Kukla's Korner Hockey
from George Johnson at ESPN,
Hockey is back in the City of Big Shoulders. In a major way. And we who worship at the shrine of Elmer “Moose” Vasko could not be more ecstatic.
From the emergence of Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane as Teen Beat heartthrobs to the icy excitement generated by the Winter Classic at venerable Wrigley Field, to the updating and reimagining of a franchise languishing in neglect, this is indisputably the Year of the Hawk.
Hey, they’re young, they’re fast, they’re audacious, they’re fun. No denying it. And although nothing’s perfect—you cringe a little at the money shelled out for softie defenseman Brian Campbell and playoff backup goalie Cristobal Huet, and the fact that they’re into that really annoying “Don’t step on the logo” nonsense in the dressing room and fence off the big Hawk on the carpet—there’s no doubting we’re over the moon to see the Chicago Blackhawks returned to their rightful place.
“I’ll guarantee you one thing, they won’t be getting to Louie as easily as they got to [Miikka] Kiprusoff, and we’ll take it from there. Actions speak louder than words.”
-Shane O’Brien of the Vancouver Canucks talking about the Chicago Blackhawks. More on the series from Ben Kuzma of the Vancouver Province.
from Neil Hayes of the Chicago Sun-Times,
Winning a road playoff game and closing out a wounded team to avoid a Game 7 are steps in the maturation process that the Blackhawks can cross of their list after their Stanley Cup playoff series-clinching 4-1 victory over the Flames late Monday night. But the more players talked afterwards, the more it seemed those goals weren’t all they were playing for. Young or not, this was about showing people that the Blackhawks have officially arrived.
‘‘We want to be more than a fun team to watch,’’ Adam Burish said. ‘‘We wanted to show that we’re a good hockey team. It’s more than just filling the building and being OK. We want to be a great team. We want to go deep in the playoffs. We want to show people. That was the edge we had tonight.’‘
added 8:10am, Scotty Bowman was on Fan590 this morning and said the key of the series was Chicago shutting down Jarome Iginla. Bowman also talks, about the Canucks, San Jose/Anaheim and a few other topics.
Click to listen to the interview.
With a 4-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks, the Anaheim Ducks advance to the 2nd round of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The Ducks will travel to Detroit for games 1 and 2 while the Chicago Blackhawks will visit Vancouver for the first two games.
Since Chicago defeated the Flames in Calgary tonight, I wonder if they will just stay in western Canada and then make the short flight to Vancouver instead of goin back to Chicago and then quickly heading out to Vancouver.
Chicago took a very early two goal lead and basically skated with the Flames the rest of the way.
Chicago scores into an empty net late in the game, final score 4-1.
Dion Phaneuf did not take part in the morning skate and head coach Mike Keenan erased all questions about the status of the blueliner for tonight’s contest.
“No, he will not,” was Keenan’s response when asked if Phaneuf would play. “He’s not available. And his status is day-to-day.”
Phaneuf’s teammates expressed their concern about his possible absence but remained positive that they could handle the 24-year-old’s workload.
from Chris Zelkovich of the Toronto Star,
First, we had the case of Pittsburgh’s Maxime Talbot starting a fight with Philadelphia goon Daniel Carcillo on Saturday afternoon.
According to almost everybody at Hockey Night In Canada, the fact that Talbot started a fight knowing he was going to be clobbered somehow inspired his teammates to overcome a 3-0 deficit and win the series.
Though analyst Gary Galley first said the fistic defeat would probably spell the end for Pittsburgh, he later agreed with his colleagues that Talbot’s impression of a punching bag had indeed changed the course of the game….
But here’s where the confusion comes in. That evening, the Blackhawks jumped out to a 5-1 second-period lead over the Flames.
They were dominating the Flames the way the Flyers had dominated the Penguins in the early going. Amazingly, Calgary defenceman Adam Pardy went on a Talbot-like suicide mission and attacked Chicago tough guy Ben Eager. The results were the same as Talbot’s strategic gem, a one-sided defeat – with one exception. The Flames didn’t score another goal and are now on the verge of elimination.
Matt Walker of the Blackhawks took a shot off of his hand and the results were a messed-up finger.
In case you are wondering, he returned to play.
from Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Tribune,
The Hawks were just better. They were more together than the Flames.
Togetherness—that’s one of things that stand out about hockey. More than perhaps all sports, it demands teamwork, physical sacrifice and a surrendering of personal goals for the good of the team. You go all out for two minutes and get off the ice after the shift. If you let up at any point during those two minutes, there’s a decent chance you and your team are going to pay. There’s certainly no time for selfishness. And there’s no profit in it. You can’t skate through two defenders and get to the net. A hockey player can’t take over a game by himself, unless he goes by the name of Gretzky.
If you’re a showboat in the NHL, you’re not going to be one for long. You’re not going to have a head for long, either, because it’s going to get knocked off. Perhaps even by a teammate. Self-centeredness is not frowned upon. It’s snarled upon.
In a game as rough as this one is, you’d have to be crazy to try to show up an opponent. And even when the Hawks jumped on the Flames, they did not dance on them. They did what hockey players do after a goal: They looked for teammates in order to celebrate.
more on the Chicago victory over Calgary tonight…
from Jeff Blair of the Globe and Mail,
Adam Burish had one question Friday: If the Calgary Flames have started to pound as much playoff sense as everybody says they have into the callow Chicago Blackhawks, how come it was the Flames who lost players in Game 4?
And as for the notion the Blackhawks’ yappiness had somehow spurred Jarome Iginla to play like . . . well, to play like one of the best players in the NHL? (“The best in the world,” according to Burish.) Watch the eyes roll.
“Why would he be ticked off?” Burish asked Friday, after the Blackhawks practised at the United Center before Saturday’s fifth game of their best-of-seven Western Conference quarter-final series. “I mean, you think [Iginla] needs to get up for the playoffs? What did he get? A power-play goal and an empty-netter. I saw the same guy.”
Almost every NHL playoff series relies on the same old underlying storylines to be put in context: goaltending, experience against youth, redemption, officiating, the contest between “grit” (that’s the only time the word appears in this column, I swear) and finesse.
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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