Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Martin Brodeur, special to the Edmonton Sun,
Since I joined the NHL, I've made it to the playoffs every season except one. For me, it's the best time of the year. Spring has arrived, and we all feel rejuvenated simply at the idea of launching into a series of games that could lead us all the way to a Stanley Cup - if the pieces fall in the right places for the team. I must say that playing hockey is highly enjoyable these days. Although the pressure lessened a bit since we ensured our spot in the final eight, we really wanted to win our remaining regular games.continued
from the Calgary Sun,
Randy Carlyle made an accusation. Jarome Iginla responded with a promise. One day after the Calgary Flames and Anaheim Mighty Ducks wrapped up the regular season in scrappy fashion, the Flames captain was informed the Ducks coach believed the Flames were targeting his stars. Iginla responded by guaranteeing the Ducks more of the same. "From our point of view, we're going to try to be as physical as we can within the rules -- I don't think that's a secret," said Iginla, whose club racked up 62 penalty minutes in Monday's meaningless 4-3 loss in Anaheim.continued
ESPN does a great job breaking down each series in the East and the West. They also predict who can be either the hero or villain from each series. Good reads and a nice spot to reference if you have any questions during the first round.
from the Globe and Mail,
Pat Quinn has resisted, at least in public, to attribute his team's woes this season to the new salary-cap system. But the Toronto Maple Leafs' coach could not withstand the temptation on the final day of the regular season. "If you want to build a team through the draft, be crappy for a long time," Quinn said. "Here you have the teams with no [payroll] come along picking all the good ones [in the National Hockey League entry draft] because they finished out of the playoffs. Now they had cap money to go out and buy some good free agents. "We had a tough job to build on the group we had."more
from Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports,
It is always in the spring when hockey puts its problems behind it, when the game is finally all that matters. It is always in the spring when the chase for Lord Stanley's Cup, which begins Friday, brings everything back to the way it is supposed to be. The suits can't ruin the thrill of playoff hockey. Neither can TV contracts, salary caps or revenue sharing. Nothing can stop the chills of seven back-and-forth games, the frantic screams of sudden-death overtime, the amped-up intensity, the passion and the emotion that makes this Chase for the Cup as good as it gets.continued
from the San Francisco Chronicle,
Thornton and Cheechoo thus become only the third set of teammates in the last 25 seasons to win the points and goal-scoring titles, respectively. Peter Forsberg (106 points) and Milan Hejduk (50) goals were the last to do it with Colorado in 2002-03. Edmonton linemates Wayne Gretzky (215) and Jari Kurri (68) did it in 1985-86. "We've done everything together, so it's gratifying," Thornton said. "And we'd be the first to tell you those are team-oriented awards."more
from the Montreal Gazette,
There used to be a popular theory in NHL circles that too many Europeans spoil the Stanley Cup broth. Then, in the mid-1990s, Detroit coach Scotty Bowman began icing an entire unit of Russians. Old-time hockey people scoffed. When the Wings won back-to-back Stanley Cups in 1997-98, everybody stopped laughing and started following the blueprint. "You can't win without (Europeans)," San Jose Sharks scout John Ferguson said.read on
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
They will go into the Battle of the Hudson as decisive underdogs, that much and maybe only that much is clear about the Rangers, who skidded off the top of the world by losing five straight times over the final 10 days of a season during which they brought respectability back to Broadway. A brilliant revival now somehow carries the tinge of disappointment; the air of failure even though the season measures as a wild success. Still. The Rangers were just 9-11-4 after the Olympics and - get this - only 3-9-1 against playoff teams after the return from Turin. And so, instead of celebrating what is surely their profound achievement, the Rangers are left with trying to put it all in perspective; with the task of washing out the rancid taste of their inability to close like champions, and to do it by Saturday.read on (reg. req.)
from the Ottawa Sun,
The numbers to date tell you Ray Emery has been an average playoff goalie as a pro, at best. The makeup of the individual, however, suggests he can be something special. Nothing bothers Cool Hand Ray for too long. Not a bad goal. Not a poor game. If he's going down, he's generally getting back up in a hurry. That could be key for the Senators this spring, as it appears Dominik Hasek isn't leaving the sidelines any time soon and that a good chunk of their playoff hopes hinge on a rookie who has never before experienced the kind of pressure he's about to face.continued
from the Edmonton Journal,
The Oilers suspect there may be a tendency to see Steve Yzerman, Nicklas Lidstrom and Brendan Shanahan in a more favourable light than mere schmucks like Todd Harvey, Georges Laraque and Fernando Pisani. "If previous standards are put in place, then yeah, those guys seem to get the majority of the calls," said Oiler defenceman Chris Pronger. "They've obviously earned that respect amongst the officiating crews. Whether that's right or wrong, that's the way they see it. I get the benefit of some calls sometimes, as do players who have been around a long time. They give leeway to certain players," offered Pronger. MacTavish believes it's possible that an Oiler with an arm on Pavel Datsyuk is more likely to be penalized than a Red Wing with two arms and a stick on Laraque. He's issued a public plea that all players on both teams be treated as equals by the long, striped arms of the law.more
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