Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the CP,
The Calgary Flames filed out the doors of the Pengrowth Saddledome on Friday and some of them for the last time.
The backbone of the team - captain Jarome Iginla, goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff and defencemen Dion Phaneuf and Robyn Regehr - are all under long-term contracts for the next five seasons and Kiprusoff and Phaneuf another year beyond that.
A veteran team with a veteran coach was expected to do better than finishing seventh in the Western Conference and losing in the first round of playoffs, even though it was a hard-fought, seven-game series with San Jose.
Changes are in the offing for Calgary’s supporting cast.
from Eric Francis at Best of Seven,
Several players were furious but couldn’t say anything for obvious reasons.
Team members watching from the press box also lost their minds.
Miikka Kiprusoff bit his tongue.
Even the San Jose Sharks players were so surprised by the minor league move, they side-stepped the controversy altogether.
One day after Mike Keenan scuttled any chance of a comeback in Game 7 by pulling Miikka Kiprusoff late in the second period of a 4-2 game, the debate rages on over Captain Hook’s panic move.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Afterwards, Kiprusoff — who begins the first year of a lucrative new six-year contract extension next season — said of coach Mike Keenan’s decision to switch goalies: “It’s not my call. You have to ask somebody else.”
Keenan, that somebody, was blunt in his assessment: “I didn’t think it was controversial,” he said, of his decision to make the goalie switch. “Kipper didn’t play very well. I was surprised. I thought he would give us his best game.”
Flames’ captain Jarome Iginla, who scored their opening goal, was deeply disappointed with the loss, especially since the game was there for the taking, about 23 minutes in, when Calgary held a 2-1 lead on Owen Nolan’s breakaway goal.
“Guys worked extremely hard to get to this point and give us a chance to win the series,” said Iginla. “There was about a 10-minute span there when they won the game and ended up winning the series on us.”
from Eric Francis at Best of Seven,
Given the number of points Lidstrom puts up and the great team he plays on, he’ll continue to dominate the Norris for years.
However, no blueliner is as complete as Phaneuf.
No one hits harder, no one shoots harder and few in the game are as competitive as the ever-evolving Edmonton native.
San Jose—always the bridesmaid, never the bride. Unless tonight is the launching point for them to pose a serious challenge for the Cup that so many expect, but obviously Calgary will have something to say about that. So if you’re betting on former Art Ross Trophy winners, do you put your money on Jarome Iginla or Joe Thornton?
History doesn’t tell us much. According to Sharkspage, the Flames and Sharks have met twice in playoff history: 1995 Conference Quarter-Finals (Sharks won 4 games to 3); and 2004 Western Conference Finals (Flames won 4 to 2).
And statistically-speaking, tonight’s game favors San Jose: since the NHL introduced the best-of-seven format in 1939, a total of 120 playoff series have gone to seven games and the home team has won 76 (63%).
Who goes on to the second round?
from the Red Deer Advocate,
Real hockey fans celebrate their team’s victories by cheering loudly, singing in the streets, waving flags, or drinking themselves stupid. Real hockey fans don’t burn police cars.
Calgary’s famed Red Mile has been a shining example of how hockey fans should honour their home team — granted, I am a little bias as I am a Flames fan.
A little nudity and public drunkenness aside, (OK, a lot of nudity) thousands of Calgary fans have managed to celebrate the Flames’ playoff victories in peaceful fashion. When the Flames made their surprise playoff run in 2004, the insane parties on the Red Mile didn’t result in looted stores or burned police cars.
from the Calgary Herald,
So, going into a game like this we’ve got lots of guys who have been in positive situations,” said Iginla. “So you draw on those things. You definitely do. You get good vibes going.
Imagine the whopper that Alex Tanguay could weave.
Game 7! . . . Stanley Cup final! . . . two goals! . . . including the game-winner as the Colorado Avalanche shaded the New Jersey Devils in 2001.
Also skating in that championship skirmish was Stephane Yelle, the NHL’s active leader in Game 7 appearances—11, including tonight.
Mike Keenan, meanwhile, will skipper a Game 7 for the 10th time—a league record.
But everyone—no matter how fat the resume—will be fighting jitters.
more on the Flames…
from David Pollak of MediaNews via the ContraCosta Times,
Do or die. Win or go home. Pucks or putters.
Pick whatever phrase makes it most clear what the stakes are tonight at HP Pavilion. Because when the Sharks and Calgary Flames square off in the first Game 7 played on home ice in franchise history, there is no shortage of drama and pressure.
So much, in fact, that Sharks coach Ron Wilson rejects the notion that he needs to find a way to motivate his team to play with the required desperation.
“It’s a seventh game. If you don’t win, you’re out. If I have to manufacture desperation, we’re in dire straits,” Wilson said shortly after the Flames beat the Sharks 2-0 on Sunday night to force this hard-fought series into a one-game showdown. “Our players know what’s at stake.”
from Scott Morrison of CBC at his Viewpoint blog,
The loser tonight in San Jose, either the Calgary Flames or the Sharks, is indeed out.
But it is not quite that simple, though in many ways it is.
There is much more at stake for the Sharks tonight, specifically the future of the coaching staff and the roster as we know it.
It is highly doubtful that management will resist making significant change again if this team doesn’t at the very least reach the Stanley Cup final, nevermind put away the pesky Flames.
From Allen Cameron at the Calgary Herald,
Fresh off hitting for a $1-million payout in a harness-racing wager in his native Sweden on Saturday, the talented forward responded with his best game of the playoffs Sunday night at the Pengrowth Saddledome, assisting on Owen Nolan’s eventual game-winner in the first period and playing a role at both ends of the ice in Calgary’s 2-0 series-tying win over the San Jose Sharks.
more… on a big weekend for Huselius
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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