Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Luke DeCock of the News & Observer,
So now the playoffs await, only the opponent and the seeding uncertain. Two years of pent-up excitement and enthusiasm is ready to explode at the RBC Center and not just in the stands.
For the 10 holdovers from the 2006 championship team, the return to the playoffs has been a long time coming—far longer than any of them could have expected on June 19, 2006.
“With our talent level and our team in general, we should be in the playoffs,” said Hurricanes forward Eric Staal, who recorded his eighth career hat trick Tuesday. “We attained that goal. The last two years we didn’t, and that’s what made it so disappointing and difficult.”
No matter what happens now, whether the Hurricanes go out in the first round or make it to the finals for the third time in the past seven seasons, at least they’ll go down fighting, if they go down at all. It took them three years, but they’re finally going to defend their title.
The top five hits from the 2008-09 regular season.
from Seth Rorabaugh of Empty Netters,
Since the league adopted a playoff format of four rounds of best-of-seven-games series in 1986-87, there have been 25 different teams with two or more 100-point scorers, excluding this season’s Penguins. Of those 25, only four have lifted the Cup later that spring. That’s 16 percent. Furthermore, only six teams have even advanced to a conference final.
from Scott Burnside and Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Burnside: ...The real issue is the injury-riddled Habs. They are without defensemen Mathieu Schneider and Andrei Markov and could miss the playoffs if they lose their final two games against Boston and Pittsburgh and the Panthers knock off Atlanta and Washington, neither of whom have much to play for with the Capitals pretty much locked into the second seed in the East.
But let’s look West, as the shocking St. Louis Blues continue their assault on an unlikely playoff berth. They looked to have had the hardest road with six of their last seven on the road, but they are now eighth after beating Phoenix 5-1 and Nashville losing a 4-2 heartbreaker at home. Don’t really believe there’s such a thing as destiny when it comes to playoff berths, but gee, the Blues sure look like they have it with Dallas Stars castoff B.J. Crombeen scoring twice Tuesday night.
much more on the rush to the playoffs…
from Ben Kuzma of the Vancouver Province via Faceoff.com,
When Colin Campbell called Alex Burrows on Monday, the NHL’s disciplinarian didn’t wish the feisty winger good luck in the postseason. He wished Burrows would stop pushing the envelope.
In that regard, Campbell gave Burrows a slap on the wrist by slapping him with a $2,500 US fine for reaching out from the bench Saturday and punching Oilers enforcer Zack Stortini in the final minute of play at Edmonton. Burrows got a 10-minute misconduct.
“I wasn’t too happy about it [fine], and I let him know,” said Burrows. “He said I was on his watch list for a while, and he said there were two incidents from last year and with my reputation, he was watching me. But I told him I’ve been good lately, and I don’t know why I should be on that watch list….”
Just in time for the Stanley Cup™ Playoffs, today Energizer Canada Inc. announced a new sponsorship arrangement with NHL™ superstar Alex Ovechkin. While the full program is gearing up for a Fall 2009 launch, it centers around Energizer’s Ultimate Lithium product *“The World’s Longest Lasting ‘AA’ Battery in High-Tech Devices”
“With our Ultimate Lithium product offering 8X the power of our premium alkaline, it only made sense to partner with The Great #8 as he is the World’s Best Player (in my view)” said Kent Hatton, Brand Group Director of Energizer Canada Inc. “Alex is known throughout the league to play with incredible energy, determination and intensity, a perfect fit with the Energizer Bunny and our Keep Going® brand promise”.
from the CP via TSN,
The Ottawa Senators are keeping Cory Clouston as their head coach.
The team announced today that they have signed him to a two-year deal, removing the interim tag from his title.
from Terry Frei of the Denver Post,
After the Avalanche’s Tuesday morning skate, Tony Granato had just finished confirming that he expected and wanted to be back as the Avalanche’s coach next season.
The followup question — “Why?” — bothered him.
“What do you want me to do, be a full-time fisherman?” Granato asked. “Why wouldn’t I want to be a part of an organization I have pride in? Why wouldn’t I want my . . .”
“If you think I’m a quitter or you’re insinuating that you should bail out when things aren’t going well, you don’t know a hockey player and you don’t know me,” he said. “That is almost an insulting question. Personally, when you’re in a position and things aren’t going well, if everyone bailed out, you’d have a lot of losers around this world. I’m going to fight through this the best I can and if I get the opportunity, try and turn this thing around the way we plan to.”
from Chuck Gormley of the Courier-Post,
Ten days after dislocating his right ring finger in a fight with New York Islanders rookie Joel Rechlicz, Cote underwent surgery Tuesday that will sideline for 10-12 weeks.
Cote, the Flyers leader in penalty minutes with 174 before the arrival of Daniel Carcillo, injured his finger when he got it caught in the jersey of Rechlicz during a tugging match March 28….
With Cote out, the Flyers have a few options for their fourth line. Andreas Nodl is playing there now with center Darroll Powe and Carcillo. In 35 games for the Flyers, Nodl has one goal, three assists and is a minus-12.
“I think Nodl’s played OK for us,” Holmgren said. “We have other options if we get to that point. We’ll play it by ear.”
more on the Flyers…
from Damian Cox of the Toronto Star,
It would be hard to imagine at this point how Mike Babcock could not be named the head coach of the Canadian men’s hockey team for next year’s Olympics.
Perhaps a verbal Avery-ism in front of TV cameras? Revelations that he was actually born in Galveston, Texas rather than Manitouwadge, Ont., and isn’t a Canadian citizen? Perhaps allegations from his McGill University days that he wore an autographed Alexander Ragulin T-shirt under his gear after secretly rooting for Rags and the Russians in ‘72?
Otherwise, while Steve Yzerman has maintained this is a decision that will have to wait until after the current NHL campaign is completed, the 45-year-old Babcock seems destined to be the man to lead the troops into Vancouver next winter.
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