Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Mark Purdy of the Mercury News,
Can’t happen again. Can’t.
Tonight, for the fifth straight spring of playoff hockey, the teal tribe of hope will gather. The men. The women. The children. The drunk. The sober. And the desperate.
Desperate not to be disappointed, that is.
Can’t happen again. Can’t. The tribe members will be wearing Shark jerseys. They will parade down Santa Clara Street toward HP Pavilion. They will go inside. They will yell their throats into raw tissue. They will want to believe that the Sharks can’t possibly follow up another outstanding regular season with an early exit from the Stanley Cup tournament that decides the NHL champion.
from Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press,
But I had this theory. Every man is deeper than his sound bite. If Datsyuk ever sat down, relaxed, away from the rink, and spoke in Russian, I figured, he’d be a whole different story.
This week, I finally got to witness that, with the help of a Russian-speaking business associate of Datsyuk’s named Dan Milstein. The three of us met at Bacco Ristorante in Southfield. Milstein translated. Sitting at a table, sipping a glass of water, Datsyuk shifted easily between his native tongue and his improved English.
And after a few hours, I knew more about this guy than I’d learned in eight years.
from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,
After Game 1 of the Canucks-Blues Western Conference quarterfinal, there shouldn’t be any confusion over what constitutes a penalty in this series.
That’s because, apparently, everything constitutes a penalty. Lay a stick on a Blues defenceman, Henrik Sedin, off you go. Use your arm to ward off a Canucks forward, Jay McKee, and you sit in the box and feel shame. Mill around a scrum too long and you’re liable to be sent off for public loitering. And none of your lip, young man, or you get 10.
At least that’s what it felt like on Wednesday night. That’s also the way it looked as the refereeing tandem of Chris Lee and Dan O’Halloran handed out minors like they were Reese’s Pieces on Halloween night. In the first two periods of a competitive but not particularly violent postseason game there were 11 power plays between the two teams: seven for the Blues, four for the Canucks.
Now, we can argue if that’s an appropriate total for a Stanley Cup playoff game. And there was plenty of arguing Wednesday night. But it’s also pointless because these are the terms of engagement in the new NHL.
from Damien Cox of The Spin at the Toronto Star,
Bruce Boudreau might disagree, and he gets to make the choice. But after watching Jose Theodore be awfully hard to hit Wednesday night in Washington’s series opening loss to the New York Rangers, you’ve got to believe the man they call Gabby is at the very least considering giving rookie Simeon Varlamov the start for Game 2 on Saturday….
Let’s say Boudreau sticks with Theodore, who now has four wins in his last 15 playoff starts, for Game 2, and the veteran netminder plays poorly and the Caps lose.
Then, you have to stick with Theodore probably because it would be difficult to put Varlamov in for a do-or-die Game 3 in Madison Square Garden.
But if you go with Varlamov for Game 2, he might steal one and even the series, or if he loses, you can go back to the more seasoned Theodore for Game 3.
added 9:40am, from Tarik El-Bashir of Capitals Insider,
Boudreau has two days to mull his decision before Game 2 on Saturday.
It’s not one he plans to rush into, but he was certainly down on Theodore’s performance after tonight’s 4-3 loss to the New York Rangers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals. Theodore faced only 21 shots, and probably could have stopped any of the Rangers’ four goals.
“He’s right,” Boudreau said when he was told that Theodore accepted the blame for the loss. “You need the save and he didn’t make the save. But I’m sure he’s going to bounce back. He’s a professional. He’s played this game long enough, I’m sure he feels bad enough.”
from Jamie Baker of the Seagate Broadcasters Blog,
Bob Errey was captain of the San Jose Sharks as the team prepared for the 94 playoffs. A couple of nights before the playoff series with the #1 seeded Red Wings began, Bob was laying in bed and couldn’t sleep. Bob had won a Stanley Cup while in Pittsburgh and was thinking about what it takes to succeed in the playoffs. After awhile he decided to jot down what he was thinking which he shared with the coaches and all the players….
1. It takes 16 WINS to win the Stanley Cup
2. 4 Wins per series
3. Never dwell on the past (good, bad, win, lose)
4. Never take anything for granted
5. One shift is as important as 20
from Sam Carchidi of Broad Street Bull at the Philadelphia Inquirer,
After tonight’s 4-1 loss to Pittsburgh in a first-round playoff opener, some of the Flyers talked about all the “bad bounces” that contributed to the Penguins goals.
And before the game, when asked how how the Flyers could regain their form for the playoffs, coach John Stevens smiled and said: “I don’t agree with everybody else’s analysis of how we finished the year. I think we played a lot of good games…I thought there were some games where we were the better team and didn’t win. Our special teams were strong down the stretch….We tightened up defensively; we out-chanced teams, so in my opinion, we did a lot of things we needed to do down the stretch.”
Am I watching a different team?
Didn’t the Flyers limp home 4-5-1 and blow the fourth seed to the Penguins?
The Flyers have been mediocre for six weeks now, plain and simple.
from Stan Fischler of Game On,
Bragging is not The Maven’s forte.
With that in mind I’m not suggesting that my prediction of a Rangers opening series victory over Washington was underlined by their stirring win in Game One.
But looking ahead to the second game in our nation’s capital on Saturday, it is apparent that the Capitals may very well be a paper tiger and not necessarily a playoff scoring machine.
As I told you over and over again in my previews of this fascinating match-up, the Caps are so weak in goal and so deficient on defense that all the Ovechkins and Semins and Greens cannot compensate for a goalie so riddled with doubts — and deficiencies — as Jose Theodore.
We’ve had our first goal review and I just want to point out the NHL will be keeping fans updated on the results of these reviews.
Video Review - Philadelphia vs. Pittsburgh - 1st period ... Play was reviewed to determine if the net was in proper position and if there was a distinct kicking motion ... Review determined that Sidney Crosby touched the puck with his stick prior to puck crossing the line and the net was on its pegs.
Go here if you want to follow all the reviews by the Situation Room in Toronto.
from Lightning Strikes,
Lightning owner OK Hockey on Wednesday finished a third day of layoffs. The company said about 25 employees total lost their jobs. The most prominent Wednesday was media relations specialist Jay Preble, who had been with the team 13 years.
This one slipped past us earlier today. From the Montreal Gazette:
Colorado looks for GM ‘in-house’: A report in the Denver Post said fired Colorado Avalanche general manager François Giguère will be replaced by “one of several in-house candidates.” If that’s the case, you can bet team president Pierre Lacroix has already decided Patrick Roy will be behind the Colorado bench next season.
Thanks to Avs Talk for the pointer.
There’s more from Damian Cristodero at Lightning Strikes on Jay Feaster’s interest in the GM spot in Colorado:
“He was my main mentor in hockey and we have been close through the years,” Feaster said Wednesday of Lacroix. “I have known Pierre Lacroix for a long time ... and certainly let him know of my interest in managing again in the National Hockey League and that I would truly enjoy working with him.”
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