Kukla's Korner Hockey
From North Jersey Media,
Watching his father toil through backbreaking construction work, hearing the stories of his parents’ winding path from Mexico to the great Northwest as migrant farm workers, these are the building blocks of Gomez’s personality, the foundation for valuing his life as a professional athlete.
“We’re in fantasy land and I’ve always appreciated that,” Gomez said Wednesday following the Devils’ final practice in advance of their second-round playoff opener tonight against Ottawa. “What’s not to love? I mean, I play hockey, I’m in a locker room, this is my job.”
Bit by bit over the past seven years with the Devils, Gomez has allowed himself to release more of that inner clown, breaking the room up with a joke or nudging a jittery rookie past his nerves as a game is about to begin.
From John Niyo at The Detroit News,
Nick Lidstrom , with a little backchecking help from his friends, held Calgary’s star forward, Jarome Iginla , largely in check in the first round. But this stacked San Jose lineup presents a more daunting challenge for the Wings defense.
“This is a little different, because Calgary is a one-trick pony, and we’re not,” Sharks coach Ron Wilson said Tuesday. “We’ve got a lot of weapons. Our third and fourth lines can be just as dangerous.
“They’ll pick a matchup that they think can help them. But we’ve got four lines we’ll be rolling, and it’ll be hard for them to check all those guys.”
more… *a full scouting report of the series
From Michael Rosenberg at the Free Press,
Is Dominik Hasek the best goalie ever?
There is no clear answer. But Hasek has to be in the conversation, right? He has won six Vezina Trophies as the best goalie in the league. Only Jacques Plante, with seven, has won more.
“Right now is not the time to think about a legacy,” Hasek said. “Right now, at this point of the season, you think about the next round, the next game. Maybe I can think of it when the season is over.” At 42, Hasek looks suspiciously like he did when he was 37 and 32 and 27. He looks like one of the top three goalies in the world.
From PR Newswires,
“Adding rich social media capabilities, like user-generated video submissions, is an ideal way for the NHL and its sponsors to develop and extend their relationship with fans,” said Randy Selman, president and chief executive officer of Onstream Media. “Needless to say, we’re excited to be working with the NHL and look forward to extending our relationship and providing even greater new media capabilities, such as video search, indexing, encoding and ad insertion capabilities to more effectively monetize their content and increase viewer stickiness over time.”
more… *plus details on the contest for Canada’s “SuperFan”
From AP via IHT,
Dallas Stars left winger Ladislav Nagy will not play for Slovakia at the world ice hockey championship in Russia because of a hip injury.
The 27-year-old Nagy, who scored 12 goals and had 43 assists this season, was ruled out with a hip joint injury, Slovakia’s ice hockey federation said Thursday in a statement.
From David Pollack of the Mercury News,
Four veterans - defenseman Craig Rivet and forwards Mike Grier, Curtis Brown and Bill Guerin - now in the lineup were added to put the Sharks in a better position for a Stanley Cup run. All have made contributions. But, with the Sharks and Detroit Red Wings beginning their Western Conference semifinal series today at Joe Louis Arena, none of them says he feels as if he’s under a special spotlight.
“I don’t feel any pressure because they brought me here, that I’m the reason why we’re going to win the Stanley Cup,” Rivet said. “I was just a piece of the puzzle.”
From Wayne Scanlan at the Ottawa Citizen,
Alfredsson, who turns 35 in December, and Dean McAmmond, 34 in June, are the two senior Senators in age.
They figure to have the most at stake as another opportunity comes around. How many more do they get?
McAmmond was on the sidelines for two Cup finals—in 1992 with the Chicago Blackhawks and 2004 with the Calgary Flames, but didn’t see action in either series.
He was there, he says, “watching and learning.
“I’m still wanting to get there,” he says. “I still want that ring.”
From Tony Gallagher at The Province,
Unless the league permits them to set leg hold traps, the Canucks have a significant problem and whether the potential return of any of the injured players would actually make a difference is open to question. Vancouver also had a bushel of chances and the temptation is to say “what if Taylor Pyatt had scored early in the second, or early in the third on his chances?” And while that’s intriguing, the corresponding question is what if the Ducks had scored on their good chances?
If there is one job the forwards must do better it’s slowing these guys down before they get to the defence, which suddenly looks ridiculously vulnerable with Sami Salo and Kevin Bieksa watching from the press box.
From Mark Herrmann at Newsday,
There is nothing like a little hatred to get a team going in the playoffs, according to Sabres coach Lindy Ruff. In other words, if Sean Avery didn’t exist, they would have had to invent him.
You could say that this was a classic case of an agitator agitating in reverse, although no one did say it after the Sabres beat Avery and the Rangers, 5-2, in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinal. Neither side acknowledged that by talking big before the series, Avery might have stirred the Sabres into something bigger.
from the New York Times,
The Devils played their first three home playoff games before a total of nearly 6,300 empty seats, but goaltender Martin Brodeur could have sworn Continental Arena was packed to the rafters.
“I think the towels made it,” Brodeur said with a smile Tuesday, referring to the white towels given to fans to spin over their heads in the playoffs. “It fills up the empty seats.”...
The Devils, who open their second-round series at home Thursday night against Ottawa, have yet to sell out this season at 19,040-seat Continental Arena — a 26-year-old building with the all the charm of a warehouse. The Devils say they play hard no matter what, but the empty seats start conversations.
“It’s brought up,” center Scott Gomez said. “It’s something that’s definitely noticed. How can you not notice it?”
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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