Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Dan Rosen of NHL.com,
The Pittsburgh Penguins' goalie debate will continue until at least Tuesday morning.
Penguins coach Mike Sullivan did not announce if Marc-Andre Fleury or Matt Murray would be the starting goalie in Pittsburgh's must-win Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final when he met with the media before boarding the charter flight to Tampa on Monday.
The Tampa Bay Lightning lead the best-of-7 series 3-2 and can close it out in Game 6 at Amalie Arena on Tuesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).
"I'll have a decision in the morning," Sullivan said.
Sullivan called the decision a "tough one" to make.
"It's just a tough circumstance," he said. "We believe in the guys that we have. We think we have quality people. But it's an imperfect situation so all things considered we're trying to make the best decisions that we can, that we think give the best chance to win. That's what we do and that's what we go with. We'll continue to do that."
Game 6 is in Tampa tomorrow night. Pens need a win there to have a game 7 home game.
via Harvey Fialkov and Keven Lerner of the SunSentinel,
The Florida Panthers continued their front-office shakeup by firing director of player personnel Scott Luce, according to a source.
Luce, a longtime member of the Panthers' scouting department, was let go by the team on Sunday night after reportedly meeting with newly promoted general manager Tom Rowe in Canada earlier in the day.
Luce was responsible for the Panthers drafting several top players, including Aleksander Barkov, Aaron Ekblad, Erik Gudbranson, Jonathan Huberdeau and Dmitry Kulikov.
Luce spent 14 years with the Panthers after after joining the club’s scouting staff on July 11, 2002. He previously served as the team's director of scouting.
In recent weeks, the Panthers have restructured their front office. In addition to naming Rowe general manager, former general manager Dale Tallon was promoted to president of hockey operations while Eric Joyce and Steve Werier were named co-assistant general managers.
Outsiders have expressed surprise over the front-office shake-up coming on the heels of the franchise's best regular season ever.
from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,
- The NHL semifinals have yet to be resolved but, after a decade in which the forces of speed and skill battled the game's dark side, hockey fans should be encouraged by what they've seen thus far.
Three of the teams still alive in the Stanley Cup tournament are built largely around hockey's more enlightened pursuits. Even St. Louis has those elements in its game. Pittsburgh, Tampa and San Jose, meanwhile, all play an uptempo, attacking style and that's significant because the NHL is a copycat league which enthusiastically mimics any team that has success.
In 2011 and 2012, that was the bigger, heavier Boston Bruins and Los Angeles Kings. This year speed and skill is the prevailing trend.
- On a related note, in 2011 the Canucks beat a Sharks' team in the Western final which featured Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture, Justin Braun and Marc-Edouard Vlasic. Five seasons later, the Sharks are back in the final four with the same core group and Brent Burns while the Canucks haven't won a playoff series since.
Well, the emergence of Burns as a Norris Trophy-calibre defenceman at age 30 was the key development for the Fish, but their success has also been the result of small improvements throughout their lineup. Few outside San Jose had heard of Joonas Donskoi, Melker Karlsson or Chris Tierney before these playoffs, but they've made a huge impact in the bottom six. North Van's Marty Jones was brought in to replace Antti Niemi in goal and he's been an upgrade. New West's Brenden Dillon was acquired for Jason Demers and he's added snarl to the back end.
continued with more topics too...
more below including two videos...
from Tom Gulitti of NHL.com,
The Tampa Bay Lightning could have come up with a lengthy list of reasons to become discouraged in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday.
First was the goal they gave up to Brian Dumoulin with less than a second remaining in the first period. Then came another goal they allowed to Chris Kunitz with 49.6 seconds remaining in the second.
Throw in the Ryan Callahan shot that somehow stayed out instead of tying the game with 3:52 remaining in regulation, and the Lightning easily could have thought that it wasn't their night.
But if they were the kind to give up easily, they never would have gotten this far. So they kept plugging away and eventually were rewarded in a 4-3 overtime victory at Consol Energy Center that moved them within one win of returning to the Stanley Cup Final.
"I'm not surprised," Tampa Bay defenseman Victor Hedman said after Tyler Johnson's goal 53 seconds into sudden death gave the Lightning a 3-2 lead in the best-of-7 series. "I know what kind of team we have in here, the kind of resiliency we have. We showed it again [Sunday], being down two goals against a great team. We never gave up. We gave up two goals late in periods and we still found a way to battle back."
from Paul Lysenko of SovSport (roughly translated),
Just about the relationship between the leagues. Meeting with NHL, why?
- Just a courtesy visit. In the last 22 years we have a good relationship with the NHL. No problem! Of course, it's a completely different world - the North American League with a huge budget. Sports there - the entertainment industry.
We are a little different. But the NHL has performed in the last five Olympics. In June, we will hold two rounds of talks with the league and the union about the trip NHL players in Pyeongchang and Beijing.
And we in the Old World must have a strong hockey. If there is fragmentation - KHL, Finns and Swedes, Central Europe, themselves Czechs and Slovaks - nothing good will come. Only the strong can compete with North America.
- The IOC does not want to give $ 10 million to fly NHL players and pay their insurance. For NHL is - a stumbling block. It is because of such a small amount goes wrong such an ambitious project?
- A little? - Laughs Fasel.
- This is one of Ovechkin salary per year.
- Try to take away the money Ovechkin. Let's see what he will tell you! - Jokes Kukushkin.
- $ 10 million general - a lot of money for the IIHF. Our annual budget - $ 45 million - says Fasel. - In the Olympic season it increases to $ 70 million in a typical year, we spend $ 21 million to organize tournaments among men and women of different ages.. You also need to include the state of the IIHF, to pay various expenses, invest in the development of hockey.
Personally we can not put a third of the budget to pay this amount. Of course, we are slightly disappointed by the decision of the IOC, which was previously paid insurance and relocation of NHL players. But they have a reason, and we must accept them. And my goal - in the negotiations to resolve this issue.
from Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
What was Crosby's excuse? What will be the reason Crosby couldn't get the Penguins back to the Cup Final this time?
If the Penguins don't rally to play for the Cup for the first time since winning it in 2009, somebody somewhere — in Pittsburgh, and if not, certainly in his native Canada — is going to absolve Crosby of responsibility for the loss.
Somebody always does.
The argument will probably be that Crosby scored winning goals in Games 2 and 3 against the Lightning.
Where was he in Game 5? And what in the name of Bobby Orr was Letang doing most of Sunday night?
With fellow defenseman Trevor Daley out because of a broken ankle, Letang needed to match his MVP-level that he was providing most of these playoffs. He fell far below that high bar.
Perhaps the best skating defenseman in the NHL spent a lot of time standing around. When Letang didn't, he was lunging aimlessly and leaving Fleury exposed.
from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,
Now for the toughest decision of the Pittsburgh Penguins‘ season.
Do you stick with Marc-Andre Fleury or turn the crease back over to 21-year-old Matt Murray with everything on the line?
There is no easy answer, no obvious answer. The danger in giving Fleury his first start in more than seven weeks on Sunday was that he might deliver an uneven performance that left the Penguins one loss away from a summer of regret.
That’s where they find themselves now after blowing 2-0 and 3-2 leads before Tyler Johnson had a shot go off his pants and in for the overtime winner.
Fleury was far from the only reason Pittsburgh fell behind the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2 in this Eastern Conference Final, but he did acknowledge feeling rusty. He stopped just 21 of 25 shots on net.
“It wasn’t the best I’ve felt in a game, but still though I’ve been practising a lot,” he said. “I should have been better, especially on that first goal (by Alex Killorn). That was stupid. Tough to lose.”
Watch the game highlights below...
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.
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