Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Would Hitchcock Fit In Vancouver

from Tim Panaccio of the Philadelphia Inquirer,

Ken Hitchcock is a lame-duck coach. The Flyers aren't hurrying to give him an extension. Vancouver still hasn't hired a coach. Hitchcock could ask to be released from his final year and negotiate with the Canucks. That was the buzz making the rounds last week. Players tend not to perform for lame-duck coaches during tough times, thinking those coaches won't be around much longer.
more on few other topics...

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Every Man For Himself Islanders

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

They are no longer the New York Islanders, but rather the I, Me, My Is landers of Charles Wang, who made that crystal clear at the Coliseum on Thursday upon introducing a kitchen cabinet of hockey subordinates including Ted Nolan, Pat LaFontaine, Bryan Trottier, Neil Smith and Mike Milbury. These men are named in no particular order because it is clear there will be no order within the organization, other than when one is issued by the man occupying the top rung of the ladder. "I did all the interviewing, I made all the hires and all these esteemed gentlemen will report to me," said General Haig, uh, Chairman Wang. "This is, after all, my team."
continued (reg. req.)

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Putting Any Controversy To Bed

Q. What did you see on the Ryan Smyth goal? STEPHEN WALKOM: On the Ryan Smyth goal the puck was batted out of the air by the goalie, it bounced off of the Edmonton player, and went into the net. And it may seem basic but that's exactly what happened. Q. I think the Hurricanes were upset, they felt that Smyth went into the goaltender on his own. Did you see any desire of his to hit the goalie without being provoked into it? STEPHEN WALKOM: No, actually the puck was in the air. Smyth tried to knock the puck out of the air with his stick. And at the same time, Ward tried to knock the puck out of the air, was successful in doing so, it bounced off Smyth. Q. The Ethan Moreau one, Mick McGeough lost site of the puck, obviously, do you have any problem with his positioning, what he was trying to do losing the puck there? STEPHEN WALKOM: No, on that play I think every referee when a goalie covers up the puck you are going to blow the whistle. He blew the whistle. He judged it to be a finished play, and then the goalie opened up his legs and obviously the puck was there and was shot into the net. So I was pleased, the guys worked real hard to get into position all night. Q. Ron MacLean had some issue with the way Mick explained it to Ethan, maybe too vocal. Did you see anything like that? STEPHEN WALKOM: No, I have no issue with that at all. I think Mick communicates well with the players. I think the players communicate well with Mick. image Reuters

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Peca Controlled

from Pierre McGuire of TSN,

One of the things that Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish wanted to improve in Game 3 was line matchups, and getting centre Michael Peca up against Rod Brind'Amour was just what Edmonton needed to get back into this series. Peca was the complete package in Game 3. He skated well, got his physical play going and was able to win faceoffs. Peca's ability to win foot races and get in the his opponent's faces got the already rowdy Rexall Place crowd going throughout the game. He definitely brought his 'A' game in Game 3, and credit goes to MacTavish for changing the matchup and getting Peca up against Brind'Amour.
continued While we are with McGuire, I thought his analysis and information last night was the highlight of the NBC broadcast. When J.D. and he were talking about Laviolette trying to slow up the pace of the game, Pierre responded, "I should know, I am standing right next to him."

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Post Game Interviews

We have a series. Edmonton wins 2-1 with a late goal. IF you are interested in watching post game interviews, they can be seen here (will open wmp video) via NHL.com. image added 11:32pm, Peter Laviolette post game interview,

Q. When you killed the two-man in the first period you thought you were going to build off of that? COACH PETER LAVIOLETTE: I thought that that could be a good turning points for us. You know, I think any time you can kill off a 5-on-3 and in somebody else's building for an extended period of time, it's an opportunity to use that momentum in your favor. We had some chances like I said, they weren't as easy, but we didn't bury them either.
more of Laviolette in the comment section of this post... added 7:00am Sunday, added MacTavish post game interview in the same comment section...

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Joey Moss Leads The Charge

The passion of the Edmonton Oilers and their fans was expressed in the face of dressing room attendant Joey Moss during the signing of the Canadien National Anthem. Edmonton came out flying, but missed a great opportunity to take a 2-0 lead during a 1:27 5 on 3 advantage. Could that be the turning point of the game? Oliers lead 1-0 after the first period. image

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Too Damn Bad

from Ray Slover of the Sporting News,

Game 3 of the Stanley Cup playoffs is make-or-break. And not just on the ice. Yeah, the Oilers must win Game 3 to retain any realistic hope of winning the Cup. Down 0-3 is a sentence teams can't escape. It just doesn't happen. Yeah, once, but 1942 was a war year and all pro sports were in a weakened state. There's also make-or-break for the NHL. Simply put, its TV rating stink. The NHL isn't a dead skunk in the middle of the TV road, but it's crawling onto the pavement and there's a Kenworth headed its direction. I have no hope that ratings will top 1 million homes in the U.S. Canada, of course, is bonkers, especially with a Canadian team in the finals. But with a mid-sized market involved, no matter how energized the Carolina region is, big-market America isn't going to give a hoot about hockey. Too bad; too damned bad.
continued

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Oilers Morning Skate

from ESPN,

Burnside: So, here we are in Edmonton at the morning skate before Game 3. It's a bit strange but head coach Carig MacTavish isn't on the ice. Usually he's a very integral part of the morning skate, chatting with players and helping to run the drills. Maybe he's looking to change up the team's karma by staying in his office this morning. Burnside: Long-time Oiler defenseman and assistant coach Charlie Huddy is running the show this morning.
added 1:31pm, The same link has been updated to include information about the Canes morning skate too. more image

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Putin Wanted IIHF Deal

from Alan Adams of Sportsnet,

Political pressure from Russia's hockey-mad president is behind the transfer deal between the NHL and the Russian Ice Hockey Federation. Putin is a huge hockey fan and he wants nothing more than to see Russia win the 2007 World Hockey Championship tournament in Moscow. And the best way to make sure the Russians can assemble a contending team is to have peace with the National Hockey League. And that's the backdrop to why Russia has tentatively agreed to join the NHL-IIHF transfer agreement. Putin told new Russian Ice Hockey Federation President Vladislav Tretiak that he expects Russia to atop the medal podium at the world tournament next spring. Anything short of wining on home soil will be unacceptable.
read on image

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Taking A Look At Edmonton

from Scott Burnside of ESPN,

Just as those who've come close to losing everything hug their partners and children a little tighter, so too have the fans embraced this team. And it seems fitting that it was a fan who sparked the Oilers' survival. Technically, Cam Nichols is the chairman of the board. In more practical terms, he is the man who saved the Edmonton Oilers and with it, who knows, maybe a city. Certainly, a city's identity. Because, really, what is Edmonton without the Oilers? Edmonton is a kind of a special situation because it's a very small market," said sports investment banker Sal Galatioto. "It's also a market where 99 percent of the population is hockey fans, so it magnifies the market. No one would really think of Edmonton if it weren't for hockey. What they did is something you probably couldn't do in a lot of other places.
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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