Kukla's Korner Hockey
It’s been a long time since the Leafs last won the Cup.
Sharks-Bruins is at least on the radar screen now as a possible Stanley Cup final, given Boston’s lead in its series against the Philadelphia Flyers and wouldn’t that be a dramatic conclusion - Thornton, the ex-Bruin, trying to prove that Thomas Wolfe was wrong. Maybe you can go home again after all.
-Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail where you can read more on Joe Thornton and the Sharks.
from Christopher L. Gasper of the Boston Globe,
The irony didn’t occur to many of the 17,565 in attendance, as they joyously jumped up and down celebrating yet another one-goal playoff win by the Bruins Monday night at TD Garden by serenading their skating idols to the strains of the Standells’ “Dirty Water.’’ Yup, it’s still not safe to sip the H20 around town, but it is encouraged to drink in the playoff run of the team that plays on iced-over aqua.
The Bruins are now two wins from their first conference final since 1992, when Mario Lemieux was the star of the Penguins and not the team’s owner.
The Bruins have tapped into the passion for pucks in this town, which had been dormant this season, much like the beat-up and belittled Bruins, and it’s overflowing with goodwill with the Bruins up two games to none in their best-of-seven second-round playoff series with the Flyers.
from Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News,
Dynasties are what draw people to a sport, not parity. The NFL is the exception because gambling plays a big role in its popularity, but what would baseball be without the Yankees and Red Sox? Can you imagine the NBA ever giving the cold shoulder to the Lakers or Celtics? Even most European soccer leagues revolve around two or three teams each (Chelsea, Barcelona, etc.).
And think about your hockey history: There’s a treasure trove of memories built up around the early-1980s Islanders, the mid-’80s Oilers and the Canadiens of the 1970s. No one ever waxes rhapsodic about ‘that amazing stretch when Detroit, Dallas, New Jersey, then Colorado won Cups.’ No disrespect to any of those teams, but it’s tough to build much mythology out of that. And it won’t bring in the casual fan.
But the Red Wings do. Everyone knows the Winged Wheel, even if it’s just because of Cameron in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. It actually would behoove the NHL to have Detroit back in the final for a third consecutive year, or at least meet Patrick Kane’s Blackhawks in the conference final.
more including some tinfoil talk…
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Playoff teams need contributions from everyone. It’s just that not everyone has their contributions receive the same attention, at least nationally. So, we bring you five defensemen whose contributions in these playoffs deserve more attention; they’re our unsung heroes, if you will:
1. Douglas Murray, San Jose Sharks: The 30-year-old Swede continues to fly under the radar on a national level, but he’s the granite the Sharks’ blue line is built on. He leads San Jose defensemen with 30 hits in the playoffs and his hard-nosed style is especially noticeable. He doesn’t give an inch and pulverizes any opposing forward that gets near him. Not bad for an eighth-round pick (241st overall) in the 1999 NHL draft.
from Bruce Dowbiggin of the Globe and Mail,
Maybe the NHL needs a new TV commercial. “What if Nick Lidstrom’s stick hadn’t blown up in Game 2?... History wouldn’t be made without a composite stick.”
Usual Suspects has noticed more explosions than The Hurt Locker when it comes to composite sticks in these playoffs. Lidstrom’s stick shattering on San Jose’s winning goal Sunday is the latest and most spectacular example of stick frailty creating game-changing plays. The ice is regularly littered with broken RbKs or Eastons—and broken chances.
from David Pollak of Working the Corners,
To me, that game was Exhibit A in making the case that this year’s Sharks team is indeed considerably different than those of the past four years. Yeah, I know, we already sensed that and, yeah, things can still go south in a hurry.
But that comeback in that building against that team (see upcoming Devin Setoguchi quote) showed more resilience and mental toughness than we’ve seen from these guys in the post-lockout era.
“It builds a lot of character for our team to come back from a 3-1 deficit in this building against that hockey team,” Setoguchi said.
McLellan was a little reluctant to draw comparisons between past and present, but he did say:
“We knew we were a different team and I guess what we have to do is prove that to the hockey world. We believed we were different and we believed in each other.”
more on the Sharks…
from Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette,
There was white noise at 5:30 p.m. when the Bell Centre’s doors opened, a gentle hum produced by the early birds and an almost serene soundtrack.
By 6:10, when the first “Crosby sucks!” chant went up from the upper reaches of the arena bowl, the anticipation had built to an electricity you feel in the air just before a thunderstorm.
Warm-up, just after 6:30, and the rafters were shaking, though the place was still only half full.
And then came the crescendo of the Canadiens stepping onto the ice just after 7 p.m. for last night’s third game of their Eastern Conference semi-final against the Pittsburgh Penguins, and this much was clear: NASA might soon be cancelling the U.S. shuttle program, but you can always come here during the playoffs and sit on the pad beneath a rocket launch.
continued and when will Versus learn to grab that pre-game experience and televise a few minutes of it. Last night, they did not go to Montreal until just before the puck dropped.
from Jerry Spar of the Big Bad Blog at WEEI,
Asked about advice the 42-year-old veteran gave to the team’s younger players, Recchi said: “This is a great time of year right now. Enjoy it. Embrace it. Don’t let the pressure grab you. If you do that, you’re going to really have a good time with this and we’re going to be a better team for it.”
The Flyers have been trying to get under the Bruins’ skin in the first two games, but Recchi said all they’ve done is “wake the sleeping giant.” Said Recchi: “When we get involved in these games, we seem to really get the emotion and are able to play a better hockey game.”
Recchi said the key reason for the Bruins’ late-season turnaround was the team sticking together. “We believed in ourselves in the dressing room, and what we were trying to do,” he said. “We knew we weren’t consistent, so we really didn’t give [the fans] a lot of reasons to believe in us….”
from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,
Never mind that everyone who had an opinion about this series believed it would be a long, drawn-out affair. It just seems there’s a little too much history involved with the Blackhawks and, in the larger sense, the last 40 years with the Canucks, for the faithful to feel entirely comfortable with Game 2’s change in direction.
“They upped the ante,” was Shane O’Brien’s terse and not inaccurate assessment of the loss.
Back to you, Henrik.
“I think it’s a totally different feeling in the dressing room and on the bench,” said the NHL’s leading scorer in the regular season. “Last year, we got rattled at everything: referees, opponents, everyone.
“This year we stick to our game plan and even though we weren’t successful in the last game, there were a lot of games in the L.A. series where we stuck with it and came out on the winning side.”
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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