Kukla's Korner Hockey
via Dave Hodge of TSN,
It's pretty hard to say Detroit has a goaltending problem when the Red Wings are tied 1-1 with Tampa Bay because rookie Petr Mrazek stole the first game with a 44-save performance, but Detroit has a goaltending problem, to which thumbs must be turned down.
It was said here previously that Mrazek runs hot and cold like water taps and Jimmy Howard wouldn't be too long on the bench if the Red Wings didn't play a lot better in Game 2. They didn't, he wasn't, and Detroit goes home without much confidence in either goalie, or in themselves. Mike Babcock says he's sticking with Mrazek and he would probably deny the use of a coin in reaching that decision.
Chicago's situation is somewhat similar. The Blackhawks stole their first game in Nashville because of Scott Darling's superb netminding in relief of Corey Crawford. Coach Joel Quenneville showed faith in his Stanley Cup-winning goalie and started Crawford again in Game 2, but the 6-2 loss to the desperate Predators has forced Quenneville to send Darling out for his first playoff start back in Chicago for Sunday's Game 3.
Crawford shouldn't relax. It's a tough way to win a playoff series when goalies have to be pulled and starters are never certain.
from Martin Fennelly of The Tampa Tribune,
The first shot he faced in his Stanley Cup playoff career, nine minutes into the game, got past him. Not really his fault. The fourth shot he faced in his Stanley Cup playoff career, eight seconds into the second period, that beat him, too. Not really his fault. The third one, on the 12th shot, the game-winner, he has to stop. Bad goal.
I’m not saying Ben Bishop lost Game 1 for the Lightning.
But he didn’t win it, either.
He had a lot of company in that regard as his team dropped Game 1 to the Detroit Red Wings, 3-2 at Amalie Arena.
Where was That Line, Johnson, Kucherov and Palat? Where was Steve Stamkos? Where was the power play? Where were the Lightning with all those chances?
But you can’t get around the fact that at one point in the third period, the Red Wings had taken 12 shots on Bishop, and three of them had gone in. That’s one out of four.
Reminds us of when John Tortorella lambasted keeper John Grahame after Grahame allowed four goals on 17 shots against Ottawa in an ’06 playoff game, saying he was tired of “the 25 percent rule.”
The bottom line is that the Red Wings gave up 46 shots, more than they did in any game this season, and took only 14, the fewest they’d taken all season — and they won.
added 8:28am, from Tom Jones of The Tampa Bay Times,
from Katie Strang of ESPN,
The good news for the Red Wings is that they should be a healthier team when they host the Bruins. On Tuesday, the Wings were without trade-deadline acquisition Erik Cole, Pavel Datsyuk and Riley Sheahan, and they lost Drew Miller early with that harrowing skate blade incident.
After the team's 2-1 shootout loss to the Ottawa Senators, Wings coach Mike Babcock said that he expects to have "more hands on deck" against the Bruins, so it's safe to assume that at least a few of those aforementioned players will return to the lineup. A critical two points are up for grabs.
And if Mrazek delivers another performance like he did on Tuesday, stopping 33 of 34 shots while under siege all night, it might be his job to lose heading into the playoffs.
read more hoickey topics with Burnside on Bruins/Wings, Custance on the Sharks and LeBrun on the Canadiens...
from Gregg Krupa of the Detroit News,
Last week, he went out with some people close to him, including his son, who is in the Hockey Hall of Fame, for a pastime Howe carried with him from his childhood in Saskatchewan.
He went fishing.
"I was down there last week," said Mark Howe, the director of pro scouting for the Red Wings, whose career as a defenseman put him in the Hall of Fame in Toronto with his father.
"We took him out catfishing a couple of days on a couple of ponds and did some walks and everyday things. Overall, he did pretty well."...
"My brother Murray and I were there last week," Howe said. "I had four days with him. He did pretty well when I was there.
"This week, my brother Marty's down there, and he struggled a little bit more this week. But I guess he's doing a little bit better today."
The story by Kruppa was probably meant for tomorrow, which is Gordie Howe's 87th birthday.
... love the spin coming out of Toronto that Mike Babcock will charge over to the Leafs following this season. Yes. MLSE can make him rich but, for pity’s sake, he’d be inheriting a team that is chaotic in the boardroom, directionless and spiritless in the locker room and is at least five years away from competing for a playoff spot.
Sure, Babcock likes a challenge as much as the next guy, but let’s get real here. If he decides to leave Detroit he’ll have his pick of jobs, and stepping into that toxic waste spill in Toronto won’t be at the top of his list.
-Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province where you can read more hockey topics...
from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,
While the spotlight entering the final two weeks of the NHL regular season is focused squarely on the enticing playoff races in both conferences, there are a handful of general managers and coaches who are primed for a blindfold and last cigarette.
And the reading of the last rites, of course.
Indeed, there is no shortage of men who are playing out the string over the next 14 days, all the while knowing that their tenure with their respective teams is coming to an inevitable end.
Whether it be the Leafs, Sharks, Flyers, Bruins, Devils, Sabres, Blues, etc., there are axes being sharpened throughout the league, poised to come down as part of various housecleanings going on from coast to coast.
And, according to one Eastern Conference executive, the catalyst for many of the ensuing moves could be Mike Babcock.
continued with a look at teams who could use Mike Babcock's services...
Watch the goal below...
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
Until Mike Babcock commits to the Detroit Red Wings going forward, the Maple Leafs are of the belief there remains a considerable chance he will be their coach next season.
They are of the mind — and you can doubt this all you want, and I have — that in Babcock’s world of decision making it’s Detroit first, Toronto second, everywhere else after that.
The notion that Babcock wants no part of a rebuild is dismissed by MLSE upper sources. They believe Babcock has the mentality of a mountain climber. He loves the great challenge. And this is comparable to being at the base of the impossible mountain.
“This is a man who loves challenges,” said an MLSE source. “What challenge in hockey is bigger than this?”
continued plus more topics...
from Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News,
Stars Head Coach Lindy Ruff
On tonight’s game:
“Tough one to lose. We played our hearts out.”
On twice losing a two-goal lead:
“Goligoski had a stick between his legs and was dumped and your goaltender gets cross-checked into the net.”
On Kari Lehtonen being hit in the crease on Detroit’s sixth goal:
“It’s inexcusable. There’s no explanation, it’s inexcusable and it ruined a hell of a hockey game. Bottom line.”
Here is the game tying sixth goal by Pavel Datsyuk.
Below, watch the highlights from this entertaining game...
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
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