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Category: Chicago-Blackhawks

Chicago Fans On Their Way To Philly

from Jennifer Delgado of Chicago Breaking Sports,

Blackhawks fans are hopping on planes to Philadelphia and snatching up whatever tickets they can find for tonight’s game, hoping to see their team take the Stanley Cup.

On Tuesday, brokers said they received a flurry of calls from Chicago fans wanting to buy Game 6 tickets. Upper level seats at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia are starting at $400, local ticket brokers said. First-row seats on the glass are as much as $3,500.

“Everyone’s flocking down to Midway Airport to catch these flights (to Philadelphia) today,” said Paul Brown, owner of AAA Tickets in Chicago. “We’re hoping it comes down to Game 7, but we’ll see what shakes out.”

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, Philadelphia Flyers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Conn Smythe Candidates

from Phil Coffey of NHL.com,

Let’s get right down to brass tacks. Who wins the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2010?

Based on the Final series between the Philadelphia Flyers and Chicago Blackhawks it has become a somewhat surprisingly tough choice.

As often happens in a playoff series, the top scorers have been somewhat negated by the checking presence of the opposition. In 2010, though, secondary scoring has taken hold, producing a two-fold effect, namely a surprising list of candidates and not as much consideration for the goalies, who have been on the receiving end of a high-scoring series.

Keeping that in mind, here are three candidates from each team who could walk off with the Conn Smythe—one of the coolest trophies around, by the way—and also a look at whether Michael Leighton or Antti Niemi could be contenders.

continued

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First In Line For The Cup

from Gene Principe of Sportsnet,

Let’s start with the Chicago Blackhawks since they are just one win away from having it happen. If the Hawks defeat the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 6 on Wednesday night and Jonathan Toews gets handed the trophy that’s the hardest to win in sports, who should he hand it off to next?

Should it be Marian Hossa? He’s just a first-year Hawk but everyone knows he’s at his third consecutive final and doesn’t have anything but a second-place ribbon to show for it. He might be a sentimental favourite. However, wouldn’t Patrick Kane be a logical choice? He and Toews are the Hawks’ top two players and should be anchors on this team for a long time to come….

For the Flyers, who would be second in command if Mike Richards were to get his hands on the chalice for hockey greatness? Does he go with the teamates who wear the ‘A’ on their jerseys or, again, with the longest-serving player whose never won the Cup? If that were the case, then Ian Laperriere would be hands down the choice at almost 1,100 games. That would be a tough one to pass up….

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What They Really Were Thinking

from Scott Burnside of ESPN,

What was said: Laviolette was asked about Leighton after pulling his starting netminder twice in the Cup finals: “I’m very confident in Michael. He’s played excellent in the playoffs. His home numbers are terrific. Yeah, I’m very confident in Michael.”

What he meant: “I’m very confident in the Good Michael. The Good Michael, we like very much. The Bad Michael? Not so much. But generally speaking, the Bad Michael only appears in Chicago. Or Montreal. So that’s a good thing. If we get to Game 7, we will be considering an exorcism or maybe hypnosis. Acupuncture?”

What was said: Kopecky, a member of the Red Wings’ Cup-winning squad in 2008, was asked about the mental elements of trying to clinch the Cup: “I’m just going to prepare the same way I prepare for every other game and maybe pay a little more attention to the details. ... You have to go shift by shift.”

What he meant: “I once tried to take it two shifts at a time, but I pulled my groin. Now, I just go one shift at a time.”

more

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Flyers Not About To Give Up

from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,

Are there any happy endings left for the Philadelphia Flyers?

Just to get to this point — to Game 6 of this topsy turvy Stanley Cup final — all the Flyers have done is face elimination five different times, each time thriving, somehow surviving.

That has all been part of their crazy journey. Playing through personal demons: Some Flyer families that began the season together, didn’t end it that way. The team, previously divided, came from way back to make the playoffs.

They changed goalies with all the regularity that some change socks. They won a shootout in Game 82, another Claude Giroux moment. Then the impossible, somehow coming from three games down, three goals down to beat the Boston Bruins.

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Chicago Knows What A Win Will Bring Them

from Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune,

The Blackhawks won’t be the only out-of-towners at Wachovia Center during Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals.

Nestled in a heavy case somewhere in the bowels of the arena, the Stanley Cup will be making a visit, only emerging if the Hawks can defeat the Flyers to win their first NHL championship in 49 years. On Wednesday night, that can become reality as a victory would mean they can hoist the Cup above their heads in front of what promises to be a hostile crowd bordering on belligerent.

“It has been flashing in my head since Game 1 of the playoffs,” captain Jonathan Toews said Tuesday of holding the Cup aloft. “Every time you win one game, it feels like you’re going all the way to the Cup. I’ve always said when you lose a game it feels like your season is going to be over. It just has been such a crazy ride.”

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Questioning The Goaltending

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

Really, has there ever been a time in recent history when the overall level of the goaltending has been so underwhelming in the final?

The NHL is trumpeting it as a triumph of offence – 40 goals in five games, the second highest total in 30 years.

And yet, it’s not as if there is sustained action going back and forth, or teams trading chances on the rush, or even a lot of odd-man attacks going both ways. That’s how the game was played three decades ago and you pretty much have to go back that far to find a time when the Stanley Cup final produced games that finished 6-5 and 7-4.

The fact is, the clock has struck midnight on both of the Cinderella goaltending stories in these playoffs, Leighton’s and Antti Niemi’s on the Chicago side. The question is why. After they were so good for three rounds, why have they become so ordinary now?

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Leighton Likely To Get The Start

via Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,

Flyers coach Peter Laviolette did not announce outright his starting goalie, but hinted strongly at going back to Michael Leighton.

“Our goaltender has the best numbers in the playoffs, I don’t think I have to announce it,” Laviolette told reporters during media availability Tuesday afternoon after practice.

Leighton twice has been pulled in the Cup finals, including Game 5 in Chicago.

I think going with Leighton is the right call, but any sign of his game being off, he will be replaced.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Chicago Blackhawks, Philadelphia Flyers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: michale+leighton

Watching The Finns Late At Night

from Risto Pakarinen at NHL.com,

“You have to be a superstar in the NHL to be a superstar in Finland, because the NHL still seems so far away. Even if people complain about the level of hockey at the Worlds or the Finnish league, the majority of people still follow mostly those. However, for anyone following the NHL, there’s never been a better time,” said Aki Mäki-Kuhna, a Helsinki-based fan.

Niemi and Leino have never represented Finland in a major tournament, and while Leino was a bona fide star in the Finnish SM-Liiga just two years ago, he wasn’t the kind of household name that makes people get up in the middle of the night to watch a hockey game—regardless of how good the matchup is.

All Cup Final games start at 3 a.m. in Finland, probably the worst possible time for the working man. But of course, where there’s a will, there’s a way.

“I do time-shifting, so I record the game, and get up at, say, 4:30, then watch the first two periods, fast forwarding past the commercial breaks and the intermissions, and then watch the last period live,” Mäki-Kuhna said.

There is another option. The games are broadcast the next day as well.

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See The Apparel Before You Buy

from Greg Wyshynski of PuckDaddy,

In our digital age, the designs for Stanley Cup championship merchandise have been leakier than an old faucet. Please recall last year when Shop NHL accidently gave away the shirt and hat designs for the Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins after fans simply increased the last digit on site URLs by one to discover the “hidden” gear. (A flaw the NHL corrected after that leak.)

Two years ago, Shop.com goofed by releasing Detroit Red Wings Stanley Cup champions gear before the Wings actually won the championship.  That same site is the source for the collection of small images of Chicago Blackhawks and Philadelphia Flyers designs you see, including the official 2010 Stanley Cup champions hats that some collect annually.

continued with pictures (none photoshopped)...

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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 pk@kuklaskorner.com

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