Kukla's Korner Hockey
The 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs will begin on Wednesday, April 15, with four games—three in the Eastern Conference and one in the West.
In the East, the New York Rangers will open their series against Washington, Carolina will be at New Jersey and Philadelphia will visit Pittsburgh on opening night, while in the West, St. Louis will play its first playoff game since 2004 when it opens its series at Vancouver.
One night later, the Eastern Conference champion Boston Bruins open the other East quarterfinal against Montreal. In the West, Presidents’ Trophy winner San Jose opens against Anaheim, Detroit opens defense of its Stanley Cup championship by hosting Columbus—which will be playing the first postseason game in franchise history—and Calgary will visit Chicago.
from Shawn P. Roarke of NHL.com,
Now, the Stanley Cup is on the line.
Now things are different. Because, make no mistake, playoff hockey is different by its very nature. It looks different, it feels different, it sounds different and, yes, it even tastes different.
The differences range from the obvious to the subtle, some not even coming into focus until after living through the crucible that has given definition—positive or negative—to the greatest of hockey careers.
For those new to the postseason scene—welcome to the club and enjoy the show. Here are a few tips on ways to deal with how the game will change as we head from early April’s sprint to the regular-season finish line to the long, sustained grind of the postseason.
Put away your watch—Forget about making plans for after the game. You might have to break them as often as not. Unlike the regular season, there’s no way to know when a particular game might end, as playoff hockey sees the five-minute OT period and the shootout go into hibernation.
from Allan of the Globe and Mail,
...But the optimistic captain of the Flames sees something else: His best shot yet to win a Stanley Cup.
Seriously. Iginla said that. Even after all the recent setbacks – the losses, injuries, a power play that hasn’t scored since Hakan Loob played here – Iginla has gone on record to say that facing the Chicago Blackhawks in the postseason is “a good matchup for us” and that the Flames will persevere in the end.
“Do I still believe this is my best chance to win the Cup? Absolutely,” he confirmed.
This is what captains say in the darkest hours, and make no mistake, there hasn’t been a lot of sunshine around the Flames lately. Soon after Calgary ended its regular season Saturday night with a 4-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers, several players offered a battle cry that sounded bleak yet hopeful at the same time. “We’ve been bad against Chicago,” the players said. “We can’t be any worse.”
from Randy Hahn of the Seagate Broadcasters Blog,
Finally. A NORCAL vs SOCAL Stanley Cup Playoff series. The Sharks vs the Ducks in a best of seven affair that could go down as one of the best the boys in teal have ever been involved in. It’s a dream series. We know the hockey will be terrific and intense but more about that in the days to come.
The fact that two teams within California are going head to head is terrific. For once, most of the state will have some interest in the NHL Playoffs at the same time.
added 10:05pm, from Randy Youngman of the OC Register,
Remember the final frenzied seconds of their last regular-season meeting a week ago Sunday at Honda Center, a 3-2 Ducks loss, when all you-know-what broke loose on the ice?
There were bodies and fists flying everywhere and players jumping on piles, with both teams accusing the other of cheap shots after Ducks leading scorer Ryan Getzlaf was knocked down in the slot — without a whistle -— as he prepared to shoot the puck.
That bad blood likely will carry over into their playoff series, as will the intensity on the ice and in the stands. That’s why the records and seeding — San Jose (53-18-11, NHL-best 117 points) is the top seed and the Ducks (42-33-7, 91 points) are No. 8 — might be irrelevant when the playoffs open this week in San Jose.
from Brad Ziemer of the Vancouver Sun,
Luongo can’t wait for the playoffs to begin.
“I feel really good and the thing is the team is playing well defensively so it cuts the number of big saves I have to make,” Luongo said after posting his second straight shutout in Saturday’s 1-0 overtime win in Denver. “We have to build off that. Going into the playoffs, we know there are going to be a lot of games like this that are tight and any mistake could decide the game. It’s nice we have that playoff mentality already.”
Luongo seems to have had it for quite some time. He has played brilliantly down the stretch and as he prepares for his second taste of the Stanley Cup playoffs, he thinks he can draw upon some of the things he learned during his first post-season experience two years ago.
“I guess you just know what to expect,” he said. “Going into my first one you don’t really know until you really play a game how it feels. The main thing is you can’t get too high or too low. When you win a game you feel like you’re on top of the world. When you lose one you feel like you’re done. You just have to try and stay even-keeled until the series is over.”
NEW YORK (April 12, 2009)—The National Hockey League has set an overall attendance record for the fourth consecutive season. Total attendance of 21,475,223 and the per-game average of 17,460 were 1.1% higher than the corresponding record figures of 21,236,255 and 17,265 from 2007-08.
With An Edge, Bad cosmetics…any action or practice that reflects badly on the organization (on a few occasions they were in need of a cosmetologist)
Circling the drain…what the Stars did from the moment they lost Captain Brenden Morrow
Internal community…another way of saying “the group”, or “the players”
LAQs…Lame Ass Quotes (also; “coachspeak”)
NEW YORK (April 12, 2009)—The match-ups for the eight Conference Quarter-Final series of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs have been determined. The match-ups are:
Series ‘A’ - #1 Boston Bruins vs. #8 Montreal Canadiens
Series ‘B’ - #2 Washington Capitals vs. #7 New York Rangers
Series ‘C’ - #3 New Jersey Devils vs. #6 Carolina Hurricanes
Series ‘D’ - #4 Pittsburgh Penguins vs. #5 Philadelphia Flyers
Series ‘E’ - #1 San Jose Sharks vs. #8 Anaheim Ducks
Series ‘F’ - #2 Detroit Red Wings vs. #7 Columbus Blue Jackets
Series ‘G’ - #3 Vancouver Canucks vs. #6 St. Louis Blues
Series ‘H’ - #4 Chicago Blackhawks vs. #5 Calgary Flames
Dates for these series will be announced later Sunday.
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
“Let’s see now, we have an 11-year contract and a 12-year contract, so I guess Marian will take 10 or 13 years,” laughed Hossa’s agent Ritch Winter, who talked to Holland about numbers Saturday, although Holland won’t be able to sign Hossa until June because of their cap situation. Hossa is going nowhere. His cap hit will be in the $6-million range. “I will tell you this: despite what people are saying, the salary cap in Detroit will definitely be no impediment to Marian signing there,” said Winter.
more hockey talk…
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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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