Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Ken Campbell of the Hockey News,
Hey, if the league can change its rules in the middle of the playoffs, certainly the fellows who run the NHL have the power to mandate that the Flyers and the Capitals must play a best-of-nine…or 11…or 25.
Sadly, this series will come to an end Tuesday night in Washington and if the league really wants to increase its mass appeal, it will do something, anything, to prevent that from happening. Simply put, this series has been one of the most compelling in years in the NHL and is putting on display everything the league would like the casual sports fan to see.
from David Pollak of MediaNews via the ContraCosta Times,
Do or die. Win or go home. Pucks or putters.
Pick whatever phrase makes it most clear what the stakes are tonight at HP Pavilion. Because when the Sharks and Calgary Flames square off in the first Game 7 played on home ice in franchise history, there is no shortage of drama and pressure.
So much, in fact, that Sharks coach Ron Wilson rejects the notion that he needs to find a way to motivate his team to play with the required desperation.
“It’s a seventh game. If you don’t win, you’re out. If I have to manufacture desperation, we’re in dire straits,” Wilson said shortly after the Flames beat the Sharks 2-0 on Sunday night to force this hard-fought series into a one-game showdown. “Our players know what’s at stake.”
from Jason La Confora of the Washington Post,
There’s a backward stereotype that still percolates around NHL rinks, the one about many European players being soft and not built for the playoff grind. It’s bandied about quietly among hockey people, many of whom were watching this young Capitals team very closely to gauge how their neophyte Russians and Swedes would fare.
They wondered if Alexander Semin (Russian) and Nicklas Backstrom (Swede) could adjust to the heightened physicality of the game, the lack of abundant space to operate, the need to sometimes abandon overly creative play and simply dump the puck.
continued (reg. req.)
from Phil Sheridan of the Philadelphia Inquirer,
It was just a word, just three little letters at the end of a sentence. There was something fatalistic, though, in Kimmo Timonen’s postgame comment.
“We haven’t lost yet,” the veteran defenseman said.
Yet. They haven’t lost the series yet. Three little letters that perfectly capture the feel of things after the Flyers blew Game 6 against the Washington Capitals last night.
The problem isn’t Game 7 in Washington tonight. The problem is how the Flyers arrived there.
from Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe,
The Bruins were props.
Their assigned role in this production last night was to play the part of the overwhelmed opposition. They were not to interfere with the plot line, which called for Montreal to reassert the superiority of a No. 1 seed against a No. 8. And your Bruins followed the script magnificently, right down to allowing a cherry-on-the-sundae goal with eight seconds remaining in a 5-0 celebration of Canadiens hockey.
The Bruins threatened to mess with the plot in the first period, when they had the preponderance of the legitimate scoring chances.
from Scott Morrison of CBC at his Viewpoint blog,
The loser tonight in San Jose, either the Calgary Flames or the Sharks, is indeed out.
But it is not quite that simple, though in many ways it is.
There is much more at stake for the Sharks tonight, specifically the future of the coaching staff and the roster as we know it.
It is highly doubtful that management will resist making significant change again if this team doesn’t at the very least reach the Stanley Cup final, nevermind put away the pesky Flames.
Russo’s Rants has a Q & A with Doug Risebrough and Jacques Lemaire…
(DR) “I don’t want to comment on Rolston and Demitra. But I will say this about Roli. I remember when we were trying to get legitimacy here. We were just an expansion team that was working hard and we were getting the same types of players. Then Rolston wanted to come here. That seemed to change a lot of people’s opinion of Minnesota. For a general manager that likes to remember a lot of things, that plays into it. I remember when players play hurt. I remember when players play hard. This has a bearing on how I’ll deal with Roli.”
Do you want to comment on Demitra? “No.”
Does it bother you that you haven’t been given more at the last two trade deadlines?
(JL) “I’m coaching the guys given me. We talk about different stuff, but I know how tough a job GM is. It’s hard to get players with the cap and everything that surrounds it. a GM job is not like the past. It’s a tough job now. I’m telling you. It’s hard, it’s unreal, unbelievable how hard that job is.
from Eric Stephens of the LA Times,
The Ducks are having talks with General Manager Brian Burke about a contract extension amid increasing speculation that the Toronto Maple Leafs have targeted him for the same job in their organization.
Michael Schulman, the Ducks’ chief executive, would not say whether there have been formal discussions to extend Burke’s contract, which runs through next season.
The Ducks’ bid to repeat as Stanley Cup champions ended Sunday.
“We talk probably every day,” Schulman said. “We’ve got a good relationship. We’re very happy obviously with his performance.”
Schulman denied a report in the Toronto-based Globe and Mail that an extension is on the table and the Ducks are awaiting Burke’s signature.
from the Montreal Post,
No matter how hard they tried, members of the mob could not tip the vacant police car on its side. They dented its doors, shattered its windows and, with nothing left to break, they sought to set it aflame.
So just after midnight, more than two hours after the Montreal Canadiens claimed victory in their National Hockey League playoff series, a group of young men shoved cardboard boxes into the cruiser a few blocks from the arena. A crowd watched as flames engulfed the empty car.
About a half-dozen Montreal police cruisers were already burning, or about to be burned, as post-game celebrations dissolved into rioting early Tuesday morning.
added 7:29am, from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star at his Spin blog,
It was more a spasm of opportunistic vandalism than a hockey-related riot, yet it will leave an ugly mark on the city today.
From a sports point of view, no longer will Montrealers be able to mock Torontonians for the way in which they take to the streets with honking car horns after the Maple Leafs win a playoff round, if anyone in the GTA can actually remember back that far.
The Habs-Bruins series was a first rounder, yet the honking was there in the streets of Montreal, evidence, some would say, of the very different demographic that makes up the Montreal fan base these days.
added 8:52am, from Elliotte Friedman of the CBC at his From the Pressbox blog,
from the New Yorker,
(Mick) McGeough, an appreciator, generally, of agitators and their in-game chatter, found himself giggling. “I wasn’t fond of it,” he said a few days later. “But it’s done. Are people talking about it? Sure. Was it bush league? That’s crap. It’s good for the game.” As he talked, a call came in from another retired N.H.L. referee, Paul Stewart. Stewy, who was at an Applebee’s in Walpole, Massachusetts, watching the Yankees play the Sox, left a message: “Sean Avery is like a case of jock rash. It’s there, it bothers you, and eventually you have to just play through it.”
more about Avery…
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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