Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Bruce Arthur of the Toronto Star,
After Dale Weise was hit in the head by New York Rangers defenceman John Moore he rolled right back up and he tried to turn and he nearly fell down. His eyes were glassy and his hair was wild, because his helmet had come off. P.K. Subban grabbed him to hold him up, like a trainer hugging his boxer after throwing in the towel to end a fight. Tomas Plekanec helped Weise onto the bench; a trainer held Weise by the elbow on the way to the dressing room. It was the third period.
And Weise came back. The Montreal Canadiens had a two-goal lead in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference final, and Weise played 1:44 the rest of the way, including most of the final minute. He was ruled out for Game 6 on Thursday morning. The Canadiens denied he had a concussion.
From Montreal head coach Michel Therrien’s press conference before Game 6 of the Eastern Conference final:
Q: Is there any regret about having Dale come back given that the symptoms, obviously, came on after the game?
Therrien: You’re presuming it’s a head injury.
Q: Am I not correct?
Therrien: You’re not correct.
from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,
When Henrik Lundqvist was hooked from Tuesday night’s Game 5 in the Canadiens-Rangers series, you had to wonder about goaltending in the NHL East this year.
On paper, you are looking at one of the great goaltending mismatches in league history. The Rangers boast perhaps the best goaltender of this century to date, and while you’d most certainly get an argument on a lot of fronts making that contention, there is a strong case to be made for the Swede who has kept the Rangers on the map and in the playoffs for years behind some odd rosters.
On the other side, you have this would-be Rogatien Vachon figure in the Habs jersey, Dustin Tokarski, trying to become one of the Habs legendary rookies who come in and win a Stanley Cup the way Patrick Roy did in his first year in the league in 1993.
The only problem is, Tokarski is so far from a Roy it’s laughable. For starters, he hasn’t had a full season playing extremely well the way Roy did, nor does he appear to have anywhere near the kind of physical attributes or technique to even become a starter in the league much less a Hall of Famer.
from Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette,
The Habs are still a long way from being out of hockey’s proverbial woods. But their ridiculous 7-4 victory over the Rangers — the game was ridiculous, not the win — has dramatically changed the complexion of this series.
The pressure was on the Canadiens Tuesday to stave off elimination, the third time this postseason, twice on home ice, that they’ve had their backs to the wall. The pressure is still on, of course, Thursday’s game at Madison Square Garden another win-or-go-home tilt (8 p.m., CBC, RDS, TSN Radio 690).
But the heat felt by the Habs might not be as severe as that which now bakes the Rangers. On MSG ice, the Blueshirts will have little forgiveness from their fans who want nothing to do with a seventh and deciding game in this best-of-seven and who, for the love of Mark Messier, can probably feel their heroes’ collars tightening.
Win now, Rangers fans are saying, and let’s get to the Stanley Cup final for the first time in 20 years.
“How,” veteran centreman Brad Richards was asked Wednesday, “do you build from game to game in terms of belief and not feeling the pressure?”
“It has nothing to do with us right now,” he replied, turning the question around. “You’re asking how the Montreal Canadiens are going to do that. You can ask them. I’m not going to tell them how they should feel.”
from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,
If Carey Price is the face of the Montreal Canadiens franchise, then P.K. Subban is its poster child.
With his trademark chapeaux and swank threads, the young Habs defenceman has been a magnet for the television cameras every time he’s sauntered into an NHL arena during these Stanley Cup playoffs.
Yes, when it comes to making a fashion statement, Subban has very few peers.
The same can be said for his production on the ice.
Add it all up, and the conclusion is obvious: It is imperative that the Canadiens sign Subban to a long-term deal this summer, even if it puts a significant dent in the team’s wallet.
This is the type of blue-line building block almost every team in the National Hockey League covets. And if general manager Marc Bergevin wasn’t sure of that at the beginning of the 2012-13 season, he should be now.
“Everybody talks about how (Lundqvist) is a great goalie. Has he been better than (Montreal goaltender Dustin Tokarski) this series? I don’t think so. (Tokarski) made some big saves for us too.”
-Rene Bourque of the Montreal Canadiens via Bruce Arthur of the Toronto Star.
Tomas Plekanec gets caught and is called for diving.
In game 4 of the series, almost the same type of play, but Plekanec sold it just enough to get the call on Brian Boyle. Watch it below...
from Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette,
There's playoff hockey — the tight-checking, goal-pinching, palm-dampening, heart-pounding stuff that tests your cardiac health and makes you wonder why your team bothers playing 82 NHL games in regular-season slush.
And then, there's the guilty-pleasure, exhibition free-for-all stuff of sloppy and loose play, training-camp timing, sometimes dubious goaltending and piles of goals, a puck in the net with seemingly every third shot.
With the Canadiens' entire season riding on Tuesday's game against the New York Rangers, a berserk Bell Centre crowd paid buckets of money to watch the latter, a blend of ball hockey, broomball, probably croquet and heaven knows what else.
It was many things, but playoff hockey was not among them. And those fans who watched might all be happily scarred for life.
To say nothing of the coaches who witnessed this unnatural disaster unfold and might not sleep for days because they did.
"A gong show," was how Rangers defenceman Dan Girardi put it.
"It was, to say the least, a strange game," said Rangers coach Alain Vigneault.
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
Brad Richards had played in 111 playoff games before, but never had he played in one quite like this one.
“Nope. I don’t even know if I’ve seen one like this,” the Rangers’ de facto captain told The Post after the Rangers mangled and bungled away a potential Game 5 Eastern Conference clincher with their chaotic 7-4 defeat on Tuesday to the Canadiens. “We’ve all seen playoff games where it gets out of control physically, but this was something else.
“It was just crazy stuff. Completely out of control in every way. Out of whack. It didn’t even seem like a playoff game.”
Potential clincher or not, desperate opponent or not, late May or not, the Rangers simply were dreadful. They looked like the group that needed to close the door for postgame meetings in San Jose and Anaheim the very first week of the season.
They looked like a team, in fact, that had experienced a collective cerebral absence.
Puck drops just after 8:00pm on NBCSN, CBC and RDS.
Making it short and sweet, game 6 will be played in NYC on Thursday.
But do watch, I may be wrong.
Darlene Tokarski on her son Dustin...
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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