Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Steve Rosenbloom of RosenBlog at the Chicago Tribune,
Your best players have to be your best players.
Not only have the Blackhawks’ best players been their best players against Calgary, but they have been the best players in this first-round playoff series. Period.
Start with Nikolai Khabibulin and Martin Havlat in Game 1. Then it was Nik At Night again in Game 2 on Saturday, but this time he was joined by Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and the obviously recovered Patrick Sharp.
For a kid with exactly 60 minutes of Stanley Cup playoff experience before Game 2 – no wait, 60 minutes and 12 seconds – Toews certainly looked like he was familiar with meeting the moment. When his team desperately needed a power-play goal to break Calgary’s early domination for the second straight game, Toews delivered.
from Stuart Shea at NHL.com,
The Calgary Flames cried foul.
Goalie Miikka Kiprusoff maintained after the Chicago Blackhawks’ 3-2 overtime win Thursday night that he was interfered with on Martin Havlat’s game-winning goal. Calgary coach Mike Keenan said there was no doubt that Hawks forward Andrew Ladd impeded his netminder.
“I believe it was Ladd who did not try to stop his movement toward the net, and that’s goaltender interference,” Keenan said. “However, the officials saw it different or didn’t make the call because of the excitement of overtime.”
continued and watch the goal below…
from Tim Sassone of Between The Circles,
Flames coach Mike Keenan wasn’t screaming or yelling after Thursday’s 3-2 loss to the Hawks in Game 1, even though he felt Andrew Ladd interfered with goalie Miikka Kiprusoff on Martin Havlat’s winning goal 12 seconds into overtime.
Keenan was doing what he does best, subtly sending a message to the NHL that he wants his goalie protected while also warning the Hawks that Nikolai Khabibulin better keep his head up in Game 2 on Saturday.
“There will be a debate about goaltender interference,” Keenan said. “A couple times they had run Kiprusoff over earlier in the game. It’s certainly part of their game plan. It’s a good plan if you can get away with it, and so far they have.”
more on Chicago
Mike Cammalleri delivers a right forearm/elbow to the head of Martin Havlat.
from Neil Hayes of the Chicago Sun-Times,
How the precocious Hawks respond to the expected bullying will punctuate a season that has rekindled Chicago’s passion for its Original Six franchise.
‘‘We don’t know any different,’’ second-year winger Adam Burish said with a grin. ‘‘We don’t know what we’re supposed to do, how we are supposed to feel or how we’re supposed to act. We act like we think we should and have fun with it.’‘
from George Johnson of the Calgary Herald,
By the time anthem singer launches into the “oh, say does that Star-Spangled Banner yet wa-a-ve . . .” bit on Thursday night, the vast wall of sound will be rising up, moving outward, like a massive rogue wave at sea, bent on levelling anything in its path.
Eardrums might burst. Floorboards will shudder.
And any old-timers at the United Center, those familiar with the long out-of-date, completely out-of-this-world old barn that once stood across the way, those who remember, will dab nostalgically at moistened eyes.
from Allan of the Globe and Mail,
...But the optimistic captain of the Flames sees something else: His best shot yet to win a Stanley Cup.
Seriously. Iginla said that. Even after all the recent setbacks – the losses, injuries, a power play that hasn’t scored since Hakan Loob played here – Iginla has gone on record to say that facing the Chicago Blackhawks in the postseason is “a good matchup for us” and that the Flames will persevere in the end.
“Do I still believe this is my best chance to win the Cup? Absolutely,” he confirmed.
This is what captains say in the darkest hours, and make no mistake, there hasn’t been a lot of sunshine around the Flames lately. Soon after Calgary ended its regular season Saturday night with a 4-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers, several players offered a battle cry that sounded bleak yet hopeful at the same time. “We’ve been bad against Chicago,” the players said. “We can’t be any worse.”
Dustin Byfuglien was awarded a penalty shot on this play late in today’s Chicago/Detroit game.
via Chris Kuc of Icing at the Chicago Tribune,
Winger Kris Versteeg was injured during practice in Bensenville on Friday and is doubtful to play Saturday afternoon when the Blackhawks take on the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena.
The rookie was skating by himself when he tripped and fell along the boards. He got up slowly and skated to the bench area while holding his right arm. Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said afterward Versteeg could play Sunday afternoon when the Hawks and Wings have a rematch at the United Center.
Winger Patrick Sharp, sidelined with a left leg injury, did not make the trip to Detroit and won’t play Sunday but the team is hoping for his return for Game One of the playoffs next week.
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