Kukla's Korner

Calder Cup Playoffs: First Round Review

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

The first round of the AHL playoffs completed last night.  Here are the results:

Worcester Sharks defeat Lowell Devils 4 games to one  Worcester is San Jose’s AHL affiliate and Lowell is that of the New Jersey Devils.  Dan DaSilva and TJ Trevelyan led the Sharks in scoring with Danny Groulx leading the defence and Alex Stalock in goal.  Lowell was led offensively by Alexander Vasyunov and Nick Palmeiri, with Matt Taormina leading the defence and Mike McKenna in goal.

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Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink
 

Vanishing Act of Sabres Key Players Raises Questions

Blog: KK Members Blog By @DaveDavisHockey

If anyone still had visions of this group of Sabres skill forwards someday leading their team to a Stanley Cup run, then the events of the past six games should pretty much run the hope tank to empty.

What we witnessed during the Boston Bruins 4-2 series win over the Buffalo Sabres was a colossal vanishing act by Derek Roy, Tim Connolly, and Jason Pominville.  Sure, you can point fingers at other players like Paul Gaustad and Drew Stafford, but on a team desperate for big goals it is pretty evident where the biggest holes are in this lineup.

Gritty efforts by players like Mike Grier, Tyler Ennis and Steve Montador were overshadowed by the poor all around performance of the three players in question, who stood out like sore thumbs in every facet of the game.  They were the top three leaders in ice time on the power play that went 0 for 19.  All three played major roles on the penalty killing units that allowed Boston an ugly 27% conversion rate.

This series was supposed to be money in the bank for Buffalo.  They had arguably the top goaltender in the league and were facing an opponent that withstood a ten game home losing streak following the Winter Classic, boasted only one 20-goal scorer and was missing their most dangerous forward and two of their regular defensemen.

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Filed in: | KK Members Blog | Permalink
  Tags: buffalo+sabres, derek+roy, jason+pominville, tim+connolly

Could Jacques Lemaire Become Involved With The Lightning?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Tom Jones of the St. Petersburg Times,

This year, Lemaire had an average offense, a mediocre defense and an aging-by-the-minute goalie in Martin Brodeur and still guided the Devils to a No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference. The Devils’ flaws were then exposed in the first round of the playoffs, where they were upset by the Flyers in a mere five games. Still, Lemaire will go down as one of the best coaches ever and, perhaps, its greatest teacher.

Anyway, relax Lemaire-haters, Lemaire will not be the Lightning’s next coach. But it’s not a stretch to see him as a consultant for the Lightning, especially if Risebrough is the general manager. And anytime you can add to your organization a man who has his name on the Stanley Cup 11 times, it’s a very good thing.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jacques+lemaire

Morning Line

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

If the Red Wings’ best players play like they did in Game Seven against Phoenix, is Joe Thornton really the one who is going to stop them?

-Scott Cullen of TSN.  More from Scott regarding the Phoenix series.

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

No Laughing Now

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mike Boone at Habs Inside/Out,

On paper, this team was never a serious contender for a 25th Stanley Cup.

But on the ice, the guys wearing blue-blanc-rouge this season gave everything they had to give.

No superstars.

But no floaters.

A year ago in Boston, Milan Lucic and his teammates were laughing at the dispirited, rag-tag group of losers the Bruins were punching out in four games.

Think any of the Washington Capitals are laughing?

more

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

Washington Must Meet The Challenge

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post,

In the last 25 years, the Capitals have blown a two-game lead in a playoff series six times. All six times, they finished in a total tailspin, losing either their last three or four straight games.

But if the Caps squander a two-game lead for a seventh time, this time against Montreal, they will break new ground. No top-seeded team has ever blown a 3-1 lead to an eighth-seeded team.

Normally, this column stays 100 miles away from pep talks. But, frankly, I’m sick and damn tired of the same Caps choke story. It’s beyond old, beyond sad, beyond undeserved. Eventually, no response—commiseration, castigation or comedy—applies.

more

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

Coyotes Can’t Win The Important Game

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Dan Bickley of the Arizona Republic,

This loss will sting for a while. The hosts couldn’t generate a whiff of pressure on Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard, who claimed the Coyotes were “lucky” in their Game 6 triumph. The shots on goal were embarrassingly one-sided. In one pivotal moment, Detroit’s Tomas Holmstrom badly fooled the referee, clutching Adrian Aucoin by the jersey and then falling backward to the ice.

It was the worst kind of dive, the kind of tomfoolery you expect in the NBA, from players such as Bruce Bowen or Dennis Rodman. It was cheap and cowardly and bogus hockey. Naturally, it led to a Red Wings goal that sealed the night.

But the sad truth is, the Coyotes simply were outclassed, stripped bare by a hockey team with great forwards and a champion’s pedigree. There was no hanging with that team tonight, and near the end of the demolition, an idiotic fan tossed a beer bottle onto the rink. Then the slimy octopus arrived on the ice, completing the nightmare.

The Coyotes didn’t want to tell you how important this game was, but it was all there, right in front of our eyes.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, d, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Do You Consider Montreal As The Favorite In Game 7?

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette,

The Canadiens have the Washington Capitals exactly where they want them.

The two teams meet tonight in the deciding game of their best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarterfinal series, and the first six games have offered proof that the playoffs represent a new season.

The Capitals dominated the regular season, winning the Presidents’ Trophy for the best record in the National Hockey League. But the Caps have blown a 3-1 lead in this series, and the momentum is with the Canadiens. Here are some reasons why the Canadiens have to be considered the favourites to win tonight:

continued

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

Any Doubt?  The Best Forty Year Old Defenseman In The History Of The NHL

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Nick Lidstrom turned 40 today.

from Brian Compton of NHL.com,

Q: You didn’t look like a 40-year-old shooting the puck on your second goal. It looked as if you could play another 10 years if you wanted to.

Lidstrom: I just wanted to make sure I got a lot of wood on it. The puck came perfectly to me there.

read on and watch his first of two goals tonight below…

 

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: nick+lidstrom

Phoenix Run Ends

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,

And so the Phoenix fairytale ends. With a thud.

What the Coyotes can say, however, is that their dream of a surprise spring in the desert was ended by the Detroit Red Wings - still the classiest team in this National Hockey League.

The Wings, arguably, are not quite the team they’ve been in recent years, and they certainly had to fight and scrap just to find their way into post-season play.

But after being hammered in Game 6 at home, the Wings responded with a remarkable combination of skill and pure fury, pounding the Coyotes 6-1 in Game 7 to move on and face the San Jose Sharks….

The Red Wings, when they’re going, still play a different game than most NHL clubs, or a least a game that most teams can only dream of playing. They do it with speed and passing and discipline, and they delivered all three last night in the clinching game to such a degree that even Todd Bertuzzi, long a glowering, goonish presence in the league, looks composed and focused.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, d, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

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