Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Tarik El-Bashir of Capitals Insider,
• Alex Ovechkin and Tom Poti each completed this morning’s practice, but only Ovechkin said definitively that he’ll suit up tomorrow against the Penguins. Poti said he’ll wait until tomorrow morning before making a decision.
• Michael Nylander suffered an upper body injury on Thursday and will miss tomorrow’s game, Coach Bruce Boudreau said.
• Two young women told me on the way into KCI that they plan on distributing 500 pacifiers to fellow Caps fans on the way into Verizon Center tomorrow. I didn’t ask why, but it’s I’m assuming that dummies are meant to mock Pens captain Sidney Crosby…
more on the Caps…
from Joe Haggerty of WEEI,
The 2003-04 Calgary Flames were a rags-to-riches hockey story if ever there was one.
The Flames captured the imagination of a hockey-crazed city when they dragged themselves from a last place divisional finish one season prior to a berth in the Stanley Cup Finals….
Not surprisingly, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli always admired Sutter’s handiwork and the way he crafted that particular Flames team with a mixture of big-hearted grinders and skilled skaters all willing to take an occasional walk on the hockey wild side.
“I certainly liked Daryl Sutter as a person, I liked him as a player and I like him as a GM,” said Chiarelli. “I watched him coach and build teams, and he likes players that are like him. I think those players that he liked and could play for him are also the kind of players that make good Boston Bruins players….”
from Sam McCaig of The Hockey News,
There’s inexperience, and then there’s the New York Islanders.
The franchise that won four consecutive Stanley Cups in the early 1980s - and has since endured a quarter-century of incompetence - looks more like an American League team than an NHL club these days….
Put it this way: How many Islanders players would crack Detroit’s lineup, or San Jose’s or Boston’s? Not very many.
A youth movement is one thing, but every team needs a few veterans to lead the way. What happened to the old guard on the Island?...
The silver lining to Long Island’s losing ways is the NHL entry draft in June. The Isles, seven points behind Atlanta and eight points worse than Tampa Bay, have the inside track on finishing last overall in the league standings.
from Bob Verdi of the Chicago Tribune,
Since 1998, the Hawks have earned only five playoff dates, all in April. They have played only six games in May since 1996. They haven’t lasted until June since 1995, and then they went deep into spring primarily because a lockout delayed the regular season’s start until January.
In other words, there are thousands of people currently flocking to the sold-out United Center who never have been immersed in the buzz of playoff hockey performed by a team that actually can challenge for a Stanley Cup. Playoff hockey is terrific anywhere, but when contested here, it is special, and you can look it up….
These Hawks aren’t a forlorn bunch as were many of the predecessors who were good at everything but their jobs. Those Hawks would have been a great golf team, or billiards team, but come April, all bags were packed. Now, hockey could consume the town next month. It wouldn’t be the first time, only the first time in too long a time.
Shopping done early this morning while dodging the rain drops that will be constant in the Detroit area today.
It should be a great day and night for hockey viewing.
from Mark Everson of the NY Post,
It’s only a slight exaggeration that Martin Brodeur’s comeback has been his career in a nutshell.
Hockey is watching, and everyone else around here should be, too. It’s just not that often we have the “greatest ever” (even if only arguably) on display, night after night, right where we live.
Babe Ruth? Not quite that old. Julius Erving? Hmm, maybe not. Wayne Gretzky? Not his heyday. Niatross? OK, horses don’t count.
It’s 15 seasons now, which means it mostly is behind us, and it’s time to appreciate it while he’s still at the top of his powers.
from Robert Tychkowski of the Edmonton Sun,
The litany of losses that make their fans want to gag are plenty - like Thursday’s 4-2 loss in Ottawa, getting shut out at home by Columbus or losing 8-3 to Detroit, 10-2 to Buffalo and 9-2 to Chicago.
“It seems like when we lose, we lose 5-1, 5-0 - everything goes wrong,” said Ales Hemsky.
“We stop playing. I don’t know, it’s hard to explain. We get down and we have no answer.”
Very rarely have the Oilers been able to reverse the flow of momentum. Even when they have 59 minutes and 48 seconds to do it, like in Ottawa.
from Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post,
The Caps and their fans are not just shocked by the losses, but by the combined 13-5 score, too. In one loss, they gave up six straight goals; in the next game, five in a row and, on Thursday, they trailed 2-0 entering the final minute. The last time the Caps lost three straight in regulation time at home, they fired the coach—last season.
“You can be told a little too often how good you are. I don’t know if ‘cavalier’ is the word, but you can be too cocky at times, not play as hard as you should, be more pretty than gritty,” General Manager George McPhee told me yesterday. Thursday night, he was so frustrated he went into his suite muttering, “I’m going back into my cave.”
Far better to experience such issues now than in April, when you can be dumped out of the playoffs before you have figured out your problems, much less fixed them.
from Curtis Zupke of Ducks Blog at the OC Register,
There was symbolism when Bobby Ryan scored his highlight-reel goal in the third period against Dallas on Friday.
Ryan was playing his first game wearing jersey No. 9. The Ducks gave it to him per club tradition for players who have established themselves. Ryan also happened to have worn the number as a kid in homage to his favorite player: Modano.
The 38-year-old future Hall of Famer smiled when told that last tidbit.
“It gives you an idea of how long you’ve been around,” Modano said. “It’s kind of neat to see that he did that.
“He’s going to be a fun kid to watch. It seems like he’s going to have a great career. Great skill, great hands. Obviously, on that second goal he made a great move. It lets you know you’re kind of getting up there.”
read on and watch the highlight goal below…
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
If it’s impossible to know what the Rangers truly have surrendered for 18 regular-season games of Antropov, it’s nearly as difficult to know what Leafs GM Brian Burke sent Glen Sather’s way at Wednesday’s deadline, because Antropov has long been one of the NHL’s biggest mysteries, aside from his 6-foot-6 frame.
Tomorrow afternoon should provide a clue about what the Rangers have when Antropov goes against Boston’s 6-foot-9 Zdeno Chara at the Garden in one of those nationally televised games that have been habitual debacles for Broadway’s team.
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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