Stanley Cup Finals: Detroit Up 2-0 As Michel Therrien Whines

Andrew PargoffCorrespondent IMay 27, 2008

If anyone would have predicted the Detroit Red Wings would be up 2-0 in the Stanley Cup Finals getting ready to depart for Pittsburgh and Mellon Arena, I probably would have said I thought so.

But if anyone would have predicted the Red Wings would be up 2-0 with game scores of 4-0 and 3-0, I would have said you're out of your mind.

Game 2 saw more of the same for the Red Wings, who controlled the puck and shut down Pittsburgh's vaunted offense. Game 2 also saw Penguins coach Michel Therrien complain and complain about the Red Wings.

He discussed how Chris Osgood loves to dive, and how he ruined more than one Pittsburgh power play: "Osgood was diving, he's really good at diving, drawing penalties. He hurt our power play," Coach Therrien said. "It's really tough to generate offense with that team. They're good at obstruction. It's going to be real tough. If the rules don't change, they're just good at obstruction."

The Red Wings are nothing more than a bunch of cheaters in Michel Therrien's eyes. He mentioned towards the end of his postgame interview that Nicklas Kronwall also leaves his feet occasionally when he hits.

So let's break this down shall we?

They have a bunch of clutching and grabbing forwards, defensemen that can't help but leave their feet when they hit, and a goalie who flops around like a fish out of water? I guess when you're standing on the opposing bench it may look as such.

I won't lie, some of Kronwall's hits look as though he leaves his feet. The referees haven't called him for charging however. The play with Ryan Malone getting called for goaltender interference was a bit questionable, but when Petr Sykora bumped Chris Osgood behind the net, Osgood was going down either way. You don't bump the goalie after he dumps the puck regardless.

You want to talk about dirty plays? Enter Maxime Talbot, you know, the Penguins forward who failed in his attempt to sleufoot Johan Franzen, fresh off his six-game hiatus.

Or how about Captain Graybeard, Gary Roberts, punching Franzen in the face as he skated by near the Penguins blueline?  Or maybe

Roberts picking Pavel Datsyuk out of the scrum to throw punches at him?

That is all the Penguins can do at this crucial point in the series: take cheap shots and hope to spark some life in this team that can't seem to do much of anything.

Game 2 also saw Sidney Crosby complaining to the referees more times than I can count on both hands. I understand that calls may not be favorable, and they may be frustrating, but play the game.

Chris Osgood is on fire, if you haven't noticed (The only way you wouldn't have noticed is if you don't have cable or you live under a rock).

He leads all playoff goaltenders in GAA with 1.38, Sv% with .939, fewest losses with two, and is tied for first with Marc-Andre Fleury in wins with 12 and shutouts with three. Osgood has allowed fewer goals [20] in 15 games, than Washington's Cristobal Huet allowed [22] in seven games.

Johan Franzen returned for Game 2. He made an impact, assisting on a very pretty goal scored by Valterri Filppula, which put Detroit up 3-0.

Secondary scoring has been very key for the Red Wings so far in the series.

Mikael Samuelsson, who only had 11 goals during the regular season and two goals thus far in the playoffs, scored twice in Game 1. Dan Cleary scored a shorthanded goal in Game 1. Brad Stuart started off the scoring in Game 2 with a slapshot that went in off of Fleury's stick.

It is so huge for Detroit to have players like these stepping up and scoring. When that happens, it takes the pressure off of Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Holmstrom, and Franzen. Zetterberg and Holmstrom have both scored so far in the Finals as well.

Cliche time, I know, I'm sorry. But it appears as though it's now or never for Pittsburgh. They look to turn things around back home in Mellon Arena.

Hopefully Evgeni Malkin will come back from the invisible state he played Game 2 in. They will go back home to the drawing board and look to find a way to get through the superb defense of the Detroit Red Wings.

One last thing: I understand that the officiating may not be at its best, in your opinion. You may believe you see the opposition cheating at every stage in the game. You may think they are out to get you, but for God's sake you're an NHL coach. An NHL coach who has gotten his team to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Take responsibility for what has happened in the first 2 games. Don't blame the refs. It's not like they're the ones who've blanked your team twice in a row. They haven't put up seven goals to your zero.

The Red Wings have though. They will continue to do so, because what they are doing is working right now. Working very well.

So if you're a Pittsburgh fan, look forward to a lot of clutching, grabbing, and obstruction in the neutral zone, what should be open ice charging penalties on Nicklas Kronwall, and Chris Osgood to flop around in his crease the whole game begging for a call.

If you're just a hockey fan in general, look forward to good playoff hockey. You know, the kind with no excuses, just a fast-paced, intense game that most every hockey fan can't help but enjoy.

Looks like the Wings proved me wrong when I said Red Wings in six.


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