Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
Based on what has happened with Phoenix, the NHL should have learned three key lessons:
1. There is no benefit to be derived by intentionally shielding public eyes from the economic troubles of individual teams.
Bettman and his lieutenants are by nature either secretive or very protective. But it eats at the credibility of NHL leadership when, after months of blunt denials, the Coyotes prove to be swimming in precisely the overflowing pool of red ink that many reports suggested….
2. Treating the players’ union as a minor irritant rather than a true partner isn’t a productive strategy.
NHLPA head Paul Kelly can deny it all he wants, but the union knew what Balsillie was up to and was supportive. The last straw for Kelly was probably going to the GMs meetings in Naples, Fla., in March and having his presentation summarily dismissed.
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
“Obviously, we’re in a deep hole,” said Zdeno Chara. “We all realize that. But you have to win four games to get to the next round. It’s 3-1 and it’s not over yet.”
That said, the Hurricanes made the Bruins look like bantams for most of last night, with little resistance from the Black and Gold. The once-proud Bruins, now looking like paper tigers, have buckled at the exact point where winners strut their best stuff.
“I think our team has probably picked the worst time of the year to play their worst hockey,” said coach Claude Julien. “When you look at the whole team right now, there isn’t anybody that’s played up to their potential. Obviously, out of synch. Our passes are not crisp. We’re not in synch. You can see the frustration on the players right now. It’s certainly getting worse.
“This is something that has to be resolved before the next game. We don’t have much time to do that. You’ve come too far in the season to all of a sudden say, ‘You know what? It’s not working.’ We’ve got to find solutions. That’s got to come from coaches. And it’s got to come from players.”
from Tarik El-Bashir of Capitals Insider at the Washington Post,
Opinions among the media varied regarding Ovechkin’s right knee to right knee hit on Sergei Gonchar at the end of the first period. Gonchar had to be helped off the ice and speculation around here is that it could be serious. We should know more in the morning.
We should also know tomorrow morning whether the league felt the hit warranted a fine or suspension.
“It tried to hit him and he tried to move to his left, and I don’t have time to realize what is going on and I hit [him with] my knee,” Ovechkin said. “It was accident. I’m not the kind of guy who wants to injure a player like this, especially [because] I know Gonch. I tried to hit him with my shoulder and he moved left but his legs were in the same spot.”
A couple of Penguins had a different take on it.
added 8:14am, Craig Custance of Sporting News Today says it is hard to imagine the NHL suspending Ovechkin with the Capitals playing their biggest game of the year tonight.
from Stan Fischler of Game On,
Which compels me to bring Marian Gaborik to your attention, since he soon will be an Unrestricted Free Agent.
His price will be high and there’s a bit of a gamble involved. On the other hand, the returns can be immense. Just ask any Ranger fan who remembers Marian’s five-goal bonanza against the Blueshirts a couple of years ago.
I’m not forgetting that Gaborik spent most of this past season on the injured list, but these things happen and players do recover. I say that this is a gamble worth taking. We all know that the scoring issue depends in part on a successful power play. Regrettably, no such abundant PP was evident in 2008-09. And that brings us to a free agent or two.
How about Scott Niedermayer? In one fell swoop, Nieder would solve several issues. He’s a master quarterback, all-rink rover and, arguably, the best total player in the NHL.
Watch the CBC view of the play…
added 8:54pm, via Scott Burnside of ESPN,
...just the replay a couple of times in the press box and it definitely looked like Ovechkin stuck out his knee and took Gonchar knee-on-knee as the Pens defenseman tried to spin away from the Caps star. Now, it’s not quite Bryan Marchment, but it was definitely a dangerous play. And seeing Gonchar writhing on the ice by himself while the play went into the Capitals’ zone on the delayed penalty was pretty scary.
from Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune,
“Maybe we can put the pressure on them and get them on their heels,” Hawks captain Jonathan Toews said. “We’re confident we can win in their building if we play our way. [After] the last couple of losses people ask us if there is something we need to do to get our confidence back. I don’t think our confidence or self-esteem is going anywhere. It’s just at times we’ve had a few lapses and I think that’s the reason we’ve had two losses so far.
“If we start playing hard and start playing in their end, chipping pucks, and we don’t try and do it all ourselves, we can get that confidence, energy and momentum going our way. That’s how you win games.
“If we play the same patient game [we did in Game 2] we give ourselves a chance to win.”
more on the Blackhawks…
San Jose Sharks President and Chief Executive Officer Greg Jamison announced today that the organization will host their annual “State of the Sharks” function on Thursday, May 14 at HP Pavilion at 7 p.m.
The event, which will be open to the general public, will provide a forum for Sharks fans to ask questions directly to members of the organization as the team prepares for the 2009-10 season.
Scheduled to be in attendance along with Jamison are Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Wilson, Head Coach Todd McLellan and players Joe Thornton, Dan Boyle and Joe Pavelski. Additional players may be added to the panel next week.
Directing more shots at Varlamov and getting more bodies in front of him probably will be the plan for Pittsburgh, which could tie the best-of-seven series at two games apiece with a Game 4 victory Friday.
Malkin, who was criticized for his play in the first two games, beat Varlamov from the slot on Wednesday when his shot whizzed by teammate Bill Guerin, who was positioned in front of the Washington netminder.
“Just trying to do my part,” said Guerin, who has two assists in the series.
Hockey Night in Canada analyst Mike Milbury wants the former New York Islander to do more, suggesting to viewers that the Penguins run Varlamov over, like Malkin did in Game 3.
Fellow HNIC panelist Kelly Hrudey took a different tact and suggested Pittsburgh players get in the goalie’s face more often.
“He hasn’t faced a lot of the pressure that the other [playoff goalies] have, right in his face,” said Hrudey. “Here’s a kid [in Varlamov] that looks like he has so much energy and so much quickness.… He’s aggressive enough when he needs to be and he’s patient enough when another opportunity is there.”
via Roy MacGregor of the Globe and Mail,
A big bus pulls up and undercover security leaps out, scowling through their dark glasses and cordoning off the sidewalk. A Globe journalist, fully credentialed, was even blocked from entering the walkway to the garage The area secured, the bus door opened again and a grim-faced Alexander Ovechkin fast-marched to the rink, followed by the rest of the Washington Capitals.
Such is the world of goofy 17-year-olds mouthing off in the digital age.
Before last night’s games, Melrose had his say on a few hockey topics…
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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