Kukla's Korner Hockey
Huge games and some don’t get hurt games, but hockey all day.
Don’t forget the NCAA Hockey Championship game on ESPN at 7:00pm EDT tonight.
from the Mercury News,
When the Sharks end the regular season today against Vancouver, expect to see Evgeni Nabokov starting in goal - just as he has for 22 of the team’s 25 games since Valentine’s Day.
A season that began with an unconventional goalie rotation is finishing in a more traditional manner. Nabokov, who rode the bench a year ago when Vesa Toskala emerged as San Jose’s playoff netminder, is back in the starting role that a $5 million salary might indicate is rightfully his.
Other numbers help explain why. Nabokov’s 2.25 goals-against average and .915 save percentage are much improved over last season. So is his confidence.
via the Buffalo News,
NBC has to be impressed by Buffalo’s TV ratings. The Sabres’ win over Pittsburgh Tuesday to clinch the Eastern Conference title had an incredibly strong 12.2 rating here on Versus even though it was competing for separate hours with “American Idol” (16.9) and “Dancing with the Stars” (11.4).
NBC executives have said their network made money on the revenue sharing deal it had with the NHL in 2005-06 and will again this season even though it is only averaging about a 1 rating nationally.
from Loose Change at the Hockey News,
It’s the final weekend of the season and you’re a Toronto Maple Leafs fan, or a Montreal Canadiens’ fan, or a New York Islanders’ fan, or a Calgary Flames’ fan or a fan of the Colorado Avalanche. These teams, fighting for those last precious playoff spots, resemble gerbils trying to balance on a jellybean.
How will you survive this weekend? Can you survive this weekend? Well, yes you can. Just follow these 12, potentially life-saving, mantras that should put your mind, body and soul at ease (although I’d advise keeping 911 on speed dial just in case).
Top 12 Keep-Me-Calm-Mantras-for-This-Frenzied-Weekend-Ahead:
5 I am a fragile puck. I bruise very easily. The next time I hit something I may shatter into pieces. I am sliding towards Andrew Raycroft.
from the Edmonton Sun,
If, after going 1-17-1 in their previous 19 games, scoreless in their previous eight periods and hopeless for as long as anyone cares to remember, the Edmonton Oilers concluded their six-week March of the Damned with a win in Calgary.
If the hated Flames miss the playoffs because the blind squirrels to the north find an acorn tonight in the Saddledome.
This is too good.
Who could have guessed that the last game of Edmonton’s worst year ever would be this compelling, this important?
The Official Montreal vs. Toronto post.
KK readers feel free to add you links or comments all day to this post.
from the Toronto Sun,
Jean Beliveau already could sense the buzz last month.
“I had so many people come up to me at the time saying: ‘Wouldn’t it be great if it all came down to the final game of the season between the Leafs and Canadiens?” the former Habs great recalled yesterday. “I guess they got their wish.”
Like millions around the country, Le Gros Bill will be in front of the tube this evening to watch yet another chapter in the Habs-Leafs rivalry, one that has deep implications.
The Canadiens control their own destiny. A win lands them a playoff spot.
added 9:30am, from Jack Todd of the Montreal Gazette,
It will be the biggest game between these two bitter rivals in four decades, since the Toronto Maple Leafs won their last Stanley Cup by upsetting the Canadiens in 1967.
It might even be the biggest regular-season game ever played in this country.
from the NY Post,
To have any chance at securing the last playoff berth, the Isles continue to need everything to fall into place for them.
If they beat the Flyers, they must have the Maple Leafs defeat the Canadiens in Toronto tonight. Should that happen, the Islanders would control their own destiny, with just a victory over the Devils between them and the postseason. And since the Devils have virtually nothing to play for, the Isles could have a better shot than normal.
Still, a Montreal win would spoil any hope the Isles have.
“It’s tough relying on other teams,” said Blake. “But the fact that we’re playing games that matter this late in the year is great.”
Especially for goalie Wade Dubielewicz, who has gone from an almost unknown third-stringer to one of the keys to the Islanders’ success in little more than a week.
from the New York Times,
Thanks in large measure to Lerg, a 5-foot-6 sophomore, the Spartans (25-13-3) have advanced to their first N.C.A.A. Division I hockey championship game since 1987. They play Boston College (29-11-1) on Saturday in the Frozen Four final at the Scottrade Center.
But Lerg has, as he describes it, “a ton of allergies,” most seriously to nuts. That resulted in a scary situation last year at the N.C.A.A. East Regionals. Two bites into a dish of pasta with marinara sauce, Lerg began to feel his breathing constrict. He hurriedly left the restaurant and returned to the hotel to give himself an injection to counteract the reaction.
With Anaheim losing in a shootout tonight, the Wings are guaranteed the #1 seed in the West.
from Scott Burnside at ESPN,
The big center’s desire to finish out his career in Toronto is well known, and the team has made all the appropriate noises about keeping Sundin in the fold. But if the Leafs repeat their desultory performance of Thursday evening on Long Island and miss the playoffs for the second straight season, days of reckoning are at hand for many in the blue and white.
And unless the team is content to remain mired in mediocrity with little hope of getting better (aside from being hit with the lucky stick), severing ties with the amiable Swede provides one of the only real clear paths to improvement.
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