Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Bruce Brothers of the Pioneer Press,
Manny Fernandez looked like he’d seen a ghost.
Clearly trying to put all things Minnesota behind him, Fernandez appeared stunned when a reporter from St. Paul walked up to him the other day in Ristuccia Arena, where the Boston Bruins practice.
You could almost see the wheels turning. Did he mix up the next opponent? Weren’t the Bruins scheduled to play the Devils the next afternoon?
At times cordial and at times a smoldering volcano during his six seasons with the Wild, Fernandez seems to have turned over a new leaf with the Boston Bruins. After a moment, he extended his hand, peeled off his big goalie pads and said he’d be happy to talk a little puck.
from Marc Crawford of Blogs and Columns at CBC,
The great sportswriter from the Detroit Free Press, Mitch Albom, wrote the book titled The Five People You Meet in Heaven. It’s a wonderful story about how the people you meet are influenced by your life and it gives meaning to the significance of the lives we all lead.
As we head into the afterlife known as the NHL post-season, I would like to share with you the five people who hold a special place in my version of playoff heaven.
To begin, I must explain my belief that a team’s playoff success usually requires, to some degree, five elements in order to win the Stanley Cup. These include a great goaltender, a prolific scorer, an outstanding offensive defenceman, a checking line or shut down defensive pair, and, last but not least, an unlikely scoring hero.
Neil Hayes of the Chicago Sun-Times reminds Chicago fans what the playoffs are like…
When it comes to the excitement level between the regular season and the playoffs, few sports compare to hockey, which remains primarily an arena sport. On any given night, in most NHL cities, those inside the arena make up a significant percentage of that team’s fans. That means ratings are never as high as league and team executives would like. It also means an electrifying playoff atmosphere for those who don’t remember.
These Blackhawks are capable of winning a series or two, which will only ratchet up the intensity. Can they topple the Sharks or Red Wings, the two dominant teams in the Western Conference? Probably not. But the Hawks have won two straight against San Jose, giving them a puncher’s chance.
NHL players discuss being hit.
According to Vicki Hall of Flames Insider, Todd Bertuzzi will be in the lineup tonight when the Flames meet the Blue Jackets.
“It feels pretty good,” Bertuzzi said, slipping the brace off his left leg. “I’ve practised a couple of times pretty hard, and I’m no worse for wear.
“Looking forward to getting back in,”
“It’s 10 friggin days since it happened. We have talked to Tampa’s coaches, we have said our speech. The people that are bringing the crap up are you guys. Nobody cares about it anymore. You guys want to bring it up because you want to see a riot, then you want to talk about retribution. It’s the dumbest thing in the world. You gotta have better stuff to talk about.”
-Washington coach Bruce Boudreau. The Capitals face the Lightning tomorrow so the Ovechkin 50th goal celebration was brought up. More at TSN...
from Al Strachan at Fox Sports,
How can it possibly be difficult to build a winner in the National Hockey League? All you have to do is listen to the radio in cities where the team is struggling.
In those places, the winning formula is freely distributed by the experts, some professional, some amateur. “Blow it up,” they say. “Go into the tank.”
Basically, it’s the same theory. Management is supposed to get rid of all the talent and not try to win. You can’t throw games, but you could use minor-leaguers and the backup goalie.
The proponents sometimes offer a little preamble about how the local team is going nowhere and has no future if it continues to piddle around in the lower or middle levels of the standings. So the answer is clear: Blow it up.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
We often talk about “the missing piece” when it comes to Stanley Cup puzzles. That one, elusive block to complete the tower, the one snapshot to complete the image.
Usually it’s a player, a puck-moving defenseman, a shut-down forward, a power-play specialist.
Sitting on a bench near the Tampa harbor is the man who may well be the Chicago Blackhawks’ missing piece. He’s 50 years old with a graying mustache and a steely glare and three teenage children.
Joel Quenneville won’t score a goal for the Hawks and he won’t block a shot, but he is the man who holds the key to a team and a city aching to win its first playoff series since 1996.
from John Glennon of the Tennessean,
Predators center David Legwand is doubtful for tonight’s game against San Jose after taking a puck to the side of his face during practice Wednesday.
The team plans to re-evaluate his status today after some of the considerable swelling goes down from the area. So it’s uncertain whether or not he’s dealing with a broken bone.
I have pointed to this site just about this time every year, so why not do it again.
Sports Club Stats shows the percentage of all NHL teams making the playoffs plus a lot more.
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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