Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the Columbus Dispatch,
Dispatch hockey reporters Aaron Portzline and Tom Reed discuss the key issues heading into the best-of-seven series:
Question: Is this the Stanley Cup Finals matchup that could spring the NHL back into mainstream sports fans’ consciousness?
Portzline: If it doesn’t, the NHL might forever be a fringe sport. A great sport but a fringe sport. This is a dream matchup because both clubs have dynamic players that can get fans out of their chairs. Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg—these are four of the top six or seven players in the league. Even halfhearted hockey fans might tune in to watch these clubs go back and forth.
“At the end of the day, what really defines you?” he said. “Is it how much money you make? How many Cups you’ve won? No, what matters is your community. There are people out there without parents. People who can’t afford to go to a hockey game. People who can’t afford cable to even watch a hockey game.
“I wasn’t always fortunate when I was a kid. But, with the image we have as hockey players, it’s amazing the impact we can have. How fortunate am I to play in the NHL? What percentage of people get to do that? I just want to show that I appreciate it. That stuff is important, more important than hockey.”
more on Laraque at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette…
from Eric Stephens of the LA Times,
While Brian Burke has given his stars Scott Niedermayer and Teemu Selanne until next month’s NHL entry draft to tell him whether they will play next season or retire, the Ducks’ general manager says he is confident that he will re-sign Corey Perry, although it appears that won’t happen until July. Perry, a potential restricted free agent, could be the target of a pricey offer sheet this summer….
“Right now we don’t have the tagging room [for his contract], but we think we will on July 1 if the cap goes up as much as we think,” Burke said. “We think we will be in position to sign him. He’s made it very clear that he wants to stay.”
read on for more Ducks talk…
We are getting closer folks! Soon a new picture will be added.
Watch the Cup Raise video below…
From Brian Biggane at the Palm Beach Post,
There could be a good reason the Panthers have been so patient in selecting a new head coach: One of their leading candidates is still working.
Pittsburgh Penguins assistant coach Andre Savard, who has been an NHL head coach and general manager and is a close friend of Panthers GM Jacques Martin, has emerged as a top candidate for the Florida vacancy, according to several league sources.
Savard was also rumored earlier this month in a report from Bruce Garrioch (previously cited here on KK). Other names in the mix include former Panthers coach Doug MacLean, current NYR assistant Perry Pearn, Pat Quinn, Pat Burns, Joel Quenneville and AHL Rochester coach Randy Cunneyworth.
from Dave Gross at the National Post,
Bench-clearing was in decline by the mid-1980s, and was nearly completely eradicated from the game after Rule 72 hit the books.
But there was that blip 17 years ago.
NHL statistician Benny Ercolani says that March 17, 1991 game was—technically—the last bench-clearer on record.
Asked if he remembers the fracas, former St. Louis Blues’ enforcer Kelly Chase was fairly direct.
“[Expletive], I got suspended 10 games, how could I forget it.”
Chase, who’s now the radio analyst for the Blues, was tagged with Chicago Blackhawks’ enforcer Mike Peluso for a 10-game sit by the league which had adopted anti-brawling regulations in 1987.
KK member Heaton brings up an interesting subject in the KK Forums…
Are ticket brokers an underlying cause for the “lack” of passion that people are tying to the empty seats at Joe Louis Arena? I’m one of those people who usually buries their head in the sand on this subject, I hate it, I think it’s overblown and makes false pretenses about the Wings and their fans.
read on and although this is his first post at the KK Forums, Heaton is well known within the hockey web world.
from Pierre LeBrun at Sportsnet,
The Wings’ top four on defence—Lidstrom, Rafalski, Brad Stuart and Niklas Kronwall—is of a quality that the Penguins have not faced this year.
For the first time in these playoffs, the Penguins won’t have home-ice advantage. They’re a perfect 8-0 at Mellon Arena.
Sid and the boys will make this a tougher final than many will predict, but in the end, experience and home ice are the difference for me.
Wings in a very difficult seven. And let’s enjoy every minute of it.
LA Kings executives met with season ticket holders…
from Inside the Kings,
The next fan had wide-ranging criticisms, mostly about the signings of underachieving free agents, and summed up his question by basically asking, ``Why should I give you my money now, and not wait two or three years to see how this turns out?’‘
(Ron) Hextall said, ``I’m not going to try to sell you on the fact that we’re going to win the Stanley Cup next year, because quite frankly I don’t see it happening. We’re trying to build the team. ... The guys we signed last year, we didn’t expect them to step in and be star players. Michal Handzus, that was the worst year I’ve seen him have. ... You won’t see how good he is until we get to the playoffs and he shuts down a guy like Ryan Getzlaf or Joe Thornton.
Pittsburgh Penguins GM Ray Shero participated in a NHL teleconference today. Below is the transcript from the Q&A.
Q. Being swept up in the middle of this playoff run, have you had a chance to step back and appreciate what your team has done, the rebuilding process that has gone on in the last couple of years?
RAY SHERO: I think so. In between every round, there’s a different challenge, the first one being Ottawa, which was, honestly, a little nerve-racking. They were a team that beat us last year quite handily in five games. Trying to see how the team would react. Getting the early goal from Gary Roberts in Game 1, that was great.
But it’s been a great experience for our club here. Every round we’ve gone on, I think we’ve got more confidence. Hopefully we’re going to be ready for Saturday night.
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.
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