Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Open Post- Tonight’s Stanley Cup Playoff Games

Discuss if so inclined.

I say a win for NYR, CBJ and SJS.

Montreal @ NY Rangers, MTL leads 2-1, 7 p.m., CBC, TVAS, NBCSN, MSG
Pittsburgh @ Columbus, PIT leads 3-0, 7:30 p.m., SN360, TVAS2, CNBC, FS-O, ROOT
Edmonton @ San Jose, EDM leads 2-1, 10 p.m., SN, TVAS, NBCSN, NBCSCA

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Forecast, Not Sunny In Washington

from Dan Steinberg of D.C. Sports Bog,

Anyhow, let’s go now to Scott Oake, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. broadcaster who has twice in this series riled up Capitals wingers with provocative intermission questions. Is he feeling sunny about Washington’s chances?

“At this point in this series I think we can conclude that they are crumbling under the weight of their playoff history,” Oake said Tuesday on the “Jeff Blair Show.” “The seed of doubt is in their minds. How can it not be? They’ve never gone past the second round with Alexander Ovechkin. We showed a stat last night that underlined how difficult the Caps have made it on themselves in the playoffs. Now, these are the President’s Trophy winners from each of the last two years, and yet six of [their last] nine playoff games have gone to overtime, and they’ve won two of them....

Not very sunny! Or how about TSN’s Darren Dreger, who appeared on Toronto’s 1050.

“I don’t care what anyone says: I’m certainly willing to give the Toronto Maple Leafs the credit that the Leafs deserve, no doubt about it, but I think the Washington Capitals also need to embrace reality,” Dreger said. “And the reality is, they haven’t even come close to being as good as they should be. … I’m commenting from afar here, but I watched that game pretty closely. Sometimes it’s just the intangible, and the intangible is the want to win. The overtime winner, I  mean, that’s just a spectacular play, isn’t it? … So maybe that’s the difference, quite frankly, that type of play, where there just seems to be a will and a relentlessness from the Toronto Maple Leafs that isn’t yet being matched by the Washington Capitals. Maybe that’s it.”

more from both plus other remarks too...

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Can The Blackhawks Flip The Switch One More Time?

from Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times,

For years, the Hawks seemed to have a Patriots-like knack for making an opponent play stupid or tighten its own noose as a series turned in the Hawks’ favor. One moment you’re playing fast and free on the ice and joking around in the off-day press conference with a series lead. The next thing you know, your goalie is running into your best defenseman to set up the Hawks for the key goal in the series.

Forcing a good team to play poorly and scared is the Hawks’ only hope at this point. But they seem to have lost that touch.

“It’s not easy,” Toews said. “[The Predators] are a good team and they want it. They’re pushing themselves to the limit. But we have no choice. We’ve got to find a way to put pressure on them. We’ve got to make them realize that winning that fourth game is the toughest for any team in any series.

“We can be that team to try and frustrate them and put pressure on them, especially in their own building. You never know what can happen. So we’ll just focus on winning the next one.”

more

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Watching The NBC Sports Group

STAMFORD, Conn. – April 18, 2017 – On the strength of 13 one-goal games, seven overtime games, surprising outcomes, and exciting new stars, NBC Sports Group’s multi-platform coverage of the first five days of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs has delivered year-over-year increases, record-setting digital consumption, and the best start ever for its cable networks.

Total Audience Delivery (TAD) for the first five days of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs (18 telecasts) averaged 726,000 viewers across NBC, NBCSN, CNBC, USA Network, NBCSports.com, and the NBC Sports app, up 9% compared to the same time period last season (669,000). TAD measures consumption across multiple platforms, combining the average minute audience for television and digital.

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Filed in: NHL Media, Hockey Broadcasting, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

The Coaching ‘Circle’

from Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News,

Two months ago, Sabres captain Brian Gionta made a point to say coaching systems didn't really matter in the NHL. It was the 15-year veteran's way of saying most teams approach the game in similar fashion and, therefore, his younger teammates and others needed to stop whining about Dan Bylsma.

Gionta is an authority when it comes to systems. He had 11 coaches in his career, including two stints with Larry Robinson in New Jersey. Styles varied in terms of communication, but X's and O's were basically the same. There are no secrets in the NHL. Hockey always has been, and forever shall be, an effort sport.

Like most, the NHL is a copycat league. The shortage of original thought is one reason many of the same coaches are hired and fired every year. It's not as if they were qualified when they were hired, forgot how to coach, became unqualified in defeat, were fired and became qualified again and rehired.

NHL general managers are in the business of winning and protecting personnel decisions for the purposes of job preservation. They lean toward experience because it's an easier sell and increases chances of success. Thing is, experienced coaches usually become available because their previous teams failed.

Getting fired doesn't necessarily equate to being a bad coach – unless you're Ron Rolston, of course – or implementing a flawed system. It often means A) the general manager needed a scapegoat for a lousy roster he assembled because, heaven forbid, it's the GM's fault; B) the coach's message grew stale; C) players underachieved or, most common, D) all of the above.

Look around.

You can select any team's history and take off on a dizzying ride on the NHL's coaching merry-go-round.

continued

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Morning Line- Gare Joyce On Alex Ovechkin

It didn’t ring true when Ovechkin said the Capitals should have won Game 3—okay, Washington was poised to win when they went on the 5-on-3 power play but thereafter hung on until they could no longer. When Ovechkin said it came down to a couple of breaks and bounces, he gave his teammates too much credit and the Leafs hardly none at all. No one in the room who heard those words believed it and neither did he.

-Gare Joyce of Sportsnet where you can read more on Ovechkin.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: alex+ovechkin

A Win Needed By The Columbus Blue Jackets

from Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch,

At this point, just win a game. Make a save. Score one more goal than the other team. Sheesh.

Those are among the thoughts cycling through the minds of Blue Jackets fans. Those are the thoughts in the sunnier regions of their brains. If you want it darker, then purchase Leonard Cohen’s last album and plummet, gloriously, into the abyss. Get a jump-start on offseason catharsis.

The Blue Jackets won 50 games and amassed 108 points during the regular season. Now, the regular season is supposed to mean little when the playoff season arrives. But come on. This team that won 50 games in 27 weeks can’t win one in the span of seven days?

The Jackets are down three games to none to the Pittsburgh Penguins, who can complete a sweep with a victory in Game 4 tonight at Nationwide Arena. It’s just nigh embarrassing.

The Jackets were swept from the first round by the Detroit Red Wings in 2009 and it wasn’t a shock. Game 4 was a thrill, and it was supposed to portend to good things. It didn’t. The Jackets pushed the Penguins to six games in 2014, which was nice. It was supposed to be a bridge to a new era. How long is this bridge?

Yes, the Penguins are, at present, the defending Stanley Cup champions. But, invincible? They are starting their backup goaltender, Marc-Andre Fleury, because Matt Murray is injured. Important pieces of their team — Evgeni Malkin, Trevor Daley, Olli Maatta — shook off injuries to suit up for Game 1 (and Games 2 and 3 and, presumably, 4).

continued

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Rocking In Nashville

from Joe Rexrode of The Tennessean,

Nashville has never held a 3-0 lead in a playoff series. And Nashville has never looked more like a Stanley Cup contender than it does now. If the Blackhawks can’t win four straight games to become the fifth team in NHL history to overcome a 3-0 deficit, the Western Conference is an attainable prize for the Predators.

“It’s a good position to be up right now, up 3-0, but I think we still have to treat this next game like we treated Game 3,” Rinne said. “Nothing should change.”

For much of Monday, it looked like the Blackhawks were going to change things up and make this a series. After it looked like the Predators would squander that stirring start.

The club has been criticized for ticket policies designed to keep out opposing fans, but it worked out OK for them in Game 3. There might have been 100 red jerseys in the crowd.

This is still a small fan base compared to most, in a place where kids playing hockey on a frozen pond is not a thing, and these people follow a 19-year-old franchise that has never been past the second round of the playoffs. But the place was sold out and legitimately rocking for all 41 regular-season games. Monday was another level entirely.

more

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Back To The Drawing Board For The Washington Capitals

from Dan Steinberg of D.C. Sports Bog,

“Can we talk people off the ledge?” Jill Sorenson asked early in Comcast SportsNet’s Caps postgame show Monday night, following Washington’s 4-3 overtime loss in Game 3.

Her question made sense. Vast numbers of the network’s voting audience were saying they were “extremely concerned” now that the Capitals had gone down two games to one against the underdog Maple Leafs. Fans online were mostly immolating themselves in a blind rage. The most optimistic of them were saying that even if the Capitals came back to win this series, they would be in trouble against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the next round. There were too many references to Washington’s tortured past to count.

So, uh … can we talk people off the ledge?

Analyst Alan May gave it a go, talking about how the Caps need to move the puck faster, play with more urgency, be crisper in clearing their zone and make fewer mistakes. Then it was Brent Johnson’s turn.

“I can’t take it,” he said. “I can’t force anyone to step off the ledge. I truly can’t. The only reason why is because this isn’t the regular season. How many times can you win the Presidents’ Trophy, over and over? They have the character in the dressing room, but you’re facing the Toronto Maple Leafs, night in, night out. You know their game plan. You know what they’re going to do. You have to hit the drawing board and figure out what you’ve got to do to go against that, to shake them off their game.”

continued

Watch the game highlights below...

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

A Good Day And Bad Night In Boston

from Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe,

It was shaping up as a perfect Marathon Monday.

Postcard weather. A seamless 26-mile Boston Strong race with the usual thousands of feel-good/inspirational stories. A third straight win for the Red Sox at Fenway. And finally . . . the Bruins brought the NHL playoffs back to the Garden and recovered from a 3-0 second-period deficit against the Ottawa Senators.

But they could not finish. The Bruins battled back to a 3-3 tie, and gave us some great hockey, only to lose in the sixth minute of overtime on a power-play goal by Bobby Ryan after a cheesy roughing penalty on Bruins forward Riley Nash. Garden fans peppered the ice with water bottles to show their disgust with the zebras. Ottawa leads the series, two games to one.

It had been more than 1,000 days since the last Stanley Cup tournament game at the Garden and this is not the way we visualized the Bruins’ return to the playoffs. All three games in this series have been decided by one goal, two in overtime, but it feels like the Senators have the Bruins’ number. Going back to last season, Ottawa has beaten Boston eight times in nine games. At this moment, it’s hard to remember that the Bruins had a 1-0 series lead and a 3-1 lead in the third period of Game 2 before they folded in the final minutes.

When it was suggested by a reporter that the call must have been “demoralizing,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said, “I agree with you, 100 percent.

“Very demoralizing. Demoralizing and disappointing. But they called it. Once they called it, it’s our job to kill it.’’

continued

Watch the penalty call in OT in the highlight package below...

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, Ottawa Senators, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

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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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