Kukla's Korner Hockey
from John Glennon of the Tennessean,
Asked if Radulov expressed regret for leaving the Predators in a difficult situation last July, Poile paused before answering.
“I think he has a hard time understanding our position when somebody else was offering him an improved situation,’’ Poile said. “Just like I believe that if he wants to come back — regardless of the fact he signed a multiyear contract there — I don’t believe he thinks it’s a problem coming back.’’
Poile told Radulov that if he did return to Nashville, he’d still need to complete his final contracted season at a base salary of $984,000. Under the NHL’s collective bargaining agreement, teams cannot rework an entry-level deal. Radulov would become a restricted free agent when that deal expires.
“So that’s where we are,’’ Poile said. “It’s up to him to make the next move.’’
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
How Pittsburgh can win
1. Crosby and Malkin … two is bigger than one
The three big boys in this series—Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Alex Ovechkin—have more than delivered the goods, combining for 31 points in the series. But let’s do the math. Can the Caps’ Ovechkin win a game by himself? Yes, he can. But if Ovechkin, Crosby and Malkin all bring their A-games Wednesday night, it should give the Penguins an edge, given the additional pressure on the Capitals’ defenders and rookie netminder Simeon Varlamov….
How Washington can win
1. The one-man wrecking crew
Yes, we know it’s a team game, blah, blah, blah. But as much as Crosby has been a dynamic force in driving the Penguins forward and overcoming obstacles, Ovechkin has been the same kind of figure on the other side of the ice.
via the Detroit News,
Tuesday night’s Detroit-Anaheim NHL playoff game was the fifth-most watched Red Wings telecast in the 12-year history of Fox Sports Detroit.
The game drew a 13.5 rating in Metro Detroit (260,145 households), making it the most-watched show in the market on Tuesday night. The top four:
1. Red Wings vs. Ducks, Fox Sports Detroit (13.5 rating)
2. American Idol, FOX (13.2)
3. The Biggest Loser, NBC (10.2)
4. Dancing With the Stars, ABC (9.6)
Not bad for a game that started after 10:00pm ET.
...hard answer. Who wins tonight?
from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,
...The irony, then, is that the Canucks will have to trade Luongo in order to build a team that would be good enough to win with Luongo.
Think about it for a minute. It’s now apparent the Canucks have more holes in their lineup than Luongo can fill. Their defence was exposed against the Blackhawks as too slow and too conservative. They need scoring. They could also use more size. And speed.
Trading Luongo would not only bring in some prized assets for the organization, it could free up the capital to make a run at a Jay Bouwmeester and make it easier to sign the Sedins.
Granted, this means turning the goaltending over to young Cory Schneider and a veteran of some description, and that means you won’t get what Luongo gives you on a night-in, night-out basis.
Then again, if the rest of your team is good enough, you won’t need lights-out goaltending every night.
from Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press,
He needs to step up in Game 7 now the way stars step up in big games, the way Ryan Getzlaf somehow shook off whatever was bugging him the last two games to lead the way Tuesday for Anaheim, the way Hiller shook off being yanked in Game 4 and soundly beaten in Game 5 to stop all but one shot in Game 6 when facing elimination.
Let’s state the obvious. Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg are the Yzerman and Shanahan of this team now, and while no one will fault their effort, what counts in a Game 7, the only thing that counts, are results. Johan Franzen has done his part. Chris Osgood is doing his. The defensemen, for the most part, are doing theirs.
from Gene Collier of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
The 2009 Eastern Conference semifinals have had more layers than a Russian novel and nearly as many novel Russians.
Crosby and Ovechkin have been brilliant, Evgeni Malkin and Alexander Semin richly compelling, and the bad blood and political rhetoric have been flowing consistently in just the right dosages, not too bitter, not too mild.
Does it have to end tonight?
Fans of both hockey clubs, could they be absent their passion for five seconds, might find meaning in the ancient Jackson Browne lyric finally poked into the pop culture net by Glenn Frey:
We may lose and we may win, though we will never be here ag’in.
added 9:07am, from Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post,
So tonight, into the specter of Washington Game 7s, enter Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby, the stars of the Capitals and the Pittsburgh Penguins, respectively. As good as this Eastern Conference semifinal series has been—and, impossibly, “it’s lived up to the hype,” Washington forward Brooks Laich said—it is only tonight when it can cement itself as one of the best and most riveting events in Washington sports history.
“It’s what’s going to make these guys great,” Capitals Coach Bruce Boudreau said. “It’s going to make them remembered. No one’s going to remember who lost Game 7. But they’ve got the ability to—and I told them yesterday—to create history again.”
from Sean Gregory of Time,
What a dream series for the NHL. The league’s two best players, Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals and Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins, are going goal for goal, assist for assist, in an Eastern Conference semifinal series headed for a deciding Game 7 Wednesday night. In Game 2, a captivating 4-3 Capitals win, both guys scored hat tricks. Five of the games have been decided by one goal, and three have gone into overtime.
It’s a once-in-a-decade duel — the kind of rare treat that somehow exceeds the hype. So tonight, tune into channel 603, and catch the last game of an instant classic.
That’s right: channel 603, square in television’s Yukon Territory. Since the hockey playoffs are on Versus, formerly known as the Outdoor Life Network, viewers in many markets will have to search the hinterland of channel listings in order to watch the games….
Due to Versus’ limited carriage and penalty box position on many channel lineups, what should be a transcendent series for hockey in America is barely cracking mainstream consciousness. Versus has carried all of the Penguins-Caps series except for Game 1, which NBC broadcast on May 2, and has averaged 1.04 million viewers, according to the Nielsen Company. The series is drawing a smaller audience than last year’s College Baseball World Series, on ESPN, when it averaged 1.4 million viewers.
As I have mentioned in the past, hockey fans will watch, casual sports fans, those that click the remote trying to find a game, will not watch. Not many people have Versus in their ‘favorites’ list and it is too bad, they will be missing a great game tonight.
from Red Fisher of the Montreal Gazette,
Where does it begin with the Blackhawks, who have turned it around in one season? Was it when they replaced head coach Denis Savard with Joel Quenneville only four games into the season? The only thing wrong with that decision was that it should have been made during the offseason to avoid embarrassing Savard, one of Chicago’s truly great stars as a player.
How much did the hiring of a chap named Scotty Bowman as a consultant help? My guess is his counsel contributed greatly.
Scotty always has been very good at avoiding the spotlight when he isn’t the guy in charge, but he’s a wise old bird who always has been free with his opinion on all matters, even when it isn’t sought. The camera caught him often during the series with Vancouver sitting in a private box alongside Chicago GM Dale Tallon, and you can be sure the latter’s ears were left ringing after every game.
from Damine Cox of the Toronto Star,
It was not a good day for Jim Balsillie’s public relations offensive.
First, sources indicated yesterday that Wayne Gretzky is “supportive” of the plan presented by Chicago sports czar Jerry Reinsdorf to buy the Phoenix Coyotes and keep them in Arizona. Gretzky would stay with the team as head coach under the ownership of a group of investors headed by Reinsdorf that would conditionally offer an estimated $130 million (U.S.) for the troubled Phoenix club.
Second, despite North American economic conditions some suggest are the worst since the Great Depression, Balsillie is reportedly seeking more than $120 million (Cdn.) in federal and provincial handouts to renovate Hamilton’s Copps Coliseum if he can purchase the Coyotes out of bankruptcy and bring them north.
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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