Kukla's Korner Hockey
The Phoenix Coyotes will be hosting the Los Angeles Kings tonight in the first game of the Western Conference Finals.
The puck will drop shortly after 8:00pm ET and can be watched on NBCSN, TSN and RDS.
Most of expect a close, low-scoring game tonight plus the ice conditions may be a factor. Reports are the temperature nearing 105 degrees, but of course it is a dry heat.
Let’s hope it is an entertaining series and expect some big-body hits and collisions along the way.
added 9:12pm, Here’s is the Morris goal on Quick from center ice…
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Because Game 1 of the NHL’s Western Conference final between the Los Angeles Kings and Phoenix Coyotes has a 5 p.m. Pacific start time, both teams opted to skip the morning skates Sunday. Rather than drag their players unnecessarily to the rink early the team, the teams settled for short, but hard practices Saturday at the Jobing.com Arena, trying to shed the rust that accompanies their lengthy playoff layoffs.
The Kings have been off work since last Sunday, after sweeping the St. Louis Blues in four games. The Coyotes have been off since Monday, after eliminating the Nashville Predators in five games. Underdogs entering the round, both teams set the tone for their respective series by winning the first game.
Kings’ coach Darryl Sutter knows that so much time off this deep in the playoffs can take away a team’s edge. Often, at this time of year, a team can win or lose the series in the first game – because of the emotional leg-up that a win can provide.
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
Welcome to the Duel in the Desert. The temperature hit 97 degrees as the Kings practiced here Saturday afternoon, but the climate for both teams has never been more hospitable.
“It’s an interesting time,” said Maloney, whose team has never reached the conference finals in its current home or its previous incarnation as the Winnipeg Jets.
“You can feel it in our marketplace, anyway, beating Nashville, getting to this stage. Just the city, the Valley, the attention that we’re getting, the media, newspapers, certainly radio and television, it’s second to none. It’s what we need to survive here.”
The Kings’ battle has been less about survival than establishing a tradition of success. Their history has been a mishmash of philosophies and rebuilding, of trading draft picks for veterans and then reversing course and building through the draft and then getting impatient when that didn’t immediately work, either.
NEW YORK (May 12, 2012)—The National Hockey League announced today the dates, start times and broadcast information for the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs Conference Finals, which begin Sunday, May 13, when the Phoenix Coyotes host the Los Angeles Kings at 8 p.m. ET. The Eastern Conference Final will match the New York Rangers against the New Jersey Devils. Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final will be Monday, May 14, at 8 p.m. ET.
National rightsholders NBC and NBC Sports Network in the United States and CBC, TSN and RDS in Canada will provide exclusive national coverage throughout the Conference Finals.
NEW YORK—The National Hockey League announced today the dates, start times and national television coverage for Games 1 and 2 of the Conference Final round of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The Western Conference Final opens Sunday, May 13 in Glendale, Arizona, where the Phoenix Coyotes will host the Los Angeles Kings at Jobing.com Arena (8 p.m., ET, NBC Sports Network, TSN, RDS). Game 2 of the series will be played in Glendale on Tuesday, May 15, beginning at 9 p.m., ET.
Games 1 and 2 of the Eastern Conference Final will be played on Monday, May 14 and Wednesday, May 16, respectively, and pit the New Jersey Devils against the winner of the Conference Semifinal series between the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals. That series currently is deadlocked at 3-3, with Game 7 set for Saturday night in New York (7:30 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network, CBC, RDS).
Should the Rangers advance, they would host the Devils in Games 1 and 2 of the Eastern Conference Final at Madison Square Garden in New York. Should the Capitals win, the Devils would host Washington in Games 1 and 2 at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.
Additional Conference Final schedule information will be released soon.
from Bob Miller at the Kings website,
It’s great to see that all Kings fans are having so much fun and excitement this playoff year. It’s nice to see because all of you have been so loyal and supportive all these years.
What strikes me about this playoff season is how similar it is to 19 years ago when the Kings last made it to the Conference finals and then to the Stanley Cup finals.
In 1993, just as this year, the Kings had a mediocre season, finished third in the Division and then got hot at the right time. Also that season, just as this year, the Kings opened all playoff series on the road: at Calgary in the Smythe Division Quarter-Finals, at Vancouver in the Division Semi-Finals and at Toronto in the Campbell Conference Finals. This season, so far, in opening all series on the road, the Kings are 5-0 as of this writing and are 7-0 on the road going back to two wins in San Jose last year.
In 1993 Kelly Hrudey was the hot goaltender for the Kings, with his blue headband flowing out from under his helmet. In addition to Hrudey, the Kings in that year, much like this season, got great contributions from everyone on the team. Players like Mike Donnelly, Warren Rychel, Alexei Zhitnik, Pat Conacher, Charlie Huddy, and rookie Darryl Sydor all chipped in to help out the more well known players. It’s the same this year, with outstanding contributions from rookies Dwight King, Jordan Nolan and Slava Voynov.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
The moment that Dustin Brown came crashing onto the larger NHL playoff stage is easily determined. It occurred during the Los Angeles Kings’ opening-round series against the Vancouver Canucks, when Brown delivered a clean, crunching open-ice hit on Vancouver Canucks captain Henrik Sedin. At a time when all manner of body checks were examined under microscopic scrutiny, even Sedin was quick to concede that Brown’s hit was clean.
You can take all the points he’s scored (10 so far); all the plays he’s made shorthanded (which resulted in four goals); and all the quiet leadership Brown provides, but nothing galvanized his team more than that hit at that moment in that series.
L.A. had won the first two games in Vancouver, but they’d also led the Canucks the last time the teams met in the playoffs and eventually faltered. Brown’s hit woke up a sleepy club that, once called to attention, proceeded to march past Vancouver in five games and then subsequently swept the St. Louis Blues out of the second round.
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
As the longest-serving current Kings, forwards Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar have been through the worst of hockey times.
Brown, who made his NHL debut during the 2003-04 season, and Kopitar, who made an immediate impact as a rookie in 2006-07, have been there for all the broken promises and unrealized dreams, through coaching changes and baffling lineup shuffles. They allowed their optimism to flower when things changed for the better and persevered when the young team sometimes took two steps back for every three steps forward.
It was only right, then, that Brown and Kopitar were at the center Sunday of the Kings’ most joyous playoff moment in too many years.
Both had waited so long for this, for Kopitar to leap into Brown’s arms and body-slam him to the Staples Center ice after Brown scored an empty-net goal to clinch the Kings’ 3-1 victory and provide the final flourish of their surprising sweep of the No. 2-seeded St. Louis Blues.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
The St. Louis Blues didn’t want to use injuries as an excuse for their second-round elimination.
To a man, they stated that the Kings were simply the better team.
But starting with a suspected knee injury that star blueliner Alex Pietrangelo tried to play through and being without No. 1 goalie Jaroslav Halak for most of the playoffs with a suspected ankle injury, it’s clear the Blues were a beat-up bunch.
“We’ll let the injury stuff come out over the next couple of days,” said Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock. “But, it’s not great.”
Captain David Backes also played through some sort of stomach ailment, but he didn’t feel like going there either Sunday.
added 9:11pm, Below, find 2 videos, first is Ken Hitchcock post-game and 2nd is Darryl Sutter post-game… Please note, you may have to wait for the video to load, once you see a picture of the coach, hit play. NHL.com must be getting hit hard with video requests.
After round one…
Odds to win the Stanley Cup
St. Louis Blues 15/4
New York Rangers 9/2
Philadelphia Flyers 9/2
Nashville Predators 5/1
Los Angeles Kings 13/2
New Jersey Devils 9/1
Washington Capitals 9/1
Phoenix Coyotes 11/1
Odds to win Western Conference
St. Louis Blues 9/5
Nashville Predators 9/4
Los Angeles Kings 3/1
Phoenix Coyotes 5/1
Before the playoffs started…
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