Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Charley Walters at the Pioneer Press,
Wild star Marian Gaborik, who went without a single shot on goal against the Ducks in Minnesota’s Game 3 playoff loss Sunday in St. Paul, was to employ his mind’s eye before going to sleep Monday evening to prepare for tonight’s game at the Xcel Energy Center.
“I’m going to try to envision goals,” Gaborik said.
from Russo’s Rants,
“They are playing really well and it seems like they are all over the place,” Gaborik said in a very quiet Wild locker room after the loss. “It seems like there were 10 guys with white jerseys out there. It’s hard but we really need to find a way. What we’ve got to do is try to find a way to be a step ahead of them everywhere and be in their face and make it really, really hard on them.”
from the OC Register,
But the Ducks’ checkers kept the Wild’s best line under control for most of the 2-1 and 3-2 victories. They won’t get a clear shot at the Wild-and-crazy Slovaks here.
The other advantage is the ice itself, a chronic problem no matter how low they turn the thermostat in Anaheim. Wild players, for some reason, didn’t seem comfortable on tapioca.
The ice is much kinder to the Wild in their gorgeous arena, the closest thing the NHL has to the Indiana Pacers’ fieldhouse when it comes to making the new look old again.
The NHL quarterfinal series between the Minnesota Wild and Anaheim Ducks has yielded strong ratings for KSTC-TV Channel 45. The station reported a record viewers for Wednesday’s playoff series opener.
The company said that for the last hour of the game, it averaged an 8.0 rating with a 25 household share. The overall average was a 7.9 rating and an 18 household share. A single ratings point represents approximately 16,ooo to 17,ooo viewers.
via the Leafs Chronicle,
Approximately 13,217 homes in the Nashville television market tuned in to watch Game 1, according to WTVF-5 Program Director Mark Binda.
The 1.4 rating was lower than last season’s Game 1 rating between the two teams, which hit 2.4 (approximately 22,000 homes).
from the Star Tribune,
In the NHL, not only is practice open to reporters, it’s open to opposing coaches. On Thursday, Wild coach Jacques Lemaire and goaltending coach Bob Mason watched Anaheim’s entire practice from the stands. Even though Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said it didn’t bother him, he also told reporters of Lemaire’s presence—twice—without being asked as he began his news conference.
Round 1 of the playoffs isn’t even two games old, and already there’s a little gamesmanship going on.
from the Star-Tribune,
Spend any time with Gaborik, 25, and Demitra, 32, and it’s easy to see why they’re one of the NHL’s most electrifying dynamic duos, why sometimes they seem to read each other’s mind.
“Because we only use one brain—mine,” Demitra said, straight-faced.
Gaborik, laughing hysterically, shot back, “Yeah, we use the bald one.”
Seemingly attached at the hip—“On the road we spend 24 hours a day together,” Demitra says—the Slovak sidekicks live to cut each other up.
from Nicole Swanson at NHL Connect,
I really get into hockey this time of year; I get really excited about the playoffs. I remember specifically in 2003, my roommates and I, and one of the guys’ rooms in our apartment complex, we got together for every single game. We took a couch and TV out into the parking lot and watched all the games start to finish.
via Russo’s Rants,
The Wild originally believed its playoff series against the Ducks would start on Thursday. On Sunday, however, the team was informed that it would play Wednesday at Anaheim.
Coach Jacques Lemaire simply said, “you don’t want my comment,” when asked for his reaction. This isn’t a surprise. Preparation is one reason for Lemaire’s success so you had to figure when he got the call Sunday about the schedule there were a few choice words tossed around.
If Lemaire had known the Wild would play Wednesday he would have had his players on the ice Sunday. Instead, he gave them the day off. As a result, Lemaire ended up having to cover more ground during Monday’s practice than he wanted to.
from Randy Youngman of the OC Register,
Spraying to all fields, wondering if anything less than a Stanley Cup championship will make this a disappointing season for the Ducks:
•It shouldn’t be that way, but there will be self-imposed pressure to finish off the best season in franchise history (record 110 points, record 254 goals and first division title) — especially after falling in the conference finals in 2006 and in the Stanley Cup Finals in 2003.
•They certainly won’t say this publicly, but the Ducks received the most favorable matchup in the first round among the top seven teams in the Western Conference.
from the Star-Tribune,
First, on the ice. He has become the team’s steadiest defenseman. Carney is a plus-21, which would be a franchise record. He plays heavy minutes and in all defensive situations.
“He’s a veteran,” Wild coach Jacques Lemaire said. “He’s been in the playoffs, he knows what it takes to win. When you have that, you carry that at different times during the season—that energy that you need to have to win games.”
But there’s more. Carney is also a mentor to the defensive corps—most notably to Burns—Carney’s playing partner. They talk on the ice, of course. But after every shift they talk on the bench. Sometimes Carney will reinforce a good play. Sometimes Carney’s job is to calm down a young player who is struggling.
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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