Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Carol Slezak of the Chicago Sun-Times,
If the Wings win this series, Kronwall deserves an award. The entire Hawks team felt his Game 3 hit on Martin Havlat and carried the pain into Game 4. You have to admire how the Hawks stand up for one another. But in this case, nothing good came of it. The players were emotional wrecks on Sunday, and Quenneville couldn’t do anything to get their heads back in the game. Maybe the coach was suffering from a Kronwall hangover, as well?
Quenneville isn’t buying that theory. He thinks the Hawks’ discipline ‘‘eroded as the game eroded,’’ and that ‘‘was more reflective of the score’’ than of a desire for revenge. Could be. But I’m not so sure. Cam Barker was asked about the Kronwall hangover on Monday, and sounded conflicted.
from Greg Wyshynski of PuckDaddy,
The difference in games played for Bob Probert between the Detroit Red Wings (474) and the Chicago Blackhawks (461) is negligible, but there’s no question he cemented his reputation as the most feared fighter in the NHL while wearing the Winged Wheel.
Which is why his public support of the Blackhawks in the Western Conference finals—dropping the ceremonial first puck, telling Jonathan Toews(notes) “good luck, kick their asses”—isn’t exactly endearing him to the Red Wings faithful:
from Steve Rosenbloom of RosenBlog at the Chicago Tribune,
Revenge in the playoffs is for suckers. Get your payback in the last five minutes of a blowout next season. The Wings know this. The Hawks players don’t, Their coach ought to.
Quenneville didn’t want to revisit his tantrum on Monday. Good. Fine. But it might be too late because blaming the officials for blowing the biggest game of the year gave his players an excuse for their inexcusable play, which is inexcusable fro a coach.
But by not commenting on his pricey comments, perhaps Quenneville’s getting back to the right strategy: shut up and play.
from Howard Berger of Fan590,
One of the most compelling Stanley Cup tournaments in recent memory is becoming less intriguing by the day. The Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings are making a mockery of the Conference finals as they steam toward a second match-up in the championship round. The Cup semifinals could end in a total of nine games for only the fifth time since the National Hockey League expanded in 1967. That would occur if the Penguins sweep the Carolina Hurricanes here in Raleigh on Tuesday, while the Red Wings eliminate Chicago in Game 5 of the West series on Wednesday at Joe Louis Arena.
The saving grace, of course, would be a potential collision of freight trains in the Stanley Cup final, as Pittsburgh and Detroit appear head-and-shoulders above the competition right now. But, parity in the championship round is not guaranteed.
From the CP via TSN:
The National Hockey League has fined Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville US$10,000 for criticizing the officiating in Game 4 of the Western Conference final.
Quenneville fumed over a roughing call against defenceman Matt Walker during a scrum as the first period ended Sunday.
Martin Havlat was out cold for more than a minute with a vacant stare on his face.
Detroit’s Niklas Kronwall had just crushed the Chicago Blackhawks’ leading scorer, and once he regained consciousness, Havlat needed the help of a teammate and trainer to get up and off the ice. He didn’t return. But two days later, the 28-year-old was in the lineup for Game 4 of the Western Conference Final.
“I was shocked,” concussion specialist Michael Czarnota told CBCSports.ca.
Czarnota, the neuropsychology consultant for the Canadian Hockey League, wasn’t attending the game and is not treating Havlat. But alarm bells went off when he saw No. 24 return in time for Sunday’s game.
“It’s the NHL, it’s the playoffs, so guys are willing to do a little bit more.… But it sure seemed that two days later was sort of pushing things.”
Video below is the second hit, the one that knocked him out of game 4.
Q. You made some comments last night that were fairly pointed about officiating, how it changed the game. A day later, do you feel any differently?
JOEL QUENNEVILLE: No. What happened happened. We want to move on. I know that what I said yesterday, it’s over with and done with. We’ll handle what we’re gonna be facing on Wednesday.
Q. There are times when things like that get said in an effort to take the pressure off the team. Was that in any way part of it?
JOEL QUENNEVILLE: That’s tough to say. I think after games, sometimes you’re more emotional than other games. We have a young team. We’ve overcome a lot. The nice thing about our group, we seem to just move on and handle the next challenge. We obviously have a huge challenge ahead of us.
from Al Cimaglia of ESPN,
Quenneville commented after the loss that the refs ruined the game by issuing a penalty to Walker at the end of the opening period. I concur to some degree. At the most they could have called offsetting penalties and let cooler heads prevail during the break.
In my view a major problem for the NHL is that officiating from game to game is too scattered. Many times those in the media or fans can overlook the inconsistent actions of officials because their miscues might not directly affect the final outcome. That shouldn’t be the determining factor in judging the performance of officials. A bad job is a bad job even if the final score was not altered because of officiating mistakes….
Unfortunately the young Blackhawks took the Red Wings’ bait time and time again and were whistled for 16 penalties. Chicago players picked the wrong time to jostle after whistles and run around after the Wings. With every penalty the Hawk frustration grew and the Detroit lead seemed to get larger. The overzealous officiating was bad but the Hawks didn’t do much of anything right to deserve a victory….
Maybe next year the referees as well will benefit from mistakes made in this season’s playoffs. Seemingly it is very difficult for NHL officiating to get the right balance and that should be cause for concern.
more on the Blackhawks…
In the Detroit/Chicago series, I have sat back and watched Chicago with numerous offensive zone turnovers that have turned into goals for the Red Wings.
Instead of busting their butt to get back into the play, the Chicago players look beaten after the turnover.
In the first video, watch Versteeg (#32) when he turns the puck over. Instead of busting back to help out, he decides to give Helm a two-hander instead of actually skating with him..
Another example, this one from the OT goal by Samuelsson in game 2. Watch Patrick Kane (#88) when Brian Campbell turns the puck over at the Detroit blueline. Kane is caught flat footed next to Samuelsson and completely gets lost on the play.
Watch that video below….
from Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star,
“I’ll be Cristo.”
That was Brent Seabrook speaking, as he jokingly stepped into Cristobal Huet’s locker and faced a phalanx of reporters, nearly an hour after his Blackhawks had been whacked 6-1 by Detroit.
The real Cristo, as it turns out, never did show his face, taking refuge in the no-trespassing inner sanctum of the Hawks’ dressing room. At 5:30 p.m., the cut-off point for media access, scriveners and TV types ushered outside, Huet was still back there, hiding.
Pretty bush. Which might also accurately describe the No.2-turned-No.1 Chicago goalie, who gave up five Red Wing goals, bracketed around a second period spent largely on the bench – yanked by coach Joel Quenneville and then re-instated, presumably for a bit of confidence bucking-up.
He’ll need all the bucking he can get, the Hawks teetering on the brink of elimination in the Western Conference final, trailing 3-1 as the series swings back to Joe Louis Arena Wednesday night.
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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