Kukla's Korner Hockey
from James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail,
The fact that troubled winger Chris Simon and backup netminder John Grahame won’t be returning to the NHL next season likely comes as little surprise, but what’s interesting is that the pair have signed with teams in the newly branded Continental Hockey League (formerly the Russian Super League) this weekend.
Mike Babcock, Nick Lidstrom, Kirk Maltby, Pavel Datsyuk and Kris Draper talke today…
Q. Your guys said they admitted they were playing tight yesterday. When a team comes out tight like that, how do you approach that? Is that a coach thing? Is that a captain thing? A player thing? Who takes charge there?
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: Well, I think everybody does. But, I mean, that’s exactly what we talked about. I mean, you can be tight and tentative or you can be loose and try. Straightforward. When you’re tight, I mean, you’re slower.
So, yeah, you being slower, them working hard, that’s just a little bit of difference that makes, and your execution is not as good.
It’s interesting, when I walked out of the rink with my wife and my son, my son was like he got shot, you know, he said, You’re flat. Well, we’re so far from flat it’s not even funny. But for your normal fan who comes to the game, that looks like the start of a game in November where you’re half asleep. Well, that’s not the case.
But you want to win so bad, sometimes you get in the way of yourself. One of the greatest skills as a professional athlete or anybody is controlling activation level. Sometimes you just got to take a deep breath.
Q. Your team was so powerful these playoffs. Did you think, coming in after learning in only four games last year that, you could put together a run like you put together this one?
COACH THERRIEN: You always approach the playoff with a lot of confidence. And the confidence that we had is the way that we’ve been finishing the year the last two months I thought we played some great hockey.
Not only offensively, but defensively, too, as well. The way Marc‑Andre Fleury was playing, too. There was no doubt that we were approaching every single game with a lot of confidence. But to be quite honest, when we start the playoffs, we’re not thinking about the Stanley Cup final. Our main focus was on the first round, and that was our philosophy with that young group.
I’m not a big fan to look on top of the mountain when there’s a lot of steps to be made. And the next one, it’s another step.
“We’ve got good players on the horizon and we all know the Olympics are the measuring stick,” Hitchcock said. “If you’re talking about world power and you’re talking about supremacy in hockey, you talk about the Olympics. They’re missing players for this tournament – there’s a player playing in Detroit (Pavel Datsyuk) who’s not bad - and we’re missing players in this tournament. When you get it together at the Olympics and everybody is there, that’s the measuring stick. We all know that.”
more on the WC from Ken Campbell of the Hockey News…
Q. Someone comes up to you two months from now and says “how do you remember this season?” what will you say to them?
COACH STEVENS: I just told the guys that I have been in the game a long time. Working with this group has been one of the more enjoyable experiences I’ve had in pro hockey. It really has been. We’ve made tremendous strides this year, and we’ve come an awful long way.
And if you look back, we played the one, two, three season in the East in the playoffs and I thought we did a remarkable job. You give Pittsburgh credit. To me they were the number one seed in the East in terms of what I’ve seen.
And they’re very deserving of moving on.
Penguins defeat the Flyers 6-0 to advance to the SCF.
This game was over midway through the second period. Flyers gave it their all, but the talented Penguins were just too much for them.
from the CP via the Ottawa Sun,
Speaking shortly after Rick Nash’s delay of game penalty led to Ilya Kovalchuk’s overtime winner in Canada’s 5-4 loss to Russia in the gold-medal game Sunday, Cherry ranted that the rule was ruining games….
“The National Hockey League, the reason they put this in, this goofy stupid rule, is because they said players were tired and they were shooting it in the stands,” an emotional Cherry said during his Coach’s Corner segment on the CBC. “If the guy knows he’s getting a penalty, would he shoot it in the stands? Some fool in the National Hockey League had nothing to do (but) come up with that stupid rule and it’s cost series.”
added 6:20pm, You can watch today’s Coach’s Corner segment here at CBC....
Dave Tippett, Mike Modano, Brenden Morrow and Marty Turco talk today…
Q. Defensively what has been the biggest thing for you guys the last couple games?
COACH DAVE TIPPETT: Well, I don’t know. We talk about we have to defend as a group. Marty is certainly a big part of that. I think the Toby Petersen line came in and gave us strong minutes in a checking role.
Like I said, from the start, we look at one of our strengths of our team is how well we check as a group and we expect everybody to do it. Doesn’t matter if it’s top offensive players or other players, that’s their main role is to check.
Marty has been very good. But our group as a whole has worked harder at the checking part of the game.
Fans of a certain age may take a moment to look back in wonder on Sunday afternoon when Canada and Russia take to the ice for the gold medal game at the world hockey championship in Quebec City (1 p.m., ET).
Has it really been 36 years since the 1972 series pitting the NHL stars of Canada against the pros of the Soviet Union in the most famous series ever?
While everyone’s wondering where the time went, give a little thought to where that type of game has gone.
Update 3:58pm ET (alanah): Russia wins in OT on a goal by Ilya Kovalchuk.
The Championship title is the first for Russia since winning the Gold in Germany in 1993. Despite the losing effort, Canada’s Dany Heatley was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.
Canada appeared to be headed to their second consecutive Championship as they led 4-2 after two periods, however Russia stormed back to even the score at four apiece thanks to third period goals by Alexei Tereschenko and Kovalchuk.
Kovalchuk snapped his first goal of the tournament past a screened Cam Ward with just over five minutes remaining in the third period to send this one to the extra period.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I expect the Blue Jackets will be one of the busiest teams during the off-season. I’d long speculated they could go the offer sheet route if they fail to land the help they need via the UFA market, and it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if they go hard for Philadelphia’s Jeff Carter or Anaheim’s Corey Perry or Florida’s Jay Bouwmeester if those three are still unsigned by July 1st by their respective teams.
much more UFA and trade talk at Spector’s Trade Rumors…
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