Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
If you’re a Canadian and love the sport of hockey, you’ve got to be feeling spoiled these days.
Or this year.
The calendar began with a special world junior championship tournament in frigid Saskatoon — Canada lost to the United States in a terrific gold medal final — and continued with the Canadian double hockey gold in balmy Vancouver at the spectacular Winter Olympics….
The Canadiens, back from the dead after falling behind 3-1 to Washington, are home and alive in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, and springtime hockey in Montreal is something special. Always been that way, and while the Bell Centre crowd has developed the unfortunate habit of ridiculously screaming for penalties constantly, it will be deafening Tuesday night.
Olympic golden goal scorer Sidney Crosby will be in town with the defending champion Penguins and the series tied 1-1. Every time it seems like the Habs are on the ropes, they bounce back into the fray.
from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,
San Jose Sharks center Joe Pavelski’s nifty scoring touch has helped him score nine goals in eight playoff games this season and yet his college coach doesn’t believe his hands are Pavelski’s greatest asset.
“It’s the ability he has between his ears,” Wisconsin coach Mike Eaves said. “He’s not the biggest, not the strongest, but he has the ability to think and anticipate, and know what he’s going to do before he gets to his puck.”
Now in his fourth NHL season, Pavelski has been the talk of the playoffs because of his Sidney Crosby-like offensive pace.
added 11:47pm, from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Accordingly, Tuesday’s third game is shaping up as the Battle Of the Sharks’ Joes (Big and Little) at the Joe – Detroit’s venerable Joe Louis Arena – and may the best Joe(s) win.
Thus far in the playoffs, Pavelski has been something of a revelation for the Sharks, who are on a five-game postseason win streak. In the opening round, Pavelski scored the last-minute tying goal in Game 2 against the Colorado Avalanche, the overtime winner in Game 4 and the series clincher in Game 6.
frolm Michael Hurley of NESN,
When exactly will Sid the Kid start acting like Sid the Man?
We thought that maybe, when he lifted the Cup over his head last June in Detroit, the time had come. Yet it turned out that the wispy whiskers he was sporting on his face were as much a sign of his immaturity as it was his complete inability to grow a beard.
So when Sidney Crosby slammed his stick against the post of the Montreal net on Sunday, displaying the emotional control of a 5-year-old getting sent to timeout, it wasn’t exactly surprising. It is, however, getting old.
thanks to a Sean Leahy tweet for the pointer
Watch the best goals and saves (below) from the past week of the NHL Playoffs.
On exit day last week, Green did not speak with the media, but today, a different story.
friom Chuck Gormley of the Courier Post,
“At some point, we’re going to have to win a game here and (tonight) sounds like a good opportunity,” Laviolette said.
To do that, the Flyers believe they need to have more jump at the start of the game and apply more pressure on the Bruins’ defensemen on the forecheck.
Despite six high-tempo practices last week, the Flyers came out flat-footed against the Bruins on Saturday and were outshot 15-8 and outscored 2-0 in the first period.
“They caught us off guard,’ Flyers right wing Claude Giroux said.
from Matthew Sekeres of the Globe and Mail,
Byfuglien and the Blackhawks acknowledge that they need to disrupt an on-his-game Luongo more in Game 2 of their Western Conference semi-final on Monday, but the way that NHL officials are calling goaltender interference in the playoffs makes that more difficult.
“I think it’s a little stupid that they’re calling it so strict now that it’s playoffs,” Byfuglien said. “Even in other series, I know they’ve called a few guys for just standing there.”
Byfuglien, who weighs nearly 250 lbs., said he has been called for interference because he is simply a big body, but added that, in totality, the officials have been fair with him. But whether the Blackhawks power forward, who might move to defence, has occasion to pitch a tent in Luongo’s crease is a matter of some doubt heading into Game 2.
from David Pollak of Working the Corners at the Mercury News,
Taking all this questioning of the officiating seriously, I sat down on the couch around midnight and went through the game, fast-forwarding to each infraction.
Frankly, it looked like there were a couple dubious calls that went against the Red Wings, both involving Todd Bertuzzi.
His goalie interference call was marginal. The “holding” call involving Marc-Edouard Vlasic? Holding? If anything Bertuzzi might have tripped him, but frankly it didn’t look like there was even that. When a reporter asked Vlasic afterward if he might have simply lost an edge, the defenseman got a little defensive: “Did it look like I lost an edge?” Let’s just say the interview veered off in another direction.
But overall? The three most egregious calls (or non-calls) of the night went against the Sharks. (Feel free to question objectivity, of course, but I’m just calling ‘em as I see ‘em in this case).
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
What’s happened to the Red Wings? Anyone who was in attendance last Tuesday night in Glendale, Ariz., would have been swayed for the rest of the playoffs by the perennial contenders. The way they dismantled the Coyotes and added to their NHL-best record since the Olympics, it was hard not to pick them to beat San Jose. And yet, here they are down 2-0 in a series for the first time since 2003, when they were swept by the Anaheim Ducks. Did the Wings overtax themselves in the second half of the regular season trying to dig out of a hole just to make the playoffs? Are they out of gas after being stretched to seven games by Phoenix? Or is there another gear left in their game? We bet on the latter. This series isn’t over yet.
more playoff topics…
from Mark Kelley at CBC,
It’s Canada vs. Canada. As two Canadian teams advance to the second round of the NHL playoffs, who should the country be cheering for? The Vancouver Canucks or the Montreal Canadiens?
We’re asking hockey fans to record a video, explaining which team deserves Canada’s support. West Coast or East Coast? Blue and green or blue and red? The team with zero Stanley Cups or the team with 24?
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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