Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Lew Serviss of Slap Shot at the NY Times,
With Pittsburgh already across the finish line, the Rangers await a second-round match-up. If the Canadiens, up 3-2 over the Bruins, can close out Boston, and the Flyers, up 3-1 over the Caps, can finish off Washington, then the Rangers draw Pittsburgh and Montreal gets Philly.
Checking the season series — what have we here? — the Rangers had the edge, winning 5 games to 3 for the Penguins. Here’s the season series:
from Matt Romig at Yahoo’s NHL Experts Blog,
Conn Smythe watch (Based on playoff performance to date and likelihood of deep playoff run.)
1. Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins
2. Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
3. Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens
4. Patrick Marleau, San Jose Sharks
5. Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings
more on the games last night…
from Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice,
Martin Brodeur was a focal point in this series from beginning to end. He was bumped and badgered verbally by Sean Avery throughout the season and series. Avery didn’t even stop after the series was over, calling Brodeur “fatso” on a postgame interview on MSG.
Normally, I would not defend Brodeur not shaking Sean Avery’s hand. It’s wrong 99.9 percent of the time.
It was wrong when Scott Stevens and Bobby Holik skipped the handshake line following the 1997 series between the Devils and Rangers and claimed afterward that they forgot about it.
But this is the .1 percent of the time when it wasn’t wrong.
If Sean Avery wants to say things about Brodeur’s family and his personal life and stare him down face-to-face he can’t reasonably expect the guy to shake his hand afterward.
added 9:06am, from Empty Netters,
The above is a video of the postgame handshake lines between the Rangers and Devils following New York’s 5-3 series-clinching win in New Jersey last night. Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur didn’t shake the hand of Rangers forward Sean Avery.
Was Brodeur wrong to do this? The handshake line is one of the more revered traditions in the NHL playoffs.
continued and as mentioned, with video…
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
Boxers who take a lot of body shots lose their legs first. Likewise, the Habs haven’t been the same skating team in the past two games that they were in the regular season and at the start of this series, which means gradually the competition has become more familiar and comfortable for the Bruins.
In turn, the Montreal power play has slowed as well, leading to the frustration expressed by Markov in Game 5.
Can the Habs fix it? Well, the return of Koivu might help, and Guy Carbonneau could shuffle his lines a bit, or even insert speedy Mikhael Grabovski. Without injured defenceman Mark Streit, the Habs are missing an underrated, smart and mobile blueliner.
Puck movement can replace lost team speed, but it requires confidence and cohesiveness, both of which seem to have gone missing from the Montreal attack.
from John Glennon of the Tennessean,
Ellis was the sole reason the Predators even reached overtime, as the inexperienced netminder turned away 52 of 53 shots in regulation before surrendering a breakaway goal to Johan Franzen.
“The way Ellie played tonight, there really aren’t words to describe it,’’ Predators forward J.P. Dumont said. “It would have been great if we had found a way to win for him. He deserved to win.’‘
Any thoughts that Ellis might suffer from jitters while playing in his first postseason had probably been eliminated after the first four games of this series. But in case there were still doubters, Ellis nearly single-handedly beat one of the most skilled teams in the league on Friday.
“The biggest disappointment,’’ Predators Coach Barry Trotz said, “was that we wasted that good goaltending effort.’‘
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
Before the game, Selanne said he saw only “one way” for the Ducks to go—up.
“I really believe this is the group that can do it,” he said.
“It’s going to be tough, but there’s teams that have done it before, so that’s a good sign.”
He had extra incentive Friday, because the end of the season could also bring the end of his glorious NHL career.
After a 48-goal season and splendid playoff performance, he retired after the Ducks won the Cup last June. The timing seemed perfect. What better ending could there be than going out on top, surrounded by friends and family and knowing that your name will soon be engraved on that great shiny trophy?
From Steve Edelson at APP.com,
Having the Rangers as the top team in the metropolitan area, and in a position to possibly challenge for a championship in the coming years, is the best thing that could happen to the NHL right now.
A league still trying to pull itself back from the brink of extinction, with television ratings mired somewhere between a test pattern and Bonanza reruns, needs the Rangers and their fan base, infinitely larger than the Devils.
They need Madison Square Garden hosting a Cup final, and Sean Avery doing his best Ken Linsman impressions in front of a national audience. They need recollections of Mark Messier’s guarantee and replays of Howie Rose blurting out “Matteau, Matteau, Matteau.’‘
Now more than ever, they need the Rangers.
from Allan Maki of the Globe and Mail,
Unlike Esa Tikkanen, who drove Wayne Gretzky batty, Avery speaks an understandable language and will drop his gloves and fight. Unlike Claude Lemieux, Avery has never bitten anyone’s finger — yet. Unlike Theo Fleury and Ken (The Rat) Linseman, Avery wasn’t a celebrated junior player or even drafted by the NHL.
What he had was a heart as big as his mouth, and a burning, itching desire to make it to the NHL.
“Who was Sean Avery five years ago?” asked St. Louis Blues coach Andy Murray, who coached Avery with the Los Angeles Kings. “Now look at him. Is there a name people know more than his? Sidney Crosby is one. You have to give [Avery] credit for that.”
Fine. Let’s give the man his due.
from the CP via TSN,
When this one was over, Rangers agitator Sean Avery and Devils goalie Martin Brodeur had one more confrontation, this time in the handshake line. Avery, who crashed into Brodeur several times in the series and tried to distract him by waving his stick in the goalie’s face in Game 3, was the only player Brodeur didn’t extend his hand to.
“I shook everybody’s hand but one,” Brodeur said.
Avery said he was fully prepared to reach out to Brodeur, but didn’t get the chance.
“Everyone talks about how much class I don’t have, well it’s the end of the series and men go to war against each other,” Avery said. “I guess he forgot to shake my hand. I don’t know if anyone saw that. Of course I was going to shake his hand.”
Johan Franzen scored 1:48 into overtime, beating Nashville Predators goalie Dan Ellis who stopped 52 shots.
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