Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Paul Kukla at Hockey.com:
Can the Stars make a sudden turnaround and take control of the series? Sure they can, but I don’t see it happening. Led by coach Mike Babcock, the Wings are on a roll and are determined to erase the memories of losing to the Anaheim Ducks in last year’s Western Conference Final.
The Pittsburgh Penguins have showed they can adjust to any style of play their opposition throws at them. The Flyers are trying to be physical with the young Pens, but it hasn’t worked for them to this point. Talent-wise, the Flyers just don’t match up with Pittsburgh and must play perfect games from here on out in order to extend this series past five games.
Once again, the Flyers can make a make a comeback, but I don’t see it happening.
From Al Strachan at FoxSports,
This is NHL playoff justice. Anything short of an ax-murder is likely to be ignored. But don’t blame the current dispenser of justice, Colin Campbell. It has always been this way.
There has been the occasional exception. When Gary Bettman was in the first few months of his regime, he didn’t understand hockey tradition very well (insert your own cheap shot here) and seeing Dale Hunter deliver a cross-check to Pierre Turgeon after a goal, decided that Hunter had earned himself a 21-game suspension.
But since then, the NHL has followed a firm policy. First of all, suspensions, when they occur, are much shorter than they would be for a similar incident in the regular season. Secondly, every effort is made to keep the stars in the game.
At one time, the league used to defer playoff suspensions. One of the more notorious examples was the vicious slash that Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Ron Hextall delivered to Edmonton’s Kent Nilsson in the 1987 Stanley Cup finals.
From the Nashville Predators:
Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the club has signed restricted free agent forward Martin Erat to a seven-year, $31.5 million contract.
“Martin Erat is a perfect example of this organization’s philosophy,” Poile said. “He came to us as a seventh-round draft pick, and grew steadily into an elite player when given an opportunity to succeed. He has continued to take on more responsibility and is an integral part of our team moving forward. We look forward to his leadership and production for the next seven years.”
ESPN’s Page 2 provides a to-do list for the NHL titled “Here’s how the NHL can reclaim its share of the spotlight.” And while I realize it’s meant to be amusing, there might be too much irony to this for ESPN to pull it off…
Anyway, from the list:
• The “glow puck” returns and is joined with “glow sticks,” “glow skates,” “glow beards” and “glow blood!”
• Encourage players to start showing more raw emotion.
• Foster the return of real rivalries.
• Have players get into the public eye more often by hanging out with Hollywood types.
• For the same reason, have Elisha Cuthbert date every North American-born player … and have Anna Kournikova date every Russian-born player.
more ideas that would make ESPN fall in love with hockey…
From Damien Cox in The Spin at the Toronto Star,
Sure was nasty watching the fine young Philadelphia defenceman, Braydon Coburn, take a puck in the face Sunday night in Game 2 between the Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins.
He was cut badly near the eye, and may or may not be able to play in Game 3.
Surely, it could have been worse. Yet wasn’t it also preventable?
Given where the injury was, it would appear a half-shield would have blocked the puck from hitting Coburn in the face. But he doesn’t wear one, and so he was lost for the game, and maybe more.
*And more on this topic today from Greg Wyshynski at the Yahoo! Sports blog, Puck Daddy
Interview today with Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock.
Q I apologize for opening with a Provincial question, but do you have any reaction to what happened to Joel Quenneville at Colorado?
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: Good for Joel. He’s a hot commodity now, and he’s out in the market. I think he’s a heck of a coach. I think he does a good job. He got his team two of the last three years out of the first round.
An interview today with Pittsburgh Penguins coach Michel Therrien.
Q. Can you describe the conversation you had with Georges Laraque after the end of last year when you told him what you wanted him to be like physically, and what role in order to fulfill a role here?
COACH THERRIEN: Well, if there’s someone who knows Georges really well, it’s me, because I coached Georges in Juniors. I know what he’s capable of. We won a Memorial Cup together. He was an impact player on our team. That was a guy that we were looking to bring to our club. I thought we really did a great job to bring Georges in, but the Georges Laraque that I saw last year was not the Georges Laraque that I knew.
I told him at the end of the year that he needs to be in much better shape. He could be an impact player, and he took care of himself over the summer. Reported in great shape, and got a great season as far as I’m concerned.
An interview today with Dallas Stars coach Dave Tippett.
Q. Talk about tonight, going into play and how do you guide your team not to play too desperate because your backs are against the wall?
COACH DAVE TIPPETT: We have to come in, and our focus now is to come play the best game of the series. We thought our team struggled with energy the first game. The second game we thought we did stuff that’s more indicative of how we did in the playoffs so far.
Team USA’s loss to Finland yesterday has produced a hailstorm of criticism for the officials based on a goal scored by Finland that led to their late rally. For anyone who hasn’t seen the controversial non-goal—which was reviewed by the video judge and still declared a goal—it can be seen on the video below.
Both teams agree it was a major error, as can be seen in the post-game reaction on this TSN clip.
Update 10:23am May 13: From The Chronicle Herald,
The video goal judge was dismissed by the International Ice Hockey Federation after the botched call. The IIHF acknowledged the goal “should not have counted” on its website and stated the goal judge will “not be working for the rest of the tournament.”
“It’s a mistake,” Esche said. “The guy made a mistake and you have to live with it.”
U.S. head coach John Tortorella wasn’t as forgiving on Monday.
“Did they sack him? They should,” Tortorella said. “I don’t know how they handled it but as far as dismissing him, yes I support it.
from Spector at Fox Sports,
It was not the start to the conference finals that the Philadelphia Flyers and Dallas Stars envisioned, down 2-0 in their respective series against the Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings.
Both clubs must now find ways to rebound quickly in their next games or face the prospect of facing a deficit in the series too steep to overcome.
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.
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