Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Bring It On

from Terry Frei of ESPN,

Bring it on. Don't apologize for it. Revel in it. Salute the four survivors. The absolute unpredictability of the playoffs and the fluctuating field of conference finalists, phenomena that were around before the salary cap made them even more likely, are among the NHL's strengths. In contrast, when there are "major upsets" in the NBA's postseason, it's enough of a shock that we probably should be listening for stray referees' whistles coming from the grassy knoll. Maybe more than ever, there no longer are such things as "upsets" in the NHL playoffs.

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Brent Sutter Says No To Canucks

from the National Post (paid reg. req.),

Brent Sutter has rejected overtures from the Vancouver Canucks to be considered for the team's head coaching position, leaving Alain Vigneault as the clear front-runner. Sutter said he was contacted recently by Canuck assistant general manager Steve Tambellini in a fact-finding mission. The fact was: Sutter said no. "At this point, it's not something I'd be interested in because I'm happy doing what I'm doing," Sutter said from Red Deer, where he is owner, GM and head coach of the major junior Rebels. "I was never interviewed. It was just a casual conversation with Tamby, about 10 minutes ... I am not out looking for a job. I have my team, I have my ranch and it's the best of both worlds."

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Ducks Fans Not Happy

from the LA Times,

The Mighty Ducks take on the Edmonton Oilers in the Western Conference finals beginning tonight, but some local Ducks fans won't be watching it on television. They can't — unless they get OLN. The cable network, whose contract with the NHL gives it exclusive broadcasting rights throughout this best-of-seven series, reaches only 49% of the cable TV households in the greater Los Angeles market, which includes Orange County. Bill Padian of Torrance is among the disgruntled fans. "You believe this is a way to market a product that is already the most ignored sport in the U.S.?" he said in an e-mail that he also sent to the Ducks. "If this was the Lakers, Laker fans would go berserk and the team and the league would both be in court facing an injunction."
continued (reg. req.)

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Breaking Down Oilers & Ducks

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

In the ongoing debate over rust versus rest in this series, Carlyle suggested that "rusty" wasn't a word in their vocabulary … unless they were talking about Ruslan Salei - nicknamed Rusty). The Ducks saw first-hand what a lengthy layoff can do to a team when they crushed the Avalanche 5-0 in the first game of their series, after going seven against Calgary. It can be a double-edged sword, helpful for down the road, but something of a disadvantage in the first half of the first game. "We have no control over the scenario that's been created," said Carlyle. "We have to be on top of our game when the puck drops." ...Two of the Oilers' greatest strengths — excellence in the face-off circle and the willingness to block shots — can be attributed mostly to MacTavish's influence. He did both effectively throughout his playing career. "Small things will determine who wins the Cup this year," predicted MacTavish, "because to me, there's not much to differentiate the four teams that are still in it."
more Also, in the comments section, read the teleconference interview with Pronger, Smyth, Roloson, Smith & Moreau.

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Conference Finals Start Tonight

Edmonton vs. Anaheim at 9:00pm ET available on OLN, CBC, RDS and INHD2. INHD has made it official, all games shown on OLN will be available on INHD(2) for Comcast viewers. I am unsure if the HD feed will be available for other cable subs or satellite viewers. update 2:49pm, Good news for Directv HD viewers, it appears the game tonight will be on channel 95.

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Connolly Officially Out For First Two Games

from the Buffalo News,

Tim Connolly's "day-to-day" injury took a serious downgrade Thursday, as the concussed center was officially ruled out of Games One and Two of the Eastern Conference finals. "Tim won't make the trip," said Buffalo Sabres coach Lindy Ruff, whose team flies to North Carolina today and will play the first two games in Raleigh.

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Speed Helps NHL Comeback

from the Globe and Mail,

The common thread linking the remaining Stanley Cup playoff teams, other than they all missed the last postseason, in 2004, is the pace at which they play. The four teams perform at seemingly breakneck speed, much of it because the new National Hockey League allows such movement after the long overdue crackdown on interference and related obstructions fouls. ...With the third round of the playoffs beginning tonight, the focus on the speed element of the game will be magnified even greater. Game officials have been mostly consistent in the postseason, and it's hoped they will continue their vigilance, because the NHL game has made a remarkable comeback as an entertainment package.
read on

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Report- Kings Set To Hire Crawford

from the LA Times,

Former Vancouver Canucks head coach Marc Crawford is expected to be hired as the Kings' coach, two league sources said, with the deal anticipated to be in place by Monday. The hiring would be the first major move by Dean Lombardi since he became the Kings' general manager in April. In Crawford, Lombardi is going after a no-nonsense coach with a successful resume, both seemingly essential for a team of veterans and youngsters that unraveled this season.
more (reg. req.)

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The Unofficial Officials Grades

Hockey Refs has been tracking every NHL ref and linseman appearance in the playoffs. You can come to your own conclusions on how they are grading out

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Sens Wish List

from the Ottawa Citizen,

It's easy to dream big. Before leaving for another summer of discontent, Ottawa Senators coach Bryan Murray provided fans with his wish list for the team: two gritty forwards, a skilled defenceman who can excel in the new NHL and a No. 1 goaltender. Is that all?

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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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