Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Matthew Sekeres of the Globe and Mail,
The Vancouver Canucks will be playing for nothing tonight in their NHL regular-season finale against the Calgary Flames, but that does not mean that the game is without intrigue.
The game could represent a final curtain call for three players who have come to symbolize Canucks hockey over the past two decades.
Markus Naslund, Brendan Morrison, Trevor Linden. Respectively, the captain, the local hero, and the face of the franchise.
from Chuck Gormley of the Courier-Post,
No matter whom the Flyers play, Flyers chairman Ed Snider said he is proud of his players.
“It shows a lot of resilience,” Snider said outside a jubilant locker room.
“People forget our best player, Simon Gagne, wasn’t with us most of the season. We lost (Mike) Richards, we lost (Joffrey) Lupul. We played without (Danny) Briere tonight.
“That makes it sweeter for me. I’m very proud of these guys because they’ve overcome all the adversity, they hung in there and they came out tonight. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a team play a better game that was so crucial. They weren’t afraid, they weren’t nervous. They just took it to New Jersey. The only thing that scared me to death was that it was 1-0 and we should have had five goals.”
more on the Flyers…
from the Boston Globe,
The hope, according to Patrice Bergeron, was that his teammates could qualify for the playoffs, thereby keeping his hopes of returning this season alive….
“I don’t need to tell you how great they’ve worked,” said Bergeron. “All year, they’ve done such a great job. We’ve done such a great job. It’s just awesome. At the same time, I think we’ve deserved it. We’re a great team and we’re pretty excited looking forward. Yes, we’re in, but we can’t be too excited about it. Anything can happen in the playoffs.”
read on for more on the Bruins…
from Robert Tychkowski of the Edmonton Sun,
If this year was a sophomore jinx for a guy who’s only played 183 NHL games, he came through it pretty well.
“It took him a while to realize the increased responsibility and the burden of that responsibility on him,” said head coach Craig MacTavish. “He was coming from Anaheim, where if he wasn’t going (well), they sat him on the bench and went with other options. We needed him every night, that was a big burden for him early on in the year.
“To combine that with the expectations that everybody had based on the contract and the dialogue that went along with that was a big burden for him. I thought he handled it very well, I was happy with the way he fit in with the team.”
from Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun,
Losers of seven of their last 12 and three of their last four, the Flames had to count on Edmonton to clinch Calgary a playoff spot in what is admittedly the toughest division in the toughest conference.
So much for learning from last year’s playoff abomination and building momentum heading into the spring dance.
That said, as the Flames limp into tonight’s regular-season finale in Vancouver, there is a silver lining in the dark clouds hovering over Mike Keenan’s crew.
The Flames have a winning record this year against both possible first round opponents—San Jose and Minnesota.
In other words, as poor as the Flames have been of late, they will have a chance at a first-round upset.
from Jim Cressman of the London Free Press,
Taylor, 39, is calling it quits. A bad hip required surgery last September, forcing him to miss this season, and it became apparent as the year went along it was time to retire. A tough decision after being named Lightning captain last season.
So why did he last a dozen years and win two Stanley Cups? He was never a big goal-scorer in the NHL. His best was 20 with Boston in ‘97-98.
What makes the Taylor story so good is how he made a career for himself through playing excellent defensive hockey.
from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
Given the combative nature of his team’s rivalry with the Philadelphia Flyers this season, Penguins coach Michel Therrien urged referees working Sunday’s regular-season finale not to swallow their whistles.
“We want to make sure that the referees and the league will call the right penalties,” Therrien said Friday. “You saw a game (Thursday), Toronto-Ottawa, (Senators captain Daniel) Alfredsson got hit to the head. You don’t want to see those types of things happen just before the playoffs. You have a team that’s out of the playoffs (Toronto) and has nothing to lose.”
from the LA Times,
If being scratched for one of the few times in his long career was a message sent to Doug Weight, it was momentarily lost on the veteran center.
“I don’t need a message,” Weight said, when asked about being in street clothes Sunday for the Ducks’ shootout win. “I’ve played 1,100 games. The message was I have to be at the rink at 7 o’clock [to work].”
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
“I told the referee what order I wanted to shoot and I put my finger up and told him to give me a second, because I wanted to check with Shanny [Brendan Shanahan] to see if he could go first after he’d been on at the end of [OT],” said Renney, whose team has gone first at essentially every home game.
“I looked up, the referee was gone, he came back and he said, ‘You’re going to shoot second.’
“I said, ‘Wait a minute, I don’t want to shoot second. He said, ‘You told me that.’ I said, ‘No, I said to give me a second.’ He decided I couldn’t change my mind, or he couldn’t change his, which was unfortunate. No shots had been taken. I was very, very clear.”
from the National Post,
But there is one big difference between this year’s team and those of previous glory years: the success has come without a single French-Canadian star. This year the team counts just six Quebecers on its 24-man roster, and the leading scorer among them, Guillaume Latendresse, has managed only 27 points. Once nicknamed the Flying Frenchmen and revered in the province as emblematic of Quebecers’ talent, the team’s DNA is now practically indistinguishable from any other in the National Hockey League.
“Teams are becoming less representative of their community and more brand names,” observed University of Ottawa sociologist Jean Harvey, director of the Research Centre for Sport in Canadian Society.
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 email@example.com