Kukla's Korner Hockey
With a 4-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks, the Anaheim Ducks advance to the 2nd round of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The Ducks will travel to Detroit for games 1 and 2 while the Chicago Blackhawks will visit Vancouver for the first two games.
Since Chicago defeated the Flames in Calgary tonight, I wonder if they will just stay in western Canada and then make the short flight to Vancouver instead of goin back to Chicago and then quickly heading out to Vancouver.
Chicago took a very early two goal lead and basically skated with the Flames the rest of the way.
Chicago scores into an empty net late in the game, final score 4-1.
Dion Phaneuf did not take part in the morning skate and head coach Mike Keenan erased all questions about the status of the blueliner for tonight’s contest.
“No, he will not,” was Keenan’s response when asked if Phaneuf would play. “He’s not available. And his status is day-to-day.”
Phaneuf’s teammates expressed their concern about his possible absence but remained positive that they could handle the 24-year-old’s workload.
from Chris Zelkovich of the Toronto Star,
First, we had the case of Pittsburgh’s Maxime Talbot starting a fight with Philadelphia goon Daniel Carcillo on Saturday afternoon.
According to almost everybody at Hockey Night In Canada, the fact that Talbot started a fight knowing he was going to be clobbered somehow inspired his teammates to overcome a 3-0 deficit and win the series.
Though analyst Gary Galley first said the fistic defeat would probably spell the end for Pittsburgh, he later agreed with his colleagues that Talbot’s impression of a punching bag had indeed changed the course of the game….
But here’s where the confusion comes in. That evening, the Blackhawks jumped out to a 5-1 second-period lead over the Flames.
They were dominating the Flames the way the Flyers had dominated the Penguins in the early going. Amazingly, Calgary defenceman Adam Pardy went on a Talbot-like suicide mission and attacked Chicago tough guy Ben Eager. The results were the same as Talbot’s strategic gem, a one-sided defeat – with one exception. The Flames didn’t score another goal and are now on the verge of elimination.
Matt Walker of the Blackhawks took a shot off of his hand and the results were a messed-up finger.
In case you are wondering, he returned to play.
from Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Tribune,
The Hawks were just better. They were more together than the Flames.
Togetherness—that’s one of things that stand out about hockey. More than perhaps all sports, it demands teamwork, physical sacrifice and a surrendering of personal goals for the good of the team. You go all out for two minutes and get off the ice after the shift. If you let up at any point during those two minutes, there’s a decent chance you and your team are going to pay. There’s certainly no time for selfishness. And there’s no profit in it. You can’t skate through two defenders and get to the net. A hockey player can’t take over a game by himself, unless he goes by the name of Gretzky.
If you’re a showboat in the NHL, you’re not going to be one for long. You’re not going to have a head for long, either, because it’s going to get knocked off. Perhaps even by a teammate. Self-centeredness is not frowned upon. It’s snarled upon.
In a game as rough as this one is, you’d have to be crazy to try to show up an opponent. And even when the Hawks jumped on the Flames, they did not dance on them. They did what hockey players do after a goal: They looked for teammates in order to celebrate.
more on the Chicago victory over Calgary tonight…
from Jeff Blair of the Globe and Mail,
Adam Burish had one question Friday: If the Calgary Flames have started to pound as much playoff sense as everybody says they have into the callow Chicago Blackhawks, how come it was the Flames who lost players in Game 4?
And as for the notion the Blackhawks’ yappiness had somehow spurred Jarome Iginla to play like . . . well, to play like one of the best players in the NHL? (“The best in the world,” according to Burish.) Watch the eyes roll.
“Why would he be ticked off?” Burish asked Friday, after the Blackhawks practised at the United Center before Saturday’s fifth game of their best-of-seven Western Conference quarter-final series. “I mean, you think [Iginla] needs to get up for the playoffs? What did he get? A power-play goal and an empty-netter. I saw the same guy.”
Almost every NHL playoff series relies on the same old underlying storylines to be put in context: goaltending, experience against youth, redemption, officiating, the contest between “grit” (that’s the only time the word appears in this column, I swear) and finesse.
from Randy Sportak of the Calgary Sun,
The war of words between the Calgary Flames and the Chicago Blackhawks has caught plenty of attention around the NHL.
But not to the point the league has fired off a memo to all parties involved to cease and desist.
A published report stated the NHL’s senior executive vice-president of hockey operations, Colin Campbell, sent a letter to both teams to curb the on-ice chirping and post-whistle scrums.
Only problem, it didn’t happen.
“I did NOT send one,” Campbell replied yesterday in an e-mail.
from Neil Hayes of the Chicago Sun-Times,
Blackhawks players filed into the locker room as Johnny Cash’s ‘‘Ring of Fire’’ blasted out of the stadium speakers and flames shot out of the scoreboard at the Saddledome.
The Hawks got burned, all right. Torched, in fact. They could have all but locked up their first-round playoff series by completing a remarkable rally in what became a 6-4 loss Wednesday to the Calgary Flames. Instead, the Hawks return home with the series very much in doubt.
This could have been the wooden stake through the Flames’ heart. Nobody comes back from this. No team could blow a three-goal lead and come back from a 3-1 series deficit. Game 5 on Saturday at the United Center would be nothing more than mopping up. But it didn’t work out that way.
added 8:09am, from Tim Sassone of Between The Lines,
It was a disappointing effort from most Hawks in Wednesday’s 6-4 loss, a game that was there for the taking.
Nikolai Khabibulin was fighting the puck all night and looked very ordinary. That’s two poor games in a row for him.
Martin Havlat was minus-4 and no factor at all. Where was the jump?
Duncan Keith was minus-3 and looked slow. Is he hurting?
from Peter Zuurbie of CalgaryFlames.com,
The Hawks may have made the biggest mistake of their season. In losing their composure at the end of Game 3, the Blackhawks continually instigated the Flames, and specifically captain Jarome Iginla. While the inexperienced Hawks team may have been trying to throw Iginla off his game, they may have accomplished the exact opposite. Standing strong behind their fired-up captain, the Flames seem to have regained their swagger.
“He’s not a guy you want to light a fire under… that guy’s got a scary look when he gets mad and I wouldn’t want to be on the other team facing off against him,” said a defiant Nystrom, who believes his opponents have bitten off more than they can chew.
“The only thing they can do is verbally abuse that guy because you’re not going to physically intimidate him… He’s not afraid of anybody, he’s willing to take anybody on so, if they just want to talk and not back it up, only Iggy’s gonna get stronger.”
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.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org