Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Terry Frei at ESPN,
One of the great aspects of covering hockey for so long is I’ve gotten to make so many trips to Canada. At first, I felt almost as awestruck as James Cook, John Cabot or Samuel de Champlain must have been in their explorations. By now, it’s old hat, yet still invigorating.
When it comes to hockey, for many reasons, the more Canadian teams involved in the Stanley Cup playoffs, the better. A Montreal-Calgary final would be a blast.
It’s energizing and contagious when the playoff chase involves Canadians, who have favorite-team emotional stakes in the proceedings, rather than more dispassionate fans of the sport and individual players, but not the teams themselves.
from Scott Morrison of Viewpoint at CBC,
The Pittsburgh Penguins are for real. Very much for real, actually.
And in a conference in which any of the eight teams that ultimately make the playoffs have a reasonably good chance of going all the way to the final - where they will lose to the Western Conference winner, of course - there are signs that perhaps the Penguins are just a little better than the rest.
Now, that isn’t entirely born out statistically, given they are tied with the Montreal Canadiens for first overall and have been playing at roughly the same clip for the past dozen or so games.
from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,
With all due respect to Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin, the true real MVPs in the NHL these days are guys like Tim Burke in San Jose, or Jim Nill in Detroit or David Conte in New Jersey and others who shepherd scouting staffs on premium teams.
When the salary cap was introduced, the league was supposed to be about younger free agents moving from team to team.
Instead, it’s probably more about scouting and drafting than it has ever been.
from Adrian Dater of the Denver Post,
Because of the NCAA Frozen Four at the Pepsi Center, the Avs will start a first-round series on the road, even if they win the division and gain home-ice advantage - still a possibility. For that to happen, the Avs will need to beat Minnesota in regulation Sunday in their season finale, and have Calgary win in regulation tonight against the Wild but then lose to Vancouver in the Flames” final game.
Giguere said a schedule hasn’t been finalized with the NHL should the above happen, but most likely the Avs would have a 2-3-1-1 format, with a seventh game at the Pepsi Center.
from Pierre LeBrun at Sportsnet,
I’ve gone on record a few times on Hockeycentral saying I don’t think the Canadiens have enough experience to go deep into the playoffs. And yet, I’ve got this unshakable feeling about this team ... like something special is going on here.
First of all, the Eastern Conference is wide open. There is no San Jose or Anaheim or Detroit in the East. Just a bunch of good teams. There isn’t a team in the East where if Montreal beat them in the playoffs you would call it an actual upset.
Then you’ve got this rookie goaltender Carey Price, who seems to fight off a yawn at the most critical moment of a game. He’s that calm.
from College Hockey News,
Justin Abdelkader, the Most Outstanding Player of the 2007 Frozen Four for Michigan State, has decided to forgo his final year of college eligibility, signing an amateur tryout agreement with the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings.
Abdelkader, a second-round pick of the Red Wings in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft (42nd overall), could play this evening when Detroit plays Columbus.
“It’s an amazing feeling to realize my dream of being a Red Wing, and I would like to thank the Detroit organization,” Abdelkader said in a statement.
added 11:47am, via Mlive,
The move was made because the team is short on forwards, as Kirk Maltby suffered a hamstring injury in Wednesday’s game.
Wings assistant general manager Jim Nill said the team is close to signing Abdelkader to a three-year entry level contract. A deal must be done by Saturday for Abdelkader to be eligible for the playoffs.
from John Kreiser of NHL.com,
The history of the Stanley Cup Playoffs is filled with the stories of players having the postseason equivalent of a career year—a springtime in which everything went right.
Here are 12 players whose performances in a single spring are still memorable.
First Team: Goaltender
Richard Brodeur, Vancouver, 1982—Brodeur was a late-round draft pick by the New York Islanders in 1972 who opted to stay home and play for the Quebec Nordiques of the World Hockey Association.
from the Sun-Sentinel,
And now with the Panthers guaranteed to miss the playoffs for the seventh straight season, Jokinen knows that when he does make it, if ever, he will have waited longer than anyone in NHL history.
Panthers assistant coach Guy Charron, who played for four franchises during his 12 NHL seasons (1969-1981), is No. 1 all-time in most NHL games played (734) without a playoff game, according to the Elias Sports Bureau….
“It’s definitely not a record you want to hold,” Jokinen said. “The last few years at the deadline, I had a chance to go somewhere if I had opened my mouth and said, ‘I want to move.’ But nothing has changed. I want to win here.”
from the Chicago Tribune,
The Hawks are off Thursday night and will be rooting for the Blues. Even if the Predators fall to the Blues, the Hawks still need to win their remaining two games—Friday night at home against Nashville and Sunday in Detroit—and have Vancouver lose one of its final two games to reach their first postseason since 2002.
“Hopefully St. Louis can give us a win [Thursday night] and that game Friday night would mean something,” Kane said. “It would be unbelievable to play in a game like that with playoffs on the line and our playoff hopes remain in [our] hands.”
read on for more on the Chicago win over Detroit…
from the Tennessean,
Wins tonight and Friday mean the Predators, to the surprise of many, would advance to the playoffs for a fourth straight season. Nashville can also advance without two wins but would have to rely on outside help.
“It’s a great story,’’ said ESPN hockey analyst Barry Melrose, who picked the Predators to finish 11th in the Western Conference this season. “It’s a tribute to the organization that they were able to overcome the losses of those players. They certainly could have folded. They had excuses. They could have said, ‘We don’t have a chance,’ and ‘Poor, poor us.’
“But they continued to battle and continued to battle. Now their playoff destiny is in their own hands.’‘
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 firstname.lastname@example.org