Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
In their first playoff game as the defending Stanley Cup champions, facing a team that was imploding during the final month of the season, the Ducks tripped over their own lofty expectations and dissolved into an ugly pile of mush before a stunned crowd that didn’t fill the Honda Center in body or spirit.
All the mistakes the Ducks overcame last spring because their character and scoring power ran so deep were insurmountable for them Thursday night.
from Jennifer Floyd Engel of the Star-Telegram,
A lot of the Stars are miffed because everybody seems down on them, based on their performance in March, failing to realize how ugly the view was for those watching.
Ott doesn’t do miffed. He does in your face.
This is how I spent almost 20 minutes in the Stars’ locker room after the finale, listening to Ott preaching why this year would be different. He went from locker to locker, talking about what each guy was going to bring.
“Warrior,” pointing to Matty Norstrom’s locker.
“Mike is going to be there,” pointing to Modano’s.
“He is one of the most determined guys in the league to get the first round off his back,” pointing to Marty Turco.
from Tracey Myers of the Star-Telegram,
It’s really no surprise that Tippett’s last concern is himself. In his coaching career, it’s never been about the individual. He’s adamant about the team concept, and is reluctant to call out particular players unless the moment calls for it.
“He’s not the [Calgary Flames coach] Mike Keenan who likes to bury anybody or crush you or tear you down,” center Steve Ott said. “He’s always come up to me or other players to find out what’s wrong or [ask] ‘how you doing?’”
The regular season has been a boon for Tippett, whose 235-127-48 record is a plus. So are the two Pacific Division titles. The playoffs have been tougher, and the Stars have fallen for various reasons.
The picture was looking different more than a month ago. A very successful February, coupled with the trade for Brad Richards, had some people picking the Stars to win the Stanley Cup.
From Eric Stephens at the LA Times,
The sight of Perry taking part in a couple of drills was encouraging for the Ducks as it appears their leading goal scorer this season could be in position to return sometime during the Western Conference quarterfinals against Dallas.
Perry skated for the first time since his right quadriceps muscle was severed just above the knee when he was cut by the skate of Colorado goaltender Jose Theodore in a game March 6.
“Today, it felt great,” Perry said. “That’s why I stayed out and did a couple of drills with the team. If it continues to be like that, it could be quicker than everybody thinks.”
*Plus more from the LA Times on expectations of a rough series between the Ducks & Stars
from Jennifer Floyd-Engel of the Star-Telegram,
That crushing Game 6 loss to the No. 7-seeded Anaheim Ducks in 2003 capped a demoralizing conference semifinal series loss and arguably began what amounts to a near death spiral in Dallas Stars hockey.
They have not gotten out of the first round since 2003. Nor does anybody other than themselves expect them to when this playoff go-round begins Thursday.
Because to do so requires facing the beast, staring down ghosts, going back to Anaheim and beating Jiggy and his Ducks.
Only now, five years later, the Stars are the under-underdogs.
from David Pollak of MediaNews via Inside Bay Area,
Things reached the point that Sharks coach Ron Wilson didn’t send goalie Evgeni Nabokov out for the start of the second period, and his reasoning was only partly based on the desire to give backup Brian Boucher a little ice time.
“I didn’t trust that team,” Wilson said of the Stars. “They were running guys. For all I know, Nabby was next on their list. That wasn’t going to happen.”
The guy doing most of the running was Steve Ott, the Stars’ nuisance of a center. And when he hit San Jose left wing Milan Michalek at 8:42 of the first period, a game that already had seen one fight quickly escalated.
from Tracey Myers at Five for Fighting,
Sergei Zubov had a “procedure” done overseas to fix “lingering problems from a sports hernia,” according to coach Dave Tippett on Thursday morning. Zubov will fly back to Dallas tomorrow, and the Stars will re-evaluate after that. This procedure apparently, according to Tippett, “allows him to come back quicker.”
Now what constitutes “quicker”? Tippett said he’s unsure when Zubov will actually be back skating, practicing, playing, etc. So we’ll see what shakes out of that.
read on for more on the Stars…
from Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News,
The Stars are a different team without Sergei Zubov – that’s all there is to it.
Zubov averages more than 25 minutes a game and plays like nobody else in the NHL. He is supremely confident with the puck on his stick and he almost dares opponents to come at him on the forecheck, knowing that can only help him get the defense off of its game.
So if he cannot play in the playoffs because of a foot injury or groin injury or some other injury, the Stars will not be as good.
from Five for Fighting,
The news doesn’t sound too good on defenseman Sergei Zubov. He didn’t skate today, as he went to see specialists for his ongoing injuries. And won’t skate for the next few days. Coach Dave Tippett called the situation “a concern.” When asked if the problem was the foot or the groin, Tippett said, “all of the above.”
from the Ducks Blog a the OC Register,
The magnitude of Sunday night’s game between the Ducks and Dallas Stars at Honda Center cannot be overstated.
By winning, the Ducks would move to the brink of clinching fourth place in the NHL’s Western Conference and home-ice advantage in the opening round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. A regulation loss to Dallas, meanwhile, would leave the Ducks no longer in control of their own destiny in pursuit of the all-important fourth spot and home ice.
With a regulation victory, the Ducks would have 98 points and need just one point in their final two games to secure fourth place because the maximum number of points the Stars and Calgary Flames could reach would be 98.
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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