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Depth bedeviled Hawks in first-round sweep

The New York Post's Larry Brooks argues that the Blackhawks' top-heavy salary structure is not the reason that the Hawks were swept by the Nashville Predators:

The stars have to produce, which neither [Patrick] Kane nor ]Jonathan] Toews could do in the series in which Dennis Rasmussen scored Chicago’s only even-strength goal in what became the first 8-1 first-round sweep in NHL history.

Kane scored 30 goals in 68 games in Chicago’s three Cup championship years. When the Blackhawks lost consecutive first-round series in 2011 and 2012, No. 88 scored one goal in 13 matches. Probably not a coincidence.

More than Kane’s production was missing against the Predators, that much is obvious. Supporting pieces were unable to supply the depth that had been a critical part of the team’s championship runs. The defense is a bit too thin. The cap system has inflicted pain the way it is intended on perennial contenders.

But as [GM Stan] Bowman and his staff review the club’s demise following an unexpected 109-point season good for third overall in the NHL, there is no great need to overthink it.

The team’s most dynamic and productive player scored one goal. The team’s biggest stars — including Artemi Panarin and Artem Anisimov — were rendered mute. That will do it to any team in the NHL the way it always has, even when there was no such thing as a salary cap.

Brooks continues...

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: artem+anisimov, artemi+panarin, chicago+blackhawks, jonathan+toews, nashville+predators, patrick+kane, stan+bowman

Hockey Notes Of Interest

from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,

- Department of Dumb: Fans at Rogers Arena in Edmonton have access to the post-game coach’s press conference and it has led to some screaming and disruptive shouting. This is a working area for the coach and the media. It shouldn’t be available for post-game yelling.

- The Pegula family has taken a lot of heat for the firing of general manager Tim Murray and coach Dan Bylsma, but think of it this way: If you own a hockey team and you don’t think you have the right GM and the right coach, why continue with them? We’ve seen this in Toronto at other times: Too many owners in pro sport are too willing or too naive and therefore easily accept mediocrity.

- So now I wonder in this annoying age of instant replay and coach’s challenges: How many actual offside goals have I watched in my lifetime? ... What the NHL needs to come up: If you challenge a goal and you’re wrong, there has to be some kind of punishment.

- So if you’re Patrik Laine and Zach Werenski, do you go to Las Vegas for the party, where you’re not old enough to drink, or do you pass on the NHL Awards, knowing you’re not winning the Calder Trophy anyhow. Tough call ... I remember Alexander Mogilny refusing to go the NHL Awards because he wasn’t interested in winning any trophy, in his words, named for a Lady. He won the Lady Byng in 2003.


Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

The Minnesota Wild Comeback Ends In OT

from Michael Russo of the StarTribune,

The Wild didn't go quietly Saturday afternoon, but few will remember the Wild's franchise-best regular season now that the team couldn't even get past Game 5 of the first round.

Once again, the effort was there, and other than the first 10 ½ minutes, so was the better play. But in the end, the Wild couldn't complete a third-period comeback from two goals down by losing 4-3 in a season-eliminating overtime.

"What is this, five years in a row? I'm sick of it," said center Erik Haula, who was elevated when Eric Staal sustained a scary-looking head injury in the second period. "We're all sick of it."

A team with Stanley Cup aspirations, one that went 30-6-3 during a three-month stretch, got career-best seasons from several players and scored a franchise-record 266 goals, ended in a thud to its former coach with eight goals in the entire series, four at 5-on-5.

read on

Below watch the game highlights adn handshakes...

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Local Or National TV Coverage?

from Neil Best of Newsday,

Rangers fans would watch their team in the playoffs no matter what channel it was on, but clearly they prefer their familiar local announcers, Sam Rosen and Joe Micheletti, when given the choice.

Through five games of the Rangers’ first-round Stanley Cup playoff series against the Canadiens, about 79 percent of the total audience in the New York area — 2.34 percent of homes — opted to watch on MSG or MSG-Plus.

Only 0.64 percent of homes watched on NBCSN.

NBC had exclusive coverage of Game 6 on Saturday night, making it the only game of the series that would not be seen on MSG Network.

This is the first time that coverage of games on NBC’s cable channels is allowed to be shown in the home markets of the teams involved — other than Pittsburgh and Boston — rather than being blacked out.


Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Rangers, NHL Media, Hockey Broadcasting, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Your Vezina Trophy Finalists

from NHL.com,

Washington Capitals goalie Braden Holtby is a finalist to win the Vezina Trophy for the second consecutive year.

Sergei Bobrovsky of the Columbus Blue Jackets and Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens were the other finalists announced Saturday, for the trophy awarded to the goalie adjudged to be the best at this position.


Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Losing Nikita Tryamkin Will Hurt The Vancouver Canucks

from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,

For a rebuilding team with chronic blue-line issues, Nikita Tryamkin seemed like the hockey gods’ gift to the Vancouver Canucks.

A 6-foot-7 physical marvel who skates like Kurt Browning, the 22-year-old Russian was an unfinished product, but his upside was immense. In two years he projected as a top-four D-man. Beyond that, it’s conceivable he could have been a top-pairing guy and maybe, just maybe, that No. 1 who’s eluded the Canucks over five decades.

Off all the Canucks’ prospects, Tryamkin was the most intriguing talent with the highest ceiling, which is why his decision to bolt for the KHL is a kick in the groin to the organization. More than anyone, Trevor Linden knows this, and while he disputes the circumstances under which Tryamkin left, the Canucks’ president is acutely aware of what he lost.

“He has the potential to be a top-pairing guy and a real difference-maker,” Linden said. “It’s disappointing, obviously. But we just assume everyone wants to live in North America and play in the NHL, and that’s not the case.”

Linden, like everyone with the Canucks, is dealing with the fallout of Tryamkin’s fateful decision and its wider implications. It will impact the expansion draft and its aftermath. It will impact their draft-day decisions.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: nikita+tryamkin

Video- Eric Staal Crashes Into The End Boards Head First

No update on his condition at this time.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: eric+staal

Whatever You Want To Call It, The Buffalo Sabres Need To Get The Right GM And Coach

from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,

So after overseeing the unsuccessful Tank and two more seasons of playoff no-shows, Murray was shown the door on Thursday, accompanied by Dan Bylsma, the coach he had hired to oversee what he believed was a rebuild. A day later, Sabres owner Terry Pegula did not do himself or his organization any favors when he dismissed the notion that The Tank ever happened.

“We rebuilt,” Pegula said at a news conference at KeyBank Center.

This is not what Pegula envisioned when he bought the Sabres in 2011. Six years later, Pegula’s investment is in tatters, reduced to a punchline. Under the owner’s watch, some good people have come in and been spit out in short order: Pat LaFontaine, Ted Black, and Ted Nolan being three earlier casualties.

It leaves Pegula in search of an executive to punch the reset button and aim a high-powered hose at a room full of losers. In terms of résumé, ex-Kings GM Dean Lombardi has no competition. Lombardi has two Stanley Cup rings and experience building Los Angeles and San Jose into regular contenders. 

more plus other hockey topics...

Filed in: NHL Teams, Buffalo Sabres, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Open Post- Today’s NHL Stanley Cup Playoff Games

Feel free to discuss the games today in the comment section.

My predictions, Minnesota, Montreal and Edmonton win today.

St. Louis @ Minnesota, STL leads 3-1, 3 p.m., SN, TVAS, NBC
Montreal @ NY Rangers, NYR leads 3-2, 8 p.m., CBC, TVAS, NBC
Edmonton @ San Jose, EDM leads 3-2, 10:30 p.m., SN, TVAS, NBCSN, NBCSCA

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink

Morning Line- Stan Bowman

via Mark Lazerus tweets,

"I'm completely disappointed. It's unacceptable to be where we are today. I'm frustrated, I'm angry. ... Complete failure."

 "We did not even come close to reaching the standard we have set. And that’s unacceptable. ... Not close to good enough."

"That starts with me. I need to be better. There's no doubt about it. I can promise you I will be better."

"Joel is our head coach. He will continue to be our head coach. And Joel and I will work together to make sure this never happens again"

added below at 10:54am, One more tweet from Lazerus....

added below at 11:09am, video of Stan Bowman statement,

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: stan+bowman

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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.

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 pk@kuklaskorner.com


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