Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Shawn P. Roarke of NHL.com,
Sunday morning, Claude Julien dipped into the universal bag of coaching tricks and started casting aspersions at the hurricanes, the team that happens to hold an unexpected three-games-to-one lead on his heavily favored Bruins entering Sunday night’s Game 5.
Early in his Sunday morning presser, Julien accused Carolina of playing the trap—as ugly an accusation as he could come up with, I guess—to such great effect in taking control of the series. Then, he further the attack by suggesting it was hypocritical of Carolina Maurice to adopt such a cynical defensive system after railing against it during his tenure as the coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
“They played four guys back and they just wait for us in the neutral zone,” Julien said. “That’s something a little surprising from Paul because I know he used to complain about that last year when he was in Toronto—us killing them with the trap. They’ve created a pretty tough situation for us getting pucks in, but we have to find a way to get pucks in and play more in their end.”
The Hurricanes, by the way, haven’t played the trap in this series.
What team has a happy flight to Anaheim after the game today?
Will the Bruins find their game and win to extend the series?
from Luke DeCock of the News & Observer,
The renaissance of the Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks has been fantastic for the game of hockey, because the poor management of these two Original Six teams hamstrung the NHL for too long. The league is lucky those markets were dormant, not dead.
The NHL needs strong teams in those cities, and thankfully, Bruins fans voted with their feet, forcing the Bruins to join the 21st century.
With a Harvard-educated Canadian lawyer as general manager, the Bruins spent big money to bring Zdeno Chara to Boston, outbid other teams for the services of 21-year-old free agent Blake Wheeler last summer and have a strong core of young players.
So bravo to the Bruins for bringing hockey back to life in Boston, but let’s stop it there. Their fans deserve a title, no question about it, but the city of Boston has had more than its share lately.
It’s time for the Hurricanes to say the same thing to Boston teams that anyone stuck sitting on a plane next to a Red Sox fan has been saying for the past five years: Enough.
I’m not a different player. I’m battling hard. I’m playing hard. I’m giving my 100 percent every game. Mistakes, sometimes they do happen. And obviously I believe I’m making more strong plays and good plays than bad plays. I really don’t know how to explain it.
“I realize the responsibility I have, I’m one of the leaders. I’m the captain. I do take it to heart. At the same time, today’s today and tomorrow’s a new day. We have to somehow regroup and find the energy to go into the next game and win it. It’s as simple as that.”
-Zdeno Chara of the Boston Bruins after losing to the Hurricanes last night. More from Chara by Steve Buckley of the Boston Herald.
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
“Obviously, we’re in a deep hole,” said Zdeno Chara. “We all realize that. But you have to win four games to get to the next round. It’s 3-1 and it’s not over yet.”
That said, the Hurricanes made the Bruins look like bantams for most of last night, with little resistance from the Black and Gold. The once-proud Bruins, now looking like paper tigers, have buckled at the exact point where winners strut their best stuff.
“I think our team has probably picked the worst time of the year to play their worst hockey,” said coach Claude Julien. “When you look at the whole team right now, there isn’t anybody that’s played up to their potential. Obviously, out of synch. Our passes are not crisp. We’re not in synch. You can see the frustration on the players right now. It’s certainly getting worse.
“This is something that has to be resolved before the next game. We don’t have much time to do that. You’ve come too far in the season to all of a sudden say, ‘You know what? It’s not working.’ We’ve got to find solutions. That’s got to come from coaches. And it’s got to come from players.”
Any predictions? With a win tonight, both Washington and Carolina can go up 3-1 in their series.
from Stephen Harris of the Boston Herald,
So many people embraced the premise that the B’s are a great team - including the players themselves. And do not misunderstand: This is a very good team. Even if they do not rally to beat the Carolina Hurricanes - whom they trail 2-1 in their second-round series, which resumes tonight - it will have been a very successful season.
But it may be that these guys were set up to fail by their own success….
The B’s can talk all they want about execution. But their problem in losing the last two games was that the relatively no-name Hurricanes looked like a team that wanted to win more.
The emotional shortfall has been revealed in the B’s play. The team has lacked poise with the puck, giving it away too many times, and has lost too many one-on-one battles. The Hurricanes have just been able to set the tone for too much of the last two games.
from Shawn P. Roarke of NHL.com,
This was not the way things were supposed to turn out after Boston won its first five games of the postseason, including a 4-1 shellacking of Carolina in Game 1. But there is no denying that Boston has been the second-best team to the Hurricanes in each of the past two games.
As a result, the Bruins face their first crisis of confidence this spring. How they react will determine the legacy of the Eastern Conference’s best regular-season team. It’s a sobering fact for a team that has known nothing but success for so long.
“It was real already, but it’s time now; the reality is our backs are against the wall right now,” said goalie Tim Thomas, who made 38 saves but was helpless to stop a rebound conversion by Jussi Jokinen just 2:48 into the extra session.
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
If the Bruins were your laptop computer, ever trusty and full of answers, you would have turned it on last night, watched the screen come aglow, and within a few minutes you would have been convinced that it picked up a mysterious and potentially deadly virus.
A few more minutes, and you no doubt would have been tapping the space bar, really tapping the space bar, in hopes of fixing it. Yes, sir. Tap, tap, tap.
If you grew up in the world before cable television (Google UHF antenna and aluminum foil), you next would have employed the foolproof method of smacking the side of the screen maybe, oh, two or three or four times. And if that failed, the only option would have been to heave the sucker clear across the kitchen and curse the bleepin’ thing back to working order. That ever work for you, bunky?
All in all, that had to be how Boston coach Claude Julien felt after watching his misguided wanderers flub and stumble their way to a 3-2 overtime loss last night to the hard-charging Hurricanes.
from Luke DeCock of the News & Observer,
When Eric Staal lifts his team and puts it on his shoulders, there’s no telling how far he can take it.
There were plenty of Game 3 heroes for the Carolina Hurricanes, from Jussi “The Finnisher” Jokinen scoring yet another winning goal, to Cam Ward making a save on Milan Lucic to open overtime, to Sergei Samsonov scoring his first goal of the playoffs against his former team.
But on a night the Hurricanes did just about everything but score yet still found themselves trailing the Boston Bruins, Staal again made himself the difference.
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