Kukla's Korner Hockey
After practice today...
from Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times,
“There’s not a big difference playing against St. Louis and playing Tampa in the Final,” Niklas Hjalmarsson said after the Blues pulled out a 1-0 victory in overtime Wednesday night in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup playoffs. “It’s like a Stanley Cup Final right away. St. Louis is one of the best teams in the league. We’re up for a big task here to get back on the winning track.”
Blues captain David Backes scored at 9:04 of overtime, his shot going in off of Trevor van Riemsdyk’s skate to cap the opening thriller. It was a huge win for the Blues, who had to take advantage of Duncan Keith’s absence. The Hawks will be back at full strength Friday night for Game 2, as a well-rested Keith returns from his six-game suspension.
And despite the loss, the Hawks held their own defensively without Keith. Hjalmarsson said it was the best road game the Hawks have played in “a long, long time.” So nobody in the Hawks room was too down after the loss. They outshot the Blues 35-18, holding them without a single shot on goal for more than 23 minutes in the third period and overtime. Other than a brilliant 35-save effort by Blues goalie Brian Elliott and an 0-for-5 night on the power play, the Hawks couldn’t complain about much.
“I thought we played pretty well,” said van Riemsdyk, who called the game-winner a “tough break.”
“It’s a tough game to come in and play, the first game of the playoffs in their building,” Jonathan Toews said. “I think we did a lot of good things. Unfortunately we didn’t get the result we wanted. We know it’s only going to get tougher, so we know we have to raise our game the next one. But I think for the most part it’s an effort we can build on. We’re not going to overreact in any way. We’ll be excited about being excited to play the next one.”
It was the fifth straight season that the Hawks went to overtime in their playoff opener.
Watch the game highlights below...
from Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk wasn’t saying it in a bulletin-board-sort-of-way. In fact, his post-practice comments the day before the Blues meet Chicago in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs Wednesday were rooted in the fact that he would like his team to one day climb up on the Hawks’ perch.
“I think we really relish the opportunity to play Chicago,” Shattenkirk said. “For us, it’s our biggest rival, everyone knows that. We kind of feel like it’s our time to break through here. In a way, it’s almost like the Cardinals and the Cubs. We feel a bit like the Cubs here.”
The “Cubs of hockey” comparison isn’t new. It’s been tossed around for years, and not so warmly accepted in St. Louis, and by that we mean you better take cover if you say it. But let’s take off the kid gloves and look at the facts.
from Barry Rozner of the Chicago Daily-Herald,
What Duncan Keith did was wrong.
Everyone knows that. No one can dispute that. No one would try.
Not even Keith. Certainly not Keith.
But he is not Charles Manson. He's not even Dave Manson, though you would have to watch hockey to have a reasonable picture of the kind of player he is.
Keith is about as honest a defenseman as there is the NHL. He's probably too honest for his own good, and larger forwards frequently take advantage of that.
The fact, however, is that Keith now has three serious violations on his record and he's been punished for all three.
The latest, as you know, was the slash to Charlie Coyle's face in Minnesota last week. It was very bad, frighteningly dangerous and the six games seems a fair number.
What was unfair was what occurred just before the Keith slash.
Coyle slashed Keith in the face and a moment later Coyle yanked Keith's skates out from under him, the equivalent of a slew foot. It was a dangerous play in which Keith's head hit the ice.
Either play by Coyle could have ended Keith's season. And that's why Keith reacted.
Below, Corey Hirsch and P.J. Stock of Sportsnet discuss the suspension and high stick, video also includes the incident.
from Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times,
Does Keith — one of the most decorated and lauded defensemen of his era — worry about his reputation? Is he a dirty player? Can he be a clean one from now on?
Keith believes he can.
“I try to play the game hard, and for the amount of minutes I play, the games I play, I feel I play the game hard,” Keith said Saturday in his first public comments since the Coyle incident on Tuesday night. “At the end of the day, I try to leave it on the ice. I’m not really focused on what I’m trying to leave out there as far as a reputation. I think everybody wants to have a reputation as a clean, honest player. There’s a line and a limit. It’s just being smarter and knowing that.”
Keith was asked if he can control his temper and assure both himself and his teammates that such an incident won’t happen again.
“Well, I think I’m going to have to,” he said. “It’s just knowing that line. I’m a competitive person, but I don’t think that’s something that I can’t stop. I think I can stop that.”
Average Price Of 2016 Blackhawks Playoff Tickets Nearly Double That Of Regular Season- Resale Market
By Joe Sudberg,
Surprise, surprise – the Chicago Blackhawks have clinched yet another postseason berth in 2016, and while the dynasty debate drudges on, excitement for playoff hockey continues to grow in the Windy City. The Hawks have punched their ticket to the playoffs for the eighth consecutive year and - if all goes swimmingly this spring – have the chance lift their fourth Stanley Cup since the turn of the decade.
Like each year, however, fans hoping to get their hands on Blackhawks playoff tickets will be hit with big prices on the resale market as the team prepares for the first round. According to the secondary ticket market, the average price for Blackhawks playoff tickets at United Center during the Quarterfinal round is now $433.77. That marks an 81.6% premium over the team’s season average of $238.77.
from Damien Cox of Sportsnet,
Basically, Stephane Quintal said, “We’ve seen this movie before from Duncan Keith.”
Quintal wasn’t in charge of NHL Player Safety when Keith was previously suspended; Brendan Shanahan was. But in suspending Chicago’s star defenceman on Friday night for high-sticking Minnesota’s Charlie Coyle, Quintal drew a direct line between that incident and another one almost three years ago when Keith high-sticked L.A.’s Jeff Carter in a Stanley Cup playoff game.
Keith got a single playoff game ban, and on Friday, Quintal gave him one playoff game again, plus five relatively meaningless regular season games.
An increase in punishment, yes. A drastic increase for a twice-suspended player with a history of nasty stick infractions? No.
Patrick Burke explains...
from David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune,
Only duty or instinct could compel anyone to defend Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith now, but stop if you're tempted.
Keith doesn't deserve your rationalizations, Hawks fans. He deserves your aggravation.
For such a smart player, Keith did a dumb thing Tuesday night against the Wild when he slashed Charlie Coyle in the face with his stick. Keith recklessly committed a vicious act that made the Stanley Cup a little harder to defend. He made a conscious decision to retaliate against Coyle, the Wild forward who took him to the ground with a trip that constituted interference. Landing hard on his back, Keith lay there for a split second and — in that momentary lapse — decided to swing his stick at Coyle in a blatant attempt to injure the Wild player. The blood dripping down Coyle's crooked nose confirmed Keith's attempt was successful. Had an opponent done something similar to a Hawks player, he would have received the Raffi Torres pariah treatment from the fan base.
That's no way for a Hall of Fame player to respect the game or an opponent. That's crossing the line between going hard and playing dirty. That's unacceptable, especially for a Norris Trophy winner who should have realized the potential repercussions by the league with the playoffs looming.
from Mike Imrem of the Chicago Daily-Herald,
There is no defense for Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith's behavior at Minnesota on Tuesday night.
Keith -- on his way to the hockey Hall of Fame -- will make a stop on the NHL's suspension list for whacking his stick into the face of Wild forward Charlie Coyle.
If I were the league's Duke of Discipline, the punishment would span the rest of the regular season and all of the postseason.
from Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times,
If you missed the play, watch it below...
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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