Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
Well, aren’t you glad the Washington Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin played last night? Didn’t that make the Penguins’ 4-3 overtime win that much more fun? Isn’t it better to beat him in his own house and put his team on the edge of playoff elimination than to do it with him serving a suspension and giving the Capitals some sort of lame excuse?...
“Definitely, it’s better,” Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik said in the immediate, joyous aftermath of teammate Evgeni Malkin’s winning goal, just 3:28 into the extra session.
It was pretty clear all of the Penguins thought that way after this throbbing Game 5 win, their third victory in four nights in the series. It gave them a three games-to-two edge and the chance to turn out the lights on the Capitals’ season in Game 6 tomorrow night at Mellon Arena.
Much work remains to be done, of course.
Much, much work.
from Dave Feschuk of the Toronto Star,
When the Red Wings, Canucks and Bruins swept first-round playoff series, their fans were presumably thrilled. Paul Kelly, the executive director of the NHL players’ union, was not.
“We were a little bit troubled to see three sweeps,” Kelly told the FAN 590 last week. “From our standpoint, from a business perspective ... we like to see six- and seven-game series.”
These ears, and call them overly sensitive, were troubled to hear one of the game’s most influential power brokers advertising his wish for longer post-season series. Yet there was Kelly in Washington last Monday, before Game 2 of the second-round beauty between the Capitals and Penguins, making no bones about his wish to see the Penguins tie the series 1-1, no matter what his cheerleading might suggest.
“If the suggestion is somehow you’re telling players to blow games to extend series, number one we would never say that, we’re not saying that, and even if we did say that, players would ignore us. I mean, these guys are out to win,” Kelly said the other day. “I’m stating the obvious, which is, when we have large-market clubs in the playoffs and we have six- and seven-game series, it generates more revenue for us and particularly in a year like this one, that’s a good thing. I don’t think there’s anything controversial about it.”
continued with a ‘conspirecy theory’...
from Tim Sassone of Between The Circles at the Chicago Daily-Herald,
There aren’t enough superlatives to describe how well the Hawks’ defensemen are playing against the Canucks.
Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Brian Campbell, Cam Barker, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Matt Walker are deciding the series, just as they did in the first round against Calgary. Keith and the rest of the defense are too fast for the slower Vancouver forwards. They’re moving the puck out of trouble and getting it to the forwards, taking the punishment in the process.
from Matthew Sekeres of the Globe and Mail,
Dave Bolland’s game-winner came with five minutes remaining and after a high-sticking penalty on Vancouver’s Kevin Bieksa. That was one of several penalties that drew protest from the 18,630 in attendance. Fans were also disgusted by a holding penalty on Ryan Kesler in the final four minutes and twice littered the ice with debris.
“Those two penalties to Bieksa and Kesler were, in my mind, deserved,” Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault said. “We’ve got a lot of players right now, without naming anyone, who can play better.”
read on for more on the Canucks/Blackhawks game…
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
If Tortorella—who, by the way was on the other bench in the spring of 2007 for an up-close-and-personal look when New Jersey’s Gomez dominated Tampa Bay in the first round—believes Gomez has both the talent and character to be a part of the Rangers’ core, then the Blueshirts will commit to the center and seek to acquire a north-south sniper to add to his line.
But if not, if Gomez’s play down the stretch and in the series against Washington created large enough doubts in the head coach, then Sather will attempt to move No. 19, which will not be easy to do.
Understand: The contract, which features an annual cap hit of $7,357,143 for another five years and has $33.5M remaining in actual salary, is going to be the trade, if there’s a trade. If there’s an exchange, the value for the Rangers will come in removing the contract from the cap, not in the return coming the other way. The contract will be the trade.
Chicago skates into Vancouver to take game 5 with a 4-2 victory over Vancouver.
That’s makes two road teams with victories on Saturday, will the trend continue on Sunday?
“You can see first shift [of overtime], Stecks miss empty net and I say, ‘Jesus, where is our luck? Puck bouncing, and next shift they get power play and score goal. It’s not about when you score the last five minutes of the game, it’s all about when you play hard, how we want to play and how we can play. I think today we played good, but it’s not good enough, so next game is gonna be different. There was in that situation when they [were losing] 2-0, and they come back and they winning right now. But it’s not over yet. If somebody thinks it’s over, it’s not over.”
-Alexander Ovechkin after tonight’s loss to the Penguins. More post game quotes from Dan Steinberg at D.C Sports Bog.
Nice tribute to Alexander Ovechkin from HNIC tonight.
We’ll turn it over to Seth Rorabaugh of Empty Netters who was live blogging the Caps/Pens game tonight…
Malkin works the puck up the right wing and gets by Fedorov. Malkin backhands the puck into the crease in a possible passing attempt to Crosby who is coming in on the back door. The puck hits off the upper body of Poti and deflects by Varlamov. Oh what an awful break for Washington. The Penguins mob Malkin along the boards near the penalty boxes. All those classy Capitals fans litter the ice with debris. It counts as a power play goal. Kunitz gets the only assist. End of game. Penguins 4, Capitals 3.
added 10:21pm, Watch the CBC version of the Malkin game winning goal below…
from Bruce Arthur of the National Post,
It has been a long road to this place. Fedorov was the first Russian player to defect to the National Hockey League, in Seattle on a national team trip in 1990; 19 years, one Hart Trophy, three Stanley Cups and one disputed marriage to Anna Kournikova later, he has now lived in the United States for almost as long as he lived in the former Soviet Union. To other Russians, Fedorov is a significant figure.
“I think he is a legend, you know?” Penguins defenceman Sergei Gonchar says.
“People forget,” says Pittsburgh’s Ruslan Fedotenko, “how tough it was to leave.”...
“[Russian players] come to this country and obviously, we took some—I want to put it so people understand it nicely—we took some, let’s say, top positions in every team because of our talent, and coaches want us to perform, and it’s never been easy,” Fedorov says.
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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