Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Sabres Looking For A Turnaround

from the Toronto Sun,

Pounding on the already wounded psyche of the Buffalo sporting community, the Flyers ran a replay of Scott Norwood's missed field goal in Super Bowl XXV that left the Bills on the short end of a 20-19 score to the New York Giants. At the end of the display, the word "CHOKERS" appeared on the video screen. Whether that was a direct inference to the Sabres' sudden struggles is not yet clear. This is a young, fast Buffalo team that has shown a lot of resiliency and never quits. At the same time, there were a number of disturbing tendencies in Philly that Ruff must get straightened out when his team steps on to the HSBC Arena ice this afternoon for Game 5.
read on from Bob McKenzie of TSN,
And what a big change for Peter Forsberg. In the first two games, he didn't play well at all but, back on home ice, he was absolutely dominant (back-to-back two-goal, one-assist performances), just like the Peter Forsberg of old who dominated the playoffs with the Colorado Avalanche. How are the Buffalo Sabres going to stop him?
more

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Wings Talk

from Trevor Thompson of Fox Sportsnet Detroit,

I said the Wings would win this one in six. I was dead wrong. They're poised to lose it in that fashion instead. But the series is a best of seven games. All the team has to do is force a seventh. If they do, it's in their building and my predicition could wind up only being one game off. Sadly, not many think this is going to happen. What people are thinking is that they've seen this act before. They've seen this core group of Wings go to Los Angeles needing to win a game to stay a live in the first round... they've watched late-night as they team fought in Anaheim to avoid being swept in round one... and they hoped the team travelling to Calgary for game six would bring a game seven back with them in round two. Each time, when there was hope for one more home game, all hope ended on the road. After this game 5 the general sentiment in the bowels of JLA was that we are headed down that same road. We're in the midst of a flashback.
more

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Beat By A Better Team

from the Globe and Mail,

“We lost as a team,” Tortorella said. “And we lost to a team that was simply better than we were.” Telling that kind of unvarnished truth got the coach into hot water earlier in the series, when he said publicly what was obvious to anyone who had been paying attention – that lousy goaltending from John Grahame was killing the Lightning, and sapping their morale. The most obvious change for the worse is that instead of Nikolai Khabibulin between the pipes, who left the team as a free agent, it was Grahame and the veteran Sean Burke. By singling Grahame out after the Lightning lost game four, Tortorella rankled some of the players, including the veteran Burke, who started tonight and played extremely well.
read on

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How Are You Holding Up

from the Ottawa Sun,

Now that we're deep into the first round of the playoffs, how are you holding up? Do your bar tabs read like a mortgage payment? Have you put grooves in your couch and at least two delivery places on the speed dial? How often are you imitating Bob Cole? (In my house, it's a daily occurrence). I'm completely absorbed in a desperate attempt to watch as much as I can. Recording games, watching and rewatching plays, catching highlights of other games online -- I'm surprised I haven't begun to twitch yet.
continued

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Your Sunday Viewing Pleasure

NBC-HD game is Flyers vs. Sabres. The NBC game (click for coverage map) not available on your local NBC station will be shown on Center Ice. Also on CI is the Canadiens/Hurricanes. image

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Thank You Nashville

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

Never mind that the Predators reversed the decision on Friday, even though they'd fallen short of the stated goal. Never mind that Violetta had originally said the threat - my word, not his - wasn't aimed at the fan, but rather was intended to stir the business community into greater support of the franchise. The fact is, this ownership - with support from the league - not only somehow ever believed selling 1,600 tickets took precedence over getting the game exposure in the 904,000 homes that comprise the 30th largest television market in the U.S., but publicly announced that Wirtzian philosophy. Exposing the game? How about exposing ownership? How about exposing the league? I thought the cap was going to take care of all this. Thank you, fans, indeed.
read on (reg. req.) plus Brooks mentions Hitchcock may be a goner, win or lose...

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Kids Coming Through For Sharks

from the San Francisco Chronicle,

San Jose has gone with the same lineup for four games, and six players have made their playoff debuts. The Sharks are the only team to have as many as five rookies appear in four games this postseason. "The kids that are coming up now are willing to learn, they have great energy and a great focus on the game,'' Sharks defenseman Scott Hannan said. "They come in and they're easy to get along with. It's not so much teaching; it's playing and making them feel comfortable and relaxed."
more

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Rags Get Standing-O From Garden Faithful

from Reuters via Yahoo,

The New York Rangers were saluted with a standing ovation from the Madison Square Garden crowd on Saturday. Unfortunately, it came at the end of a 4-2 home defeat to the New Jersey Devils that swept them out of the Stanley Cup playoffs, four games to none. The 18,000-plus audience rewarded the Rangers for their effort and for their surprisingly strong season that landed a playoff place for the first time in nine years. "I wish I could have gone up into the stands and shaken every single person's hands, " New York coach Tom Renney said about the ovation.
continued added 10:35pm, from E.J. Hradek of ESPN,
When the pain of this four-game series loss to the Devils subsides (and it might take awhile), the Rangers will look back on their surprising 2005-06 season as an end and a beginning. The season marked the end of an almost unthinkable nine-year playoff drought.
continued

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Babcock Outcoached

from Mlive,

Not only has Edmonton had the best player in this series, Chris Pronger, it's also had the better coach, Craig MacTavish. So far.... Regardless of any personnel changes or strategical adjustments, it's up to Babcock to light a fire in this team. That's why they hired him, isn't it? He talked all season about work ethic and accountability and so far his team isn't showing a lot of either.
read on

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Legace Not Feeling Well

from the NY Times,

"I don't feel too good, to be honest with you," said Legace, who has allowed 14 goals in the series. "I feel like I'm sick. But that's the way the playoffs are. "We've got to look towards Monday." "I'm not playing to the level of where I have to be to win games and win series for our team right now," said Legace, who is in his first full season as a No. 1 goaltender and has seemed more comfortable as a backup. "I'm just playing average. And average isn't good enough in the playoffs."
more

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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 pk@kuklaskorner.com

 

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