Kukla's Korner Hockey
Stars Head Coach Lindy Ruff
On the Stars’ resiliency tonight:
“Obviously we didn’t play our best first period. I thought we were slow to move the puck and didn’t quite get our feet moving. We had a couple of good offensive chances that we were just a little bit slow to. We talked about trying to get a little more speed through the neutral zone and getting more pucks in behind their defense and then that was probably one of the better second periods we’ve played.”
On his comments to the team in the first intermission:
“I just said I wasn’t happy. I thought we got outworked. I thought we weren’t playing smart enough and it was our turn to answer and that group in there answered the bell. It’s not often that we get outworked but I thought after that, the last forty was as hard as the boys could go, they emptied the tank.”
On the physical nature of tonight’s game:
“That’s just playoff hockey. It was fun for everybody I think. It’s just playoff emotion. I really feel like we’re in a playoff series now.”
On the series going forward:
“It’s starting from scratch. We’ve got to go there and win a game. We’ve got to win a game in Anaheim. We’ve got to be better and I have to do a better job with the team. I thought in Game two we played, in my eyes, a real good game but we didn’t finish and we made some big mistakes. We eliminated some of those big mistakes here and it’s now just focusing on one game…no more. We’ve done it all year.”
- David Backes did not skate with the team today but Ken Hitchcock said...
via Mark Lazerus tweet,
"He’s not going to play unless he’s healthy. You never know, he could be skating in another rink. Lot of rinks in Chicago."
So going by Hitchcock's remark, Backes is a game time decision.
Hitchcock also menioned Brenden Morrow is out for the series. Morrow was seen wearing a walking boot today.
- The Anaheim Ducks announced Teemu Selanne will be a healthy scratch for the Ducks tonight.
from Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News,
Game 3 between the Stars and Ducks featured four roughing penalties, two slashing penalties and three 10-minute misconduct penalties, and Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau blamed the Stars for that.
“I think it was pretty obvious out there,” Boudreau said when asked if the Stars crossed the line. “We’ve warned the refs about them, anyway. It’s just something that I guess you do anything to win, but it’s not something that I think our team would do. We’ll take them and be as physical and be as mean as they want, but obviously they know there’s something wrong with his jaw, so they’re going after it.”
Boudreau was especially upset that Antoine Roussel took on Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf, who was hit in the face with a slap shot in Game 1 and is wearing a cage to protect his face. Roussel was in a shoving match with Getzlaf and touched the mask. Getzlaf then threw a punch at Roussel and Roussel started punching back.
“You’ve got to stay as disciplined as you can, but you’ve got to protect yourself, too,” Getzlaf said. “That’s part of the game. Obviously, I never expected them to target my face that much, but that’s the way it goes I guess.”
from Lance Pugmire of the LA Times,
Maybe a man who has steered his teams to six regular-season division titles but never gotten one past a second-round playoff series is supposed to keep quiet about his longing to hold the Stanley Cup.
That’ll never be Bruce Boudreau.
The Ducks coach, who will lead his Western Conference top-seeded team into the postseason Wednesday night against the wild-card Dallas Stars, unabashedly has obsessed about the best-known trophy in sports.
“Think about it every single day of my life,” Boudreau told The Times on Monday. “When I’m by myself, when I take a walk … since I’ve been 10 years old.
“It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do. It’s not a question of the will and the want not being there. It’s a question of, sometimes you’ve got the opportunity and you’ve got to make good on it.”
from Lance Pugmire of the LA Times,
Among the three goalies the Western Conference top-seeded Ducks can choose to start Wednesday in their Stanley Cup playoff opener against the Dallas Stars, the one with the most wins doesn’t expect to be in net.
Jonas Hiller, who went 29-13-7 for the Ducks (54-20-8) but lost his final three games, was last off the ice at Monday’s practice and was passed over in favor of 20-year-old rookie John Gibson on Sunday in what was a meaningless game in the standings.
“I’ve had some sleepless nights … I’ve not been the happiest guy in the world to be around lately. You can ask my wife,” Hiller said after Monday’s team practice in Anaheim.
Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau said he expects to finalize his decision about who will start Game 1 by Tuesday, and it probably will be 20-win rookie Frederik Andersen, who beat the Kings on Saturday.
from Jeff Miller of the OC Register (paid sub.) at the Bellingham Herald,
"We've put ourselves in a very good position to make a run for it," Ducks forward Kyle Palmieri said. "We feel good and feel confident in ourselves. There's not a guy in this locker room who would be less than devastated with anything other than winning the Stanley Cup."
Yet, unexpected is not unusual in the NHL in springtime, this being the one sport where having home-field advantage often proves to be not even marginally advantageous.
Strange things happen all the time, like just Friday, when Daniel Winnik showed up on the Ducks' practice ice protected by a full-face cage. Afterward, Boudreau announced that Winnik had suffered a broken nose, but the coach claimed he wasn't entirely sure where, when or how the injury happened.
"He's just ugly," Boudreau cracked, and the guy really does have a great sense of humor. Maybe this is the postseason Boudreau will be around long enough to keep people laughing.
If not, it will be another sad conclusion after another glorious but overhyped regular season, a franchise valued at $300 million unworthy yet again.
from Andrew Knoll of the New York Times,
His label as hockey’s Everyman has worn a bit thin, but Anaheim Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau continues to produce results that are anything but ordinary.
The Ducks clinched their second consecutive Pacific Division title on Wednesday with a 5-2 victory against San Jose. Heading into Saturday night’s game against Los Angeles, they had 52 victories, a franchise record and four more than the 2007 team, which won the Stanley Cup. Their sights are now set on earning the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference and the Presidents’ Trophy as the team with the most points in the N.H.L.
When Boudreau, 59, took over for Randy Carlyle in the 2011-12 season, the Ducks were in decline. But after a weak start, Boudreau nearly guided them to the playoffs, and now, in his second full season at the helm, has them in contention again. The Ducks have been one of the league’s best in holding leads after two periods and are the only team above .500 when they trail first. His players cite a personal connection with Boudreau as a big reason for their success.
“He gets to know the players, he gets to know their families and he wants to know how you’re doing at home,” said right wing Corey Perry, one of four holdovers from the 2007 team. “Those little things, they help. When you have a great relationship with your coach, you’re going to play hard for him.”
from David Pollak of Working the Corners at the Mercury News,
Players rarely talk about giving up soft goals because that pretty much reflects on the man in the pads who was the last line of defense.
But they used that term Wednesday night after the Sharks lost 5-2 to the Anaheim Ducks and no one would challenge the usage. The Sharks played well, undermined by three goals that got past Antti Niemi before Todd McLellan replaced him with Alex Stalock just before the game’s midpoint.
“We played a heck of a game,” said Joe Thornton, who professed he was fine despite leaving the game late in obvious pain (more on that later). “We were in their end the majority of the night, but a couple soft goals and you lose the game. That’s all.”
All season McLellan has done everything possible to quash any hint of a goalie debate – let’s not even call it a controversy. Niemi was his No. 1, Stalock was the backup.
But Wednesday night, when asked directly if Niemi was “his guy going into the playoffs,” McLellan was hedged.
continued and watch the game highlights below...
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Tune in for the San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Ducks and you might be confused, because the spectacle you'll be treated to will resemble a no-holds-barred postseason affair.
Kind of like when the Sharks beat the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday 2-1. Or when the Sharks beat the Ducks 3-2 on March 20. Or when the Ducks beat the Kings 2-1 on March 15.
If this were soccer, we might be able to create a separate competition during the season, calling it the California Cup, perhaps. I'd pay to watch every single game between these three teams.
Two of them are guaranteed to face off in the opening round of the Stanley Cup playoffs next week, with the Kings -- in third place in the Pacific Division -- waiting to see whether it's the Ducks or Sharks who finish second in the division and get rewarded with an all-out war with the 2012 Cup champs in the opening round.
So, yeah, there's definitely something on the line Wednesday night. The Ducks can clinch the Pacific Division title with a win in regulation over San Jose.
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 email@example.com