Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Mark Purdy of the Mercury News,
The Sharks didn’t nab a victory Thursday night. They Nabbied a victory. They Nabbied themselves back on track. Heavens to Kamenogorsk, did Evgeni Nabokov save the Sharks’ tail fins in their 2-0 win over the Calgary Flames.
On a night when the Sharks needed their goalie to be great, Nabokov was greater. The ethnic Russian from Kazakhstan who speaks five languages might have had his best playoff game ever, in any language. But the only ethnicity that mattered to him was the Sharks’ continuing legal status as Playoff Viable Citizens.
from Ken Wiebe at Best of Seven,
We’re not about to suggest a sweep is in the offing, but goalie Dan Ellis was the only reason the 3-1 game (including an empty-netter) was close.
Having said that, without a pair of turnovers (one by Marek Zidlicky and the other by Shea Weber, which took a crazy bounce off the arm of a linesman and landed back into the defensive zone) the Predators were in position to steal Game 1.
“They just keep coming at you, so we have to limit our turnovers, limit the chances we give them and give ourselves a better chance to win,” said Ellis. “You’re going to have your turnovers because they clog up the neutral zone as good as any team. They don’t give you very much.”
added 9:24am, from the NHL Blog at the NY Post,
Brian Rafalski was shaky on the blueline for long stretches and Dominik Hasek can thank Lady Luck as much as—if not more than—himself for keeping the puck out of his net. The Detroit team that played tonight looked far different than the dominating side that racked up 115 points in the regular season. Nashville took this game to the Wings, and were much closer to a win than the final score indicates.
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
In their first playoff game as the defending Stanley Cup champions, facing a team that was imploding during the final month of the season, the Ducks tripped over their own lofty expectations and dissolved into an ugly pile of mush before a stunned crowd that didn’t fill the Honda Center in body or spirit.
All the mistakes the Ducks overcame last spring because their character and scoring power ran so deep were insurmountable for them Thursday night.
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
It’s time to adjust, in a hurry, because the flat tire the Bruins hitched to their postseason bandwagon last night isn’t taking them anywhere but straight to the ditch.
There are beatings, and then there are total, all-out William Bendix what-a-revoltin’-development-this-is BEATINGS, such as the one the Bruins suffered inside Bell Centre. They came out tentatively, summarily had a pair of Kostitsyn goals (No. 1 Sergei, No. 2 Andrei) jammed into their net, then spent most of the remaining 57-plus minutes chasing the Canadiens without ever coming close to catching them.
from the Calgary Herald,
But with the splendid netminding of Evgeni Nabokov, not much offence was required for the Sharks, who happily cuffed the Calgary Flames 2-0 in National Hockey League playoff action Thursday at the HP Pavilion.
Calgary coach Mike Keenan refused, more than once, to be dragged into a discussion about referees Marc Joannette and Tim Peel.
“I’ll share those thoughts with the league and with the supervisor of officials,” said Keenan, whose side was saddled with six straight minors in a nine-minute span in the second period. “I’m not going to comment on it. I don’t have a comment on it . . . I’m biting my tongue here.”
Flames captain Jarome Iginla was more outspoken about the penalty disparity—but not by much.
“I haven’t seen that (a string of penalties) in a playoff game. It wasn’t even that vicious. Nah, it’s a tough one,” said Iginla.
from the Tennessean,
The controversy over the game-winning goal centered around whether an attempted clear by Predators defenseman Shea Weber hit linesman Pierre Champoux at the blue line or outside the blue line.
Television replays left little doubt that the puck hit Champoux, but apparently he told the Predators otherwise.
“He denied everything,’’ goalie Dan Ellis said. “What a beauty. He said he didn’t have any contact with it. But it is what is. You can’t do anything about it.’‘
The puck eventually found its way to the stick of Pavel Datsyuk, who set up Henrik Zetterberg for the decisive score at 6:54 of the third period.
Watch the video and you decide…
from Jason Magder of the Montreal Gazette,
Her short-term memory fails her every so often, but Maria Sousa always seems to know when the Canadiens are playing.
The 76-year-old Toronto woman is suffering from inoperable liver cancer, and the drugs she takes have terrible side effects. But she’s always in a good mood when talking about the Habs.
“I hope they will go all the way - I think they have a good chance,” Sousa said from her daughter’s home yesterday.
“I hope I will be alive by then. That would make me feel great.”
from Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News,
Larry Quinn and Darcy Regier offered a few hints about their offseason plans during a news conference Thursday that was less clumsy than the charade orchestrated last summer. What they accomplish in the months ahead should reveal the direction of the organization for the next five years. Now, let’s do it right.
Doing it right means unloading Maxim Afinogenov, an enigma desperately in need of a change in scenery. Finally, Regier was prepared to shop him, and he should get a decent return while cutting costs. Dmitri Kalinin will be an unrestricted free agent. The Sabres wasted $5.75 million on them this year.
It means using the extra dough to reshape the roster with younger players who can grow together. If they’re convinced Daniel Paille and Steve Bernier are part of the equation, for example, get them signed to long-term deals with the idea they’ll be part of the future core.
from Mark Spector of the National Post,
Exactly one year ago this morning, the hottest kid in the National Hockey League bounced out of bed in a nation’s capital, hustled good and early down to the rink, and readied for a night he’d looked forward to for all of his hockey life.
And on that night—April 11th, 2007—Sidney Crosby notched his first career playoff goal. It was a meaningless, last-minute strike in a 6-3 loss at Ottawa, but those inside Scotiabank Place knew right then and there they had witnessed something to tell the grand kids about.
This morning, the hottest kid in the NHL will wake up just outside a nation’s capital, step over the fan mail that people have taken to dropping randomly on his doorstep, and begin this long awaited day. Tonight is the night that Alexander Ovechkin has anticipated since he pulled a Washington Capitals sweater over his mane of hockey hair as the first pick in the 2004 draft.
You can watch a report on Ovechkin from Russia Today…
via Bob McKenzie of TSN,
Amid rampant speculation in the media and around the NHL that Panthers General Manager and head coach Jacques Martin could be fired, sources say Florida owner Alan Cohen has already confirmed to Martin during a postseason meeting that Martin will back with the club next season. What remains to be seen is whether Martin will remain in the dual capacity of General Manager-head coach.
Update 2:13am April 11: From George Richards at the Miami Herald,
Jacques Martin will not return as coach of the Florida Panthers next season, although it appears he will continue in his role as general manager of the team, The Miami Herald has learned.
On Thursday night, team owner Alan Cohen told a group of season ticket-holders meeting at BankAtlantic Center that Florida would not have a dual coach/general manager setup, as it has for the past two seasons.
When reached outside the arena, Cohen confirmed those remarks and added that he and Martin have spoken and determined the roles needed to be separate.
‘‘More than anything, we needed a change as coach,’’ Cohen said. ``Jacques has done a good job as GM. That’s the bottom line.’‘
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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