Kukla's Korner

Luongo Hopes Clean Face Changes Canucks’ Luck

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jim Morris of the CP at the Globe and Mail,

A clean-shaven Roberto Luongo walked through the airport Saturday as the Vancouver Canucks boarded an airplane to Chicago.

The playoff beard was gone. Time for a fresh start.

“Trying to change things up a bit,” said the Vancouver goaltender, managing a weak smile….

“We have to go win a game,” said Luongo. “That’s our mindset right now.”

Defenceman Shane O’Brien admitted the Canucks are in a deep hole.

“We have to lay it all on the line,” said O’Brien. “We have nothing to lose now.

“We are in a situation where probably nobody thinks we can come back; the odds are we probably can’t. We are going to give it our best go.”

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Sharks Plan To Bring Their Physical Game Tonight

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from SanJoseSharks.com,

The San Jose Sharks saw their full compliment of players out for the morning skate Saturday as they looked to close out their second round series with the Detroit Red Wings.

San Jose will look to apply their physical pressure, which made them so successful in the first three contests, tonight against the Red Wings.

“It comes down to who wins the battles and who is better on special teams when you play similar styles,” said forward Ryane Clowe. “Obviously the first three games I thought we had the edge and the last game they dominated in every area.

“We’ve got to protect pucks better, that is a big part of our game,” Clowe continued. “We had no pressure on their D the last game. We have to be more aggressive and make them work more in their defensive zone. Tonight we’ll be better.”

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, San Jose Sharks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Sweeps

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

Twelve playoff series so far this season are either complete or far enough into play that it is clear that they cannot be four game sweeps.  There have been no four game sweeps so far this season.  That result is improbable.

We can set up a simple model to see the expected rate of four game sweep playoff series.  If we assume that each game is decided by a coin toss (which may not be a fair coin) we can calculate the expected number of four game sweeps.  In the extreme that the coin is 100% biased, where it is guaranteed to have the same result each time it is flipped, we are guaranteed that every series will be a four game sweep.  The other limit is that there is perfect parity and each coin is 50% likely to be heads and 50% likely to be tails.  In this case, one out of every eight playoff series will be a four game sweep.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink
 

Can The Wings Win A Game In ‘The Tank’?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jon Swenson of Sharkspage,

HP Pavilion was named “The toughest road arena to play in” by a recent Sports Illustrated poll of 272 NHL players. In 5 regular seasons since the lockout in 2004-05, opponents traveling to ‘The Tank” have averaged only 17 wins a season (41.4%), and only 10 in regulation (25.8%).

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, San Jose Sharks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Will The Problem In Phoenix Just Go Away?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bruce Arthur of the National Post,

Whatever’s coming, it feels like it’s nearly here. We appear to be entering the endgame of the Phoenix Coyotes in Glendale, Ariz. We may even be approaching the rebirth of the Winnipeg Jets, as impossible as that once seemed. And whether that occurs or not, this is yet another step towards the NHL admitting that yes, it has a problem. More than one, really.

The scenario, as it has been reported since late Thursday night, goes like this: Jerry Reinsdorf’s deal to buy the Coyotes is either dead or pushing out its final breath; the league is talking to Ice Edge, that under-capitalized collection of businessmen who want to keep the team in Glendale but play some of the games in Saskatoon. And if that falls through, then Canadian billionaire David Thomson, among others, is reportedly waiting to lose money in Winnipeg, purchase agreement in hand. The Jets, dead since 1996, would be returned to their rightful home, perhaps even by the end of the month.

Yes, Ice Edge could still come through, and own the team. That scenario is apparently conditional on the city of Glendale covering any operating losses the team incurs next season.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, d, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

GDT - WC Semifinals, Game 5: Red Wings (1-3) at Sharks (3-1)  (10:00)

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By Jeff OKWingnut

I literally have no idea what to expect tonight.  Bert seems to though:  “It seems every time our backs are against the wall we always come with the big efforts.  “Unfortunately, it takes that to get that out of us.  Game 5 is going to be huge. We’ve got to make sure to do the exact same thing we did, and hopefully, we get some puck luck and bring it back here for 6.’‘

Three straight losses for DET to start the series, all by 4-3 scores, one in OT.  No reason to think DET cannot win 3 straight, is there?  Especially after that explosion in game 4.
 
Said Franzen: “If we can do that (win tonight), then we’re back in.’’  Indeed.

Game on, Bitches(!)

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink
 

Canucks Have No Answers

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Steve Rosenbloom of RosenBlog,

In the playoffs, your best players need to be your best players. Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews had a hat trick and two assists, and that was just in the first two periods of Game 4 of this second-round series. The best you could ask for.

Vancouver’s best players were in the penalty box.

Maybe this will teach Alain Vigneault. The Vancouver coach named Toews the day before, saying it wasn’t Dustin Byfuglien who was terrorizing Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo despite a hat trick in Game 3, but Toews.

“The guy going to the net hardest for them and getting away with the most is probably Toews,” Vigneault said. “He’s pitch-forked. He’s run Louie. He’s done everything you need to do create offense. And on top of that he’s a real skilled player, so we know what we need to do here.”

Apparently not, unless the plan was to egg on his team’s Neanderthal approach.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Pressure On Nabokov

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Tim Kawakami of the Mercury News,

If Nabokov makes all the key saves and the Sharks push through enough goals, then they will be on to the next round, and 7-1 will be a funny piece of history.

But if the Sharks lose, and Nabokov is slightly off, then they have to go back to Detroit for Game 6. And if they lose there, it’s back here for Game 7.

Maybe that’s why Nabokov chose silence Friday — he didn’t want to go down that road, and he knew he might start if he spoke to the media.

That was probably wise, but also does nothing to alleviate the pressure, which we all know will build until the Sharks do something to end it.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, San Jose Sharks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: evgeni+nabokov

Bylsma Wants A Shot At A Second Cup

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Scott Burnside of ESPN,

You see, everything changes when you win a Cup. The expectations of the fans and media change. The expectations of the players in the dressing room change. Everyone wants more, everyone expects more. But here’s the thing about Bylsma: he may be the one constant in that complicated equation.

“You have to know your foundation, who you are, what you are about,” Bylsma said in an interview this week. “And you have to go about acting that way regardless of the situation.”

He’s talking as much about life as he is the situation that now confronts his team, because for Bylsma, these are the very basics tenets of things like character and work ethic, qualities that transcend a sport.

Sitting up in the stands at the Bell Centre this week, GM Ray Shero was watching the man he plucked out of Wilkes-Barre last February to lead his team after the players had seemed to tune out former coach Michel Therrien. One of the things—and there are many—Shero likes about Bylsma is how he responds to a tough loss. He moves on.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: dan+bylsma

Luongo Off His Game

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Jason Botchford of the Vancouver Province,

There is but one bright spot for Vancouver. After losing 7-4 in Game 4 to go down 3-1 in games, Vancouver doesn’t have to think about last year anymore. They have a new low point, now.

The Canucks were all out of maturity and composure. Goaltending, too. Luongo got caught slashing, whacking and trying to trip players like Dustin Byfuglien. Saves weren’t the only thing on his mind. Off his game, he wasn’t alone. But with his focus diverted, his game crumbled. Poor reads, more rebounds and another poor result. Luongo was riddled for six goals on 33 shots.

“I think right now he is the second best goaltender on the ice,” Vancouver head coach Alain Vigneault said. “I think he can be better and he will be better.”

How did it feel for Luongo?

“Not very good.”

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

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