Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Carol Slezak of the Chicago Sun-Times,
This is my hope for tonight: That the Blackhawks remember what got them to the Western Conference finals. Fearless play. Depth and talent. Resiliency. Confidence. The Hawks seemed to forget all that Sunday. They played too tentatively for much of the game, as if they were in awe of the Red Wings. I want to see them attack the Wings tonight. I want to seem them play with the confidence that got them this far.
Since Sunday’s loss, we’ve heard a lot about how great the Red Wings are. Suddenly, the Wings are unbeatable, a perfect team. And if the Hawks make so much as one mistake against them, they’re doomed. Crazy talk. Some perspective, please. The Wings weren’t even the best team in the conference this season. And they needed seven games to get past the no-longer-mighty Ducks.
from Dan Wood of the Ducks Blog at the OC Register,
While the idea of dealing Pronger for a couple of younger players, say a forward and a defenseman, might have seemed attractive when the Ducks were struggling before the trade deadline, it is now considerably more problematic to envision the club’s blue-line corps minus the 6-foot-6, 214-pound standout.
“I can only handle what happens on the ice and what I do to help the team win,” Pronger said. “Other than that, it’s completely out of my hands.”
Once Niedermayer makes his intentions clear, Murray will be able to deal head-on with other matters, including those involving Pronger, Beauchemin and Wisniewski. It’s still awfully tantalizing to ponder a blue line that includes both Pronger and Niedermayer, a tandem that was the driving force behind the Ducks’ 2007 Stanley Cup championship….
“He’s obviously been a huge part of this team for four years,” Pronger said. “Anybody who can skate like that has a lot of time left. I think it’s whether he has the desire and the passion and the will to play. He’s the only one that can tell you that.”
from Steve Rosenbloom of RosenBlog at the Chicago Tribune,
I have an idea. My plan even follows the John McDonough Ten Commandments, all of which are Thou Shalt Market Everything. So, if we’re going to stick with “One Goal,’’ then make it this: “Hit Nick.’’
As in Nicklas Lidstrom.
More than getting the Zetterberg line out against the Toews line, the Wings want to match up with Norris Trophy hog Lidstrom and speedy but small Brian Rafalski (fits neatly into the overhead compartment). OK. Fine. Then make them pay for it. You have to take an opponent’s strength and make it a weakness.
So, as much as it goes against the talented, creative instincts of Kane and Toews, they need to chip the puck deep, specifically into Lidstrom’s corner. Make him turn around. Make him face the glass. Make him carry the puck so they can hit him.
The Hawks need to punish Slick Nick. He is too cool for the room. A living instructional DVD. The prized piece in the Wings’ traveling Hall-of-Fame exhibit. Lidstrom is everything Duncan Keith ought to want to be when he grows up.
from Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
This is a big-time goaltender, folks.
Like all of ‘em, Fleury gives up a bad goal here and there. It happened in the Washington series and the Philadelphia series before that.
But like only the truly great ones, Fleury makes the huge saves when they mean the most. That’s why you can’t just look at his statistics, which couldn’t match Ward’s coming into the series. Against Philadelphia, the big stop came in the third period of Game 2 when Fleury stopped center Jeff Carter with a fabulous skate save, giving the Penguins a chance to win in overtime. Against Washington, it was stealing the Capitals’ great Alexander Ovechkin blind early in Game 7 with a glove save that led directly to the Penguins’ 6-2 win.
Then, last night.
Fleury was a wall early in a 0-0 game, making great saves on Tuomo Ruutu, Eric Staal, Joe Corvo and Joni Pitkanen during a Carolina power play. He robbed center Chad LaRose in the second period, somehow stopping his backhander after a rebound. And he was big late, diving to make a save that prevented Staal from scoring the tying goal in the final 30 seconds.
from Luke DeCock of the News & Observer,
The Hurricanes lost Erik Cole midway through the third period after Pittsburgh’s Matt Cooke caught him knee-on-knee in front of the Pittsburgh net. Cole played only one shift after that, and an angry Paul Maurice wasn’t happy about the hit afterward.
Asked if he thought it was a knee-on-knee hit, with the implication that it was an illegal one, a curt Maurice said, “Yes, I did. I felt that was, yeah.”
Cole officially has a “lower body” injury, but he clearly hurt his left knee in the collision. Cooke said the contact was accidental.
“He was cutting across the middle,” Cooke said. “I turned sideways to hit him, and he turned the other way. I almost fell over, too.”
continued and watch the hit (1:15 mark) within the video highlights below…
via Tim Sassone of Between The Circles at the Chicago Daily-Herald,
Spent a lot of time Monday around the Red Wings and you come away so impressed with how these guys handle themselves. They are pros, through and through, and it starts with Nicklas Lidstrom, the best leader in the game.
Then you walk down the hall to the Hawks’ dressing room and you get the same feeling. These guys are mostly kids, but they handle themselves in the same professional manner as the Red Wings. That’s why this is a special team, folks. These kids get it and it starts with Jonathan Toews, who already had a Lidstrom-like presence in his room.
Toews is there every day, as captain and spokesman, answering wave after wave of questions from reporters like he’s been doing it 10 years.
In the end, the Hawks might get more out of this series, even if they lose, than they did from beating Calgary and Vancouver. The Hawks want to be the Wings, and they’re going to be someday with a few tweaks here and there. Mark my words.
from Darren Dreger of TSN,
The conversations surrounding Tampa Bay Lightning forward Vincent Lecavalier are likely to heat up as we get closer to July 1, when the no-trade clause on his contract kicks in.
The two teams mentioned most when Lecavalier’s name comes up seem to be the Montreal Canadiens and Los Angeles Kings. With regards to the Kings, defenceman Jack Johnson is one of the players mentioned as possibly being involved in any deal with Tampa.
I had an interesting chat with Barry Smith, who is the head coach of SKA St. Petersburg in the KHL - and he said Johnson’s father, Jack Johnson Sr., contacted St. Petersburg prior to the World Hockey Championship to see if the team would have interest in signing his son to a one-year contract.
Pittsburgh wins 3-2 in a game filled with numerous scoring chances.
It looks like this series could go deep.
from Yvonne Zacharias of the Vancouver Sun,
Crooner Michael Buble is in Los Angeles these days recording a new album set to be released Oct. 15.
But don’t think he hasn’t made time for hockey. The Vancouver native, who is a part owner of the Vancouver Giants, is a huge hockey fan. He watched the Vancouver Canucks in the playoffs, including their 7-5 loss to Chicago in Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinal, at his home in the City of Angels.
Q: What did you think?
A: I was disgusted. I have to take you back to Game 4 with a period left where [Alain] Vigneault stopped sending in two guys and started playing the trap. All year, when everyone kept saying, “Fire the coach!”, I kept saying No, he is a good coach. But every time the Canucks were up by one, he started to employ the trap. We should have won this series. I think the Canucks should have gone home up 3-1 and that would have been that. Instead, I think [Vigneault] tried to play a chess match. I don’t think we were beat by a better team ... I think we were out-coached.
A few months ago I was introduced to Michael’s music and was very impressed, glad to know he is a hockey fan too.
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