Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the New York Times,
And while the Thrashers have lived on their offensive firepower, the Rangers are a defense-first team that has frequently won, or lost, by 2-1 scores.
The series, which starts Thursday in Atlanta, will most likely swing on which team can impose its style on the other.
“They are a strange team to play,” Rangers forward Jaromir Jagr said. “They’re like a snake. They make you sleep and they jump. They’ve got so much power, they just hit you with three goals with the skill they have.
“You have to be ready for that. I think you just have to play your game, don’t adjust to their game.”
added 9:51pm, from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution,
Not only are the Thrashers playing in their first playoff series, they’re doing it on the biggest media stage in the world. The team, which at times has complained about the leaguewide lack of exposure for its stars like Ilya Kovalchuk and Marian Hossa, now has to prevent being burned by overexposure and the distractions that come with playing a New York team.
“That’s going to be a challenge,” coach Bob Hartley said after Monday’s practice. “That’s the challenge of a pro sports athlete — some people will lose their focus.”
from Stan Fischler at the Hockey Journal,
*David Nonis is the under-heralded GM who rates a retroactive ovation for picking Alain Vigneault off the coaching scrapheap and handing him the Canucks. Brian Burke’s protégé, Nonis speaks with fewer decibel counts than his mentor but he sure is piling up the point
*Ales (Big Talent, Little Drive) Hemsky and Fernando (Overpaid) Pisani were supposed to take the Oilers a long way this year. So, who gets the blame – our beloved underachievers or coach Craig (Run Out Of Quotes) MacTavish?
more from the Maven…
via Russo’s Rants,
The Wild originally believed its playoff series against the Ducks would start on Thursday. On Sunday, however, the team was informed that it would play Wednesday at Anaheim.
Coach Jacques Lemaire simply said, “you don’t want my comment,” when asked for his reaction. This isn’t a surprise. Preparation is one reason for Lemaire’s success so you had to figure when he got the call Sunday about the schedule there were a few choice words tossed around.
If Lemaire had known the Wild would play Wednesday he would have had his players on the ice Sunday. Instead, he gave them the day off. As a result, Lemaire ended up having to cover more ground during Monday’s practice than he wanted to.
from the CP via Metro News,
“The priority is to give Montreal a real good chance of signing me,” Souray said Monday as the team met at the Bell Centre two days after they were eliminated from the NHL playoffs.
“We have lots of time. There’s three months before anything has to be done. Montreal has been really good and I hope our relationship continues. I love Montreal. It’s a challenge, but I enjoy playing here. But it’s a business and we’ll see what happens.”
The other point is manned by 28-year-old Markov, the team’s best two-way defenceman.
“It’s not all about the money,” Markov said. “I like Montreal.
“It’s a great team, great fans. I want to play on this team.”
The winners of the Kukla’s Korner and Canucks & Beyond Hockey Pool have been decided. Thanks to everyone who participated. The top-2 finishers won a prize and there was a random drawing among all contestants for 3rd prize. Go here to find out if you’re a winner!
from John Buccigross at ESPN,
Sixteen teams truly believe they can win it all. The next two months will be like the scrap between Tony Soprano and Bobby “Bacala” Baccalieri from Sunday’s “Sopranos” premiere. Every day, you will wake up and, after monitoring your mandatory man noises to assure you’re still alive, your first thought will be your team’s game that night. The nauseating nervousness in your stomach will slowly build as the day goes on. You will sit at work and wonder what the Sedin twins are doing at that moment.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
According to Regehr, Datsyuk can present “a lot of challenges sometimes. He’s an extremely good one-on-one player. He’s probably top-10 in the NHL in that department. If you get caught watching the puck on him, you’re in a lot of trouble.
“There’s also his passing — he’s a very good set-up man. It depends upon who Detroit has playing with him, but if those guys get open, he’s extremely talented and able to find them with good passes, so you’ve got to make sure you’re on him all the time quickly and be very physical on him to try and take away those options.”
All this presupposes that Regehr will be available for the opener. He injured his leg in the first period of last Thursday’s loss to the San Jose Sharks and hasn’t played since.
from Pierre Lebrun of the CP via the Globe and Mail,
The NHL has no plans to expand the playoff pool to more teams.
The Colorado Avalanche were 13 games over .500 and couldn’t find a spot in the competitive Western Conference playoff party and the Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiens and Carolina Hurricanes had decent seasons but commissioner Gary Bettman is satisfied with the current format which sees 16 of 30 clubs make it to the post-season.
“The fact is that you wouldn’t necessarily have these exciting races in the regular season if you expanded the number of teams in the playoffs,” Bettman told The Canadian Press on Monday.
Sidney Crosby took part in an NHL tele-conference today…
Q. I think everybody knew that the Penguins with the young talent they had were going to be good, but I don’t think anybody knew they would be good this quickly. Can you give us your idea why the Penguins have come together so quickly with the young players they have?
SIDNEY CROSBY: I think it’s been a long time. Starting in goal, I think you have to have a great goalie in order to be successful. Marc has done a great job. Jocelyn, when he’s had the chance to go in, has. Starting there, I just think the young guys that we have really put the pressure on themselves to learn quick. I think everyone has the right attitude on our team, you know, just put a lot of pressure on themselves to learn faster than maybe typically younger guys would have to learn. They’ve really made an impact at a young age. Our veterans, guys like Recchi, Gonchar, Roberts, guys like that have really stepped up and led the way. I think it’s been a combination of things, but all those things combined.
from Darren Eliot at Sports Illustrated,
So in evaluating each goaltending tandem, here are some different elements to consider:
Who has the biggest drop-off from their starter to their backup? Not surprisingly, that would be New Jersey and Vancouver, as Martin Brodeur and Roberto Luongo, respectively, render their goaltending partners to paid observer status. If either was ever hurt, could any of us really expect the little-used Scott Clemmensen of the Devils or the equally inactive Danny Sabourin of the Canucks to win a game, never mind a series?
Conversely, teams such as the Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks have nearly interchangeable excellence between their two netminders.
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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