Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune,
Walk through the main floor of Jill and Stan Mikita's home in the western suburbs and you will see very little evidence that the man who owns it was one of the greatest players the sport of hockey ever has known.
Other than a portrait of the Blackhawks legend and an autographed photo of Mikita and lifelong friend Bobby Hull on the family room wall, there are few mementos indicating that it is the home of someone whose statue stands outside the United Center.
"Stan always said he didn't need things on the wall or plaques on the shelves because he had his memories," Jill Mikita says.
Now, those memories are gone.
Stan Mikita has been diagnosed with suspected dementia with Lewy body, a brain disorder that can strip those with it of memory, cause hallucinations, sleep disorders and often, though not in Mikita's case, Parkinson's disease. His decline has been steep and sudden....
"His mind is completely gone," Jill, Stan's wife of 52 years, says while sitting on the sun porch as one of her grandsons fishes in the pond out back. "I don't like to use that term but there's no other way to describe it."
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
The Blackhawks have seen enough of Tampa.
They have no interest in returning to the humidity, the electric lightshow inside Amalie Arena, and the horde of characters — Stars Wars stormtroopers, Game of Thrones barbarians, anime creatures — flowing through the Tampa Convention Center two blocks from the rink. It is hard to tell which group looks more peculiar: the costumed crowd at Metrocon, Tampa’s anime convention, or the bearded bunch of tired and angry men doing battle on the ice.
On Monday, the Blackhawks would be quite happy to share the Stanley Cup with their fans at the United Center. It would be their third Cup in six years and first on home ice. The Lightning, meanwhile, want no part of participating in the crowning of a dynasty.
“It’s not just another game, but that’s the way we’ve got to try to approach it,” said Brent Seabrook, one of Chicago’s core players. “It’s a huge game.”
With one more win, whether it’s on Monday or in Game 7 Wednesday, the Blackhawks will claim the title of the best team in the post-2005 lockout era. They’ve advanced to this point by being the organization of the future — fast, skilled, deep, and overwhelming.
They control the game. They do not chase it.
from Darren Rovell of ESPN,
Less than an hour after the Blackhawks won Game 5 over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Tampa on Saturday night, the resale price on StubHub for a standing room only seat in Chicago for Monday night's Game 6 was north of $1,000.
Those numbers have held through Sunday. As of 9 a.m. ET on Sunday, the cheapest ticket that comes with a seat for Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals was $1,979.
Standing room only seats have a face value of $140. Upper goal section seats, that have a single-game face value of $285, are listed on StubHub for $2,445 each. Club level center tickets that have a face value of $650 are listed for $4,816 each, and the cheapest tickets right up against the glass, with a face value of $1,200, are listed at more than $10,000 apiece.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
This was the player the Chicago Blackhawks figured they’d be getting when they gave up a first-round pick and a prospect before the trade deadline.
Antoine Vermette struggled mightily after being dealt to the Blackhawks, even getting scratched three times earlier in these playoffs. But with three game-winning goals in the two most important rounds of the playoffs, the gamble will have been well worth it for the Blackhawks.
"He's got better every game," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said after Saturday night’s 2-1 win put his team on the brink of a third Cup in six years. "I thought he had a great game tonight. Very timely goal. Big faceoff wins. Both zones tonight. Lot of wins. Positionally aware. Battled."
It’s the player the Arizona Coyotes knew for years. They were probably more surprised than anyone when Vermette looked so lost in his early weeks in Chicago. And you know that Quenneville would have got quite the scouting report from his old Hartford Whalers teammate and friend Dave Tippett, who loved coaching Vermette for the past four seasons in Arizona.
from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,
Thanks to Vermette’s winning goal early in the third period of Chicago’s 2-1 victory over the host Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena on Saturday in Game 5 of the 2015 Stanley Cup final, the Hawks are now up 3-2 in the series.
More importantly, Chicago can now close things out on Monday night in Game 6 with a victory at the United Center, arguably the loudest building in hockey, if not in all of sports.
The Hawks Stanley Cup-clinching wins in both 2010 and 2013 came on the road, so their crazed fans did not have a chance to be on hand to see their hockey heroes raise the Stanley Cup.
They’ll have that opportunity now.
“(Since I’ve been here) we’ve never been in this spot before,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “I’m sure the town will be crazy.
“The buzz will be off the charts.”
Flipping through the history books, the Hawks have not won the NHL title on home ice since 1938, a span of 77 years.
At that time, Franklin D. Roosevelt was the president of the United States, William Lyon Mackenzie King was Canada’s Prime Minister, Hank Greenberg led the majors in home runs with 58 and Mike Karakas was the goalie who led those Hawks to the Cup.
Now, almost eight full decades later, just thinking of how electric the always emotional national anthem will be at the United Center Monday is enough to send shivers up the spine of any player.
from Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune,
Dreams of capturing silver took on a tarnished feel for the Lightning.
Despite the return of goaltender Ben Bishop to the net, Tampa Bay’s offense again came up dry in a 2-1 loss to Chicago in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final. The Lightning trail the best-of-seven series 3-2 heading into Game 6 in Chicago on Monday.
For just the second time this postseason Tampa Bay has dropped consecutive games and will need to avoid the first three-game losing streak of the season to force a decisive Game 7 back in Tampa on Wednesday.
Antoine Vermette scored the game-winning goal early in the third period to break a 1-1 tie as Corey Crawford made it stand up, finishing with 31 saves to help bring Chicago to the brink of winning a third Stanley Cup in a six-year span, and the chance to do it on home ice for the first time since 1938.
Bishop, a question mark to start the game after he missed Game 4 with an undisclosed injury, finished with 27 saves but his costly decision to come out to the circles to try to play a puck led to Chicago’s opening goal after he collided with teammate Victor Hedman allowing Patrick Sharp to skate in alone for an empty net goal at 6:11 of the first period.
“That’s the difference in the game,’’ Bishop said. “You obviously don’t want to make those mistakes at this stage of the game, but it happened and that’s unfortunate. The puck came off the boards there and I thought I could hit (Steven Stamkos), kind of made eye contact with him and Heddy didn’t see me, obviously. They were changing and I thought I could catch (Stamkos) up there. Maybe it was a little too far to venture but it’s just unfortunate we ran into each other.’’
Watch Sportsnet's Game 5 Mashup below...
from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of Yahoo,
We’re so eager to use the word “dynasty.” Too eager. Entering the Stanley Cup Final, some actually anointed the Tampa Bay Lightning as a potential dynasty, even though this group hadn’t won one championship, let alone two.
But here are the Chicago Blackhawks, one win from earning the title – or at least redefining it for the modern era. With a 2-1 victory Saturday night, they took a 3-2 series lead. They can win their third Cup in six years on Monday night in Chicago.
“We understand,” said Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews, “how unique this group is and how unique this chance is.”
No, the Blackhawks are not the Montreal Canadiens of the 1970s. They are not the New York Islanders or Edmonton Oilers of the 1980s.
But this is not the NHL of those days, either. This is the NHL of the salary cap, a league of parity – a league so competitive that the Blackhawks’ biggest foils, the Los Angeles Kings, winners of two of the past three Cups, didn’t even make the playoffs this season.
Watch Game 5 highlights below...
Patrick Sharp with a gift.
added 8:57pm, NBC version is below...
The puck drops just after 8:00pm ET and is on NBC, CBC and TVA.
The series is tied 2-2 and after the game tonight, one team will be facing elimination in Game 6 on Monday night in Chicago.
I say the Bolts win tonight by at least two goals and your comments on the game will be gladly accepted.
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.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
Email Paul anytime at email@example.com