Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the Hockey News,
With the National Hockey League’s playoff set to begin Wednesday, there’s no shortage of storylines on each side of the continent.
Can the Ducks repeat after only playing a select few games as a complete group this season?
Will the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Red Wings fizzle in the playoffs after another remarkable regular season?
Are the Senators ready to right the ship, or has their slide doomed them to an early playoff departure?
And what of the East-winning Canadiens? Is the NHL’s most successful franchise poised for a run at glory?
read on for a a breakdown of each series…
from Craig Custance of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution,
Yes, Kovalchuk’s 52 goals this season tied his own franchise record, but that’s not the number that will put him in the stratosphere with the league’s all-time best.
Only playoff wins do that, and after six seasons, Kovalchuk is still sitting at zero.
“It doesn’t matter how many goals you score — 50-goal season, 30-goal season, two-goal season. When you’re a loser, it’s the worst,” Kovalchuk said.
from Mark Spector of the National Post,
The tournament begins in quasi-hockey weather in 16 cities. But The Masters quickly passes, nature moves on to baseball, and summer arrives before the hockey playoffs are even half over. As fans’ home teams fall by the wayside, the very nature of spring turning to summer draws them away from the TV and out of doors.
It works in direct opposition to the onset of winter coinciding with the baseball playoffs - when a fire, a couch and a good ballgame marry up perfectly - and the television ratings reflect that. By the time they play the Stanley Cup final interest is regional, with most Canadians watching with one eye from the clubhouse or the cabin, or not at all.
The good news? Pay your cable bill, friend, because the best hockey month of the year is upon us.
via the AP,
Keith Tkachuk became the 41st player in NHL history to score 500 goals, and added an assist to help the St. Louis Blues beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-1 on Sunday in the season finale for both teams.
Tkachuk, a 16-year veteran, scored his 27th of the season, a short-handed goal into an empty net, with 1:34 remaining. He scored three goals in the final two regular-season games - both wins against Columbus - to reach the milestone.
New Jersey/New York Rangers
added 6:49pm, More on the first round games from the National Post…
from the Boston Globe,
Chiarelli on first-year netminder Carey Price: “We have to get him moving and get the puck high. He’s very big. He’s a pads-down, blocker-down goalie. We have to get pucks high, get him moving, and keep pucks away from him on dump-ins and hard-arounds. He’s going to have pressure. He’s young and it’s his first NHL playoff series. We have to get in his head in a variety of ways.”
Emails start flowing in while I am trying to enjoy a nice little cook-out going on at the home-front.
Philly fans stating Crosby doesn’t want to playa against the big bad Flyers, blah, blah, blah!
Smart move in my opinion by the Pens. Better to have Sid as close to 100% for the first game of the playoffs and he does need rest.
from the Boston Herald,
Savard said he might have been willing to take pain-killing shots so he could play in last night’s regular-season finale against Buffalo if the B’s had needed a win to make the playoffs. It’s likely he’ll need an injection if he wants to play in Game 1 on Wednesday or Thursday, just 17 or 18 days after the injury.
“Well, it’s just a tough area where I have the injury, it’s kind of dangerous taking a shot,” he said. “But I’ll do whatever it takes to get in the lineup. There’s lungs around there and other things that come into play, but we’ve talked about it. I’m for it if it’s going to help me be better.”
If and when Savard plays in the postseason, it will be a first in his 10-year career. He has played 659 regular-season games but zero in the playoffs.
from Spector at Fox Sports,
The most under-rated free agent signing was defenseman Roman Hamrlik’s four-year, $5.5 million per season contract with the Montreal Canadiens.
Dismissed as a waste of money, Hamrlik brought stability and experience to the Canadiens’ blueline and was a significant reason for their improvement this season.
The worst UFA signing was forward Michal Handzus’ four-year, $16 million contract with the Los Angeles Kings.
Handzus was expected to be a strong two-way forward but in 81 games netted only 21 points and his plus-minus of -19 ranked among the worst in the NHL, not what Kings management had in mind when they signed him.
from the Press-Enterprise,
“I’m talking to guys who have ice packs and all kinds of things, my old teammates and buddies on other teams, and they’re saying, ‘It’s been a tough time,’ ” Selanne said with a laugh Saturday afternoon. “And I say, ‘Well, I feel great.’ I highly recommend that we play only 25 games before the real season starts and go from there.
“I’ve never felt this good. Obviously, the break was really good for me, mentally and physically, and hopefully I can take advantage of that.”
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