Kukla's Korner Hockey
Sidney Crosby talks about playing against Alexander Ovechkin and the Capitals.
from Adam Proteau of The Hockey News,
Why It Makes Sense To Pick The Capitals: Why wouldn’t you put faith in a team that just scampered back from the precipice of elimination? Why wouldn’t you believe in Alex Ovechkin, the only NHLer who greets great expectations with an unmistakable boyish exuberance and bottomless pit of confidence? Why wouldn’t you expect Simeon Varlamov, who the Penguins have never played against, to continue his strong play in Washington’s net?
Why It Makes Sense To Pick The Penguins: Although the Caps have four genuine superstars (Ovechkin, Alexander Semin, Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Green) on their roster, the Pens’ marquee talent (i.e. Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Marc-Andre Fleury and Sergei Gonchar) could just as easily out-perform their opponents. As well, Fleury has already demonstrated the ability to take his team to the Stanley Cup final; nobody on the Caps outside of Sergei Fedorov has shown a similar skill.
What Swayed Me To Pick The Capitals in Seven Games:
read on and this style used for all the 2nd round matchups…
from Bill Beacon of the CP via the Globe and Mail,
There were fears the economic recession would leave swaths of empty seats in NHL arenas during the playoffs, but the league says both attendance and U.S. Television ratings are up through the first round.
With fans flocking back to see good teams with star players in Chicago and Boston, the NHL says its rinks were full to 100.9 per cent capacity through the 44 first-round games, its highest figure in 16 years.
Only four games — two in Carolina and two in Anaheim — failed to sell out.
It also reports a 22 per cent increase in viewers on the Versus network in the U.S., which averaged a 0.44 cable rating, or 333,163 households and 442,301 viewers.
from Jo-Ann Barnas of the Detroit Free Press,
Other professional athletes on other teams—perhaps even in this town—might not have appreciated the gesture.
But to the players and coaches—many of whom reside in the Detroit area year-round—they underscore the unique relationship the Wings enjoy with their fans.
Imagine coming home after scoring a hat trick—as Franzen did in Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals last year against Colorado—and discovering your driveway covered with hats.
Franzen won’t forget the moment.
Not in the least, according to Franzen.
“I still have them in my garage,” the 29-year-old Swedish forward said with a smile. “It’s a good healthy relationship between us and the fans here.”
from John McGourty of NHL.com,
The problem every year with the Bill Masterton Trophy is that when you read the supporting material for each candidate, you come away thinking he ought to win. Then you read the qualifications of the next candidate and think he ought to win. And so on.
So, the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association has a very difficult annual task in determining the player “who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to ice hockey.”
Once again, three deserving finalists are in the running in 2009, Detroit Red Wings defenseman Chris Chelios, Florida Panthers right winger Richard Zednik and Nashville Predators left winger Steve Sullivan.
I saw enough of Roberto Luongo in the opening round sweep of St. Louis to determine that no conference opponent will defeat the Canucks four times in seven games. That task will be left to the Boston Bruins during the Stanley Cup final, and the Beantowners will prevail.
-Howard Berger of Fan590. Read more from Howard…
I stopped by the Ducks practice this morning- Watched them skate in circles, do some drills, shoot some pucks, etc.
Team looks healthy, ready to go, although the majority of the team does not have any playoff growth on their faces.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
Roberto Luongo has centre stage virtually to himself.
This is his chance to deliver a grand soliloquy, to explain through the art of goaltending why he matters while his country listens intently.
At 30, it’s remarkable that despite all the laurels tossed Luongo’s way, his accomplishments in the sport up until now have been minimal.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Overall, there is collective sense of digging in for the long haul and fans — especially in markets where they no longer have a rooting interest — tuning out for a time. This year, however, looks vastly different, and far more intriguing.
Thanks to the Carolina Hurricanes’ miracle comeback against the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday in the seventh game of their series, the NHL lucked into two outstanding second-round matchups that should keep the playoff momentum going and the TV ratings up.
read on and predictions are included…
from Michael Wilbon of the Washington Post,
It’s a stunningly talented group of players for one series, each of them young and still evolving. And in the middle of it we find Crosby and Ovechkin, not yet combatants but perhaps moving in that direction. The league should hope so. Last we saw them on the ice together, the two were trash-talking each other, bumping along the boards.
There’s nothing quite like a rivalry where the lines are clearly drawn. Folks with an appreciation for showmanship identify with Ovechkin, with his celebrations and exultations. Those who revel in the notion of “tradition” and play their cards a little closer to the vest not only love Crosby, but tend to express a real distaste for Ovechkin. It’s wonderful, really.
On top of that, you’ve got back story. These two franchises have played seven times in the playoffs, and the Penguins have won six of the series. The Capitals would call it a rivalry, but the Penguins must figure the Caps are like a mosquito that keeps showing up at a certain time every year.
added 9:39am, A few of the Washington Post columnists gather to talk hockey- watch below….
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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.
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