Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Ted Leonsis at USA TODAY,
It does feel great to be able to lose a game and NOT have the season be over. We have basically been in a situation where we have been playing Game 7 eliminations during the regular season. We know now that we could lose three games this series and still move on to the next round—so no need to panic quite yet.
It is a series now. We go play Games 3 and 4 in Philly—we had the ‘Red Out,’ they will have the ‘Orange Crush.’ NHL playoffs are so much fun but so tense and hard to predict.
from Michael Russo of the Star Tribune,
Two games into the quarterfinals, Gaborik has no points and three shots. He has been smothered by the Avalanche defense, which was supposed to be its weakness.
“There’s not a lot of room out there, so I’ve got to try to create room by skating, by changing my game up a little bit,” Gaborik said. “I have to find the room. I have to. There’s always an Avs sweater on you. I have to work for [space].”
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
There was a telling moment in Bryan Murray’s news conference Sunday when the Ottawa Senators’ head coach and general manager was asked about the fact that both of last year’s Stanley Cup finalists are on the ropes this year.
The Anaheim Ducks, who won the 2007 Stanley Cup by beating the Senators in five games, are now, like the Senators, down 2-0 in the first round of the NHL playoffs. Murray pointed out several things troubling the Ducks, who are trailing the Dallas Stars, but he could just as easily been talking about his own team.
“I think everybody learns from the guy [who] won,” he said. “I think what Dallas has done is really neutralize Anaheim’s defence. I think they’ve really pressured them consistently and made them pay for almost every penalty.
While the Rangers were on a 5 on 3 advantage, Avery faced Brodeur and tried a new ‘screening’ method by facing Avery and following his every move. Also was waving his stick in his face.
Avery scored on the next rush, with the Rangers taking a 2-1 lead late in the 2nd period.
added 11:03pm, Watch the video of the incident below.
Update 1:15am ET April 14—From the Daily News:
Brodeur and Devils coach Brent Sutter said the refs had told them that future shenanigans from Avery would be penalized, even though they knew of no specific rule being violated.
“Nobody should have to play hockey with a stick an inch from your face,” Brodeur said. “But it wasn’t a bad play. While he was doing it, I couldn’t see anything. The two misses were just luck, I couldn’t see a thing.”
from Adam Proteau of the Hockey News,
Most of the credit for the win will go to Martin Biron’s mastery in Philadelphia’s net, and much of the fault will go to Caps defenseman Mike Green and sniper Alex Semin. I don’t wholly disagree with that diagnosis, but above and beyond scapegoating, I think you saw (a) Washington grow more tentative and jittery after they failed to score despite having five of the game’s first seven power plays; and (b) the Flyers grow more confident in Biron and their defense after that point.
more and a few additional NHL topics…
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
“We’re like the Queen,” the San Jose Sharks’ Joe Thornton was saying. “We travel with our own toilet seat.”
OK, that probably needs some explanation. The Sharks moved into the visitor’s dressing room at the Pengrowth Saddledome Sunday morning, to continue their best-of-seven Western Conference playoff series against the Flames. The Sharks usually travel with all kinds of team-related paraphernalia. Draped just inside the entrance to the dressing room are replicas of their Pacific Division champion banners (from 2001-02 and 2003-04). There are personalized Shark skate mats for each player; every one of the four walls also has a This Is Sharks Playoff time posters. All make sense – sort of.
Update 6:01pm ET: More from Duhatschek today on the Sharks/Flames series, including musings on Jarome Iginla’s “scoring slump”:
[On] Masters Sunday, Keenan invoked the spirit of Tiger Woods, noting how Iginla “reminds me of Tiger – a bogey on the first hole and then he’s going to birdie the rest of the 17. I’m looking forward to it.”
added 6:51pm, Why not- even more on the toilet seat from Working the Corners....
• Nashville fans, I understand your frustration but one thing to note: It it time to look within the team itself. The lack of offense being created by your first line should be questioned. Will it change in games 3 & 4 when Trotz has the last line change, it can, but remember Babcock will most likely split up Zetterberg and Datsuyk if he has to.
More production from Arnott and Dumont is a must for this series to go past five games.
• Has the bad karma caught up with the Ducks?
• The Flyers need better goaltending to stay in the series with the Capitals. Average play between the pipes isn’t going to cut it.
• Brodeur has been known to steal a game or two in his playoff career. Well, tonight better be on of those times.
• If you live in the Eastern time zone, you may want to take a two hour nap today. The Sharks/Flames game tonight is a must view.
• A victory tonight by the Bruins puts them right back into the series. Remember, when you least expect them to win, they do.
from Stu Hackel of Slap Shot at the NY Times,
If anyone alive is more steeped in hockey tradition or hockey culture than Dick Irvin, that person is purely fictional. Dick Irvin, however, is real. His father, James Dickinson “Dick” Irvin, was a Hockey Hall of Fame player, an original Chicago Black Hawk in 1926 (their first captain, in fact) who became a Stanley Cup winning coach for Toronto and then Montreal during the glory days of Rocket Richard. Young Dick, Jr. absorbed his father’s love for the game, became a sports broadcaster in Montreal and made his own mark as an announcer for Hockey Night in Canada as well as the Canadiens. He was a Hockey Hall of Fame Media Honoree in 1988.
In the ’60s, Irvin was paired with Danny Gallivan, probably the greatest hockey play-by-play announcer of all time, and became the sport’s first color commentator.
from the Edmonton Journal,
This is the longest Clarke has been out of real work. He’s a sounding board for current Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren. He’s still around, if needed, but it’s not like Holmgren has Clarke’s number on speed dial. This is Holmgren’s club now and Clarke doesn’t want to intrude.
But he’s still got some fire in his gut. You know he’d like to be on the inside.
“I’m not campaigning for a job ... somebody has to call me first,” shrugged Clarke, who isn’t going to go banging on the door of someone like Richard Peddie, who runs the Toronto Maple Leafs, to get on their list for GM to replace the caretaker Cliff Fletcher.
“I think I’ve been around long enough and if I fit what a team is looking for ... .”
from Phil Sheridan of the Philadelphia Inquirer,
Biron will be back in the net today. Stevens is smart to stay with the anointed playoff starter, at least for now. Changing goalies is a little like changing quarterbacks. It’s a move that can look like panic if a coach makes it too quickly or too often. Besides, if Stevens does have to go to Antero Niittymaki, it will be very tough to go back to Biron….
“Four goals should be enough in a playoff game,” Flyers forward Mike Knuble said.
It is if the goaltender can make a great save or two, or if you don’t hand the puck to the league’s leading scorer late in the third period….
Nothing tells you more about a coach than a playoff series. This is Stevens’ first in the NHL. He and his staff did a solid job of preparing for the Capitals. That much was clear from Game 1.
Now comes the real test: guiding this team through a series it proved it can win, even as it found a way to lose.
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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