Kukla's Korner Hockey
The salting of gray in the last playoff beard of the Thrashers Scott Mellanby was a hint. The declining number of late-game shifts, the blur of younger players streaking down the ice, the accelerated aging process of the athlete - they all foretold his immediate future.
So, this is how it would play out for Mellanby: A four-and-out postseason dusting by the New York Rangers that at times tweaked his pride and tested his captaincy.
There are no guarantees how a long career ends in any business. Especially in sports, where sentimentality is the first victim of keeping score. Getting swept by the Rangers in an experience that Mellanby perfectly described as “deflating,” is hardly the way a 21-season-long run is supposed to finish.
“I think it is. It has been a great, fun ride, but I think it’s time,” he said.
From Adam Proteau at The Hockey News,
I used to be convinced all sports fans really wanted from their officials was a fair shake. Now, after another round of zebra-related whining as it relates to the first round of the NHL playoffs, I think they’re only there to serve as a loser’s lame excuse.
In a sense, I identify with guys such as Bill McCreary, Don VanMassenhoven and Rob Shick. Because when you work at The Hockey News, or as a sports journalist in general, you tend to catch hell from all sides.
From Ben Kuzma of The Province,
The Canucks workhorse has seldom given up rebounds, let alone goals in a tight quarterfinal series with the Dallas Stars.
“They [Stars] probably have doubts and it plays in their heads, that’s for sure,” Burrows said Wednesday. “You could even see last game that they were trying back-door plays to try and get an easy goal.”
Luongo leads all playoff goalies with a .950 saves percentage and is second with a 1.49 goals-against average. Another strong outing tonight will propel the Canucks into the second round for the first time in four years and launch a campaign to have a street named after Luongo.
More from Damien Cox today on The Spin,
Q: Damien; I enjoy your insight into the game and share many of your views. I have never subscribed to the view that Leaf fans would not stand for a complete over haul of the club. An overhaul that would leave the club in a non competitive position for a period of time, perhaps with the playoffs being a distant dream for another couple of seasons. Do you think that the Board will give, or should give JFJ, should he be retained, the latitude to blow up this ship and rebuild from the bottom up? I for one would welcome it.
Jeff Ostic, Fergus, Ont.
A: You’re not the only one, that’s for sure. The “blow up the Leafs” support group may be larger than the Green Party these days.
Chicago Blackhawks General Manager Dale Tallon announced today that the Blackhawks have agreed to terms with goaltender Patrick Lalime on a 1-year contract.
Lalime, 32, 6’3”, 189 pound netminder appeared in 12 games with the Blackhawks this past season posting a record of 4-5-1 with one shutout, a 3.07 goals against average and a .896 save percentage. Lalime made his Blackhawks debut on February 7th when he shutout the Vancouver Canucks by the score of 3-0. The last time a Blackhawks goaltender had a shutout in his debut and won the game was back on October 8, 1957 when Glenn Hall defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs by the score of 1-0.
*Hat-Tip to Spector where I stumbled across this news
Just a reminder that Paul Kukla will again be unavailable today due to yesterday’s family medical emergency, and won’t be able to respond to emails, etc. Thanks again to everyone for the nice comments sent his way.
If you have any information or inquiries to direct to Kukla’s Korner today, please don’t hesitate to contact me (Alanah) by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
From Mark Herremann at amNewYork,
Oddly enough, for the second time this week, the action was frantic in Toronto, perhaps hockey’s greatest hotbed. They’re not playing hockey there now, but they’re watching it in league headquarters. And for the second time in two games, the watching went against the Islanders.
Actually, this time, the trained eyes in the NHL’s home office didn’t make the ruling. They just conferred with referee Mike Leggo, who had ruled that Brendan Witt’s apparent tying goal with 1:42 left in Game 4 didn’t count because Sabres goalie Ryan Miller had been pushed into the net.
The Islanders have video that suggested otherwise, but, hey, as they say up north, “That’s hockey.”
From NHL.com, a photo gallery of famous faces and NHL hockey hardware.
From Craig Custance at AJC,
As the Thrashers players filed out of a quiet visitors locker room, one of their owners stood outside sharing in the disappointment.
The Thrashers lost 4-2 to the New York Rangers Wednesday in front of a loud sellout Madison Square Garden crowd. The loss was the final in a 4-0 sweep in the franchise’s first playoff series.
“I’m just trying to remember the good times,” Atlanta Spirit co-owner Bruce Levenson said.
For these Thrashers, the positive memories in a year of firsts — a playoff berth and a division title — were now being threatened by new memories.
Like a packed arena chanting, “Sweep! Sweep!” in the final moments of the Rangers win.
Or Sean Avery driving nearly every Thrashers player crazy with his constant yapping and physical play. He also did a little scoring, once again assisting on a Brendan Shanahan goal that tied the game 2-2.
Or having to answer the same postgame question — What went wrong?
continued… (*requires free registration)
Note: Over at AtlantaThrashers.com, you can find a fan appreciation video.
From John Glennon at the Tennessean,
The Predators managed to thwart the normally potent San Jose power play yet again on Wednesday, holding the Sharks without a goal on five power-play chances.
But Nashville players and Coach Barry Trotz are starting to scratch over at least some of the calls that are sending the Predators to the box on a regular basis in this series.
Center Jason Arnott was particularly irritated by a somewhat mysterious hooking call on Jordin Tootoo in the second period. It appeared Tootoo had been impeded by Sharks forward Jonathan Cheechoo, but Tootoo wound up going to the penalty box.
Plus: A photogallery of the Shark/Preds series
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.
Email Paul anytime at email@example.com