Kukla's Korner Hockey
from John Glennon of the Tennessean,
ESPN NHL analyst Barry Melrose sees at least three things that have allowed the Predators to keep Chicago in check thus far: more desire, more physical play and intelligent play in their own zone.
“Nashville’s a very good defensive team and they don’t beat themselves,’’ Melrose said. “You don’t see them giving up many two-on-ones. They don’t give up a lot of chances and they don’t give up a lot of easy goals.
“The thing is that the ‘Hawks want it to come easy and Nashville is making it hard. That’s why the Predators are winning and that’s why they deserve to be winning.’‘
Here’s a breakdown by position of what the Predators are doing so well to stifle the Blackhawks.
from Steve Rosenbloom of RosenBlog,
Paging Marian Hossa. Paging Marian Hossa. Please report to the Stanley Cup playoffs.
And bring the rest of the Blackhawks’ best players with you.
Hossa was brought here with a monstrous $62.8 million contract for exactly this time of year. Big money, big goals, the biggest part of the season. Same goes for Jonathan Toews, the young, brilliant captain who hasn’t beaten Pekka Rinne either. And the Hawks will need more from Patrick Sharp, as well.
From all of them. The Hawks need their best players to be their best players, no more fooling around. Hurt or injured or just ineffective, they need to take notes from David Legwand, the Nashville forward who disappeared in Game 2 and then came back with a goal and two assists on Tuesday night. Show up, guys. Do something.
added 9:33am, from Tim Sassone of Between The Circles,
We waited for the playoffs through six months for this?
The Blackhawks embarrassed themselves with their effort and performance in Tuesday’s 4-1 loss here that gave the Predators a 2-1 series lead.
You’d have thought it was a game on a long road trip in the middle of December and not a critical playoff game the way the Hawks showed up without any emotion or energy.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Check out this comment Hawks star Patrick Kane gave ESPN.com last spring during the Vancouver-Chicago second-round playoff series:
“I think you look at our team and, yes, we have some young guys, and sometimes it seems like we don’t know any better,” Kane said May 4, 2009. “We’re just playing hockey. It’s been a lot of fun throughout the year. It’s like we just don’t want the season to end. We want to keep playing hockey and keep enjoying this ride.”
Happy go lucky. No pressure. No one expected anything from the young Hawks other than getting their feet wet.
So, we’ll find out a lot about the makeup of this team starting with Game 2 at the United Center on Sunday night. Our guess? This Hawks team can handle it. They will respond.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Hello, world … we are the Nashville Predators. How do you like us now?
Matched up with the flash-and-dash Chicago Blackhawks in the first round of the NHL playoffs, the Nashville No-Names were given so little chance that one swore it was the Washington Generals taking the ice Friday night and not an NHL club that garnered 100 points in the Western Conference this season.
“We’re not the pretty choice,” veteran Preds forward Steve Sullivan said after a statement 4-1 win in Game 1 at United Center. “We’re not the favorite choice, we’re not the exciting brand of hockey that the Chicago Blackhawks are, but we’ve got a quiet little swagger within this dressing room.”
from Tim Sassone of Between The Circles,
Antti Niemi let in a bad goal, a crusher as it turned out, early in the third period with the Hawks leading 1-0. J.P. Dumont’s soft toss at the net from past the right faceoff circle bounced past Niemi, changing the momentum of the game.
Wasn’t this every Hawks fans’s nightmare, a bad goal costing a game? Only the goalie wasn’t Cristobal Huet.
The Hawks might have won 1-0 if not for Niemi’s bad goal.
more and watch the talked about goal…
This is what we waited a year for?
-Steve Rosenbloom of RosenBlog at the Chicago Tribune. Read more about Chicago’s loss to Nashville tonight.
from John Glennon of the Tennessean, —
With players such as Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa gracing the roster, it’s no surprise the Chicago Blackhawks are known for their explosive offensive potential.
But Chicago’s rise to the upper echelon of the NHL this season was fueled at least as much by its stifling defense as its goal-scoring ability.
Living proof comes in the form of the Predators, who open their best-of-seven first-round series against Chicago tonight at United Center.
In six games against the Blackhawks during the regular season, the Predators managed just 12 goals. Even more telling numbers: Chicago held a quintet of top Nashville forwards — Jason Arnott, J.P. Dumont, Steve Sullivan, David Legwand and Patric Hornqvist — without a single goal in a combined 28 games.
from Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune,
“This is another great chance,” said Hossa, who signed a 12-year, $62.8 million deal with the Hawks on July 1. “The two times had disappointing ends, both of them. On the other hand I still consider myself lucky because some great players didn’t even go to the Stanley Cup finals. I know I didn’t win it but it’s the motivation again. It’s going to be a great challenge.”
That challenge gets under way Friday night at the United Center when the Hawks face the Predators in Game 1 of the playoffs. After rolling through a regular season that produced their first division title in 17 years and the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference, the Hawks seem primed to make an even deeper run than last season’s team that fell to the Wings in the conference finals.
“We have a great team and great thing going here,” said Hossa, who had 24 goals and 27 assists in 57 games after returning from offseason shoulder surgery. “We all believe we can go all the way. Expectations are high and we’re looking forward to it.”
via the CP at TSN,
Chicago Blackhawks defenceman Brian Campbell has returned to practice for the first time since he broke a collarbone and a rib after a hit from Washington’s Alex Ovechkin on March 14.
The Blackhawks initially said Campbell would miss seven or eight weeks.
Campbell says he still doesn’t have a timetable to return. He won’t play Friday when the Blackhawks open the playoffs at home against Nashville.
Chris Kuc tweeted this about an hour ago…
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said he hopes defenseman Brian Campbell can return sometime during first-round series.
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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