Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the LA Times,
If being scratched for one of the few times in his long career was a message sent to Doug Weight, it was momentarily lost on the veteran center.
“I don’t need a message,” Weight said, when asked about being in street clothes Sunday for the Ducks’ shootout win. “I’ve played 1,100 games. The message was I have to be at the rink at 7 o’clock [to work].”
from the Ducks Blog a the OC Register,
The magnitude of Sunday night’s game between the Ducks and Dallas Stars at Honda Center cannot be overstated.
By winning, the Ducks would move to the brink of clinching fourth place in the NHL’s Western Conference and home-ice advantage in the opening round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. A regulation loss to Dallas, meanwhile, would leave the Ducks no longer in control of their own destiny in pursuit of the all-important fourth spot and home ice.
With a regulation victory, the Ducks would have 98 points and need just one point in their final two games to secure fourth place because the maximum number of points the Stars and Calgary Flames could reach would be 98.
from Randy Youngman of the OC Register,
Next up is Dallas, the team right behind the Ducks in the Pacific and a possible first-round playoff opponent.
“Now Sunday is huge,” Ducks winger Teemu Selanne said after Friday night’s disappointing loss. “We would pretty much clinch fourth place (in the West) by winning that game.”
But is it going to be difficult keeping their competitive edge now that the division title is out of reach?
“Maybe a little bit,” Selanne said. “We know how good a team we have here . . . so it kind of hard to motivate yourself for anything other than that (first place). But our biggest challenge now is to find momentum going into the playoffs.”
Coach Randy Carlyle said Friday night he doesn’t think there will be a letdown after watching their division title hopes evaporate.
from Ducks Blog at the OC Register,
Ducks goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere went through a full practice Thursday and pronounced himself set for duty in Friday night’s game against the San Jose Sharks at Honda Center.
“I’m ready to play,” said Giguere, who has sat out the past three games because of back spasms.
Now the question becomes whether Ducks coach Randy Carlyle will go back to Giguere, or stick with the hot hand of rookie Jonas Hiller, who has stopped 102 of 106 opposition shots while filling in for Giguere.
from Mark Whicker of the OC Register,
Last month Brian Burke told The Hockey News that the 2008 Ducks reminded him of an awakening bear.
He said they appeared drowsy at times, and that at other times they’d stretch an arm and flex a paw and growl a bit, and then they might nod off again.
“But at the end,” Burke promised, “you’ve still got a bear.”
Well, the end is near, and we search for a sign of a Kodiak moment.
Instead, the Ducks look cooked in the Pacific Division race and seem consigned to a fourth seed and a first-round series against the Dallas Stars, if they can stop their freefall.
from the LA Times,
Pronger has been a regular participant in the workouts and morning skates to stay sharp until his suspension ends April 6 in the regular-season finale against Phoenix.
“Nobody’s perfect out there,” Pronger said Friday. “We all have to work on our weak points out there and make sure we continue to improve. I can use this time to make sure I’m staying as close to the top of my game as I can and also work on the things that are lacking.
“Hopefully I’ll be able to come back from this and be in better shape than I was when I left.”
from the LA Times,
If he were still in Vancouver or playing in another hockey-first market, Bertuzzi’s lack of output would be a major topic of discussion. Yet the offensive struggles barely register in Anaheim as he’s merely been one of many contributors of a veteran-laden team that’s on the verge of clinching a playoff spot for the third consecutive season.
After seven-plus polarizing seasons with the Canucks, Bertuzzi is glad to not be the center of attention.
“You’ve got a lot of real good guys in this room,” Bertuzzi said. “It makes coming down to the rink pretty enjoyable when you’ve got an atmosphere like that. A pretty easy team to fit into and find your niche.
“At this time of my career, it’s a perfect situation for me to be in. Right now, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”
From Pierre LeBrun at CP,
Along with the NHL-leading Detroit Red Wings, we argue the three Pacific Division contenders make up the best four teams in the NHL. And one will almost surely be out in the first round. Hence the urgency of the six total games involving the Sharks, Ducks and Stars.
“Those games against Dallas and San Jose are critical,” said Carlyle.
If you think you’ve seen this movie before, it’s because you have. The same three clubs also came down to the wire last season and finished three points apart, the Ducks winning the division with 110 points followed by San Jose (107) and Dallas (107).
Update 4:58pm ET: Link fixed, changed to the original CP report via Google. Sorry ‘bout the botched one earlier.
From Chris Zelkovich at the Toronto Star,
The National Hockey League says it has no concerns that team broadcasters might be hiding incriminating video evidence. But Mike Murphy, the league’s senior vice-president of hockey operations, says the NHL is looking at ways of ensuring such a thing doesn’t happen.
The issue of accountability was raised following a game in Anaheim last Wednesday that saw Ducks defenceman Chris Pronger stomp on Vancouver Canucks forward Ryan Kesler’s leg. The original game broadcasts from Vancouver and Anaheim, watched in the NHL’s Toronto war room, failed to produce proof of the attack.
But Vancouver broadcasters discovered video proof the next day on a tape machine in the production unit used by Anaheim television.
From Dan Rosen at NHL.com,
This June will mark the 10-year anniversary of the Detroit Red Wings winning their second straight Stanley Cup championship. During the ensuing decade, the Los Angeles Lakers, New York Yankees, Denver Broncos and New England Patriots repeated as champions in their respective sports.
Detroit remains the last NHL team to do so.
The Devils came close in 2001, the closest of any team since those Red Wings, but like many former Cup winners, their reign at the top of the hockey world came crashing down in defeat. That’s exactly what the Anaheim Ducks now are hoping to avoid.
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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