Kukla's Korner

Bruins Hope To Set The Tone Early

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Worcester Telegram & Gazette,

While everyone else is enjoying balmy temperatures near 80 degrees, the Bruins are trying to prolong their winter and force that seventh and deciding game on Monday up in the Great White North. To do so, they’ll have to weather what is expected to be another frenzied start by a raw-meat-eating Montreal team that’s averaging an incredible 35.6 hits a game (to Boston’s 29.0).

“We know they’re going to come hard,” said center Glen Metropolit, who potted the game-winner in Thursday night’s stunning 5-1 rout of the Canadiens at the Bell Centre.

“We’ve got to have a better first (period) than we did (Thursday) night. The first five minutes set the tone.”

more

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

Best In The West

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Randy Sportak of the Calgary Sun,

So, who’s the NHL’s Western Conference power? Tough call, eh.

Some call it parity. Some call it mediocrity. Either way, it’s impossible to say any one team in the conference is head and shoulders above the pack.

The way San Jose has finally found another gear probably puts the Sharks the closest to that spot, but it’s hard to say they’ve been all that impressive in their series with the Calgary Flames.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Sens Claim Burnout

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun,

“Obviously, there was a real slide in a lot of in areas,” Murray said, when asked how his team could go from being so good to so bad over the course of 10 months. “I think injuries were a part of it. I think discipline was part of it. I think fatigue, to a point.

“Talking to a couple of the main guys on our team yesterday, they felt that the hangover from the long run and very short summer (was a factor). I had a couple of players tell me that they would go home after practice and sleep for three hours, then get up, eat dinner and go back to bed early at night. They were really that played out.

“We don’t think of that, I don’t think of that ... (but) there’s no dynasties any more,” Murray said. “The competitive balance now, the pressure now, lots of things catch up to young people.”

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Ottawa Senators, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Are Penguins Next In Line For Rangers

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Lew Serviss of Slap Shot at the NY Times,

With Pittsburgh already across the finish line, the Rangers await a second-round match-up. If the Canadiens, up 3-2 over the Bruins, can close out Boston, and the Flyers, up 3-1 over the Caps, can finish off Washington, then the Rangers draw Pittsburgh and Montreal gets Philly.

Checking the season series — what have we here? — the Rangers had the edge, winning 5 games to 3 for the Penguins. Here’s the season series:

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Early Leaders

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Matt Romig at Yahoo’s NHL Experts Blog,

Conn Smythe watch (Based on playoff performance to date and likelihood of deep playoff run.)

1. Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins
2. Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
3. Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens
4. Patrick Marleau, San Jose Sharks
5. Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings

more on the games last night…

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Brodeur Did The Right Thing

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice,

Martin Brodeur was a focal point in this series from beginning to end. He was bumped and badgered verbally by Sean Avery throughout the season and series. Avery didn’t even stop after the series was over, calling Brodeur “fatso” on a postgame interview on MSG.

Normally, I would not defend Brodeur not shaking Sean Avery’s hand. It’s wrong 99.9 percent of the time.

It was wrong when Scott Stevens and Bobby Holik skipped the handshake line following the 1997 series between the Devils and Rangers and claimed afterward that they forgot about it. 

But this is the .1 percent of the time when it wasn’t wrong.

If Sean Avery wants to say things about Brodeur’s family and his personal life and stare him down face-to-face he can’t reasonably expect the guy to shake his hand afterward.

read on

added 9:06am, from Empty Netters,

The above is a video of the postgame handshake lines between the Rangers and Devils following New York’s 5-3 series-clinching win in New Jersey last night. Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur didn’t shake the hand of Rangers forward Sean Avery.

Was Brodeur wrong to do this? The handshake line is one of the more revered traditions in the NHL playoffs.

continued and as mentioned, with video…

Filed in: NHL Teams, New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: martin+brodeur

Canadiens Need To Find Their Legs

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,

Boxers who take a lot of body shots lose their legs first. Likewise, the Habs haven’t been the same skating team in the past two games that they were in the regular season and at the start of this series, which means gradually the competition has become more familiar and comfortable for the Bruins.

In turn, the Montreal power play has slowed as well, leading to the frustration expressed by Markov in Game 5.

Can the Habs fix it? Well, the return of Koivu might help, and Guy Carbonneau could shuffle his lines a bit, or even insert speedy Mikhael Grabovski. Without injured defenceman Mark Streit, the Habs are missing an underrated, smart and mobile blueliner.

Puck movement can replace lost team speed, but it requires confidence and cohesiveness, both of which seem to have gone missing from the Montreal attack.

more

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

Preds Come Away With Nothing

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from John Glennon of the Tennessean,

Ellis was the sole reason the Predators even reached overtime, as the inexperienced netminder turned away 52 of 53 shots in regulation before surrendering a breakaway goal to Johan Franzen.

“The way Ellie played tonight, there really aren’t words to describe it,’’ Predators forward J.P. Dumont said. “It would have been great if we had found a way to win for him. He deserved to win.’‘

Any thoughts that Ellis might suffer from jitters while playing in his first postseason had probably been eliminated after the first four games of this series. But in case there were still doubters, Ellis nearly single-handedly beat one of the most skilled teams in the league on Friday.

“The biggest disappointment,’’ Predators Coach Barry Trotz said, “was that we wasted that good goaltending effort.’‘

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Nashville Predators, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: dan+ellis

Selanne Believes

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,

Before the game, Selanne said he saw only “one way” for the Ducks to go—up.

“I really believe this is the group that can do it,” he said.

“It’s going to be tough, but there’s teams that have done it before, so that’s a good sign.”

He had extra incentive Friday, because the end of the season could also bring the end of his glorious NHL career.

After a 48-goal season and splendid playoff performance, he retired after the Ducks won the Cup last June. The timing seemed perfect. What better ending could there be than going out on top, surrounded by friends and family and knowing that your name will soon be engraved on that great shiny trophy?

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Anaheim Ducks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: teemu+selanne

NHL Needs the Rangers

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

From Steve Edelson at APP.com,

Having the Rangers as the top team in the metropolitan area, and in a position to possibly challenge for a championship in the coming years, is the best thing that could happen to the NHL right now.

A league still trying to pull itself back from the brink of extinction, with television ratings mired somewhere between a test pattern and Bonanza reruns, needs the Rangers and their fan base, infinitely larger than the Devils.

They need Madison Square Garden hosting a Cup final, and Sean Avery doing his best Ken Linsman impressions in front of a national audience. They need recollections of Mark Messier’s guarantee and replays of Howie Rose blurting out “Matteau, Matteau, Matteau.’‘

Now more than ever, they need the Rangers.

more…

Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Rangers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

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