Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

It Starts With The Captain

from Barry Melrose of ESPN,

We saw a perfect example of what makes a champion in Monday's Game 7. After playing in a stinker in Game 6 in Edmonton, the Hurricanes' coaching staff and players acknowledged that they played poorly. Coach Peter Laviolette made some changes and came out with a game plan. From the get-go, the plan was to play harder than Edmonton, attack and send more pucks to the net, initiate and not retaliate. (Another example of how Laviolette should have never been kicked out of the Islanders organization.) It starts with the veterans in the locker room, particularly Rod Brind'Amour. Brind'Amour is the heart and soul of the team and could have won the Conn Smythe Trophy himself. Carolina's ability to rebound in 48 hours is a testament to Brind'Amour and those veterans.

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MacTavish After Game 7

Q. How significant was that first goal so quick into the game for them? COACH MACTAVISH: Yeah, it was big. And, I mean, I thought if we got through the first period, down one goal after the way I saw the game was starting, that we would be poised and in good position. But then Cam Ward shut the door on a few chances that we had in the third period. Q. Were you surprised that they were more aggressive coming out than maybe you would have thought? COACH MACTAVISH: No, not at all. I knew they were coming. I have been around long enough to know that a team doesn't get to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals by being wallflowers. And we knew they were going to come. Maybe it was in the -- a product of the fashion in which we beat them in Game 6. It really -- I mean, not that motivation is ever too much of an issue in Game 7, but they had something to prove and came out like that. more in the comments...

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Conn Smythe Award Winner Responds

Q. Does this seem surreal to you to be the rookie and Stanley Cup champion? Your emotions right now? CAM WARD: It's unbelievable. Your childhood dream of winning the Stanley Cup has finally come true and all that work you put forth through minor hockey and junior, it's all paid off from today. Q. Talk about the last five minutes of the game. They put a lot of pressure on you obviously. What was going through your mind, talk about the breakaway this that they had right towards the end? CAM WARD: You got to give Edmonton credit. They didn't give up, and they threw everything at us. When you look at the first goal, it was as a bad rebound on my part. A goal that I wanted to take back. You saw the same situation with the second time around, and I was fortunate to make the save. Q. You know the tradition involved of being able to keep the Cup for a day, all that sort of thing. Your wedding day is what day? And are you putting in bids for it? CAM WARD: July 22. Haven't put much thought into it. But probably would make a nice center piece. read more in the comments...

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It Just Feels Good

Q. Congratulations Peter. Your thoughts? COACH LAVIOLETTE: You know what, that was probably the hardest game we have played all year. It had to be, because Edmonton did a heckuva job late in the series. They came and played tonight. But our guys were relentless; they never never stopped. Q. When you go back to your upbringing, your grandad's store, what was it that you as a kid had the ability to lead -- COACH LAVIOLETTE: You know what, I got great parents; they are here tonight. Q. Who are they? COACH LAVIOLETTE: They are up in the stands there. And a great family that I belong to back home; these guys are unbelievable. It just feels good.
Q. What are you feeling? GLEN WESLEY: I don't know what to feel. It's unbelievable. It's the best feeling. I have never had -- 18 years to be able to to play the game, very blessed and fortunate. Guys were outstanding. The whole team just played unbelievable tonight. Q. Can you think of moments in the game that you just felt we're playing well -- who did you look for leadership through that? GLEN WESLEY: I think everybody stepped up. Awesome effort.

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Photos Streaming In

Check out some of the photos that are starting to hit the web, including post-game celebration!

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One Questionable Play Addressed

National Hockey League Senior Vice President and Director of Officiating Stephen Walkom tonight released the following statement pertaining to a play with 4.1 seconds remaining in the first period of Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final:

“With a delayed penalty about to be called by the back referee (Bill McCreary) for a high stick by Edmonton player Ethan Moreau, Oilers' defenseman Steve Staios deliberately bats the puck in the crease, which constitutes control and the play is considered dead. Referee Watson, who was unaware that a delayed penalty was being called, was waiting for a play that would constitute a normal stoppage. Batting the puck by a player in the defensive zone does not constitute a stoppage. Referee Watson stopped play when the Oilers' player covered the puck. He was then informed by Referee McCreary of the delayed penalty, which required play to be stopped at the moment when control was achieved by the batting of the puck by Staios.”

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Re-Live The Game

A few bloggers were doing their thing during the game, plus TSN had a writer assigned to blogging Game 7. Don't forget to catch the post game interviews...

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CAROLINA HURRICANES - 2006 Stanley Cup Champions

Wow, the never ending season is over. Both teams deserve high praise, the NHL is back folks! image added 11:16pm, from Phil Coffey of NHL.com,

As Carolina players celebrated wildly on the ice, the Oilers gathered at their bench to await the traditional postgame handshakes, many with tears in their eyes. The game will go down in Stanley Cup lore as one of the most frenzied and intense in history, with the pace just incredible throughout.
read on

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Goaltending Issues For Oilers & Canes

from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,

Even after Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals, the Carolina Hurricanes and Edmonton Oilers will both have goaltending issues. The Oilers have until July 1 to sign injured Dwayne Roloson or he becomes an unrestricted free agent.... Meanwhile, the Hurricanes' future seems solid with Cam Ward, who might have turned in the best rookie playoff run since Montreal's Patrick Roy in 1986. But tradition says goalies can sometimes struggle in their second season. With Gerber presumed to be heading elsewhere, the Hurricanes probably will be looking for a veteran goalie to replace him.
read on

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A Little Hosting Problem

Apologies to some of you trying to access KK for the last 1 1/2 hours. The issue looks to be resolved.

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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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