Kukla's Korner Hockey
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.
“I don’t think there’s a player in the league that has the puck on his stick, time of possession over the course of a game, more. He sees plays, makes plays. The bigger the stage, the more he likes that challenge.”
-Joel Quenneville, head coach of the Chicago Blackhaws on Patrick Kane. More on Kane from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail.
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.
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