Kukla's Korner Hockey
“I was excited to come to the Kings because it put me in the thick of a playoff race. This is what every guy in the NHL plays for – to play in the playoffs and have a chance to win the Stanley Cup. Coming to Los Angeles definitely gave me a big boost.”
“It was a long year for me in Columbus, but when you find out you are coming to a team like the Kings, it’s exciting. The games all felt like playoff games with the situation that we were in. When you are playing for a shot at the playoffs, in every game you are battling for your life and they are all must-win games.”
-Jeff Carter of the Los Angeles Kings. Read more on Carter and the Kings from Doug Ward at the Kings’ website.
from Lisa Dillman of the LA Times,
Mitchell will be playing in his first Stanley Cup Final, which will open Wednesday with the Kings playing either the New York Rangers or the New Jersey Devils. If it’s the Devils, it will be a homecoming of sorts for Mitchell, because that team originally drafted him with its 12th choice (199th overall) in 1993. Nine years ago, in his second full NHL season with Minnesota, Mitchell advanced as far as the Western Conference finals, but the Wild was swept by the Ducks.
So when Kings teammate Dustin Penner scored the series-clinching goal in overtime in Game 5 against the Phoenix Coyotes, Mitchell said the feeling was “surreal.”
“It’s been a long time coming,” he said Thursday in El Segundo. “I was fortunate to be out on the ice when Big Pens scored. Some guys were jumping. I was just sitting there. I was like, ‘Is this happening?’ So I feel fortunate to get this chance and get the opportunity to play for the Stanley Cup for real.”
Remember Willie, no parade planning until the final horn sounds…
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
So you were probably wondering, where was Wayne Gretzky during all this? After all, the NHL’s Western Conference final could have easily been played for the Wayne Gretzky trophy instead of the Clarence Campbell Bowl. It featured the Los Angeles Kings, the team Gretzky led to the 1993 Stanley Cup final and essentially put on the map, playing against the Phoenix Coyotes, the team he was associated with for close to a decade, first as the team’s managing partner and eventually as its head coach.
What was Gretzky thinking? Who was he cheering for? Did he take any satisfaction from seeing some of the young players that joined the Coyotes organization under his watch - the Martin Hanzals, the Mikkel Boedkers - show some glimmers of their potential?
Instead, Gretzky chose to stay silent, watching from afar, not taking sides, especially as the Coyotes’ ownership saga continues to percolate on, with no definitive end in sight.
But on the morning after the Kings dispatched the Coyotes in five games, Gretzky surfaced to talk about horse racing, about hockey in southern California and about the possibility of witnessing yet another series where his loyalties could be divided.
Would you have assessed 2 for unsportsmanlike conduct to Drew Doughty? The call was 2 for interference and don’t forget it was in OT.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
... Controversy aside, the reality is that the best team clearly won the series. There’s no denying that. And while you have to admire the incredible tenacity the Coyotes showed right to the end, playing a superb game Tuesday night in trying to stay alive, the deeper and more talented squad is representing the Western Conference in the Stanley Cup finals.
One could hear the hooting and hollering outside the Kings’ room before the media was allowed to enter. This was a special moment for a young team that barely made the playoffs. Now they’re playing the best hockey in the NHL.
“It’s crazy,” said Kings star blueliner Drew Doughty, who was Olympic-great Tuesday night. “I still don’t know what to say about it. We’re so happy about it. We’re in the Stanley Cup finals. That’s what we’ve dreamt of our whole lives.”
When presented with the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl by NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly, Brown refused to touch it as many captains also do out of superstition. Wrong trophy.
“It’s called the Stanley Cup playoffs for a reason,” Brown said.
If you don’t mind a bunch of screaming and yelling, watch Mike Milbury and Jeremy Roenick discuss the Dustin Brown hit on Michal Rozsival.
Dustin Penner’s OT goal sends the Kings to the Stanley Cup Final.
The final score was 4-3 in a very hard fought game.
added 12:49am, Here is Penner’s OT goal…
added 12:52am, Longer version of he Penner goal is below, Bob Cole with the call…
added 12:57am, The 2nd video below is the HNIC version of the handshake line. Would love to find out what Shane Doan said to Dustin Brown.
added 1:03am, The 3rd video below is the Dustin Brown hit on Michal Rozsival in OT. What do you think, was it a no-call?
The Phoenix Coyotes need to win, the LA Kings would like to win.
Game 5, just after 9:00pm ET puck-drop and can be viewed on NBCSN, CBC and RDS.
In the video below, Doug MacLean and Jeff Marek of Sportsnet discuss the series and tonight’s game.
from George Johnson of the Calgary Herald,
In that, a complete contrast to heart-on-his-sleeve Brian, who camouflaged nothing. And whose pride in possibly adding a Stanley Cup coaching championship in the family is plain for all to see, too.
“It’d be pretty special for Darryl,’’ says big brother. “I mean, you’re the eighth seed and you had to fight to get into the playoffs right until the end of the season. That’s something.
“It would mean a lot, I know. He’s been through a lot of conference finals, both as a player and as a coach.
“I was thinking the other day about Rob Ramage leaving us in St. Louis, and Dougie Gilmour and Joey Mullen and Mark Hunter — we were a farm team for the Calgary Flames in those days. Our guys went to Calgary from St. Louis and they all won a Cup together.
“When that happens, there is a touch of envy involved, almost to the point of feeling a little jealous. But mostly you’re extremely happy and proud of them.
“It takes a lot of dedication, commitment and sacrifice. Darryl went through a lot of things in Calgary. It makes you just about puke listening to what people have to say. But he’s showing everybody what it’s all about now and some people in Calgary should pay attention.
“They might learn something.’’
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
All of L.A.’s loyal supporters - including that new hardcore puck daddy, David Beckham, who his children in tow - were at Staples Centre in anticipation of a coronation. Even that much-sought-after trophy, the Clarence Campbell Bowl, was in the building, along with NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly, who generally presides over these ceremonies.
But the Coyotes, using a formula that coach Dave Tippett describes on a daily basis as “hanging around the game” hung around this one long enough to put the Kings to sleep. It was their usual classic formula, opportunistic on offence, steady on defence, Smith there to bail them out as needed. It would still take a comeback of epic proportions for Phoenix’s victory to be more than an historical footnote, but the Coyotes now live to play another day - and L.A.’s path to their first Stanley Cup final in 19 years is on hold, for the moment anyway.
“A loss is a loss,” assessed Kings’ forward Justin Williams. “We’ve had a good run, but the next game, Game 5, we’re going to have to come back with a lot of spunk, because they pushed us tonight.”
Doan, for one, appeared unwilling to have the Coyotes’ season end, on the road, in four quick easy steps, which is how it was looking. He elevated his game, as did his centre Antoine Vermette, who had a strong day in the face-off circle and won the most important draw of the night, cleanly and precisely, from Mike Richards to set up Doan’s second, insurance goal.
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.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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