Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Mike Brophy of Sportsnet,
This isn’t just a game to save a series for the San Jose Sharks.
It is a game that could save—or cost! -– jobs. Making it to the conference final is simply not good enough for this team.
As if you didn’t know, this is a team that has done remarkable things during the regular season and then, for some reason, becomes rather ordinary in the playoffs. It is a team that has players who, rather than elevate their game the way the sport’s best stars do at this time of year, slip into a funk.
Having dropped two straight home games to the upstart Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference final, the Sharks now face the unenviable task of having to win in the Windy City. One win will be fine; two would be amazing. The way the Hawks are rolling these days, it won’t be easy.
from Rock Mamola of ChicagoNow,
You simply cannot compare the Stanley Cup run of the Blackhawks to the World Series run of the 2005 Chicago White Sox. As much as we can all debate if this is a Bear town or a Cubs town or a White Sox town…..the Blackhawks are never in the conversation and no matter what the season, baseball is king in Chicago. Either side of town grabs onto a winner and we celebrate like none other.
If the Blackhawks run to the Stanley Cup can be compared to anything, look to the 2005 Fighting Illini run in the NCAA Tournament. A team masses gravitated to because it was the hip thing to do, and the bars and clubs around town benefited. I can remember seeing a sea of orange and blue walking the streets of Michigan Avenue while the comeback kids of Champaign fought tooth and nail to beat Arizona to advance to the Final Four. How much Illini basketball have you watched since? That is my point
Hockey is no different from NCAA basketball in this town because everyone watches a winner, but when the results are not matched or improved upon…..the passion for the team fades away.
more and Rock, it wasn’t a strike, it was called a lock-out…
from Adrian Dater at Versus,
Scotty Bowman has his name on the Stanley Cup a record 11 times, and he very much wants a 12th because it would be right next to the name of his son, Stan. Anybody want to bet against him?
“It would be a special thing,” the 76-year-old Bowman said Thursday night from his residence in Amherst, N.Y., while watching the first period of the Canadiens-Flyers game. “But, one thing at a time. It’s going to be a tough game tomorrow night with San Jose.”
Bowman probably would be with his son in Chicago, but he is staying close by another of his five children at the moment in Amherst. His son, David, is under hospice care, and it’s a tough time for him and his wife of more than 40 years, Suella. David was born with hydrocephalus, a serious neurological disorder that left him partially blind and mentally disabled.
Stan, the general manager of the Blackhawks, is just as affected by his brother’s condition, and the team knows he could be called away at any time. But soldiering through difficult personal situations has been a hallmark of all the Bowman family.
from Mark Purdy of the Mercury News,
This week, he is unabashedly addressing Chicago’s confident swagger.
“They’ve earned that confidence by winning two in our rink,” Blake said. “Now we’ve got to respond. They’ve stuck to their game very well and we haven’t been doing that by any means.”
So which means are the right means?
“They look quicker right now,” Blake said of the Blackhawks. “But we can be quicker, too, getting out of our zone and moving the puck. Don’t take anything away from them. They want to win. They’re a good team. But our execution and poise with the puck can be better. We’re not playing as crisp as we were. They’ve been able to knock down pucks.”
As he notes, though, the Sharks are greatly assisting in that effort. The most discouraging statistic from the first two games of the series is that our beloved Los Tiburones have been credited with 40 puck giveaways to Chicago’s 15. Meanwhile, the Sharks have actually been credited with more puck take-aways, 22-16.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
So there was Patrick Kane, the charismatic, young Chicago Blackhawks star, fielding questions from a gathering of reporters when an innocuous softball landed at his feet.
Kane was asked: Do his butterflies increase or decrease, knowing the Blackhawks are only two victories away from a Stanley Cup appearance, entering Friday’s third game of the Western Conference final against the San Jose Sharks?
“To be honest with you, I haven’t really had butterflies as far as playing the game,” Kane answered so matter-of-factly and so without pretence that you knew it to be true.
In that sentence there is a great deal of insight into what makes tick a player small (5 foot 10, 178 pounds) even by the new NHL standards, but who plays the game without fear of failure.
from Phil Couvrette of Canwest News Service at the National Post,
The show may be called Hockey Night in Canada, but the clock will say afternoon when the NHL playoffs resume this weekend, a schedule that doesn’t please some fans and business owners.
The Montreal Canadiens play the Philadelphia Flyers in the fourth game of their Eastern Conference final series Saturday at 3 p.m. ET, while the Chicago Blackhawks and San Jose Sharks face off at the same time the next day in their Western Conference final, incidentally at an earlier time in their respective time zones.
NHL.com contributor Paul Kukla said he’s received some 50 e-mails this week alone from fans upset about the schedule, prompting him to raise the issue on his blog, Kukla’s Korner Hockey.
if you missed the earlier post on KK regarding this topic, you can read it here.
I’ve received a fair share of emails from fans, most of who are complaining about the two games scheduled this weekend.
Philadelphia takes on Montreal at 3:00pm EDT on Saturday and San Jose plays Chicago on Sunday at 3:00pm EDT.
Both games are on NBC in the US and CBC and RDS in Canada.
It also happens to be Victoria Day in Canada on Monday, May 24th so that means a long weekend for many of our Canadian friends.
So with that in mind, does it bother you we have games in the afternoon this weekend and will you be watching or will you be busy or have other things to do during that time period?
from Tim Kawakami of the Mercury News,
It would be simpler and snazzier to conclude that the Sharks are choking now as they choke always, but they are not.
Nope, the Sharks are not losing these games to Chicago because of bad luck or regrettably callow performances.
In contrast to recent playoff torments when the Sharks had the most talent but the least gumption, this time they’re just flat-out losing.
Which actually might make things worse in the big picture.
The Sharks are down 0-2 to the Blackhawks plainly because the better team is winning and the lesser team is having to deal with it.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Quenneville also had a giggle at a question about what might constitute too much male bonding, given that the Blackhawks had been on the road since eliminating the Vancouver Canucks in the quarter finals - oh, about a century ago. One Blackhawks player confided that it was time to come home when all that was left to watch on the hotel movie channels were a bunch of chick flicks.
“I never heard of that one,” said Quenneville - this to the question about male bonding, not the chick flicks. “But I think these guys are probably fed up with the video games. I’m sure it’s pretty competitive in there as far as who was the king of the hand-held games.”
The Conference Finals are two games in and Chicago and Philadelphia hold a strong 2-0 lead.
What has surprised you the most during this round?
They play of Ville Leino, maybe the goaltending of Antti Niemi or Michael Leighton?
Maybe the road play of the Blackhawks or the Flyers actually playing disciplined hockey?
Let me know below….
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