Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Jeff Gordon of Hockey Guy at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
While the Blues are asking their D-men to play bigger-than-expected roles, due to the loss of Erik Johnson and Eric Brewer, the Canucks are deep and experienced on the blue line.
The Blues will try to beat that smoothness out of them with vigorous body checking, but Vancouver has more toughness than fans may realize.
To sustain pressure in this game, the Blues will have to fly. And they can’t expect the Canucks to take as many undisciplined penalties as they did in Game 1, since that was a point of emphasis in the team’s preparations.
from Sam Donnellon of the Philadelphia Daily News,
When Paul Holmgren traded Scottie Upshall for Daniel Carcillo on March 4, it didn’t seem like that big of a deal. When he earlier waived veteran contributors Glen Metropolit and Ossi Vaananen to make cap room for the return of Daniel Briere, it created even smaller waves. As Holmgren said after practice yesterday, “You can argue that those guys wouldn’t be playing now anyway.’‘
But here’s the thing, and there’s no getting around it. Since those moves, the Flyers have played 11 games against teams involved in the postseason. Including Wednesday’s 4-1 thrashing by the Penguins in Game 1 of their first-round series, the Flyers have lost eight of those games.
from E.J. Hradek of ESPN,
The second night of the 2009 Stanley Cup playoffs is in the books. Here are five things that stood out:
• After a disappointing regular season, which left everyone doubting him (again), Wings goalie Chris Osgood came up with a big performance in the defending champs’ 4-1 win over the upstart Blue Jackets. In the first period of their first playoff game, the Blue Jackets were buzzing all over the ice….
• Not surprisingly—at least to me—Columbus was very competitive in its Game 1 loss. Coach Ken Hitchcock’s team was hanging with the defending champs in the first half of the game. In fact, they had the better of the play during a couple of different stretches….
• The pressure just got bumped up a notch in San Jose. The eighth-seeded Ducks flew north to grab a 2-0 win from the men in teal in Game 1 of the first playoff meeting between the two California teams….
Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe tells us so.
Damien Cox of the Toronto Star tells us all about it…
from Michael Russo of Russo’s Rants,
I know Jay Feaster’s called already. I talked to Pat Quinn and Doug MacLean, who are very interested. I believe Neil Smith would like it. I think Rick Dudley would be a great candidate. I believe Pierre McGuire would be an interesting choice (he’s long been interested in getting into management), as would Nashville Director of Hockey Ops Mike Santos and assistant GM Paul Fenton.
You can see the list I’ve compiled. You can bet they’d be interested in Dave Nonis, but I can’t see Brian Burke letting him go from Toronto. Jim Nill in Detroit has been coveted by many, but he never leaves. Lots of people will line up.
Normally I’d think Tom Lynn would be a candidate, but Leipold made clear today he’s looking for “new eyes.”
Said Leipold, “If I’m someone out in the NHL, and this job is available, with the kind of players we have coming back next year and the kind of fan base, I would jump all over this.”
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
So yesterday, after a night on which he and partner Michal Rozsival were called on in relief of Marc Staal and Dan Girardi to contain the essentially uncontainable Alex Ovechkin in Game 1 against the Caps, Redden chuckled when I asked him whether he not only considered the playoffs as a clean slate, but whether he believed he was in need of one.
The question could have been the opening of a cross-examination had Redden been in a courtroom witness chair rather than a hockey locker room.
“Whether it was a good or bad regular season doesn’t matter at this point,” Redden said a day after his 27:35 of work contributed to the Rangers getting the series jump, 4-3.
“All that matters is we win every night, and that’s where my focus is, helping the team out.”
from Kevin Allen of Mucking and Grinding at USA TODAY,
Detroit Red Wingts defenseman Jonathan Ericsson’s strong play in the opening game of the Western Conference quarterfinal against the Columbus Blue Jackets Thursday is another illustration of the rewards of a franchise that can afford to be patient with its draft picks.
Ericsson, who scored in the game, is a 25-year-old rookie with just 27 games of NHL experience and I believe he has a chance to become an NHL All-Star over the next three seasons. The former ninth-round pick from Sweden played three seasons in the American Hockey League, making the final adjustments from center to defense and now he looks like a veteran performer.
from Stuart Shea at NHL.com,
The Calgary Flames cried foul.
Goalie Miikka Kiprusoff maintained after the Chicago Blackhawks’ 3-2 overtime win Thursday night that he was interfered with on Martin Havlat’s game-winning goal. Calgary coach Mike Keenan said there was no doubt that Hawks forward Andrew Ladd impeded his netminder.
“I believe it was Ladd who did not try to stop his movement toward the net, and that’s goaltender interference,” Keenan said. “However, the officials saw it different or didn’t make the call because of the excitement of overtime.”
continued and watch the goal below…
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
After three consecutive second-round playoff exits the San Jose Sharks decided that to reach the next level they needed players who had proven their poise under pressure.
So they brought in six players who had won a collective nine Stanley Cup championships, moves that seemed justified when the team compiled the NHL’s top regular-season record.
So much for the value of postseason experience.
Ducks goaltender Jonas Hiller stopped 35 shots in his NHL playoff debut Thursday and made third-period goals by Scott Niedermayer and Ryan Getzlaf stand up as the eighth-seeded Ducks upset the top-seeded Sharks, 2-0, at a stuffed and stunned HP Pavilion.
Hiller, who was helped by the goalpost several times, said the Ducks “got kind of lucky.” Maybe so, but they were good when they had to be, killing off six disadvantages.
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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