Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Bob Wojnowski of the Detroit News,
As the Wings head into the second round tonight against Anaheim, Hossa is in the spot he always envisioned. He’s needed and wanted but doesn’t have to do it all, or even the bulk of it. No one on the Wings ever does. And really, of all the unusual reasons Hossa took the Wings’ one-year, $7.45-million offer instead of long-term treasures elsewhere, this is the main one, for this time right now.
“Look around, you’ve got legends in here, and it’s a great group of guys,” Hossa said. “It’s just fun to be a part of it. And they play the way I like, the puck-control game. Playing with so many stars, the pressure is spread, there’s no focus on one guy.”
And there’s the dichotomy of the Hossa Experiment. He came to Detroit to win his first Stanley Cup, and by accepting a one-year deal, he put enormous pressure on himself. But the truth is, it’s actually less pressure than if he’d stayed in Pittsburgh for a reported $35 million, or gone to Edmonton for the rumored $80 million.
If Hossa is skating with a burden, he sure isn’t showing it. He led the team with 40 goals in the regular season, and often was brilliant. He was clutch in the first-round clincher against Columbus, scoring his first two goals of the playoffs.
from Gary Loewen of the Toronto Sun,
The hype is building for the NHL playoff series of the century, the Washington Capitals versus the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Evil Empire versus the Forces of Good….
Hold it, let’s back it up for a moment:
a) Doesn’t Crosby stand a better chance of becoming Snivelling Sid than Commander Canada?
b) Doesn’t Ovechkin, with his one good front tooth and his bad hair, qualify as an honorary Canadian?
c) Doesn’t Ovechkin’s hockey stick have more personality than Sid?
d) Didn’t Ovechkin get his nickname, OV, from a Canadian beer?
from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,
It would be erroneous to report that the latest flood of Joe Thornton trade sentiment occurred after the San Jose Sharks were ousted from the playoffs by the Anaheim Ducks.
Truth is that this wave began immediately after the Sharks lost the first two games of the series.
Columnists began to fire up the grill for the annual summer roasting of Thornton and fan rage began on comment boards. Of course, none of that matters, but it is noteworthy that Sharks general manager Doug Wilson was reported to be still boiling over San Jose’s early departure.
With that in mind, it’s time to address what might happen this summer:
continue for some trade questions answered…
from Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star,
So look at Maurice now – back on the post-season pace, Carolina opening its Eastern Conference semifinal in Boston tonight.
“It’s the best part of hockey, the best part of the year,” the once-again Hurricane steward told the Star. “When you’re out of the playoffs for so long, you really do start to wonder – what’s the point?
“But it’s just so much fun now, I can’t even tell you. The days just slide by. At the moment I’m feeling at ease because we’ve had this little rest. That will all change when the series starts.”
Maurice is among the diaspora of former Leafs who are still playing or coaching hockey that counts, in May. When the post-season began, there were 35 Blue & White – from low-level management to top-tier stars – on the Stanley Cup prowl, while Toronto watched from the sidelines, experiencing the excitement only vicariously.
from Steve Rosenbloom of Rosen Blog at the Chicago Tribune,
One line of hockey thinking is that the first game of a series is the easiest to win because teams don’t hate each other like they will.
This should’ve favored the Blackhawks in their second-round deal with Vancouver that began Thursday. If they could steal a road game, they would take the home-ice advantage they rightfully deserved after finishing the regular season with more points than the Canucks.
It also should’ve favored the Hawks because they blew into British Columbia with momentum from a big road win in Calgary that closed out the Flames and were facing a team that had been off for more than a week after sweeping St. Louis.
And look at that, the Hawks got a power play two minutes into the game. A chance to take a lead, get a jump on stealing home-ice, and punish a team that wants to hit them the way Calgary did.
So much for that.
from Dave Droschak of CarolinaHurricanes.com,
Staal won’t be able to breathe in this series without the 6-foot-9, 270-pound Chara knowing if the Carolina star is chewing Dentyne or Trident. Bank on it.
“It doesn’t matter who we play. Eric Staal is going to see, not just one, but different guys shift-by-shift. He gets a lot of attention. That’s what All-Star players get,” said Carolina general manager Jim Rutherford.
“I don’t think I played my best against them this year,” added Staal, who including playoffs has logged a remarkable 368 consecutive games. “I’ve had success against Boston in the past and I like playing in their building. So, it’s about getting ready to play in this series now. The regular season doesn’t really matter this time of year.”
from Darren Dreger of TSN,
There are a number of reasons why the Detroit Red Wings - the defending Stanley Cup Champions - remain the favoured team among the final eight (at least in my mind).
However, what’s more interesting as we embrace round two is the exercise of identifying how the Anaheim Ducks intend on dispatching the second of the top two seeds in the West.
Really, it boils down to three things and no, devine intervention isn’t one of them. We have more respect for the Ducks and the team’s recent history of success than to suggest that.
The Ducks intend on establishing a hard forecheck. Anaheim wants to force Detroit to defend in an effort to try and wear the Wings down.
That won’t be an easy task as Detroit’s size is often underrated.
from Tarik El-Bashir of Capitals Insider,
The NHL, its sponsors and the league’s television partners all stand to benefit from Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals reaching the second round. But so does the team’s bottom line, according to club president Dick Patrick.
With four home games in the opening round, the Capitals anticipate turning a profit of between $400,000-$500,000, Patrick said. Those figures are after the team returned an estimated 60-65 percent of its gross ticket sales revenue to the league, which redistributes the money to the revenue sharing program and to players’ postseason bonuses. The Capitals are among the teams that benefit from revenue sharing.
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
What kind of shape is Mats Sundin really in?
Well, we’re about to find out.
“He’s a target,” promised agitating Chicago Blackhawks winger Adam Burish. “If you asked him, he’d know he has a target on his back.”...
“They’ve got to understand that they’re going to have earn their space,” said Burish, fresh off of driving Jarome Iginla to distraction in Chicago’s six-game victory over Calgary in Round 1. “They have to earn every inch of ice.”
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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