Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Tarik El-Bashir of Capitals Insider,
Boudreau on whether he can feel a shift in momentum: “During a game, yes, but there’s always too much time to regroup [between games]. Every team seems to regroup. Even after Game 1, we regrouped and had a much better Game 2. We had a lot better Game 3, they had a lot better Game 4, we had a lot better Game 5. So I don’t think over a series, momentum really means anything.”
Backstrom on Henrik Lundqvist: “We saw that Lundqvist is just a human being, so that’s good.”
Ovechkin on the water bottle-throwing incident: “Good job by our fans. Our fans are one more player for us. They do what they have to do for us. They scream and they’re loud. Maybe it was too much to [throw] beer or water or whatever. But sometimes that happens. And maybe that’s going to happen tomorrow against us, too. You never know.”
more from and on the Capitals…
from Scott Cruickshank of Flames Insider,
Craig Conroy, Daymond Langkow and Rene Bourque are all in tonight.
The three injured Flames skated this morning at the United Center and pronounced themselves fit enough for Game 5 at the United Center, even if coach Mike Keenan, in full playoff coach-speak mode, wasn’t definitively giving his blessing (all the better to throw those wily Hawks off their game and keep ‘em guessing, one would assume).
“They are game-time decisions, but I SUSPECT they’ll will be there,’’ Keenan said at his morning media availability.
from Vicki Hall of the Calgary Herald,
“Was I fired up? Yeah I was fired up,” the captain said. “I still think I’m fired up, and I think all of our guys are fired up as far as wanting to win this series.”
But the captain said he is fuelled by the chance to take a 3-2 lead in the series—not a chance to silence incessant trash talk.
“In our dressing room, we do whatever it takes within as close to the rules as we can to win,” he said.
“That’s what it’s about. You get out there, and you know that every team in the playoffs wants the same thing. We’re definitely very hungry for it.”
As for his flash of rage in Game 3?
“It’s part of competing,” he said. “Sometimes, sure, there are moments when you don’t act with the best control.
“But the identify of our team is to be very aggressive, to a man, each guy, to compete and find that balance with your emotions.”
Pittsburgh and Anaheim can move on to the conference semi-finals with a victory, while the Flames/Blackhawks series is tied 2-2 going into the game tonight.
from Phil Sheridan of the Philadelphia Inquirer,
For a week, Flyers coach John Stevens set the tone, saying his club was playing well enough to win and that good things eventually would follow. Had the Flyers gotten bounced out of the first round in five games, it would have been fair to wonder if Stevens’ apparent complacency was a sign that he was past his expiration date as head coach.
But the Flyers didn’t get bounced. They bounced back. Because they did, they get a chance to play this afternoon at the Wachovia Center in what veteran Mike Knuble predicted “could be one of the better games at that arena, in the history of the rink.”
It certainly shapes up as an intense one.
from Jeff Blair of the Globe and Mail,
Adam Burish had one question Friday: If the Calgary Flames have started to pound as much playoff sense as everybody says they have into the callow Chicago Blackhawks, how come it was the Flames who lost players in Game 4?
And as for the notion the Blackhawks’ yappiness had somehow spurred Jarome Iginla to play like . . . well, to play like one of the best players in the NHL? (“The best in the world,” according to Burish.) Watch the eyes roll.
“Why would he be ticked off?” Burish asked Friday, after the Blackhawks practised at the United Center before Saturday’s fifth game of their best-of-seven Western Conference quarter-final series. “I mean, you think [Iginla] needs to get up for the playoffs? What did he get? A power-play goal and an empty-netter. I saw the same guy.”
Almost every NHL playoff series relies on the same old underlying storylines to be put in context: goaltending, experience against youth, redemption, officiating, the contest between “grit” (that’s the only time the word appears in this column, I swear) and finesse.
from Mark Purdy of the Mercury News,
What’s at stake now for the Sharks: Only the entire future of the franchise as we know it.
And I’m just slightly kidding.
The world will not end if the Anaheim Ducks close out the Sharks in Game 5 tonight. There will still be hockey in San Jose next season. But it won’t be the same optimistic hockey. Won’t be many of the same players. Won’t be many of the same fans with the same hope and same optimism, either.
What’s at stake now for the Sharks: Self-respect and dignity.
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from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
“I totally stand behind what Torts did,” said Avery, who took two mindless penalties in the final 10 minutes of the Rangers’ 2-1 Game 4 victory. “The team comes first.
“I made a mistake. I took two bad penalties. I put the game in jeopardy. It wasn’t something I did intentionally, but that’s no excuse. I did it.
“I realize that Torts is making me a better player. The team always comes first. I’ll do anything for these guys. No one feels worse than me at this point.”
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
John Tortorella faces disciplinary action from the NHL after throwing a water bottle from the Rangers’ bench into the stands at 6:33 of the third period of last night’s Game 5, 4-0 defeat to the Caps.
The head coach, who would not answer questions about the incident, could be suspended by commissioner Gary Bettman for tomorrow afternoon’s Game 6 at the Garden. The Rangers’ public relations representative threatened to end last night’s postgame press conference if questions on the subject continued.
Tortorella, who may have thought he had been doused by a beer or spat upon during a television timeout, wheeled toward the stands and threw a bottle over the high glass protecting the bench.
note: original post date was 4/24/09 at 9:42pm
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