Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
• After watching Mike Green and Joe Thornton in the playoffs, can’t imagine how either will earn a place on Canada’s 2010 Olympic team. The better the hockey gets, the more invisible they become. You can get your offence from the back end with Dan Boyle and Scott Niedermayer without having to gamble on Green.
• On the other hand, can’t imagine a Canadian team without the incredible Niedermayer, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry of the Anaheim Ducks. In fact, wouldn’t Rick Nash fit in perfectly on a line with Getzlaf and Perry?
• The one-time stiff Nik Antropov has made himself into quite the player. He will be a free-agent prize of sorts in July, if he doesn’t re-sign with the New York Rangers before that.
more hockey nuggets…
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
All in all, if you were expecting the Pens to be a one-shot deal, they’re proving it’s not going to happen that way. Having Crosby and Malkin, and probably Staal and Fleury as well, means this team is always going to have a core that will keep it in the thick of things, or at least it will as long as that group stays whole.
That said, they may end up grappling with Eastern Conference champion Boston in the next round, which would be a terrific struggle.
But while you might have made the B’s heavy favourites a week ago, you wouldn’t today. These Penguins are tougher than they might at first appear.
from Norman Webster of the Montreal Gazette,
Much of the time it seems to consist of forwards skating into the goaltender’s crease after he has frozen the puck and giving him a hard stare, as Paddington Bear used to do to those who incurred his disapproval. The whistle has gone, nothing whatever can be done to advance the play, but this staring, accompanied by the usual obscenities, is supposed to bring great advantage to the perpetrators.
The defenders do not like this. They retaliate by rubbing opponents’ faces with the palms of their gloves - “face-washing,” it’s called, although if you have ever dipped your nose into a working hockey gauntlet you may question the term “washing.” The defenders, too, loose the usual insults, while the linesmen run around throwing their bodies in front of potential punches (is there any other sport which so shamefully degrades its officials?). Of course, this brings Montreal’s sophisticated fans out of their seats every time.
from Sam Carchidi of Broad Street Bull at the Philadelphia Inquirer,
Wholesale changes aren’t needed. But the team needs more physicality from its defensemen.
Never was that more evident than Saturday, when two of the Penguins’ goals were scored when players batted pucks out of the air and into the net.
I’m in the minority of people who think the Flyers can compete for the Stanley Cup with Marty Biron as the goalie. Biron wasn’t why the Flyers lost this series. He had a 2.29 goals-against average before Saturday, and only two of the Game 6 goals were his fault.
Re-sign Biron and get a crease-clearing defenseman like Montreal’s Mike Komisarek, a potential free agent. The Flyers missed the injured Derian Hatcher this year more than they will admit.
more on the Flyers…
added 11:27am, from Phil Sheridan of the Philadelphia Inquirer,
There is something seriously wrong with a hockey team that blows a 3-0 lead, at home, in a playoff-elimination game. That part is easy.
Figuring out exactly what went wrong with the Flyers in yesterday’s stunning collapse against the rival Pittsburgh Penguins will be much harder. And that is the challenge that faces the franchise’s leaders - all of whom appeared shell-shocked after the team’s sudden, breathtaking dismissal from the first round of the playoffs.
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
Sharks center Joe Thornton found a heart, the Ducks lost a chance to pull off an upset and the teams’ playoff series became a lot more interesting—and at least one game longer….
The example provided by Thornton—who had scored the Sharks’ first goal and assisted on their second—ensured the Sharks’ season will last through Monday at the Honda Center. A seventh game, if necessary, will be played Wednesday at San Jose.
“Everything is fine and dandy right now,” Sharks Coach Todd McLellan said, “but we’ve still got a noose around our necks and we’d better be prepared to play even better than we did tonight.”
Ducks Coach Randy Carlyle questioned the legality of the winning goal.
“The reason the puck went in the net is their player pushed our goalie’s pad,” said Carlyle, whose team had scored twice early in the third period to get back into the game.
“As he pushed our goalie’s pad . . . the back of his skate knocked the puck in the net.”
Matt Walker of the Blackhawks took a shot off of his hand and the results were a messed-up finger.
In case you are wondering, he returned to play.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
Bobby Orr is the most mes merizing player I have ever seen. Well, he was. He was until The Alex Ovechkin Show hit the NHL.
Ovechkin’s combination of ferocity, passion, talent and showmanship is unique in NHL history. He is a great player, already an all-time player after just four seasons in the league, who isn’t afraid to let the world in and see the excitement he gets from performing, from excelling; from playing.
This is the athlete who would be worth the price of admission in even Yankee Stadium, and please, while we’re at it, let’s get the Caps into The Bronx for an outdoor game.
continued plus some Tortorella, Wild, Briere mentions among others…
A great game between the Sharks and Ducks ends with a Patrick Marleau goal in OT.
Sharks outshot the Ducks 48-25 and once again, Hiller was outstanding in goal for the Ducks.
from Vicki Hall of the Calgary Herald,
Calgary’s hockey heroes were scheduled to fly home in the wee hours of Sunday morning to a restless city bursting with questions.
Like how could captain Jarome Iginla go missing in the most important game of the season with no shots and no hits through the crucial opening 20 minutes? And how could a team built around defence abandon goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff with no explanation?
How could Cory Sarich take an undisciplined penalty to lead to the first Chicago goal by Brent Seabrook? How could the fourth line of David Moss, Dustin Boyd, and Warren Peters account for the only Calgary goal? What happened to the big names — such as Michael Cammalleri, Olli Jokinen and Dion Phaneuf — in such a crucial outing?
from Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Tribune,
The Hawks were just better. They were more together than the Flames.
Togetherness—that’s one of things that stand out about hockey. More than perhaps all sports, it demands teamwork, physical sacrifice and a surrendering of personal goals for the good of the team. You go all out for two minutes and get off the ice after the shift. If you let up at any point during those two minutes, there’s a decent chance you and your team are going to pay. There’s certainly no time for selfishness. And there’s no profit in it. You can’t skate through two defenders and get to the net. A hockey player can’t take over a game by himself, unless he goes by the name of Gretzky.
If you’re a showboat in the NHL, you’re not going to be one for long. You’re not going to have a head for long, either, because it’s going to get knocked off. Perhaps even by a teammate. Self-centeredness is not frowned upon. It’s snarled upon.
In a game as rough as this one is, you’d have to be crazy to try to show up an opponent. And even when the Hawks jumped on the Flames, they did not dance on them. They did what hockey players do after a goal: They looked for teammates in order to celebrate.
more on the Chicago victory over Calgary tonight…
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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