Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News,
The Stars are a different team without Sergei Zubov – that’s all there is to it.
Zubov averages more than 25 minutes a game and plays like nobody else in the NHL. He is supremely confident with the puck on his stick and he almost dares opponents to come at him on the forecheck, knowing that can only help him get the defense off of its game.
So if he cannot play in the playoffs because of a foot injury or groin injury or some other injury, the Stars will not be as good.
from the CP via Yahoo,
“You can’t expect guys to be jumping out of their boots here because we need help,” coach Alain Vigneault said when asked about the mood in the dressing room after the Cancks no longer controlled their playoff destiny.
“That being said, we need to help ourselves.”
Helping themselves means winning at home Thursday against the Edmonton Oilers and Saturday in the regular-season finale against the Calgary Flames.
Otherwise they’re out of the playoffs for the second time in three seasons.
From Boston Bruins.com’s Rinkside Chats,
Katie_From_ME: Since your injury, what is the one thing that you miss most about playing?
P_Bergeron: First and foremost, I’ve missed everything about the game. Being around the guys, being part of the action and part of the game and helping the team win. It’s tough sitting around and watching the team play and not being able to help.
Stockfan42: Patrice, what are the odds of seeing you suited up for the playoffs?
P_Bergeron: Not sure yet, I still have some doctors to see. I am not cleared for contact yet but I’m hoping to continue to make progress and get back as soon as I can.
via the Carolina Hurricanes,
Jim Rutherford, President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, announced today that the team has activated center Matt Cullen from injured reserve. Cullen, who has missed the team’s last seven games with a head injury, is eligible to play in tonight’s game against TampaBay.
NEW YORK (April 2, 2008) – Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price, who backstopped the team to its first division title since 1992, posting a 7-3-0 record, 2.67 goals against average, .924 save percentage and one shutout, has been named the NHL Rookie of the Month for March.
Price edged Edmonton Oilers center Sam Gagner (6-9—15 in 15 games), Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom (5-9—14 in 14 games), Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane (4-10—14 in 15 games) and Los Angeles Kings goaltender Eric Ersberg (5-4-2, 2.31 goals-against average, .932 save percentage, two shutouts) for the award.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
NHL players pay lip service to the fact that a win in October is as important as a win in December, which is as important as a win in early April, but you never get the sense they actually believe it — or until they arrive at the final week and find themselves with just enough of a cushion to sneak into the playoffs.
Take the NHL’s Western Conference race for example. If playoffs were determined only by how a team finished up, then the Edmonton Oilers would be on their way to the post-season, thanks to their wonderfully entertaining surge of the past seven weeks, which came after injuries to Shawn Horcoff, Sheldon Souray, Ethan Moreau and others looked as if it would doom them to the conference cellar again.
Today, the Minnesota Wild’s head coach Jacques Lemaire was made available by way of a NHL teleconference. With 95 points the Wild sit in first place in the Northwest Division, two points ahead of Colorado and three ahead of the Calgary Flames, who they host tomorrow night. A victory would guarantee a division championship and home ice in at least in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Here’s the transcript of Lemaire’s Q&A session.
Q. Jacques, one of the things I noticed about your team is how good your record is in special teams play and how important that’s been during the regular season. I’d like you to comment on the power play. You’re eighth best in the league, penalty killing second best in the league. How much has that influenced your success this season and how important will it be in the playoffs versus the regular season?
from Lightning Strikes,
Coach John Tortorella agreed in the bigger picture, these games are tough. As he said. “I can’t wait till this (bleep) is over.’’ But he said he does not agree that you give in to a situation.
“It disgusts me,’’ he said. I don’t agree with it and I never will. You play to the bitter end. We’re going to fight as a coaching staff to the bitter end, and I think players should be that way, especially in a young group that we have with the core being our leadership. They need to set an example.’
It better start tonight, which begins a back-to-back against two very motivated opponents, the Hurricanes and Capitals, who are fighting for the division title and a playoff spot.
Today, the NHL’s Public Relations Department provided Calgary Flames head coach Mike Keenan for media teleconference. The Flames currently have 92 points and reside at 7th seed in the Western Conference. They trail Minnesota in the NW Division by three points and are one point the behind Colorado with one game in hand.
Here’s the transcript from the media’s Q&A time with ‘Iron Mike.’
Q. There’s so much parity in the league and so much has to be decided in the last five days here. Do you have any sort of theory on why it’s so close? We have seen it now in three straight years since the lockout. I have my own theory, it may have to do with the shootout point, but go ahead and answer that.
from STATS Blog,
The play of Marc-Andre Fleury and his Penguin teammates makes Pittsburgh one of the favorites to reach the Stanley Cup finals. Minnesota’s Nicklas Backstrom has the Wild on the verge of their first Northwest Division title, and he will be key to how far the defensive-minded Wild advance in the playoffs.
Equally noteworthy is the 11-0-1 record of San Jose’s Evgeni Nabokov since March 1.
read on for some graphic proof…
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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