Kukla's Korner Hockey
Big time storms rolling through the Detroit area and more coming, so I may as well do some late night posts while I still have power.
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
• If Flyers management figures Leighton as a one-trick pony on a magical ride, they may not be willing to commit to him beyond Games 5, 6 and 7.
The Flyers have yet to say anything official about the direction in which they are heading but they will have choices in what should be an active free-agent and trade market come the end of the season.
Among the best free agents available are Marty Turco of Dallas, Evgeni Nabakov of San Jose and Chris Mason of St. Louis….
• It’s Game 5 of the Stanley Cup final here on Sunday night. Must-win for the Blackhawks.
• Word around is that Colorado, with all kinds of salary-cap room, has no intention of re-signing free-agent Darcy Tucker. Question is, does anybody else want Tucker at age 35, with all those miles on him?
more hockey notes…
“You know what Toe Blake used to say about the media, don’t you?
“When you’re losing, they can’t help you. And when you’re winning, you don’t need ‘em.”
-Scotty Bowman. The quote really doesn’t have much to do with the story from Cam Cole of the Vancouver Sun via the National Post, but do read what Cam has to say about the Philly/Chicago series.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
He’s small but not a timid player, yet he’s playing like it, which may be more of an indication of uncertainty and confusion. He’s controlled the puck but seems content to circle and circle, rather than take the puck to areas where he might be more likely to score, and the Flyers are content to let him circle. He did score a pretty breakaway goal in Game 3, but that’s been it.
Four rounds of physical pounding may have taken their toll on the Buffalo native, but that just makes him the same as everyone else.
The same as everyone else, of course, is what Kane can’t be. He’s got to be special and different, and it’s possible he may not be ready to be that player in a Cup final just yet….
This is a series dominated by Canadian-born players, which leaves Kane almost alone in the American spotlight. But he’s got to want to be there. So far, it doesn’t look like a comfy fit.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
It’s a funny thing about home-ice advantage and how it matters in some series more than others. Way back a couple of weeks ago against the San Jose Sharks, home ice wasn’t much of an advantage to the Chicago Blackhawks. In fact, the Blackhawks were playing so much better on the road - seven wins in a row and counting - that they took the unusual step of checking into a local hotel to mimic the effects of the road. The road ruled! Jonathan Toews’ video-game prowess was as much of a talking point as that 13-game scoring streak he piled up to lead the Blackhawks right into the Stanley Cup final.
That was then - and not so long ago either.
Now, in the heart of their series against the Philadelphia Flyers that is tied 2-2 heading into Sunday’s fifth game, home-ice means all to Chicago. Home is where the heart is. Home is sweet. Home is the United Center and its crazy screaming fans, as crazy and as enervated as the 20,000 plus that peopled the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia and helped carry the Flyers to two consecutive victories.
from Ken Campbell of The Hockey News,
Toward the end of Game 4, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville moved Kane off the top line with Toews and Dustin Byfuglien and replaced him with Andrew Ladd. Kane moved to the second unit, taking Ladd’s place on a line with David Bolland and Kris Versteeg.
Most indications point to the Hawks starting Game 5 with the same configurations with which they ended Game 4.
“I thought there was more pressure in their zone,” said Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville. “Whether it’s a difference of them being concerned with a couple of different lines, that might be something we’ll be looking at. I thought it was a little more effective in the third period.”
The Blackhawks are clearly getting tired of hearing about how dominant Pronger has been in the final, but they’re not ducking from acknowledging what he has done.
“He’s one of the best of all-time, I guess you can say,” said Blackhawks center Patrick Sharp.
from Scott Morrison of CBC,
When this Stanley Cup final began we wondered whether this was the excellent Philadelphia Flyers team many envisioned at the start of the playoffs, or just a good team that had three perfect playoff match ups.
I think we know the answer now. It’s probably a bit of both.
Indeed, the team that has left us wondering has been the Chicago Blackhawks, who have shown little or no resemblance, at least on a consistent basis in this series, to the team that was very good in getting by Nashville, Vancouver and San Jose en route to the final.
In this series, so far, the Blackhawks’ big guns have been remarkably quiet. Jonathan Toews only has a point, Patrick Kane has produced little and was minus-4 in Game 4, and Dustin Byfuglien has been physically quieted for extended periods by big Chris Pronger.
from John Kass of the Chicago Tribune,
“I don’t think the spectators, if they’ve never played hockey themselves, truly understand the mentality of the hockey players, how they disregard pain and their own doctor’s orders,” said Dr. Antonio Ramos when I met him in his office in the Pilsen neighborhood.
Ramos, now 85 and retired, was a surgeon at the now-defunct Henrotin Hospital, the unofficial Blackhawks trauma center. That led to his hobby, stitching up Blackhawks as one of several team doctors in the old days.
“There was Tony Esposito, the goalie, getting a stick inside his mouth that ripped it up, with incredible trauma, and going back to play,” said Ramos.
from Aaron Portzline of Puck-rakers,
The Blue Jackets have extended an offer to Guy Boucher to become their next coach, The Dispatch has learned via NHL sources.
Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson would not comment, but NHL sources said Boucher was pondering an offer this weekend with an agreement to get back with Howson by early next week.
via a Boston Bruins tweet,
The B’s have signed defenseman Dennis Seidenberg to a four-year contract extension.
When teams battle to a tie through 60 minutes of regulation and another five in overtime, what’s wrong with awarding one point to each team? It’s far better, for example, than awarding one point to a team that loses in overtime or in a shootout.
What I’m saying is that the NHL should go back to the rule it happily lived with for decades. Play 5-on-5 in overtime. Keep the overtime to a five-minute limit. The team scoring a goal gets two points, the losers zero.
In a few words: when you lose, you lose.
-Red Fisher of the Montreal Gazette. More from Mr. Fisher on this topic.
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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