Kukla's Korner Hockey
Expect the Sharks to lay the body on the Wings defense every chance they get tonight. How the Wings “D” holds up will be the key to the game tonight.
Brent Lebda is a game time decision and if he is not ready to go, Derek Meech will be the Wings 6th defenseman.
from Chris Stevenson of the Ottawa Sun via the Toronto Sun,
The Sabres-Senators final will be the fourth time these teams will meet in the playoffs with the Sabres having been victorious the previous three times.
The Senators were 5-2-1 against the Sabres in the regular season, which was punctuated by a tough hit by Senators forward Chris Neil on Sabres centre Chris Drury Feb. 22.
“I’m not going to say much about it,” Sabres forward Daniel Briere said.
“Everyone knows what happened this year. We expect a battle.”
added 8:47am, from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
From this neck of the woods in southern Ontario, at least, there is no Stanley Cup tournament matchup still on the horizon that seems likely to match the drama, sheer quality and excitement we should expect from the Sabres and Senators when they begin what seems likely to be a seven-game slugfest later this week.
The two teams that once played in the Bankruptcy Bowl only a few years ago are now in a showdown for the right to play for the Cup. Amazing.
from E.J. Hradek at ESPN,
“When you have a team like the Sabres down, you have to get them out,” said three-time Cup winner and Rangers winger Brendan Shanahan, referring to his team’s Game 5 meltdown. “We left the door open, and they walked through.”
In Game 6, when the Sabres found themselves on the right side of a one-goal lead in the dying seconds, they did what the Rangers couldn’t do—lock it down.
from the NY Post,
There’s no denying what Shanahan meant to the Rangers’ resurgence after signing with the team prior to this season. But there’s also no denying he is 38 and suffered a serious concussion this season that robbed him of some of his early-season excellence.
“I had a great time here and I’d love to be part of it again,” Shanahan said. “But I think there’s been an ‘if’ on my decision each year the past few years.”
from Ray Ratto of the San Francisco Chronicle,
Secondly, this isn’t a 1-8 thing; the Sharks are the lower-seeded team here, but most people saw them as one of the two best teams in the West (with Anaheim the other). The Wings were older and smaller and seemingly ripe for a beating from the right team.
Only the Sharks don’t seem to be that team after all.
Despite a regular season in which they walked the talk awfully convincingly, they have established a disturbing trend of getting complacent and/or compliant after 15 or so minutes in each of the first five games, and each game the difference has become increasingly pronounced.
from the AP via the Monterey Herald,
Though the Red Wings can finish off Wilson’s faltering club in Game 6 at the Shark Tank on Monday night, the coach isn’t certain what else he can do about his sputtering offense, his awful power play and a club that retreats into a shoddy defensive shell after taking the lead.
He’s just hoping his veteran players, outside of do-everything center Joe Thornton, finally take charge against the Red Wings, forcing their teammates to overcome an inexplicable pattern of retreating with a lead.
“It’s not by design,” Wilson said. “It just seems to have happened. We’ve got to get our defensemen to be more aggressive. We give up a lot of space in the neutral zone, and the ice tilts. ... We can prevent them from tilting the ice by playing hard for 60 minutes.”
from the AP via the CBC,
Alexander Ovechkin of the NHL’s Washington Capitals received a one-game suspension Sunday for a hit to the head of Switzerland player Valentin Wirz at the hockey world championship.
Ovechkin was ejected from Russia’s 6-3 win at 8:42 of the first period for a check to the head of Wirz, who needed to be helped off the ice.
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
After beating the Rangers 4-2 in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference final, the Sabres will face the Ottawa Senators, who are back in the conference final for the first time since 2003. The series may not begin until next Saturday in Buffalo in order to accommodate NBC, the NHL’s primary U.S. television network.
“That line deserves a lot of credit,” Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff said of Hecht and linemates Drew Stafford and Dainius Zubrus. Their primary task was to shut down the Rangers’ big line of Jaromir Jagr, Michael Nylander and Martin Straka. Ruff had them changing constantly on the fly to get that matchup.
more on the game today…
from The Toque,
Hockey is Canada’s greatest game, but it’s also one of the most dangerous, if you exclude fringe sports such as the javelin catch, live grenade hot potato, and grizzly wrestling. You might be surprised to learn that in Canada, one of the top ten causes of death is hockey-related drowning.
It’s chilling, but it’s true. Hockey rinks with indoor-style ice ponds measuring eight feet (2.67 metres) deep or more have accounted for hundreds of drownings since the first ice pond rink was built in Montreal in 1929. (The numbers would be much higher if they thought it necessary to count on-ice officials.)
Because hockey players wear so much heavy equipment, they put more pressure on ice surfaces, increasing the likelihood of breaking through the ice.
from The Maven,
There’s no point in beating around the bush; New Jersey lost primarily because Martin Brodeur failed to play goal up to his previous standard.
The cheapies he allowed simply cannot be rationalized because there were too many at critical junctures in decisive games….
Lou Lamoriello needs a new coach. The best bet would be Ron Wilson, should he become available. I’d also support Pat Quinn.
Talking to Scott Gomez, I get the feeling that he’s gone, barring some miraculous sales job. Scotty wants to play a more wide open game and in the unlikely event that he gets some assurance of that, I’m convinced he’ll want to play elsewhere.
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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