Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Jim Jamieson of the Vancouver Province,
The Canucks feel they have got some good preparation for Chicago goalie Antti Niemi in the first round of the playoffs.
That would be playing against the L.A. Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick, who’s about the same size, gets low to take away the bottom part of the net and in is in his first NHL playoffs.
The Canucks are also hoping to see the same proclivity for giving up juicy rebounds that Quick exhibited, some of which allowed Vancouver to light up the Kings goalie for 21 goals in the six-game series.
“We’ve talked about him having a lot of the same tendencies as Quick,” said Canucks defenceman Shane O’Brien.
“That should help us going in here, but he’s had a great season and obviously won the first round. We’re going to have to make life miserable for him. We’re going to get as much traffic as possible in front of him and get pucks to the net and challenge him. We’ll see how he deals with it.”
from Steve Rosenbloom of RosenBlog,
One of the things the Canucks regret from last year’s second-round bouncing by the Blackhawks—besides losing, obviously—is having the style of game dictated to them, not by them.
Vancouver players recalled trying several different approaches, especially in the last two games at the United Center, but the truth is, the Canucks had one approach: running around their own zone screaming for mommy to make it stop.
The Hawks owned the puck, the Canucks’ blue line and the Vancouver zone. Hat trick. Which, coincidentally, is how Patrick Kane ended the series and thus began Vancouver’s year of unrequited grudge that gets taken to the alley this weekend.
And while the Canucks harbor old, ill feelings, they are vowing a new approach: attack, attack, and when in doubt, attack.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
One year later, the Vancouver Canucks and Chicago Blackhawks meet again in the second round. Vancouver’s 2009 playoffs came to a crushing end in Game 6 at the United Center when Chicago exploded for seven goals on Roberto Luongo in a night few in the Canucks organization will ever forget.
This postseason, Chicago and Vancouver return to the second round with one thing in common: Both believe they’re one step closer to challenging for the ultimate prize this time.
The Blackhawks and Canucks were both picked by many to represent the Western Conference in the Stanley Cup finals, both clubs winning their respective divisions. Because of those high expectations, one team will be thoroughly disappointed with a second-round exit. It’s Stanley Cup or bust.
from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,
Getting traffic to the net has been a stratagem in the NHL playoffs ever since the rover was taken out of the game. It was a factor in the Kings-Canucks series. It’s been a factor in every series played this postseason. And it will continue to be a factor when the Canucks meet the Blackhawks.
The question, of course, concerns the extent to which the Hawks will go to make Roberto Luongo’s life uncomfortable and given the history between these two teams and what’s already transpired in the playoffs, that’s an interesting question.
“I thought the Chicago series last year was the most I’ve ever seen for guys going to the net and falling on the goalie,” said Canucks defenceman Kevin Bieksa. “[The Kings’] Ryan Smyth goes to the net hard but he’s an honest guy. He doesn’t whack at the goalie after the whistle.”
Which implies the Blackhawks do but we’re saying that, not Bieksa.
Strange game, score after the 1st period was 4-3 Chicago. Then no goals until John Madden scored an empty netter with 7 seconds left.
Chicago will now take on Vancouver in a rematch of a physical series from last year.
San Jose will play the winner of the game 7 showdown tomorrow between Detroit and Phoenix.
Pekka Rinne goes out to play the puck on a shoot-in, but….
from David Climer of the Tennessean,
Right here, let me point out that the Predators never should have let it come to that. It shouldn’t have mattered if Hossa was on the ice, in the penalty box or in the shower. The Predators have only themselves to blame.
First, how can a team that is 0-for-postseason on the power play expect to advance?
Second, you’ve got to find a way to protect your goal in the closing seconds of regulation. Even after the Blackhawks pulled goalie Antti Niemi, the Predators should have been able to kill the clock. Martin Erat’s blind pass that was intercepted and ultimately led to the tying goal will be remembered as the turning point of this series unless Nashville wins the next two games.
But back to Hossa: I don’t think anybody is surprised that the NHL’s kangaroo court decided not to suspend him after conducting a hearing on the hit. Colin Campbell, the NHL’s senior vice president of hockey operations, determined that the five-minute penalty “was significant and appropriate” action by the referee.
Translation: Suspending a name player in the postseason is bad for business. Get over it.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
What was the first thing you thought of when you saw Hossa lean in on Hamhuis as they both chased a puck into the corner? The hit on Hossa’s teammate, Brian Campbell, courtesy of Alex Ovechkin earlier in the regular season.
In both cases, the offending players seemed to hold up slightly just as contact was made, but the defensemen were off balance enough to be sent hurtling into the boards.
Dangerous? Yes. Reckless? It depends on your definition of reckless.
Of course, in the NHL, where every day is a brand new day, the two incidents end up being treated as though they were from different planets.
NHL Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell conducted a phone hearing with Hossa earlier Sunday afternoon. Campbell made the following statement after the meeting:
“I have made the decision that this play does not warrant supplemental discipline after considering all of the facts, including reviewing the video and speaking with Mr. Hossa,” said Campbell. “This play is distinguishable from recent incidents by a number of factors, including the degree of contact involved; the fact that the consequences of the play do not appear to be as severe; that this was a hockey play involving a race for the puck; that Mr. Hossa is not a repeat offender; and that the call of a major penalty by the referee was significant and appropriate.”
I’m scratching my head trying to figure out the Preds’ personnel decisions on the ill-fated final regulation power play, the one in which Chicago managed to score a short-handed goal to send the contest in overtime. Obviously the Predators didn’t need to score a goal, since they were already up 4-3. And they knew the Blackhawks would be doing everything they could to produce a tying score. So don’t you want your top defensive players on the ice? It made sense to have Shea Weber, Ryan Suter and Joel Ward out there. But Jason Arnott and Martin Erat? Why wouldn’t David Legwand and Jerred Smithson be on the ice in that situation?
-John Glennon of the Tennessean. Read more from John at Predators Insider.
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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