Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Red Fisher of the Montreal Gazette,
If I’m reading and hearing it correctly, the Canadiens tonight embark on their journey to a 25th Stanley Cup.
A slam dunk.
A walk in the park.
Men vs. boys.
Check your box, G. Carbonneau: the Boston Bruins already have mailed in their games.
Whoa! Have I missed something in the translation?
from Tracey Myers of the Star-Telegram,
It’s really no surprise that Tippett’s last concern is himself. In his coaching career, it’s never been about the individual. He’s adamant about the team concept, and is reluctant to call out particular players unless the moment calls for it.
“He’s not the [Calgary Flames coach] Mike Keenan who likes to bury anybody or crush you or tear you down,” center Steve Ott said. “He’s always come up to me or other players to find out what’s wrong or [ask] ‘how you doing?’”
The regular season has been a boon for Tippett, whose 235-127-48 record is a plus. So are the two Pacific Division titles. The playoffs have been tougher, and the Stars have fallen for various reasons.
The picture was looking different more than a month ago. A very successful February, coupled with the trade for Brad Richards, had some people picking the Stars to win the Stanley Cup.
from Tom Gulitti at Fire & Ice,
“We’ve got to find ways to score,” Devils coach Brent Sutter said. “We had opportunites and didn’t capitalize. I’m not making excuses whatsoever. We hit some posts. We hit the crossbar. We had two quality scoring chances I can think of where we just flat out missed the net. At that point, you give yourself zero percent chance of scoring when you don’t hit the net.
“Through the year we’ve always found ways to get through. Yet, again it’s a 1-1 game. That’s more concerning than the fact that we didn’t score more goals than that. It’s 1-1 with (12 1/2) minutes left and we can’t make the mistakes that we made down the stretch. That to me is more of a concern than the fact that we never got that second goal because we still have a chance to win the game when it’s 1-1. You’ve got to find a way to prevail not to break.”
via Eric Francis at Best of Seven,
“We read the papers like everybody else and know that nobody thinks we can win this series,” said Jarome Iginla following the win - the Flames sixth playoff win at the Shark Tank in seven playoff games dating back to 1995.
“But we believe we can and that’s all that matters. We match up well.”
from Lynn Zinser of Slap Shot at the NY Times,
Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist said he loved hearing seeing the chunks of blue in an arena that should have been a sea of red. After some of his most spectacular saves, those Rangers fans started chanting, “Hen-rik, Hen-rik” as they do frequently at Madison Square Garden.
“It feels good to have that support on the road,” Lundqvist said. “It takes out a little energy out of the building for them. It’s great for us. It will play a part. We love our fans and the support they show us. You almost have to look up to realize you are on the road playing.”
from Rich Hofmann of the Philadelphia Daily News,
One player cannot halt him alone. It really does take a village to stop an Ovechkin. Saying that and acknowledging that, though, recent history suggests that one sweater among all of the black-and-orange sweaters will be greeting Ovechkin most of all:
No. 44, Kimmo Timonen.
“It’s going to be a big challenge, but I’m looking forward to it,” said Timonen, the Flyers’ smoothest defensive presence. “Taking his time and space away - that’s the key for me. If you give him too much space and time, he’s going to make a play, he’s going to shoot the puck. So, for me, going into the game, you have to make sure you’re right on him all the time and contain him.”
from Mark Purdy of the Mercury News,
We didn’t have a great game,” Thornton said. “We had some good chances and we didn’t capitalize. We have to play better.”
Welcome to the first game of the 2008 Stanley Cup playoffs for the Sharks, a 3-2 loss to the Flames on Wednesday that will be remembered either as a hiccup and learning experience on the way to an eventual series victory by the Sharks . . . or as an ominous and frustrating precursor of another horrible and premature playoff exit.
We will know the answer within a week or so.
from Tim Wharnsby of the Globe and Mail,
The commute for Montreal Canadiens head coach Guy Carbonneau from his west-end home to the Bell Centre takes 45 minutes.
Along the way, he encounters plenty of well-wishers. “I get honked at 150 times,” he said on the eve of his team’s first-round playoff series against the Boston Bruins.
To say the city of Montreal adores its Canadiens and has ratcheted that affection to a new level this season would be to state the obvious. That’s why Carbonneau has his players sequestered in a downtown hotel for home games as the storied franchise takes a run at a 25th Stanley Cup championship.
from Marcia C. Smith of the OC Register,
In other news, some local guys in skates start the playoffs Thursday night at Honda Center against the Dallas Stars and … (Cue the crickets, please).
Hello? Hockey? Anyone?
Look around Orange County and listen. Has anyone outside team itself and their loyalists noticed that the Ducks — the defending STANLEY CUP CHAMPIONS! — are starting the NHL playoffs?
Where’s the county’s pluck for the puck? Where’s the talk? The energy? The emotion? The fan wearing the orange and black Selanne jersey to pick up milk at the local Ralph’s? The scalpers asking double-face-value for tickets?
Nowhere. Nothing. There’s college-library-like silence. Which is a little surprising from this region renowned for front-running sports enthusiasts.
from Darren Dreger of TSN,
On Tuesday, NHL executive vice-president and director of hockey operations Colin Campbell conducted a conference call to educate postseason coaches and general managers on what the league will be paying close attention to.
At the top of Campbell’s list of unacceptable behavior is unnecessary late-game brutality. Traditionally, this type of message-sending takes place when the team trailing in the last five minutes of a game wants to change the emotional tone of the series.
The NHL says it won’t tolerate this.
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