Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the Calgary Herald,
By now you’re probably getting the idea that Bertuzzi is one big set of shoulders. And that was on a night when the Flames won. Hand them a loss and the Flames will probably have him rivalling the Great Khali. His mass is especially noticeable on nights when Robyn Regehr, the Flames’ redwood, is out of the lineup—as he likely will be the rest of this series.
Detroit coach Mike Babcock obviously spied Bertuzzi barging through Calgary’s zone like a piano mover on Thursday.
from the Calgary Sun,
Detroit is still favoured to win the series and not just because the Wings have home-ice advantage in what’s become a best-of-three series against a Calgary team that can’t seem to win on the road.
Since the 2000 playoffs, 15 series have followed the route taken by the Flames and Wings, with one team rebounding from a two-game deficit to even the set at 2-2.
Last spring, Edmonton regrouped from losing the first two games to San Jose and won the series—just like Carolina did to Montreal in the opening round, en route to the Stanley Cup.
But instances like those are the exceptions, not the rules.
from the AP via The Hockey News,
Babcock hopes the Red Wings are resisting here-we-go-again thoughts. Since winning the Stanley Cup in 2002, they’ve had two first-round exits and one in the second.
“One of the key things for me is, this isn’t last year’s team - (and) this isn’t ‘04,” he said. “Don’t carry that baggage around.”
from Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun,
“Do I like what happened? No,” said Babcock.
“Could he have handled it differently? Sure. I coach the team so I’m a little biased but I saw (Iginla’s) elbow hit (Hasek) in the forehead and thought at least it should have been a penalty both ways.”
Iginla didn’t see it that way.
“That ice is just as much ours as it is his and, to be honest, I thought he came into me and I didn’t think it was much contact at all,” said Iginla.
“I was surprised he got so upset on that play. At that point in the game, it’s obviously a good thing to get the powerplay and if he’s not happy and we’re playing within the rules, that’s obviously a good thing too.”
Reading the different forums and blogs on the Wings/Flames series, it has been a panic theme after every game.
Just remember what I said after the Wings went up 2-0, it is not a series until a road team wins. Still hasn’t happened and it may not.
The home ice may actually come in play for this series.
From Helene St. James at Detroit Free Press,
As the Red Wings prepared to play tonight’s Game 4 of their first-round series with the Flames, establishing success on special teams was at the forefront.
While the power-play struggles can hardly be surprising giving its ineffectiveness throughout the regular season, the penalty killing’s vulnerability has been far more noticeable. The Wings have allowed four power-play goals in three games, and their 75% success rate ranks 14th among the 16 NHL playoff teams.
Plus: St. James questions if Bertuzzi could boost the Wings’ 2nd line.
From Randy Sportak at the Calgary Sun,
Down the road, Jarome Iginla can tell the tale of when he pulled a Babe Ruth—calling his shot and delivering at the biggest moment.
For now, though, the Calgary Flames captain just wants to chalk it up to a good break coming at the right time.
Yesterday morning, Iginla proclaimed he was on the verge of snapping a personal drought against the Wings.
Hours later, he scored the game-winning goal midway through the third period in a 3-2 victory over Detroit.
From Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press,
Pavel Datsyuk doesn’t use hair-care products, a teammate pointed out, while Henrik Zetterberg has rock star hair.
The two young Red Wings have markedly different personalities, and there are those around them who wonder at times how they communicate so well. Their chemistry, though, is indisputable: They became fast friends four years ago, have played well with one another, and now they’re as dominant a pairing as can be found in the NHL.
from the Globe and Mail,
So the beverage buzz must be true of all other NHL arenas — the so-called “crazy beers” at Rexall Place in Edmonton jumps to mind — but like any good hockey rivalry, nothing quite matches the storied history of Calgary’s heroin beer.
“Maybe we just have a more exciting atmosphere,” Raines added with a laugh. “We certainly work hard to create a more exciting atmosphere.”
As Jason Zimmer and Jody Evans, both in their late 20s, carried cups of beer back to their seats during a recent regular-season home game, they offered their own insight into the phenomenon. There isn’t anything special in the beer, they agreed, but the heroin beer effect is real, they insisted.
from the CP via TSN,
“Obviously I think Jarome has a lot more to give,” Playfair said. “Their top players have outplayed our top players.
“(Tuesday) night is a game we expect that to be improved upon.”
The Flames have to cycle the puck more effectively through the offensive zone and get more shots on Detroit goaltender Dominik Hasek, who has seen just 20 and 15 respectively from Calgary.
“Get pucks to Hasek from every possible angle.” Playfair said. “You’re not going to score on Dominik Hasek very often on your first shot.
“It’s going to be second shot, your third shot. Maybe he doesn’t have his stick in his hand by the time you score because you keep pounding away on it.”
from Jim Kelley of Sportsnet,
What we didn’t know, expect or even think we were going to get was a Calgary team that didn’t show up for Games One and Two in Detroit.
Those outings were so pitiful that one well-respected hockey pundit called for the dismissal of head coach Jim Playfair and the return of Darryl Sutter behind the bench.
As if that would make a difference.
With all due respect to those who see the Flames having a hope of a chance to recover in this series via something as radical as a coaching change or even a few wins in the friendly confines of the Saddledome, let’s face facts.
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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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