Kukla's Korner Hockey
It appears as though there is about to be a housecleaning in Tampa Bay.
XM NHL Home Ice is reporting that according to sources Lightning General Manager Brian Lawton and head coach Rick Tocchet will be relieved of their duties on Monday.
update 9:30am, via Bob McKenzie tweet,
Rick Tocchet fired, as per @DarrenDreger.
added 9:36am, Another McKenzie tweet,
Lawton’s firing now confirmed as well.
added 9:51am, via NHL.com,
“Now that the 2009-10 Tampa Bay Lightning season has concluded, we have decided to replace Brian and Rick,” said Vinik upon making the announcement. “Our hockey operations department needs a fresh start in order to help us fulfill our goal of being a world-class organization. I’d like to thank both Brian and Rick for their dedication and service to the Lightning.
“Our search for a Chief Executive Officer is well underway and we are in the process of interviewing candidates. After the new CEO is hired, he will hire our new General Manager in time to prepare for the draft and free agency periods.”
from David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune,
Asked when he would be able to forget the disappointment of giving up a game-winner with home ice throughout the Western Conference playoffs on the line in order to focus on the Predators, Niemi didn’t blink.
“Today, tonight, before tomorrow,’’ Niemi said. “I am almost as ready as I can be.’‘
A hopeful hockey city can think optimistically along with Niemi, but truthfully nobody really knows for sure. Experience removes doubt and Niemi has none. His playoff start in Game 1 Friday will be his first.
To say Niemi is the biggest factor in how long the Blackhawks’ postseason lasts is like saying April showers are key to May flowers. Nothing has been more obvious about this 112-point season since coach Joel Quenneville installed Niemi as the goaltender March 28 after Cristobal Huet lost his confidence, then his job.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Phoenix (West #4) v. Detroit (West #5)
Phoenix wasn’t even supposed to have an NHL team this year, let alone an NHL playoff team, and now all that’s left for this overachieving band of hockey-playing vagabonds is to exorcise that 23-year span in which the franchise hasn’t won a playoff round (1987 vs. Calgary in Winnipeg days, in case you’re counting). It won’t be easy though - Detroit has lost only three times since the Olympic break and rookie Jimmy Howard is 15-0-2 in his last 17 decisions. Nothing about Phoenix’s personnel would suggest that they belong in the league’s elite, except their collective and overall persistence; and a keen understanding on how to play the game in all three zones. Except for Shane Doan, the Coyotes’ leading men were all unwanted elsewhere (Lee Stempniak, Matt Lombardi, Wojtek Wolski, Adrian Aucoin). That last laugh reverberating around Jobing.com Arena must surely be sweet.
Pick: Phoenix (in seven).
read on for Eric’s and David Shoalts picks for each first round series…
from Jay Greenberg of the NY Post,
For a team that had lost most of the races and one-on-one battles, that had been hanging onto a cliff by practically the last ounce of strength in Henrik Lundqvist’s grip, the Rangers yesterday still, at the end of 65 minutes, had the Flyers where they wanted them.
“[Coach] John [Tortorella] even said [before the overtime], ‘Don’t totally sit back, but don’t let it end here, because we have a big advantage in goal in the shootout,’ ” said Erik Christensen.
The Rangers, 7-1-1 just to get to one game for eighth place, had kept borrowing time, and Lundqvist was stealing them another two weeks. Apprehension filled the house down to the Flyers’ bench.
“It’s a little bit ironic, how this happens, Lundqvist being probably the best shootout goalie in the league, along with Ryan Miller,” Danny Briere would say later. “The Rangers have been pretty successful and the Flyers haven’t in shootouts.”
As I was leaving the game (Frozen Four), a begger in a wheelchair starting talking hockey smack to me (I was wearing my old Coyotes Roenick jersey that night). He was telling me how he wanted the Wings to get the Yotes in the 1st round. Only in the D would you get beggers talking hockey smack.
-CP2Devil of Japers’ Rink. Read more about his trip to Hockeytown.
NEW YORK (April 11, 2010) – The National Hockey League tonight announced the dates and times for the 2010 Stanley Cup Conference Quarter-Final round, which begins Wednesday, April 14. National broadcast information will be released when it is available.
The words of Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist after the game.
Lundqvist is followed by Gaborik and Drury in the video.
#1 Washington Capitals vs. #8 Montreal Canadiens
#2 New Jersey Devils vs. #7 Philadelphia Flyers
#3 Buffalo Sabres vs. #6 Boston Bruins
#4 Pittsburgh Penguins vs. #5 Ottawa Senators
#1 San Jose Sharks vs. #8 Colorado Avalanche
#2 Chicago Blackhawks vs. #7 Nashville Predators
#3 Vancouver Canucks vs. #6 Los Angeles Kings
#4 Phoenix Coyotes vs. #5 Detroit Red Wings
Dates are not yet available.
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 email@example.com