Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Vicki Hall of the Calgary Herald,
One by one, the Calgary Flames subjected themselves to public psychoanalysis in the bowels of Pengrowth Saddledome.
“You can’t ever have that defeatist attitude, or you’re done,” said Flames centre Craig Conroy. “You’ve got to believe.”
The Flames returned home in the wee hours of Sunday morning to a city of non-believers—or, at the very least, doubters—after losing the first two games of their best-of seven Western Conference quarter-final at United Center against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Blackhawks goalie Nikolai Khabibulin, a longtime Calgary nemesis, seemed as impenetrable as ever. With their early dominance, Chicago captain Jonathan Toews and sidekick Patrick Kane have already given Calgary supporters painful flashbacks to the time Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier wore Edmonton Oilers jerseys.
from Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
A lot of things contributed to the Penguins’ 6-3 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers yesterday at the Wachovia Center in Game 3 of this first-round playoff series.
Right winger Petr Sykora believes at least one of them was the Penguins’ own doing.
The Penguins, he said, allowed themselves to be drawn into too many post-whistle scrums and scuffles, something they made a point of avoiding in victories in Games 1 and 2 at Mellon Arena.
“We knew they were going to try to suck us in, play their style, try to get those scrums, get those little fights,” Sykora said. “That’s the way they want to beat us, and it worked because we got sucked in.
from John Vogl of the Buffalo News,
One longtime announcer and former NHL player, while watching the Sabres practice in his team’s arena on game day, remarked, “I’ve never, ever been to such a quiet morning skate. Nobody’s saying anything.”
No one is saying the Sabres need a loudmouth like Sean Avery in the room. But too many quiet players did lessen the Sabres. During a few off-the-record chats, some Sabres said the silence diminished their days.
It was described as this: Imagine walking into a room eager to start your day. You’re excited about getting ready to play in front of 19,000 fans, thrilled to be living in the fantasy world of a professional hockey player. You’re bubbling to chat and get more psyched up, giddy with anticipation about the drop of the puck.
You get to the rink and ... nothing. It seems no one is sharing your fun or excitement. You look left and a guy is silently lacing his skates. You look right and the teammate may as well be Charlie Chaplin or Marcel Marceau.
from Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun,
It’s been a great series to watch. But why hasn’t it been a series?
Why is it over before it begins? Why are the Vancouver Canucks up 3-0 on the St. Louis Blues?
Two words? Roberto Luongo?
Two teams? Vancouver’s special teams?
Two tougher twins in Daniel and Hendrik?
Yes. Yes. And yes.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
It was the first Sunday of the 2009 Stanley Cup playoffs, anything but a day of rest.
It was a day that contained meaningful hope for the Flames, Blue Jackets, Canadiens and Capitals, but also lessons of despair.
These are the mixed messages of the playoffs, with this year’s best described as the Spring of the Scrum. After all, have you ever seen so many 5-on-5, face-washin’, headlock-grabbin’ wastes of time since the days of Freddie (The Fog) Shero?
But back to Calgary, Columbus, Montreal and Washington and the lessons they derived from yesterday’s ferocious competition.
from David Pollak of Working the Corners,
First, a couple numbers — of the 291 NHL playoff series where teams have started out 0-2, the team trailing has come back to win 12.7 percent of the time. Strangely, in the 66 cases where it was the home team that was trailing as the Sharks are now, 16 have ended up winning the series, or 24.2 percent. Makes no sense to me either.
Most players subscribe to the theory that you take the positives and move on after a loss like Sunday night’s where the Sharks genuinely did improve their play but still came out on the short end. Dan Boyle isn’t one of those players.
“Some guys have a different attitude,” he said. “I look at it as black and white. We lost the game. I don’t really feel good about stuff. I’m different, but you’ve got to win the game. That’s the bottom line.”
from Elliotte Friedman of Blogs and Columns at CBC,
From the moment we arrived at our hotel, we could sense the difference. The fans are disappointed, and the mood is much less jovial. There was hope that the team could overcome whatever ailed it at the end of the regular season, rise up and defeat the Boston Bruins. After all, the Bruins weren’t just battling the current Canadiens.
They were also battling the ghosts of Richard, Beliveau, Dryden and Lafleur.
That hope is all but extinguished. Game 3 is very much The Last Stand for Les Glorieux, because a 3-0 deficit is hopeless. But, where will the next level come from? Who is going to step up and save the Montreal Canadiens?
added 9:18am, from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,
According to the local media, as minor as this incident was, it was the third time in the past several weeks Gainey had lost his composure with the media.
This is the same Gainey who during his playing days was known for keeping his cool.
The same Gainey who always has held his emotions close to the vest.
And now, there seem to be cracks developing in his armour, just like there are in his team.
from Jeff Gordon of the Hockey Guy at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
It’s over now. This was the Note’s chance to get back into the series and the home team failed.
The Blues didn’t get their must-have game. They took a good run at it, but fell short.
Now they will be relegated to playing for pride in Game 4. Now they will be fending off an embarrassing sweep on their home ice.
After entering the NHL playoffs as one of the NHL’s hottest teams, this is not the scenario they envisioned. But it is what it is.
The Canucks are the more experienced and more talented team (even with Mats Sundin sidelined) and the Blues couldn’t knock them off their game.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Ovechkin is trying. He wants to win so badly. But the bottom line is that he has zero goals in this series and his team has zero wins. Forget the Hart and Rocket Richard trophies he already has on his impressive résumé. We’re about to find out whether he’s a winner. Or a leader. Or either.
It’s unfair to lay the entire blame on No. 8 for his second-seeded club’s being down 2-0, shockingly, to the seventh-seeded Rangers. But part of the deal when you make $9 million a year is to shoulder the largest responsibility for your team. No one can question his desire to win, but now he must show he can find a way when the going gets tough.
Yes, Alex, the Rangers are blocking a lot of your wrist shots, and that’s a bummer. Well, find another way. Make better use of your linemates. Adjust your game.
from Kevin Allen of Mucking and Grinding at USA TODAY,
For years I’ve believed that Rogie Vachon has always paid a price for having the misfortune to have played for too many poor to mediocre hockey teams. Arguably he’s the best goalie not in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Now I wonder whether Chris Osgood will always pay a price for having the misfortune of playing for an exceptional hockey franchise.
Osgood has 389 regular-season victories, three Stanley Cup rings, two of them earned as the No. 1 goalie. He has 61 career playoff wins, tying him for 12th on the NHL’s all-time list. Depending upon the Red Wings’ fate, Osgood could climb as high as eighth this spring.
Only three goalies in NHL history—Patrick Roy (23), Marty Brodeur (22) and Curtis Joseph (16)—have more postseason shutouts than Osgood, who earned his 14th Saturday night.
Unquestionably, Osgood has Hall of Fame numbers. Before he retired, he could be fourth on the NHL’s all-time wins list.
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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