Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Mark Purdy of the Mercury News,
We didn’t have a great game,” Thornton said. “We had some good chances and we didn’t capitalize. We have to play better.”
Welcome to the first game of the 2008 Stanley Cup playoffs for the Sharks, a 3-2 loss to the Flames on Wednesday that will be remembered either as a hiccup and learning experience on the way to an eventual series victory by the Sharks . . . or as an ominous and frustrating precursor of another horrible and premature playoff exit.
We will know the answer within a week or so.
from Tim Wharnsby of the Globe and Mail,
The commute for Montreal Canadiens head coach Guy Carbonneau from his west-end home to the Bell Centre takes 45 minutes.
Along the way, he encounters plenty of well-wishers. “I get honked at 150 times,” he said on the eve of his team’s first-round playoff series against the Boston Bruins.
To say the city of Montreal adores its Canadiens and has ratcheted that affection to a new level this season would be to state the obvious. That’s why Carbonneau has his players sequestered in a downtown hotel for home games as the storied franchise takes a run at a 25th Stanley Cup championship.
from Marcia C. Smith of the OC Register,
In other news, some local guys in skates start the playoffs Thursday night at Honda Center against the Dallas Stars and … (Cue the crickets, please).
Hello? Hockey? Anyone?
Look around Orange County and listen. Has anyone outside team itself and their loyalists noticed that the Ducks — the defending STANLEY CUP CHAMPIONS! — are starting the NHL playoffs?
Where’s the county’s pluck for the puck? Where’s the talk? The energy? The emotion? The fan wearing the orange and black Selanne jersey to pick up milk at the local Ralph’s? The scalpers asking double-face-value for tickets?
Nowhere. Nothing. There’s college-library-like silence. Which is a little surprising from this region renowned for front-running sports enthusiasts.
from Working the Corners at the Mercury News,
Thornton had plenty of nice things to say and credited Keenan with helping his own development as a young player. Today Keenan returned the compliments, saying nice things about Thornton and telling one story from his early days as a Bruin.
“One day I told him, ‘Joe, you’ve got to train harder. Ride the bike.’ And he asked me how long? ‘I don’t know, I’ll be back to let you know.’ And I got preoccupied. An hour later, I forgot. And he’s still riding, and the trainer says Joe wants to know if he can stop now. I said, ‘Oh my god, I forgot all about hm.’ So I go and say, OK, Joe, now you can get off.”
read on about how Thornton may have been traded to the Florida Panthers…
From Mike Boone at The Gazette,
Despite selling out every home game this season, the Canadiens say they didn’t make any money. Team president Pierre Boivin told La Presse the club’s playoff participation, which begins tomorrow night against the Boston Bruins at the Bell Centre, will allow the team to make a profit on the 2007-08 season.
Boivin would not reveal specific numbers. He doesn’t have to; the Canadiens are part of a privately held company owned by George Gillett and Molson Coors.
But even without access to the club’s allegedly red-ink-drenched books, I am skeptical of its purportedly precarious break-even financial position.
more… *a breakdown by Boone estimating the possible profits of the Habs
*hat-tip to Habs Inside/Out for the pointer
Aaron Ward chatted with fans today at the Bruins website…
Hailey_Dodge: what is the most difficult part of the playoffs?
Aaron Ward: Maintaining your focus. SO MANY distractions… media, friends and family looking for tix, euphoria in the city…
beproud42: How do you respond to everyone who feels that this is going to be a (fairly) easy sweep for the Habs?
Aaron Ward: Games are played on the ice, not in the newspapers, on TV, or on computer screens. Playoffs have a different flavor.
With the Stanley Cup playoffs kicking off Wednesday, our experts took some time to ponder what lies ahead. ESPN.com’s Scott Burnside, ESPN The Magazine’s E.J. Hradek and ESPN analyst Barry Melrose answer these 10 burning questions:
1. Which player do you think will be one of the out-of-nowhere role players who surprises everyone in the playoffs?
Scott Burnside: I would keep an eye on Tom Poti. The veteran in Washington has put some injuries behind him and moves the puck well. He plays in the shadow of Mike Green now, but that’s not a bad thing.
E.J. Hradek: I think Capitals forward Brooks Laich and Red Wings forward Johan Franzen could be two under-the-radar type players who can be surprisingly big contributors in the coming weeks.
from Brian Costello of the Hockey News,
It’s not nearly as dramatic as the Ray Bourque Stanley Cup mission of 2001 or the Dave Andreychuk Cup quest in 2004, but there are nine NHLers with more than 1,000 games to their credit without championship rings.
Ottawa’s Luke Richardson is the regular season games played leader without a Stanley Cup title at 1,415. He’s one season away from the all-time leader, Phil Housley at 1,495.
Here are the other leaders active in this year’s playoffs.
via David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
“It’s still the same game, it’s just higher intensity,” Hossa said in comparing the regular season to the playoffs. “We have to battle through the traffic and make hockey more simple.
“Every experience is big and definitely I’m learning. Sometimes it’s a longer process but I’m here and hopefully I can help this team go far.”
more on Marian Hossa…
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
A year ago, the hockey world observed Sidney Crosby as though he were a brand new organism unearthed in the excavation of some long-forgotten hockey rink.
As the teenage scoring sensation and anointed savior of the game prepared for his first playoff series against Ottawa, we poked and prodded and mostly wondered. How would the league’s scoring champ adjust to life in the pressure cooker of the postseason? What could he accomplish? How would he lead his team? Where would he lead his team?
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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