Kukla's Korner Hockey
TSN picks a hero of the second round, from each team that made it through to the Conference Finals:
[Philadelphia:] R.J. Umberger, who was considered a third or fourth-line player at the start of the season, has become Philadelphia’s top gun in the playoffs. Case in point: He scored an eyebrow-raising eight goals and nine points in five games against the Habs, and scored the first goal for the Flyers in each victory. While many credit Martin Biron for stellar goaltending that held off the Montreal offence ( and deservedly so), Umberger, a former first-round pick of the Vancouver Canucks, broke down the Canadiens early and often.
more heroes from Detroit, Pittsburgh and Dallas
from Stan Fischler at Game On,
The coach readily admits that changes must be made. “We need physical engagement,” he avers, perhaps realizing that the likes of Gary Roberts and the other Pitt toughies neutralized the Rangers less physical players.
When all is said and done, the Rangers were eliminated because they played like a fifth place team and Pittsburgh—which surely could win the Stanley Cup—performed like a club that finished on top.
Now that the off-season has hit New York hockey, Sather and his high command will be blueprinting how his Blueshirts can get to the peak in the Spring of 2009. THAT is where the Rangers go from here!
from Jeff Hicks at the Record,
Waddell has been skewered in the Atlanta media.
He needs a young disciplinarian coach to work with the Thrashers’ young prospects, including ex-Ranger Boris Valabik.
Waddell told The Record he has great respect for what (Peter) DeBoer has accomplished in junior and puts DeBoer on his must-call list.
Sources with strong NHL ties say DeBoer and right-hand man Steve Spott are already tagged to take over the Thrashers.
Other names are out there, including the Soo’s Craig Hartsburg and old-timer Pat Quinn, but with little smoke to follow.
thanks to a KK reader for the pointer…
From the Florida Panthers,
Florida Panthers General Manager Jacques Martin announced today that the club has agreed to terms on a two-year contract with RW Wade Belak and C Kamil Kreps. In addition, the club has agreed to terms with D Luke Beaverson on an entry level contract.
From James Duthie via TSN:
The World Juniors make most top prospects household names years before they don an NHL sweater. So the potential of an instant, out-of-nowhere, American Idol-ish star, has fans in a frenzy. Brunnstrom is the most Googled Swede since Tiger’s wife, and he’s inspired endless chatter on NHL thread-sites.
“OMG did you see that move on the video! Nucks plz sign him!”—naslundfan.
“I’m praying for the Leafs to sign him. Sundin-Steen-Brunnstrom would be sick!”—snipecheeseallday.
“Give him 10 mill now and the Cup is ours, baby!”—hockeytown4ever.
So their expectation level for the kid is somewhere between Zettterberg (sic) and Jesus. Yes folks, we have our first Internet created hockey legend.
More here. A fun thesis, but I’ll stick by my own previous assessment: the internet didn’t create Brunnstrom; more like some seriously-savvy marketing by player agent J.P. Barry. This North American ‘tour’ of his during the Stanley Cup Playoffs has just been PR gold.
via Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,
“The playoffs are always intense but it throws a little spice into it when it’s Pittsburgh and Philadelphia,” said Crosby, who finished the afternoon with a pair of assists.
“If you want a rivalry, there’s one right there. I’m sure everyone’s well aware of it.”
more on the Eastern Conference Finals…
from Pierre LeBrun at Sportsnet,
...Having spent parts of the opening two rounds with the Penguins, I would urge Canadian hockey fans not to turn off their TVs. They’re as fun to watch as any team in the NHL. But the fact is U.S.-only semi-finals just don’t appeal nearly as much to Canadians….
A Penguins-Wings final would also be the best-case scenario when it comes to convincing Canadian hockey fans to stay in front of their TV sets in early June when a late tee time or a drink on a nearby patio seems so much more appealing.
from the Blue Seats at the NY Post,
Blame the refs. Blame the Penguins. Blame Tom Renney. Blame anyone. There’s plenty of it to go around. But, to be realistic, a team needs to get past bad officiating and the opposing team’s attempts to disrupt the game plan. The ability to persevere is what makes a champion and this year’s Rangers New York Rangers did not have it.
When I saw Jarkko Ruutu jawing at Jaromir Jagr Jaromir Jagr before the faceoff, in Jagr’s face, mouthing off, and then pushing the Ranger captain to the ice after Jagr blew him a kiss ... I knew no one would step up to hand the Penguin pest a dental bill.
from Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
We’re talking off the charts.
“Guys are paying the price because they want to win so bad,” Dupuis said. “They’re blocking shots. They’re getting in the shooting lanes. And when the puck does get through to the net, we’ve got a wall in front of it. Marc-Andre is playing unbelievably right now.”
Penguins general manager Ray Shero’s deal for Hossa at the February trade deadline was celebrated long into the night all over the city, but how about picking up Dupuis in the package? And what about the trade for Gill? “His stick is everywhere,” Penguins defenseman Ryan Whitney said of Gill. “He just breaks up play after play.”
from the 2008 Stanley Cup Blog at CBC,
On the cover of the Dallas Stars media guide, Mike Modano, Jere Lehtinen amd Sergei Zubov prowl in the background in black and white, while Brenden Morrow and Marty Turco stand defiantly in color in front of the aging veterans.
The statement is clear - this version of the Stars belongs to Morrow and Turco.
The captain and the goalie have taken over and become the core of the team. While Modano, Lehtinen and Zubov are the sole remaining components of the 1999 Stanley Cup championship team, they are taking on different roles this time around.
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