Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Edward Fraser at The Hockey News,
Storylines surrounding the NHL’s second season focus on players who’ve had long, illustrious careers, but have been unable to reach the NHL’s tallest hill (see Teemu Selanne in ‘07 and Jeremy Roenick this year); not about players trying to claim the grail their first time around.
Heck, most of the Calder candidates (Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Peter Mueller, Tobias Enstrom, Sam Gagner) didn’t even make the round of 16.
With that said, there are still several youngsters who will play key roles during this season’s run to the Cup. Here are five fab freshmen to keep your peepers peeled for:
Eric Duhatschek did a Q & A with Globe and Mail readers yesterday and is suggested reading for all…
Brier Bear from Canada writes: There’s usually an upset in the first round. Do you see any of underdogs this year making it to the second round? Boston over Montreal perhaps?
Eric Duhatschek: I don’t see Boston over Montreal; when it comes to underdogs, I’m picking the six seeds over the threes in both conferences. In fact, I really like Colorado as my sleeper team in the West. Minnesota is going to have to play without Nick Schultz, one half of their shutdown defence pair, after he underwent an emergency appendectomy Monday….
In the East, I see the Capitals a little like the Penguins of last season, a team that made great regular-season strides, and were captivated fans around the league that probably couldn’t have named five players on their roster two months ago. The problem, when you go on a run like that is that sooner or later, you need to exhale — you go flat, you go a little stale.
The National Hockey League has named its 20 referees and linesmen for the upcoming Stanley Cup playoffs.
The list is headlined by veterans Paul Devorski, Kerry Fraser, Don Koharski and Bill McCreary, all of whom have worked more than 1,500 regular season and playoff games.
NEW YORK (April 7, 2008) – To preview the start of the 2008 Stanley Cup Playoffs, a special edition of NHL Hour hosted by National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman will broadcast live Tuesday, April 8 from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. ET on XM Satellite Radio channel NHL Home Ice, (XM channel 204) and NHL.com.
To submit questions to NHL Hour call 1-877-NHL-ON-XM (1-877-645-6696) or email email@example.com. NHL Hour will not broadcast this week during its usual time slot of Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. ET.
NHL Hour is a production of NHL Radio.
Update 4:30pm ET: I forgot to include the online link earlier—when it starts, you can listen live here.
From Scott Burnside at ESPN,
Sixteen teams, eight series, one dream … and a thousand story lines. Welcome to the most compelling postseason tournament in sports. Here’s a look at 10 story lines to follow once the pucks drop Wednesday. [...]
The M.A.S.H. factor
Sometimes, it can be a galvanizing force; other times, it can be a crippling blow. But rest assured, injuries will at some point play a significant role in shaping the story lines that will unfold in the coming weeks.
from Jeff Z. Klein of Slap Shot at the NY Times,
It’s hard to see the benefit of the guaranteed point, since it doesn’t even make the standings closer. As we’ve shown several times this season, the standings would have been just as close or closer under a 3-2-1-0 system, or simple W-L, or even if zero points were given to shootout losers — which takes away perhaps the main rationale that the league offers for the guaranteed-point system.
One bright spot, though. This year, teams averaged 18.1 regulation ties, the lowest number since the guaranteed point was introduced for the 1999-2000 season.
Tony over at Skate 2 Stick has created a series of playoff bracket wallpapers, available for download if you like (the image on this post is one of Tony’s).
Note: If anyone else knows of other playoff brackets they want to share, please feel free to add them to this post. People are always looking for them, and I haven’t stumbled across many this year so far.
NHL.com has their 2008 Playoffs preview section up.
Each quarter final matchup is broken down and additional features and updates will be added throughout the playoffs.
From Paul Kukla at Hockey.com,
Throw the regular season out the window. Do it now and don’t try to find it- ever! All stats are a big zero right now, both team and individual ones. No win streaks, no point streaks, no hot goalies, no scoring slumps.
It is the second season and everything is reset to zero.
continued… (though the headline of that piece sure doesn’t sound like Paul!)
Lew Serviss at the NYT Slapshot blog has prepared a breakdown of the first round:
Montreal Canadiens vs. Boston Bruins
After the first Thanksgiving at Plymouth Rock, the Pilgrims and the Indians rode into town to watch the Bruins face the Canadiens. Well, it sure seems like this rivalry goes back that far. The Habs and B’s will go at it for the 25th time in the playoffs. This time, it hardly looks like a fair fight.
more… with a brief analysis of every team, including injury reports etc.
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.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org