Kukla's Korner Hockey
Scott Burnside and Pierre LeBrun of ESPN face this question today,
Counting down to the playoffs, what moves should we expect to see heading into April?
Burnside: Talk about a team that is likewise done like dinner (sorry, Oilers and Sabres fans). Buffalo lost to Atlanta on Wednesday night, the second time it failed to defeat the Thrashers in the past couple of weeks; even though the Sabres earned a point in both cases, the points left on the table will haunt them through the summer.
I don’t sense the same kind of unrest in Buffalo as there seems to be in Edmonton. The Sabres were without Thomas Vanek and Ryan Miller for key parts of the season, but I still don’t think this team has found the leaders in the room to take them over the hump. You’ve mentioned it before: Craig Rivet comes over from San Jose and becomes the team’s captain? Rivet is a terrific guy, but it doesn’t say much for the group that has been in the Sabres’ locker room the past three or four years and hasn’t seen a leader step forward. What do you think, is it time for Ruff? Not to sound like Renney’s agent or anything, but the Sabres are another team that would, I think, thrive under Renney’s tutelage.
LeBrun: Peter Laviolette would be another great fit in Buffalo. But I don’t think Ruff is going anywhere; in my mind, he’s not to blame.
read on for much more…
from Bill Roose of DetroitRedWings.com,
“I just reacted to what happened,” Franzen said. “I made the move and I came in with good speed, so the D had to take a chance. I showed him that I was going in on the right side and I pulled the puck back and tried to go on the left side, but then he stuck his leg out. Before I knew it, I was airborne.”
Even while in the air, Franzen never lost sight of the puck and was able to produce enough energy to unleash a shot that found its way behind the legs of goalie Chris Mason.
“You usually keep focused on the puck even when you’re falling down,” Franzen said. “If you’re down on your knees, you’re still pretty much able to make a play. But I got a good shot away and the puck was laying perfect for me, so I could use the momentum from falling and put that into my shot.”
from Steve Zipay of Blue Notes at Newsday,
“The clouds are following us around, figuratively and literally” said Jim Schoenfeld before he stepped onto the RBC Center ice this morning for a 30-minute practice dominated by power-play drills on both ends of the ice and coach John http://weblogs.newsday.com/sports/hockey/rangers/blog/2009/04/torts_get_job_done_or_were_don.html later calling out his top players to gut it out in the third periods.
“If we don’t,” Tortorella said, “in a week we’re done. We’re done…”
“No one’s off the hook,” Tortorella said after a brief meeting with the team here before leaving for Boston.
Earlier today, a website called FINalternatives reported that “Tom Hicks’ sports team holding company has defaulted on more than $500 million in loans.”
Jim Boardman at Anfield Road provides more info:
The news has clearly come as a surprise to the press in Dallas, who are continuously updating their websites with any information they can get. In The Star Telegram’s report of the story they say Hicks has been in touch by email, denying that the two teams could be repossessed: “There is no possibility of banks owning the teams.”
Hicks said that both the NHL and MLB (the two leagues his Hockey and Baseball teams play in) are helping him to find alternative investment but that he will pay their bills himself in the meantime: “I am working closely with both leagues to find quality partners that share my long term vision of building these two great franchises. I will continue to fund the teams’ operations. I am the largest creditor to HSG and need 51 percent of the banks to agree with my plan.”
Full story here.
from Joe O’Conner of the National Post,
It was not his fault. Not entirely. He did not start it. He was just trying to defend himself from an angry mob of Boston Bruins. They were coming at him in waves: Terrible Teddy Green, Johnny (Pie) McKenzie, Johnny Bucyk and Gerry Cheevers. Everybody. The Boston bench was empty. Even the Bruins fans were coming at him, throwing punches and beers and God knows what else over the glass at the old Boston Garden.
It was hockey mayhem on April 2, 1969. It was the last NHL game Forbes Kennedy would ever play.
added 3:36pm, Thanks to a pointer left in the comments, I have added a video of the start of the incident below…
from Dan Wood of the Ducks Blog,
Ducks right wing Corey Perry laughed.
He said he hadn’t seen last month’s Yahoo! Sports interview with Evgeni Nabokov in which the San Jose Sharks goaltender called Perry a “crybaby.”
“I don’t even care,” Perry said when relayed the details Thursday night after he had scored the lone shootout goal in a 6-5 Ducks triumph over the Vancouver Canucks at GM Place. “I’m not even listening to that. He can say what he wants. It’s — whatever.”
Perry accused Nabokov of kicking him after play had stopped during a 1-0 Sharks victory March 15 at Honda Center. Nabokov denied it, and the NHL announced no supplementary discipline for either player. Perry had cross-checked the back of a prone Nabokov’s legs before the alleged kicking incident.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
The knives are being sharpened in Minnesota these days. The Wild are four points out of playoff spot with five games remaining, including Friday night’s home contest against Calgary. They likely need to win at least four of those to get in.
But the frustration from fans and media in the market is beginning to show. This might be the most interesting offseason in Wild history. But first thing’s first—they’ve still got a shot. They were dynamite in a win at Edmonton last Sunday and got robbed in a 2-1 home loss to Vancouver on Tuesday night. Their level of play is keeping their GM encouraged.
“Even at this late stage, when you’re in our position—out but trying to get in—you still take a lot more comfort in how the team plays,” Doug Risebrough told ESPN.com. “You know time is running out a little bit. But, at the end of the day, you also know that if you ever have a chance, it’s how your team plays. Then you hope the results are there….”
from Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch,
To say that Peca has been pacing himself wouldn’t be entirely fair. The first 70 games of the season matter, too, and he has been a solid player all season.
“Sometimes the seasons get really long,” Peca said. “When you can see a light at the end of the tunnel, and you can see the playoffs are right around the corner, my play has always gotten a lot better.
“I’ve always played in climates where the winters are gray and cold. When it starts to clear up a little bit, I tend to play a little better.”
from Jeff Gordon of Hockey Guy at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
By beating the Red Wings in frantic, hard-fought game Thursday night, the Blues told the world that they are, in fact, a playoff team.
The Blues still must finish well in their final four games, but that 5-4 victory at Detroit was an eye opener for their Western Conference rivals.
The Note had just suffered a tough loss at Chicago. The Red Wings had owned them all season. Detroit coach Mike Babcock leaned on his team, putting great focus on this game.
Everything was stacked against Andy Murray’s squad. The Blues even lost key center Patrik Berglund to injury during the game.
But the Blues won anyway, leaving the Red Wings muttering to themselves.
from Steve Gorten of the Sun-Sentinel,
His portable lab, which goes everywhere Panthers players do, is a trunk about three feet high and two feet wide—with wheels.
That helps because it’s heavy.
Andy O’Brien, the team’s strength and conditioning coach, keeps everything inside the trunk he needs to make his super shakes—different types of proteins, carbohydrates, amino acids, vitamins and herbal supplements in abundant supply.
When he’s done mixing, usually with water and/or Gatorade—the latter adds electrolytes and improves the taste—players have funky-colored concoctions to drink, usually after games and practices.
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.
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