Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
These fans, part of the Ducks’ 32nd consecutive sellout crowd, cared that the Ducks improved their home playoff record to 8-2. The players sensed it and fed off it and loved it.
“We’ve been taking some heat, especially from the Canadian media, about what the crowds are like here,” Ducks defenseman Sean O’Donnell said, “and I think anyone that was in the building, whether the home team or not, felt the chills in there.”
That’s chills as in spine-tingling, not as in cold shoulder.
“They were really into it,” Giguere said of the fans. “The people that are here right now are knowledgeable. They love the game. The price they pay for a ticket, they’d better like the game.
“It puts you into the game and it’s exciting. It really helps you when they’re for you, that’s for sure.”
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from Al Strachan at Fox Sports,
But there is still that nagging doubt, even though it’s a lot smaller than it used to be, concerning the Senators’ ability to get up off the canvas and deliver a knockout blow.
In every other area, though, they’re the superior team.
There are those who still keep insisting that goaltender Ray Emery is suspect. But there’s almost nothing to choose between the goals-against averages of Emery and Jean-Sebastien Giguere, and unlike Giguere, Emery actually makes some saves.
Giguere, with his inflated padding, simply slides back and forth across the crease like a goalie in a table hockey game and by virtue of his monstrous equipment, leaves the shooter with no view of the net. He’s not a goalie; he’s a human eclipse.
Anaheim Coach Randy Carlyle today.
Q. Randy, have you guys been around long enough not to be nervous or is there some excitement, nerves, what is the feeling?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: I think there’s always nerves. I think at this time of the year you can’t help but feel the emotions and nervousness that are associated with entering into the Stanley Cup Finals. I know it’s been well documented about how people react to these intense situations. And I don’t think as coaches you’re any different.
Q. Is that perhaps the biggest obstacle you face the first ten minutes of this game are settling them down?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: I think in some ways, yes; some ways, no. I think both teams, with the amount of days rest that they’ve had, that there will have to be some sort of governor put on the emotional level.
I think it all bodes back to how well you start and what type of puck control that you can accomplish early. And that leads to hopefully some positives for your group.
from the Vancouver Province,
You can go a mile in any direction of the Honda Center—the Ducks’ home rink—and you’re hard-pressed to find any evidence of the Stanley Cup final.
You can’t go five feet in Ottawa without being reminded the Senators are in that same final.
So it’s a different experience—as different as Queen Elizabeth and Queen Latifah—which might explain why Ducks GM Brian Burke was strangely subdued on Sunday. The table was set for an epic Burke rant and, under different circumstances, he would have obliged the assembled media by howling about the forces conspiring against his team and the lack of respect being shown the Ducks.
But this time, he didn’t have to because just about everyone in the hockey world is doing it for him.
“It’s a Canada-U.S. thing,” Burke said. “A lot of the Canadian media are going to pick the Canadian team. “That’s fine. We’re content to be the underdog in this.”
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
How did Anaheim become the under-ducks in this series?
“A lot of the Canadian media are going to pick the Canadian team and that’s fine,” answered Ducks general manager Brian Burke, who knows something about how the Canadian media operates, from his days running the Vancouver Canucks. “We have more Canadians on our team than Ottawa does. That’s fine. We’re content to be the underdog in this and it’s clear to us that we are. We like our team and we’re happy with our group.
“We’re happy to be here.”
from the CP via Yahoo,
The team is representing the nation’s capital in the Stanley Cup final, but there will be fans all across the country cheering against them during Monday night’s series opener.
Just ask Michael Fox, a self-described “big-time” Toronto Maple Leafs fan who said he’ll be rooting for the Ducks all the way.
“If it were the Leafs in the final, they’d be cheering against us right to the bitter end,” he said of Senators fans while lunching at Wayne Gretzky’s bar in Toronto. “They’d probably show up at the game and cheer against us just out of spite, so I have my reasons to cheer for the Ducks.”
Fox said he doesn’t buy into the notion of the Sens as “Canada’s team.”
from Ross McKeon of the San Francisco Chronicle,
When Scott Niedermayer hoists the Stanley Cup following Game 5 a week from Wednesday night, it will culminate what was almost predestined with the events of last July 3.
Anaheim will be the first team in the Pacific time zone to win the Cup since it was awarded to the Victoria Cougars of the Western Hockey League for their 1925 conquest of the Montreal Canadiens.
California will boast an NHL champion for the first time….
And it will be thanks to the bold yet confident move made by Ducks general manager Brian Burke, who wasn’t afraid to part with a bushel of riches to acquire defenseman Chris Pronger from Edmonton.
from Terry Jones at the Edmonton Sun,
Has there ever been a more popular player, a more sentimental favourite to win a Stanley Cup than Teemu Selanne?
Ray Bourque maybe. Lanny McDonald perhaps. But not many.
And don’t even talk to Anaheim Duck fans about Chris Pronger and Scott Neidermayer. Selanne’s their guy. Always has been.
from Marcia C. Smith of the OC Register,
Hockey – follow us closely – is generally played in the less tanned regions of the world where people drink Molson, hunt moose and survive inhumane sub-70-degree winters that make roads, sidewalks and the surfaces of frozen-over ponds dangerously slippery and cold.
Ottawa, the capital of Canada, has embraced hockey, along with Celine Dion worship, even though the Senators have been an NHL franchise since only 1992….
Since 1993, the Anaheim Ducks have forsaken the Southern California beach culture to convert Orange County into parka-wearing fans of this boxing-on-blades sport.
They play atop a 1¼-inch sheet of man-made ice cooled to 18 degrees, inside a giant marble and glass icebox formerly named The Pond.
Despite their webbed feet, the Ducks skate on blades of steel sharp enough to cut a ripe tomato. They wield long, slender sticks made of graphite and wood.
from the LA Times,
So far, the Ducks are heading into the NHL’s Stanley Cup finals against the Ottawa Senators on Monday with far less buzz than would accompany a team from a traditional hockey town or, for that matter, a championship run by the Angels, Dodgers or Lakers.
No preponderance of flags waving from cars or wall-to-wall jabber on sports talk radio. No fans naming their first-born Teemu in a desperate attempt to win tickets.
On a recent evening at various sports bars around the Honda Center in Anaheim, patrons wore baseball caps and basketball jerseys. There wasn’t a Ducks hat or shirt in sight.
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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.
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