Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
After Game 1 Canucks coach Alain Vigneault complained that the St. Louis Blues weren’t just skating through Roberto Luongo’s crease and bumping into him a couple of times, they were spraying him with (gasp!) snow.
“I’m embarrassed to talk about that. It’s ridiculous. Nonsense,” said St. Louis winger Keith Tkachuk. “There is no way our game plan is to go out and try to spray their goalie. You have to stop on the puck - just in case he tries to play it.
“You can tell the game has changed over my 17-year career, when you complain about something like that. As opposed to runnin’ someone from behind or starting a brawl.”
from the CP via TSN,
The speed the Pittsburgh Penguins brought at them shift after shift, period after period, shouldn’t surprise the Philadelphia Flyers—they’ve see it from Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal 20 times over the past two seasons.
The fatigue and frustration it caused, and maybe the lack of discipline it provoked? The Flyers didn’t seem prepared for that, and already they find themselves in a likely must-win playoff Game 2 against the Penguins.
The Flyers, just as they couldn’t during last season’s one-sided Eastern Conference finals, didn’t handle anything the confident and under-control Penguins brought at them during a 4-1 Pittsburgh victory in Game 1 on Wednesday night.
from Larry Wigge of NHL.com,
Every member of the Detroit Red Wings came to the rink Thursday morning clean shaven. That’s right. No playoff beards.
To a man and to coach Mike Babcock that’s the first motivational tool the defending Stanley Cup champions feel they need to show the hockey world that they are ready. They are not the team that had leaky goaltending or fell from the NHL’s best team defensively a year ago to a tie for 19th this season.
When asked if his team would be more preoccupied with getting their game in the moment, trying to stop Rick Nash, who had hat tricks against Detroit on Jan. 27 and March 7, or in trying to get rookie goalie Steve Mason off his game, Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom kept the answer in-house.
continue for more on Detroit & Columbus…
from Damian Cox at ESPN,
This time, the pressure is all on the Bruins, and if they don’t treat the Canadiens like so much snow to be brushed off their skates, well, it will be the 2009 Eastern Conference champions who will suddenly appear more vulnerable than imposing.
Even the Bruins seem to understand that anything short of an impressive performance against the Habs will make them seem weaker.
“They’re going to have absolutely nothing to lose,” said Boston coach Claude Julien, who once coached the Canadiens and understands the emotional underpinnings of this rivalry. “We’ve got a lot to gain. We’ve got to make sure we don’t disappoint.”
from Terry Frei at ESPN,
The odds are out from the various legal sports books and online sites, and they generally quote the Red Wings and Sharks as co-favorites to win the Stanley Cup, at around 7-2.
Perhaps there are already yells from fans of other teams about the oddsmakers’ showing them “no respect.” But the oddsmakers don’t worry about “predicting” anything other than the wagering patterns of the public, and then adjusting their odds if it turns out their initial guesses were wrong.
Plus, any cursory crunching of the numbers will show that if the odds are converted to percentages, they’ll add up to considerably more than 100. Among other things, it usually means bettors aren’t getting long enough odds on the true long shots.
continued with Frei’s own spin…
from Russo’s Rants,
(Craig) Leipold was said to have agonized over the decision but decided, in the final analysis, that a change in direction was called for.
Here’s the memo from the team:
Minnesota Wild Owner, Craig Leipold, announced today that the organization will not renew the contract of President and General Manager, Doug Risebrough, beyond the 2008-2009 season….
Update 2:48pm ET: From the Pioneer Press—
I’ve got just three words for Minnesota Wild owner Craig Leipold:
Bring back Jacques.
Not as the coach. Jacques Lemaire, he’s been there. He’s done that.
Now that Leipold has fired Doug Risebrough, the Wild have an opening for a president and general manager.
That’s the job for Lemaire.
Update 3:36pm ET: From John Shipley at the Pioneer Press:
Asked if he’d be interested in the general manager job, Lemaire said, “No, no, no, no. I wouldn’t look at it. We had a good thing there, that’s it.”
Lemaire said he doesn’t question Leipold’s decision to fire Risebrough, but added he doesn’t see the reason for it.
“Not myself,” he said, “but I was involved in it. When you’re involved in it, you see what you’re trying to do. We were going through tough times, but everybody does, and you keep working.
Update 3:38pm ET: More thoughts on a replacement from Bob McKenzie at TSN.
from Sam Donnellon of the Philadelphia Daily News,
And when it was over Mike Richards looked tired, damn tired, a look that has become unnervingly familiar over the last month of Flyers hockey. Throughout last night’s surprisingly one-sided 4-1, Game 1 loss to the Penguins, his usually stoic mug was a study in exhaustion, frustration, even - at this early stage of the postseason - desperation.
“It’s frustrating,” the Flyers’ captain said. “It’s frustrating when you have momentum or you’re starting to gain momentum and you’re thrown back on your heels again from a penalty you don’t need to take. Penalties where you’re playing physical in your own end or you’re trying to finish a guy or take away a scoring chance from them, OK. But it wasn’t like that tonight. We were taking penalties away from the puck, away from the scoring angles. And when you do that, it just tires you out. You’re blocking shots, pucks are hitting you, it tires you out.
“It’s a lot harder playing defense than it is playing offense.”
from Red Fisher of the Montreal Gazette,
You have to know that some people in this city have their priorities twisted out of shape when you see one of the city’s buses idling in Côte St. Luc with a sign flashing “Go! Canadiens! Go!”
Get real, folks: it’s only a number of hockey games involving the Canadiens and the Bruins. Seems to me there are a lot more important things to worry about, such as putting food on the table in homes where so many people have lost their jobs during an economic crisis that is likely to get worse before it gets better.
However, all I’m hearing and reading about these days is: “What’s better than a Canadiens-Bruins series?”
Sad to say: lots of things. Too many things. The earth won’t move if the Canadiens lose this series, which opens in Boston tonight. It won’t even if they move on to the second round.
All that’s certain is that you’re dreaming in Technicolor if you’re among those who think the Canadiens are likely winners simply because they’ve made a habit of doing it so often in the past against the Bruins.
Good idea to bookmark them and check them out on a regular basis.
from Steve MacFarlane of the Calgary Sun,
Miikka Kiprusoff has to make a difference.
He needs to be the difference.
Incapable of shutting down the Chicago Blackhawks offence in the regular season, the Calgary Flames defence has an even bigger hole that could be exposed with Robyn Regehr out of the lineup a couple more weeks.
Even Regehr had trouble containing some of the speedy Hawks forwards as the Flames dropped all four games to the up-and-coming Original Six squad that has given new life to the Windy City this winter.
That means Kiprusoff can expect to be tested.
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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