid-air whacks it's getting out of hand. Seems like policy: I saw some poor defenceman get one earlier in the playoffs when in a legitimate battle for the puck it popped up, he caught it in mid-air with the shaft of his stick, and tweet! Delay of game. So that must be the current interpretation of what has always been a frustrtating rule.

At 6:21 p.m., June 03, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My apologies then. I thought it was Holmstrom but I didn't get a real good look at who was doing the kicking. Either way, I don't really see the purpose. Maybe I've become soft, but after what happened to Zednik I become uneasy when I see skates going toward the upper body of players, particularly unnecessary and intentional acts.

As far as the officiating, inconsistent seems to be the word. Crosby is hooked on a semi-breakaway but it isn't called; Sykora hooks someone in the final minutes of the second OT (virtually the same stick position on the body) and it is called. As for interference, the referees seem to call it on whims. A player gets picked here, no call. Orpik, I think, is picked on the Game 4 winner no call. Someone is picked at center ice and it is called. There just doesn't seem to be a logical interpretation of the rule by the referees.

As for the goaltender interference penalties, Zetterberg had already shot the puck and was trying to jam home a rebound so that's why he was called. On Cleary's though, I think it was called more on the basis of Fleury falling to the ice, not so much the contact. Remember this was in the 2nd OT, I think, and Fleury had to be dead on his feet so less force would be needed to knock him off balance. I think it looked worse that it actually was. Either way, the officiating was (thankfully) not a determining factor in the outcome. Yes, it was won on a PP but that was obviously the correct call. Both teams had opportunities to win it, and both had opportunities to lose it. Probably the best game I've ever seen.


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