Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Jim Reeves of the Star-Telegram,
What the Stars are doing, goalie Marty Turco noted, is illustrating the miniscule difference that exists between winning and losing in hockey.
Remember, the same Stars who were so terrible in March were a brilliant 12-2 in February.
“Even though it’s gone great for us so far, there’s a fine line [between winning and losing],” Turco pointed out. “There was in both months, and there is still right now. We’re not taking anything for granted.”
Nor should they. While head coach Dave Tippett is absolutely right when he says that the Stars haven’t won a game in this series they didn’t deserve to win, they’re also getting their share of providential bounces, like the Norstrom shot that zinged Roenick’s stick.
from Tim Cowlishaw of the Dallas Morning News,
Things are rolling the Stars’ way, in case you haven’t noticed. They haven’t been decisively better than San Jose in any game in this series, but because they have consistently been just a little better, they own a 3-0 series lead after Tuesday’s 2-1 overtime victory.
And if a defenseman bouncing the puck off of a Shark to get past Evgeni Nabokov sounds a little lucky, well ... that’s Stanley Cup playoff overtime hockey.
from Mark Purdy of the Mercury News,
For the fourth straight playoff season, our beloved Los Tiburones have shown just enough flash and talent and resiliency to raise big, big hopes. But then they fail miserably to lock up victory - either within an individual game, or in a series.
Tuesday night, it was both. By losing in overtime after losing the lead in the third period - for the second time in this series - the Sharks have essentially sent the Dallas Stars to the next round.
How do you explain that? How do you explain why a team isn’t able to hold onto a lead just once in three tries?
“I wish I had an answer for you, to be honest,” said Shark goalie Evgeni Nabokov. “But I don’t.”
From the Dallas Stars:
The Dallas Stars announced today that the club has re-signed center Steve Ott to a two-year contract worth $2.85 million ($1.35 million in ’08-09 and $1.5 million in ’09-10) through the 2009-10 season. Ott’s current contract was set to expire on June 30, 2008.
“Steve Ott has done a great job of earning this contract and we are very pleased to have him secure in Dallas for the next two years,” said Co-General Manager Les Jackson. “He has developed into a valuable piece in our team chemistry and he brings a solid work ethic to our hockey club day in and day out.”
from Jacques Demers at USA TODAY,
To play your best hockey, your players have to be loose. And is there anyone in hockey better than Hull at understanding how to stay loose?
You can’t play this game if you are uptight, and Hull has never been uptight about anything in his life. The Stars changed their chemistry by bringing in Brad Richards at the trade deadline, and they had to play without injured defenseman Sergei Zubov and Philippe Boucher, and it didn’t matter to them because they go out there and play without any worries. That’s the Hull influence.
When you watch the Stars right now, what you see is a team that is in sync at every position
from Jim Reeves of the Star-Telegram,
Subsequent playoff failures, when the fickle finger of blame found itself, more often than not, wagging in Turco’s direction changed his outlook, changed his approach, even changed his persona.
Like most of us, he simply didn’t know then what he knows now.
“For me, the complete understanding of what I need to do for this hockey club has come to me,” Turco said in San Jose, where the Sharks threw everything they had in his direction and it still wasn’t enough. “I’ve always known that stopping the puck and moving it and giving these guys confidence is what I’ve wanted to do, but I’m just at a better place now.
“You always wish you’d known more things when you were younger, but there’s nothing I would change now that got me to this point.”
from The Good, The Bad And The Duthie,
I didn’t pick the Dallas Stars to win the Stanley Cup. Heck, I didn’t pick them to get out of the first round. Not many did. After three straight first round exits, I’m guessing Modano’s Nana had the Ducks in five.
But with each passing game, with each convincing victory, I’m starting to get this funny feeling it is their year.
It’s the way they are winning, and the character traits they are showing that make you believe something special is going on here. Here’s your Stars’ Playoff Personality Profile:
This is the biggie. Remember how it seemed Anaheim won every little battle last year? How they got to the puck a fraction of a second faster, fought a little harder in every corner, played every second like overtime in game seven? That’s what these Stars are doing. The poster boy for this is captain Brendan Morrow, who would be my round-and-a-half Conn Smyth pick.
from Mark Purdy of the Mercury News,
“We’ve got a big mountain ahead of us to climb,” Sharks captain Patrick Marleau said. Actually, at last geographic report, there are no mountains in Dallas, where the next two games will be played. However, Stars goalie Marty Turco will be there. And the Sharks would probably rather face a big mountain.
Mount Marty is the challenge that the Sharks can’t solve. They have outshot Dallas in the first two games, 58-44, and they have zero victories to show for it.
from the Star-Telegram,
Modano had just taken a shot that had hit a skate and eventually skittered back to Zubov near the right side wall.
Modano, knowing how Zubov operates, had quietly circled back on the other side while every Shark defender’s attention—especially Nabokov’s—was focused on Zubov.
Without hesitation, Zubov whirled 360 degrees, backhanding the puck across the ice to the now wide-open Modano, who knew exactly what to do with it. His lightning-like wrister beat Nabokov on the stick side before the goalie could react.
“I had spun back the other way and everyone kind of gravitated towards Zubie,” said Modano, whose goal was his second in two games and seventh this year against the Sharks.
“That’s ‘shinny’ hockey at its finest, but with Zubie, that’s part of his game,” Tippett said. “That’s pretty special right there, to find a guy right on his tape, spinning around like that, that’s a special play. But we’ve seen that from Zubie around here for a long time.”
from the CBC,
The Sharks simply have to play like the more desperate team than Dallas, which has prevailed in seven of its last eight visits to San Jose, including four times this season.
Another energetic performance from veteran forward Jeremy Roenick, who notched two goals and four points in Game 7 versus the Flames, would be welcomed. How about better defensive play from centre Patrick Marleau? Or Thornton outplaying his shadow, Modano?
“We’ve got to make Mike Modano’s life a little bit more miserable,” Wilson said. “He seems to love playing here, and we never got a hand on him [in Game 1].”
The coach noted the Sharks’ goals came when one of his players was standing in front of Stars goalie Marty Turco.
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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