Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Craig Simpson of CBC,
The Wings have loads of playoff experience, and are finally getting healthy enough to have their full roster in tact. Their core playoff performers in Lidstrom, Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Rafalski, Franzen are all finally healthy and are highly motivated to make up for sub-par seasons.
In goal, Howard may be a question mark with his lack of experience, but he has played extremely well and would love to cap off a Calder Trophy nominee regular season with a strong playoff.
Most years it’s the Wings that have been the favourites, the team that every other franchise has been gunning for. This year they will play the less-pressured role of spoilers.
With the combination of talent, experience and extra motivation, I don’t think I would bet against them.
from Tom Musick of the Northwest Herald,
• Long slumps don’t happen: Every time the Hawks have slumped, they have recovered. Coach Joel Quenneville’s team has built a 44-18-6 record by avoiding long losing streaks. The worst skid was three losses from Jan. 30 to Feb. 5, and the Hawks responded then by winning the next four games and six of the next seven.
• Hawks have been through this before: Remember last year? The Hawks suffered a five-game winless streak from March 13 to March 20, and they limped to a 4-7-2 record from March 5 to March 31. Questions swirled about their toughness and their goaltending, but they came alive in the playoffs to reach the Western Conference Finals.
more including reasons to worry…
from the Red Deer Advacate,
Twenty-two years after being hired on as a rookie hockey coach, Mike Babcock returned to the Red Deer College fold on Tuesday morning.
In front of more than 800 people at the Capri Centre Exhibition Hall, Babcock — recent coach of the gold medal-winning men’s hockey team in the Winter Olympics and current coach of the Detroit Red Wings — was the featured speaker of the seventh annual Red Deer College Kings and Queens Scholarship Breakfast.
via the Washington Capitals PR department,
Statement from Alex Ovechkin
“I am very sorry that Brian was injured and I hope he is able to return to his team soon. NHL hockey is a physical game. We all play hard every time we are on the ice and have battles each shift in every game we play so we can do our jobs and win. As players we must accept responsibility for our actions and I am no different but I did not intend to injure Brian and that is why I was disappointed with the NHL’s decision yesterday. Every time I have the honor to play for my team, I will continue to do what I have done since I was taught to play. I will play hard, play with passion and play with respect for my teammates, opponents and fans. I look forward to returning to my team and doing everything I can to be the best player I can be.”
“I think, as a goalie, you can’t think that you have to win. You have to think, ‘Just play as good as you can and give your team a chance to win,’ because I can’t really effect how we play as a team or if we score or not. If I get too involved emotionally with how we do as a team, I’ll lose focus on my end, my job.”
-New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. More on Lundqvist from Scott Burnside of ESPN.
the first thing I looked for after this Datsyuk goal last night was the ref, making sure he wasn’t waving his arms and pointing at Holsmtrom.
Note that both Kipper and Homer gave a quick look too.
I’ve had and have had enough of the complaining.
Read my NHL.com blog today.
from Chuck Gormley of the Courier-Post,
Include the Flyers on the long list of NHL teams that have no respect for Sean Avery.
After seeing the trash-talking, agitating forward score two goals on Sunday to lead the New York Rangers to a 3-1 win in front of a Madison Square Garden crowd that spent much of the game chanting his name, the Flyers took a few bare-knuckled shots at Avery through the print media.
“I played with the guy and dislike the guy,” said Flyers winger Ian Laperriere, who played parts of two seasons with Avery when both were members of the Los Angeles Kings. “I think he does cross the line all the time.
“Those people (in New York) are getting fooled by his act because I know he’s the worst teammate I played with and I know they feel the same way.”
from Mike Imrem of the Chicago Daily-Herald,
Ovechkin is unique. He’s a mix of Rodman’s badness and Michael Jordan’s goodness. It doesn’t get much better or entertaining than that.
Anyway, Ovechkin divided the hockey world when he steered Campbell into the boards, breaking the Hawk’s ribs and clavicle.
The Capitals and others who revere Ovechkin wondered what the big deal was. The Hawks and those who revile Ovechkin thought it was a capital crime.
There’s more if you cruise the World Wide Web.
Those who worship Sidney Crosby, vying with Ovechkin to be the NHL’s best player, think Ovechkin should have been suspended until the Cubs win a World Series or the 22nd century, whichever comes first.
Those who think Crosby is a protected little whiner would hate for the NHL to be left to him for even as briefly as the two-game suspension Ovechkin received.
from Frank Seravalli of the Philadelphia Daily News,
With the trade deadline in the rearview mirror and just 14 games separating his team from the April 11 finish line, Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren can do little more than sit and wait.
The Daily News caught up with Holmgren yesterday for his thoughts on the state of the Flyers:
DN: You have always said that you are confident in Michael Leighton and his abilities, but is it tough to put your trust in someone who has only been here for a limited sample size?
PH: What would’ve been the difference if it was Ray Emery? Him and Michael have been with the team almost the same amount of time. Or Brian Boucher, for that matter. So, no, I have every confidence in Michael. I think he’s played well. The numbers since he’s been with us speak for themselves. I don’t know how many goalies in the NHL have Stanley Cups - Martin Brodeur, Cam Ward, Chris Osgood, Marc-Andre Fleury - so that means there are 25 other teams that are in the same boat that we’re in, wondering whether Michael is good enough. But we think Michael is good enough to lead us 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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