Kukla's Korner Hockey
from E.J. Hradek of ESPN,
Is the heavy weight of great expectations beginning to wear on the Presidents’ Trophy winning Buffalo Sabres?
There seemed to be some telltale signs of just that during and after the Sabres’ 2-1 loss to the New York Rangers in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night. The series, which seemed over after the favored Sabres grabbed a 2-0 lead on home ice, is tied and looking a lot different.
“No one said it was going to be easy,” said Sabres goalie Ryan Miller, who finished with 26 saves.
from the Buffalo News,
Officials after the game said the replay was so close that had McCreary ruled on the ice Briere had scored, the goal would have stood because there was no convincing evidence to change that call either.
Ruff was convinced Briere had tied the game.
“I think from what I saw it was a goal,” Ruff said. “The puck goes over the line and goes into his pad.”
“We initially had the TSN guys next to the bench saying it crossed the line, so I was pretty confident that we had a goal. I believe I’ve seen a replay where it’s in. But the only thing you hope with video replay is you get it right. It’s why you go to it.”
The video replay did not show the puck crossing the line in the final seconds of the Sabres/Rangers game.
Looking at it from a neutral point of view, I could not say the puck completely crossed the line.
The first frame you will see the puck meeting Lundqvist’s pad, the second frame you cannot see the puck.
from Paul Hunter of the Toronto Star,
“I think the overtime should go to four-on-four. I think it creates more ice; it creates more chances,” Ruff said yesterday. “(In overtime) teams get fatigued. The scoring chances go way down.”
Ruff said the additional 37 minutes of hockey on Sunday produced five combined scoring chances from both teams.
“I looked around and it looked like people had left. I don’t think people want to come here to see six periods of hockey and the last three periods (have) one or two scoring chances. I don’t think that’s what the game is about.
“Two or three periods of overtime, I don’t think it’s good for the game.”
from Jim Kelley at Sportsnet,
So here’s a topic for a lovely spring day:
Might Buffalo’s Darcy Regier be open to jumping ship if the right ship comes in?
Regier is said to be on the last year of his contract in Buffalo. The buzz is he’s already come to terms on a new deal and that it will all be announced after the Sabres complete their playoff run.
That may be and if the Sabres go all the way to the finals (as many think they might), Regier would likely be closed out of the market anyway just because other teams can’t afford to wait. But what if he is available?
When Buffalo Sabres center Tim Connolly took the ice for the start of the NHL playoffs in April after being sidelined for 11 months with post-concussion syndrome, his return in large part was due to a new treatment program developed by University at Buffalo researchers.
For unknown reasons, 5 to 10 percent of people who experience a concussion have symptoms that persist beyond six weeks. These people are diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome. Previously, there has been no treatment for the condition with proven success.
“The new program is in the experimental stages, but I think it’s going to change the way (post-concussion syndrome) is handled,” Connolly said.
fromm the Hockey News,
• I heard Monday Night Football commentator Tony Kornheiser say the NFL is just more fun when the Chicago Bears are good. I think the same can be said for the Rangers, or any Original Six team for that matter. For some reason, things are just more interesting when a classic club is in the mix.
• The Canadian anthem singer puts me in the mind of Adam Sandler’s “Opera Guy” character from Saturday Night Live. Somebody should get Sandler to do an anthem. Yes, really.
• Ducks win, but we’ll leave you with a one question. A) Is Chris Pronger hurting? He doesn’t look like the dominating, peak-of-his game Chris Pronger on this night. We suspect we’ll see a different Pronger as the series matures.
from Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News,
Buffalo remains the deeper, faster and more skilled team in this series. The Sabres would have won in the first overtime had Derek Roy’s shot inside the post bounced the right way rather than slither along the goal line. It also could have ended in regulation had off-ice officials given Karel Rachunek credit for a goal that bounced off his skate on a play Jagr started behind the Buffalo net.
We’ll see where it goes from here. The Sabres would be satisfied with a split in New York and a 3-1 lead going back to Buffalo for Game Five. Jagr has a reputation for playing tough at home and soft on the road. And, really, the Sabres actually have done a good job on him. Tallinder and Toni Lydman have been solid.
from E.J. Hradek of ESPN,
Both teams dug in and battled deep into a second overtime. The game featured all the best things about the sport. It had the skill, speed and determination that make hockey, especially playoff hockey, very special.
And, guess what? Nobody hit anybody over the head with a stick. I’m sure that was a big disappointment for the relentless anti-puck crowd. On this day, the league shined. If you were paying attention to the bigger picture, it was a win-win for the league. Of course, not everybody could be expected to see that picture.
“It’s hard for me or the guys in this room to appreciate that right now,” said Sabres co-captain Chris Drury, still soaked in sweat after the bitter loss. “Stepping back, though, I could see where it helps our game.”
from the Rangers Blog at the New York Post,
The tone was set with the kilotons of non-calls by the refs, favoring the Sabres to an absurd degree. The tension built to maddening proportions with each missed scoring opportunity and each bad call against the Rangers.
Buffalo got seven power plays in regulation to the Rangers two. To further tip things in the Sabres’ favor, a goal — just as valid as the Pominville one that counted in game two — was called back. The reason? The most indistinct “distinct kicking motion” I’ve ever seen.
Seriously, if the League and the refs don’t have it out for the Rangers, I can’t explain why so little seems to go their way.
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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