Looks Like We’ve Got Ourselves A Series

Four games down in the Stanley Cup Finals and so far the two participants have held serve on home ice. Detroit came out victorious over the weekend with a pair of 3-1 wins, now Pittsburgh has answered with a pair of 4-2 wins.

Good…I was hoping this would go seven anyway!

Jordan Staal’s shorthanded breakaway goal at 8:35 of the second tied the game a two and opened a three-goal explosion by the Penguins. 1:59 later, Sid Crosby broke the tie and then Tyler Kennedy provided some cushion at 14:12 of the middle frame, a beautiful tic-tac-toe style tally from Crosby and Chris Kunitz.

Evgeni Malkin opened up the scoring early in the game with his 14th of the playoffs…he now also has 35 overall points after he assisted on Crosby’s first goal of this series.

The Pittsburgh win set up the all-important pivotal game five on Saturday night and also insures that they will get one last chance to cheer their Penguins on one last time in Tuesday night’s game…and one more chance to “BOO” Marian Hossa, who shunned them last summer in order to join forces with the Red Wings.

But so far in the four games against his former team, Hossa hasn’t given Pittsburgh fans any reason to quiet their vocal disapproval of him. Outside of a pair of secondary assists Sunday night, he’s been held off the scoresheet.  He’s been held without a goal during seventeen of the twenty playoff games so far for the Wings and has been held scoreless in the last five games.

The Wings are going to need Hossa to step it up a notch if they’re going to get Big Mo to swing back in their favor.

Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 37 of the 39 shots Detroit was able to get through on him Thursday night, this after turning away 27 of 29 last Tuesday in game three. Pittsburgh will need more of that out of him as they head back to Motown over the weekend.

Continuing Conn Smythe Consideration

We’ve discussed possible Conn Smythe candidates over the course of the past couple days. As you’ll recall, I placed Chris Osgood as my front-runner going into the fourth game of the Finals. Obviously there is still a very good case to be made for the Red Wing netminder…however, one Mr. Malkin is making a serious run at this as well with 14 goals and 21 assists so far this spring.

Malkin’s performance throughout the playoffs has been both impressive and consistent…recording a goal and/or assist in 17 of the 21 playoff games so far.

No Need To get Antsy Over Salmela

There is one less Thrasher player to me concerned about in regards to their contract status. Don Waddell has accomplished his first contract deal of the offseason, inking defensman Anssi Salmela to a multi-year deal.

And there was much rejoicing!

psssssssst… Hey Don, now that you have that pile of work off your desk, let’s get working on that Reasoner guy new, eh?

Weekend Reading Assignments

Darren Eliot writes that smarts and a little luck helped to open the door for Joe Nieuwendyk, the Stars new GM.

Puck Daddy witnesses Octopus brutality while in Pittsburgh.

The NHL’s general managers have decided against proposed headshot penalty.

Terry Frei of ESPN.com asks…is too much draft hype a bad thing?

59 comments Add your comment

Director of Ticket Sales

June 8th, 2009
8:39 am

I am full of it, I pulled the numbers out of my buttocks. Just like ASG, DW and most of the bloggers in here. Just to make this clear, I said “MOST” not “ALL”

Alan

June 8th, 2009
9:51 am

Wings fan, Bill posted up a two-part interview with former Atlanta Flames player Tim Ecclestone back in May. Part one is here. Part two is easy enough to find from there :) .

Tony C.

June 8th, 2009
9:52 am

Wings Fan The Flames left because Cousins (the owner) got over-extended on some property-development deals, and then started liquidating all “non-core assets”, which unfortunately, included The Flames. Rumor has it that Turner inquired about purchasing the franchise, and due to personal rivalry with Tom Cousins, got flatly rejected.

The Flames never got out of the first round while here in ATL (granted this was back in the day of best-of-3…I think had it been best-of-7 they probably would’ve in either ‘79 or ‘80), and I think that, coupled with the economic downturn (remember gas lines etc. during the Carter years?) and a lack of local (consistent) T.V. coverage spelled the doom of the Atlanta Flames.

I was a kid, so I just remember that just as I was old enough to start going to games with my dad, they were being sold because”that dumb sumb!tch Tom Cousins couldn’t manage a troop lemmings off a ledge”. Later, I found out about how badly leveraged the Omni ownership group was and how huge the offer from Cal-gary was (a then-record $16M). Attendance did drop the last couple of seasons, but only by like 1K or so-nothing as bad as what Le Thrash have seen. Of course Trader Cliff was told to tighten up the budget and started shipping guys out even before they left. The Lysiak trade stands out as the beginning of the end for some of the fans you talk to-(no idea if players felt the same or not-maybe you could ask ‘em @ the Draft Party).

R. Stroz

June 8th, 2009
11:05 am

To add to Tony C.:

Cousins was a real estate developer. During the late 1970’s, Paul Volcker, the head of the Federal Reserve, had increased interest rates into the high teens. For a real estate developer, high interest rates and leverage spell doom. As a result, Cousind sold the only asset he could monetize for 100 cents on the dollar, which ended up being the Flames.

Attendence did drop somewhat during the last two years for two reasons:

1) Many fans were pissed when Lysiak was traded to Chicago

2) The economy sucked and people were having difficulty just paying the bills with interest rates at 18%. Therefore, discretionary expenses, such as sporting events, took a back seat to living expenses.

ranallo10 (in AT)

June 8th, 2009
11:08 am

Stroz — Did other NHL teams feel that same economic impact on ticket sales during those particular seasons? Was said decline uniform?

ASG and Don Waddell

June 8th, 2009
11:30 am

As long as Braves managemnt signs players like Kensheet Kowahockey for 3 years/28 million, and release a better player who could only make, at most 3.5 million. We can’t be the dumbest people in Atlanta anymore!!!!

R. Stroz

June 8th, 2009
11:31 am

ranallo10 and everyone else enjoy:

http://www.moagandcompany.com/i_a/industry_analysis.pdf

Please read down to the NHL specific chart on page 5. Notice the spike in attendence in 1980 due to the Gretzky effect. No other sports had the same jump in attendence in 1980.

ranallo10 – Just remember this : Stroz Knowz

ranallo10 (in AT)

June 8th, 2009
11:59 am

Stroz — I never doubted that you Knowz, I was just curious the downward attendance compared to the rest of the league. Thanks for the read, when I get time I’ll look into the specifics.

Trixie (Rawhide's Secretary)

June 8th, 2009
1:16 pm

:!: RANALLO WARNING!! :!:

This is your official 10 Minute Ranallo Warning!!