Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Steve Rosenbloom of the Chicago Tribune,
The franchise’s motto is “One Goal.’’ This isn’t that goal. This is failure.
Some franchises might be happy to reach the conference finals. Some might be thrilled just to reach the Stanley Cup Final. Not the Hawks. It’s Cup or bust. They tell us all the time. “One Goal.’’...
Just like that, epic fail.
So much played out in the Hawks’ favor, starting with captain Jonathan Toews, regarded as the best two-way player in the game, and Patrick Kane, the scariest stickhandler in the league.
They also had Marian Hossa, a first-team two-way player. They had Patrick Sharp, one of the best snipers going. They had defenseman Keith, a Norris Trophy candidate, and their next three defensemen were considered to be No. 1 blueliners by Kings coach Darryl Sutter.
The Hawks had everything their way. They owned the roster with the best top-end talent and depth. They had some swagger. They were the defending champs, and despite finishing third in their division, they were looking at home-ice advantage in the three final rounds.
They missed the Avalanche and vexing goalie Semyon Varlamov. They got into the Blues’ heads. They had more talent than the Wild. They had more top-end talent than the Kings, and they are a far more talented team than the Rangers, even if the Rangers have the best goalie in the game.
The Hawks should’ve been the best team going, and they should gone back-to-back and won their third Cup in five years. They didn’t.
from Rick Telander of the Chicago Sun-Times,
Chicago, pack your (body) bags.
Not for a trip to New York for the Stanley Cup Final against the upstart Rangers. That would have been too much fun.
Nope, pack ’em for a long summer off, with only the Cubs (gag), the White Sox (zzzz), the Bulls (not playing), the Bears (lifting weights) and the echo of might-have-been to sustain us.
In yet another thrilling overtime game, the Kings beat the Hawks 5-4, sticking the (Chelsea) dagger deep into our beloved hockey team’s heart. Once again, a 2-0 lead did not hold up for the Hawks, who lost Game 2 after being up two goals.
This one was tougher to take than that collapse because the Hawks were ahead in this game 2-0, then 3-2, then 4-3, before losing on Alec Martinez’s shot that glanced off the Hawks’ Nick Leddy and over goalie Corey Crawford’s shoulder 5:47 into overtime.
from David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune at the LA Times,
At 10:10 p.m. CDT Sunday night, Chicago shook its fist at fate, cursed the Kings and slowly started to face reality that will take all summer to sink in.
BREAKING NEWS: Hearts all over town broke watching the Blackhawks lose, 5-4, in overtime in Game 7 of the Western Conference finals. There will be no Stanley Cup repeat or Grant Park parade. Stunningly, the Blackhawks' season is over. It even seems odd to type that....
You didn't have to be an NBC executive to appreciate what America witnessed. A wonderful series that deserved a Game 7 required overtime too — as fitting as it was frustrating. With due respect to the Rangers, the NHL will stage a Stanley Cup Final, but this series decided the league's best team.
"It's hard to admit to ourselves this season is over," Toews said.
Rest assured, it will be even harder for a hockey city to accept.
“If you look at how close we were, how competitive it was, it’s a tough league, it’s a tough thing to do to win the Cup. I couldn’t be prouder of our guys the way we competed. It’s a tough situation, down 3-1, and we were one shot away from going and trying to do it again.”
“I’ve lost some tough games, but nothing like tonight.”
-Joel Quenneville, head coach of the Chicago Blackhawks after last night's game, More from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of Yahoo.
From the OT goal by the LA Kings, to the awarding of the Clarence Campbell Trophy, HNIC was there.
Oh, and Bob Cole too.
The puck drops just after 8:00pm ET and is on NBCSN, CBC and RDS.
The Chicago Blackhawks are at home against the Los Angeles Kings and the winner will host the New York Rangers at home on Wednesday in the first game of the Stanley Cup Final.
If Chicago gets an early lead, watch out, they may continue to pour it on.
I have to favor the Blackhawks in this game, the Kings may have lost their chance by losing game 6 at home.
Sit back and enjoy, we are about to see some great hockey.
It’s unfair to expect him to put together another record-setting run like he did in 2012, but Quick has yet to be a difference-maker in this series. We know he can steal a game on his own. And unless Los Angeles’ defense suddenly solves the magic of Patrick Kane, he might have to.
-Alan Muir of Sports Illustrated on Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick. Read more on game 7 by Muir.
Q. Heading into Game 5, Brandon Saad said, We need to relax. Are you kind of sensing that same vibe, that confidence, that optimism?
COACH QUENNEVILLE: We want the same approach. I thought Game 5 we came into the game knowing we had a couple little changes in the lines. But I thought we had a good start to the game, good consistency to our game. I thought we rose to the challenge of what was at stake.
I thought each and every game in the series I thought we've progressed, played better. We needed to, as well, in those last two games.
Q. No idea if the lineup will look the way it looked out there in lines. Looked like the third line had a change up with Sharp and Kruger and Smith.
COACH QUENNEVILLE: They played a lot in the last two games. They scored a big goal for us last game. They give us some speed, some ability to check. I think they give us some balance, as well.
I thought the three of them worked well together two games ago. Played together a lot. For sure, the overtime part.
from Tracey Myers of CSNChicago,
Game 7: it’s the ultimate conclusion, the final game of a series, the winner-take-all contest, the last chance for a team to continue its postseason.
It’s intense, it’s dramatic, it’s pressure… right?
“I don’t look at it as pressure,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “I think it’s been fun.”
Welcome to the outlook of a hockey player, whether it’s a past or a present one. What the Blackhawks coach thinks about Game 7s is what his players think, too: they’re fantastic. And the Blackhawks are looking to make another memorable Game 7 moment on Sunday night when they host the Los Angeles Kings in the Western Conference Final finale.
The Kings have had their great Game 7 moments already this postseason, and winning this game on the road isn’t intimidating to them one bit. They did it in San Jose, coming back from a 3-0 series deficit in the first round. They did it in Anaheim, manhandling the Ducks in that final game to get to this point. So the Blackhawks know the Kings won’t be daunted by this situation.
And both squads also have impressive numbers in this department: the Blackhawks are 5-0 in elimination games the past two postseasons while the Kings are 6-0 in elimination games this postseason.
from Jill Painter of the Los Angeles Daily News,
The four-letter word you don’t want to say around the Kings right now has nothing to do with them not taking care of business in Game 6 and closing out the Western Conference Finals.
Keeping Patrick Kane in check will be of utmost importance for the Kings in Game 7 on Sunday.
Through the first three games of the series, Kane had one point. The way the Kings were playing him had a lot to do with that. They didn’t let him roam around freely, always had a body near him and took away his confidence. They knew where he was at all times.
Kane has seven points in the last two games, including the game-winner at Staples Center in Game 6, in which he skated around with the Kings’ end with such ease and nailed a wrister from high in the slot with 3:45 left.
The Kings must bottle him up if they are to advance.
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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