Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Spector's blog at Fox Sports,
Last summer Clarke had gambled on veteran d-men Derian Hatcher and Mike Rathje to bolster his blueline corps but in the playoffs they struggled against the swift Sabres forwards. Clarke will now have to shop around this summer via trades or free agency to bring more speed to his Flyers if they’re to improve on this year’s disappointing season. That’s not going to be easy, considering how much money he’s already got tied up in some of those veterans. As for the Sabres, they’re for real, no question about it, and most likely there are more than a few general managers around the league watching them closely.more
from Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press,
Now, let's say what fans of losing teams rarely say: The other team played better. Edmonton outhustled the Wings, outskated them and out-goalied them. The Oilers deserved to win. And by doing what they did in that third period Monday night in Edmonton, they more than beat the Wings, they threw dirt on them. An era must be buried. Yzerman may be the gutsiest leader ever to pull on a Detroit uniform. But when he's nearly 41 and the team is waiting on him to inspire them, there's something wrong with the chemistry. And it needs to be changed.read on
from the blog of Ron Francis,
Where do I start? Was it the best series the Canes could have played? Probably not, but they found a way to "Get R done", and that is really what the playoffs are all about. There will be times in a series when things go right, and there will times when they don't, hec, there will be times within a game when things will go from good to bad or vice-versa real fast. That is why it is important to remain focused on the big picture and not let yourself get caught in the moment.read on...and one question for Ron. He uses the word y'all, has he developed a "southern" accent?
from the Philadelphia Inquirer,
Ken Hitchcock looked stricken. Not angry. Not exhausted. Not embarrassed. Well, maybe a little embarrassed. Mostly, the Flyers coach looked stricken in the minutes after his team took a 7-1, season-ending thrashing last night at the hands of the Buffalo Sabres. The fire in his eyes was out, and it's no wonder why. These are the kinds of games that get coaches fired, especially when decisions are being made by the likes of Bob Clarke and Ed Snider. First-round elimination, losing the final two games by a total of 10-1, is considerably less than a Stanley Cup. It's pathetic. For a team with this much talent, it is unacceptable. Normally, that would be an indictment of the head coach. This time, it is not.read on
from the News & Observer,
"This series was really good for us, in all honesty," Laviolette said. "It was exactly what we needed and maybe being down 2-0 was exactly what we needed. It had been a long time since we found ourselves in a game or with our back against the wall, with that competitiveness that you need to be successful during the regular season and then even raised a bit in the playoffs. "It was good for us to get into some overtime games. It was good for us to be down 0-2. It was good for us to have to come back again and win a game in the third period or overtime." The Hurricanes came to Montreal a week ago looking to save themselves. They found themselves instead.more
Bill at A2Y has been having an issue with his blog. I asked him if I could do anything for him and he wanted me to pass this along. Abel to Yzerman is having major server problems but should be back up within 24 hours. If you want to leave him a message, feel free to comment. update 9L47am, It looks like A2Y is back online.
from the Globe and Mail,
Cal Nichols stood outside the Edmonton Oilers' dressing room the other night and savoured the moment. Oiler fans were everywhere. They were cheering and hugging and celebrating like they hadn't in years. It was spontaneous, recalled Nichols. Good for the spirit. "It was a Monday night and no one wanted to go home." And at that moment, Nichols was able to answer the 'why am I doing this?' question he had often asked himself whenever things would turn tenuous and a top player would leave and the very existence of the Oilers would teeter on the brink.continued
from the Montreal Gazette,
The Canadiens are done. The better team won. That makes sense; the impending inundation of red ink does not. The Habs sell out every game, with ticket prices that top out at $150. Bell Centre souvenir shops, where items are more expensive than they are two blocks away on Ste. Catherine St., do a booming business pushing polyester to middle-aged guys who think they look cool in Saku Koivu jerseys. The NHL's new economic order - the establishment of which caused the loss of an entire season - introduced a revenue-sharing formula that has the most financially successful teams bailing out clubs that are having a tough time making money. Like the Carolina Hurricanes, who advance to the next round. The new collective agreement stipulates that the top 10 money-making teams contribute to a pool that is distributed among the bottom 15 teams. Figures have not been made public, but Habs' revenues in 2005-'06 are reported to be the NHL's third-highest, behind Toronto and Detroit. That's the good news.read on
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
It used to be that simply scoring first in a playoff game meant that team would emerge the winner almost all of the time. Well, the '06 playoffs have turned into the Spring of the Comeback. In 41 playoff games going into last night, the team that didn't score first won the game on 15 occasions, a success rate of 37 per cent. Well, teams are no longer locks to win after scoring first. Moreover, teams have fallen behind after 20 minutes and come back to win on eight occasions. Trailing after two periods, teams have fought back to triumph six times.more
Round 2 matchups will be Ottawa/Buffalo and Carolina/New Jersey. The schedule has not been relaese yet but it is great to see the top 4 teams in the east make it to the conference semi-finals. Oh yes, Flyer fans can't be a happy bunch. In the last hour or so I have had about 35 searches directed to KK with the terms "fire Hitchcock". added 11:21pm, from the Courier Post,
Two days ago, Ken Hitchcock was asked if the Buffalo Sabres' top 12 forwards were simply more talented than the Flyers' from top to bottom. "That's a question for July or August," he responded. "Not now." Now is upon the Flyers. After weeks of denying the obvious, the Flyers will spend the next several days trying to figure out how to transform themselves from the old NHL to the new. It won't be easy.continued
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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