Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Matthew Sekeres of the Globe and Mail,
When Keith Tkachuk calls it a career, which won’t be this summer, he will go down as one of the greatest Americans to have played in the NHL.
But there is an uncomfortable truth about the 37-year-old forward, whose hair and beard are now primarily grey, and it seems to be continuing this spring. The St. Louis Blues are facing playoff elimination, down three games to none to the Vancouver Canucks in a best-of-seven Western Conference quarter-final, and are climbing a mountain of history to erase that disadvantage.
For Tkachuk, first-round exits are par for the course. They have happened 10 times in his 12 postseason appearances, and it’s about to be 11 of 13 if the Canucks can win tonight in Game 4 at the Scottrade Center.
Rangers coach John Tortorella discusses the loss to the Capitals tonight.
from Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette (Tuesday edition),
The Canadiens’ 100th season will come to a stunning halt tomorrow night, the Habs cleanly swept from the postseason, if they don’t win the 100th playoff game of their illustrious history.
And who a year ago dared imagine the prospect of such an inglorious exit for a team one season removed from an Eastern Conference championship, one picked by many last fall to be a Stanley Cup contender?
added 11:46pm, from Michael Farber of Sports Illustrated,
There is, of course, a statistical possibility the Canadiens can sweep the next four against the No. 1 team in the Eastern Conference.
There also is a statistical possibility that you will win the Powerball.
Tough odds, in either case.
So while genuflecting to the patron saints of no-hopers, the 1942 Maple Leafs and the 1975 Islanders, the two NHL playoff teams to ever come back from the abyss, let’s fast-forward to the moment, whenever that might be, that Bruins and Canadiens players shake hands and Boston trudges forward into the second round and Montreal retreats to survey the wreckage of the 100th anniversary season.
from Ian MacIntyre of the Vancouver Sun,
There is no I-can’t-believe-this-is-happening-to-us giddiness around the Canucks as there was only two years ago when Vancouver bolted to a 3-1 first-round series lead against the Dallas Stars.
Even on their romp to the seventh game of the Stanley Cup final in 1994, there was at least as much hopefulness as expectation that the “magical” run would continue.
There is no sense of magic now about the Canucks. This is a good thing.
There are the forwards who have elevated for the playoffs, the deep, robust defence that has no weak link, and there is Roberto Luongo in goal.
The Canucks have mustered the intensity and emotion that are base ingredients in all playoff success, but have also a detached, business-like approach. Nothing personal, they’re just moving on.
from Drew Rememda of the Seagate Broadcaster Blog,
First the Bad News, some things did not change from Game 1. The powerplay is still “0 for.” I believe the Sharks have to make the adjustment on the breakout and into the neutral zone. Better more patient support, using the ice behind and building up speed would be my change, (I know the Coaches are working on solving the entry problems). Puck recovery is also an issue. In the first two games the Ducks PK is outworking the Sharks Powerplay.
Obviously Nabokov needs to be better. I’ve always believed Evgeni to be a top flight goalie but he’s being beat by a rookie netminder. True Nabby has made some big stops, like the breakaway chance by Marchant in Game 2. But if the Sharks are going to get back into the series he can’t let anymore Andrew Ebbett wristers from the goal line in.
It may not be fair but it is accurate.
The BIG GUYS for the Sharks need to deliver….
If you are like me and want as much news about the playoffs, CBC has created the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs Blog and it is worth visiting on a regular basis.
I have been pointing to a few of the posts in recent days and have found them very informative.
If you want you news quickly and to the point, make sure to check out the ‘09 SCPB ( they should have found a shorter name!).
NEW YORK/TORONTO (April 20, 2009) – The lists of the three finalists for each of the NHL’s most prestigious regular-season awards will be announced beginning Wednesday. The 2009 NHL Awards, to be broadcast live from the Pearl Concert Theater inside the Palms Hotel Las Vegas on June 18, 2009 on VERSUS in the United States and CBC in Canada, will bring together the League’s best players, celebrities and other NHL VIPs in celebration of the season’s brightest stars.
from the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs Blog,
Is there anything more tiresome or a greater waste of time than a Mats Sundin scrum? The man moved far more deftly than at any time he’s been on the ice by doging all the questions about his absence in Game 3 and the possibility of him playing Game 4.
He did make one slip however, admitting that in fact he did hurt himself in the third period not the first period (which Alain Vigneault claimed in his post-game news conference Sunday iin what appeared to be a deliberate attempt to mislead people).
“I haven’t spoken to the doctor yet today,” said Sundin after missing the Canuck practice Monday, he believed to have either a groin or hip problem. “We’ll see how it feels tomorrow.”
Given Vancouver is up 3-0 in the series, it’s unlikely he’ll play Tuesday night, for if Vancouver win they will free up at least another week for him to rest whatever ails him to get him ready for the next series
continue for more on the Canucks and Blues…
from Elliotte Friedman of Blogs and Columns at CBC,
A regular game day for the coach of the Montreal Canadiens consists of two separate media availabilities. The first comes after the team skates, and is open to everyone. Gainey sits behind a table and answers questions in both English and French. Sometimes, it takes more than 20 minutes, with two languages, close to 50 reporters and plenty of interest.
According to another journalist, today’s lasted 3:09 - which has to be some kind of record. He wouldn’t reveal his starting goalie, wouldn’t talk about his lineup. He told everyone to “watch the warmup” - which comes 30 minutes before puck drop.
The second briefing is for rights holders only, about two hours before game time. It’s a longer process for the coach of the Canadiens than anyone else in the league. First, you do RDS, the French TV broadcaster. I’m not sure what happens behind that door, but there are about 400 people in the room with him.
Then, it’s back-to-back tapings with CKAC (French radio) and CJAD (English radio). After that, we usually get a couple of minutes to chat.
from Mike Brophy of Sportsnet,
Right now the Ducks are in the show-me stage, but with each passing victory the rest of the playoff teams will begin to take them more seriously. And if they knock off the Sharks, who knows how far they can go. Confidence can be a real driving force.
So while it has been a chaotic year, any team that has Pronger, Niedermayer, Whitney and Francois Beauchemin on defence; Getzlaf, Perry, Ryan, Teemu Selanne, Rob Niedermayer and Todd Marchant up front can’t be all bad.
The Ducks are starting to believe in themselves at the same time the Sharks are suddenly looking for answers. Sounds like the perfect formula for an upset.
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