Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Damien Cox of The Spin at the Toronto Star,
So if the Stanley Cup playoffs ended today because Gary Bettman needed to spend more time working with Jim Balsillie, Sidney Crosby would be the Conn Smythe Trophy winner as MVP, right?
There would be other candidates. If Anaheim can sneak past Detroit tonight Jonas Hiller will start to get mentions. If it goes the other way, you can’t ignore goal-machine Johan Franzen. Should Carolina prevail in Boston tonight Eric Staal will be viewed as a big reason behind the Canes’ third conference final appearance in six years. Chicago? Right now, the list of candidates is too long, with youthful captain Jonathan Toews possibly leading the pack.
What two teams will be playing Chicago and Pittsburgh in the Conference Finals?
from George Sipple of the Detroit Free Press,
Hossa is 0-for-3 in his NHL career playing in Game 7 (all three with Ottawa) and said he was “looking forward to turning it around” and advancing this time. He has no goals and two assists in previous seventh games.
“Other games you have a chance, but this—the series is tied and one game you go home or you go further,” Hossa said shortly after the team landed at Metro Airport on Wednesday afternoon. “It’s a huge game. We have to get prepared. You cannot get it in your head.
“It’s an important game, but it’s another game. Just try to win that game because it’s huge.”
Hossa isn’t surprised that the series is coming down to a seventh game. “Both teams are really good and strong and it comes down to the last game,” he said.
from Chip Alexander of the News & Observer,
What’s left to be said? Not a lot. The Hurricanes either win tonight and keep the Stanley Cup in their sights, or they have a bittersweet ending to their season and start facing the speculation about who returns and who won’t for next season.
“It’s Game 7. You want to play in those games,” Staal said. “Obviously, we wanted to finish it off when we could, but it didn’t happen. We look forward to Game 7, look forward to the challenge. You dream of playing in those games growing up as a kid, and it’s going to be fun.”
When they led 3-1 in the series, the Canes talked about theurgency of winning Game 5 andand finishing off the Bruins in Boston.
Now, the common refrain—as if the Canes were trying to convince themselves of it—is that that they gladly would have accepted and embraced a one-game, winner-take-all scenario before the series began against the Eastern Conference’s top seed.
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
Detroit winger Dan Cleary claimed the Ducks “took liberties on certain players that aren’t known to fight,” specifically Datsyuk and defenseman Brian Rafalski. The Ducks felt the Red Wings took liberties with Niedermayer, who has absorbed more than a few cross-checks to the back of the neck and his face.
Asked if the emotions will carry over to today’s game, Cleary hedged. “We’ll see,” he said. “We’ve got to be aggressive on them, got to force them to play good defense, got to be physical on Niedermayer, Getzlaf, Perry, these guys. We’ve got to be hard on them, got to hit them.”
First, they have to catch them. The Ducks’ style is to play an up-tempo game with emotion. Passion alone won’t be enough for them to overcome the Red Wings’ superior skill, but it has given them another chance to prolong a season that appeared nearly dead two months ago.
“Those guys are competitors,” Cleary said. “It’s playoffs. We’re trying to battle for every inch of the ice. You’ve just got to want it more Thursday, that’s all.”
Imagine losing power at 3:00am this morning and the first thing that comes into your mind is how in the heck am I going to watch the game 7’s tonight?
Thankfully power was restored about ten minutes ago and all is well.
I am sure many of the fans who have teams involved in game 7 tonight are trying to make the hands of the clock spin faster. It is a day of anticipation, both in a good and bad way and I hope you are dealing with it in the best way you can.
from Mike Wise of the Washington Post,
Penguins-Capitals was never merely about a tremendous Stanley Cup series showcasing the NHL’s brightest stars going the distance, one full of riveting theater until an abject dud of a Game 7.
No, to the hard-core traditionalists who view most uber-skilled players from overseas as little more than Euro trash, this was about validating their xenophobia.
Sidney Crosby, the quiet farm boy from Nova Scotia, won; his Pittsburgh team is going back to the Eastern Conference finals. Ovechkin, the YouTube demigod who once pretended his stick was on fire after a goal, got his just dessert.
Basically this game was over in the first period.
Too many early turnovers cost the Caps and they never could recover.
This was a great series to watch and sure had the star power to go along with it.
Congrats to both teams.
“Last summer, obviously, I didn’t know whether I was going to play or not and I definitely am going to take my time to make a good decision this summer. Right now, I wouldn’t know what my future is going to be, whether I will play or not.”
-Mats Sundin. More from Brad Ziemer of the Vancouver Sun.
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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