Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the OC Register,
Facing the prospect of falling behind the Red Wings three games to one while playing without one of their top players and team leaders, the Ducks rallied around the adversity to post a 5-3 victory in Game 4.
They haven’t lost since, closing out Detroit in six games and taking the first two against Ottawa to build a five-game winning streak.
“It was a real wake-up call,” Ducks defenseman Sean O’Donnell said after Friday’s practice at Scotiabank Place. “Our team had to get together and say, ‘What’s going on here? We’re down, 2-1.’ We did have to suck it up there without Chris in Game 4, and I think that’s really kind of emboldened us. We’ve really come together and played well since then.”
from the LA Times,
All you need to know about Ottawa’s inept offense in the Stanley Cup finals is that in two games, the Ducks have limited the Senators to 36 shots on goal, with 15 of them coming in man-advantage situations.
Playing a style of defense similar to an NFL Cover 2 scheme with two safeties deep, the Ducks have made it difficult for the Senators to get the puck into the attacking zone.
“It’s not just that, but they have a couple of real good safeties back there,” Ottawa forward Mike Comrie said of the Ducks’ Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger.
continued (reg. req.)
from Bob McKenzie of TSN,
Kunitz will take the game-day skate on Saturday and there is a chance that the doctor could be re-visited—though the doctor is in Anaheim, so whether he gets X-Rays, nobody knows for sure, but this guy looks like he’s getting closer and closer.
Is he perfect? No, not even close. But, he provides a physical element and, the way that he was shooting the puck in practice suggests that Kunitz could be a player at some point in Game 3, 4, 5 or 6, when it appeared at the start of the series that he only had an outside shot at playing in Game 6 or 7.
I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s in the game pretty soon.
more plus other SCF bits…
from the OC Register,
The Ducks-Ottawa Finals also highlight the increased importance of making the right personnel decisions in the new NHL. The Ducks and Senators front offices, NHL players and coaches said, focused on the right guys.
“There’s more to it than just how much money is spent,” Ducks captain Scott Niedermayer said.
“With the cap system,” Burke said, “if everybody has the same amount of money to spend, it’s going to come down to personnel decisions: scouting, coaching, management.”
from Ken Campbell at the Hockey News,
I think that’s the difference we have to make tomorrow,” said Senators coach Bryan Murray. “We have looked for the stretch guy often. They really get back with their ‘D’. They sit back very well and they’ve really got quality people back there. So we have to do a little different things in the attack as far as I’m concerned. We’re going to try, anyway.”
In fact, the Ducks are posturing themselves so deeply in the defensive zone that even when the Senators try to dump the puck in and go to get it, they’re being beaten to it.
“They cheat right back to the middle of the circle almost,” Murray said. “You try to dump it in and all it takes is two steps and they’re back to get the puck.”
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
O’Donnell is the local boy, who made good but now finds himself on the visiting side, with his team ahead 2-0 and in a position to put a stranglehold on the series with a victory tonight. His parents Emmett and Mary-Lou still live in the same house where he grew up, about a mile from the arena. Years ago, His dad worked as a security guard in the Corel Centre because he was a hockey fan and wanted to watch the games. O’Donnell was going home for a few hours after Friday’s practice to visit his parents before rejoining the Ducks for a team dinner later that night.
In short, his roots in the community still run deep — and he will even acknowledged that, for personal as opposed to competitive reasons, he wanted to see the Senators in the final.
from the National Post via Canada.com,
The morning after a postgame Ottawa dressing room that was rife with complaints about the dropping of the standard for hooking and holding in this series, Stephen Walkom, the NHL’s director of officiating, didn’t give an inch to the Senators’ complaints.
In fact, he filed them under G—for gamesmanship.
“I appreciate it, but I’m oblivious to it. That approach to influencing the game, it’s archaic,” the head ref said. “The coaches stand up for their team, and I stand up for my team. We don’t score goals or miss the net.”
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
Brian Burke sneers at conventional wisdom and just about anybody else in his way. It is part of who he is, part of what his hockey club has and is about to become.
The Anaheim Ducks look like their general manager, play like him, occasionally bark like him. They have edge and temper and the ability to annoy. Yet they play with purpose and intelligence and with a definitive and obvious style.
Burke isn’t your typical hockey man and this is not your typical hockey team.
from Jeffrey Simpson of the Globe and Mail,
A Senators fan finds it hard to admit the following: Ducks fans are good fans, even nice and knowledgeable ones. Walk around the Honda Center in a Senators sweater and nobody is abusive. A few drunks shout “Ottawa sucks,” but compared with the reception in New York, Philadelphia, Boston and especially Toronto, Anaheim is a team party.
Very few people lorded their team’s triumph over us battered Senators souls. Most Ducks fans, like most Americans, have only the vaguest notion of things Canadian, but they do sense that hockey counts up north.
Maiers certainly does. She’s been to the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto three times, a game in Montreal and the draft in Vancouver. She knows about hockey being hard-wired into the Canadian psyche, but she’s sorry: “I want the Cup.”
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
Giguere is finishing a contract that paid him $3.99 million this season. Winning the Cup, and perhaps a second Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player in the playoffs, would make him a very popular person the second that the free-agency period opens July 1.
Even if he isn’t the playoff MVP, he is destined to become a very, very rich man. The question is whether his paychecks will have a Ducks logo on them.
The NHL’s salary cap is expected to rise from $44 million to about $48.5 million next season, but the Ducks have a lot of high-priced players to get in under that limit.
They’re obligated to pay Chris Pronger $6.25 million and Scott Niedermayer $6.75 million and they’ll surely want to bring Teemu Selanne back after his 48-goal season.
more (reg. req.)
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 firstname.lastname@example.org