Kukla's Korner Hockey
Well, my Opening Day ritual continues. I will be attending the Tigers/Blue Jays game today so updates may be a little less than normal.
One more thing- We think the NHL schedule is bad, but the Tigers will not see the Blue Jays again after April 15th. One of the great things about playing Toronto was taking the train from Windsor to Toronto for a nice summer weekend of Tigers/Blue Jays.
Now it looks like a train ride to Chicago this summer instead of TO.
via Sports Business Journal,
The NHL today is expected to unveil “Quest for the Cup,” a digital marketing campaign “aimed at boosting the league’s national profile and TV viewership” during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Fans can participate in “an Internet-based treasure hunt” to collect trading cards and accumulate points by entering codes seen during playoff telecasts, among other elements. Winners will receive NHL merchandise, with the grand prize being a trip to the league’s season-opening games in London this fall
I will have more information on this campaign when it is released.
via the Boston Globe,
Petr Kalus kept his perfect shooting percentage intact—the winger scored his third NHL goal yesterday on his third career shot—for Boston’s only score yesterday.
from the Edmonton Journal,
That would be one win in a quarter of an NHL season. ONE win. And the Oilers aren’t an expansion team. And they almost won the Cup last year.
OK, they had a nasty run of injuries. So has Buffalo. The Oilers traded heart-and-soul guy Ryan Smyth five weeks ago, but it’s not like Wayne Gretzky left. They’ve needed binder twine, spit and glue to keep the defence intact, so much so Jason Smith should have been asking for a raise for babysitting.
But c’mon. One win in a quarter of an NHL season. When was the last time that happened? That’s the only storyline that’s really worth talking about.
more on the Oilers…
from the Montreal Gazette,
“There was a guy from the (NAHL) Cape Cod Cubs I hated, and I had one scene when I was just supposed to miss him. But I whacked him with an elbow in the head and knocked him out. The director came over and said: ‘It’s not supposed to be that real,’ but he was winking. He loved it.
“The best hits? They’re real, because they happened after 3 o’clock when all the extras were hammered. It was boring, sitting around on the set from 7 a.m., just waiting to be called.”
O’Reilly’s daughters, age 25 to 34, still don’t quite know what to make of their father’s role in hockey’s ultimate goon show. But they do know he’ll be on DVD for generations to come, which means ...something.
more... if you are a Slap Shot fan, a must read…
from the Calgary Sun,
The seventh or eighth seed is most likely for the Flames, who have four games remaining, which means they could start their drive for the Stanley Cup in Detroit, Nashville or Anaheim.
Those three teams are scrapping it out for the top spot in the west as well as the Presidents’ Trophy for the league’s best record.
“I would say I would want to play against Nashville if I were Calgary,” said TSN and NBC analyst Pierre McGuire, impressed by the way the Flames have returned to their gritty style down the stretch.
“I think an overall hitting game would probably be the kind of game Nashville wouldn’t be overly comfortable with even though they’re not a shy team.
“I see a team that’s really starting to come together. I see a team that’s playing more of a resilient road game. If they play their mean-spirited Calgary Flames type of game, which they’re starting to get back to—in a good way, not a bad way—I see them being able to win.”
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
Yet Sundin has stayed cold. It’s possible the Leafs could yet qualify for post-season play if No. 13 remains that way.
Possible, but unlikely.
Bryan McCabe, meanwhile, was a horrific minus-5 last night, sparking unhappy memories of his nightmarish performances against Philadelphia the last time the Leafs were in the Stanley Cup playoffs three years ago.
Instead of leading his team physically, McCabe wasn’t credited with a single official hit on the night in more than 26 minutes of playing time.
What a bad time for both Sundin and McCabe, the team’s two highest-paid players, to go sour.
Last night, they weren’t just ineffective, they seemed devoid of the fire required for the Leafs to prosper in an atmosphere that was noisy and intimidating.
from the Buffalo News,
Buffalo Sabres coach Lindy Ruff hasn’t forgotten the version of Thomas Vanek that got benched in the playoffs last spring.
While the dynamic winger has been a revelation and is within yodeling distance of a 40-goal season, something rare in recent Sabres history, Ruff gave a sense he wouldn’t be impressed until he sees Vanek come through in crunch time.
Vanek finished last season tied for second on the Buffalo goal chart, but Ruff didn’t hesitate to bench the rookie in the playoffs because the passion level and a dedication to two-way play just weren’t there.
from the Miami Herald,
“It’s so frustrating because we worked so hard to make the playoffs,” said goalie Ed Belfour, who was called for unsportsmanlike conduct after showing up the officials by demonstrating a dive move to the lead referee.
“It’s frustrating to see the way the refs can control the outcome of a game like that. Down on the other end, two of our guys get blatantly tripped and they’re both watching, but they don’t call it. . . . But on the opposite side, their guy takes a dive and the hand goes up right away.
“I don’t know what this game is coming to, but it’s embarrassing. We’re trying to sell the game here in Florida and fans are frustrated. They don’t want to see that. They want to see us win and they want to see a fair game. It’s heartbreaking.”
from, Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,
Playing at a high level at 42, Hasek might change the way the league views age in a goaltender. The NHL might be looking differently at many aspects of playoff goaltending. Coaches are certainly more open to the idea of switching goalies in the postseason, and there doesn’t seem to be nearly as much fretting about the lack of playoff experience.
Of the 16 teams in playoff positions Sunday, five — the Tampa Bay Lightning (Marc Denis and Johan Holmqvist, Vancouver Canucks (Roberto Luongo), Atlanta Thrashers (Kari Lehtonen), Minnesota Wild (Niklas Backstrom) and Pittsburgh Penguins (Marc-Andre Fleury) — will use goaltenders who have never played a postseason game.
read on and other NHL topics…
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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