Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province via Canada.com,
In short, you couldn’t ask for much more of a series. But has anyone else noticed outside the game’s traditional fan-base?
That’s the big question and, again, the signs are encouraging for the NHL. The American TV numbers are up significantly and Friday night’s Game 7 should provide a ratings bonanza for the league. But this is also about something different, something that can’t be measured by viewer-households or audience shares.
This series, more than anything, has given the NHL an event which has made an impact on the American sporting conscience and when was the last time the league could say that? Crosby and Malkin have cemented their place as crossover stars. Pundits are actually expressing an opinion on the game’s finer points. There is interest everywhere and it doesn’t hurt that the Kobe-LeBron dream matchup didn’t materialize in the NBA final.
from Brian Compton of NHL.com,
Now, incredibly, Hossa and the Wings must beat the Pens in a Game 7 to determine the Stanley Cup champion. It’s a scenario not many envisioned prior to the start of the regular season—and certainly not when the Penguins were two games above the .500 mark in mid-February and fired coach Michel Therrien.
“Who would?” Hossa said when asked if he ever thought it would come down to this. “Would you? I don’t think many people, but the situation is right now how it is. I have to deal with it and we have to make sure we give it 100 percent and be good at home.”
Hossa’s certainly hoping to make more of a contribution on Friday, and more than he has in this series. He has just three assists through the first six games, and just three shots in the last two.
“It’s definitely frustrating,” said Hossa, who had just one shot on goal in 18:27 of ice time. “We didn’t play bad, but they scored two goals and we scored one. We didn’t create lots of clean chances.”
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
After years of doing everything to keep Hamilton out of the National Hockey League, the NHL may be ordered today to attach a price to the southern Ontario relocation of the bankrupt Phoenix Coyotes.
And they are not at all happy about it.
“I don’t think we are prepared to put out a number,” said Bill Daly, the deputy commissioner of the NHL. But Daly did say, if the matter was ordered by the court, the NHL would have to comply.
Judge Redfield T. Baum indicated late yesterday he will think overnight about whether he will order the NHL to put a relocation and indemnification price on the proposed sale of the Coyotes and move to Hamilton. He could order the NHL, as early as today, to put a figure alongside the $212.5 million US figure BlackBerry boss Jim Balsillie has bid for the franchise in Chapter 11 bankruptcy that would compensate the Toronto Maple Leafs, Buffalo Sabres and the league for the franchise move.
The price attached to the potential move could pave the way for the Coyotes’ move to Hamilton or, in fact, squash Balsillie’s bid completely.
from Jason Botchford of The White Towel at the Vancouver Province,
With three weeks to go before the Sedin twins are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents, there’s one thing you can be sure of: Mike Gillis is willing to walk away.
It’s not ideal for the Canucks. Reloading without the Sedins is rife with land mines. There’s the unknown factors of free agency (who will be available and at what cost?). And the trade market is littered with bloated contracts and question marks. Yet, Gillis is willing to take a calculated risk he can quickly rebuild this team without the twins.
from Don Brennan of Off The Posts at the Ottawa Sun,
Don’t shed too many tears over what is now the inevitable departure of Dany Heatley.
The Senators will be better off without him.
Sure, his goals will be missed. But the millions the team saves on his salary will buy back some goals, and maybe even some character.
That last quality, Heatley lacks….
Some team will give up some talent and devote a large chunk of its cap budget to you.
If not, I fully expect you to hold out of camp next September, until a deal is worked out. You remind me a lot of Alexei Yashin, Dany.
added 2:04pm, from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Speculating about the possible destination of Dany Heatley, in the aftermath of his trade demand from the Ottawa Senators, will eat up much time between now and the NHL’s entry draft in 16 days’ time. Two factors will make it difficult for Senators’ GM Bryan Murray to make a good trade for the disgruntled forward:
from Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice,
Here’s a list of possible candidates to succeed Sutter (in no particular order) and my take on their chances of getting the job.
Jacques Lemaire: He’ll be 64 years old in September. He stepped down in Minnesota after nine years, but apparently would be interested in coaching again. He turned down a recent offer to be a consultant in Tampa Bay, saying he had another opportunity he was pursuing. He said when he resigned from the Wild in April that he’d coach again for a GM he knew. That, obviously, would include New Jersey. There’s talk, though, that he’ll end up as an assistant in Montreal or join Bob Gainey’s management staff.
Larry Robinson: I think Robinson was done being a head coach in the NHL when he stepped down for stress-related health issues in December of 2005….
from KC Joyner of The Fifth Down at the NY Times,
It isn’t just that there have been missed calls that is troubling. It is also the alarming lack of consistency. Stu Hackel may have put it best in his June 3 post on the Slap Shot blog when he said, “And the officiating standard is inexplicably loosened, then suddenly tightened.” From game to game, it has been next to impossible to tell what the officials are going to call and what they aren’t.
What may be most troubling about the inconsistency is how many commentators seem to be glossing over the issue or, even worse, giving it a blind eye altogether.
The NBC analyst Darren Pang might have epitomized this best in his postgame review last night when, while getting ready to criticize the officials for a missed call, he said that “the referees have done an outstanding job” this postseason. That obviously isn’t the case, but he isn’t the only one who doesn’t want this part of the game to put a damper on what has otherwise been a really good series — the NHL seems just as culpable.
added 9:13am, from David Staples of The Cult Of Hockey,
This time the Penguins got away with one.
A very, very big one, Ruslan Fedotenko’s hook on Detroit defensive ace Nicklas Lidstrom, that led directly to a crucial Pittsburgh goal.
It happened in the third period, the Red Wings down by only one goal, but on Pittsburgh’s home ice in Grade Six of the Stanley Cup Finals.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
But of the key players on both sides who have battled in two straight Cup finals and are likely to be the difference on Friday night at The Joe, none have ever been in this exact situation before.
Not Nicklas Lidstrom, Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Johan Franzen or Chris Osgood.
Not Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Sergei Gonchar, Jordan Staal or Marc-Andre Fleury.
“Now it’s anyone’s game,” said Crosby last night after his team’s gutsy 2-1 victory in Game 6. “Our team has proven we’re a true team.”
from Bob McKenzie of TSN,
The plays these guys make in tight are impressive, as are the plays they make defensively to turn it into offence. These guys were unbelievable to watch all night - they had five of the 12 shots that were blocked by the Red Wings, they’re terrific when they don’t have the puck, they’re magical to watch when they do, and it’s going to be terrific to see a Game 7 showdown between the best of the Penguins and the best of the Red Wings.
Really, offensively on the night, you noticed Datsyuk and Zetterberg a lot more than you did Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin but as I said, the supporting cast ruled the day, and Pittsburgh’s was a little better.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
What is the measure of a team’s will to win, to stay alive?
Is it measured in 13.2 seconds of chaos at the end of a 2-1 game with Pittsburgh defenseman Rob Scuderi blocking a sure goal with his shin guard and netminder Marc-Andre Fleury desperately sweeping his arm to block a loose puck inches from the goal line?
Is it measured in bulling your way to a 2-1 victory as the Pittsburgh Penguins did Tuesday night despite the fact their best players, Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby, were held off the score sheet for the second straight game?
If those are the touchstones for how you measure will or character, the Penguins proved they are a team that possesses those qualities in great measure as they denied the Detroit Red Wings a chance to duplicate last year’s feat of celebrating a Stanley Cup win on Mellon Arena ice.
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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