Kukla's Korner Hockey
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.)
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
But rather than reflecting the “old” NHL, where teams like New Jersey used to lie back in the neutral zone, grab onto opposing players as they tried to gain the offensive zone and thus limiting much offensive creativity, the Ducks seem to have found the perfect hybrid of the old and the new.
Under Anaheim GM Brian Burke’s tutelage—and making good use of prospects acquired by Murray when he was Ducks GM—Anaheim has achieved success by using a lethal blend of size and speed to shut down the Senators.
As Burke is fond of saying, he wants a team that can do it all—play with speed, punish opposing teams and, if push comes to shove, drop the gloves.
Q. I was just wondering, in last night’s game, one of the keys seems to be that Sammy Pahlsson, not only did he score the goal, but he was pretty dominant in the face-off circle. Tell me a little bit why you think when he’s on like he was last night, he’s such a good face-off man.
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: I think at times face-offs are a collective stat. It’s is not just the one guy. As you notice in a lot of the playoffs, certain center icemen, they have the tie-up mode going on and the wingers jump in and help recover all the loose pucks. I think that has a loot to do with the percentage also.
And the stats dictate. But it’s not just one individual that’s competing for the puck off the face-off, there’s a group of players. Sammy has his share of secrets and techniques that he likes to use. And every good face-off guy does.
And he hones those skills on a day-to-day basis in practice. He does lots of work on it after practice, and we think those little things pay off in the end. And surprisingly you would think he’s a small-bodied guy, but he’s over 210 pounds and six-one. So he’s a bigger, thicker-bodied individual than he appears on the ice.
from the AP via the NY Post,
“Knowing the intensity and the atmosphere that’s created in Canadian cities with the culture of the game, we thought it was in our best interests that we moved and got away from downtown,” coach Randy Carlyle said. “We think it’s time to focus. We can sacrifice our interaction with the public and focus on the task at hand.”
In other words, this is a business trip for a determined Anaheim team that holds a 2-0 lead over the Senators in the best-of-seven Stanley Cup finals, which resume at Ottawa on Saturday night.
The resort - about a 30-minute drive from Scotiabank Place - also happens to have its share of good luck. It’s the same place the New Jersey Devils stayed when they eliminated Ottawa in seven games in the 2003 Eastern Conference finals.
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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