Kukla's Korner Hockey
via Dave Stubbs at Habs Inside/Out,
The Canadiens have announced that Jaroslav Halak will start in goal tonight in Game 4.
It will be the first career playoff start for the 22-year-old from Bratislava, who played 19 minutes in Monday’s Game 3 in relief of Carey Price, stopping both shots he faced.
from Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette,
Head coach Guy Carbonneau said he won’t reveal the name of his starting goaltender until game time tonight, but Carey Price will be back in goal when the Canadiens face the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference semifinal.
Carbonneau has little choice as the Canadiens hope to avoid falling behind 3-1 in the best-of-seven series. While Price has not played well in the three games against the Flyers - he has a 3.79 goals-against average and an .853 save percentage - the Canadiens have to look at the big picture.
From Andrew Lupton at the National Post,
More than 20 years after her death, the Philadelphia Flyers continue to channel the spirit of singer Kate Smith.
Born in 1907, Smith was a famous broadway, stage and radio singer whose name became synonymous with the song God Bless America after she sung it to glowing reviews on Armistice Day in 1938.
continued explaining the story of why Kate Smith’s performance was resurrected by film at Wachovia Center last night. And here’s a video of one of her Philly performances, prior to the 1974 Stanley Cup.
from Ken Campbell of the Hockey News,
Just throwing this out there, but do you think Price might have an injury to his catching hand? Either that or maybe he’s breaking in a new catching glove and it’s not going well at all. In any event, Price appears to have forgotten how to keep the puck in his glove and his rebound control has gone out the window, as well.
Canadiens apologists can talk all they want about how Price, perhaps, didn’t have a clear view of the Flyers’ first two goals, but the fact remains the Canadiens are simply not getting the kind of goaltending they need to win this or any other playoff series. You outshoot a team 34-14 and all your goalie has to do is not lose the game for you. Price lost the game for the Canadiens, simple as that.
Of course, he’s not alone in accepting blame for the Canadiens troubles, since the passenger car seems to be accepting more and more occupants as the playoffs go on.
from Sam Donnellon of the Philadelphia Daily News,
Derian Hatcher has arguably been the Flyers’ best defenseman in the playoffs. If not, then Kimmo Timonen has. So far in this series with Montreal, we have seen a sucker punch with intent to injure on Timonen go unpunished, and in last night’s harrowing 3-2 Flyers victory, we watched Hatcher get thrown out of the third period of a playoff game for a boarding penalty that occurred almost simultaneously with Tomas Plekanec’s blatant attempt to injure the Flyers’ R.J. Umberger by taking out his knees away from the puck….
Can’t wait to see what’s in store for tomorrow night.
This series is just three games old, and already there is way too much circumstantial evidence to support the perennial theorem embraced in the lower 48 at this time of year.
Namely, that Canada looks out for its own.
From Darren Eliot at Sports Illustrated,
Watching Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Martin Biron embrace the moment is one of the best stories of these NHL playoffs. He embodies the axiom about the value of the journey over the destination. And while the Stanley Cup dream is the ultimate, Biron’s career-long anticipation of his first postseason action in the NHL makes him a prime example of the wait giving weight—as in richness—to the moment.
Kostopoulos earned a two-minute roughing minor on the play, but the war of words has escalated ever since.
“Kostopoulos, he’s a tough kid and I’ve got a lot of respect for him and [Steve] Bégin,” Philadelphia head coach John Stevens said. “But to go up and blindside sucker Kimmo Timonen on a play at the end there, that’s cowardly, in my opinion.”
Canadiens head coach Guy Carbonneau has been anything but quiet about the criticism of his player.
“That’s one team that shouldn’t talk,” Carbonneau said of Stevens’s comments. “They played 82 games and had the most suspensions in the league.”
And over at the Philadelphia Daily News, Rich Hofmann also expects things to get nastier in this series, citing this quote from Carbonneau:
“I think [Timonen] deserved it. That’s why they didn’t call any (major) penalties on it.”
from Roy MacGregor of the Globe and Mail,
Others will say it’s been ugly around here since the playoffs began.
It all depends, of course, entirely on your view of hair style.
On the one side of the Canadiens’ dressing room, you have the long, flowing, golden locks of Russian star Alexei Kovalev - hair so long and blond that, Saturday night, some Montreal fans showed up in wigs that made them look like they were extras in the Broadway musical Hairspray.
On the other side, you have the buzz cut, playoff choice of most of the Montreal dressing room, with players like Tom Kostopoulos, the one who decked Philadelphia’s Kimmo Timonen the other night, looking like they’ve just been deloused and are about to be issued their prison garb.
from Jack Todd of the Montreal Gazette,
Price has had one outstanding game in this series and one subpar game. As a result, the Canadiens won the game in which they were outplayed by the Flyers and lost Game 2, even though they outplayed Philadelphia by a wide margin.
Surprise, surprise. Come playoff time, goalies, quarterbacks and starting pitchers have a disproportionate impact on a team’s fortunes.
Price is still learning his craft. No matter how large his talent or how bright his future, he is a 20-year-old playing a man’s game.
There will be nights when it all comes together, as it did during Game 7 against the Bruins - and there will be nights like Saturday’s game against the Flyers, when a couple of pucks go in over his left shoulder and the kid goes to work to adjust his position, doing the things he will do automatically as he matures.
from Tim Wharnsby of the Globe and Mail,
Montreal Canadiens forward Tom Kostopoulos will not be suspended for his left hook sucker punch to the face of Philadelphia Flyers defenceman Kimmo Timonen on Saturday.
The NHL hockey operations office reviewed the incident and ruled that because Kostopoulos was penalized on the play and Timonen was not injured, no further discipline was necessary.
Less than 24 hours after his team was accused of commiting a cowardly act by Philadelphia coach John Stevens, Guy Carbonneau has rushed to his players’ defence – especially atoning the behaviour of Tom Kostopoulos.
“That (the Flyers) is one team that shouldn’t talk,” the Canadiens coach said Sunday, after his team participated in an optional practice in LaSalle. “Over 82 games, they had the most suspensions in the league.”
more at Habs Inside/Out…
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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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