Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Mike G. Morreale of NHL.com,
Hockey fever has officially arrived in downtown Columbus at Nationwide Arena in anticipation of the first Stanley Cup Playoff contest in team history on Tuesday night.
“I don’t think anybody considers you a legitimate franchise in the NHL until you’ve played in the playoffs,” Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock said. “We’re in there now and we’re a young team that has a lot of talented players, who, in my eyes are just going to get better. But you still have to be playing this time of the year to be considered legitimate and we’re here.”
Update 4:45pm ET: From Puck Daddy—
How much of a boost will playing the first postseason home game in franchise history have on the Jackets? We looked back as some other “expansion era” playoff home debuts for comparison—including two against the Red Wings.
Game 1 (April 16, 1997): Mighty Ducks of Anaheim 4, Phoenix Coyotes 2
from Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News,
If you’re a Detroit Red Wings fan, the first two games of the team’s series against Columbus have been bliss. If you’re just a neutral observer, the first two games have been depressing.
Why? Because Detroit is too good.
Now I’m not ragging on the Wings; I just hope the Blue Jackets can harness what will surely be the awesome energy of Nationwide Arena when the teams square off again Tuesday night. As far as the Jackets should be concerned, one goal in two games does not a series make.
from Bob Hunter of the Columbus Dispatch,
For the young Jackets, seeing how the Red Wings elevate their competitive level has been a staggering experience. They didn’t know it would be like this.
“I don’t think it’s just been our young guys,” Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock said. “I think it’s been an eye-opener for anybody that’s played them. I think it’s been an eye-opener for people watching on television, I think it’s been an eye-opener for our team.
“I’ve said this before: These are unbelievable lessons. This is exactly what you need to grow. You need to have these games so you just don’t talk about the level, you’ve got reference points all the time.
“We’re a team that’s got the reference points. Our players are going to get better daily.”
from Rob Oiler of the Columbus Dispatch,
“I just sell it. What they do with it is up to them,” said Frank Gonzalez, owner of Frank’s Fish & Seafood Market on Trabue Road in Columbus.
What they do with it is the second hurdle. The common method is to sneak the octopus through the turnstiles by slipping it into your trousers, a technique that Gonzalez does not understand.
“I wouldn’t want something moving around down there when you’re moving around,” he said, smiling.
“They’ve been creative,” said Eric Granger, general manager of Nationwide Arena. “We’ve caught them Saran-wrapped to the body.”
Most contraband carriers get caught before they reach their seats, having failed to elude the authorities, who conduct bag searches and quick visuals under jerseys and around torsos for every game and event.
from Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
A day after the Blues’ 3-0 loss to Vancouver, television highlights continued to focus on the postgame tirade of head coach Andy Murray on the team’s bench.
Murray was incensed because after Vancouver scored its empty-net goal, Canucks coach Alain Vigneault put his physical fourth line of Darcy Hordichuk, Ryan Johnson and Rick Rypien on the ice….
“I didn’t particularly like the line that (Vigneault) sent out,” Murray said. “I could have sent out Brad Winchester and B.J. Crombeen. We were alerted by the league that there’s no messages to be sent at the end of the game.”
Murray was witnessed screaming at Vigneault from the Blues’ bench, telling the Canucks’ coach to “Use your head ... Use your head.”
“I didn’t get it at the time and I still don’t get it today,” Vigneault said Saturday. “All I know is (later in the game) I was looking at Crombeen jumping Kevin (Bieksa) from the back, obviously an instigator, and then all of a sudden something on the side got my attention.”
a bit more on the Blues, including Paul Kariya will take the morning skate but will not play tonight…
from Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch,
He is fighting shots and fumbling pucks. “Shaky” is the age-old hockey term. The thing is, the Wings seem to have the puck all the time, and when they don’t, their defensive bearing has been superb. The ice has tilted. The shots Osgood is facing are coming uphill.
Osgood faced eight shots in the last 40 minutes of Game 1. He faced 15 shots in the first 40 minutes of Game 2. His teammates have erected a force field in front of him. They have flipped the switch. Their keepaway game has given them a physical advantage against a bigger team. The Jackets might be finishing their checks, but the puck is usually gone by the time the hit is made.
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.
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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