Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Pierre LeBrun at Sportsnet.ca,
It’s easy to sometimes forget that Crosby is only 20-years-old. We’ve already read and heard so much about him for half a decade that it’s scary to think he’s going to be front and centre for another 15-18 years.
But already I see a noticeable change in his maturity. I vividly remember coming to Pittsburgh for the team’s rookie camp in August 2005 and a shy, 18-year-old prodigy from Cole Harbour, N.S., coming down the escalator at the airport and looking down nervously at a throng of media awaiting his arrival. He patiently answered all the questions, like he always has, but his answers were naturally limited by the inexperience of youth.
Now in his third NHL season, his answers to the media are deep and analytical.
more… including the tale of CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, and some confusion about who the heck is Sidney Crosby.
April 11, 1936 • Detroit coach Jack Adams steered the Red Wings to their first Stanley Cup championship with a 3-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 4 of the best-of-five Stanley Cup Final. The Red Wings, who had entered the NHL in 1926-27, became the last of the League’s “Original Six” teams to win the Cup.
April 11, 1965 • Detroit Red Wings center Norm Ullman set NHL individual and team playoff records by scoring two goals just five seconds apart in Game Five of their Semi-final series against Chicago. Ullman scored at 17:35 and 17:40 of the second period in a 4-2 Detroit victory. The goals were scored in almost identical fashion—snapshots from about 50 feet out, using Chicago defensemen as screens to beat Glenn Hall. Chicago won the best-of-seven series 4-3.
From Steve Rosenbloom at RosenBlog (Chicago Tribune):
Jonathan Toews will be the Hawks’ next captain, and I’ll be surprised if Jonny T. Good doesn’t get the “C” by noon today.
And also from Tim Sassone at the Daily Herald:
They didn’t do it this season because the Blackhawks wanted Jonathan Toews to focus on being a rookie in the NHL. But by opening night next season, it’s more likely than not that Toews, at age 20, will be wearing the “C” as captain of the Hawks.
from Alan Ryder of the Globe and Mail,
One of the silver bullets of sports analytics is the successful forecasting of playoff outcomes. The answer, in hockey, is quite simple. Regression analysis over the recent history of the NHL has indicated that the best predictor of success in the playoffs is simply regular (full) season success.
Below is a chart showing the winning percentage of playoff teams, grouped by their exit round, since the big-bang expansion of the late 1960s. It shows that the average winning percentage is dramatically higher for teams that persist deeper into the playoffs.
from Ed Moran of the Philadelphia News,
“The key is always more emphasis on the goaltender. If we believe it or not, it’s always going to be that way and goalies are always going to be at the forefront of the playoffs because it’s an important position.”
Good thing Biron knows that, because the Flyers’ playoff hopes rest on his shoulders, particularly against Washington. The best-of-seven series will open tonight at the Verizon Center.
Stacked together, the Flyers and the Capitals match up very well. Each has a crop of scoring forwards, though Washington does have Ovechkin, a player who can take over a game by himself.
From the Washington Times:
Is [Bruce] Boudreau ready to be an international folk hero?
“I don’t know,” he said. “I just stay in the house. I turn off the TV because if I see myself, like most people, [they] wish they were 30 pounds lighter.”
From Bruce Garrioch at the Ottawa Sun,
The word is if Alfredsson tried to come back now he wouldn’t be much help anyway. He hasn’t been on the ice since he suffered the injury a week ago against Toronto for a reason: He’s not ready to skate.
The Senators have to prove they can win without Alfredsson.
They didn’t do it this season by going 3-9 in the 12 regular-season games he missed as a result of various injuries—including his hip and groin.
“He’s a key part of our team, but we can win without him,” said Senators centre Jason Spezza.
from Randy Sportak of the Calgary Sun,
There was no chance of the Shark Tank faithful serenading Phaneuf with a song for his special day, not while they were busy firing the boos that were raining down on him in both games so far in this series. Every time Phaneuf touched the puck, the boobirds came out.
“They obviously don’t like the way I play or they’re just trying to do their part to help contribute,” Phaneuf said with a shrug.
“It’s part of the game. It’s a fun building to play in—there’s a lot of energy and a lot of emotion.
“They’re a loud group of fans, so it’s an exciting building to play in.”
Phaneuf may be a fan favourite in the Stampede City, but it’s not a show that goes on the road.
from Lynn Zinser of the New York Times,
Heading into Game 2 on Friday night, the Rangers assume Brodeur will bounce back from his unraveling, letting a puck sit free in the crease long enough so Ryan Callahan could come from behind the net to score.
But Lundqvist does not need to think about bouncing back. Game 1 was a continuation of a strong finish after a midseason swoon. In his last 14 regular-season games, he allowed more than two goals only three times and never allowed more than three.
from Mark Purdy of the Mercury News,
The Sharks didn’t nab a victory Thursday night. They Nabbied a victory. They Nabbied themselves back on track. Heavens to Kamenogorsk, did Evgeni Nabokov save the Sharks’ tail fins in their 2-0 win over the Calgary Flames.
On a night when the Sharks needed their goalie to be great, Nabokov was greater. The ethnic Russian from Kazakhstan who speaks five languages might have had his best playoff game ever, in any language. But the only ethnicity that mattered to him was the Sharks’ continuing legal status as Playoff Viable Citizens.
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