Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Dave Waddell of the Windsor Star,
Though it’s a team game, Rick Nash knows if he doesn’t win his personal battle the war we’ll be lost for his Columbus Blue Jackets.
For within the Jackets playoff series against the Detroit Red Wings, there is going to be the game within the game.
“It is quite different,” said Nash of lining up against the same guy for potentially seven straight games.
“Little rivalries start even if there already is one.
“You’re playing each other every other night pretty much. Guys start battling one another. “Guys start remembering what you did in the last game. It’s going to be fun and be tough.”
In Detroit’s 4-1 victory Thursday, round one of the battle went convincingly to the Wings as they held Nash to four harmless shots and kept him to the perimeter.
“I was thinking about this this morning after watching the tape. I don’t think Detroit would do anything in drag racing, because they would never pass the Christmas Tree test. The would be red-lighted (for a false start) every time because their wingers cheat,. So we’re going to cheat just like they are. The power-play goal they scored, their winger went in on the move, good for him. We’re going to do the same thing. It’ll be interesting to see who gets kicked out first.’‘
-Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock via Ansar Khan of Mlive.
from Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch,
Their dressing room gave off a cool, quiet, upbeat vibe. There was none of the devastation that was seen after those poor games they played down the stretch of the regular season. Is that strange?
“It’s a good thing,” Michael Peca said.
Rick Nash said, “After eight or nine years of driving to get here, it’s nice to be done with the first one. Coming into this, we all knew that we were going to go game to game, no matter what happened. That was stressed. That is how you’ve got to take it.”
The Jackets played half-well tonight. What they took from it was the knowledge that they can play under postseason conditions. They will take this powerful knowledge and, they must hope, fix their mistakes.
from Larry Wigge of NHL.com,
Every member of the Detroit Red Wings came to the rink Thursday morning clean shaven. That’s right. No playoff beards.
To a man and to coach Mike Babcock that’s the first motivational tool the defending Stanley Cup champions feel they need to show the hockey world that they are ready. They are not the team that had leaky goaltending or fell from the NHL’s best team defensively a year ago to a tie for 19th this season.
When asked if his team would be more preoccupied with getting their game in the moment, trying to stop Rick Nash, who had hat tricks against Detroit on Jan. 27 and March 7, or in trying to get rookie goalie Steve Mason off his game, Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom kept the answer in-house.
continue for more on Detroit & Columbus…
via Puck The Media,
Thanks to Schuyler Baehman of the NHL’s Communications Dep’t and all-around good guy (and who’s Twitter feed you should check out) for sending this along to us, as we’ve been hoping for this for quite some time:
In the first time of NHL Network U.S.’s history, it will broadcast a Stanley Cup Playoff game by airing live Game 2 of the 2009 Stanley Cup Conference Quarter-Final match-up between the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Detroit Red Wings from Detroit on Saturday, April 18 @ 6pm ET.
Locally, Fox Sports Detroit and Fox Sports Ohio will broadcast this game live as previously scheduled. NHL Network will be blacked out in those local markets.
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
It’s the No. 2 seed versus the No. 7 this time, too, and from 1997 to 2006, a seventh seed has knocked off a second seed in Round 1.
It’s a mismatch on paper. The Wings have 1,793 playoff games experience in their lineup; Columbus 401. The Wings have the NHL’s best power play (25.5 per cent), the Jackets the worst (12.7 per cent). No clubs making the playoffs for the first time have ever won a Cup, but St. Louis (1968) and Florida (1996) did make the finals. “We’re in it to win, just like the other 15 teams ... we didn’t come this far just to throw our gear on and that’s it,” said Jackets captain Rick Nash, who got two hat tricks this season, both against the Wings.
“We achieved our goal, to get into the playoffs for the first time. That was great. But now that we’re in them, we want to go far. We’re not just happy to make them.”
from Bob Hunter of the Columbus Dispatch,
It sounds as if the Detroit Red Wings think the Blue Jackets are pretty much a one-man band.
They would deny that, of course, but there might be enough evidence to convict. Consider Henrik Zetterberg’s reaction when he was asked about facing the Blue Jackets and their rookie goaltender, Steve Mason, in the first round of the NHL playoffs:
“He’s basically taken them to the playoffs by himself,” Zetterberg said. “It’s easy to play well when you have a goalie like that that really stops the pucks. They have good confidence in him.”
The Jackets obviously have one or two other players who might have lent a hand in the playoff drive—hey, if Zetterberg tries real hard, he could even come up with three or four—but Mason leaps to the Red Wings’ minds because they had so much trouble with him this season.
The Blue Jackets could have forward Fredrik Modin in the lineup as early as Game 1. Modin practiced yesterday and said his injured knee felt strong enough to play. Coach Ken Hitchcock was not divulging his lineup, but kept hinting the lineup the Red Wings see on Thursday night could be different than the one they are expecting.
Jackets forward Kristian Huselius also said he’s a go for the series opener.
The wild card is rookie center Derick Brassard. Brassard visits his Cleveland Clinic doctor on Wednesday hoping to receive medical clearance on his injured right shoulder. Assuming Brassard gets the green light—and there’s no guaranteed he does—don’t be surprised if he’s in the lineup for Game 3 in Columbus.
Blue Jackets fans are asked how the playoffs work…
from Tom Reed of Puck-rakers,
Veteran center Michael Peca will not play on fan appreciation night against the Wild.
“Day off,” coach Ken Hitchcock said when asked why Peca was out of the lineup.
Is he injured?
“Day off,” Hitchcock responded.
Are you happy with the way Peca is playing?
“Day off,” Hitchcock said.
There’s two ways to view it. Hitchcock is trying to hide an injury or he’s sending a message to his 35-year-old alternate captain. Interesting.
more on the Blue Jackets…
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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