Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Roy MacGregor at the Globe and Mail,
It was a game dramatically sent into overtime by the local heroes with six seconds left in regulation. It was decided, in favour of the Ottawa Senators, on a rifle-like shot from the point that would not have been stopped by a Zamboni.
It featured two of the most talented teams in the league and undoubtedly the two quickest in a sport that finally woke up to the fact that it was putting its fans to sleep.
In rewarding speed over impediment and skill over obstruction, this National Hockey League playoff game produced a work of sports art that offered the shock and soaring hope of lightning quick transition, the breathtaking beauty of puck control and, from time to time, the utter chaos and randomness that separates the Canadian game from those far more familiar to American sports fans.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
So Phoenix also is talking to dismissed Columbus GM Doug MacLean about taking over the operation. Let’s see. Hmmm. In his six seasons, MacLean’s Blue Jackets never came closer than 19 points to a playoff spot (that in their first year), finishing an average of 26 points out of eighth place under his direction. Plus, let’s not forget the trade for Sergei Fedorov.
By all means, why wouldn’t the Coyotes be interested?
more from Larry on the Sharks, Don Maloney and the NHLPA…
To all the mothers out in the hockey world- Today is your day, make sure you enjoy it to the fullest.
To all the other people- Make sure to treat mom to something special today.
The Ducks know they can’t spend time with their mom’s today, so they did a little posing yesterday.
from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun,
The polar opposite workspace of Dominik Hasek and Tomas Holmstrom barely take up 2% of a National Hockey League rink.
But Hasek’s blue-hued plot and Holmstrom’s squat just outside the other crease is the most hotly disputed territory in this series, through which the Red Wings’ improbable Stanley Cup march must flow.
During my conversations with Bob McKenzie and Kelly Hrudey in the last few days, both mentioned Buffalo had not yet played the way they were capable of playing. Kelly also mentioned he wasn’t so sure if we would ever see the Sabres reach their peak during the playoffs and so far he is right.
Buffalo now faces a must win Monday in Ottawa. The Sens have looked impressive and deserve the 2-0 lead.
Don’t forget to watch the post game interviews.
from the CP via TSN,
Hasek would have liked to have had somebody in a crossing guard’s outfit in front of his crease on Friday night.
“There was lots of traffic, probably the most I’ve seen this year,” he said. “Once in a while they even bumped into me and once I got an elbow coming down on me.
“The next game I expect very similar things from them. I expect them to talk to me, make lots of traffic, once in a while bump into me, fall on me. This is part of the game. I think it’s more the job of my defencemen to take care of this business.”
Doesn’t the crease-crashing bother him?
“Not if we’re winning,” he replied with a chuckle.
Randy Carlyle and Chris Pronger…
Q. Coach, with the rules that are in place, what can you do about a player like Holmstrom standing in front of the net?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: Well, I think it’s important that you do as much blocking out as possible, try to impede his progress to the net ‘cause that’s where he makes his living.
You know, there’s been a lot said about him. We classify him as possibly the best or second best. There’s another player in Ryan Smyth that does a similar job in front of the net. Those players have a knack of getting their sticks on pucks that are directed there.
But it’s not from a natural-born talent from the individual. If you watched today when they practiced, he was out there for a good half-hour, 20 minutes practicing that art. I guess practice makes perfect in a lot of situations, where he’s a force to be reckoned with at that position on the ice.
Tim Wharnsby of the Globe and Mail on the JLA attendance situation,
Large crowds, however, have not been a problem for the Detroit Tigers and Detroit Pistons. The latter, which is on the verge of advancing to their fourth consecutive NBA conference final, has announced sellout crowds of 22,076 for each of their four home games so far.
The defending American League champion Tigers have an average attendance of 31,644 through 17 games this season, good for 13th in the major leagues. On Thursday afternoon, a whopping 37,359 walked through the turnstiles at the 41,070-seat Comerica Park.
Again I state it is not a competion matter with the other Detroit teams. The Wings overpriced their playoff tickets and have made very weak attempts at attracting fans to the games.
No free open skates, no discount tickets for students, no atmosphere created at the Joe for the fans = fans have simply had enough and won’t go until the Wings decide to change their thinking towards the fans.
Q. Nick, about the Ducks’ power-play, what did you see strategy-wise, why you were so effective last night?
NICKLAS LIDSTROM: I thought we were standing in the shooting lanes a lot, taking their lanes to the net. We were being aggressive when we can. Trying to put pressure in the corners, just overall pressure when we can.
I thought Dom came up with some big saves at the right moments for us, too.
Q. When you make a decision about which line to match up against which, last night most of the time you had Draper’s line against the kids, is that kind of normal that you play No. 1 against No. 1?
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: That’s what we’ve done all year long. Most teams play the guys they think are going to generate the most offense the most minutes. So we always play our guys against them. We think it’s been obviously positive for us.
Seeing that Anaheim’s really set on playing Pahlsson against Zetterberg, that’s fine for us. They’re going to have to do calisthenics like they did last night. When you win faceoffs like they did last night, you can get your match-up any time you want because you just get people on and off the ice.
You know, I thought they did a real good job of that. They’ll continue to if we don’t do a better job in the faceoff circle. If you win faceoffs and get on top of them, obviously you can’t be playing out there with two defensemen and six guys changing, three coming on and three coming off.
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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