Kukla's Korner

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Canes On Solid Foundation

from the News & Observer,

Still, regardless of what happens tonight in Game 4 of the championship series in the Edmonton Oilers' Rexall Place -- or in what's left of the playoffs -- the Hurricanes already have won. They've won big. That's because -- yet again -- they have won the hearts, admiration and devotion of their market. That one fact isn't going to change for a long time. By doggedly weaving the sport of ice hockey into the regional culture, they've done what once seemed impossible. They have become a primary force in what much of the country still sees as a secondary market, and they've done it in the face of unremitting collegiate competition for the attention of sports fans. Not that there's any compelling reason to think it will happen, but the Hurricanes could finish last next season in the NHL's Southeast Division, and it wouldn't destroy the foundation they've built this season.
read on

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Preds Have Some Signing To Do

from the Nashville City Paper,

Center Greg Johnson is pursuing free agency by mutual agreement, leaving centers Mike Sillinger and Yanic Perreault, defensemen Brendan Witt, Mark Eaton and Danny Markov and goaltender Chris Mason still eligible to become unrestricted free agents. “We’ll be talking with Sillinger and Perreault next,” Poile said late last week. “We are going to let them know what we think, but maybe what we have to offer is not what they had in mind. We have also talked with Mason, but there is nothing to report.” Sillinger, Perreault and Johnson are all 35 years old. Johnson left because the Predators wanted to go in a different direction. Poile added there are a number of factors to consider with each player. “What do we have coming up?” Poile asked. “What does free agency look like? What is their potential to play better next season?”
more

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Carolina Needs To Rebound

from Alan Adams of Fox Sports,

The Hurricanes HAD a two-goal lead in the best-of-seven series as the Stanley Cup Finals headed north. They HAD the momentum and everything going their way. And now the Hurricanes HAD better win Monday's Game 4 in Edmonton, or they could be HAD in six games, and with relative ease. Edmonton is in familiar territory. The Oilers fought back from a 2-0 playoff deficit in the Western Conference semifinals against the San Jose Sharks. They did it before, and the Hurricanes know the Oilers can do it again.
read on

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Anyone Seen Staal?

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

He is tied for the National Hockey League playoff scoring lead, so in the larger scheme of things, this post-season has been the coming-out party for the new face of the Carolina Hurricanes' franchise. But in the near term, the question on everyone's mind Sunday was: Why has Eric Staal-ed? Why has the only player currently active in the playoffs who finished in the top 30 of regular-season scoring suddenly gone cold? And if Staal can get it turned around – say as early as Monday's fourth game of the Stanley Cup final – does that mean doom for the back-from-the-dead Edmonton Oilers?
continued

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Canes Need To Play Better

Coach Laviolette answers some questions today.

Q. Your team was pretty upset with the officiating last night, the goal and some other calls. After Game 1 Craig MacTavish was pretty upset about faceoffs, he says the squeaky wheel gets the grease, is all of this part of the gamesmanship of the Stanley Cup Final? COACH PETER LAVIOLETTE: You guys asked me questions about the officiating, I just gave an answer. I wasn't up here to complain about it. You said, did the officials come over and tell you about the goal. I said no, there was no communication about the goal. Did you think it was goaltender interference? Yeah, I did. But you are asking the questions, we're not up here making a gripe, so sometimes it comes off the wrong way, we should clear that up a little bit. But regardless we put ourselves in position to take penalties maybe because we didn't skate as well as we needed to, and we got to do a better job at making sure that we don't take penalties and we stay disc iplined. So ultimately there could be disagreements with last night but we need to play a better game.
more in the comment section...

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Positive Attitude

from Phil Coffey of NHL.com,

"Yeah, I think the big thing is you don't want to get too anxious and lose that focus," Smyth said. "But right from the get-go I know (coach Craig MacTavish) has said 'Let's keep positive, whatever happens' and obviously our back's against the wall and we were up against the wall in San Jose and we pulled through. "I believe a positive attitude goes a long way," Smyth said. "I think this sort of atmosphere that we have gotten going right now, the positiveness, the relaxation, I guess, we want to rest up and get ready because we know it's going to be an exciting ride."
more...Also, NHL.com has been doing a great job of keeping hockey fans up-to-date with everything going on during the SCF. Remember, they just report, no "what ifs" or questioning ref calls so don't expect that, but do expect solid reporting and information we cannot get anywhere else.

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MacTavish Feeling More Comfortable Today

Sunday press conference recap with Edmonton coach Craig MacTavish.

Q. What is going through your mind when you see or you hear all the Hurricanes last night reacting the way they did to the officiating, feeling they got robbed last night in the game, how do you think that will carry into Game 4? COACH CRAIG MACTAVISH: I don't know. It's normally a squeaky wheel gets the grease league at times. We're certainly hopeful that that's not going to be the case. Were they okay with the quick whistle on Ethan's disallowed goal? Were they okay with that one? I don't know. I am not going to get into it too much.
continued in the comment section...

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Not The “Sharpest” Drew

When Lyle Richardson read the recent column Drew Sharp wrote, in which Mr. Sharp stated, "the league should steer him(Luongo) to Detroit, Lyle commented- "It’s late Friday night and perhaps it’s the beer talking, but this is without a doubt the dumbest article on the state of the NHL that I have ever read. I’ll reply more on this on my Soapbox on Sunday. Well, Spector has responded in a big way!!!

How does Sharp know Luongo wants out of Florida? Has he spoken directly to him or his agent? Have they gone on the record claiming that to be their intent? Much has been made of late of the news that Luongo's agent is seeking a one-year contract, rather than a long-term deal, but that's based on the fact that the CBA prohibits players in their final season before their eligibility for UFA status to sign deals with "no-trade" clauses. That clause is something Luongo wants because he doesn't want to risk signing a long-term deal, only to have the Panthers deal him next season to a franchise he doesn't want to play for. The key point here is Luongo's agent claims his client still wants to remain with the Panthers and that he'll continue to negotiate a long-term contract for the goalie.
more A2Y chimes in too,
Perusing Spector’s this morning, I came across this commentary regarding Drew Sharp’s latest literary example that Detroit sports writers are a collective group of dumbasses.
Many out-of-towners may not know this, but Drew appears on a regular basis with Art Regner and Doug Karsch on WXYT radio in Detroit. Put the three of them together in a room to talk Wings is a mistake waiting to happen.

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Just What We Needed

from E.J. Hradek of ESPN,

Captain Rod Brind'Amour -- a top candidate for the Conn Smythe Trophy -- didn't distinguish himself in the agony of defeat. As untold media members waited patiently for a few words from the team captain, Carolina manager of media relations Kyle Hanlin told the hoard that Brind'Amour wouldn't be coming out. Huh? This isn't game No. 7 of the regular season. This is the Stanley Cup finals. The event is covered by hundreds of media throughout North America and around the world. Eventually, after much prompting, Brind'Amour stopped on his way to the shower to address the handful of media members who had later deadlines and could wait it out. When he did speak, he wasn't ready to throw any bouquets at the Oilers. "No, I don't think so," Brind'Amour said, when asked if he felt the Oilers had played better in Game 3 than they played in the first two games.
more...come on, some one make a "guarnSheed"...

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Erik Johnson Relaxed

from the Gazette,

In The Broadmoor Hotel West lobby, Erik Johnson has found peace, for two days at least. He is 18, a few weeks removed from high school graduation. He’s also the projected No. 1 pick in the NHL draft June 24 in Vancouver, British Columbia. At 6-foot-4, 222 pounds, Johnson is a rarity — a defenseman adept at multitasking, playing well at both ends of the ice. “He’s one of the best prospects we’ve had in a long time,” said Jim Johannson, USA Hockey senior director, hockey operations.
continued

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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 pk@kuklaskorner.com

 

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