Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
This team has stayed largely intact for five or six years, led by a core that has grown up together and lifted the Stanley Cup together but now must consider the possibility it will be broken up in order to fix the weaknesses that led to this stunning playoff deficit.
General Manager Dean Lombardi carefully lifted this team out of the rubble of failure and away from the negative influences of a losing culture, nurturing a group he assembled by emphasizing scouting and deliberate player development. He was rewarded with a team that formed a strong bond and exhibited good, self-policing chemistry.
Key players Kopitar, Dustin Brown, Jonathan Quick, Drew Doughty and Voynov were the product of drafting and development. So were role players Trevor Lewis, Dwight King, and, more recently, Jake Muzzin. Using draft picks and new assets, Lombardi traded for Justin Williams, Jarret Stoll, Jeff Carter and Mike Richards. Later, he added Robyn Regehr. Willie Mitchell was a smart free-agent signing.
But while it's great that they get along and sacrifice for each other, their struggles against the Sharks suggest this mix needs some stirring and new ingredients.
from Mike Sielski of the Philadelphia Inquirer,
The protocol of the NHL postseason requires Steve Mason to stay quiet about the nature of his "upper-body injury." So even before a Flyers' public-relations representative began shooing reporters away from Mason's locker after the team skated at the Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday morning, Mason peeled off his pads and betrayed nothing about either his condition or the meeting he would soon have with head coach Craig Berube and goaltending coach Jeff Reese.
Every clue - subtle and overt, from how the Flyers have handled the day-to-day finessing of Mason's practice time to his measured, non-denial denials to all questions about his health - suggests that he suffered a concussion when the Pittsburgh Penguins' Jayson Megna knocked him to the ice on April 12.
"I'm not getting into all that," he said before leaving. Presumably, he reserved his frankness for his sit-down with Berube and Reese, and, well, here we are. Mason emerged from that meeting as the erstwhile starting goalie, and the Flyers emerged from Tuesday night down two games to one after a 4-1 loss to the Rangers, their season in peril, their sport's most important position once more a source of angst for them.
Only the Flyers could pull this off. Only the Flyers could tell the world that their No. 1 goaltender was 100 percent healthy again and have it blossom into controversy.
from Mike Boone of Hockey Inside/Out,
Game Four exemplified what the Canadiens were able to accomplish all through their series against the Lightning.
• They got goals from each of their four lines.
• Outside of a brief letdown in the early part of the third period, the Canadiens got airtight defence and rock-solid goaltending from Carey Price.
• Unlike the Lightning, the Canadiens didn’t take bad penalties.
• 11 skaters made the scoresheet.
• Steven Stamkos was held to two shots on goal.
• Rene Bourque continued his postseason renaissance with seven shots on goal, plus three that Tampa Bay blocked and three that missed the net. Bourque, who was a healthy scratch for nine games this season – including five in March – had three goals and 22 SoG against the Lightning. His line, with Lars Eller and Brian Gionta, was the Canadiens’ best in the series.
CBC hockey commentator Ron MacLean apologizes for his comment about French-Canadian referees during Tuesday night’s Stanley Cup playoff game between the Montreal Canadiens and Tampa Bay Lightning.
MacLean suggested during the second intermission that a French-Canadian referee should not be working the game. The context for his comment was a controversial call by another French-Canadian referee in the third game of the first-round playoff series that Lightning coach Jon Cooper said cost his team the game.
MacLean said the fact the NHL assigned another French-Canadian referee to officiate Game 4 was meant to send a message to Cooper.
MacLean’s view was challenged by fellow Hockey Night in Canada commentator Elliotte Friedman, who said it was “unfair” to suggest French-Canadian referees were partial to Montreal.
continued and watch the HNIC segment below regarding the referee comment...
Just about 24 hour after Minnesota Wilds' Matt Cooke took out Colorado Avalanche Tyson Barrie with a knee on knee hit it would be Red Wings defenseman Brendan Smith with a similar hit himself on Bruins Brad Marchand, only this time after initial outrage at Smith for being reckless on social media turned on Marchand claiming it was a dive and he was faking it.
Just about 3 1/2 minutes of goals...
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
Carcillo, inserted into the lineup at the expense of fresh-faced freshman Jesper Fast, who seemed out of his element through the opening two matches at the Garden. Carcillo, of course had been persona non grata around the Garden for years since whaling on Marian Gaborik right here in the Flyers’ building on Jan. 22, 2010 while wearing No. 13 for the home team.
But then Carcillo slipped into the Blueshirt this January after a trade with the Kings … and though Ranger fans might only have been lukewarm in receiving him, he could probably get a parade through Manhattan right now after his hard-edged effort last night that culminated with him scoring the match’s final goal.
The winger with previous anger-management issues played with admirable restraint for most of the night, taking one over-aggressive penalty that can be understood if not quite condoned.
Carcillo took an uncalled (and maybe unintentional?) forearm/elbow to the jaw from Matt Read early in the third that knocked him down, if not out, and wasn’t especially pleased about it. He cleared encroaching Flyers from Henrik Lundqvist’s crease, shoving them away. He added fiber to the diet.
No. 13 was a presence, and a constructive one, and when he returned to the bench with arms held high after he scored at 10:53 redirecting Boyle’s two-on-two feed past Ray Emery, he was greeted by front-row fans with upraised middle fingers signifying just how they considered him “No. 1” or something like that.
more and watch the Carcillo highlights below...
George here on the late shift...As I attempt to pen a little recap of a disheartening Wings loss, I at least got to see Jimmy Fallon make fun of NHL players' head-shots, playing a high-school-style "Most Likely to Be Voted to..." game:
Pittsburgh's Beau Bennett, Simon Despres and Matt Niskanen and Boston's Brad Marchand, Dougie Hamilton and Zdeno Chara all received jeers.
Don Cherry and Ron MacLean discussed the first period of the Tampa/Montreal game and a few other topics including Cherry's view of the Matt Cooke hit last night.
Gary Bettman is in Philadelphia tonight for the Rangers/Flyers game and did a Q & A with the media...
from Randy Miller of NJ.com,
• On whether he likes shootouts:
Bettman: “I like the shootout in the way we use it. I wouldn’t like the shootout in the playoffs, and the fact is I like the shootout better than ending a game in a tie. And so the issue is can we tweak overtime so maybe there are slightly fewer shootouts? But the fact is, no matter what your opinion is – from the media or hockey person or fan – watch the buildings when the shootouts are going on. Everybody is on their feet. Everybody is interested. Everybody is watching. When games were ending in ties, that wasn’t so much the case in overtime. ... Nobody is looking for a fundamental adjustment. We’re looking more for a tweak to see if maybe we can get a few more games decided in overtime, but the shootout is a concept that’s here to stay."
• On the salary cap going up next season from $64.3 million this season:
Bettman: “The system is designed to deal with fluctuations in the Canadian dollar because hockey related revenues, which is used to compute the salary cap, is done in US dollars. So if the Canadian dollar goes down, the cap isn’t as high. Don’t hold me to this, we’re somewhere in the $69 million to $70 million as a guess. We’re don’t have all the data. We don’t have all of the reports from the clubs yet. That would be a wild guess. It’s a ballpark guess.”
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