Kukla's Korner

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
 

Canadiens Have That Winning Feeling

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Red Fisher of the Montreal Gazette,

Common sense dictates that the Penguins still remain favourites to move on with two of the three remaining games in Pittsburgh. The Canadiens know it, but playing away from home hasn’t been a problem for them, as they demonstrated by winning three of four in Washington.

That was then and this is now. Still, is their success on the road why the Canadiens were celebrating so long and hard after Thursday’s surprising win?

Have they now reached the point where they are certain in their own minds they will be celebrating twice more in this series - and beyond?

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Bruins A Cup Threat

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Tony Massarotti of the Boston Globe,

The Bruins might not win the Cup this season, but that’s not the point. The Cup is a realistic goal now. And it will remain a realistic goal for the foreseeable future.

In the midst of all this, let us pause and note that the Bruins have rebuilt themselves from the ground up, partly as the work of Mike O’Connell, partly as the work of Peter Chiarelli, partly as the work of Claude Julien and others. The players also should not be overlooked. The luster has been restored to the spoked “B’’ that serves as the team’s logo — it will not be fully restored until there is a Cup to celebrate — and the Bruins are where they are because of shrewd drafting and decision-making.

Let’s look at the big picture here. In the last four or five years, O’Connell and Chiarelli have drafted and/or signed everyone from David Krejci, Milan Lucic, and Marc Savard to Tuukka Rask, Patrice Bergeron, and Zdeno Chara. Phil Kessel was drafted and flipped to the Maple Leafs for three draft picks, one of whom will be Tyler Seguin or Taylor Hall. The Bruins are young and talented, a combination that will serve them well for years in the salary cap world of professional sports.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Halak In the Pens Heads?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,

Are the Pittsburgh Penguins letting Jaroslav Halak get inside their heads, as the Washington Capitals did?

The Penguins say no, although there is growing evidence the Montreal Canadiens goaltender is doing just that. All concerned insist they simply have to stick to their game plan: make Halak as uncomfortable as possible in his crease and everything will work out Saturday in Game 5 of the NHL Eastern Conference semi-final series.

“A-1 is you have to make sure you don’t let the way a goalie is playing change the way you play and change what makes you successful,” Penguins defenceman Mark Eaton said. “We aren’t going to change too much. We’ll just keep – and I hate throwing clichés out there – but keep plugging along and not let frustration set in. When you do that, you’re giving in and you definitely can’t do that, especially in the playoffs.”

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jaroslav+halak

Will The Flyers Start Getting Some Breaks?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe,

...But the only story that matters is this: This series isn’t over.

Predictably, the word character was thrown around the Flyers’ locker room. Mercifully, no one was heard uttering the words desperate and hockey in the same sentence. In fact, I never heard the word desperate at all. The Flyers may have been trailing the series, three games to none, but they were not defeated in any sense because they truly believed the series could just as easily have been 3-0 the other way. That may not have been entirely true, but that’s the way they felt.

“We don’t want to sit here and complain,’’ said goaltender Brian Boucher. “But I don’t think we got that many breaks to this point. We’re happy to get this win and get off the schneid.’’

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, Philadelphia Flyers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Vancouver Facing Elimination After Loss To Chicago

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Chicago beats Vancouver 7-4 and can wrap up the series with a win at home on Sunday night.

added 12:58am, from Gary Mason of the Globe and Mail,

It was maybe the Canucks worst game of the playoffs, especially given what was at stake. There is a reason they say Game 4s are the most important in a playoff series. Statistically, the odds aren’t in the favour of any team trying to climb out of a 3-1 series hole. Which is the Everestian task the Canucks are now facing.

Especially given that the team isn’t showing the slightest signs that it has the game right now to even attempt such a massive turnaround.

The Canucks didn’t look like an Alan Vigneault coached team at all.

more

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

Flyers Win 5-4 In OT To Force Game 5 In Boston

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Simon Gagne returned from an injury and scored the OT goal.

Game 5 is Monday night in Boston.

added 10:50pm, Video of the game winner.

 

Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, Philadelphia Flyers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

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