Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the Vancouver Sun,
Unlike their first-round playoff series, the Vancouver Canucks won’t be viewing a mirror image of themselves when they step on the ice tonight in Anaheim for round two.
The Ducks are nothing like the vanquished Dallas Stars.
They have a roster laden with North American players, they score more, fight more, have more size and a better power play.
Almost no one is picking the Canucks to advance past Anaheim, unless you count TSN’s Maggie the Monkey, who merely spins her wheel rather than delving into any thoughtful analysis.
from the St. Peterburg Times,
“I concur we have a very good core here,” Feaster said. “It’s a core capable of winning a championship. So from that standpoint our window of opportunity is still open. That’s something we’d like to take advantage of.”
The question is, will Bill Davidson, owner of Lightning parent company Palace Sports & Entertainment, provide the money to acquire a No. 1 goaltender and a scoring wing, the biggest holes on a team eliminated Sunday from the first round of the playoffs for the second straight season?
Feaster said his preliminary budget for next season is $40-million. That is about $4-million less than this season and could be up to $9-million below the yet-to-be-set league salary cap.
Coaches and players said this is no time to pull back, though CEO Tom Wilson said Palace Sports will lose $9-million on its Tampa operation this fiscal year.
from Jack Todd of the Montreal Gazette,
Is it possible that our beloved Montreal Canadiens are turning into the Toronto Maple Leafs?...
It’s simple economics: when the customer will buy anything, there’s no incentive to improve the product.
Never mind that this team finished with 90 points and missed the playoffs. Never mind that this was the sixth time since the team’s last Stanley Cup in 1993 that the Habs have missed the post-season dance. Never mind that no edition of the Canadiens since 1993 has amassed as much as 100 points, even with the silly NHL rule that gives a team a point for losing in overtime or in a shootout.
from the Daily News Journal,
If we’re halfway intelligent about hockey, we must admit some performance demerits lie with head coach Barry Trotz, an average NHL coach who has been handed a championship roster.
Trotz has fallen short in getting his team psyched up. Too often, the Predators come out flat and stay that way.
The Preds also have a propensity to play stupid. How many times have we seen a Nashville player act like a knucklehead and take a needless penalty that killed momentum and cost his team dearly?
That is opposed to San Jose, which sent the Preds free falling into the off-season again. Trotz’s boys did not feature a creative offensive strategy, especially one that successfully utilized Nashville’s speed advantage.
from the Mercury News,
Versus snagged Games1 and 4 of the Sharks-Red Wings series as exclusive telecasts. For a healthy portion of Bay Area viewers - tens of thousands, based on first-round ratings - it’s a tune-out, turn-off moment.
A Versus representative said 71 percent of the Bay Area gets the network. Yes, at the only time of year the NHL truly sells itself, its TV contract eliminates much of the potential audience.
Who knows how many of those people would actually watch a game, but here’s one stark example: Game3 of the first-round series, on Fox Sports Net Bay Area, drew a 2.5 local rating (60,000 households). Game5, a 2.5 rating. Game4, on Versus, a 1.3, or 31,000 households.
Versus has the entire conference finals and first two games of the Stanley Cup finals. So if the Sharks advance, tens of thousands of interested viewers could miss the very best of the product.
from the Mercury News,
The Sharks overcame a huge psychological hurdle when they beat the Red Wings 3-2 at Joe Louis Arena on Dec.2. It was just the third time in 29 visits that the Sharks had won a regular-season game in Detroit.
“We’re going to see that Red Wing jersey, and I don’t think we’re going to be intimidated,” Wilson said. “We’ll be respectful, but not intimidated by their team.”
from Ted Montgomery at USA TODAY,
Now it begins. The second round of the NHL playoffs is when it really gets interesting. In recent years, the first round has yielded so many surprising upsets that it has become somewhat of a tour de force, the hockey equivalent of rolling the dice and hoping for the best.
This is the first time in years that the expected winners of their respective first-round series won. I think that’s good for the game. Why not let the best teams battle it out from here on in?
Before we take a look at the second-round matchups, let’s recap what the losers in the first round did wrong, and where they are going.
RWBill, a KK member posted the audio of the Johan Franzen series clinching goal in a Wings forum today,
The audio call was from Calgary broadcaster Pete Maher, who was inducted into the HHOF Broadcast Wing last year.
You can tell why- listen to the call, a true professional all the way.
Some play-by-play guys would have barely told you the puck was in the net, or be screaming about a penalty that should have been called or maybe and offsides.
Pete did it right and I came away even more impressed!
Tom Renney and Brendan Shanahan participated in an NHL tele-confernce today.
Q. The Sabres seemed to make a bit of a deal out of a comment that you made yesterday about them maybe not being the cream of the crop. Could you characterize what you said and what your intention was?
TOM RENNEY: Well, when asked what I thought about the Sabres, I answered as, you know, I’m not sure. I wasn’t sure if they were the cream of the crop. But I do know one thing, they’re an awfully good hockey club and we’ve got a tiger by the tail.
From my point of view at least, nobody will know who the best team in the National Hockey League is till sometime in mid June.
Q. Just looking at the Sabres team, they’ve got a lot of speed. What do you think you need to do in order to contain them?
TOM RENNEY: I think a couple of things. We certainly have to match their speed if we can with our own attack and force them to have to play defense naturally. I think we have to try to keep their power play off the ice and play a real disciplined game within or game plan in general, and really stay poised and not allow frustration to be part of our game plan. This is a team that can capitalize on mistakes or miscues. They really do have a terrific transition game. We have to try to, as much as possible, eliminate that from their game.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Iginla has one year remaining on a deal that will pay him $7-million (U.S.) for the 2007-08 season, at which point he could become an unrestricted free agent. On the open market, a player of Iginla’s stature — tough, smart, physical, a first-rate NHL scorer — could theoretically become the league’s highest-paid player, if a bidding war were to begin.
However, Iginla said his primary goal is to win a championship, not lead the league in dollars earned, and believes that the Flames have as good a chance as any NHL team to do that in the near term.
“Personally, I’d like to stay and I want to win,” said Iginla, who added: “I’m not concerned about being the highest-paid player in the league. I’d like something that would work well for both sides.
“I’m already doing all right (financially),” he continued, with a laugh. “I’m thankful.”
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 email@example.com