Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Terry Frei of the Denver Post,
Here's the ultimate compliment to what the Avalanche — ownership, management, coaching staff and players — accomplished this season: The regional reaction to a first-round playoff loss is mass disappointment.
And it should be. That's a compliment too.
Letting the Avalanche off the hook for the seven-game loss to Minnesota diminishes the stunning progress the franchise made in 2013-14. The talk this morning should be of how the Avalanche stands after the first two games of the Western Conference semifinal series at home against the Blackhawks, heading into the next two games at Chicago's United Center.
The fact that I'm able to speak of what should have been, rather than make this some starry-eyed reference to what might have been, acknowledges not just the magnitude of the turnaround, but also the "Stanley Cup attitude" Patrick Roy cited when he was introduced as coach last year.
from Adrian Dater of All Things Avs,
What a tough loss that was. It was as big a gut punch of a loss as you can get. Forget the “this is a young team, there will be other kicks at the can in the future” meme. This was a really tough loss for Avs fans to take, and trust me, it wasn’t any easier on the players in the locker room, as the above photo of Ryan O’Reilly shows.
Four one-goal leads in a Game 7 at home. Four blown one-goal leads. One great two-on-one chance in overtime, with Paul Stastny and Gabe Landeskog looking like they were ready to win this thing finally. One great breakup of the play by Ryan Suter, followed by a Dany Heatley (Dany Heatley) lead pass up the ice for an odd-man rush to Nino Niederreiter (Nino Niederreiter) for a game-winning OT goal.
It was all one big, cruel piece of irony for Avs fans in the end. The team that always found a way to win games like these just kept trying to find ways to lose the biggest one of all to this point – and succeeded.
I don’t want to get into a big rip job on the team about this. I always thought what this team did during the regular season deserved major appreciation, and I won’t dump on it all after one OT loss in a Game 7.
from Michael Russo of Russo's Rants,
What a victory. The Wild never led til that final Niederreiter shot, it overcame a goal that probably should have been wiped out to open the game when Jamie McGinn was on top of Darcy Kuemper, it overcame a rollercoaster of emotions all game long. And it controlled play most the game. The Avs went through long stretches without chances, but as we have learned all series, it doesn’t take much for Colorado to bury one.
“I’m incredibly proud of our guys right now,” Yeo said. “This game in a lot of ways reflected the series, just continually having to battle, and battle back and deal with adversity and keep pushing forward. Obviously very proud.”
more on the game and watch the OT goal by Nino Niederreiter below...
added 8:49am, The second video below is Clayton Stoner of the Wild being mic'd up for the OT goal, goes through the handshake line and into the Wild dressing room...
Thankfully, no penalty on the play against the Wild...
Well what a night that was! Three Game Sevens and now we start the second round later today.
Before the second round starts let’s take a look at how we did predicting the first round.
Huge night for hockey fans out there! Kings, avs and rangers are my picks!— anthony brodeur (@abrodeur30) April 30, 2014
I will put my own predictions up to bat:
Filed in: NHL Teams, Anaheim Ducks, Chicago Blackhawks, Colorado Avalanche, Columbus Blue Jackets, Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings, Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota Wild, Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, San Jose Sharks, St. Louis Blues, Tampa Bay Lightning, NHL Talk, NHL Playoff Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Welcome to the late late show!
Having three series extend to the full seven games it meant a lot of meaningful hockey last night and it all started at 7 p.m. EST and ended at …
So how did the teams do last night?
Filed in: NHL Teams, Colorado Avalanche, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota Wild, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, San Jose Sharks, NHL Talk, NHL Playoff Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
from Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post,
All Avalanche center Paul Stastny has riding on this game is $20 million. Or is it $30 million? And if an athlete refuses to choke on such immense pressure, doesn't he deserve to be richly rewarded?
This is Stastny's time to be a money player.
By its very definition, Game 7 of an NHL playoff series is a must win.
But nobody needs to beat the Minnesota Wild more than Stastny. He will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. Who knows? If the Avs lose, Stastny could be wearing a Colorado sweater for the last time.
"You don't know. I don't know, either," Stastny said Tuesday. "Sometimes you think about it a little bit ..."
Here's the truth: During the final year of his contract, new Avalanche management needed to win over Stastny more than the veteran center needed to prove his worth. If not for a remarkable team turnaround, there would be little chance for Colorado to retain Stastny.
from the CP at TSN,
...Roy's reminding his youthful team of one simple thing: Enjoy the moment.
"How good is this?" Roy said. "They're excited about it and they should be. ... We're playing Game 7 in our building, in front of our fans."
In this series, home ice is a pretty big deal. All six games in this tightly contested matchup have been decided during the waning moments, with the home team capturing each one.
Wild coach Mike Yeo has a stirring pregame speech all prepared for just the occasion, a few well-chosen words to put into his players' ears before they hit the ice and hear the clamour of the crowd.
Care to share the highlights?
"Then it wouldn't be very inspirational," Yeo joked.
Minnesota will try to neutralize the noise with another sizzling start. The Wild have scored the first goal in four of the games.
For all the magic of this Avs season – and no matter what happens Wednesday, it’s been a fun one – this team still has no real killer instinct. They should have finished that team off tonight, but got a little self satisfied after that great second period. They need to find a way, in the future, of winning games easier. You can’t wait ’til you’re down in games all the time before you really start playing. You can’t pull the goalie late in games and get away with it all the time.
-Adrain Dater on the Colorada Avalanche after losing game 6 to the Minnesota Wild. Read more from Dater on this topic at All Things Avs.
from Mike Chambers of the Denver Post,
Matt Duchene, the Avs' dynamic center and leading scorer in the regular season, was the last player off the ice Sunday at the team's practice facility and is likely to make his postseason debut vs. the Wild at Minnesota in Game 6 of their first-round playoff series Monday night.
Colorado coach Patrick Roy said a decision on playing Duchene will be made after the morning skate Monday, and if he plays for the first time in a little more than a month he will begin on the fourth line and be used primarily on the power play.
"But don't tell anybody," Roy joked about how he intends to utilize Duchene.
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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