Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Red Fisher of the Montreal Gazette,
The Buffalo Sabres finished No. 1 overall during the regular season with inoa franchise-high 113 points. The Detroit Red Wings matched them. Anaheim, with 110 points, led the Pacific Division. Ottawa, after a terrible first half, finished with 105 points, only two behind New Jersey.
Get the picture? No surprises. In a league that almost always delivers upsets during the playoffs, it’s only right that the NHL’s Big Four have made it to the finals in the East and West.
Now the fun really begins.
from Loose Change at the Hockey News,
And all we wanted was the Detroit Red Wings to (a) embrace their spineless-ly Poker-ish ways and fold early and (b) realize that two of their key cogs in the bid for a championship were, at one time, deck hands on The Ark. Now you have the Red Wings getting unexpectedly vital contributions from players with names ending in “son”, “ov”, “berg” and “Datsyuk” and they really have this belief that a route to the Cup doesn’t necessarily require taking the Yzerman Parkway.
more on all of the teams in the CF…
from Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun,
The Sabres coach was quick and sharp when asked about comments made by Ray Emery, who said in Tuesday’s Sun that he’s not thrilled about having to spend off-days in Buffalo and joked on TSN’s Off The Record that he might pass his spare time this week hanging out at TGI Friday’s.
“He’ll find things to do,” Ruff said with a chuckle after the Sabres practiced yesterday.
“Rent a Hummer truck ... go for a ride, go for a drive, drive around a little bit.”
more on the Sens/Sabres…
from Al Strachan at Fox Sports,
The two teams still alive, the Sabres and Senators, are the perfect models for post-lockout success.
We’re not talking about the salary cap here. That’s for accountants and Gary Bettman’s sycophants to worry about.
No, we’re talking about pure hockey, playing the game the way it can be played now that restraint has been minimized.
Scott Burnside of ESPN breaks down the WCF,
Many preseason prognosticators believed this was the Ducks’ season. For those who like their foul West Coast style, Anaheim has done nothing to disappoint. The team is 8-2 through the first two rounds and hit the Western Conference finals for the second straight season, well-rested and hungry to take that next step to the Stanley Cup finals.
Now onto the ECF,
At the start of the playoffs, this looked like an absolutely perfect matchup for the right to go to the Stanley Cup finals. And now that it’s here, there’s nothing to suggest this won’t be anything but a terrific showdown between the two best teams in the conference.
Earlier today, Buffalo Sabres’ coach Lindy Ruff and players Thomas Vanek and Teppo Numminen participated in a media teleconference:
Q. Just wondering after the stuff in February, the head-to-head games between you two guys, do you think that’s forgotten or is it a non-factor in this series in terms of all of the speed and matchups and the stuff that happened during the season, is that in the background? Is it a factor?
COACH RUFF: I don’t think it’s a factor. That may be in the background, but there’s a lot of other stuff there’s going to take the forefront over that.
Q. If I can follow that up, just in terms of both teams and the amount of offense, potential offense there, is this—do you see it as exciting as the fans might see it; that there’s a potential for both teams to score a lot?
fromm Jim Kelley at Sportsnet,
A team that was poised, relentless, blessed with timely (and reasonably proficient) scoring, defensively sound play and soundly physical play in eliminating Nashville in five games seemingly has chucked all of the things it did well in that series. The Sharks haven’t just lost their bite; they’ve gone belly-up in the face of a Detroit attack that has been neither withering nor relentless.
In fact, the Red Wings have pretty much been fortunate given the number of injuries they’ve had before and during this series.
more... plus some Sabres/Sens talk…
from Terry Frei of the Denver Post,
Next up for Drury and the Sabres: the Ottawa Senators in the Eastern Conference finals.
Run the oft-advanced theory past Drury, now 30, that the Avalanche’s regression began the day he was traded, and that Colorado has yet to recover, and he is genuinely embarrassed.
“Oh, I don’t know about that.” Pause. “That’s a pretty strong statement.” Double pause. “I guess I don’t really have a comment.”
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.
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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