Kukla's Korner Hockey
By Matthew Feuerman of TiqIQ,
It was close late in Game 3, but in the end, Antti Niemi got it done for the San Jose Sharks. The veteran goalkeeper stopped 22 of 23 stops en route to a clutch victory for the Sharks, their second in a row.
It was also the second straight game where Niemi was near unbeatable. In games three and four he allowed only two goals combined, and give his team a decisive advantage on the ice. Niemi has posted a stellar 1.93 Goals Against Average this postseason.
from Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch,
It has been about a month since the Blue Jackets’ season ended and two months since contract talks between the club and goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky started, but the sides are no closer to reaching a deal.
“We’ve talked. We’ve exchanged ideas,” general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said this week. “But we haven’t made any progress, really. It’s been pretty quiet for a while now.”
Bobrovsky, 24, can become a restricted free agent on July 5, and he’s due a big raise from the roughly $1.7 million a season he made in his entry-level deal, including salary and bonuses.
from Dan Shaughnessy,
Hockeytown, this is not.
The New York state of mind is not focused on the neutral zone trap. It’s hard to be a Rangers fan in the city. Spike Lee and Whoopi Goldberg don’t splice Rangers footage into their films.
Sure, the Rangers have fans and sellouts and Original Six tradition, and they even won a Stanley Cup back in 1994. But I have been here since Monday and I am here to tell you that there is no buzz in this town for the New York Rangers. The House of Blueshirts is the hockey house of blues.
It’s not just because the 2012-13 Rangers can’t score goals, have no power play (2 for 38 in playoffs), and are teetering on the brink of elimination. No. It was like this in the days leading up to Tuesday night’s de facto clincher by the Bruins.
The Knicks are the big deal here. The Yankees are a big deal. And the Giants. Even the Jets.
The Rangers? Not that big of a deal. They get sketchy coverage in the local papers. They aren’t a hot topic on sports radio. Except for their All-World goalie, Henrik Lundqvist, they lack star power.
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
The Rangers have been shorthanded just 21 times in 10 playoff games, and just 17 times since the 7:00 mark of the second period of Game 1 in Washington. Twice in the last five matches — Game 6 against the Caps and Game 3 against the Bruins — they went entire games without being down a man.
That goes beyond discipline. That goes to a lack of initiating and responding and it goes to a fear of playing on the edge. And now they’re on a ledge.
Down 3-0, it almost impossible to see all the way up. But if the Rangers are going to go down, at least they don’t have to be so polite about it.
Ron MacLean pointed out Crosby cheating in the faceoff circle, Don Cherry discussed the first period of the Pens/Sens game, defensemen getting their stick in the way of a shot and the 4th-liners in the playoffs.
Cherry then went on to talk about Milan Lucic and Joe Thornton and MacLean talked a little about the refs in the playoffs.
Cherry then talked about the dismissal of Vigneault in Vancouver and feels Gillis threw some of the coaching staff under the bus.
The last question asked on this interview is the one the twitter world has been talking about the last hour.
Make sure to follow the recent timeline of Erin Nicks' twitter for discussion and clarification.
I am proud of many of the things we accomplished as a group these past seven seasons in Vancouver and only wish we were able to win the Canucks first Stanley Cup. I am a career coach and it is what I love to do. I hope to coach again in this League and will always have good memories of my time and the fans in Vancouver.
-Alain Vigneault. Read more from a release he sent out at the Canucks' website.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
They're finding out that repeating is awfully tough.
"The physical part is obviously huge, but just the highs and lows that you go through, you got to be ready for that in your head," said Kopitar. "Last year we had lot more highs than we had lows. This time it's a little bit different. Mentally, it's challenging. You have to take it as a new day and prepare that way."
This a good test for the Kings, who have character and guts. It would be a shock if they didn't raise their game and step up to another level in Game 5 on Thursday at Staples Center.
This team still has the hunger.
"Absolutely, absolutely," said Williams, who appears to be playing banged up in this series. "We're professionals, we're here for a reason. That Stanley Cup, the big silver jug, is the pinnacle of success in our professional life. Regardless of whether you've won it once, twice, five times, come playoff time that's all you want."
The Pittsburgh Penguins are visiting the Ottawa Senators in game 4 of this series. The Penguins lead 2-1 and the Senators need a win in order to avoid an elimination game in Pittsburgh on Friday.
The puck drops around 7:37pm ET and can be watched on NBCSN, CBC and RDS.
Feel free to comment below on the game or anything related to the 2013 NHL Playoffs.
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