Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Adrian Dater of All Things Avs,
What a lost week that was for this team. The Avs came to St. Paul up 2-0 in this series, against a team that just made a goalie change, with grumbling about the coach and all those underperforming big-money stars and…now the Wild are looking like the greatest team on earth, while the Avs look like a shabby jalopy belching exhaust, just trying to get to the gas station for a few bucks of unleaded.
What’s going on? The Wild adjusted their defense, that’s what. They are “tracking” the puck carriers of the Avs much better, going at them with a couple checkers, with a third forward just on the outside ready to take away the puck if the other two teammates get it loose. The Wild defensemen hung back a bit too much in the first two games, but now they are higher in the neutral zone, getting to Avs puck carriers higher in the ice and making it an obstacle course for Avs forwards to fight through just to get the pucks on their dump-ins — many of which don’t get through because the lead dump guy is being challenged right at the red line.
There are so many other problems hurting the team right now, most having to with injuries. Damn injuries – they always spoil all the fun. Matt Duchene still isn’t ready yet. John Mitchell can’t do much more than just stretches with a long rubber band. He has not attempted to skate since getting hurt at the end of the year.
Of course, no Tyson Barrie anymore. That 6-on-4 at the end sure would have been a good place to use a Barrie, eh? He’s not here anymore, though, because of gutless puke Matt Cooke.
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
In hockey parlance, Cooke’s wires crossed. He was late on the hit, and refused to abandon it. This wasn’t one of those plays where a defenceman is the last man back, and either he takes the puck carrier down or it’s a breakaway. There were three, perhaps four Wild teammates between the puck and the goal, but give the industrious Cooke credit here. He still likes to finish what he starts.
Barrie, the kind of player who actually sells tickets in the National Hockey League, is on the shelf for some period of time. (We won’t believe the Avalanche time line during a playoff series, any more than we’ll buy whatever defence Cooke brings to NHL disciplinarian Stephane Quintal’s office.) And, of course, the NHL Players’ Association will send out a representative or two in defence of Cooke, when what they should be doing is acting on behalf of Barrie and the other 885 union members and hide Cooke’s skates for good.
Of course, we’ve written that before too. It never really changes, does it?
Why should it? Matt Cooke never does.
Adrian Dater of All Thins Avs turns this incident into more about himself, than Cooke...
Some times you can take a person out of the environment where bad habits were created and new habits will take that place; then there are times that those old habits return.
Tonight in the Minnesota Wild vs. Colorado Avalanche Game Three this was exactly what happened with Matt Cooke.
from Michael Russo of Russo's Rants,
The Wild was in the driver’s seat, up 4-2 in Game 1 until with less than 13 minutes left, Kyle Brodziak burps up a puck to Ryan O’Reilly, Jamie McGinn scores and the rest of the night was pandemonium. The Wild, 5-10 all-time at home in the playoffs, went from potentially being up 1-0 in the series to now being in a 2-0 hole with Game 3 tonight (6 p.m.) at the X.
For the first time in his Wild career, Brodziak will be a healthy scratch tonight. Justin Fontaine and Dany Heatley draw in, Stephane Veilleux and Brodziak come out.
Darcy Kuemper will make his first career playoff start and fourth playoff appearance against Semyon Varlamov. It’s Kuemper’s first start since a concussion and first start since March 27 in St. Louis. Before the injury, the second-half savior won once in his final eight starts, allowing three or more goals in six of those games. He stopped all 14 shots he saw in relief of Ilya Bryzgalov in Game 2, but starting in the playoffs is a different mentality than just getting thrown in. He’s got all day to think and … not freak out.
Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche had a four point night last night and now has 7 points (1-6-7) through 2 games of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He is tied with teammate Paul Stastny (3-4-7) for the league lead in points.
Watch MacKinnon rack up the points last night...
First, Alex Steen with a goal early in triple OT...
Then below, some magic from Paul Stastny...
Listen, do me a favor, tell Patrick (Roy) he can talk to you Adrian (Dater). Don't come in here and comment on him. So I've done my commenting on him. He can say whatever he wants. He always has something to say after every game, so...
-Ken Hitchcock, coach of the St. Louis Blues during his post-game conference which I watched.
Patrick Roy made a few post-game comments, here is one...
added 8:26pm, Watch the Hitchock conference below...
The Colorado Avalanche beat the St. Louis Blues 4-0 today.
This hit started some of the action in the 3rd period.
Bordeleau and Jackman both received unsportsmanlike penalties on the play, then the rest of the 3rd period went like this...
added 11:38am, Watch how the injury happened below...
The Avalanche announced Duchene would not return to the game, citing a knee injury.
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