Kukla's Korner Hockey
Today, the NHL hosted a teleconference call for the media to ask questions of Buffalo Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff and Columbus Blue Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock.
Here is the transcript of that Q&A.
Q. The emphasis has been in the west all year now. Now the popular belief is whoever comes out of the west is going to be the Stanley Cup champion. Do you have that sense, as well?
KEN HITCHCOCK: No, I don’t. I think one of the problems is when you have so many good teams that what’s left of your team at the end of the three series that you have to play in sometimes isn’t much. I think a lot of it depends on the damage that gets done in some of these series.
I think when you look at the competitiveness of the teams and the closeness of really almost all eight teams in the playoffs, you know, I think health is going to be a major issue on whoever comes out from this series because it has the makings, especially in these early rounds, of some really long series here.
Jason Reitman (director of a movie called Juno and son of
(see comment) on NHL Live today- The Wings, they are choke artists!
One thing about Jason. He said he is a Canadian but has only been following hockey for seven years, his girlfriend turned him onto the game.
Jason is 30, so 23 years without hockey, and a Canadian too? Well, that tells me all I need to know.
Scotty Bowman answers some questions from fans at Slap Shot…
Q: Coach, the Washington Capitals have just completed a remarkable resurgence by capturing the Southeast Division title and with it entry into the playoffs. Given that hockey wisdom holds that a team with late-season momentum and a hot goaltender (like Cristobal Huet) can do some serious damage in the playoffs, how realistic is it to expect the Caps to go deep into the playoffs? — Zed
Scotty Bowman: There’s no set way to end the season. The Capitals have really been a Cinderella story, especially the last two months. They did get the third seed. What they have to guard against, especially with so many young players, is to think — consciously or unconsciously — that just making the playoffs is their championship.
Voice of the Avalanche Mike Haynes to Undergo Major Surgery
DENVER – Altitude Sports & Entertainment Network announced today that Avalanche play-by-play announcer Mike Haynes will undergo surgery on a Basilar Artery Aneurysm. He will miss the 2008 Stanley Cup playoffs.
“We truly support Mike and his family during this very difficult time and we ask all Avalanche fans to keep Mike in their thoughts and prayers in the coming weeks,” said C.E.O of Altitude Sports & Entertainment, Jim Martin.
The surgery will be performed by Dr. Robert Breeze the Vice-Chair of the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Colorado Hospital.
In the interim, John Kelly who was the play-by-play voice of the Avalanche for their first nine seasons in Colorado on Fox Sports Rocky Mountain will return to the booth to call the games alongside Peter McNab. “We would like to very much thank the St. Louis Blues organization and Fox Sports for allowing us to reach out to John” said Matt Hutchings, C.O.O. for Altitude Sports & Entertainment.
Mike and his family greatly appreciate the support they’ve received and at this time they ask that their privacy be respected.
from Slap Shot at the NY Times,
There’s just enough time for one last look back at the 14 teams that didn’t make the playoffs, as they recede into the distance. And there to help us say farewell is our Hockey Night in Blogdom crew of independent bloggers, who have put down their hankies and crying towels just long enough to answer some very important questions….
The Falconer of Do the Thrashers Have Large Talons?
Now that it’s all over, what’s the strongest impression, good or bad, you have about your team?
The players demonstrated a shocking lack of heart and determination and failed to show up many nights. Thrashers had the second-leading goal scorer in the NHL and finished 27th, evidence that management completely failed to find complimentary players to build around their star.
NEW YORK (April 7, 2008) – To preview the start of the 2008 Stanley Cup Playoffs, a special edition of NHL Hour hosted by National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman will broadcast live Tuesday, April 8 from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. ET on XM Satellite Radio channel NHL Home Ice, (XM channel 204) and NHL.com.
To submit questions to NHL Hour call 1-877-NHL-ON-XM (1-877-645-6696) or email email@example.com. NHL Hour will not broadcast this week during its usual time slot of Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. ET.
NHL Hour is a production of NHL Radio.
Update 4:30pm ET: I forgot to include the online link earlier—when it starts, you can listen live here.
From Scott Burnside at ESPN,
Sixteen teams, eight series, one dream … and a thousand story lines. Welcome to the most compelling postseason tournament in sports. Here’s a look at 10 story lines to follow once the pucks drop Wednesday. [...]
The M.A.S.H. factor
Sometimes, it can be a galvanizing force; other times, it can be a crippling blow. But rest assured, injuries will at some point play a significant role in shaping the story lines that will unfold in the coming weeks.
from Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
The horror show we saw down the stretch can’t happen again. The Blues power play cannot remain unplugged for another season.
The organization made long-term commitments to McKee, Brewer, Kariya and Jackman. These guys simply MUST lead the turnaround.
Kariya scored just 16 goals this season and just five on the power play. He has always been more of a playmaker than a shooter, but the Note needs more finish from him.
Andy McDonald can do better than 36 points in 49 games, with a minus-17 rating. He needs to be a point-per-game producer for this team. He still has the wheels to get it done.
Emotions will be at an all-time high when the puck drops tomorrow.
Read my NHL.com blog for more….
from Jeff Z. Klein of Slap Shot at the NY Times,
It’s hard to see the benefit of the guaranteed point, since it doesn’t even make the standings closer. As we’ve shown several times this season, the standings would have been just as close or closer under a 3-2-1-0 system, or simple W-L, or even if zero points were given to shootout losers — which takes away perhaps the main rationale that the league offers for the guaranteed-point system.
One bright spot, though. This year, teams averaged 18.1 regulation ties, the lowest number since the guaranteed point was introduced for the 1999-2000 season.
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