Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Ross McKeon of Yahoo,
The Stanley Cup playoffs are great because no one needs prompting from an oversized video board to “make noise.”
The Stanley Cup playoffs are great because the sight and sound of 19,000 fans belting out “O Canada” in unison never gets old.
The Stanley Cup playoffs are great because there’s no such thing as an insignificant goal.
The Stanley Cup playoffs are great because there may be as many as three Game 7s in the first round, and no fewer than two.
From Al Strachan at Fox Sports,
For the most part, the teams that remain alive are the ones the league can seriously promote on television, and in the process, draw fans to the sport. The Rangers, of course, are the best of that group.
They bring in the huge New York market. They boast established stars like Jaromir Jagr and Brendan Shanahan. Just as important, they have home-grown American stars like Scott Gomez and Chris Drury. And of course, they have Sean Avery who, like him or hate him, does get noticed. For the NHL, it doesn’t get much better than that.
As of this writing, Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington are all alive. The first two command attention, just by the reputation of their cities. And Washington has Alexander Ovechkin.
Again, this is a pure treat for the NHL.
more… on the potential matchups in the 2nd round
From Tim Wharnsby at the Globe & Mail,
All eyes will be focused on rookie Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price and how he deals with the pressure cooker of a game seven in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Price has been coddled by the Canadiens since he gave up five more goals in Montreal’s wild 5-4 loss to the Boston Bruins in game six on Saturday evening. He wasn’t made available for interviews yesterday and again this morning after the Canadiens skate.
Did this maneuvre to shield him only add to the anxiety he’s already experiencing in the hours leading up to tonight’s elimination game?
From Paul Kukla at Hockey.com,
My life may be a bit different than yours since I do hockey for a living. 24/7, that’s me and although you may not have the schedule I do, you probably have been following the conference quarter-finals and have been impressed by the pace and action of the games.
We have hard hard hits, battles along the boards, grit and determination is the norm and most games have kept us tuned-in until the final horn. The officiating on a whole has been great, letting the boys play is much better than calling every little infraction. As long as the pattern continues, we cannot ask for anything more from the on-ice officials.
more… from the boss
From Allen Cameron at the Calgary Herald,
Fresh off hitting for a $1-million payout in a harness-racing wager in his native Sweden on Saturday, the talented forward responded with his best game of the playoffs Sunday night at the Pengrowth Saddledome, assisting on Owen Nolan’s eventual game-winner in the first period and playing a role at both ends of the ice in Calgary’s 2-0 series-tying win over the San Jose Sharks.
more… on a big weekend for Huselius
from Ken Campbell of the Hockey News,
...And like another CBA poster child – the Buffalo Sabres – the Predators have rewarded their fans by essentially stiffing them. Former owner Craig Leipold sold the team before getting a sweetheart deal to own the far more lucrative Minnesota Wild, but before doing that, forced Poile to strip the organization of some of its top veteran players in a desperate cost-cutting move.
This is where it must end. And it must end with the Predators doing everything they possibly can to sign goaltender Dan Ellis to a long-term contract extension. If they do, it will require a complete about face by team management, which, before the playoffs, seemed intent on allowing Ellis to depart as an unrestricted free agent and next season go with the tandem of Chris Mason and prospect Pekka Rinne.
But the way Ellis, who turns 28 in June, played down the stretch and in the playoffs should change everything. He recorded the best save percentage in the league during the regular season and was spectacular in defeat for the Predators, even though he was victimized by a one-bouncer that got past him in Game 6.
From Dan Rosen at NHL.com,
In one corner is the mainstay, the ol’ reliable in New Jersey Devils’ dynamo Martin Brodeur. Last season, Brodeur captured his third Vezina Trophy in the last four seasons after setting an NHL record with 48 victories. This season he won 44 games.
In another corner, we have the element of surprise, the unlikely candidate in San Jose Sharks veteran Evgeni Nabokov. He has never been a Vezina finalist and had previously never played in more than 67 games in one season. Nabokov played in 77 this time around.
And finally, we have the rising star, the current and future “King” of New York in Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist. This is Lundqvist’s third-straight season as a Vezina finalist, meaning he’s been in the final three in each of his three NHL seasons.
from John McGourty of NHL.com,
Despite a lot of outside vitriol among media and fans, the players and coaches of the Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers, who meet in Game 6 tonight (7 p.m. ET, VERSUS, TSN, RDS) at the Wachovia Center have been professional and respectful of one another.
The Flyers’ players, coaches and management don’t hate the Capitals. And the Capitals express respect for their opponents as well.
via Spector at the Soapbox section of Spector’s Hockey,
Why the Bruins will win: The momentum and confidence is now fully on their side and all the pressure is now on the Habs at home. They’ve outworked the Canadiens in nearly every game in this series and will continue doing so. Appear to have gotten to Habs goalie Carey Price, while Tim Thomas will play well between the Bruins pipes.
Why the Canadiens will win: They should get a confidence boost from the rabid hometown crowd. Their young scorers finally came through in Game 6 and should follow it up in Game Seven. The coaching staff will stress out-working the Bruins, including making the physical sacrifices to make the plays that win playoff games. Carey Price will again stand tall in goal.
via Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal (paid sub.),
Oren Koules, the prospective buyer of the Tampa Bay Lightning, has lost his second lender in three months as the global credit crisis continues to take its toll on sports financing.
CIT Group, which finance sources said had appeared ready to lend Koules up to $110 million, backed out earlier this month. This follows the loss of a pending loan earlier this year from Société Générale, which abruptly exited the sports business and scuttled an oral agreement with the Hollywood movie producer….
“It is fair to say that the financial markets are strained, as we speak, and we will look to help with the financing of a portion of the purchase price,” wrote Tom Wilson, chief executive officer of Palace Sports & Entertainment, which owns the Lightning, in an e-mail. “The deal is still on.”
added 7:59pm, from Lightning Strikes,
Hollywood producer Oren Koules, who has been trying to close a deal to buy the Lightning for four months, has some light at the end of the tunnel thanks to two two helping hands that will provide $100-million in financing for the $200-million deal.
Lightning president Ron Campbell said Monday that owner Palace Sports & Entertainment and Galatioto Sports Partners will share the financing Koules needs to make the deal work.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org