Kukla's Korner Hockey
from John Glennon of the Tennessean,
Predators general manager David Poile said Tuesday that he and Radulov’s agent, Jay Grossman, have tentatively agreed to a meeting featuring all three men now that Nashville’s season has come to an end….
At some point, we’ve either got to kiss and make up and bring him back into the fold, or trade him because he is an asset, or leave him over there if that’s where he wants to play,’’ Poile said.
“I’ve said all along that it’s my strong belief that he wants to play in the best league in the world and that’s not there, it’s here. The road to get back to the NHL has got to be through Nashville.’‘
from Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun,
You’ve heard teams jinx the deal by announcing the parade route before they’ve actually won the Stanley Cup.
But this has to set some sort of record.
The Vancouver Canucks open their Western Conference quarter-final against the St. Louis Blues here tonight. And defenceman Willie Mitchell already has the parade route mapped out.
“Put us on boats and take us around the seawall of Stanley Park and then end up at the Convention Centre,” said the native of Port McNeil on Vancouver Island.
“That would be the ultimate. It would be really, really cool,” Mitchell said after practice yesterday.
In case you missed it, Alanah has posted the blogger segment of the HNIC Playoff Preview Show they did last night.
Although we had only about six minutes of air time, we were able to touch on a few hockey topics.
I had fun, my first time on TV and as the producer in Windsor said, ‘just look into the red light.” With that statement, let the playoffs begin!
from Elliotte Friedman of Blogs and Columns at CBC,
The Canadiens hit the iceberg this season, with Gainey’s reputation ripped apart like the Titanic’s hull. It’s as if 20-plus years of accomplishment have been wiped away by a province-wide case of amnesia.
And it’s why you can’t help but wonder if, win or lose (and it’s probably going to be the latter), Gainey walks away from the Canadiens once again. This time, for good.
It’s hard to make such a prediction with any certainty, because Gainey is the ultimate poker-face, someone who reveals little to even his closest confidants. (And, I am not one.) One person who is close to him told me in March that “it’s 50-50” the current coach/GM returns in 2009-10.
There is some of circumstantial evidence to suggest he won’t:
1) Gainey is clearly tired of the public scrutiny surrounding his hockey team, on and off the ice. One of his greatest strengths as both a player and an executive was the ability to keep calm in a maelstrom. There’ve been a few occasions this year where he’s snapped at questions, which is unusual for him.
from Craig Custance of the Sporting News,
A look at the top storylines in the Western Conference’s first-round series:
San Jose Sharks vs. Anaheim Ducks
This Battle of California could be the most compelling series in either conference. Like the Pennsylvania series in the East, these two teams don’t like each other. Sharks goalie Evgeni Nabokov once called Ducks forward Corey Perry a crybaby, and the last time these teams played in the regular season, 64 minutes of penalties were handed out….
Vancouver Canucks vs. St. Louis Blues
Nobody wants to give the Blues much of a chance against Roberto Luongo and the Canucks, but St. Louis was as good as anybody in the second half of the season….
from Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice,
A year ago, the Devils lost all three of their home games in a five-game first-round playoff loss to the Rangers, including the series clincher.What made it tougher was having the nearly half the fans in the building be Rangers’ fans.
They’re expecting things to be different in their series against the Carolina Hurricanes. They’ll again be looking for their first ever playoff victory at Prudential Center in Game 1 on Wednesday night,.
“You work hard to get the home-ice advantage. You’ve got to take advantage of it somehow,” goaltender Martin Brodeur said. “Last year was tough for us. For whatever reason, we didn’t feel at home in the playoffs. Tomorrow we’ll feel at home for the first time in the playoffs and that’s going to feel good.
“For the guys that have been here, that was not a fun experience and deserverdly so. We didn’t play well. To a certain extent, our fans had a hard time cheering about anything when we played in this building in the playoffs last year. But this time around it will be different and, hopefully, that home feel will take us a long way.”
from Eric Stephens at NHL.com,
As the Ducks approach Game 1 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals against San Jose, it is Jonas Hiller who will likely get the nod Thursday night in front a frenzied crowd at HP Pavilion. Hiller has clearly been the better goaltender through the regular season and Giguere accepts that fact.
“I don’t anticipate playing,” Giguere said. “I won’t lie to you. Jonas is a great young goalie and I know he’s going to do the job. On my end, I’ve just got to get ready, prepare and do the things that are needed.”
At the moment, the focus figures to be on the Swiss-born Hiller. When Giguere couldn’t shake himself out of his season-long struggles, the Ducks turned to their 27-year-old backup for their playoff push.
Jim Hughson of HNIC sums up the start of the playoffs in a 2 minute or so video.
Check it out but you will probably walk away with more questions than answers.
“Just a frustrating year. It was tough on everybody, coaching staff, players and management. ... Overall, it was the worst year in probably along time. We just couldn’t seem to win that six or eight games out of 10, or 15 out of 20, to get back in the race. We weren’t really there. Sometimes when you get a little taste of being close to being in the playoffs, you get that extra motivation and you can win 10 in a row or eight and get into the playoffs. It just seems like we weren’t there ever. That’s what made it really tough.”
-Vinny Lecavallier. More from Vinny from Damian Cristodero of the St. Petersburg Times.
from Stan Fischler of Game On,
I’m sitting in the barber chair getting my locks clipped, while reading the latest issue of Sports Illustrated. Lo and behold, my eyes drifted down to the Eastern Conference predictions made by Pierre (What Doesn’t He Know) McGuire. Alas and alack, Pierre selected Washington over New York in six games. Poof! Just like that; my doubts about the Rangers were erased.
Since Sports Illustrated’s predictions are always right, about 20 percent of the time, I immediately knew that everything will be just hunky-dory with the Blueshirts. If Sports Illustrated picks them to lose, it automatically means that the Rangers will win.
But I also know that my loyal and intelligent readership wants more than that little SI snippet to prove my point, so I’ll move on to The Fischler Guaranteed to Work Game Plan.
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.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org