Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
At the risk that Cam Ward could get into their heads, the Bruins tonight will perform their own exploratory surgery on the talented Carolina goalie. For starters, they’ll get in his face.
If that doesn’t work, they’ll take aim on some of the goalie’s other body parts with their intimate, probing work around the net. We would divulge more saucy details here, but for the sake of a family readership, we can only tell you so much about how the Bruins intend to break the 1-1 series deadlock, and Ward’s mesmerizing spell, when they meet the Hurricanes tonight in Raleigh, N.C., in Game 3 of their second-round playoff series.
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
Jim Balsillie is well on his way to becoming the dumbest, most stubborn, successful entrepreneur around.
How else to explain his latest hockey outburst—his clumsy, all-too-public attempt to bully the National Hockey League into allowing him to purchase the now-bankrupt Phoenix Coyotes franchise and move it to southern Ontario.
If all he is attempting here is to find his name in the headlines, he is certainly accomplishing that.
But if he honestly believes he can pull an end-run on commissioner Gary Bettman, secure an NHL franchise, move it, and use a public website to drum up support for a seventh Canadian franchise, then he is either getting terrible advice or he is simply fond of banging his head against the wall. Because that’s all he can accomplish here. This is a war he may not be able to win.
from Steve Rosenbloom of RosenBlog at the Chicago Tribune,
True fact: The Hawks have played 180 minutes vs. the Canucks. They have trailed Vancouver for 112:39 of that.
The Hawks had a big crowd and a lot of momentum coming home tied in the series. Even better, they got an early power play. But they would manage only one good chance, and really, that would be it for the period.
The Canucks, meanwhile, withstood the usual 10-minute onslaught the Hawks throw at teams in the United Center, and then they took control of the game.
Sorry, but it shouldn’t have happened. Not this way. Not at home. Not after a terrorizing comeback in Game 2.
Worse, the Hawks didn’t just lose Game 3, they gave it away, making a couple awful plays that led to Vancouver’s first two goals.
from Bob McKenzie of TSN,
The first thing you need to know is that NHL commissioner Gary Bettman was in Phoenix today, ostensibly to put the finishing touches on an intent to purchase agreement from Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, whose intention was to apparently keep the financially-troubled Coyotes in their current home of Glendale, which is also home to Reinsdorf’s spring-training baseball facility (a mile away from the Coyotes’ Jobing.com Arena). That offer was expected to materialize within the next few days.
We don’t know a lot about the Reinsdorf deal but suffice to say it likely wasn’t in the $212.5 million range….
The NHL, meanwhile, is likely to battle Balsillie on the issue of ‘‘control.’’ While the league will get destroyed in the court of public opinion in Canada, it is quite likely to exert what it perceives to be its legal rights on how it does business. That is, the league believes it ultimately controls who owns NHL franchises and where they are located.
To do that, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman will ultimately require the backing of the board of governors, but he has had it in the past. It remains to be seen whether he has it this time, but this has all the makings of a battle royale.
from Damien Cox of The Spin at the Toronto Star,
On the play, Scott Niedermayer made a horrible misplay under pressure behind the Anaheim net, and the puck skittered in front into Hiller’s crease. The Anaheim goalie sprawled awkwardly but never came close to covering the puck, which rolled into the blue paint inches from the goal line.
Marian Hossa tapped it in from there, but not before Watson, inexplicably, had blown his whistle on what could charitably have been called a quick whistle even if Hiller had successfully covered the puck.
That will leave a sour taste in the mouths of the defending champs, who are now in some degree of danger in the second round of the post-season against a tough, rough-and-ready Anaheim team that is getting just enough offence out of its top players while squeezing the top Detroit attackers.
Hossa has been nearly absent, while MVP finalist Pavel Datsyuk has yet to score in the series against Hiller, who has 104 saves in the last two games, both Ducks victories.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
They brought in the legendary Hall Of Famer Bobby Hull for the ceremonial opening faceoff. They filled the United Center with 22,659 screaming fans, brought to their feet by Jim Cornelison’s stirring rendition of the national anthems. They came ready to celebrate the Chicago Blackhawks’ next step down the NHL playoff path.
Then ... nothing.
The Vancouver Canucks spoiled the party with a methodical and defensively sound performance last night, grinding out a 3-1 win over the Blackhawks and a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven Western Conference quarter-final, with Game 4 set for tomorrow night.
Scott Niedermayer’s power-play goal 8:16 into the second period proved to be the winner as the Anaheim Ducks prevailed 2-1 over the Detroit Red Wings in Game 3 of their Western Conference semifinal on Tuesday night.
Marian Hossa of the Red Wings looked to have forced overtime with 65 seconds remaining, but a hasty whistle negated the tying goal.
continued (game recap)
video added 1:43am...
via Al Balderas of Ducks Blog at the OC Register,
Wisniewski was elbowed in the mouth by Tomas Holmstrom at about the same time he blocked Pavel Datsyuk’s shot with his chest. Wisniewski was taken to UCI Medical Center (because of the shot to his chest) for precautionary reasons. He left the game on a stretcher, bleeding from his mouth (because of the elbow).
Not really sure if I agree with that description.
added 8:24am, After tests tonight at UCI Medical Center in Orange County, Ducks defenseman James Wisniewski has been diagnosed with a lung contusion. He will remain overnight at the hospital as a precautionary measure and is doing well.
Just to up the ante, Balsillie should offer to give 10% of the Coyotes to Gretzky (who coaches the team), locate the team in Brantford—driving distance from Hamilton, Kitchener, Waterloo and west-end Toronto—and name the arena after Walter. Then watch Bettman squirm.
-Kelly McParland of the National Post when writing about the Phoenix situation. More from Kelly….
added 9:57pm, from Scott Bordow of the East Valley Tribune,
...the Coyotes might have stood some chance of survival had they put a competitive team on the ice. Fans will brave rush hour traffic to see a winner. But it’s been seven years since the Coyotes were in the playoffs, and they never won a postseason series. By the end, only die-hard hockey fans were venturing to the arena, and there aren’t enough of those in the Valley to support a team.
For that, Wayne Gretzky has to take responsibility. He was supposed to bring a Stanley Cup to Phoenix, but he surrounded himself with cronies and yes men and turned out to be a mediocre coach. His reputation will survive — he’s still the greatest player ever — but when the eulogy is given, he won’t be spoken highly of.
added 10:52pm, from Scott Morrison of CBC,
According to NHL governors, the league is still very much of the opinion that you cannot join the league or move a franchise without league approval. So that smells like a major court battle ahead if everything unfolds as such.
Will the league want to welcome Balsillie? Presumably they will watch to see if any other bidders step up and with a lease in place in Glendale, a judge might opt for less of a bid if it means keeping the team. Or not.
The judge’s ultimate goal is to try to get as much money for the secured and unsecured creditors as possible. So far Balsillie is offering the best deal amongst proposals discussed.
added 10:54pm Balsillie met with the media tonight. Read a transcript at the Globe and Mail.
from Roy MacGregor of the Globe and Mail,
Children love his absolute joy of playing. They love the leap into the boards after every goal. They love the new Hip Bump with which 23-year-old Ovechkin and young 21-year-old Nicklas Backstrom celebrate victories. They loved Ovechkin’s clown getup for the shooting competition at the all-star game. And they loved his stick-on-fire routine following his 50th goal of the season.
Don Cherry attacked Ovechkin for this on Coach’s Corner, and the support for Ovechkin’s bringing a little delight to the game was so overwhelming that, in subsequent weeks, Cherry backed off and even began praising the Russian star.
Ovechkin is not only good for the game, he is becoming the game, just as only Gretzky has done previously.
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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