Kukla's Korner Hockey
During my conversations with Bob McKenzie and Kelly Hrudey in the last few days, both mentioned Buffalo had not yet played the way they were capable of playing. Kelly also mentioned he wasn’t so sure if we would ever see the Sabres reach their peak during the playoffs and so far he is right.
Buffalo now faces a must win Monday in Ottawa. The Sens have looked impressive and deserve the 2-0 lead.
Don’t forget to watch the post game interviews.
Q. Shuffling the lines tonight, is that a message “Let’s go and play hockey, understand the lines.” Are they the ones you used in the regular season that were awfully successful?
COACH LINDY RUFF: I think if you looked at, for two series Danny, Jochen and Palmer have been pretty flat for us. They hadn’t created a lot, and we were looking for a little bit of a spark. We changed things up, and it worked for a couple games. But, you know, I think that going back to them after, you know, a couple game absences, you know, just a message that we really need you guys.
from Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun,
The poor conditions Thursday night prompted Spezza to change into a new pair of skates before scoring two points in the Senators’ 5-2 victory over the Sabres.
“The rink is warm, the skates break down,” said Spezza. “(The ice) was terrible. It was slow in the Jersey series, but here it was like the puck didn’t even slide.
“You have to chip the puck in, which means there is less nice plays and more ugly ones.”
Not what the NHL would want for the Showcase Season, to be sure.
more on the Sabres and Sens…
from John Branch of the New York Times,
For the Sabres to have come this far — not to the Eastern Conference finals, but simply to still exist in Buffalo — required the most memorable play in franchise history, an assist by a gray-haired man from Rochester.
Until about four years ago, Tom Golisano said, he had seen three N.H.L. games in his life. He never considered putting money into a teetering hockey franchise until he realized that no one else would, either.
Golisano, now 65, is well known in business and political circles, thanks mostly to the fortune he accumulated in founding and running Paychex, a payroll-processing firm, and three well-chronicled, unsuccessful runs for governor of New York. But with the Sabres thriving, on the ice and off, he is garnering attention as a team owner.
from the CP via TSN,
“Last night was one of those games where I barely touched the puck,” Briere said. “.. I’m not happy with my game but have to move on.”
He did his best to hide his disappointment in not playing a whole lot in Game 1.
“That’s not for me to decide,” said Briere, who understood that head coach Lindy Ruff was trying to match Chris Drury’s line with Jason Spezza’s line.
“So sometimes it’s tough as a coach to get everybody happy,” Briere added. “I’m not going to complain about it .. I’m 100 per cent behind (Ruff).”
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
What should the NHL look like in the middle of this century, when today’s issues — obstruction, goal-scoring, officiating, U.S. television exposure — are hopefully finally put to bed.
By then, a 32-team entity, with eight teams in Canada, eight in Europe and 16 in the United States would make the most sense. Travel, of course, would be the biggest single issue in a global game.
Maybe the NHL could purchase half-a-dozen of whatever the 2050 equivalent of the Concorde is and use them as a means of getting teams from one end of the continent to the other and then overseas, as necessary — thereby pooling all travel costs within the industry and not necessarily penalizing Vancouver and Dallas for being geographically so remote from the rest of the league.
more... and some Drury talk…
Paul Kukla and I had a chance to speak briefly with Kelly Hrudey of Hockey Night in Canada. From his CBC television bio:
Hrudey became a full-time hockey analyst during the 1998/99 NHL season, after providing stellar commentary during the previous four playoff seasons alongside Ron MacLean. And during the 1999 NHL playoffs, Hrudey’s segment Behind the Mask became a regular feature on Hockey Night in Canada.
During his 15-year NHL career with the Islanders (six years), Kings (seven years) and Sharks (two years), the former Medicine Hat Tiger compiled a record of 271-265-88, with a goals against average of 3.43, with 16 shutouts.
The conversation can be downloaded here, or listened to on the player below. Our sincere appreciation to Mr. Hrudey for taking the time to chat with us about the Conference Finals now underway.
from Espo on the Playoffs at the National Post,
To tell you the truth, the way they played on Thursday night, it looks like this could be one of the shortest series of the season. Looks can be deceiving and I’m not predicting that kind of outcome. But you tell me, where do the Ottawa Senators look vulnerable? When you find something, you let me know.
from the Buffalo News,
Daniel Briere was silent Thursday night. The Buffalo Sabres’ top scorer was idled by Ottawa during a 5-2 loss to open the Eastern Conference finals. The cocaptain, who led the Sabres in scoring during the regular season and is pacing them in the playoffs, didn’t register a shot. It was the first time he was kept at zero in the postseason and just the 10th time in the 94 games since October.
He left HSBC Arena without comment despite media requests.
added 9:38am, from the Hockey News,
Seems like falling behind by a couple goals is tantamount to a collective whiff of ammonia for the Sabres. Their nostrils flare, eyes widen and they start to get real serious about things. It’s too bad they’ve often got one skate in the grave when they come to…
Not sure if Daniel Briere is hurt or what, but he looked like the only person in Buffalo who didn’t care whether the Sabres won Game 1 or not. My advice to him would be up the intensity or start asking Maxim Afinogenov about which press box seats have the best sight lines…
more on the game last night…
from Roy MacGregor of the Globe and Mail,
What’s with all this booing?
Buffalo and Ottawa shouldn’t be Stanley Cup rivals; they should be twin cities.
Both exist because of the border — blue-collar Buffalo because it was so close to it, and national capital Ottawa because it wasn’t. Both have almost exactly the same regional population. Both have hockey teams that went bankrupt and were sold, rink included, for about the price of a new puck. Both are connected to canals. Both had significant political assassinations: President William McKinley in Buffalo and Father of Confederation Thomas D’Arcy McGee in Ottawa. Both cities have had exactly 58 mayors, Byron Brown holding the office in Buffalo and Larry O’Brien the new mayor in Ottawa.
And both, of course, can’t win the big ones.
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.
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