Kukla's Korner Hockey
from The Hockey News,
Whether it’s recent or from seasons long past, each of the four conference semifinal matchups see rivals set to do battle once more; Detroit and Colorado rejuvenate their history from the ‘90s, Montreal and Philadelphia were two of the most potent franchises of the ‘70s, while Pittsburgh-New York and Dallas-San Jose will pick up where they left off from a division-heavy regular season schedule.
While there were upsets in both the West and the East - according to the seeds, anyway - the top two teams from each conference are still alive.
Below you’ll find breakdowns on each of the four second round series and, coming off a five-for-eight performance in the opening round, THN.com’s picks to move on.
from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,
But even in doing so, San Jose left several questions floating, the kind that inevitably dog a favored team emerging from a series that went longer than it should have. Those questions provide a juicy subtext for their second round collision with the Dallas Stars, a matchup that gets underway Friday at the Shark Tank.
Is Ron Wilson up to the challenge?
There are few NHL coaches who can feel secure about their continued employment after their season ends in April. Carrying the burden of expectations that come with a division championship and years of playoff disappointments, Wilson was not one of them.
from Dan Rosen of NHL.com,
The Chicago Blackhawks’ sensational pair of Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews is joined by Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom, who played pivot for Ovechkin for most of the season, as the trio of finalists up for this season’s Calder Trophy.
Nobody should be surprised any of these three candidates have reached this point of their career. They were all top-level draft picks in recent years.
from Jeff DiNunzio at Sports Central,
Last week, some dude most of us have never met wrote an obituary about the National Hockey League. Here’s the thing about writers: we all think our opinion is important. Sometimes it is; but usually it’s not. In this case, Sean Crowe — who, for whatever reason, refers to himself as SeanMC (are you a DJ?) — offered his take on the NHL’s demise, and argued that something must be done to resuscitate this mortal game. It’s true; the NHL has assassinated the last of its remaining prominence.
Although many readers’ comments boast the obvious — like one observed, “This story would’ve been more credible if it was written in 2006” — the truth is that Crowe’s “opinion piece” is shaky.
Original post regarding Sean…
While John Ratzenberger (Cliff Clavin on Cheers) was being interviewed on the Today Show on NBC, a Habs fan decided to show his colors!
NEW YORK – NBC Sports and the National Hockey League today announced that they have extended their partnership through the 2008-09 season with NBC exercising its option on the NHL. The joint announcement was made today by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Dick Ebersol, Chairman, NBC Universal Sports & Olympics.
“We’re thrilled to be able to continue our relationship with the NHL,” said Ebersol. “There have been positive signs for the league, both on and off the ice. Ratings were up this year; the Winter Classic in Buffalo was a huge success; advertising sales were healthy; and the product on the ice has never been better, led by young, marketable stars such as Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin. We believe this is a sport that will continue to grow.”
Bettman said, “This is great news for the NHL and its fans. NBC has been a great partner and its innovations to the broadcasts have helped bring fans inside the game like never before.”
from Mike Wise of the Washington Post,
For some reason I found myself referring to Chris Clark, the Capitals’ injured right wing, as “Clarkie” the other day, as in, “What’s Clarkie doing sitting up here in the press box?”
It didn’t feel chummy or corny, of which it was probably both. It felt oddly natural, like my friend who walked up to Donald Brashear yesterday and said, “What’s up, Brash?” as the Caps’ enforcer winked at the notion of a virtual stranger knowing his nickname. Ovie the Kid. Olie the Elder. Greenie. Feds. Brooksie. And, yes, “Gabby,” Bruce Boudreau, that chatterbox coach from Hershey, whose wry humor and spare honesty disarmed most anyone interested in his hockey team.
They let Washington into their world the past five months, into their clubhouse—a grown-up bunch of Lil’ Rascals, armed with sticks and pucks. They fell to a more focused Flyers team that taught them a good lesson about playoff hockey:
Let’s just hope the Washington media who recently discovered that Washington has a hockey team, doesn’t forget about them next year!
from Adam Proteau of the Hockey News,
And the performance of the duo of veteran referees Don Koharski and Paul Devorski in Philadelphia’s 3-2 overtime win over Washington Tuesday has to be noted, because it was simply abhorrent.
If there were a way to get a police sketch artist to encapsulate Koharski and Devorski’s wildly varying in-game assessments – featured by a stretch in which no penalties were called from the 13:27 mark of the second period to Tom Poti’s chintzy tripping minor 4:15 into OT that led to Joffrey Lupul’s game-winner at 6:06 – I’d transfer that image to thousands of Wanted: Dead Or Alive posters and start fundraising immediately to raise as much money as possible for a reward.
Making matters worse, if it weren’t for another blown call in the second period, the Caps might’ve won their Eastern Conference first-round series in regulation time.
Update 3:35pm ET: Jamie Fitzpatrick writes a response to Proteau’s comments at About.com
from Adrian Dater of All Things Avs,
If the Avs are to beat Detroit, they’re going to have to do what they did to Marian Gaborik, which is HIT their star players. The Avs hit the Wings about as hard as a teenage girl pillow fight in the regular season, so it’ll be time to change that.
The Avs are clearly a different team than the regular season, though. Foote and Salei have vastly improved and toughened the blue line. I mean, it’s not even close there.
Before things heat up here on KK regarding the Avs/Wings series, make sure to check out the bottom of Daters blog. Want a conversation piece, buy his book and the money goes for a great cause, check it out…
from Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette,
The Canadiens, whose victory provided the backdrop for the disturbances, weighed in with regrets yesterday. Team president Pierre Boivin said: “We wish for celebrations to take place in the traditional spirit of happiness and respect of our sport that brings us together.”
But it was ironic that Boivin added: “We ask our fans to show the same public-spiritedness as they do in the Bell Centre.”
For the record, there was a distinct lack of civility at the Bell Centre Monday night as fans shouted and booed while Charles Prévost-Linton sang the U.S. national anthem.
It wasn’t like that in the good ol’ days.
from Greg Wyshynski at Yahoo,
...it was rather embarrassing to see those same fans litter the ice with rally rags, food, beer and the whatever containers had housed said beer after the Capitals’ 3-2 overtime loss in Game 7 last night to the Philadelphia Flyers. We’re talking pools of overpriced brew that splashed on the ice near where the Flyers were celebrated Joffrey Lupul’s game-winner, and showers of concessionary debris that kept falling during the postgame handshake—and post-series interviews, like this one with Jeff Carter:
more and watch the video…
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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