Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
These were the Rangers with their best players being their best players.
These were the Rangers with a confident Henrik Lundqvist at the top of his game in nets — if there were a blackboard in front of me and a piece of chalk in my hand, I would write 100 times: “I should have known … I should have known … I should have known” — and these were the Rangers with Rick Nash producing the way he had when he carried his team’s offense through the first five months of the regular season.
“It’s frustrating when you feel you’re letting down the guys, the team and everyone around the organization,” Nash said after scoring twice in the Blueshirts’ 5-1 victory in Friday’s Game 4 that squared the conference finals at two-all. “I’ve felt the pressure.
“Believe me, I’ve been trying to contribute offensively as much as I can.”
The goals were Nash’s third and fourth of this postseason and the eighth and ninth in 57 playoff games as a Ranger. Last year, when he recorded three goals, Nash was doing everything else but score. The same pattern held true through the first two rounds this year.
Watch the game highlights below....
To put it indelicately, Don Cherry is going ga-ga over Mike Babcock, and while he insists that Babcock is no messiah, Cherry spent 85% of this Coach's Corner praising Babcock, praising Babcock, and also praising Babcock as the best coach in the world and the coach who will bring Canadians and Ontario natives to "Canada's team":
NEW YORK -- Bob Murray of the Anaheim Ducks, Glen Sather of the New York Rangers and Steve Yzerman of the Tampa Bay Lightning are the three finalists for the 2014-15 NHL General Manager of the Year Award, the National Hockey League announced today.
Voting for this award was conducted among the 30 club general managers and a panel of NHL executives, print and broadcast media at the conclusion of the Second Round of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The winner will be announced Wednesday, June 24, during the 2015 NHL Awards from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
The puck drops just after 8:00pm ET and is on NBCSN, CBC and TVA.
Almost a must win for the Rangers, they certainly do not want to go down 3-1.
On the other hand, the Lightning hope to go up 3-1 before heading back to New York to play game 5 on Sunday.
Feel free to discuss the game tonight.
from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,
There was a smarter way for Gary Bettman to handle a question about the existence of any connection between contact in hockey and the brain damage condition known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
The commissioner should have replied that the league is currently involved in litigation and then declined to speak any further. Evasive, sure, but perfectly understandable.
Instead, he told reporters in Chicago on Thursday this:
“From a medical science standpoint, there is no evidence yet that one necessarily leads to the other,” Bettman said. “I know there are a lot of theories, but if you ask people who study it, they tell you there is no statistical correlation that can definitively make that conclusion.”
It was a page ripped from the climate-change denial playbook, a classic head-in-the-sand defense. Appalling ... but then again exactly what you’d expect the man to say.
more plus other hockey topics...
from Matt Yoder of Awful Announcing,
Heading into the Stanley Cup Conference Finals, the suits at NBC were surely crossing their fingers and doing whatever superstitious ritual they could think of to get a dream Stanley Cup Final in the ratings department: Rangers vs Blackhawks.
Chicago. New York. Two members of the original six. Two of the biggest markets in the country. Two teams with national namebrand recognition. Two cities with hockey in their sports DNA. It wouldn’t get better than that.
Instead, after three games in the west and the east, NBC is looking straight down the barrel at a matchup that is most certainly a polar opposite: Ducks vs Lightning.
Tampa Bay. Anaheim. Two of hockey’s more recent expansion representatives. Warm weather. Sunshine. Palm trees. It’s not exactly the ghosts of Stan Mikita and Eddie Giacomin.
Why is this the case? The numbers tell the story.
The Ducks were involved in the lowest rated Stanley Cup Final in the last 20 years back in 2007. Senators-Ducks averaged a paltry 1.2 rating over the course of 5 games and just 1.7 million viewers on average.
from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,
Despite coach Alain Vigneault’s assertions that the Lightning “aren’t dictating” the pace of the series, it’s pretty clear that’s exactly what’s happened during the past two games. The Rangers may be fast, but Tampa Bay has been faster, more insistent on the attack and far more creative. The Lightning are seizing New York’s zone. They’re scoring off the rush. And the Rangers are all but waving hello as they breeze by.
The Lightning have put them on their heels with breakouts and speed through the neutral zone. It’s easy to blame the defense for not slowing the Bolts down, but much of the problem lies in the failings of the forwards to get back and take away Tampa Bay’s numeric advantage. So instead of mucking it up, as they did so effectively in their 2–1 Game 1 victory, the Rangers’ defensemen have too often been forced to fall back and allow the Bolts entry into their end. That lack of aggression is putting too much pressure on goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, who looked shaky while facing 40 shots in that 6–5 Game 3 loss.
The All-Star keeper clearly has to find a way to get over the mental hump of his past two beatings. He’s has allowed 12 goals on just 66 shots in the two losses, including the very stoppable 30-foot wrister from Nikita Kucherov that ended Game 3 in overtime, after giving up just 21 goals on 379 shots in his previous 13 games.
Both teams were among the NHL’s worst this season and have a lot of questions to be answered. Today, you can’t accurately say either is absolutely on the right track, and in Toronto, Babcock has predicted “pain” for the near future. Both teams have owners who appear to be committed, but don’t have a track record of winning.
How they build and develop their respective organizations will determine whether the pieces they already have turn into anything at all, and whether Babcock made the right choice or blew it by choosing not to shuffle off to Buffalo.
-Damien Cox of Sportsnet on the Toronto Maple Leafs and Buffalo Sabres. Read more on this topic from Cox.
What can you expect from Mike Babcock...
- Honesty, to the point that it may hurt at times.
- Frustration, come on Mike, play someone else, he deserves the ice time.
- Fantastic- One of his buzz words.
- Compassion for the game and his team.
- Won't disclose much, it stays in the room.
- If he does disclose, there is a reason behind it.
- If a player sits, it is because he does not give your team the best chance to win.
- Bottom line, winning, in the end that is what counts most.
Below, the opening of Mike Babcock's presser with the Detroit media.
Home Team in Caps
Anaheim 2, CHICAGO 1 – ANA leads series 2-1
DUCKS BOUNCE BACK, TAKE 2-1 SERIES LEAD OVER BLACKHAWKS
Frederik Andersen stopped 27 shots, including all 21 he faced after the first period, and Simon Despres scored the tiebreaking goal in the final minute of the middle frame to propel the Ducks to a 2-1 series lead in the Western Conference Final.
* The Ducks improved to 10-2 this postseason (w/ both losses in OT). Per Elias, they have won 10 of their first 12 playoff games for the second time in franchise history. The other instance: in 2003, when the Ducks advanced to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in club history. The 2012 Kings were the last team to accomplish that feat, going 11-1 in their first 12 games en route to winning the Stanley Cup.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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