Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Ed Willes at The Province,
As anyone who’s seen an Oliver Stone movie can tell you, it’s now clear that Wednesday’s TSN report was the first act in a sequence of events which will inevitably lead to Brian Burke and Dave Nonis reuniting in Toronto to run the Maple Leafs.
I mean, who would argue differently? The crack management team at Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment has long since targeted Burke as the man who would be king of their empire. Nonis, his close confederate and former first lieutenant with the Vancouver Canucks, has recently been made available amid an equally interesting set of circumstances.
Put it all together and the inescapable conclusion is Nonis has been approached to serve as a caretaker GM in Toronto while Burke completes the last year of his contract with the Anaheim Ducks. The two allies will then resume their working relationship in the Big Smoke in 2009-10 with Burke running the show and Nonis serving as his No. 2 and that will wrap up everything in a nice, neat package.
continued… and as Willes goes on to note, there’s some problems with this theory.
Update 3:44pm ET: Jim Kelly at Sports Illustrated doesn’t think the idea is as crazy as it seems.
from Adam Thompson of the Wall Street Journal,
People are starting to watch again, and they should be. The game is as fast and fun as it’s been in years, and this year’s playoffs have made good use of its young stars. Names like Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Alexander Ovechkin continue to inch into crossover territory with each impossible deke, thread-the-needle pass and goal….
The NHL still has a laundry list of problems, from its placement on the still-obscure Versus to its continuing inability to penetrate much of the Sun Belt. Its outdoor game in Buffalo between the Penguins and Sabres lived up to the hype – but the burden remains for the league to prove that wasn’t a one-off success.
The league and union ought to swallow their pride, retreat from a few markets that have consistently failed to gain traction – the NHL remains an afterthought in Nashville and South Florida – and, for the love of all things decent, permanently table any talk of further expansion to hockey hinterlands like Kansas City and Las Vegas. A game already taking positive steps would look even better with a more concentrated talent pool free of talent-poor fourth-liners.
All that said, the present game looks great. With Mr. Cherry shouting this to Americans at the top of his lungs, maybe a few more will notice.
From Robert Tychkowski at the Edmonton Sun,
Much ado, it turns out, about nothing.
“It’s just so typical of how people jump to conclusions,” Edmonton’s general manager said yesterday in a telephone interview from the World Championships.
Lowe took enormous heat at the time of the deal, and was forced to defend himself during every subsequent attack from Burke.
Now that the draft order is complete (except for 27, 28, 29 and 30, depending on how the final four play out), and the evidence is there in black and white, there has to be a sense of vindication. Unfortunately there’s no undoing the bad blood and the black mark the the feud left on Burke, Lowe and the NHL.
Update 12:18pm ET: More on the adventures of Penner, Lowe, Burke & Co. from David Staples in the Edmonton Journal today.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
However, with no championship since 2002, the Red Wings are in a mood to push past the Stars, even if there isn’t the rivalry between the teams that exists, say, in the all-Pennsylvania Eastern Conference final.
The goal, for the Stars tonight, is to do what they did in the previous two rounds — sweep the first two games, on the road, and get the home team back on its heels.
“Every series is different,” said Stars’ captain Brendan Morrow. “Every team is different. We’re just going to try and play to our strengths, get pucks deep, try to finish some checks and see where the chips fall.”
From Chris Kuc at the Chicago Tribune,
“I knew this day was coming—I think we all did,” said Eric Rabbers, a season ticket-holder in the 300 level of the United Center for three years who saw his tickets increase from $13.50 per game to $25. “We realized, especially in my section, the prices we were paying were pretty cheap.
“The problem I have is [accepting] an 85 percent increase for my tickets in one year. I think that’s out of line, especially seeing the team didn’t make the playoffs. I have a buddy who sits in the 100 level and his seats went up from $67.50 per to $115. I know the prices have been cheap for the past 10 years, but to try to make it up in one off-season is kind of ridiculous.”
From Shelly Anderson at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
After he had a goal and three assists in a 4-3 win Feb. 10 that broke a four-game losing streak to the Penguins’ cross-state rivals, Malkin said he didn’t like the Flyers, playing against them or playing in Wachovia Center, where, he said, fans pelt the Penguins’ bench with popcorn.
Despite gaining that insight on the rivalry, he wasn’t quite willing to repeat that with the playoff matchup looming.
“I don’t like anybody,” Malkin, 21, said in what would have been a snappier retort if it hadn’t had to be cycled through interpreter George Birman. “If I like them or not, we have to play them.”
from Andy Vineberg of the Buck County Courier Times,
For you non-hockey fans out there, the Penguins’ Crosby is Sidney, not to be confused with David or Bing. But really, what kind of a name for a hockey player is Sidney? Of course, compared to the first names of the Penguins’ other two top scorers — Marian and Evgeni (the Russian form of Eugene) — Sidney sounds positively manly. Seriously, Sidney, Marian and Eugene?
Sounds more like the starting lineup of a chess team than a hockey team.
I’ll take my chances with Mike, Jeff, Danny and R.J., thank you very much.
from Jennifer Floyd Engel of the Star-Telegram,
Guys like him may not walk away. It doesn’t mean they do not think about it, especially when they are 37 going on 38 and being asked to embrace the role of “the old guy.”
“I think about it a lot now lately, certainly when you have gone this deep,” Modano said. “And so you wonder if this will be it.”
If so, if this indeed turns into his final season, then this West Finals against Detroit might well be his last kick at the Cup. Like .001 percent of hockey experts give the Stars a flying Fig Newton of a chance in this series.
They are underestimating this Stars team.
from the Philadelphia Inquirer,
The club still glorifies fighting on the video board at the Wachovia Center, but the game has changed dramatically since the Broad Street Bullies captured the hearts of their fans by ripping the hearts out of any team that got in their way.
Bench-clearing brawls have been legislated out of the game, and the third man in on a fight faces a game misconduct. Still, there remains a place in the NHL for the guys who bring that certain element.
The Penguins, the Flyers’ opponent in the Eastern Conference finals that begin tomorrow night in Pittsburgh, have the game’s most feared fighter in Georges Laraque, who carries 245 pounds behind his bad intentions. Laraque’s tough-guy reputation is such that few among the league’s fighters will even take him on. One of them is the Flyers’ Riley Cote.
from Spector at Fox Sports,
The Western Conference finals pit a Red Wings team that finished first overall during the regular season and cruised past Nashville and Colorado in the first two rounds against a Stars club that finished fifth overall in the conference and nearly 20 points back of the Wings.
It’s the “Battle of Pennsylvania” in the Eastern Conference, featuring a Penguins team that finished second overall and quickly dispatched of the Senators and Rangers against a hardworking Flyers team that required a strong finish in the regular season to clinch sixth overall.
While the regular season stats favor the Red Wings and Penguins, both clubs must be wary of their upstart opponents. The Stars advanced to the conference finals by knocking off the defending Stanley Cup champion Anaheim Ducks and the Pacific Division champion San Jose Sharks, while the Flyers bounced the Southeast Division champion Washington Capitals and the conference-leading Montreal Canadiens.
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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