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Did You Notice

from the Vancouver Province,

-There was a time when NHL coaches would rather dress lepers than rookies during the playoffs, but you only have to check the rosters of the five teams still alive to understand the direction the new NHL is headed. -This postseason has again demonstrated it is difficult to win when the core of your team is predominantly European. Detroit and its seven Swedes are gone. The Rangers and all their Czechs are gone. So are the Canadiens and their United Nations. The Canucks, you may have noticed, didn't make the playoffs in the first place. Conversely, look at the teams that are still going. Anaheim's best player is Scott Niedermayer. The Oilers are led by Chris Pronger and Ryan Smyth. San Jose has Thornton, Cheechoo and Marleau. Buffalo's best players are Daniel Briere, Chris Drury and, when he's not concussed, Tim Connolly. We're not channeling our inner Don Cherry, but it's a reality that can't be ignored.
more

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Sabres Did Their Homework

from the Toronto Star,

"There are people who are not here for good reasons, but I think anyone who is not here is missing a great opportunity." -Buffalo Sabres GM Darcy Regier on the absence of many of his colleagues at last June's NHL research and development camp. Last summer, when the NHL set out to reinvent itself and finally rid the game of the insidious obstruction that had slowed it to a crawl, Darcy Regier did not take his eyes off the action for a second over three days.
continued

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Nowhere But Down For Sens

from Al Strachan of the Toronto Sun,

There's no reason to think Muckler will be allowed to use all the available cap room. Owner Eugene Melnyk easily could afford to run the Senators in a philanthropic fashion, but so far, he has chosen to not do so. It's his money and his right to use it as he sees fit. But without a commitment from Melnyk to take the team to the brink of the cap limit, and commit to hockey rather than Dora the Explorer, the Senators will lose too much talent to take a serious run at the Stanley Cup in the immediate future. So that answers the first question. We know where the Senators are going from here. Down.
more from the Montreal Gazette,
Bad karma comin' down: Oooooohhhhh yes, grills and royals, let this be a lesson to you. Lookit ol' John Muckler in Ottawa, his hair turning whiter with every loss. And remember: Bad karma will come back to bite you in the patootie every time. Muckler's bad karma goes back to the Buffalo Sabres, by divine justice the team that ousted the general manager's Senators from the playoffs
continued

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Sharks Sinking

from the Mercury News,

The San Jose Sharks are not just in trouble. They are in international distress. They are heading back to Canada for the next - and likely final - game of this playoff series with a team that in no way resembles the confident Sharks group that won six of its first seven playoff starts. Right from the beginning, it was a strange, out-of-sorts night at the Tank - and it started with the inexplicable booing of the Canadian national anthem before the opening faceoff. Memo to the few hundred louts who perpetrated it: Go soak your head in some respect and common sense. The Sharks' best players happen to be Canadian citizens. How do you think they felt?
read on

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The Opportunity Is There

from Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun,

"It's exciting. The opportunity is huge. You don't get opportunities like this every day.'' One win from the final four "I'm not a history person,'' said coach Craig MacTavish after his Oilers held themselves together while Ron Wilson's San Jose Sharks came unglued. "I don't think anybody else in here is either. We're in the here and now. We need one more. The toughest one to get is always the the fourth one. We're just trying to find a way to win.'' Nobody on the Oilers is getting ahead of themselves here. "It's a huge opportunity ahead of us,'' said Steve Staios. "We can see the big picture. But we've got to this point by being game by game and day by day. That's where our composure and maturity has come from.''
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San Jose Fans Boo Anthem

via the CP,

San Jose Sharks fans were in a nasty mood Sunday night, loudly booing the Canadian national anthem before the start of Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinal. The Sharks are playing the Edmonton Oilers. Annemarie Martin had barely began singing O Canada when many in the sellout crowd of 17,496 began booing. The sound was so loud it nearly drowned out Martin. As the song progressed the booing decreased and some Shark fans joined in singing the Canadian national anthem. There was no apparent motive for the booing - just a questionable expression of the fans' dislike of the Oilers, who won the last two games in Edmonton to tie the best-of-seven series 2-2.

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Ward Stands Out

from the CP-AP via TSN, After the game,

Carolina captain Rod Brind'Amour credited Hurricanes rookie goalie Cam Ward for the series victory. ''You have to look at Cam Ward, who was solid for us,'' Brind'Amour told TSN afterwards. ''Coming in here everyone was talking about (Devils goalie) Martin Brodeur and the confidence he gives (his) team, but I think Cam outplayed him.'' Brind'Amour also said Buffalo will give the Hurricanes a real run in the next round. ''All the guys in this league know how good Buffalo is,'' he said. ''Going into that series (against Ottawa) we predicted them to win. ''We have our work cut out for us.''
more

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Ottawa Fans Vent

from CTV,

An Ottawa radio show gave Senators fans a shoulder to cry on after their team's season-ending loss Saturday, keeping phone lines open well into the following day. Those listening to the sports radio station 1200 The Team heard hours of grief, frustration and confusion, although one host said fans weren't angry. "There's a lot of resignation, I think, from people who have seen it too often and they're very disappointed," host Al Armstrong told CTV Ottawa on Sunday. "But there isn't the same vein of hatred as there was when they lost to the (Toronto Maple Leafs)."
continued

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A Dangerous Game

from the CP via Sportsnet,

Amateur hockey players are risking their health by staging secret locker-room boxing matches that can lead to concussions and other serious injuries, a medical expert says. A game called "helmets and gloves" -- also known as locker boxing -- is a "time-honoured test of manhood" that poses a significant danger, says an editorial in the latest issue of the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine. "It's a concussion that could be prevented," says Dr. Kevin Gordon of Dalhousie University, the article's lead writer. "The editorial should really be a call to arms for parents to discuss it with their kids, for coaches to discuss it with their athletes. If everyone's aware of it, we can take some action." Participants wear hockey gloves and helmets and square off until a helmet is knocked off.
continued

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So Much Talk

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

While Carolina owner Peter Karmanos told the Raleigh News & Observer last week that he hadn't had any conversations about a contract extension with Peter Laviolette, whose current deal expires this season, Slap Shots has been told that talks between the organization and head coach broke off following a stalemate over the offer. And though Laviolette is expected to resume negotiations at the conclusion of the playoffs - standard coaching and management contracts run through June 30 - we're told that the Bruins are extremely interested in pursuing the head coach...
more (reg req.)...a lot of UFA talk...and this about OLN...
Finally, would it not be a very, very, very good idea for OLN to relinquish its exclusive rights to the conference finals and first two games of the Finals, so that local rights-holders can pick up the feeds and the greatest number of people - even those who don't subscribe to digital tiers on their cable packages - have a chance to, you know, watch the games? Under the present arrangement, who could be forgiven for asking, "Whose NHL?"

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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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