Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
The Hockey Hall of Fame committee is going to have their hands full this year when they vote after the draft because they can only let four skaters in and there’s five, for sure, that should get in. Mark Messier is a lock. Ron Francis is close. Al MacInnis (Norris trophy, Stanley Cup ring), Scott Stevens (Conn Smythe trophy) and Igor Larionov (Russian trailblazer) are also on the ballot. So is Claude Lemieux, who won Cups with three different teams and had 19 game-winning playoff goals,
much more NHL talk…
from Earl McRae of the Ottawa Sun,
Metcalfe and his pensioner buddies John Scully and Normie Cole get together for breakfast every Saturday at different restaurants around the city to put the world right, and the world that now has to be put right by Leo Metcalfe, 82, John Scully, 82, and Normie Cole, 79, is the world of hockey, they being experts.
“Normie and I played senior hockey in Quebec and the Maritimes when it was next best to the NHL,” says Metcalfe. “John played in Manitoba. We know what we’re talking about.”
“These young people watching the NHL today,” says Scully, “they think what they’re seeing from the players is good. It’s all they’ve ever seen. They’ve nothing to compare it with. They’re wrong.”
from Larry Felser of the Buffalo News,
It’s hard to believe NBC didn’t have the sense to hire a competent broadcast team for the Stanley Cup playoffs. What we got from their plumbers who were allegedly describing the Sabres- Rangers game last Sunday was a revelation about a linesman’s nickname, the state of the playoffs in the Eastern League, several excursions into the NHL’s past, the state of the playoffs in the Ontario junior league and the state of the American Hockey League. You would think the network’s sports honchos would tune into “Hockey Night in Canada” to discover how the sport is intelligently broadcast.
from the Mercury News,
So how are the Red Wings - who have beaten the Sharks twice since Holmstrom’s return from an eye injury - a different team with him in the lineup?
“I don’t think they do anything differently. But I think he is doing his job better than anybody in front of the net,” Nabokov said of Holmstrom, mentioning forwards Todd Bertuzzi and Dan Cleary as two Red Wings who played a similar style in the first three games. “But this guy seems like he’s just finding a way to knock the puck out of the air or pass the puck right in there. He draws the defensemen to him. He’s talented.”
from Steve Politi of the Star-Ledger,
For the Devils to move forward as a franchise after another second-round postseason loss, Lou Lamoriello is going to finally have to come to this conclusion: He is not an NHL coach.
He has to ditch the Steinbrenner on Ice routine. He has to make finding—and keeping—a new head coach his first priority. If that new leader is John MacLean, the assistant who handled the Xs and Os during this failed playoff run, then Lamoriello should accept the growing pains.
from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun,
First, there’s the New York Rangers, guaranteed to come out scrapping down 3-2 in the series with Henrik Lundqvist having surrendered just four goals at home. But the Sabres also will have to overcome the nuances of Madison Square Garden, “The World’s Most Famous Arena,” a potential minefield for visiting teams and a contributor to the Rangers’ 4-0 record in these playoffs.
“I bet if they ever move, they’d like to take their boards and glass with them,” Buffalo goaltender Ryan Miller said jokingly yesterday as the Sabres held an optional workout.
from E.J. Hradek of ESPN,
“I feel good about our chances,” Senators head coach Bryan Murray said when asked about the vibe he’s getting from his team. “I know we’re only halfway there and I know that whoever we get next will be very tough, but I’m getting to feel very good about our team.”
He should feel good. Through the first two rounds, the Senators have played as well as anyone in the mix for the Cup. Quite simply, they’ve been too fast, too physical and too hungry for either the Penguins or Devils.
And, while they still have a lot of skill on their roster, the Senators are, by design, a little different animal this spring.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
Maybe one playoff series can be won that old-fashioned way, but not two, and not in this NHL. Since winning their last Stanley Cup in 2003, the Devils have won a total of 11 playoff games. That number wouldn’t be good enough to qualify as a success in one tournament, let alone over the course of three, for this great but now fraying franchise.
Times change. So does fashion. The Devils haven’t.
For the first time in the Lou Lamoriello Era of Excellence, that is not a good thing.
from Ray Ratto of the San Francisco Chronicle,
It’s the sameness that seems to be getting to the San Jose Sharks. Give 10, 14, maybe 18 minutes of top-quality play, then disintegrate.
Or maybe it’s the history, now that Evgeni Nabokov has added his name to the pantheon of Sharks goalies who have been pantsed while trying to handle the puck.
Or maybe it’s finding out what they should already know, that Tomas Holmstrom is to be minded far more diligently than he has to date.
from the AP via TSN,
The Senators will face either the Buffalo Sabres or New York Rangers in the conference final with the winner earning a trip to the Stanley Cup finals. While Ottawa has been to the playoffs the last 10 years, it has never made it to the finals. The only time they made the conference finals, the Devils beat them in seven games en route to winning the Cup.
Whoever faces the Senators will go up against a team that’s getting great goaltending, outstanding play from its top line of Spezza, Alfredsson and Dany Heatley (two assists in Game 5) and all the little things from the role players.
more on the game tonight…
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.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org