Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Jeff Z. Klein of SlapShot at the NY Times,
In the 44 games that made up the first round of this year’s playoffs, the average number of goals per 60 minutes of play was 5.0 — a level of constriction that fans have had to deal with in the N.H.L. post-season for close to 15 years.
But the average for the 22 games of the second round played through Monday has risen. It’s at 5.75 goals per game. (That figure includes the 41 extra minutes of overtime Anaheim needed to beat Detroit on May 3; without that OT the average is 5.9.) That is a big jump, and a heartening one for fans of more wide-open, creative play. It includes Monday’s 5-4 overtime gem in which the Capitals beat the Penguins to force Wednesday’s Game 7, as well as the 7-5 festival of goals through which Chicago eliminated Vancouver on Monday.
On to Boston for game 7 on Thursday, game starts a little after 8:00pm ET.
added 10:29pm via Fluto Shinzawa of Bruins Blog at the Boston Globe,
Claude Julien said Marc Savard will be good to go in Game 7. Savard left the game at 6:12 of the third period with a knee injury.
from Bob Wojnowski of the Detroit News,
After years of blundering and tinkering, the NHL finally is hitting the formula that works, letting its stars shine, and they’re responding with unscripted drama. This should be a bright new era for the league, with great young players everywhere, from the obvious—Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin—to the not-so-obvious kids in Chicago, where the Blackhawks have fans there giddy again.
Now, all the league needs to do is find a network that most people actually get. Nothing against Versus, which does a decent job, but the NHL has earned a wider national audience, and it’s ridiculous Gary Bettman hasn’t solved the issue and revisited ESPN….
The Stanley Cup playoffs are must-see TV again; it’s just a shame that for many, it’s can’t-find TV on Versus. NBC’s weekend coverage is a boost, but if the NHL ever gets smart and works its way back to ESPN, look out.
The league still has issues, including its inconsistent officiating and peculiar calls. Some people hate that, especially when, say, a tying goal by a Wing is waved off in the final minute. No excuse there, but it does add to the quirkiness, and it sure hasn’t stopped us from watching.
from Shannon Kari of the National Post,
The National Hockey League moved swiftly last week in declaring that it had taken control of the Phoenix Coyotes from Jerry Moyes and that he had no right to file for bankruptcy protection or sell the team to Jim Balsillie.
More documents in support of the league’s position will be filed Wednesday in federal bankruptcy court in advance of a hearing in Phoenix on May 19.
But despite its firm public statements, the NHL has admitted in another court case that the powers of professional sports leagues are not that clear.
The right to impose league-wide rules on everything from team Web sites to who can buy a sports franchise is a legal “morass” that is “mired in ambiguity and confusion,” NHL lawyers wrote in a U.S. Supreme Court brief in January.
from Darren Eliot of Sports Illustrated,
Is it a reach, however, to see this team in the Stanley Cup Final?
Kane is healthy after an ankle sprain slowed him in the second half of the regular season. His quickness and darting capabilities are back in full force, as evidenced by his Game 6 performance for the ages. Beyond the goal scoring, though, the Blackhawks have shown a resilient nature and the ability to win in a variety of ways. As a group, they push back when pushed physically. On the blueline, they have the mobility that teams covet in today’s game. Plus, the Blackhawks have veteran goaltender Nik Khabibulin backing them up. For all of their youthful ways, they have experience where it’s needed most.
from Adam Brady of AnaheimDucks.com,
As much as these Ducks will go into this one knowing it could be the last game of their season, Ducks fans need to approach it the same way. Forget about the annoying influx of red jerseys sprinkled throughout the arena tonight—this place needs to be electric and it needs to be loud. Every Anaheim rush, every Wings penalty, every battle for the puck that goes the Ducks’ way—heck, even the introduction of the starters—needs to be met with a deafening roar. Every attempt at a pro-Wings chant needs to be drowned out by an even louder Ducks one. It’s on you, Ducks fans. As much as anyone, you need to show up tonight too.
Chicago, IL (May 12, 2009) – Comcast SportsNet, the television home for the most comprehensive Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup Playoffs coverage in HD, delivered its highest Blackhawks rating ever last evening (May 11)—a 7.82 household rating for its live coverage of the Blackhawks Game 6 second round clinching victory over the Vancouver Canucks.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
It is difficult, in today’s NHL, to effect immediate and massive changes in a short period of time, which is why Gillis’s moves were restricted to a handful of changes on the periphery. He signed Pavol Demitra as a free agent, away from the Minnesota Wild. He wooed and eventually coaxed Mats Sundin to sign with his team mid-season. He claimed Kyle Wellwood off waivers. The rest of the improvements – from out of the playoffs to the third seed in the Western Conference standings and the fourth best record overall and putting the receipts for five home playoff dates into the coffers of owner Francesco Aquilini - came mostly from the holdovers, including coach Alain Vigneault, who he inherited and ultimately retained.
From now on, however, Gillis’s managing skills will be put to the test, with the Sedin twins poised for unrestricted free agency, the same as Sundin and the same as Mattias Ohlund.
from Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
What a waste of the Penguins’ stirring 4-3 overtime win at the Verizon Center in Game 5. Now, they must beat the confident Capitals again in their building, a tough assignment under any circumstances, let alone without, in all likelihood, Gonchar.
Good luck with that.
You had better believe the Penguins are going to need every bit of their character and resiliency.
They’re still planning on showing up, though.
“The composure level of this team is pretty high,” defenseman Brooks Orpik said. “Everybody stays on board.”
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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