Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
This is the time of year when stories are made, stories that will be recounted to generations and generations. Although it’s impossible to predict the unpredictable, let’s take a look at 10 possible storylines that could generate headlines in the first round of the playoffs:
1. Sean Avery, meet Alex Ovechkin
The game’s most controversial player meets the game’s best goal scorer. Each is a showman in his own way. We all remember what Avery did to Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur in the first round last season. What will he have in store for Ovechkin? It remains to be seen how often they’ll be on the ice together, but when they are, will Avery target Ovechkin and try to get under his skin? And will Ovechkin let it get to him? Curious minds want to know.
continue for more storylines…
from Scott Cullen of TSN,
First off, my winners:
Round One: Boston, Washington, New Jersey, Pittsburgh, San Jose, Detroit, Vancouver, Chicago
Best-equipped to pull off an upset (among 6, 7, 8 seeds): Carolina, Anaheim, N.Y. Rangers
Final Four: Boston, New Jersey, San Jose, Detroit
Cup Final: Boston, San Jose
Cup Winner: Boston
My Top 120 Skaters for the 2008-2009 Playoffs (assuming goals and assists are worth one point):
1. Pavel Datyuk, C, Detroit
2. Marc Savard, C, Boston
3. Henrik Zetterberg, C, Detroit
Damien Cox of the Toronto Star turns to video to let you know what matchups to keep your eye on.
NEW YORK (April 13, 2009)—Vancouver Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo, St. Louis Blues goaltender Chris Mason and Boston Bruins right wing Phil Kessel have been named the NHL’s ‘Three Stars’ for the week ending Apr. 12.
from Chip Alexander of the News & Observer,
There is no shortage of Stanley Cup rings between the Carolina Hurricanes and the New Jersey Devils.
The Canes have 10 players with rings and the Devils 11. They’re the players who have successfully fought through four playoff series, won 16 games, been there on that last night in June with their bushy playoff beards and broad smiles and finally lifted the Cup in celebration and exultation.
It’s experience that’s hard-won, that will be invaluable when the Canes and Devils begin their first-round Stanley Cup playoff series this week at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.
DENVER – The Colorado Avalanche Hockey Club announced today that Executive VP/General Manager Francois Giguere has been relieved from his duties. Effective immediately, Avalanche President and Alternate Governor Pierre Lacroix will oversee the franchise until a new management structure is announced.
Pierre Lacroix issued the following statement:
“The results of this season are unacceptable. We feel a new direction is needed which re-emphasizes those standards of excellence our fans have grown accustomed to since 1995. We will work diligently towards reclaiming our identity that made our brand so special and unique.
“We are too proud of what we have accomplished in this market to ignore where we are and what happened in just a very short period of time. Ownership and the dedicated Avalanche fans throughout the region deserve better results.
“The immediate future of this franchise is my primary concern so it was important to act now and start the process of restoring this franchise to where it belongs.”
The Avalanche has not set a timetable for finalizing a new management structure. Until such an announcement is made, there will be no further comment from any member of the team’s hockey operations staff.
from Adam Proteau of The Hockey News,
Last week, I saw reunited comedy duo Cheech and Chong perform on a tour that was their first in decades. They still had it; all they needed to rekindle the magic was a break from the norm and a different time and separate place to be born, and prosperous, again.
The same may prove true for Poile and Trotz, Lowe and MacTavish, Risebrough and Lemaire, and Regier and Ruff.
Each of those tandems may eventually steer their charges to hockey’s ultimate glory. But even the savviest sailors understand that when you fight the sea for a living, vacating vessels inevitably becomes part of the job.
Scott Burnside and Pierre LeBrun take a look at every first round matchup…
Penguins’ penalty kill vs. Flyers’ power play. Yes, we know you want to hear us say Crosby versus Richards given the sparks that have flown between the two centers in the past. But we’re going a different direction with the Pens’ vastly improved penalty kill against the Flyers’ deep power-play attack. The Pens turned their 20th-ranked penalty-killing unit into the eighth-best in the league under Bylsma, and if they can keep the Flyers at bay on the man-advantage, it will put more pressure on the Flyers to score five-on-five.
This is like a science experiment. When two offensive masses collide, there will be breakdowns, and they will occur more often and more cataclysmically with the Philadelphia Flyers. Penguins in six.
more & all the playoff matchups can be found on the right sidebar…
via Bruce Dowbiggin of the Calgary Herald,
Kent Douglas, 1962 Calder Trophy winner who used the largest stick in history, passed away peacefully at his home in Wasaga Beach, Ont., at age 73, following a battle with cancer. He was the first defenceman to win the rookie award and a loyal friend.
Hopes are high as the Vancouver Canucks get ready for their first playoff game Wednesday at home against the St. Louis Blues. If you want to cheer on your team in person, be prepared to pay. Regular price playoff tickets for the Canucks cost between $100 and $400 each—plus service charges—in round one.
On the street there is a willingness to go the see the Canucks in the post-season. But with a shaky economy, the prices are too steep for fans like this guy. “Not worth the money to me. The chances are, if you’re sitting in the nosebleed section for that much, it’s just not worth it. I’d rather watch it on TV.”
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 email@example.com