Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Dave Krieger of the Rocky Mountain News,
The margin of safety the Avs appear to bring to the Pepsi Center tonight is a mirage. And they have seen this particular hallucination before.
These are the building blocks of the delusion: You have the advantage in a best-of- seven playoff series, up three games to two, and you’re coming home to play Game 6. Not only do you have a chance to close it out in your own building, you also have a safety net. Lose at home, knotting the series for a third time, and you still have the backstop of a Game 7.
That’s the illusion - the alleged safety net and the lack of urgency it can produce. In fact, lose the home game and the air goes out of the balloon.
from Jim Souhan of the Star-Tribune,
Enforcers Derek Boogaard and Chris Simon are not people you would want to meet in a dark alley or a neon arena, and their intimidating presence has raised a question about hockey enforcers that Wild management seems to have forgotten to ask:
What good are goons?
Even while ignoring a lack of depth at center and defense, the Wild, concerned about Boogaard’s iffy back, went three-deep in one-dimensional players, picking up Todd Fedoruk off waivers and acquiring Simon at the trading deadline.
from Ed Moran of the Philadelphia Daily News,
“We’ve really got to remain grounded,” said John Stevens at practice yesterday morning, fresh off the Flyers’ double-overtime win in the Wachovia Center on Thursday night. “That was an emotional game. Both teams played well, both goalies played well, and we were fortunate to get the win.
“In a playoff series, momentum, if you lose a game, it can be crushing. If you win, it’s elating. You take pride in each game, put it behind you and go to the next one.”
That’s what Stevens will continue preaching: Focus on the moment.
from Tarik El-Bashir of the Washington Post,
Coach Bruce Boudreau “talked about it this morning, that we’ve been in this position before,” Laich said. “He talked about how people have counted us out. They have wrote us off, saying it’s been a good push, it’s been a good story. Some people are waiting for us to die. We don’t feel like that in here. We feel we still have a lot to give. We think this is going to be a long series still.”
Said Boudreau: “If we look at it as just going out and winning Game 5, it’s not like it’s a situation we haven’t been in before. We’re used to it.”
more (reg. req.)
from Red Fisher of the Montreal Gazette,
I believe Guy Carbonneau when he says he has no hesitation coming back with Price, that he’s confident the 20-year-old will find his game again.
On his part, Price told reporters after the game: “I won’t think about it again after I leave this dressing room.”
Hmph! It could be Price is strong enough to block it from his mind, which would be the right thing to do, but you can be sure Boston fans will be reminding him about the meltdown tonight.
Want more Canadiens coverage? Check out Habs Inside/Out...
from the Worcester Telegram & Gazette,
While everyone else is enjoying balmy temperatures near 80 degrees, the Bruins are trying to prolong their winter and force that seventh and deciding game on Monday up in the Great White North. To do so, they’ll have to weather what is expected to be another frenzied start by a raw-meat-eating Montreal team that’s averaging an incredible 35.6 hits a game (to Boston’s 29.0).
“We know they’re going to come hard,” said center Glen Metropolit, who potted the game-winner in Thursday night’s stunning 5-1 rout of the Canadiens at the Bell Centre.
“We’ve got to have a better first (period) than we did (Thursday) night. The first five minutes set the tone.”
from Randy Sportak of the Calgary Sun,
So, who’s the NHL’s Western Conference power? Tough call, eh.
Some call it parity. Some call it mediocrity. Either way, it’s impossible to say any one team in the conference is head and shoulders above the pack.
The way San Jose has finally found another gear probably puts the Sharks the closest to that spot, but it’s hard to say they’ve been all that impressive in their series with the Calgary Flames.
from Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun,
“Obviously, there was a real slide in a lot of in areas,” Murray said, when asked how his team could go from being so good to so bad over the course of 10 months. “I think injuries were a part of it. I think discipline was part of it. I think fatigue, to a point.
“Talking to a couple of the main guys on our team yesterday, they felt that the hangover from the long run and very short summer (was a factor). I had a couple of players tell me that they would go home after practice and sleep for three hours, then get up, eat dinner and go back to bed early at night. They were really that played out.
“We don’t think of that, I don’t think of that ... (but) there’s no dynasties any more,” Murray said. “The competitive balance now, the pressure now, lots of things catch up to young people.”
from Lew Serviss of Slap Shot at the NY Times,
With Pittsburgh already across the finish line, the Rangers await a second-round match-up. If the Canadiens, up 3-2 over the Bruins, can close out Boston, and the Flyers, up 3-1 over the Caps, can finish off Washington, then the Rangers draw Pittsburgh and Montreal gets Philly.
Checking the season series — what have we here? — the Rangers had the edge, winning 5 games to 3 for the Penguins. Here’s the season series:
from Matt Romig at Yahoo’s NHL Experts Blog,
Conn Smythe watch (Based on playoff performance to date and likelihood of deep playoff run.)
1. Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins
2. Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
3. Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens
4. Patrick Marleau, San Jose Sharks
5. Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings
more on the games last night…
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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