Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Shawn P. Roarke of NHL.com,
Will Leighton be back for Game 2, asked to bounce back just like he did in Game 4 of the last series, 48 hours after allowing five goals in the only loss to Montreal in the Eastern Conference Finals?
“I don’t know what they are thinking, but I definitely would like to be back in,” Leighton said.
Or will Laviolette roll the dice and go back to Boucher, who entered the postseason as the starting goalie and was dominant against New Jersey in the first round?
“I’m glad I don’t have to make those decisions,” Hartnell said. “Leighton’s been strong since we picked him up and Boucher helped us get us into the playoffs and in the first round. It doesn’t matter who is between the pipes, we have to play better.”
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
“If you told me that day when I was having breakfast with him,’’ said (Ron) Mason, referring to a meal he shared with (Duncan) Keith during a recruiting visit, “that he would possibly be an All-Star in the NHL and the best defenseman in the NHL, I would have said no.’’
Keith has surpassed the expectations of not only his college coach but just about every other hockey observer who saw him at Michigan State. Keith won a gold medal at the Vancouver Olympics. He’s playing for a Stanley Cup. Next month, he could claim the Norris Trophy, the award most recently belonging to Zdeno Chara as the league’s best defenseman.
And Mason coached not only Keith, but also Ryan Miller, the favorite to win the Vezina Trophy, on the same team.
The 70-year-old Mason, now living the good life between Michigan, Ontario, and Florida (he was fishing off Palm Beach last week), retired from coaching in 2002. Among the things that made that career-capping last season memorable was coaching two teenagers now considered among the best at their positions in the NHL.
“Watching them in the Olympics was really unbelievable,’’ said Mason. “That was surreal — both being at the Olympics and playing against each other. I’m proud of them. It’s all part of development.’’
more and other hockey notes…
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN, Penguins
• GM Ray Shero had a lengthy discussion with Sergei Gonchar’s agent, J.P. Barry of CAA Sports, this week at the player combine in Toronto. Gonchar is UFA July 1. There is still no resolution and term remains an important issue. The Gonchar camp would like two years; but because he’s over 35, the Pens are understandably nervous about giving more than a year. The two sides plan to speak again soon.
• The Thrashers have interviewed Scott Arniel and Don Lever so far in their search for a new coach. They also hope to interview Bruins assistant coach Craig Ramsay. They will need to wait after the Cup finals to interview Blackhawks assistant coach John Torchetti, which they plan to do. Another coach the Thrashers want to talk to is Billy Peters, coach of AHL Rockford, Chicago’s top farm team….
more and additional topics too, some that were discussed on the HNIC Hotstove last night…
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
For the third straight sea son, the NHL has a marquee matchup in the Stanley Cup Final, a battle between brand-name franchises in Chicago and Philadelphia following consecutive battles between Detroit and Pittsburgh.
The difference between this hat trick of big-market confrontations and the three small-market, no-name matchups preceding it—Tampa Bay-Calgary, Carolina-Edmonton and Anaheim-Ottawa—is stark and instructive.
We live in a pro sports society in which glamour, if not glamour alone, sells. The business of sports has moved onto the Page Six of our lives. We’re over the fable of one size fitting all. Sorry, but it’s a big market, marquee franchise world, even if New York and Toronto have proved unnecessary to all the NHL fun this spring.
Joel Quenneville and Peter Laviolette answered questions from the media after the game tonight.
Q. Coach, what were you guys able to change between the first two periods and the third that changed the way you were able to possess the puck?
COACH QUENNEVILLE: I thought we had more speed to the game. We had more puck possession, more attack.
The first period, physically was a little jittery for both teams. More so us, and even in the second I still think we were a little bit more emotional than we normally are. And then all of a sudden we picked up the tempo, and pace that we wanted to set and continue. That’s the standard we want to move on going forward to the next game.
from Bob Ford of the Philadelphia Daily News, T
he Stanley Cup Finals is a difficult road and not the one on which to have the carriage become a pumpkin again. Leighton has been very good, even great at times. Boucher got the job done when he was called upon. But this is a different challenge and – don’t look now – the Flyers have finally run up against a team that can really score.
After the game, the Flyers said the blame should be shared.
“That’s not the reason we lost the game,” Danny Briere said of the goaltending.
Laviolette’s decision was a difficult one. Almost certainly, Leighton is still the starting goaltender and will be back in the nets on Monday night. Getting yanked from the opener of the series can’t do much for a goalie’s confidence, but if he had stayed in there and given up 10 goals that wouldn’t have helped, either.
“Everybody’s got to be better,” Laviolette said.
Pierre LeBrun, Glenn Healy and Elliotte Friedman made up the panel tonight and discussed, the #1 pick in the draft, international hockey. Lidstrom decision coming soon and other hockey topics.
Finally the puck will drop around 8:15pm ET or so and the game can be viewed on NBC, CBC and RDS.
The atmosphere should be electric and the game should be fun to watch.
from Ken Campbell of The Hockey News,
Multiple sources have confirmed to THN.com that Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby is on the verge of signing the richest endorsement deal in NHL history.
Crosby’s new deal is said to be worth almost $10 million over the next seven years. Crosby’s agent, Pat Brisson, would not discuss the financial aspect of the deal and said it is not completed yet, “but things are going in the right direction.”
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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