Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Jeff Z. Klein & Karl-Eric Reif of the New York Times,
If the Stanley Cup playoffs are anything like the just concluded regular season, hockey fans are in for a treat. Despite some persistent problems — an epidemic of head injuries from legal but malicious checks, a pro-fighting backlash against new rules designed to reduce violence and lagging attendance in several cities — the hallmark of the 2006-7 season has been an abundance of beautiful, creative goal-scoring.
Buffalo and Detroit have scored those beautiful goals most often, the main reason they finished first in their conferences and are the favorites to win the Stanley Cup. Many of the Sabres’ goals have come from gorgeous clockwork passing on full-tilt rushes to the net, reminiscent of the great Soviet teams of the 1970s. Many of the Red Wings’ goals have come from precision combination play in tight spaces, an ingenious game of high-speed tic-tac-toe.
from Randy Youngman of the OC Register,
“No shootouts, right?” Selanne said, smiling.
Ding-ding!The Ducks were 4-10 in shootouts in the regular season, probably the only thing that prevented them from skating off with the Presidents Trophy for best overall record in the NHL.
Their second weakness was a little more subtle — playing down to the level of their competition, as they did on several occasions during the best season in franchise history.
That, however, can’t happen anymore.
“Exactly,” Selanne said after Monday’s practice at Honda Center. “There are seven teams with over 100 points in our conference, so there are no easy games anymore.”
from Jacques Demers at USA TODAY,
There’s little need for motivation. I used to put together a film demonstrating the great plays every player made during the regular season to pump them up, but the Cup was the true motivating factor. I always told my players that since everyone was a kid, they were dreaming about the Cup. We controlled our destiny. Stay away from bad penalties. Take short shifts. If someone gives you an elbow, just take it, because the person who retaliates usually gets the penalty.
Players aren’t nervous. They are edgy. They want to play. They’re not tired. They find energy. They’re looking forward to this. It’s a huge challenge to win four out of seven.
from Nicole Swanson at NHL Connect,
I really get into hockey this time of year; I get really excited about the playoffs. I remember specifically in 2003, my roommates and I, and one of the guys’ rooms in our apartment complex, we got together for every single game. We took a couch and TV out into the parking lot and watched all the games start to finish.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
It’s why the press box is expected to be full here for Game 1.
It’s why the Penguins asked for credential requests several weeks before the end of the regular season.
It’s why NBC denuded venerable “Hockey Night in Canada” of a Canadian matchup on the first weekend of the playoffs, insisting Game 2 of the be played Saturday afternoon and leaving CBC with the equivalent of moldy bread crust (Tampa Bay vs. New Jersey) for its traditional Saturday evening broadcast.
from the CBC,
According to initial reports from Nielsen Media Research, a record-breaking 2.81 million viewers tuned to CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada this past Saturday to catch the highly anticipated game between the Leafs and Habs.
The broadcast represents the No. 1 regular-season audience in the show’s history since viewer recording began in 1989.
from the CP via the Hockey News,
Cherry has been at this TV game for decades, while Hull is just starting out. The two networks are planning to put them together for shared segments during the championship series.
“We’re ready, we’re ready,” said Cherry.
He wouldn’t like to be permanently separated from Coach’s Corner foil Ron MacLean, however.
“I’ll stick with him,” said Cherry. “He keeps me on the right track.”
from Stan Fischler at The Maven,
DETROIT VS. CALGARY - The fact that the Flames virtually backed into a playoff berth should be taken lightly. Calgary has the goaltending and Jarome Iginla. Detroit’s legacy lately has been playoff choke after choke.
This one is my favorite upset vote. I can foresee Chris Chelios falling all over himself and Matt Schneider not able to keep Detroit’s defense intact. More than anything, I have this feeling of upset and that’s all there is to it! CONCLUSION: CALGARY IN SIX.
more picks from Stan…
from Scott Morrision at CBC,
Perhaps he had a premonition. Or perhaps it has been that kind of year, so what else would Paul Holmgren expect?
But these are the words the general manager of the Philadelphia Flyers uttered on the eve of Tuesday’s draft lottery:
“It stinks. We’re the worst team, we should get the first pick.”
End of conversation.
So what happens? Even though the Flyers had a 48.2 per cent chance of winning the number one pick, the Chicago Blackhawks moved from fifth (based on the standings) to first through a weighted lottery.
from David Shoalts at the Globe and Mail,
Mats Sundin should have a new contract by June 15, according to Toronto Maple Leafs general manager John Ferguson.
And Ferguson expects to keep his job long enough to award many more contracts in future National Hockey League seasons.
“I plan to be here for a long time and will operate in that fashion,” Ferguson said Tuesday afternoon in answer to speculation his bosses at Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment might fire him after the Maple Leafs missed the NHL playoffs by one point for the second consecutive year.
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.
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