Kukla's Korner Hockey
TSN picks a hero of the second round, from each team that made it through to the Conference Finals:
[Philadelphia:] R.J. Umberger, who was considered a third or fourth-line player at the start of the season, has become Philadelphia’s top gun in the playoffs. Case in point: He scored an eyebrow-raising eight goals and nine points in five games against the Habs, and scored the first goal for the Flyers in each victory. While many credit Martin Biron for stellar goaltending that held off the Montreal offence ( and deservedly so), Umberger, a former first-round pick of the Vancouver Canucks, broke down the Canadiens early and often.
more heroes from Detroit, Pittsburgh and Dallas
from the 2008 Stanley Cup Blog at CBC,
On the cover of the Dallas Stars media guide, Mike Modano, Jere Lehtinen amd Sergei Zubov prowl in the background in black and white, while Brenden Morrow and Marty Turco stand defiantly in color in front of the aging veterans.
The statement is clear - this version of the Stars belongs to Morrow and Turco.
The captain and the goalie have taken over and become the core of the team. While Modano, Lehtinen and Zubov are the sole remaining components of the 1999 Stanley Cup championship team, they are taking on different roles this time around.
from Jennifer Floyd Engel of the Star-Telegram,
Nor was this just any overtime.
The Stars were either going to be staring down the reality of frittering away a 3-0 series lead, thus and thereby trying to wrangle up an ounce of belief that flying to San Jose for Game 7 was not a colossal environmental waste. Or preparing for their first Western Conference Finals appearance since 2000.
Of course, overtime hockey is always a dicey proposition. You are always a bounce or a stumble or just really bad luck away from skating off the ice a loser.
But with each squandered chance, the Stars seemed to be losing their grip on a series they once had in a bear hug.
Just like you can sometimes smell a horrendously bad day coming on, you can likewise smell a cruel overtime.
And that is what overtime felt like at times in Game 6.
Game times aren’t available yet, but here is the schedule as we know it for the Eastern and Western Conference Finals starting this week. (Update May 5th: times and dates finalized and available here)
...and it ‘only’ took 129 minutes and 3 seconds, the 8th longest game in Stanley Cup Playoffs history (so sayeth TSN).
From Richard Durrett at the Dallas News blog:
The half asleep AAC is now fully awake. Stars headed to the Western Conference Finals.
Wow. What a game. Third longest game in Stars playoff history.
Quite fitting that captain Brenden Morrow got it. He’s been leading this team during the playoffs. He got it on the PP. Marty Turco was sensational. So was Evgeni Nabokov.
The Dallas/Detroit series opens Thursday and the Pittsburgh/Philadelphia series opens Friday. [Complete schedule here]
Update 3:08am ET: More from the AP via the Dallas Morning News here. Game highlights on video below, plus a few more notes.
People in Europe are waking up, and probably can’t believe the Stars/Sharks game is headed to the 4OT period.
Eastern time zone folks are barely hanging on, making up an excuse to miss work tomorrow.
West coast fans are starting to feel a little sleepy-eyed.
Will anyone score?
from John Romano of the St. Petersburg Times,
His numbers had dipped, and his contract had become a focus. Richards had seemingly gone from essential to cumbersome in a matter of months.
“Based on where the team was going and the budget situation, it was probably the right thing to do,” Richards said. “But that doesn’t make it any easier.
“I had a few uncertain moments about (waiving his no-trade clause). But I just felt it was going to get harder and harder. The way things were being run, it was turning into a dead end for me. I ended up getting pushed out, and a lot of guys had an entire season of their careers ruined.”
from Jennifer Floyd Engel of the Star-Telegram,
Make no mistake, the Stars have to win this series. Teams don’t blow 3-0 leads, yet this seems all too possible. Some of it has to do with this team. A lot of it has to do with this town.
So call the Heimlich expert, and put him rink side at the AAC. Tonight. And hope that Turco makes his presence unnecessary.
from Tracey Myers of the Star-Telegram,
The Stars have their third consecutive chance to eliminate the Sharks tonight. They had chances to win the past two games—squandered some, had others taken away.
Dallas could use the events of Game 5—as well as the threat of another trip to the West Coast—to fuel tonight’s performance.
“They look at this game as another chance,” Stars coach Dave Tippett said. “The calls didn’t go our way, but we won games early in the series. So we still look at it as we’re coming home with a great opportunity to close out a series.”
From Stu Hackel at NYT Slapshot blog,
It was 33 years between the 1942 Maple Leafs comeback and the 1975 Islanders comeback. Now, it’s 33 years later, so the Soothsayers, Numerologists and Kabbalists of the hockey world have concluded this will be the year that another team is invested with mystic powers and awakens from inside the 0-3 grave to rise up and smite the unbeatable foe once again.
Even Madonna, the most well-known Kababalist of our time, is down with this. Remember, she’s originally from Detroit — Hockeytown. Just check out her new record, Hard Candy, which is both retro and futuristic. Clearly, she’s telling us that it’s back-to-the-future time for the 0-3 revival. And her first single, that duet with Justin Timberlake? It’s entitled “4 Minutes.” A double minor. A hockey reference for sure. And Hard Candy is also going to be released this month as a special edition 3 LP set. LPs, you may remember, play at 33 1/3 rpms. Thirty-three. Coincidence? We think not. Yep, she’s sending us a message. She’s into it.
more weird reasons the Sharks will win, plus a look at the NYR and the Canadiens’ series.
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