Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
It’s not over yet. But it’s not looking good.
Canada’s Stanley Cup drought, which began back in 1993 when the Montreal Canadiens hoisted the big silver milk jug, seems likely to hit 17 springs unless the Vancouver Canucks, Canadiens or Ottawa Senators can reverse their current fortunes rather quickly.
Both the Canucks and Habs are facing virtual do-or-die Game 4 situations on Wednesday, while the Senators are up to their chinstraps in trouble dealing with the defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins.
By this time next week, there may be no Canadian teams left in the hunt.
So when is the drought going to end? People, after all, are starting to notice, and even Canadian-born players on U.S.-based teams would like to see the Cup back in Canada sooner than later.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
“Jim-my, Jim-my, Jim-my, Jim-my ...”
“That was pretty cool,” Jimmy Howard, smiling ear to ear, said moments after his first career playoff shutout. “It was pretty surreal. It’s great knowing the fans have my back.”
Well, kind of. The man who Red Wings fans were flooding message boards about with anxious doubts between Sunday’s stinker and Tuesday’s gem was again their hero. Such is playing goal in Hockeytown.
“Fans, they want us to do well,” said Howard. “They expect a lot out of us, they want us to win. They’re very passionate about the game, and when you come here, it’s all you hear about, the Detroit Red Wings. When you go out there, not only are you representing the organization, you’re representing the city.”
Martin Brodeur robs Simon Gagne tonight.
from Wayne Scanlan of the Ottawa Citizen,
The Senators, now trailing the Penguins three games to one, will need to win Game 5 in Pittsburgh to bring the series back to the Nation’s Capital.
On Sunday, the team and the community were “All In.” By Thursday, they could be All Out.
If bodychecks were playoff goals, the Senators might have greater hope in this series. Their plan to maul the Penguins physically (what Conn Smythe used to call “beat them in the alley”) backfired mightily, because while Ottawa was lunging to make hits, the Penguins were making plays to score goals.
The Penguins skill set is in a different league, especially with Alex Kovalev, one of the Senators skilled, though enigmatic forwards, out with an injury. The Senators played like the Johnstown Chiefs of Slapshot fame.
from Matthew Sekeres of the Globe and Mail,
The Canucks were deserving losers. Period, full stop.
But the reason why conspiracy theories—i.e. the league wants the Kings to win—are floating around B.C. is because, by action if not words, the NHL commissioner has made it clear that U.S. Sunbelt markets are more important than markets in Canada.
That may be untrue and unfair, but rightfully or wrongfully, that is the impression Gary Bettman has cast in his nearly two decades as commissioner. The genie isn’t going back in the bottle at this late stage.
Canadians, and most certainly Canucks fans, who have sold out GM Place for 300-plus consecutive dates, have an insatiable appetite for hockey and aren’t going anywhere.
American fans, particularly those in big, southern cities where the game has little history and where there are plenty of other entertainment options, have shown that they can live fine and well without pucks. Look no further than the lockout.
Washington Coach Bruce Boudreau claims Montreal Coach Jacques Martin was spying o the Caps practice today.
via John Bishop of BostonBruins.com, “
The Bruins have released the following update on Marc Savard:
On Tuesday afternoon, Marc Savard passed his neuropsychological testing. He will continue to work towards regaining his game shape, and will have a final meeting with Dr. Kelly McInnis at MassGeneral Hospital before being cleared to play in games. There is no date or time line scheduled for this meeting.”
from John Glennon of Preds Insider,
If the Predators don’t sell out tonight’s Game 3 against Chicago, they may well become the first team this postseason not to sell out a playoff game.
The NHL announced on Monday that – prior to Monday night’s games – all 20 playoff contests around the league had sold out. Of the three games that were played on Monday, the announced attendance in Los Angeles (18,264) was the only one that didn’t register at 100 percent capacity. But 98.7 percent capacity is pretty close, and I believe teams can label games as sellouts even if there are scattered tickets still available.
As of this morning, there were still plenty of tickets remaining for tonight’s game against the Blackhawks, which wasn’t too surprising given that the count was 2,000 available as of Monday afternoon.
note: make sure to read the whole release for Canadian broadcast figures and other interesting tidbits.
NEW YORK (April 20, 2010) – The 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs are off to a record-breaking start on VERSUS, becoming the highest-rated and most-watched on cable since the 2002 Stanley Cup Playoffs on ESPN/ESPN2. Growth on national telecasts across North America and on regional sports networks in the U.S., along with triple-digit increases to video starts on NHL.com and page views on NHL Mobile, highlight the NHL’s business momentum, further validating of the NHL’s strategy of engaging its fans through the creation of an ever-expanding hockey marketplace with multiple touch points.
I’ve stayed away from this topic except when it became news last year, but it looks as if it will be news again.
from William Houston of Truth & Rumours,
This is not really a surprise given the NHL’s irresponsible don’t-ask policy regarding performance enhancing drugs, but good for Sports Illustrated for producing a story that will appear in the April 26 edition.
Here is today’s SI release, under the headline: Did the NHL and Washington Capitals attempt to cover up an investigation related to steroids?
read the release from Sports Illustrated….
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.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org