Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Mike Wise of the Washington Post,
But here the kid was in Game 6, needing to score—needing to put a volume of shots on goal because nothing else seemed to be working. He came through brilliantly. His ungodly 13-year, $124 million contract doesn’t kick in until next year, but Ovechkin was poised for criticism this postseason if he couldn’t find the net again.
In a blink he morphed into something none of his teammates had seen for days—from Alex the Awestruck to Ovie the Incomparable, all his talent and power shown in full. And now it’s one game for everything in this first-round classic.
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from Dan Rosen of NHL.com,
You hear this old cliché all the time: Defense is your best offense.
Sick of it already? So are we, but we certainly believe it.
For proof, just look at the final three in contention for this season’s James Norris Trophy, which is awarded annually to the best defenseman in the National Hockey League.
Between Nicklas Lidstrom of the Detroit Red Wings, Zdeno Chara of the Boston Bruins and Dion Phaneuf of the Calgary Flames, the trio of finalists has a combined 44 goals and 137 assists for 181 points, an average of 60.3 points per defensemen.
from the Calgary Herald,
So, going into a game like this we’ve got lots of guys who have been in positive situations,” said Iginla. “So you draw on those things. You definitely do. You get good vibes going.
Imagine the whopper that Alex Tanguay could weave.
Game 7! . . . Stanley Cup final! . . . two goals! . . . including the game-winner as the Colorado Avalanche shaded the New Jersey Devils in 2001.
Also skating in that championship skirmish was Stephane Yelle, the NHL’s active leader in Game 7 appearances—11, including tonight.
Mike Keenan, meanwhile, will skipper a Game 7 for the 10th time—a league record.
But everyone—no matter how fat the resume—will be fighting jitters.
more on the Flames…
from John Glennon of the Tennessean,
The Predators are expected to announce new multi-year contracts for the coaching staff and scouts at a morning news conference today.
The current contracts would have expired in June, but the new deals will keep the staff in place.
Update 1:37pm ET— From the Predators website:
President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today contract extensions for head coach Barry Trotz, associate coach Brent Peterson, assistant coach Peter Horachek, goaltending coach Mitch Korn, video coach Robert Bouchard as well as medical and training staff and members of the scouting department.
from Ken Campbell of the Hockey News,
Hey, if the league can change its rules in the middle of the playoffs, certainly the fellows who run the NHL have the power to mandate that the Flyers and the Capitals must play a best-of-nine…or 11…or 25.
Sadly, this series will come to an end Tuesday night in Washington and if the league really wants to increase its mass appeal, it will do something, anything, to prevent that from happening. Simply put, this series has been one of the most compelling in years in the NHL and is putting on display everything the league would like the casual sports fan to see.
from David Pollak of MediaNews via the ContraCosta Times,
Do or die. Win or go home. Pucks or putters.
Pick whatever phrase makes it most clear what the stakes are tonight at HP Pavilion. Because when the Sharks and Calgary Flames square off in the first Game 7 played on home ice in franchise history, there is no shortage of drama and pressure.
So much, in fact, that Sharks coach Ron Wilson rejects the notion that he needs to find a way to motivate his team to play with the required desperation.
“It’s a seventh game. If you don’t win, you’re out. If I have to manufacture desperation, we’re in dire straits,” Wilson said shortly after the Flames beat the Sharks 2-0 on Sunday night to force this hard-fought series into a one-game showdown. “Our players know what’s at stake.”
from Jason La Confora of the Washington Post,
There’s a backward stereotype that still percolates around NHL rinks, the one about many European players being soft and not built for the playoff grind. It’s bandied about quietly among hockey people, many of whom were watching this young Capitals team very closely to gauge how their neophyte Russians and Swedes would fare.
They wondered if Alexander Semin (Russian) and Nicklas Backstrom (Swede) could adjust to the heightened physicality of the game, the lack of abundant space to operate, the need to sometimes abandon overly creative play and simply dump the puck.
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from Phil Sheridan of the Philadelphia Inquirer,
It was just a word, just three little letters at the end of a sentence. There was something fatalistic, though, in Kimmo Timonen’s postgame comment.
“We haven’t lost yet,” the veteran defenseman said.
Yet. They haven’t lost the series yet. Three little letters that perfectly capture the feel of things after the Flyers blew Game 6 against the Washington Capitals last night.
The problem isn’t Game 7 in Washington tonight. The problem is how the Flyers arrived there.
from Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe,
The Bruins were props.
Their assigned role in this production last night was to play the part of the overwhelmed opposition. They were not to interfere with the plot line, which called for Montreal to reassert the superiority of a No. 1 seed against a No. 8. And your Bruins followed the script magnificently, right down to allowing a cherry-on-the-sundae goal with eight seconds remaining in a 5-0 celebration of Canadiens hockey.
The Bruins threatened to mess with the plot in the first period, when they had the preponderance of the legitimate scoring chances.
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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