Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the Calgary Sun,
The seventh or eighth seed is most likely for the Flames, who have four games remaining, which means they could start their drive for the Stanley Cup in Detroit, Nashville or Anaheim.
Those three teams are scrapping it out for the top spot in the west as well as the Presidents’ Trophy for the league’s best record.
“I would say I would want to play against Nashville if I were Calgary,” said TSN and NBC analyst Pierre McGuire, impressed by the way the Flames have returned to their gritty style down the stretch.
“I think an overall hitting game would probably be the kind of game Nashville wouldn’t be overly comfortable with even though they’re not a shy team.
“I see a team that’s really starting to come together. I see a team that’s playing more of a resilient road game. If they play their mean-spirited Calgary Flames type of game, which they’re starting to get back to—in a good way, not a bad way—I see them being able to win.”
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
Yet Sundin has stayed cold. It’s possible the Leafs could yet qualify for post-season play if No. 13 remains that way.
Possible, but unlikely.
Bryan McCabe, meanwhile, was a horrific minus-5 last night, sparking unhappy memories of his nightmarish performances against Philadelphia the last time the Leafs were in the Stanley Cup playoffs three years ago.
Instead of leading his team physically, McCabe wasn’t credited with a single official hit on the night in more than 26 minutes of playing time.
What a bad time for both Sundin and McCabe, the team’s two highest-paid players, to go sour.
Last night, they weren’t just ineffective, they seemed devoid of the fire required for the Leafs to prosper in an atmosphere that was noisy and intimidating.
from the Buffalo News,
Buffalo Sabres coach Lindy Ruff hasn’t forgotten the version of Thomas Vanek that got benched in the playoffs last spring.
While the dynamic winger has been a revelation and is within yodeling distance of a 40-goal season, something rare in recent Sabres history, Ruff gave a sense he wouldn’t be impressed until he sees Vanek come through in crunch time.
Vanek finished last season tied for second on the Buffalo goal chart, but Ruff didn’t hesitate to bench the rookie in the playoffs because the passion level and a dedication to two-way play just weren’t there.
from the Miami Herald,
“It’s so frustrating because we worked so hard to make the playoffs,” said goalie Ed Belfour, who was called for unsportsmanlike conduct after showing up the officials by demonstrating a dive move to the lead referee.
“It’s frustrating to see the way the refs can control the outcome of a game like that. Down on the other end, two of our guys get blatantly tripped and they’re both watching, but they don’t call it. . . . But on the opposite side, their guy takes a dive and the hand goes up right away.
“I don’t know what this game is coming to, but it’s embarrassing. We’re trying to sell the game here in Florida and fans are frustrated. They don’t want to see that. They want to see us win and they want to see a fair game. It’s heartbreaking.”
from, Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,
Playing at a high level at 42, Hasek might change the way the league views age in a goaltender. The NHL might be looking differently at many aspects of playoff goaltending. Coaches are certainly more open to the idea of switching goalies in the postseason, and there doesn’t seem to be nearly as much fretting about the lack of playoff experience.
Of the 16 teams in playoff positions Sunday, five — the Tampa Bay Lightning (Marc Denis and Johan Holmqvist, Vancouver Canucks (Roberto Luongo), Atlanta Thrashers (Kari Lehtonen), Minnesota Wild (Niklas Backstrom) and Pittsburgh Penguins (Marc-Andre Fleury) — will use goaltenders who have never played a postseason game.
read on and other NHL topics…
After last night’s Caps game…
from the Washington Post,
Afterward the players met for about 15 minutes behind closed doors. Although no one would divulge exactly what was said, when the meeting ended, all-star left wing Alex Ovechkin emerged from the locker room and smashed his stick repeatedly against the wall and a trash can until it broke into four pieces, according to those who witnessed the episode. Ovechkin’s iPod and headphones also were destroyed, crumpled in the hallway.
Ovechkin and Semin, who are close friends and who were linemates on Saturday, left without speaking to the media. Asked why he thought Ovechkin was so angry, Kolzig said: “I’m sure he’s probably frustrated with what happened and in the meeting. And that’s really all I’m going to say. It wasn’t targeted at Ovie. He’s obviously our guy. But it was something he didn’t want to hear.”
read on (reg. may be req.)
added 4:56pm, You can follow-up on any more news from the meeting at Capitals Insider...
If I gave you these stats:
3 Time Stanley Cup Winner
1 Hart Trophy
1 Lester B. Person Award (Player of the Year selected by the NHLPA)
2 Frank J. Selke Trophy (Best Defensive Forward)
6 All-Star games
1124 games, 461 goals, 643 assists, 1104 points, +263
Playoffs- 162 games, 50 goals, 113 assists, 163 points, +38
Is Sergei Fedorov a lock for the HOF?
Another great month and thanks to all who continue to visit on a very regular basis.
Previous history tells me we will see a drop in the numbers in the coming months. As teams drop out of the playoffs, fans do lose a little bit of interest.
from Jim Kelley at Sportsnet,
The real issue on the table but seemingly never discussed is as simple as this: why do players flock to Nashville to play for the Preds but treat Edmonton as hockey’s version of a gulag?
The simple answer: Nashville wins. They do it regularly since they emerged from their expansion pains, they do it in a style that players love to play. Bur there’s more to it than that. They do it in the environs of a small but enthusiastic fan base in a city with a mild climate, countless entertainment options, relatively easy travel, a friendly family environment, surprisingly low-cost housing, no state income tax and, and this is no small consideration, a forward thinking management that believes in stability and a long-term view. Throw in the cream of country-western music talent, much of it tapped to sing the national anthem every night and still more of it playing the bars, clubs, honky-tonks and even the Nashville Arena on non-game nights and well…
more... plus other NHL bits…
Even though the trade and UFA talk is low-keyed this time of year, the talk still exists.
Spector breaks it all down today…
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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