If there's anyone in the buildings for the Stanley Cup final games with a keen interest in both teams, it's Scotty Bowman, who coached the Penguins to their second Stanley Cup in 1992 and later led Detroit to three Cups.
Bowman, who serves as a consultant for Detroit, said during yesterday morning's Red Wings skate that he anticipated this matchup for some time.
"I knew that these teams were the best before it started, although Anaheim and San Jose were close to Detroit," he said. "Pittsburgh, they might have been first in the league if [Sidney] Crosby wouldn't have missed 28 games. I thought these two teams, unless something [unexpected] happened, would be there."
That said, Bowman wasn't surprised the Red Wings won the first two games, simply because they were at Joe Louis Arena.
"I've never heard of two other teams that dominant at home," he said of the Penguins, who were 8-0 at Mellon Arena going into last night, and Detroit, which is 9-1 at home.
"The first game was really a 2-0 game. That was really a pretty close game. The first two games there was really one determining goal."
The NHL rule book does not offer a definition of obstruction as it relates to players being assessed penalties. It's a term generally used to describe the type of clutching and grabbing to which the league used to turn a blind eye but in recent seasons has tried to eliminate through interference and other penalties.
That hasn't stopped a small war of words between the Red Wings and Penguins the past few days about obstruction.
Penguins coach Michel Therrien has accused Detroit of slightly crossing the line between playing strong defense and breaking the rules.
Babcock wasn't biting.
"I don't know what there is to talk about," he said. "Obstruction is when you get your stick on someone and you don't move your feet or something like that. I think when you're in the right spot and you don't move your feet, I don't think there's obstruction. ... There's been zero of that. None."
The other issue between games was whether Detroit goaltender Chris Osgood embellished or dived when he got clipped by Penguins winger Petr Sykora late in Game 2. Sykora received a goaltender interference penalty.
But neither that nor obstruction were the main topic when Babcock met with league officials yesterday.
Apparently, the hit to the head by Penguins winger Gary Roberts on the Red Wings' Johan Franzen in the third period of Game 2 was talked about -- but not so much Babcock complaining about it.
"Had an outstanding meeting," Babcock said. "They told us they weren't very much interested in what we had to say. They were telling us how it was going to be done."
Shelly Anderson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1721.