Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
But now, two years later, beginning on Wednesday, Jagr will get a second chance at the Devils.
Yes, the conflict between Henrik Lundqvist and Martin Brodeur will be fascinating. And yes, there will be delicious subplots featuring Gomez, Sean Avery, Zach Parise and Patrik Elias, whose shootout goal was decisive in his team’s 3-2 victory over the Blueshirts at the Rock yesterday that gave the Devils first-round home-ice.
Still, the outcome of this series between this matched set of flawed opponents is almost certainly going to be determined by whether Jagr can dominate the Devils over seven games, the way he dominated for shifts at a time while logging 24:12 yesterday while skating on lines with both Gomez and Brandon Dubinsky.
from Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun,
Some will say he has already moved on.
But the fact remains that Wade Redden is a key member of the Senators and if he can somehow turn up his game, the 30-year-old defenceman will greatly enhance this team’s chances of a first-round upset while helping himself re-establish appeal to other NHL teams.
Redden, one of the most popular Senators ever, has as few as four games left here. With Redden set to become an unrestricted free agent in July, Ottawa won’t even bother to try to re-sign him
from Adrian Dater at All Things Avs,
The Avs no doubt are saying their prayers that a guy like Boogaard will be in the lineup a LOT in this series. He’s slow, not skilled and if he wants to fight guys all night and/or take dumb penalties, the Avs will take that all night long.
I don’t know what to think about the Wild. They’re a very good team, fast, with some good skill. But their defense isn’t overpowering. I mean, this is a D that suits up a has-been like Sean Hill, a soon-to-be has-been like Keith Carney and, lest anybody in Denver forget, Martin Skooooo(no, those are boos)la.
But I got a whiff tonight of a team that talks a little too much for one that has won the square root of Sweet Fanny Adam in this league.
from Jennifer Floyd-Engel of the Star-Telegram,
That crushing Game 6 loss to the No. 7-seeded Anaheim Ducks in 2003 capped a demoralizing conference semifinal series loss and arguably began what amounts to a near death spiral in Dallas Stars hockey.
They have not gotten out of the first round since 2003. Nor does anybody other than themselves expect them to when this playoff go-round begins Thursday.
Because to do so requires facing the beast, staring down ghosts, going back to Anaheim and beating Jiggy and his Ducks.
Only now, five years later, the Stars are the under-underdogs.
from David Pollak of MediaNews via Inside Bay Area,
Things reached the point that Sharks coach Ron Wilson didn’t send goalie Evgeni Nabokov out for the start of the second period, and his reasoning was only partly based on the desire to give backup Brian Boucher a little ice time.
“I didn’t trust that team,” Wilson said of the Stars. “They were running guys. For all I know, Nabby was next on their list. That wasn’t going to happen.”
The guy doing most of the running was Steve Ott, the Stars’ nuisance of a center. And when he hit San Jose left wing Milan Michalek at 8:42 of the first period, a game that already had seen one fight quickly escalated.
from the Philadelphia Daily News,
“We’re excited to play the Capitals,” said winger Scottie Upshall, whose second-period goal was all the scoring the Flyers needed against the Pens on this afternoon. “It’s going to be a good test. They have a great team. We’re pumped to be playing one of the best players in the world right now.”
How hot is Ovechkin? This hot: His 65 goals not only led the league, but were the most ever by a left winger and 13 more than any other player this season. Eleven of those goals were game-winners, also tops in the league.
Asked for his thoughts on playing the Caps, Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen said, “Well, obviously No. 8. That guy makes them go. They’ve probably been the hottest team in the league for a month-and-a-half. It won’t be easy.
“But if we play the way we did Friday [a 3-0 shutout of the always-troublesome New Jersey Devils] and [yesterday], for all 60 minutes, we’ll be OK.”
from Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News,
On the one hand, the Sabres collected 39 wins and 90 points – both franchise records for a non-playoff year. Given everything that happened last summer, maybe that’s not too bad on first glance.
But put that finish into the perspective of history and it becomes a fall that has been rarely seen in the NHL.
The Sabres became just the third defending points leader to fail to make the playoffs the next season in the expansion era (joining only the 1970 Montreal Canadiens and 1993 New York Rangers). Buffalo’s 23-point drop from last year’s 113- point finish is the third-highest among Presidents’ Trophy winners since the award was first handed out to the regular-season champion in 1985-86.
And by percentage of points earned, the Sabres’ drop is fourth-highest in the Presidents’ Trophy era.
from the Hockey News,
With the National Hockey League’s playoff set to begin Wednesday, there’s no shortage of storylines on each side of the continent.
Can the Ducks repeat after only playing a select few games as a complete group this season?
Will the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Red Wings fizzle in the playoffs after another remarkable regular season?
Are the Senators ready to right the ship, or has their slide doomed them to an early playoff departure?
And what of the East-winning Canadiens? Is the NHL’s most successful franchise poised for a run at glory?
read on for a a breakdown of each series…
from Craig Custance of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution,
Yes, Kovalchuk’s 52 goals this season tied his own franchise record, but that’s not the number that will put him in the stratosphere with the league’s all-time best.
Only playoff wins do that, and after six seasons, Kovalchuk is still sitting at zero.
“It doesn’t matter how many goals you score — 50-goal season, 30-goal season, two-goal season. When you’re a loser, it’s the worst,” Kovalchuk said.
from Mark Spector of the National Post,
The tournament begins in quasi-hockey weather in 16 cities. But The Masters quickly passes, nature moves on to baseball, and summer arrives before the hockey playoffs are even half over. As fans’ home teams fall by the wayside, the very nature of spring turning to summer draws them away from the TV and out of doors.
It works in direct opposition to the onset of winter coinciding with the baseball playoffs - when a fire, a couch and a good ballgame marry up perfectly - and the television ratings reflect that. By the time they play the Stanley Cup final interest is regional, with most Canadians watching with one eye from the clubhouse or the cabin, or not at all.
The good news? Pay your cable bill, friend, because the best hockey month of the year is upon us.
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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