Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Damien Cox of The Spin at the Toronto Star,
Hard to believe it was just last fall that owner George Gillett and president Pierre Boivin arrived in Toronto for a press conference at the Royal York Hotel all full of bounce and optimism for the club as it entered its 100th anniversary season. Gillett certainly gave no hint his ownership of the storied franchise was in any sense in doubt, while Boivin seemed to suggest the Habs were beyond the point when they would be anything but successful on the ice.
“Today, if you recruit and operate well, are well-managed and well-coached, and have strong fan support, there’s no reason you can’t have a team that’s going to contend . . . forever,” said Boivin.
Those words sure sound a little haunting now, don’t they?
In fact, you could argue that the Florida Panthers, or even the bedraggled Maple Leafs, would have put up a better battle in the first round against Boston than the Habs have.
from Dave Strader at PhoenixCoyotes.com,
Hello again from on the road covering the Stanley Cup Playoffs for Versus.
This trip has been a true case of Planes, Trains and Automobiles for me. As I mentioned in my last blog entry, I drove my car from Glendale, Ariz., to Troy, Mich., before the playoffs began. After three flights to three different cities and several taxi cabs, I’m now on the train from New York City to Philadelphia for Game 4 between the Penguins and Flyers.
Last night at Madison Square Garden was a great playoff atmosphere. As I mentioned on our telecast, there are so many great venues and fans around the NHL, but there is something unique about MSG
more of this very entertaining story…
from Ted Leonsis at Ted’s Take,
I thought we played the way we needed to play last night. While aggressive, we weren’t focused on hits for the sake of hitting. We were more focused on scoring and playing tight, frustrating defense. Our penalty kill was very effective and we buried our chances scoring 4 goals. We are a bigger and faster team and if we control the pace of play, we are difficult to shut down for long periods of time. I think our goaltender’s stats are now better than their goaltender’s stats too. Who would have thought that was possible?
from John Shipley of the Pioneer Press,
It was exactly a week ago that team owner Craig Leipold told Risebrough he would not renew his contract after nine years and eight seasons spent building Minnesota’s second NHL expansion franchise.
“Yes, I was in shock, because there was no discussion about it,” Risebrough said at press gathering in St. Paul. “There was no discussion that day, or about my extension. And that’s OK.
“I totally appreciate the situation; a guy like myself makes decisions, and sometimes they’re difficult. For somebody who has made a decision like Craig has, I respect that he’s come to that decision, and he’ll have to live with that decision.
“There wasn’t a lot of discussion about it, which I was fine with. I’m moving on, and he’s going to find a new GM.”
5 1/2 minutes of the best saves, goals and hits from the past week in the NHL.
For us in the eastern time zone, another late game to watch. But what else is there to do except watch hockey!
from Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News,
If you’re a Detroit Red Wings fan, the first two games of the team’s series against Columbus have been bliss. If you’re just a neutral observer, the first two games have been depressing.
Why? Because Detroit is too good.
Now I’m not ragging on the Wings; I just hope the Blue Jackets can harness what will surely be the awesome energy of Nationwide Arena when the teams square off again Tuesday night. As far as the Jackets should be concerned, one goal in two games does not a series make.
from Craig Simpson of Blogs and Columns at CBC,
In the Stanley Cup Playoffs everything is magnified. The battles, the intensity, the pressure, the energy, the excitement, they all rise to a higher level. The swings in momentum that can occur within a shift, a period and a game are often the moments that dictate the outcome of a series.
A hot goalie, or a streaky scorer can dominate a series, but there may not be a more important part of the playoffs than special teams.
All year teams work diligently to improve their special teams, understanding the importance of scoring a power play goal at a critical time, or killing off a string of penalties to preserve a lead. No series has exemplified that importance more than the Vancouver, St. Louis series.
from Dan Steinberg of D.C. Sports Bog at the Washington Post,
Last night was the first time I had been in Madison Square Garden for a professional sporting event. Some quick, cheap observations, became no playoff series has really started until you start picking on the opposing fan base….
They were profane. Look, there’s plenty of bad behavior in Verizon. Just yesterday someone forwarded me pictures of a Caps fan urinating outside the building on Saturday, in broad daylight. But I’ve been to dozens and dozens of games there, and the profanity last night was on a different level. TVMA would be putting it kindly.
There were dads cursing their brains out in front of little kids. Massive, rink wide “Bleep-hole” chants. Massive “These Refs Suck!” and “Bett-man Sucks!” chants. Repeated “Po-ti Sucks!” chants. Invitations for Poti to perform sexual acts. All variety of curse words directed at the officials. Homophobic slurs directed at people in Caps gear. I passed Bettman in the concourse; just as I noticed, so did a nearby Rangers fan. “I [bleeping] hate that guy!” the fan said to his buddy.
from Cecile Nguyen at SanJoseSharks.com,
“We put ourselves in a bit of a hole here but we have a good team,” defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic said. “We’ve been the best team all year. We have to prove it now and I think the guys know that we need to step up. We’re not nervous or overly worried. We’re not going to go out there and try to do too much. We’re just going to do what we have done all year.”
A day after their Game 2 Stanley Cup Quarterfinal loss to the Ducks, the Sharks’ locker room following practice Monday afternoon remains positive.
“We’re confident. All the guys in here are confident,” center Joe Pavelski. “We’ve had some good practices and guys are hungry. There’s a sense of urgency in Game 1. There’s more of a sense of urgency in Game 2. And now obviously Game 3 we got to have it.”
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