Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Red Fisher of the Montreal Gazette,
Sixteen years, including the lockout year, have passed since the Canadiens won it all in 1993. Gainey had joined the organization as an executive vice-president and general manager in 2003. It was a year in which the Canadiens had failed to make the playoffs for the fifth time since they had won their 24th Cup in 1993 - with the promise of a five-year rebuilding plan.
At the time, he had said: “I can’t separate myself from my history. I was with some great teams in Montreal in the ‘70s and the ‘80s. Those of you with better memories will remember I was with some not so good teams in the ‘80s. But this is new. The city has changed since I left Montreal. The team has changed. I’ve changed. We’re gonna have to get to know each other again.
“We’re going to take the younger players and we’re going to improve them and we’re going to make them better. We’re going to push the players to do the things that need to be done to be a good team. It’s about tomorrow,” he said. “It’s not about the 1970s ... the 1980s or the 1950s!”
Gainey’s ‘tomorrow’ has come and gone. The dream is in tatters.
from Sam Donnellon of the Philadelphia Daily News,
Figuratively and literally, it would seem that Sid the kid crossed the line the other night. Maybe it was just me, but I think he was surprised his goal counted.
Anyway, here was “The Situation Room” explanation of why Sidney Crosby’s goal was allowed: “Play was reviewed to determine if the puck was batted in by the glove of Pittsburgh forward Sidney Crosby . . . The review determined that the puck went off of Crosby’s stick, then his body, there was no batting motion - call on the ice for good goal stands.”
Yesterday, the Flyers were still digesting that. So were fans, and, yeah, me, too. Hockey’s annual spring tournament is rivaled only by March Madness for its surprises and exciting endings. But among the nuances of sports, only the NBA salary cap is a greater irritant than the NHL’s annual and seemingly unending tinkering with its own rules.
from Tom Reed of the Columbus Dispatch,
Goloborodko, a native of Russia, admits to throwing his third octopus in the past four seasons in Nationwide Arena on Tuesday during the closing minute of the Red Wings’ 4-1 win in Game 3 of a Stanley Cup playoff series.
He lobbed a 2 1/2 -pound octopus nicknamed “Homer” over the Plexiglas and onto the ice. Yes, Goloborodko names his octopuses for Red Wings players—the latest in honor of forward Tomas Holmstrom.
Goloborodko said he was detained by arena security, threatened by angry Jackets fans and enjoyed a chance encounter with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman before being escorted from the building.
“As I was being held downstairs, Gary Bettman and his security guys walked by,” Goloborodko said. “Like any good hockey fan, I recognized my commissioner and yelled out, ‘Hey, Commissioner.’
“I heard Bettman say, ‘I’m not happy about this one bit.’ I don’t know if he was responding to me or talking about something else.”
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
In a corner of the dressing room, the towering Chara sat quietly and with little animation. He is finishing his third season as captain, and this is the first taste of real success he has experienced since coming aboard for a deal worth $37.5 million over five years.
If a team takes on the attitude of its captain, then it will be a sense of calm that follows the Bruins the rest of this spring.
“I don’t think we should be satisfied and happy,” said Big Z. “This is just the first step in that road. We realize it only gets tougher from here. The farther you go, the harder it gets.”
from Neil Hayes of the Chicago Sun-Times,
Blackhawks players filed into the locker room as Johnny Cash’s ‘‘Ring of Fire’’ blasted out of the stadium speakers and flames shot out of the scoreboard at the Saddledome.
The Hawks got burned, all right. Torched, in fact. They could have all but locked up their first-round playoff series by completing a remarkable rally in what became a 6-4 loss Wednesday to the Calgary Flames. Instead, the Hawks return home with the series very much in doubt.
This could have been the wooden stake through the Flames’ heart. Nobody comes back from this. No team could blow a three-goal lead and come back from a 3-1 series deficit. Game 5 on Saturday at the United Center would be nothing more than mopping up. But it didn’t work out that way.
added 8:09am, from Tim Sassone of Between The Lines,
It was a disappointing effort from most Hawks in Wednesday’s 6-4 loss, a game that was there for the taking.
Nikolai Khabibulin was fighting the puck all night and looked very ordinary. That’s two poor games in a row for him.
Martin Havlat was minus-4 and no factor at all. Where was the jump?
Duncan Keith was minus-3 and looked slow. Is he hurting?
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Oh, you’ll hear all these critiques of the Caps again—too much perimeter play, not enough traffic in front of Lundqvist, blah, blah, blah. Stop it. Ovechkin was a monster Wednesday night, his highlight-reel goal in the third period the only dividend of what was another passionate performance. The guy had 11 shots on goal—that’s more than what the entire Rangers team mustered in the final 40 minutes, when it was outshot 30-10.
“When you outshoot a team 19-5 in a period in their own building and they come out of it with the one goal, you know the goalie at the other end is doing something right,” said Washington coach Bruce Boudreau.
Folks, don’t overanalyze this baby. The seventh-seeded Blueshirts are one victory away from upsetting the second-seeded Caps because of one man.
“Lundqvist did an unbelievable job,” an obviously frustrated Ovechkin told reporters.
from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,
Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock isn’t surprised by rookie Jonathan Ericsson’s effectiveness because he has been working as the defenseman’s chief lobbyist almost from the day he first saw him.
“I’ve seen him for three years and pushed to have him on the team for two years, but I didn’t have votes,” Babcock jokes.
Babcock simply couldn’t talk general manager Ken Holland into straying from the team’s philosophy of keeping prospects in the American Hockey League until they are ready to contribute significantly at the NHL level.
One could conjecture whether Tortorella has out-coached Bruce Boudreau and the only conclusion, based on the three-games-to-one Ranger advantage, that the answer is affirmative….
Is it to soon to celebrate? Of course. But, unless Backstrom, Kozlov, Semin, et. al. quickly stop auditioning for Rip Van Winkle, the horns can be taken out of storage.
-Stan Fischler of Game On. More on the Rangers victory over the Capitals.
from Ryan Dixon of The Hockey News,
You know what they’re saying in Washington. The Capitals were down 3-1 to Philadelphia last year before storming back to force a Game 7, which they ultimately lost in overtime.
Now, facing the same series deficit versus the New York Rangers, the Caps most natural rallying cry is, “We did it before, this time let’s finish the job.”
That notion would be more than hyperbole if they weren’t trying to score goals on Henrik Lundqvist, which is just about the toughest NHL assignment east of Vancouver.
The good news for Washington is Alex Ovechkin looks poised for another late-series surge similar to the one he had last year against Philly.
more and some Canadiens talk too…
Kevin Mio of Habs Inside/Out writes,
What’s Next: A summer full of questions and searching for answers as to what went wrong during the centennial season. The Canadiens have a long list of unrestricted free agents and the 2009-10 edition of the team could look vastly different.
added 10:34pm, from Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette,
If the Canadiens were going to win this series, their hopes had to rest on goaltending but Carey Price never looked like the second coming of Patrick Roy or Ken Dryden.
Check that. Price did do a fair imitation of Roy when he stopped a shot by Mark Recchi from just across centre ice with a little more than four minutes remaining in the second period. The sellout crowd greeted the stop with an ovation that dripped with sarcasm and Price responded by throwing his arms in the air.
When coach Bob Gainey was asked why he didn’t use Jaroslav Halak, who was limited to 20 minutes of perfect relief work in Game 2, he suggested that it wouldn’t have been fair to the Slovak because he hadn’t started a game in 7-10 days and that it wouldn’t have been fair to Price, who had carried the load coming into the 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.
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