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Huet To Start For Canadiens

from the CP via the Globe and Mail,

Canadiens head coach and GM Bob Gainey ended the intrigue Thursday by announcing that Cristobal Huet will be his starting goalie in Carolina on Saturday. Gainey created doubts as to who he would use in the playoffs by starting David Aebischer in four of Montreal's last six games, but he was clear Thursday that Montreal's playoff chances will rest with Huet. “I think both goalies have played good games for us down the stretch, but I feel that he's the guy who probably had the harder tests and maybe the best preparation to start Saturday,” Gainey said. “I think he's our playoff goalie.”

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Carolina May Turn Profit

via WRAL,

“We have a team that has a chance of going deep into the playoffs, and if we can go deep into the playoffs, for the first time since (Peter) Karmanos has owned the team, we can break even or turn a little profit,” said Hurricanes General Manager Jim Rutherford. Since coming to North Carolina in 1997, the Hurricanes have lost millions every year. The worst loss was a $20 million setback. Fans snapping up playoff tickets said they understand the value of profit and Hurricanes on the same line. “When they make a profit, I think that further justifies their decision to relocate to Raleigh and shows that this area can support a pro team,” said fan Mark Molinaro. Turning a profit also checks the talk of the Hurricanes blowing out of town. “The people that talked about us not staying here were misinformed,” said Rutherford. “Yyou always have those naysayers out there regardless of what you do or how well you're doing it, they're going to pick on certain things.”

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Lucky Sharks

from the Mercury News,

In 1998, the Sharks traded the second overall pick to the Predators for the third pick plus a second-rounder (29th overall). With the first-round pick, the Sharks got the player they had wanted all along - defenseman Brad Stuart. The second-rounder turned out to be Cheechoo. "If anyone at our table at that draft thought Cheech was going to be a 50-goal scorer, they're lying," said former Sharks general manager Dean Lombardi, who engineered the deal. "You've got to be good, but you've got to be lucky, too."
read on

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Nittymaki Reacts To Being On The Bench

from the Courier Post,

"I want to be in there, obviously," Niittymaki said, referring to Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals Saturday night in Buffalo. "I don't know if I should be disappointed. "I feel like I played well, but like Hitch said, there wasn't really a competition going on. So, I don't know if I should feel disappointed."
read on

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Iginla Ready

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

"This is what you play for," said Iginla, as the Flames prepared to meet the Anaheim Mighty Ducks in their first-round series. "Playing in the National Hockey League is fun and going through a whole year with your teammates. But it's always better when you're winning and the playoffs are a whole other level - and I still haven't got enough of those yet." For the first time in 11 seasons, the Flames go into the playoffs with the weight of a little extra expectation on their collective shoulders. In 2004, when they advanced to the Stanley Cup final, they were the ultimate Cinderella story.

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Two Stubborn Mules

A Blackhawk fan speaks out... from the Chicago Tribune,

I think it is time everyone starts taking a harder stance on the Blackhawks' failures and not let them off the hook so easy. If they played in New York, they would be crucified and forced into putting a better product on the ice and being more fan-friendly. Dale Tallon and Trent Yawney are up against more than other teams and salary caps; they're up against two stubborn mules (Bill Wirtz and Bob Pulford) that think constantly making personnel changes, alienating the fans and memories alone will bring fans back.

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Now What St. Louis

from Jeff Gordaon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

Start the party! The Blues won the NHL Draft lottery and got the first overall pick. This would have been better last year -- when superstar Sidney Crosby was available –- but perhaps it IS an omen of better things to come. As Blues fans know, this franchise hasn’t caught many breaks from the league during the last 20 years or so. So Dave Checketts should see this as a good sign. His hockey people (whomever they will be) will likely pick between explosive collegiate scorer Phil Kessel and Erik Johnson, a Chris Pronger wannabe on defense. Which way will the Blues go? Kessel seems like the logical pick, but let’s look at the factors:
continued image photo via the AP

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Who Are The Refs

from Hockey Refs,

Referees selected for the playoffs will participate in conference calls before the games begin Friday to ensure everyone is on the same page and those who don’t call the strict standard will be dropped from assignments. “How long you work in the playoffs is discretionary, and that depends on how well you’re working,” added Bettman. “And if a guy decides he’s putting the whistle away, then he’s done.” This has prompted many to suggest that many newer officials will be allocated to the playoffs, as some of the older officials have resisted this season’s standards of enforcement. The selections were made Wednesday, but the NHL has elected not to reveal the referees and linesmen until the game day.

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Did You Know

via the NHL,

-Detroit's Chris Chelios could replace Lester Patrick as the oldest player to play for a Stanley Cup champion. -There were 79 individual, single-game performances of three goals or more in 2005-06. -The elimination of the two-line offside pass, the return of the "tag-up," and the waving off of icing for a pass that is deemed receivable were rule changes that produced almost 13,000 fewer stoppages this season than in 2003-04.
much more...

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The Roundtable Part 2 At JABS

The roundtable organized by the Toronto Star's Chris Young features the final part which includes playoff predictions. Once again, thanks to Chris for organizing this and including me as a member of the distinguished panel.

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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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