Kukla's Korner Hockey
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.
from Jim Reeves of the Star-Telegram,
Even now, after all these years with the Stars, Zubov still isn’t completely at ease as the center of media attention. He prefers to do his thing quietly and efficiently, and then to slip away while others do the talking.
But now the Stars need him to break his code of silence. They need to hear four words from their best puck-handling defenseman, who hasn’t played since January:
“I’m ready to play.”
Sometime today, before the Stars and San Jose Sharks meet in Game 2 of their quarterfinals playoff series, would be just fine.
The puck, as they say, is on Zubie’s stick.
“It’s up to him now,” Stars coach Dave Tippett said for the second straight day Saturday. “Zubie is a special player. When he comes to me and tells me he’s ready to play, then he’s in the lineup.”
John Buccigross and Barry Melrose give us a three minute recap of the action last night.
from Mark Purdy of the Mercury News,
An overtime goal in the Stanley Cup playoffs is like a rowdy bar shutting down with a closing time picked entirely at random. Especially when the visiting team wins.
One moment, the arena is full of life and good times and possibilities. The next, things are silent and everyone files out quietly to the parking lot. What’s the closing-time mantra? You don’t have to go home. But you can’t stay here.
The Sharks were at home Friday night. But they didn’t stay on task. Playing against a Dallas Stars team in Game 1 of their second-round series, the Sharks spent far too much time playing hockey exactly the way the Stars wanted both teams to play. Which is why the game ended in a 3-2 victory by Dallas.
from Tim Colishaw of the Dallas Morning News,
The Stars also were surprisingly incapable of mounting any kind of consistent attack on Sharks goalie Evgeni Nabokov. They finished with 18 shots on goal.
And that included overtime.
And they still won.
Meet the new opportunistic Dallas Stars, who steal wins even when they may not fully deserve them.
Brenden Morrow’s second goal of the night just 4:39 into sudden death gave Dallas a 3-2 victory at HP Pavilion in Game 1.
“It’s exciting to see him lead this team,” goaltender Marty Turco said. “I’ve had a center seat for his career.”
Watch the OT goal…
From ESPN The Magazine:
(6) A few weeks after the first event at American Airlines Center in Dallas, it was found that the glass installed in the bathrooms was not the same as what was originally intended. Apparently, people had a clear view into the restrooms (YOW-ZA!) The glass was changed immediately.
(7) When Evgeni Nabokov was selected late in the 9th round by the Sharks, they had NEVER seen him play; rather, they based their selection of him on the skills of his father, a goaltender who played for 18 years in his native Kazakhstan.
From Willa Ford (Mike Modano’s wife) at her NHL.com blog:
We’ve handled one big, strong, quick-skating tough team, and now we have another. But this goaltender is up for the Vezina, and they have potentially an even greater set of forwards to throw against our young D.
(I said to Mike this morning, “This goaltender probably isn’t going to like you very much in the next few days and he replied with “He’s a great guy off of the ice, but no, hopefully he isn’t happy with me when this series is over.”)
To top it off, the San Jose arena is one of the loudest and most violent crowds that I’ve ever seen in person. It worries me, but for some reason Mike loves it. He said he hopes they boo him, he hopes they give it to his goaltender and his team and his teammates because it drives him…
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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