Kukla's Korner

Rangers Go Into Game 7 As Big Underdog

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,

John Tortorella looked around the group of reporters Monday and asked the question.

“OK, I’ll poll you right now,” said the New York Rangers coach. “Who thinks we’re going to win tomorrow?”

Not a single hand was raised.

“There you go. There is no pressure on us,” said Tortorella. “We’re going to go there and try to relax and compete in a Game 7 because everybody thinks we’re done. It falls back on them. They have the advantage because it is a home building and that’s what they did this year. They deserve that seventh game, but it’s funny what happens with the pressure.”

Ah, the mind games on the eve of a seventh game. It’s universal in all sports.

continued

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

Brashear Gets Six Games

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

TORONTO (April 27, 2009) - Washington Capitals forward Donald Brashear has been suspended for a total of six games as a result of two separate incidents—one prior to and one during Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Quarter-Final series Sunday against the New York Rangers.

Brashear was suspended one game for initiating contact with Rangers forward Colton Orr during the pre-game warm-up. Brashear was suspended for five additional games for a blind-side hit on New York forward Blair Betts at 9:54 of the first period.

“Brashear delivered a shoulder hit to an unsuspecting player,” said NHL Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell. “It is also my opinion that the hit was delivered late and targeted the head of his opponent, causing significant injury.”

Brashear’s suspension will be served beginning tomorrow night when the Capitals meet the Rangers in Game Seven of the series. The suspension will extend through the Capitals’ next five 2009 playoff games, the 2009-10 regular season, or both, as circumstances warrant.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: blair+betts, donald+brashear

Phaneuf Out

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from CalgaryFlames.com,

Dion Phaneuf did not take part in the morning skate and head coach Mike Keenan erased all questions about the status of the blueliner for tonight’s contest.

“No, he will not,” was Keenan’s response when asked if Phaneuf would play. “He’s not available. And his status is day-to-day.”

Phaneuf’s teammates expressed their concern about his possible absence but remained positive that they could handle the 24-year-old’s workload.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Calgary Flames, Chicago Blackhawks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: dion+phaneuf

Saying It Again - Deal With The Head Shots

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bob McKenzie of TSN,

It’s just a hunch on my part, but I figure Donald Brashear will get a one-game suspension for his pre-game warm-up shove on New York Ranger Colton Orr and probably another one-game suspension for his hit on Ranger Blair Betts.

Which is all well and good, I suppose, but it doesn’t really address the root issue on Brashear’s hit on Betts, which apparently broke Bett’s orbital bone and most definitely scrambled his brain, as evidenced by the video that shows an extremely groggy Betts having difficulty getting off the ice under his own power.

That is, how do we get those types of hits out of the game?

Every time I bring up the issue of hits to the head in the NHL, which is often, traditionalists or hardliners or dinosaurs (take your pick) maintain that if there are penalties for shoulder hits to the head, we are going to end up with a soft game with no hitting.

continued

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

Watching NBC

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via Puck The Media,

After a weekend which saw the best opening round Stanley Cup Playoff ratings in awhile, the NHL came back down to earth this weekend.  According to Sports Business Daily the network’s telecast of Game 6 - Penguins vs. Flyers drew an overnight rating of 1.2/3, down from both the 1.7 overnight for Game 3 of the series, but also down from 1.3 overnight from last year’s comparable telecast (4/19/08 - Flyers vs. Capitals).

There was more bad news on Sunday.  NBC’s broadcast of Game 6 - Capitals vs. Rangers drew a 1.0/2 overnight rating, down big-time from last year’s comparable telecast (4/20/08 - Red Wings vs. Predators) but the same overnight as last week’s Game 2 telecast.

Filed in: NHL Media, Hockey Broadcasting, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: nbc

Pressure On Nabokov

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Ray Ratto of the San Francisco Chronicle,

On the off chance that you believe that one big game has cured the Sharks of their big-line blues, let us waste no time in presenting their next issue:

The goaltender.

After having been reunited and called out at the same time, Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Devin Setoguchi had their best game in weeks, with the topper being Marleau’s overtime goal Saturday night. In the meantime, the overtime would not have been necessary had not Evgeni Nabokov given up two five-hole goals to Ryan Carter and Corey Perry in the first five minutes of the third period.

continued

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

Upshall Gets One Game Suspension At WC

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Alan Adams of CBC,

Canada’s Scottie Upshall now knows first-hand that Europe and the NHL deal differently with hits to the head.

Upshall was handed a five-minute major and match penalty in the second period of Sunday’s game against Hungary at the world championship when he collided at centre ice with Andras Beck, who broke his collarbone on the play.

The referee ruled that Upshall’s actions constituted a hit to the head and assessed the match penalty, which includes an automatic one-game suspension. Upshall could have faced further discipline but international officials reviewed the incident and were satisfied with the one-game suspension

continued

Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, International Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: scottie+upshall, team+canada

Afternoon Line

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

“I don’t think it’s in Joe’s nature to be mean, but when he is mean, he’s unstoppable.  That’s intensity. When you’re intense, you’re a hard person to play against.”

“He can’t pick his spots. For him to be known as one of the greatest players in the world from now on, he’s got to bring that.  He makes a lot of money to bring that intensity. You can’t rely on just his eyes and his know-how all the time.”

-Jeremy Roenick on Joe Thornton.  More from David Pollak at Working the Corners.

Filed in: NHL Teams, San Jose Sharks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jeremy+roenick, joe+thornton

Rangers Could Use A #1 Guy

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mike Brophy of Sportsnet,

Assuming Glen Sather is still running the New York Rangers next season, he might want to find a bona fide No. 1-line player or two for his team.

Currently, the Rangers have none; good team, but no star forwards or defencemen.

Outside of goalie Henrik Lundqvist—the only reason New York is even in a Game 7 in the first round against the Washington Capitals—the Rangers do not have a single established player they can claim to be a front-liner.

Not Scott Gomez. Not Chris Drury. Not Markus Naslund.

Two solid second-liners on a good team and a guy who scores on occasion, but rarely stands out in a game that matters.

continued

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

Vezina Trophy Finalists

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from John McGourty of NHL.com,

Steve Mason, the brilliant young goalie of the Columbus Blue Jackets, could become only the fifth NHL player to win the Vezina and Calder trophies in the same year.

But he’ll have to beat out the Minnesota Wild’s Niklas Backstrom, and Tim Thomas, whose league-leading goals-against average was a driving force for the Eastern Conference champion Boston Bruins this season.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

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