Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Jim Reeves of the Star-Telegram,
Even now, after all these years with the Stars, Zubov still isn’t completely at ease as the center of media attention. He prefers to do his thing quietly and efficiently, and then to slip away while others do the talking.
But now the Stars need him to break his code of silence. They need to hear four words from their best puck-handling defenseman, who hasn’t played since January:
“I’m ready to play.”
Sometime today, before the Stars and San Jose Sharks meet in Game 2 of their quarterfinals playoff series, would be just fine.
The puck, as they say, is on Zubie’s stick.
“It’s up to him now,” Stars coach Dave Tippett said for the second straight day Saturday. “Zubie is a special player. When he comes to me and tells me he’s ready to play, then he’s in the lineup.”
from Shelly Anderson of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
Crosby, already a celebrity in his native Canada in his early teens, began to hear that there was another special player in Russia besides gregarious Alex Ovechkin.
Malkin heard about Crosby through an agent.
The two got their first real glimpse of each other when Crosby and Team Canada beat Malkin and the Russian squad, 6-1, in the World Junior Championships Jan. 4, 2005, in Grand Forks, N.D.
“I could tell,” Crosby said of Malkin’s talent.
Little did Crosby and Malkin know that a little more than three years later they would make up perhaps the top dynamic duo in the NHL this season with a chance to join the top handful of such pairs of teammates since the league’s major expansion 41 years ago.
from Chuck Gormley of the Courier Post via Delaware Online,
Dowd’s routine does not end with his last forkful of rice.
When he gets to the arena—whether it’s the Bell Centre in Montreal or the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia—Dowd has to have his equipment positioned just right.
“I like my stall nice and neat,” Dowd said. “[Former Islanders great] Butch Goring once told me that if something works, don’t change it. Stick with it. Some guys say I’m a little bit of a neat freak. But I ain’t changing anything.”
According to Flyers equipment manager Derek Settlemyre, most players have some kind of pregame ritual that goes unchanged. Derian Hatcher gives fist punches to every player before he takes the ice. Jeff Carter always follows Mike Richards down the runway. Randy Jones always is the last player off the ice following warmups and before every intermission.
from Chris Stevenson of the Ottawa Sun,
After Philly’s R.J. Umberger scored to make it 4-2 and clinch the win, Timonen turned back toward the Canadiens and raised his arms, a smirk on his face.
Canadiens forward Tom Kostopoulos delivered a roundhouse left to Timonen’s chops.
“I was just upset we were losing,” Kostopoulos said.
“I didn’t say anything. I raised my hands and I got punched,” Timonen said.
“I don’t want to make a big deal of it ... I guess we’ll see what happens (tomorrow).”
from Terry Frei of the Denver Post,
He entered the zone of diminished returns.
There is no turning back.
Forsberg has become more trouble than he is worth. His unreliability is demoralizing.
It raised eyebrows when he was in and out of the lineup down the stretch of the regular season after signing with Colorado on Feb. 25.
This raises doubts.
At this time of year, in the most relentlessly testing of professional sports’ postseasons, any skepticism — even subconscious — about a teammate’s resolve is a major problem.
from Jason Kay of the Hockey News,
At what point does secondary scoring become primary?
That’s the question we asked ourselves as “second-liners” Johan Franzen (three goals) and Valtteri Filppula (one) helped propel the Detroit Red Wings to an easy 5-1 victory over the Colorado Avalanche Saturday afternoon.
For Franzen, it was the second consecutive multi-goal contest, giving him the team and league lead with seven. And the talented Swede can score them in a variety of ways.
continued & some ref talk too…
added 8:22pm, from the 2008 Stanley Cup Playoffs blog at CBC,
“He’s got a hot stick right now,” Avalanche coach Joel Quenneville said. “Everything he touches seems to be going in. I think we need to be a little tighter around the net and make it a little more challenging in that area.”
Yeah, just a little. The Avs were thoroughly embarrassed in this one, getting outshot 40-20. The team has lost six straight to Detroit this season, and four straight in the playoffs since 2002.
“We’ve got to regroup, and figure out how we’re going to get better,” said captain Joe Sakic, who has no points in the series.
from Mark Spector of the National Post,
The learning curve has passed, and you’ll notice the hockey is better and more high scoring this spring. Look at these comparisons between the 48 games played in Round 1 this spring, to the 47 games played in Round 1 back in the ‘04, the final playoff before the lockout:
• Shut outs: 14 in ‘04, eight in ‘08.
• Games in which one team scored four goals: 16 in ‘04, 26 in ‘08.
• Games in which one team scored five goals: six in ‘04, 13 in ‘08.
This spring it has become clear that NHL players have learned how to play the game now without a rodeo breaking out. Officials have found the balance between calling every, single little ticky-tack foul, and maintaining the standard.
from Steve Zipay of Blue Notes,
The news conference was winding down and Martin Straka’s critical third-period interference penalty on Sidney Crosby wasn’t rehashed.
So Penguins coach Michel Therrien today took it upon himself to unload and perhaps ignite a war of words.
“Where I’m kind of disappointed, that there’s this gamesmanship happening before this series about Sidney drawing peanlties,” Therrien began. “I’m kinda disappointed, this is a star player that plays into traffic, a powerful skater…. and we all know what (Rangers coach) Tom Renney is trying to do, he tried to do it before we started before the series, and I see his comment today.”
from Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch,
John H. McConnell died yesterday. He wasn’t quite 85 years old, and he had an incredible life. It began in a house that did not have electricity. It ended in a hospital where he donated a tower…..
He liked the players, and told them to play for one another. He liked the game, the toughness of it, the stress it put on team play. He thoroughly enjoyed sitting in his box, up there in the corner above sections 106 and 107, and seeing the arena fill up for a major-league sport right here, in Downtown Columbus. I have no doubt he was happy that the Jackets will play on, indefinitely, beyond him. That was the point.
When they showed his face on the Jumbotron, he’d wave and the crowd would cheer. That’s not a normal owner-fan relationship, but it’s not surprising in this case. McConnell’s intentions were always transparent and pure and it was impossible not to like the man, and admire him. The jamokes in section 216, row Z, had a bond with him.
John Buccigross and Barry Melrose give us a three minute recap of the action last night.
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.
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