Kukla's Korner Hockey
From David Fleming at ESPN:
4. Is there a better sound in sports than the crack-clapping of sticks during a scrum for the puck in the corner? Love that sound. It’s like the squeak of sneakers in basketball, the smell of a freshly-cut baseball field at spring training or the aromas of tailgating outside Heinz Field.
5. I’m pretty confident that if the NHL ever expands to Pandora, Detroit’s Pavel Datsyuk will be the only earthling taken in the galaxy expansion draft.
6. Reggie Dunlop’s wardrobe in Slap Shot.
7. And, okay, everything else about that movie.
read on for the whole list
• Detroit +105
• San Jose -125
• Over +5.5 -105
• Under +5.5 -115
From Justin Bourne at The Hockey News:
The fix the refs need to make is two-fold. The first part is they simply need to get back to calling diving penalties (unsportsmanlike conducts) the way they used to - and the way they did on Jordin Tootoo in Game 6 against Vancouver. As James Mirtle pointed out in his column Tuesday morning, in 2002-03 a diving penalty was whistled an average of once every 10 games. This season, the grand total was a mere 32.
The second equally simple and important change we need from the officials is to stop waiting for there to be a body on the ice to call a penalty, as they’re prone to do. A hook is a hook is a hook. Just because a guy is strong enough to stay on his skates doesn’t mean he was any less hindered than someone whose balance isn’t as good.
NEW YORK (May 10, 2011) – The National Hockey League announced the dates, starting times, and broadcast information for the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs Conference Finals, which begin with the Eastern Conference Final on Saturday, May 14, when the Boston Bruins host the Tampa Bay Lightning at 8 p.m. ET. The Western Conference Final will match the Vancouver Canucks against the winner of the Detroit Red Wings-San Jose Sharks Conference Semifinal series, which San Jose leads 3-2. Game 1 of the Western Conference Final will be Sunday, May 15, at 8 p.m. ET.
National rightsholders NBC and VERSUS in the United States and CBC, TSN and RDS in Canada will provide exclusive national television coverage of the Conference Finals. Every playoff game also can be heard on Sirius XM Satellite Radio.
2011 EASTERN CONFERENCE FINAL SCHEDULE
From Chris Iorfida at CBC:
What follows is a look at 20 surprising playoff goal totals over the past 70 years of playoff hockey. There are some good players on the list, some highly regarded prospects and some journeymen. or didn’t go on to have fine NHL careers. It’s a list concerning players who exceeded goal scoring expectations.
Matthew Barnaby, Buffalo Sabres, 1998: 15GP, 7G, 6A, 13PTS
This one is more surprising years later than it was at the time. Barnaby had showed promise with 43 points in 68 games in his second season (although he dipped to 25 points in 1997-98, the year that followed). He never reached such offensive heights again, settling for a career spent mainly as a provocateur. Or in hockey parlance, a pest.
From Craig Custance at the Sporting News:
“Countless teams have lost the first two games on the road and still won the series,” Red Wings defenseman Brad Stuart told Sporting News. “I don’t think we’re looking at it as that big a deal. We have to win our home games. That’s what it all comes down to in the next couple games here.”
To complete comebacks after digging an early hole, these five players must improve moving forward for their teams:
1. Johan Franzen, Red Wings. He’s not 100 percent because of a bum ankle, but Franzen has established himself as one of the game’s best producers when the stakes are highest. That version of Franzen must emerge for the Red Wings to dig out of a hole after losing their series’ first two games in San Jose.
read on for more must-improve players from the Caps, Flyers and Wings.
From Eric Duhatschek at the Globe & Mail:
Collectively, the eight teams remaining in the playoff hunt are converting only 15.45 per cent of their power-play opportunities, down from the 18 per cent overall success rate managed by teams in the regular season.
Vancouver had the top power play in the NHL this season, at 24.3 per cent. In the playoffs, the Canucks are chugging along at 16.7 per cent. San Jose was second in the regular season (23.5 per cent). In the playoffs, they’re down to 11.8 per cent. Washington wasn’t as good as it has been in the past with the man advantage this year (a middle-of-the-pack 17.5 per cent), but have been far worse in the playoffs (11.1 per cent).
So do special teams really matter? And more importantly, why are power play percentages across the board are so grim in these playoffs?
John Buccigross of ESPN names a player from each team in this round that he’d personally like to see hoisting the Stanley Cup.
From Eric Duhatschek from the Globe and Mail:
There is still a long way for Tampa to go - and maybe the biggest challenge yet comes this week, thanks to the NHL schedule maker, which has the Lightning playing the next two home games on back-to-back days, Tuesday and Wednesday. Normally, there is more recovery time between games in the playoffs and Roloson’s handful of tough outings since joining the Lightning have generally occurred when the work load piled up, about the only concession he’s made thus far to the numbers on his birth certificate.
But Roloson also had a pretty good role model for learning to play into his dotage - Dominik Hasek, for whom he backed up way back in the 1990s with the Buffalo Sabres, when he landed after his original NHL team, the Calgary Flames, let him go. In fact, I was trying to remember if Roloson ever played in Calgary at the same time as his Lightning teammate Martin St. Louis, another ageless wonder - and another freebie that Tampa received after the Flames couldn’t find a spot on their star-studded roster all those years ago. Answer: Yes and no.
From Rick Moldovanyi at The Score.ca:
This year, a lot of playoff games are going into overtime. During last year’s playoffs, there were 12 overtime games in the first round and a total of 17 overtime games in the entire postseason. This year, 14 games in the first round went into overtime and we’ve already hit 17 overtime games. The second round has barely begun.
In the 2009 playoffs, there were just six overtime games in the first round and 10 overall. In 2008, there were nine in the first round and 16 overall. The 2007 first round saw six overtime games in round one and 17 overall.
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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