Kukla's Korner Hockey
The puck drops just after 8:00pm ET and you can watch on NBCSN, CBC or RDS.
The New York Rangers are up 2-1 against the Montreal Canadiens and you would think the Rangers want a win tonight and then head back to Montreal up 3-1.
I don't think the Canadiens have played their best game yet and I expect a tight checking game tonight with the Rangers scoring a late goal for the win.
Feel free to comment on the game or anything hockey related.
Q. This has obviously become a war of words between coaches as much as the players on the ice. Yesterday you spoke about Derick Brassard and spoke about knowing where his injury was today. Alain Vigneault suggested that if Brassard gets injured tonight, you could be in trouble.
COACH THERRIEN: You know what? Because I was saying the same thing we said about Carey Price, that they knew before we knew his injuries, and in the hockey world it's a small world. It's a small world, so we knew exactly what happened to Derick Brassard. And by the way, he's a good player. He's an important player. That line got a lot of success, aganist the Penguins. He's a good player. There is no free pass. We're in the playoffs.
But the intention is not to hurt the guy. I mean, come on. There is no hockey player that's going to go on the ice. There is no hockey coach going to ask to hurt the player. But you have to play with hard. We have to play Derick Brassard hard like we have to play all those New York Rangers hard with emotion and the best playoff hockey. No one's got a free pass. I don't think they gave a free pass to P.K. Subban, all the cheap shots that he got. I don't think they gave a free pass to Gallagher. But that's okay. It's the playoffs. It's the beauty of it. There is a lot of emotion. And Derick Brassard, let me tell you, he's a good player, and we're going to get to pay attention to him. But there is no ‑‑ there is no one wants to see a player get hurt. We don't want to see Stepan get hurt. I'm sure they didn't want to see Carey Price get hurt, but sometimes those things happen.
Q. Coach, do you resent what happened yesterday with your assistants being asked to leave the Canadiens practice, and what is your reaction to the reason why?
COACH VIGNEAULT: Well, we were treated very unfairly yesterday. There is no rule. There was no agreement between both teams. That is the exception, not the rule. I mean, I've been asked in the past to do this on a couple of occasions. Usually the coach calls me or the GM calls the GM, never happened. What happened yesterday was uncalled for. Without a doubt, my staff handled it with a lot of class, just like our team, play whistle to whistle, don't get involved with the other stuff. We're very credible. This is the National Hockey League, and that type of behavior, we're lucky it didn't escalate.
Q. Just wanted to ask you about something else you said yesterday. Therrien made a reference to knowing exactly what Brassard's injury is. Did that bother you at all or did you interpret that as threatening in any way?
COACH VIGNEAULT: Let's put it this way, I hope nothing happens to Brass, the player, and Michel could be in trouble.
The Knicks are gone, the Nets only got a game off the Heat after spending to do plenty more than that, the Yankees start off more mediocre this season than they did last season with all those replacement players, the Mets try to convince their fans that there is a reason to come out to Citi Field and spend money and care; convince their fans that they’re not once again selling a season other than the one they’re playing.
The Rangers are the story, the Rangers are the show. It won’t last with hockey, it never does. But it has a chance to be big, loud fun while it lasts. Breaking somebody’s head on Sunday night won’t make it any better. They all need to shut up and play.
-Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News where you can read more on the Rangers/Habs...
from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,
It all started with Canadiens coach Michel Therrien ejecting three New York Rangers staffers — assistant coach Ulf Samuelsson, video coach Jerry Dineen and travel secretary Alex Case — from the stands at the beginning of practice. Therrien felt that those men were in violation of an agreement which the Rangers vehemently deny was ever made.
“There is always a gentleman’s agreement between two teams and the general managers that coaches are not allowed to attend practices between games,” said Therrien. “It’s respect for coaches that want to make adjustments … and it’s always been like that and that’s the way it is.”
The list of grievances didn’t stop there. The Canadiens don’t believe that Derek Stepan’s broken jaw is as serious as the Rangers have made it sound. Daniel Briere called it “fishy” and other members of the organization feel that the New York centre will dress for Game 4 on Sunday night.
“We’re 100 percent expecting him to play,” said agitator Brendan Gallagher. “He got up and he was yapping and yelling. So I’m sure the jaw isn’t hurting too much.”
Below, watch Therrien confront the Rangers staffers...
That is an average of 6.16 goals per game in the Conference Finals.
Personally, I thought we would have been witnessing lower scoring games such as 3-2, 2-1, etc.
In round 2 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the average goals per game was 4.66.
So we are seeing an upward trend in goal scoring for the Conference Finals and that surprises me.
If I were a betting man, I would have thought the average goals per game would be reversed. You would think the team defense would be tighter in this round but that is not the case.
via Bruce Arthur tweets,
So Rangers coaches and GM try to watch Habs practice, Habs object, coaches leave, GM stays, Habs not pleased. Feels kind of high school-y.
Therrien says there's a gentleman's agreement not to watch one another's practices. The Rangers might reasonably say they're not gentlemen.
from Daniel Nugent-Bowman of the StarPhoenix,
Milt Kerpan's vantage point of Dustin Tokarski has changed. What he's seeing from the goaltender through his television has not.
"Watching him play as a youngster, he found a way to stop the puck," said Kerpan, who coached minor hockey in Watson for 22 years. "It was sometimes a bit unorthodox; sometimes very cool and calm. He would never get rattled. He would just focus and keep on going. "I kept thinking back to what I had seen as he played through his minor hockey and midget and junior." Tokarski, 24, has created plenty of buzz after guiding the Montreal Canadiens back into their Eastern Conference final series against the New York Rangers on Thursday night. He made 35 stops in a 3-2 overtime victory in Game 3. The Watson native was called into duty by the Canadiens after Carey Price was injured earlier in the series.
He's gone from being the third-stringer keeper to all the rage in the farming community - especially for Habs fans like Kerpan. "To have one of our own kids from town playing for Montreal is just tremendously exciting," Kerpan said. "Everyone in town is talking about it.
Everyone in town is following it to see how he does.
"You want to see him play well. You want to see him enjoy the experience. You just keep cheering for him and cheering for him."
from Ken Campbell of The Hockey News,
Good work, NHL. I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it as long as this nonsense keeps happening: The NHL needs guys like Brandon Prust and Dan Carcillo to keep its players safe from guys like Brandon Prust and Dan Carcillo. And the NHL and its culture of violence is every bit as culpable for all of this as the perpetrators were.
Was Carcillo guilty of an enormous brain cramp when he whacked Driscoll with his stick? Yes, but it should come as no surprise because the guys like him who are employed to keep the temperature down are the ones who cause the vast majority of this kind of stuff. Did Prust intend to hurt Stepan or did he target Stepan’s head? No, but players like Prust make their living doing things like, among other things, “finishing their checks” which is code for making them pay for carrying the puck or making a pass.
The league maintains that the Prust his was not a headshot in the classic sense – that the hit began at Stepan’s chest and landed on his jaw without intent to target his head. That’s why he wasn’t suspended under Rule 48. We get that. But when four officials are on the ice and either don’t see that or the game is too fast for them to make a decision on it, then it’s time the video replay department in Toronto took control over the decisions the way they do with disputed goals.
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
Two games. This is the uh, price, of an eye for eye in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Two games. This is the woeful response of the NHL to an act of frontier justice that injures an opponent.
Two games for the Canadiens’ Brandon Prust for breaking Derek Stepan’s jaw with a late hit from the blindside that caught the Blueshirts center in the face just 2:55 into Thursday’s Game 3 at the Garden … a hit for which the Montreal winger was not penalized by the grossly incompetent officiating crew, featuring referees Kevin Pollock and Marc Joannette.
added 9:13am, from Terry Koshan of the Toronto Sun,
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