Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Mike Hume of the Falls Church News-Press,
Since the rebuild began, Leonsis tried to sell fans on his team. But for all of silver-lining citations and what, at times, seemed like overly-optimistic opinions, he never once presented a false front. He never lied about his commitment to the team and to the fans — even the ones that had temporarily forsaken him.
In a perfect world, such behavior would be common place, but struggling sports teams seldom receive the commitment the Capitals have from Leonsis. Fans of the Baltimore Orioles, Kansas City Royals, Florida Marlins and Pittsburgh Pirates, feel free to send in your testimonials.
So as the euphoria of the Stanley Cup Playoffs washes over Washington this weekend, praise the players that willed this team into the postseason. But save something for the man in the owners’ box that made this playoff push possible.
added 10:16am, The Wall Street Journal published a Q & A with Ted Leonsis today,
The Wall Street Journal: Like most other NHL teams, the Capitals get little exposure. What can the NHL do to get a better TV deal than the arrangements with Versus and NBC—and, of course, more fans?
Mr. Leonsis: My belief, and what I’ve been advocating, is we’ve lost the TV war. That’s where the puck is. We want to go to where the puck’s going to be. We want to fight the big battle, and there we’re advantaged. The NHL has the most wired, the most affluent fans. They’re living their life on the Net. We wanna be, and we’re becoming, the leader in growing digital media.
more (not sure if it is for paid subscribers only)
from Drew Remenda at Seagate Broadcaster Blog,
Tim Hunter said it best before the start of the 3rd period. ‘We’ve been outworked.” I thought I entered a time warp and was watching the early season version of the team. Some guys were working, some weren’t. The defense made poor choices and moved the puck slow. The forwards were too far up ice and in poor postion to support the D. Too many long pass attempts, too many turnovers, too many mistakes.
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
“Last year, I think we were in shock after Game 1 in Ottawa. They came out and battled us so hard,” said Roberts, who tried to aw-shucks his way around his role in last night’s win. He said luck was the big factor since he is still not in prime shape because of the injury layoff.
“Hopefully, I’ll feel as good tomorrow as I do right now,” he said. “I didn’t have a lot of jump in my legs out there. I was just fortunate to be in the right place at the right time.”
Perhaps. But Roberts had enough left in the tank to score his second goal with 1:35 left and swat around a couple of Senators who tried to rough up the Penguins at the end of the game.
Watching Roberts show the way for his youthful teammates must have gone down especially bitterly with Senators owner Eugene Melnyk. He has long believed, as have the team’s fans, that Roberts is just the kind of heart-and-soul player the team lacked.
Update 2:02pm ET: From the Stats Wizards at Elias Sports Bureau, more on Roberts—
from The Good, The Bad And The Duthie,
For all of you who believed there was some magic playoff pixie dust Bryan Murray could sprinkle on his team and wipe away the mess of the last five months, sorry.
It is what it is. Or, the Senators are what they are: a wounded, shattered, lost, hockey team. The 4-0 score was kind.
I know. You should never judge a series by the first game. Things can happen. Momentum can change. But there is a sense of inevitability creeping in here.
more and a quick look at the other games from last night…
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.”
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.
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