Kukla's Korner Hockey
friom Chuck Gormley of the Courier Post,
“At some point, we’re going to have to win a game here and (tonight) sounds like a good opportunity,” Laviolette said.
To do that, the Flyers believe they need to have more jump at the start of the game and apply more pressure on the Bruins’ defensemen on the forecheck.
Despite six high-tempo practices last week, the Flyers came out flat-footed against the Bruins on Saturday and were outshot 15-8 and outscored 2-0 in the first period.
“They caught us off guard,’ Flyers right wing Claude Giroux said.
from Matthew Sekeres of the Globe and Mail,
Byfuglien and the Blackhawks acknowledge that they need to disrupt an on-his-game Luongo more in Game 2 of their Western Conference semi-final on Monday, but the way that NHL officials are calling goaltender interference in the playoffs makes that more difficult.
“I think it’s a little stupid that they’re calling it so strict now that it’s playoffs,” Byfuglien said. “Even in other series, I know they’ve called a few guys for just standing there.”
Byfuglien, who weighs nearly 250 lbs., said he has been called for interference because he is simply a big body, but added that, in totality, the officials have been fair with him. But whether the Blackhawks power forward, who might move to defence, has occasion to pitch a tent in Luongo’s crease is a matter of some doubt heading into Game 2.
from David Pollak of Working the Corners at the Mercury News,
Taking all this questioning of the officiating seriously, I sat down on the couch around midnight and went through the game, fast-forwarding to each infraction.
Frankly, it looked like there were a couple dubious calls that went against the Red Wings, both involving Todd Bertuzzi.
His goalie interference call was marginal. The “holding” call involving Marc-Edouard Vlasic? Holding? If anything Bertuzzi might have tripped him, but frankly it didn’t look like there was even that. When a reporter asked Vlasic afterward if he might have simply lost an edge, the defenseman got a little defensive: “Did it look like I lost an edge?” Let’s just say the interview veered off in another direction.
But overall? The three most egregious calls (or non-calls) of the night went against the Sharks. (Feel free to question objectivity, of course, but I’m just calling ‘em as I see ‘em in this case).
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
What’s happened to the Red Wings? Anyone who was in attendance last Tuesday night in Glendale, Ariz., would have been swayed for the rest of the playoffs by the perennial contenders. The way they dismantled the Coyotes and added to their NHL-best record since the Olympics, it was hard not to pick them to beat San Jose. And yet, here they are down 2-0 in a series for the first time since 2003, when they were swept by the Anaheim Ducks. Did the Wings overtax themselves in the second half of the regular season trying to dig out of a hole just to make the playoffs? Are they out of gas after being stretched to seven games by Phoenix? Or is there another gear left in their game? We bet on the latter. This series isn’t over yet.
more playoff topics…
from Mark Kelley at CBC,
It’s Canada vs. Canada. As two Canadian teams advance to the second round of the NHL playoffs, who should the country be cheering for? The Vancouver Canucks or the Montreal Canadiens?
We’re asking hockey fans to record a video, explaining which team deserves Canada’s support. West Coast or East Coast? Blue and green or blue and red? The team with zero Stanley Cups or the team with 24?
from the Chicago Sun-Times,
A hockey fan from Vancouver is facing more than five minutes for fighting.
Grant Rowe, 27, of West Haro Street in Vancouver, was arrested after Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs second-round series between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Vancouver Canucks Saturday night after allegedly punching a United Center security guard in the mouth on the Near West Side, police said.
Rowe was charged with misdemeanor battery after being arrested at 10:05 p.m. Saturday at 1901 W. Madison St., according to police.
from Gary Peterson of the Oakland Tribune,
“I thought we played well all night,” Thornton said. “We were moving our feet. When you move your feet, you get the calls.”
The Red Wings seemed to think there was a more sinister explanation, but there’s no denying the effort that went into the Sharks’ scoring chances, the goals themselves, and the defensive push that thwarted the Red Wings’ desperate attempts to tie the game in the final few minutes.
“It’s good to get rewarded,” said Pavelski, who has six goals in the Sharks’ past three games. “Everybody’s on the same page and battling.”
Now that the Sharks have demonstrated the ability to arm-wrestle a game back under control, they’ll have to prove they can keep doing it. The Red Wings aren’t likely to change their style, especially going back to Detroit for Games 3 and 4.
“Their best game will be the next game,” Blake said.
The Sharks have been saying that for two games now. And for two games, Detroit’s best game hasn’t been good enough.
from Jack Todd of the Montreal Gazette,
Ali is old and tired. The self of his former shadow, as Michael Farber put it. But he’s also the smartest fighter who ever lived: He ropes, and he dopes, and when Foreman is so tired of beating on Ali that he can hardly lift his arm, Ali starts to throw brilliant combinations.
The rest you know. Rope-a-dope works, in hockey as it does in boxing. For it to work, however, you need a great goaltender. Not a good goalie, a great one.
And the Canadiens just might have that goalie. The thoroughbred, it turns out, was right under our noses all along. And I’m not talking about Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver.
Meet Jaroslav Halak, the relatively slight, unassuming Slovak who will turn 25 in 10 days. The man the Canadiens have tried to consign to a backup role. The outsider who has fought through every prejudice to become a dominating goalie.
from Phil Sheridan of the Philadelphia Inquirer,
Ninety-nine percent of the time, a player in Briere’s spot would dump the puck into the Boston zone or, at most, skate it in and pull up to wait for friendlies to join him. But Briere suddenly sped up, skated between the Bruins, fired a backhand shot and then flipped his own rebound past Tuukka Rask for the goal that sent the game into overtime.
So if Briere is capable of such artistry, why doesn’t he do it more often? The answer is complex and sheds light on the psychology of players rising to the occasion in big games.
And Briere does that. He has a long history of playoff success, even if he sometimes seems to get lost for stretches during the regular season.
“He certainly has a special set of skills,” Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said. “He’s a gifted player, and those players have every opportunity to make a difference.”
read on and watch the goal below…
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
The assessment of many prior to these playoffs was that this would be the final litmus test for several Sharks, primarily Thornton and Marleau. Instead, what we may be finding out is that what those two needed wasn’t necessarily more big game prowes. Maybe they just needed help.
So we’ll see this week at The Joe. The Wings will want Game 3 and then hope that puts in the minds of the Sharks the memories of blown playoffs past. But home ice hasn’t been especially kind to Mike Babcock’s group so far in the post-season, and its worth noting their best performance to date came in Game 7 against Phoenix out in the desert.
Now, they’ve got an opponent that’s tired of being the butt of everyone’s joke. That can be a powerful thing.
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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