Kukla's Korner Hockey
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If you’re looking for some extra hockey reading material tonight, here’s a roundup of stories from NHL.com this afternoon/evening:
- Seabrook Returns to Practice for Hawks
- Laviolette Mum on Game 6 Goalie
- Flyers Work Overtime to Put More Juice in Powerplay
- Pominville won’t play in Game 6; Roy may return
- Stamkos finds scoring touch when Bolts needed him
- Malkin skating again, but won’t return this season
- Kings tweak lineup in hopes of staving off elimination
- Sharks know home ice is no guarantee of victory
- Lack of firepower dooms Rangers
From Jeff Z. Klein and Stu Hackel at Slapshot in the NYT:
The most eye-catching theme in the first round of the N.H.L. playoffs has been the comebacks staged on three consecutive nights by the Sharks (from four goals down to beat the Kings), the Capitals (from three goals down to shock the Rangers) and the Bruins (from three goals down to defeat the Canadiens).
But through the 35 games played through Friday, teams have not posted comeback victories as frequently as they have in past postseasons. The statistics show that teams scoring the first goal are more likely to win the game than at any time since the 2004-5 lockout, when the N.H.L. instituted new rules and tighter enforcement to benefit offense — or indeed in any playoff year since the turn of the millennium.
This postseason, the team scoring first won 29 times, or 83 percent of the first 35 games.
“That’s what’s thankless about this job. You try to do the right thing, you try to keep physicality in the game and you guys think that I enjoy hearing everybody saying [Raffi] Torres should have been suspended. Well that would have been the easy thing to do. If they want to go forward and say that type of hit or all head hits should be suspended, maybe this job will be easier, but I don’t think so.”
—Colin Campbell from yesterday’s interview on TSN Radio [audio link]
For more text of Campbell’s comments, check out the Globe & Mail
From Pamela Fayerman in her Vancouver Sun blog:
There are about 50 guys on NHL playoff teams out of the lineup with injuries right now. But as I mention in my story today forget about getting any detail on the injuries as coaches are allowed to evade questions with all the creativity and coyness they can muster. Some even seem to be having fun with their non-answers to media questions.
A few players have been a bit more transparent in their explanations as when Canucks player Raffi Torres - lucky number 13 - explained why he missed his first game back after his four-game suspension. He said he had food poisoning. This, after he ate lobster at the Keg. The restaurant chain has a “Crab Celebration” going on now till May 1 and Torres said he wanted to order the crab but his wife’s preferences prevailed and they got lobster instead. Are you even slightly curious about whether he got his meal comped since it made him sick?!
I asked Frank Brown, an NHL head office (New York) vice president, to tell me what the policy is on injury disclosure during the playoffs and this is what he told me:
From Bodog.com, a list of the odds on everything-playoffs
Odds to win the 2011 Stanley Cup
Vancouver Canucks 3/1
Washington Capitals 11/2
San Jose Sharks 7/1
Philadelphia Flyers 8/1
Boston Bruins 17/2
Detroit Red Wings 9/1
Pittsburgh Penguins 11/1
Anaheim Ducks 20/1
Tampa Bay Lightning 20/1
Chicago Blackhawks 22/1
Buffalo Sabres 25/1
Los Angeles Kings 30/1
Montreal Canadiens 30/1
Nashville Predators 30/1
Phoenix Coyotes 30/1
New York Rangers 35/1
From David Gross of Postmedia via Global News:
A few of these you might remember, a few not.
However, if we get a couple this spring that measure up to these beauties, it’s going to be a wildly entertaining time.
Quebec Nordiques vs. Montreal Canadiens (1983-84, 1984-85):
The Battle of Quebec becomes the Good Friday Massacre.
Anyone questioning whether Quebec should have another shot at the NHL should grab video of any/all meetings between the Habs and Nords.
In the spring of ‘84 though, the rivalry blew up.
From Craig Custance at The Sporting News:
With the NHL playoffs closing in, the question that is starting to grow is this: Who is the most feared goalie heading into the playoffs this year? Who is the last goalie an opponent would want to see between the pipes?
The opinions are split.
“Henrik Lundqvist,” Washington’s Marco Sturm told Sporting News. “He’s a really good goalie, and I think I didn’t score too many goals on him. He plays really deep in his net, and he’s really passionate.”
Then, with a smile, Sturm added, “It seems like his equipment is bigger, too.”
read on or other contenders
From the CP via The Hockey News:
With teams having anywhere from eight to 10 games left before the season ends on April 10, only six of 30 entered Thursday more than 10 points out of a playoff spot. There were 20 teams within five points.
In the West, 10th-place Calgary was only 10 points behind No. 2 Detroit and three points out of fifth. None of that will matter if they can’t get over the hump into the top eight.
“You look at that three through eight and that can really change the next two weeks,” said forward Dany Heatley of the third-place San Jose Sharks. “You want to have the highest seed as possible, obviously, for home ice and things like that. As far as who your matchup is going to be, it’s going to be a tough series no matter who it is.”
continued with a detailed look at all the playoff-headed teams in these final two weeks of the regular season
Playoff scenarios and tie-breaking procedures noted below…
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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