Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Empty Netters,
One of the allures of watching the Stanley Cup Playoffs is watching clean-shaven men progress from baby-faced cherubs into Jeffrey Lebowski… uh… the other Jeffrey Lebowski. The Dude. His Dudeness, or uh, Duder, or El Duderino if you’re not into the whole brevity thing.
So with a day left before the growing can begin, let us take a team-by-team look at who will grow the best playoff beards:
via the AP at The Charlotte Observer,
“I didn’t tell them anything,” coach Peter Laviolette said Monday. “I couldn’t. I didn’t know what to say. I’ll figure that out as we move along. I had a hard time moving forward myself.”
So the Hurricanes (43-33-6) become the first NHL team to miss the playoffs in each of the two seasons after winning the Stanley Cup.
“It’s like your legs were chopped out from under you, and you feel totally helpless,” said forward Justin Williams, whose empty-netter sealed the ‘06 title.
from Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette,
“We began in October with 15 Eastern Conference teams and our objective was to make the playoffs, in the best position possible,” Gainey said. “Now that we’re in the playoffs, our goal is to win the Stanley Cup.”
And just like that, the genius behind this remarkable Canadiens team turned playoff fever up another few degrees in a civic cauldron that’s been on a rolling boil for weeks.
For more on the Canadiens, make sure to check out Habs Inside/Out.
from Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun,
The very banging and battering the Penguins wanted to avoid from the Flyers can serve as an equalizer in this series for the undermanned Senators. They just need to bring it. Schubert, Chris Neil, Martin Lapointe, Cody Bass, Shean Donovan, Mike Commodore and Anton Volchenkov will be key players for Ottawa.
They have to frustrate the skilled Penguins. They have to throw them off their game. Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Marian Hossa, Petr Sykora and Sergei Gonchar have to be targeted. They cannot be allowed to free-wheel without concern or they will roll right over the Senators.
Crosby’s got a bad RIGHT ankle? How will it stand up to a two-hander? The Senators have to find out.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
So unless these Ducks are going to change drastically over the next 2 1/2 months, they’re going to have to repeat while scoring less often than last year’s squad and while having to kill off more penalties than the other team most nights.
That doesn’t leave much room for error.
Two major factors work in the Ducks’ favour, however. First, in Jean-Sebastien Giguere, they have a brilliant playoff netminder who owns a 31-13 record all-time in the Stanley Cup tournament, including 12-1 in overtime matches.
Second, they can buckle up the chinstraps and grit their teeth more than any other club. Consider the fact, for example, that in the 10 regular-season and playoff games for which defenceman Chris Pronger has been suspended since last May, the Ducks have won eight.
from Adrian Dater at All Things Avs,
I’m officially picking the Wild in six games over our brave boys.
How could I pick the Wild after I dared to poke some fun at Marian Gaborik and rip the wondrous skills of Derek Boogaard? First of all, settle down all you Wild lovers. It’s a hockey blog for crying out loud. Let’s have a little fun now and then, sheesh.
But I’m picking the Wild because of three guys some of you may never have heard of ’til now: Stephane Veilleux, Branko Radivojevic and Mikko Koivu. Along with being one of the all-time hard-to-pronounce lines, they’re the Wild’s checking line, and I just think they are the major difference over the Avs.
from Mark Everson of the NY Post,
After all this, three Cups, seven Atlantic titles, and yet another finish above their unneighborly neighbors, the Devils New Jersey Devils enter the fifth Battle of the Hudson still Strangers in a Ranger land, even in their own home, by their own admission.
“It’s weird living here,” Devils captain Jamie Langenbrunner Jamie Langenbrunner told The Post. “You have all these people in New Jersey that are Rangers New York Rangers fans. And you have the Devils fans.
“It’s like we’re the ugly stepchild team and they’re the glamour.”
from the Boston Globe,
“Felt great,” said Savard. “It’s getting better every day. It’s going along good.”
Savard missed the last seven games of the regular season because of the injury, which came courtesy of a Steve Begin cross-check. Savard said he hopes to practice today with teammates.
“I’m going to hopefully see action right away,” Savard said of a possible Game 1 return. “I’ve been doing everything I can. I’ve been resting on the couch. I’ve been resting every day.”
from Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News,
Ryan Miller received word that Buffalo Sabres managing partner Larry Quinn wanted to sign the goaltender to a long-term deal. That was well and good Monday, but Miller wanted to meet with management first before making any bold statements about his future with the franchise.
It wouldn’t be surprising if Miller looks for a few assurances before he begins talking about a long-term deal for big money. Miller is going to get his dough one way or another. But as a competitor, he should want a commitment about where this whole thing is headed.
The goal hasn’t been clear since the whole Chris Drury-Daniel Briere charade last summer. Are the Sabres simply trying to turn a buck? Was this a transition year for a team looking to win the Cup?
From the Pioneer Press,
Wild defenseman Nick Schultz underwent a successful appendectomy Monday evening, the Wild announced.
“Schultz is resting comfortably and his status will be updated when more information becomes available,” the Wild said in a statement.
The Wild were already short in defensemen, having lost Kurtis Foster to a broken left femur suffered on March 19.
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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