Kukla's Korner Hockey
via John Kreiser of NHL.com,
Anaheim (88 points) last played Sunday and has spent four days watching other teams get points. The Ducks finally hit the ice again Friday night, when Dallas comes to the Honda Center, then finish Saturday at Phoenix. Anaheim is seventh, ahead of St. Louis and Nashville, because it has won two more games than the Blues and played fewer games than the Predators.
St. Louis (88 points) has been off since Tuesday’s 5-1 win at Phoenix, which put them into eighth place—they’ve played one fewer game than Nashville. The Blues host Columbus on Friday and finish the season Sunday at Colorado, the last-place team in the West.
Nashville (88 points after a 4-3 shootout win at Detroit) stayed alive with a gritty, come-from-behind win in one of the NHL’s toughest buildings. The Predators are the first team in the League to finish their season, and must win Friday at Minnesota—then hope St. Louis and/or Anaheim cooperate.
Minnesota (85 points) is alive—but barely. The Wild have to win both of their remaining games—at home Friday against Nashville and Saturday at Columbus—and hope for losses by the teams in front of them.
from Jason Kay of The Hockey News,
Perhaps I’m just being wistful, a selective recall kicking in, making a bygone era seem more romantic than it really was, but I’d love to see a return to the divisional playoff format.
Eric Duhatschek weighs in on this in the next issue of The Hockey News and it’s an opinion I’ve shared for a few years: the blood feuds of the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s were the products of repeated post-season meetings and geographical proximity and nearly always seemed epic. The Battles of Alberta and Quebec; Rangers-Islanders; St. Louis-Chicago; Boston-Montreal still resonate.
Granted, with more teams in the league, the frequency of re-matches would diminish, but they’d still occur more often than they do today under a revised system….
from John Bishop of BostonBruins.com,
Despite his CHC pedigree, there’s no doubt that most members of the Boston Bruins organization would agree that compliments from Bob Gainey go a long way.
After the B’s 5-4 overtime victory over his Montreal Canadiens, Gainey, Montreal’s general manager and head coach, dolled out several puck bags full of respect for the Black & Gold
“It was a great game,” said Gainey. “I think, you have to give the Bruins credit—they came to play.
“They wanted to play hard. They brought all their tools with them. They were emotional. They were desperate and they’re a good team. They are in first place for a reason,” he said.
However, he was right about another thing: his Habs are not going to quit.
And, clearly, now that le bleu, blanc et rouge are in the playoffs, the standings simply don’t matter.
continued and check out the highlights of the game below…
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
Nash scored the tying goal late in the third on Wednesday, his fifth in five games, to once more underscore his importance to the Columbus franchise. But while he’ll now finally get to play in a Stanley Cup playoff game, the elephant in the room is that he has one more year on his contract at $7 million before becoming an unrestricted free agent.
Talks will begin this summer, and it should be obvious to Columbus GM Scott Howson after watching the Marian Gaborik episode play out in Minnesota and the Jay Bouwmeester situation crystallize in Florida that if the Jackets don’t have a deal with Nash done by September, there’s an excellent chance he won’t be re-signing at all.
If that’s the case, the smart play may be to trade him before next season even starts.
He’s from Brampton, so the connection to the Maple Leafs has been made repeatedly. Analysts suggest he’ll come in somewhere between Henrik Zetterberg’s $7.5 million salary and Alex Ovechkin’s $9 million on one of those whopper long-term deals, so this is his shot at a career contract. The Jackets, however, lost about $12 million last season and are probably deeper in the hole now, with playoff revenue set to possibly improve that figure.
If the Wings couldn’t muster enough fire in their bellies to take out the Predators, they sure as hell better be ready to do nothing less than sweep the self-proclaimed gifts to hockey called the Blackhawks this weekend, and they’d better be ready to do so by beating the puck out of them one shift and one battle at a time.
In the playoffs, there’s no room for mercy or politeness. You either beat your opponent to a bloody pulp or they do the same to you, and if you can kick them when they’re down, you do so, skate on. The Red Wings got “punked” tonight, and they need to take the sting they’re feeling and allow it to rekindle some punkish snarl somewhere within the depths of their hockey-playing souls.
-George James Malik of SnapShots. Read more from George.
from the Tennessean, “
We stayed alive,” Predators Coach Barry Trotz said. “That’s pretty good. Coming back when you’re down 3-1 (in the third period) to the Detroit Red Wings.”...
The Preds’ “tragic number’’ remains at three — meaning any combination of points gained by St. Louis or squandered by Nashville totaling three — will leave the Predators behind the Blues in the final Western Conference standings.
from Michael Russo of Russo’s Rants,
As you know, to have a chance, the Wild must win its final two games. However, now, the Wild MUST win in regulation against Nashville or its playoff chances are really, really, really in even more trouble than it is now
Here’s why: If Friday’s game goes to overtime, it means Nashville gets a point — or 89 points. The Preds already have 40 wins, meaning even if the Wild won its final two games with Friday being in overtime, it would finish with 40 wins.
Then it would go head-to-head. If the Wild wins in overtime, the Wild would be 2-2 vs. Nashville for four out of eight points. However, Nashville would be 2-1-1 against the Wild for five out of eight points, and thus would win the tiebreaker.
What does this mean? If the game’s tied with say a minute left in regulation Friday night, coach Jacques Lemaire might have to consider pulling the goalie for an extra attacker to keep it from going to overtime.
more on the Wild…
from Adrian Dater of All Things Avs, .
..But, listen, I’m probably going to choke up a little at the Joe Sakic retirement press conference - one that I expect to happen at some point soon.
I predicted all through last summer that Sakic would play this year. And I’m predicting now that Sakic will retire after this, his 20th season. And, as I’ve said before, I do hope I’m wrong. But I don’t think I will be.
Anyway, the news tonight was that Captain, our Captain, can’t play this weekend. We had all sorts of fun scenarios for this weekend.
added 8:52am, Joe Sakic was asked if he would be back this weekend, watch his response below.
Both Florida and Buffalo were eliminated tonight. Of course, a few positions can change, but these are your eight teams in the playoffs for the Eastern Conference.
Boston, Washington and New Jersey are the division winners.
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