Kukla's Korner

GDT - WC Semifinals, Game 1: Red Wings (5) at Sharks (1)  (9:00)

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By Jeff OKWingnut

The Sharks have not made it past the second round in their past four trips to the postseason, including a second-round loss to the Wings in 2007.  If they don’t start getting production from Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, and Dany Heatley, they will likely be going home early again.  The “Big 3"scored about 40 percent of the team’s goals in the regular season,  but combined for only one goal and were minus 7 in the first-round series against COL.  SJS scoring were picked up by the Pavelski, Clowe, Setoguchi line, nine goals and 13 assists.  SJS goalie Evgeni Nabokov allowed just a pair of goals while winning the last three games against Colorado, (0.95 GAA, 0.962 Save% in last 3 GPI).

The Dogs fierce forechecking and grinding game pushed DET to 7 games, and saw DET win 3 road games in the series.  In game 7, DET’s stars shined:  Nicklas Lidstrom 2 G - 1 A, Brian Rafalski 3 A, Henrik Zetterberg 3 A, Pavel Datsyuk 2 G, Valtteri Filppula 2 A.  Jimmy Howard 32 saves on 33 shots, 0.969 Save%.  Said Ken Holland:  “As the (Phoenix) series wore on, I thought we were getting better.“When we really needed to step up our game and get big performances from certain players, we got it.’’ 

Game On, Bitches(!)

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Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink
 

Morning Line

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

We’re not sure the playoffs are a better place this morning, with the highly entertaining Washington Capitals packing their gear and the shot-blocking Habs game-planning on how now to grind the Pittsburgh Penguins to a halt. But everyone loves a No. 8 seed — and we do too.

Pittsburgh has played the maximum nine rounds over the past three post-seasons. They’re ripe, and the Canadiens are hot. We’ll take the Habs in seven.

-Mark Spector of Sportsnet where more hockey topics are discussed.

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

Do The Capitals Need A New Coach?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Ken Campbell of The Hockey News,

So, let’s look at the players skating on the ice and the man behind the bench. Is Bruce Boudreau the right person to coach this team at this point in its development?

There is little doubt Boudreau is a good coach in the NHL and has both an excellent grasp of the technical aspects of the game and a unique ability to relate to his players and make them play hard for him. His road to the NHL makes him a unique and compelling story and his stock as a coach has risen meteorically since taking over the Capitals.

But you have to wonder if there’s a team that needs a kick in the hockey pants more than the Capitals do now. What might bring out the best in the team is a taskmaster who makes his players accountable and uncomfortable. Perhaps the star-laden Capitals aren’t on edge enough when it comes to their own performance. Maybe they need someone who is going to play head games with them, call them out in the media and not be afraid to sit out an elite player when he’s not producing.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: bruce+boudreau

Hail To The Habs, Fail To The Caps

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,

The challenge is to assign the correct amount of responsibility to both the conquerors and the conquered.

Do you praise the valiant Montreal Canadiens for a remarkable and historic playoff comeback?

Or do you analytically dismember the Washington Capitals for not only blowing a 3-1 series lead, but for falling flat on their faces in the first round of the playoffs after dominating the league during the regular season?

A share of both is probably fair. Maybe the fact that the Habs have all that wonderful history and all those Stanley Cups and the Caps have precious little of the former and none of the latter factored into a result that few anticipated.

continued

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

Reasons To Win

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Phil Coffey of NHL.com,

Red Wings will win if … Howard is able to raise his level in goal to the level of his more experienced teammates. After a difficult regular season, the Red Wings are looking more like the Red Wings of the recent past, so the onus will be on the goalie to make sure the solid play of Datsyuk, Zetterberg and Lidstrom is rewarded.

Sharks will win if … They forget about this being the playoffs. San Jose has an excellent team that is more than capable of winning. The Sharks simply need to play up to their capabilities and be true to their game.

more

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

It Wasn’t Just Goaltending That Beat Washington

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bob McKenzie of TSN,

There are going to be a lot of people who say the Montreal Canadiens upset over the Washington Capitals was just a goaltender getting hot, but that does a disservice to a lot of other players on the Canadiens.

In particular, big Hal Gill with his Stanley Cup pedigree from the Pittsburgh Penguins and little Josh Gorges, who teamed up top be absolutely tremendous in a lot of different areas.

Gill and Gorges were terrific on the penalty kill, helping the Canadiens hold the most vaunted power play unit in the league to only one goal on 33 power play attempts.

They did a very good job, along with the rest of the Canadiens, at taking Alexander Ovechkin out of the games, playing almost a man-on-man with him then playing four-on-three on the rest of the power play.

read on

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

Capital Collapse

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Scott Burnside of ESPN,

“History will be made.”

The NHL’s catchphrase is a reminder every night of the playoffs.

And this was history all right, a collapse of historic proportions….

The Capitals will spend a long time washing the stain of this loss out of their psyches. In less than a week, they managed to forge a brand-new reputation for themselves—a wildly skilled team that somehow still lacks the gut-check gene.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

They Fooled Themselves

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mike Wise of the Washington Post,

The worst part is, the Capitals players had themselves believing they had the team, the talent and enough ornery players to tap in the puck when the supernovas couldn’t.

They actually had convinced each other they could bring one of the four North American major team-sport championships to Washington for the first time since the Redskins last won the Super Bowl in 1992.

And they kept the façade going until the very end, managing to ignite a flickering, hope-against-hope crowd. Taking in the jeers and boos after Montreal made it 2-0 in the final three minutes, the Caps narrowed the lead by a goal, furiously trying to force an extra period.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Ovechkin After The Game

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Dan Rosen of NHL.com,

A shocked Ovechkin met the media in front of his stall inside the somber Capitals’ dressing room at Verizon Center following Montreal’s 2-1 win in Game 7 on Wednesday night. Here is what the captain had to say:

Q: What does this feel like?

Ovechkin: “I think we’re all disappointed, but I have nothing to say right now.”

Q: How difficult was it trying to solve Halak over the last couple of games?

Ovechkin: “I think he played great. I don’t have words to say something on Halak. I think everybody is disappointed.”

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: alexander+ovechkin

Montreal Fans Take To The Streets

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Sidhartha Banerjee of the CP at News880,

Following an improbable, come-from-behind seven game series win against a far superior opponent, Montreal Canadiens fans couldn’t help but put their faith in a little divine intervention. Fans were in a frenzy following Wednesday’s razor thin 2-1 victory over the Washington Capitals.

Thousands spilled out of bars cheering and hooting, dancing in the streets and snarling traffic in the downtown core.

“Go Habs Go!” chants could be heard for blocks between car horn blasts and the “Ole! Ole!” war cry.

And they were toasting the man who has brought their hockey team - the unheralded Canadiens - a Game 7 victory, ousting the much-favoured Washington Capitals.

read on

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

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