Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Nova News Now,
By the time you read this, the Stanley Cup playoffs will be well-underway. There might even be one or two teams already eliminated.
However, don’t ask me to predict who they might be. This year’s cup chase is the most wide-open in years.
I’m a traditionalist in many ways but, in terms of the NHL, I like that there are easily five or six teams that could easily go all the way - and, with a little luck, maybe even more than that.
It’s a change - a breath of fresh air, even - from some seasons in the past, when the cup winner could almost have been mailed the trophy.
There was a run of years back 10 years or more when the Stanley Cup final was decided in four straight games for probably three years in a row. I, for one, would far sooner see a little more excitement; this year, we just might get it.
Reported on TSN,
Doug MacLean has been fired as general manager and president of the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Sources tell TSN MacLean was told tonight in an ownership meeting.
The Blue Jackets struggled to a 33-42-7 record this season, finishing a distant 11th in the Western Conference.
continued… (*more details to follow at that link)
Updated 12:20am ET:
From the Columbus Dispatch,
Last spring, MacLean signed a three-year contract with the Blue Jackets that paid him an $800,000 base salary. With incentives, MacLean made about $1 million per season.
By firing him now, the club must pay MacLean a large buyout sum, believed to be $1.6 million, or his remaining base salary.
continued… (Geez, if only we could all get fired in such fashion.)
From AP via MSNBC,
The Vancouver Canucks know firsthand just how precarious their lead over the Dallas Stars might be.
In NHL playoff history, 210 teams have gone up 3-1 in a best-of-seven series. Only 20 of those teams have gone on to lose the series. Vancouver has been involved in four of those series, including twice in 2003, when they overcame flu-ridden St. Louis in the first round, then blew the big lead against Minnesota.
The Canucks know not to do any premature planning for the second round as their Western Conference quarterfinal series with the Stars shifts back to Vancouver for Game 5 Thursday night.
Anaheim Ducks forward Brad May has been suspended for three games as a rsult of his actions in Game 4 of their Western Conference Series against the Minnesota Wild.
Late in the third period on Tuesday, May punched Wild defenceman Kim Johnsson from behind, sending him to the ice for several minutes. May was assessed a match penalty on the play.
Matt Cullen banged in a shot off the crossbar and helped bounce the New York Rangers into the second round of the playoffs for the first time in a decade.
Cullen fired a rolling puck from just inside the blue line that smacked the iron and dropped on its side just over the goal line 2:06 into the third period Wednesday night. It withstood a lengthy video review and snapped a tie, and Rangers completed a four-game sweep of the Atlanta Thrashers with a 4-2 victory.
From Bob McKenzie at TSN,
The St. Louis Blues have signed No. 1 overall pick Erik Johnson to a contract and the University of Minnesota freshman will begin his pro career in the fall.
In the meantime, he has been invited to join Team USA at the World Championship in Moscow.
The Anaheim Ducks announced today that the National Hockey League (NHL) club has recalled centers Tim Brent, Ryan Carter and Petteri Wirtanen, right wingers Mike Hoffman and Bobby Ryan, defensemen Brian Salcido and Clay Wilson and goaltender Gerald Coleman from the Portland Pirates, Anaheim’s primary development affiliate in the American Hockey League (AHL).
continued… (*Geez… preparing for war, Anaheim?)
Just wanted to give everyone an update that Paul will not be around for much - if not most - of the day, due to a sudden family emergency. I’ll provide updates here later if necessary.
Meanwhile, if anyone has any pressing issues or information to pass on, you can contact me at email@example.com and I’ll be happy to respond as I can.
Thanks for your patience. Hockey updates will still continue throughout the day.
Update 6:49 pm ET:
Paul sends his thanks to everyone for the thoughtful comments on this post and in emails, and to assures you all that he’s doing fine. He also wanted me to mention that he may not be around on Thursday as well, nor will he be responding to emails till he returns to work.
Sadly, that also means you’ll be stuck with me for another day. (Lucky you!)
note: post time has been adjusted to keep this post near the top of the page.
original post time was 11:24am ET
From John Glennon at The Tennessean,
As the Predators look to square their first-round playoff series against San Jose tonight, they’re looking for the players who excelled in the regular season to do the same in the postseason.
That means more production from players such as Jason Arnott, Paul Kariya and David Legwand, less reliance on J.P. Dumont, Peter Forsberg and Alexander Radulov.
The former trio has combined for zero goals and four assists in the first three games of this series, while the latter has done the heavy lifting — combining for 12 points (nine goals, three assists).
From Victor Chi at the San Jose Mercury News,
Call it collateral damage.
The Sharks’ power play has converted only once in this opening-round playoff series, but it could push Nashville’s gas gauge toward empty if the chances keep piling up. Despite an 0-for-6 performance Monday, the Sharks wore out the Predators with a 41-20 shot advantage built largely on those six power plays.
From the CP, via TSN,
Mike Comrie is one win away from uncharted territory, the second round of the NHL playoffs.
The 26-year-old Edmonton native is one of the reasons the Ottawa Senators lead their best-of-seven series 3-1 against the Pittsburgh Penguins heading into Game 5 Thursday night.
‘‘He’s been great,’’ said linemate Mike Fisher. ‘‘He’s not the biggest guy, but he’s got a big heart. He’s playing really well and physical, making good plays and being smart. He’s been huge for us. ..
‘‘He’s playing with a bit of an edge.’‘
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