Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the Ottawa Citizen,
Does the Ottawa Senators-Buffalo Sabres semifinal have the makings of a hostile rivalry? During the 2005-06 regular season, Ottawa won its eight-game series against Buffalo, 5-3. The Senators gave the Sabres three good drubbings, winning 5-0 on Oct. 8, 10-4 on Nov. 2 and 6-1 on Nov. 12. Two of the Senators' losses came in the last two games against Buffalo, one in overtime and the other in a shootout. The Senators earned 12 points to the Sabres' six. In need of more spice for this matchup? How about these two personalities: Dominik Hasek and John Muckler. Consider this twist: Hasek and Muckler were with the Sabres back then, and today they're working for Buffalo's next playoff enemy. Same positions, too. Muckler, general manager; Hasek, (ailing) goaltender.read on
from the Contra Costa Times,
What follows is subjective. Ask 10 people to name the best sporting experience in the Bay Area, and they will come up with 10 different but equally plausible lists. As of May 4, 2006, here is mine: 1. Nobody would've predicted this 10 years ago, or even five, but when it comes to excitement and electricity produced for one event, when it comes to passion and that feeling of community that creates a shared experience, nothing right now beats a playoff hockey game at the Shark Tank. Forget about the ratings. Television doesn't do hockey justice. It never has and it never will. Go to the arena. That's where magic is found. You think about places such as Boston, Detroit and Montreal when you think about the best home-ice advantage in the NHL, but San Jose is widely recognized as one of the most difficult places for a visiting team to play.
from Inside Bay Area,
Vesa Toskala, overnight sensation? That's a laughable notion both to the San Jose Sharks and to Toskala, considering that the relationship has lasted longer than many marriages. Sharks aficionados could tell you that their current No.1 goaltender has been in San Jose's system for a fair number of years. Fewer people may realize that the club has actually held Toskala's rights for 11 years, initially drafting him in the fourth round in 1995 as an 18-year-old prospect out of Tampere, Finland. Toskala is just two weeks shy of his 29th birthday, and only now is he living the dream he held as a teenager. He remained in Finland for five seasons of seasoning and then spent the next five apprenticing both in the minor leagues and with the Sharks, playing in just 40 NHL games prior to this year. Many days, he wondered if he'd ever get his big chance.continued
from the Gazette via the Mercury News,
If there was an endangered species list for NHL players, Colorado defenseman Rob Blake's name would have been added to it in the first few months of the 2005-06 season after the strike wiped out the previous season. But just when it looked as if Blake was going the way of the dinosaur, he raised the level of his play dramatically. In the last 41 games of the regular season, Blake compiled a plus-16 plus-minus ratio and helped Colorado fight its way into the postseason. And in Colorado's first-round series against the Dallas Stars, Blake's play was crucial in the Avalanche knocking out the Western Conference's No.2 seed, four games to one.more
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
It wasn't just that the Flames lost. They were never in it at any point in the game. Meanwhile, the Flames' ace in the hole, goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff, had a good series, but he wasn't lights-out good the way he was in their 2004 playoff run – or in the 82-game regular season for that matter. The Flames play disciplined, they work hard, they don't give up much, but their overall approach is old school – and eventually, they'll need to find somebody other than Jarome Iginla to put the puck in the net.more
from the Edmonton Journal,
Roll up the Red Mile and keep your shirts on, Calgarians. Pack away those memories of 1980s provincial hockey dominance, Edmontonians. The hoped-for Battle of Alberta fizzled before a single cheap shot was tossed -- on or off the ice. Strangely, the Flames went with a whimper, not the kind of bang the hard-hitting, here-we-come team is noted for. "From our point of view, we're better than we played tonight. That's a tough way to end the season in front of our fans. It wasn't near good enough," said Jarome Iginla, the Flames' Edmonton-born-and-bred captain, who acknowledged that playing the Oilers would have been something. "You don't want to look ahead, but you read the paper like everyone else and you know who you have the opportunity to play. "It's disappointing for us to lose out, and disappointing for our fans. They wanted (the Flames) to play Edmonton more than anybody and we wanted to do that for them."more
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
If Sandis Ozolinsh, who was placed back to the NHL/NHLPA Substance Abuse Program following his arrest on Tuesday morning in White Plains on DWI charges, remains under care through June 30, the Rangers will be unable to buy out the final season of the defenseman's two-year, $5.5M contract, for he will be considered an injured player. Despite reports on Monday in the 33-year-old defenseman's native Latvia that he had decided to retire from the NHL, Ozolinsh indicated nothing of the sort that day in his postseason meetings with GM Glen Sather and head coach Tom Renney. The Blueshirts could allow Ozolinsh to play in Europe next season once he clears waivers, again, without the contract counting against the cap.more (reg. req.)...an option as pointed out by Larry is waivers...
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
There is no such thing as a perfect hockey game. The ice is slippery, the puck can be skittish, and skates and sticks have a way of redirecting shots where they weren't meant to go. That said, the Mighty Ducks on Wednesday played as well as it is possible to play a seventh game of a playoff series in a hostile rink. They parted the Sea of Red at Calgary's Pengrowth Saddledome with confidence and poise, wearing the Flames down for a 3-0 victory that deprived the Flames' faithful of an anticipated second-round Battle of Alberta with the Edmonton Oilers. "Right now, I'm pulling for Anaheim, big time," said Flame Coach Darryl Sutter, who delivered that message to the victors and shook as many hands as he could find in the visitors' locker room.read on (reg. req.)
from Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun,
All season long, the hockey world wondered where the Flames scoring would come from. And in the biggest game of the year, it just didn't come at all. Putting a shockingly early end to a season that saw the Flames win their division despite finishing fourth-last in NHL scoring, they were shut out 3-0 last night by a backup goalie on a team known for having just one defenceman. And just like Calgary's offence, a city on the brink of bedlam went eerily silent. But not before a Sea of Red saw red and rained boos down on their hometown heroes midway through a second period in which the Flames took one more shot on net (three) than they gave up goals (two).continued
1. Many Americans (including the majority of folks in Hilton Head) don't get the Outdoor Life Network. 2. Most Americans would rather be outdoors soaking up the sunshine, as opposed to sitting indoors and watching hockey on the Outdoor Life Network. With these points in mind, it's easy to see why the U.S. ratings for the first-round of the playoffs have sunk from where they were in 2004. Back then, ESPN had the U.S. rights and averaged 560,000 for their first-round coverage. This year, on OLN, that number dropped to 277,000.more
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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