Kukla's Korner Hockey
Pierre LeBrun of ESPN has some topics to debate…
1. The Calder debate
Let me preface this thought by saying I believe Jimmy Howard should be nominated for the Vezina Trophy; his season has been that outstanding. But I do not believe the Detroit Red Wings goalie should win the Calder Trophy….
3. Which team comes out of the West?
...I may still stick with the Canucks next week when I am pressed for my official Cup finals prediction, but right now I’m on the fence. The question is, if not Vancouver, then who?
San Jose has played better of late after breaking out of a March swoon that had Sharks fans feeling nervous. Still, the ghosts of playoffs past always give you reason for pause, not to mention the visions of Evgeni Nabokov in the Olympic quarterfinals.
The Blackhawks? There’s the team I’d personally love to see in the finals just for esthetic reasons….
If Vokoun hits the trade block the Philadelphia Flyers would be amongst those very interested but they’ll have to move the equivalent of Vokoun’s $5.7 million cap hit for next season to comfortably fit him under their cap, plus would have to ensure they have sufficient cap space to re-sign him to a long-term extension.
-Lyle Richardson of Spector’s Hockey. More rumor talk from Lyle.
from Damien Cox of The Spin,
But can they go deep into the post-season without Ovechkin finding his way out of his current funk?
Probably not, although the issue of goaltending, and whether it will be Jose Theodore or Semyon Varlamov between the pipes when the playoffs commence, is likely to be a much bigger issue. In addition to the Olympic letdown, Ovechkin, more than most of his teammates, seems to be suffering from the fact the Caps distanced themselves from the pack weeks ago and haven’t had much to play for in recent days.
Boudreau has tinkered with his lineup, at least partially to make use of the new players acquired by GM George McPhee at the trade deadline, and that has altered the rhythms and dynamics in the Washington dressing room. Again, however, the team has kept winning — 7-1-2 in the last 10 games — and there’s a sense this is a club with lots of weapons and improved depth (seven players with 20-plus goals), both of which should bear fruit in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
from Michael Russo of Russo’s Rants,
It’s hard to say the Wild got the shaft after referees Dennis LaRue and Brad Meier awarded them eight power plays, of which the Wild only scored on the final one, BUT, the Wild got the shaft.
After the Wild shockingly forced overtime on goals by Cody Almond and Antti Miettinen 23 seconds apart in the final 42 seconds of the third period, Alex Burrows, the king embellisher in the NHL, drew a bogus penalty in overtime when he lifted Greg Zanon’s stick into his own face and then shot his head back like he was nailed by a Matt Cooke elbow.
Zanon was called for high-sticking even though Burrows essentially high-sticked himself. It’s clear as day on video.
The refs bit, the Canucks got a 4-on-3 power play and the Canucks won it on Sami Salo’s blast through traffic. So, basically, Burrows—as is his reputation—once again made a pair of refs look bad.
Now, this was not an easy call. In real time, the refs see Zanon’s stick in Burrows’ face, so it’s hard to blame LaRue and Meier. So here’s the solution: Burrows is a known diver, an embellisher and really I’m amazed refs ever give him the benefit of the doubt.
continued and I looked for a video of the play but no luck. Did anyone see it and if so, do you agree with Russo?
added 8:38am, You can watch the game recap at TSN which shows the penalty, although brief.
via Tes Leonsis of Ted’s Take,
I think this player should be talking to his ownership and coaching staff about their rebuild plan to compete for a Stanley Cup NOT to our fan base and players about ours.
And then I think this player should stand up and communicate to his team’s fan base about their plan to compete for a Cup and how they will qualify for the playoffs year after year. And then back it up. It is a simple formula: Outline a plan - communicate it - back it up.
As I have noted, the best way to compete for a Cup is to qualify for the playoffs which Columbus has done exactly how many times to date?
from Adrian Dater of All Things Avs,
Here we go. The final week of the season, four games in seven days, the first two on the road, the final two at home. Win two of these games – or just find a way to get four points – and your Colorado Avalanche is in the playoffs. Hard to believe it might still happen, isn’t it?...
I think what’s going to happen is this: I think the Avs are going to lose tomorrow night in Vancouver and the Flames are going to win at home against the Sharks. That would make things even again in the standings.
But the Avs will still have that one game in hand, and will have a date the next night with the worst team in the conference – the Edmonton Oilers. And I actually think the Avs will find a way to get at least a point that night.
But in the interest of “let’s not take any chances”, here’s what I propose: I think the Avs should start Peter Budaj against the Canucks, and give Craig Anderson another day of rest going into the Oil game.
I don’t believe I have ever pointed to the Dallas Observer for their hockey coverage, but you never know these days…
from Richie Whitt of the Dallas Observer Blogs, T
he greatest hockey player ever is teaming with two of the sport’s most iconic local faces in an attempt to buy the Dallas Stars, according to two sources familiar with the organization’s current business landscape. With long-time owner Tom Hicks intent on selling the team, a group led by Wayne Gretzky, Mike Modano and Brett Hull has emerged as a serious bidder.
“It’s nothing formal, as if they’re about to sign on the dotted line,” says one source. “But it’s gone past kicking the tires. This could happen.”
added 10:57am, Darren Dreger received a quote from Modano and posted it in a tweet,
Modano said, “I haven’t spoken to Gretzky about any possible ownership situation. I don’t know anything about this.”
from Paul Hunter of the Toronto Star,
It has the makings of a bad television sitcom.
Three university kids, each 24 and single, come to the big city to make it in Canada’s most fanatical hockey market. They become fast friends, share an apartment and, just to stretch credulity even further, end up playing together on a line with the Maple Leafs.
Imagine the hijinks? Kind of a new-age Slap Shot. Except with players who have mad skills, instead of anger management issues. There’d even be a Hanson in it.
Nah, who’d ever believe that?
from Ted Leonsis of Ted’s Take,
Until we win a Stanley Cup, we won’t earn true respect from pundits; from on ice officials; from mainstream and Canadian media; from the NHL; and from certain fans.
As I have said many times, ”I get the joke.” And I agree.
We can do tit for tat stat analysis. Dan (Steinberg of D.C. Sports Bog) does a great job here and it won’t matter until we join other great teams in saying we are Stanley Cup champions. As a character once said in a great film “THIS is the business that we have chosen. It isn’t personal. It is only business.” Thank you Dan for trying to shed light on our season to date.
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
The Kings set high expectations with a strong start that briefly put them fourth in the West, a tough standard to maintain with a young team. Core players Dustin Brown, Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty, Jonathan Quick and Jack Johnson have never played an NHL playoff game and they’ve learned it isn’t easy to get there.
“If we had approached this playoff spot from the bottom it’s a Cinderella thing,” General Manager Dean Lombardi said. “Ultimately, if you’re going to be the top team you’ve got to learn to deal with expectations. Not only did they put themselves in playoff position, they approached it from the top down. They put the pressure on themselves.”
Lombardi credited the scouts and coaches for their work and cited the emergence of Quick, Kopitar and Doughty as a key reason the Kings have reached the promised land in Lombardi’s fourth season.
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.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org