Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the Calgary Sun,
“This is the game we’ve been waiting for all year,” said Tony Amonte yesterday after a spirited practice full of laughs.
“It’s nice to hold your own destiny in your hand.”
Since the foes last met in mid-March, the Avalanche have gone 6-0-1 to keep the pressure on the eighth seed.
The Flames have strung together six straight wins to go 6-2 in response.
Although this will be their first head-to-head battle in three weeks, it seems their names have been linked the entire time.
“We haven’t been playing against them a lot but it feels like we’ve been playing against them, fighting to get in playoff position,” said Amonte.
from Darren Dreger of TSN,
Sources tell TSN that Team Canada will announce its coaching staff today for the upcoming World Hockey Championship in Russia.
St Louis Blues coach Andy Murray has accepted the position of head coach and will be joined on Canada’s bench by Los Angeles Kings associate coach Mike Johnston and former Columbus Blue Jackets head coach Gerard Gallant.
Detroit Red Wings forward Todd Bertuzzi, with his size and strength, will create space for his new linemates, Robert Lang and Kyle Calder. He can also generate scoring opportunities with his soft-touch passes.
But, coach Mike Babcock doesn’t want Bertuzzi to be too unselfish.
“Bert likes to pass the puck,’’ Babcock said. “Forget that. Langer will pass the puck, you (Bertuzzi) shoot the puck and take it to the net and Calder will be there.’‘
from the Washington Post,
Alexander Semin’s peculiar penalty, the tense postgame meeting, Alex Ovechkin’s tantrum—it was all left behind in the visitors’ locker room in Tampa, Washington Capitals veteran Olie Kolzig said yesterday.
“What needed to be said was said on Saturday,” Kolzig said after a spirited practice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. “That’s it. Everyone came here with a great outlook, and we had a great practice. It’s water under the bridge.”
continued (reg. may be req.)
from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
Over the past three months, the Penguins have been among the hottest teams in the NHL, posting a 25-7-3 record with two six-game winning streaks as part of a 16-game points streak that vaulted the team into contention with New Jersey for first place in the Atlantic Division.
“They have no fear, and that’s the scary part of our team,” Penguins coach Michel Therrien said Monday. “The second half of the season, (experts) were saying that a veteran team would have more success because it’s more like a man’s game, but the second half of the season we’ve played our best because we have no fear and we got better and better.”
from the Montreal Gazette,
Saturday night, Koivu was uncharacteristically absent from the room after the victory. Furious? Koivu was fit to be tied. Bet on it - although you would never have known it after yesterday’s practice, when he was diplomacy itself. Asked whether it was tough for an individual as competitive as himself to accept being benched in a critical situation, Koivu chose his words with care.
“It’s tough for me to answer why it happened. That’s something I can’t answer. That’s something you’d have to ask the coach….”
“No, no. We had a day off Sunday and there was no one here. Now there’s a week left and three games. I’ve been in situations where I don’t care who you are or how old you are, you’re not going to be happy with the decisions they’re making. It’s just something you have to live with and something you can’t control.”
from the News & Observer,
The Hurricanes, on the other hand, are two points back and have to pass two teams to get there. Those two teams, Toronto and the Montreal Canadiens, play each other Saturday—meaning one of them is guaranteed two more points, making Carolina’s task even tougher.
The Canes are 13-6-2 against their final three opponents—the Lightning tonight, the Thrashers on Friday and the Panthers on Saturday—and they’ll probably need to win out to make it.
“When we got pressed right to the wall, almost taking our last breath of the season, we turned it up and were able to win a game,” Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford said. “But the inconsistency is still there. This team is capable of winning its last three, but there’s still a lot of other things we need to have happen.”
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
Don’t bother looking for the smoking gun. It doesn’t exist.
Lou Lamoriello fired Claude Julien as head coach of the New Jersey Devils with 102 points already achieved and just three games remaining on the schedule for one reason.
from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun,
Is that a tear dripping from the statue of Kate Smith outside the old Philadelphia Spectrum?
No one would doubt the spirit of the late, great singer of God Bless America has turned away from her beloved Flyers across the parking lot at the Wachovia Center in what could be their worst season in franchise history.
If the Flyers don’t pick up six points in their remaining four games—starting tonight against the Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre—they’ll come in lower than the 1969-70 club, an expansion-era team that compiled 58 points in 76 games.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
And it will be bloody - not in the literal sense - for the Islanders, who established themselves as a playoff contender over the first half of the year with a relentless work ethic that overcame holes in the lineup, but who have been unable to muster the necessary inspiration to overcome fatigue, warts, injuries and a suspension down the stretch.
Have we mentioned that the Islanders are 5-7-4 since Garth Snow appropriately pulled the trigger on the trade for Ryan Smyth?
Have we mentioned that the Islanders are 3-7-2 since Alexei Yashin returned to the lineup on Mar. 8 after going 8-2-4 while he was down with a knee?
Hmmm. Must be a coincidence….
There is tonight for the Rangers and Islanders, but if the Blueshirts win, there will be no tomorrows for Ted Nolan’s team. This more likely than not means no tomorrows on the Island for, among others, Smyth and Jason Blake. Talk about an organization on the brink.
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