Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post,
All Avalanche center Paul Stastny has riding on this game is $20 million. Or is it $30 million? And if an athlete refuses to choke on such immense pressure, doesn't he deserve to be richly rewarded?
This is Stastny's time to be a money player.
By its very definition, Game 7 of an NHL playoff series is a must win.
But nobody needs to beat the Minnesota Wild more than Stastny. He will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. Who knows? If the Avs lose, Stastny could be wearing a Colorado sweater for the last time.
"You don't know. I don't know, either," Stastny said Tuesday. "Sometimes you think about it a little bit ..."
Here's the truth: During the final year of his contract, new Avalanche management needed to win over Stastny more than the veteran center needed to prove his worth. If not for a remarkable team turnaround, there would be little chance for Colorado to retain Stastny.
from the CP at TSN,
...Roy's reminding his youthful team of one simple thing: Enjoy the moment.
"How good is this?" Roy said. "They're excited about it and they should be. ... We're playing Game 7 in our building, in front of our fans."
In this series, home ice is a pretty big deal. All six games in this tightly contested matchup have been decided during the waning moments, with the home team capturing each one.
Wild coach Mike Yeo has a stirring pregame speech all prepared for just the occasion, a few well-chosen words to put into his players' ears before they hit the ice and hear the clamour of the crowd.
Care to share the highlights?
"Then it wouldn't be very inspirational," Yeo joked.
Minnesota will try to neutralize the noise with another sizzling start. The Wild have scored the first goal in four of the games.
For all the magic of this Avs season – and no matter what happens Wednesday, it’s been a fun one – this team still has no real killer instinct. They should have finished that team off tonight, but got a little self satisfied after that great second period. They need to find a way, in the future, of winning games easier. You can’t wait ’til you’re down in games all the time before you really start playing. You can’t pull the goalie late in games and get away with it all the time.
-Adrain Dater on the Colorada Avalanche after losing game 6 to the Minnesota Wild. Read more from Dater on this topic at All Things Avs.
from Michael Russo of Russo's Rants,
The Wild must move on. Must-win Game 6 Monday night at 8 at the X.
That’s why Mike Yeo absolutely took the right tack in his postgame presser after the Wild’s back-breaking 4-3 overtime loss tonight in Game 5 of the Western Conference quarterfinals.
Nathan MacKinnon, held to no points and three shots in Games 3 and 4, capped another 3-point night by becoming the second-youngest player in NHL history (18 years, 237 days) to score a playoff OT winner (Don Gallinger was 17 years, 339 days when he scored an OT winner for Boston on March 21, 1943 against Montreal.) He now has 10 points in three home games.
The Wild coach could have come in screaming and yelling about Paul Stastny looking offside (eerily for the second time this season against the Wild on a Colorado goal), this time leading to P.A. Parenteau’s tying goal with 1:14 left to force overtime.
Below, watch the questionable tying goal by Parenteau and the OT game-winner by MacKinnon...
The main topic tonight is the Matt Cooke suspension plus a few other topics...
from Adrian Dater of All Things Avs,
What a lost week that was for this team. The Avs came to St. Paul up 2-0 in this series, against a team that just made a goalie change, with grumbling about the coach and all those underperforming big-money stars and…now the Wild are looking like the greatest team on earth, while the Avs look like a shabby jalopy belching exhaust, just trying to get to the gas station for a few bucks of unleaded.
What’s going on? The Wild adjusted their defense, that’s what. They are “tracking” the puck carriers of the Avs much better, going at them with a couple checkers, with a third forward just on the outside ready to take away the puck if the other two teammates get it loose. The Wild defensemen hung back a bit too much in the first two games, but now they are higher in the neutral zone, getting to Avs puck carriers higher in the ice and making it an obstacle course for Avs forwards to fight through just to get the pucks on their dump-ins — many of which don’t get through because the lead dump guy is being challenged right at the red line.
There are so many other problems hurting the team right now, most having to with injuries. Damn injuries – they always spoil all the fun. Matt Duchene still isn’t ready yet. John Mitchell can’t do much more than just stretches with a long rubber band. He has not attempted to skate since getting hurt at the end of the year.
Of course, no Tyson Barrie anymore. That 6-on-4 at the end sure would have been a good place to use a Barrie, eh? He’s not here anymore, though, because of gutless puke Matt Cooke.
from Michael Russo of Russo's Rants,
Matt Cooke, suspended seven games for injuring Colorado Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie with a knee-on-knee hit Monday night, addressed the media this afternoon.
Cooke didn’t field questions but made an unwritten statement.
“First and foremost, I want to say that I’m disappointed and sorry that Tyson Barrie can’t play for the Colorado Avalanche tonight. I wish that he could. Unfortunately, it was not my intent to collide with him knee-on-knee. It was my intent to finish my check. Playoffs are a hard and physical time and it’s my job to be physical. I’ve led my team in hits in all three games and it’s an intense time. I’ve led my team this year in hits and in this series.
“Since March 20, 2011 (the elbow to Ryan McDonagh that resulted in a 17-game suspension), I’ve been a changed player. I’ve approached the game differently, I think differently about the game. That stats that I’ve collected over those three seasons prove that I’m a changed player and the plays that I make and the plays that I don’t make prove to that point as well. At the end of the day, this situation was not my intent.”
Cooke has until tomorrow night to decide if he will appeal his suspension to NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. Cooke didn’t respond when I asked if he would.
So however many offences you want to include on Cooke’s rap sheet – and technically, he does not qualify for repeat-offender status because he has no fines or suspensions on his resume the past 18 months – the fact is, he represents a clear and present danger to NHL opponents whenever he is on the ice. The sooner he follows the Patrick Kaletas and Sean Averys of the world into obscurity, the better off everyone will be.
-Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail where you can read more on Cooke.
The video explanation...
NHL release is below...
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
In hockey parlance, Cooke’s wires crossed. He was late on the hit, and refused to abandon it. This wasn’t one of those plays where a defenceman is the last man back, and either he takes the puck carrier down or it’s a breakaway. There were three, perhaps four Wild teammates between the puck and the goal, but give the industrious Cooke credit here. He still likes to finish what he starts.
Barrie, the kind of player who actually sells tickets in the National Hockey League, is on the shelf for some period of time. (We won’t believe the Avalanche time line during a playoff series, any more than we’ll buy whatever defence Cooke brings to NHL disciplinarian Stephane Quintal’s office.) And, of course, the NHL Players’ Association will send out a representative or two in defence of Cooke, when what they should be doing is acting on behalf of Barrie and the other 885 union members and hide Cooke’s skates for good.
Of course, we’ve written that before too. It never really changes, does it?
Why should it? Matt Cooke never does.
Adrian Dater of All Thins Avs turns this incident into more about himself, than Cooke...
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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