|Zetterberg joins teammate, countryman Lidstrom of MVP|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 04 June 2008 18:25|
By ALAN ROBINSON
AP Sports Writer
PITTSBURGH (AP) -While Nicklas Lidstrom is the first European-born captain of a Stanley Cup-winning team, Detroit Red Wings teammate Henrik Zetterberg is only the second European player to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoffs MVP.
The first? Lidstrom.
``Well, it's some great names on there,'' said Zetterberg, who, with Lidstrom, is one of the Red Wings' seven Swedish players. ``I didn't know Nicklas was the only European. Of course, it's special to be on there. And especially to be among such great players and especially with Nick. It's great to have that with him.''
Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk are two of the three finalists for the NHL's best defensive forward award, and it showed throughout a series in which Pittsburgh and its offensive stars were held to 10 goals in six games.
By contrast, the last time the Penguins made the finals in 1992, they scored eight goals just in their Cup-clinching Game 6 against Minnesota.
``Someone said to me earlier, you turned your best offensive players into checkers,'' coach Mike Babcock said. ``I never did that. They're just very good both ways, and deliver offensively.''
DRAKE GETS THE CUP: Keeping with NHL tradition, captain Nicklas Lidstrom was the first Red Wings player to touch the Stanley Cup after they closed out the finals by winning 3-2 Wednesday in Game 6.
The second? Dallas Drake, a 39-year-old forward who had only three goals during the season but won the Cup for the first time in an NHL career that began in 1992. He played in 1,009 regular season games and 90 playoff gams before winning the Cup.
``I started thinking about it actually in the first round. I didn't tell anybody about it,'' Lidstrom said. ``Looking at all the players on our team, Dallas was one of the first ones I played with. He came into the league the same year I did. He's been in the league for 16 years. He had a long, good career, and he had never been to a final before. So it felt natural for me to give it to him for all the effort and hours he's put into the game, and not having a chance to hoist a Cup yet.''
SID'S A KID AGAIN: Sidney Crosby has played and acted much older than his 20 years throughout his NHL career. But when he couldn't lead the Penguins to a Stanley Cup in his first finals appearance, his reaction was natural.
Crosby, finally showing some previously invisible emotion, was red-eyed when talking to reporters and had obviously been crying.
``I haven't experienced a Stanley Cup finals loss before ... it's not a good feeling,'' Crosby said.
Crosby and Conn Smythe Trophy winner Zetterberg tied for the playoffs scoring lead with 27 points each, with Crosby playing in two fewer games.
``It's pretty tough,'' Crosby said. ``It's not a fun time but we got to remember this feeling for sure.''
FOUR DOWN, 10 TO GO: In the Malone family, postseason accomplishments are measured by goals, assists and broken noses.
For Penguins forward Ryan Malone, that must mean it's four broken noses down, 10 to go.
Malone's father, Greg Malone, a former Penguins player and scouting director, broke his nose 14 times during his hockey career. His son has done so four times, twice in these Stanley Cup finals against Detroit.
Malone was cleared to play in Game 6 on Wednesday night after X-rays detected no damage other than the broken nose caused when he was struck by teammate Hal Gill's slap shot in Game 5. Malone went to his knees, blood pouring from his nose, yet returned the following period.
Malone has two long bands of stitches on the left side of his face near his nose, a chipped tooth and untold hidden physical damage, but he said it simply goes with being in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
``Actually it's not too bad, it could be a lot worse,'' Malone said Wednesday. ``A broken nose, a swollen lip, and some chipped teeth are a pretty good scenario for a puck in the face, I thought.''
Malone will be a free agent after the season ends, but he's not thinking yet that Wednesday's game may have been his last with the Penguins team he grew up watching from the time he was a toddler.
``I'm not worried about myself right now,'' Malone said. ``I'm worried about the team.''
FOURTH CAN BE FIRST: As is proved repeatedly during the lengthy NHL playoffs, goals can come from anywhere and everywhere. And from anybody.
Fourth-line right wing Adam Hall had only two goals in 46 regular season games for Pittsburgh, but had three in the playoffs - two in the finals. He scored the decisive goal as the Penguins won 3-2 in Game 3 and scored during their 4-3, three-overtime win in Game 5.
``Sometimes, it's being in the right place,'' Hall said. ``You have to make sure every single line's going. One bouncing puck, one rebound that somebody gets to can make a difference. So we have to make sure, whether it's the top line or the fourth line, we keep it going.''
Similarly, 21-year-old center Darren Helm played in only seven regular season games for Detroit, but also scored in Game 5 and has two playoff goals. He also was credited with six hits on Monday.
``He's a great kid. He's taking all of this in,'' teammate Kris Draper said. ``He's playing a huge role for our team. ... The Detroit Red Wings are going to see a lot of Darren Helm over the years with the way he can skate and the calmness that he has with the puck.''
THE OCTOPUS AND ME: What has eight tentacles and annoys Penguins?
Count Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury among those who aren't enamored with the tradition of throwing octopi on the ice in Detroit, even if he sees the humor in it.
Joe Louis Arena employee Al Sobotka makes a big show of retrieving the octopus that is traditionally thrown on the ice before home games, twirling it around his head.
Watching this show from a few feet away, Fleury playfully squirted Sobotka with his water bottle before Game 5.
Unintentionally, of course. Wink, wink.
``It was an accident. I just missed my mouth by a little,'' Fleury said. ``He does it to us (by swinging the octopus). And after the first two games, I thought I'll give him a little something back.''
PHOTO PLAY: A computerized photo circulating in the Penguins' dressing room on Wednesday showed Petr Sykora, standing in the batter's box a la Babe Ruth, and predicting a home run.
Sykora told teammates during one of the overtime intermissions Monday that he would score the winning goal, then did exactly that in the third period. It was the third multiple-overtime game-winning goal of Sykora's playoff career.
HI, I'M MICHEL ...: Babcock made a joking reference Tuesday to how Penguins coach Michel Therrien has publicly lobbied the entire series for more obstruction penalties.
Babcock made the comment before criticizing the officials for calling two goalie interference penalties on his team during Game 5.
Therrien was asked Wednesday if working the officials via the media is part of coaching gamesmanship.
``This morning I'm trying to walk around, introduce myself,'' Therrien said. ``I'm the other guy I guess. The complaining? There's two different things. Mike's complaining about calls, And we've complained about the non-calls. So that's two different things.
``And we've been told at the beginning of the series that they're going to protect the goalie. Obviously, you know, he didn't have any complaint when (Chris) Osgood got bumped and he fell down on Ryan Malone (and drew a goalie interference penalty in Game 2). Didn't hear any complaint.''