Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Ray Ratto of the San Francisco Chronicle,
San Jose is better positioned to break through the conference ceiling than ever before. They have no real tactical holes, they have two very good lines and a decent third line, they are more willing to exchange body blows, their goaltending is solid if not necessarily elite, they don’t have listening issues with the coaching staff, and they almost never lose at home.
That’s the talent side of the team. They’re not quite loaded in that Detroit way, but their weaknesses are harder to repeatedly exploit….
Now comes the fun part. Teams that have gone three years or more without a playoff appearance get knocked out of the first round twice as often as they advance, because there really is such a thing as playoff inexperience. It’s hard to miss the playoffs three years in a row, so teams that get there are usually a little googly-eyed when they arrive, and since the Western Conference has three such teams, Chicago, Columbus and St. Louis, this can only help the hardy perennials like the Sharks and Red Wings.
But whether the Blues beat Colorado tonight, the Sharks will enter the postseason knowing they have done too much too well this season to claim that as an excuse if things don’t go as they wish.
via Michael Russo of Russo’s Rants,
Jacques Lemaire, the only coach the Wild’s ever known, has coached his final game with the Wild.
With clear signs before the game that Lemaire was indeed done, Lemaire finally confirmed it after the Wild’s 6-3 win.
“I think it’s time for the players to get a new coach and myself look at other stuff.”
With you coach elsewhere? “I’ll see. It’s exciting. It’s an exciting job. I was behind the bench there just before the game there, and I felt I was getting really tight because it’s something I’ve done for 15 years and I like it and I have to go.”
If St. Louis wins tomorrow, they finish as the 6th seed, Columbus 7th and Anaheim 8th.
If the Blues get one point or lose in regulation, Columbus 6th, Anaheim 7th and St. Louis 8th.
St. Louis plays in Colorado tomorrow at 5pm ET.
added 11:10pm, via NHL.com,
Anaheim’s 5-4 shootout loss to Phoenix and Columbus’ 6-3 loss to Minnesota on Saturday night assured that the last three playoff pairings in the Western Conference won’t be decided until Sunday.
The Jackets’ loss left them with 92 points, sixth in the West. But St. Louis could match them by winning at Colorado on Sunday; the Blues would finish ahead of Columbus because they won the season series between the teams.
If St. Louis gets one or no points on Sunday, the Ducks will finish seventh and the Blues eighth. The Ducks have 91 points and 43 wins; if the Blues get 91 points with an overtime or shootout loss, they’ll have 41 victories.
The sixth-place finisher will play Vancouver, which won the Northwest Division title and the third seed with a 1-0 victory at Colorado. The seventh seed will play Detroit, the Central Division winner and second seed. The eighth seed will play San Jose, which won the Pacific Division and captured the Presidents’ Trophy with the NHL’s best regular-season record.
My question, Blues tied late in the 3rd tomorrow, do they pull the goalie for a regulation win?
#1 Boston vs #8 Montreal
#2 Washington vs #7 New York Rangers
#3 New Jersey vs #6 Carolina
Philadelphia vs Pittsburgh- Flyers need a point tomorrow for the #4 seed when they play the Rangers in Philadelphia.
from Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News,
...less than 15 minutes after Buffalo’s easy, breezy 6-1 victory over Boston in the season finale, most of the players had slipped into the showers, slithered out the side door and made themselves scarce. Heaven forbid they would actually take responsibility for missing the playoffs in two straight years and five out of seven seasons.
It was typical.
Why rant about their dressing room after the final game? I was waiting for them to address the issue without being told. They shouldn’t need public criticism about a glaring problem before finding a solution. Their willingness to let each other slide this year said plenty about their lack of accountability amid a rumor Lindy Ruff was getting fired….
Minority owner Larry Quinn said an intense evaluation was forthcoming, but he did not say either way whether Regier or Ruff would be canned. Ruff looked like a beaten man Saturday, like someone prepared to put out a cigarette and walk the plank.
We’ll see what happens, but Ruff has been the least of their problems.
from John Glennon of the Tennessean via the Leaf Chronicle,
The Predators’ failure to reach the playoffs will mean more than just an absence of postseason hockey in Nashville this spring, it will also impact the franchise’s finances.
NHL teams rake in far bigger per-game profits during the playoffs than they do during the regular season because player salaries have been completely paid by then. Players make comparatively small revenue-based bonuses during the postseason.
So the Predators will miss out on roughly $750,000 in gross profit for every home playoff game, a sum that over the past four seasons helped the franchise reduce its overall losses.
In addition, missing the playoffs could make it more challenging for the Predators to retain current ticket-holders and sponsors, lure new season ticket-holders and sponsors, and increase next season’s player payroll.
Dustin Byfuglien was awarded a penalty shot on this play late in today’s Chicago/Detroit game.
via George Richards of On Frozen Pond,
Owner Alan Cohen told me in an email today that Martin will continue to oversee the team’s hockey operations. Martin was relieved of his coaching duties after last season and reportedly signed a four-year deal to remain on as general manager.
‘‘Yes, Jacques’ job is safe for certain,’’ Mr. Cohen wrote. ‘‘He has made the team and the farm system better. Hopefully we keep doing that.’‘
OT victory today, the Vancouver Canucks win their division.
Also, the top five seedings in the West are set:
1. San Jose
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