Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Elliotte Friedman at his CBC blog From the Pressbox,
Immediate reaction to Vancouver’s firing of Dave Nonis: The battle is on for Brian Burke.
Burke clearly has bigger concerns right now. His Ducks are an endangered species, down 2-0 to a Dallas team that didn’t exactly resemble a serious contender down the stretch. However, the Stars look superior in every way to Anaheim, a popular pick to represent the West – again – in the Stanley Cup Final.
The timing of Canuck owner Francesco Aquilini’s announcement is very strange. It’s rare – extremely rare – for anyone to fire a general manager by statement, in the evening, while playoff games are going on.
from Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post,
Let the mugging begin.
It’s the only way the Minnesota Wild can win.
To advance in the NHL playoffs, the Avalanche must embrace the darkness. When playing this goon-it- up Wild bunch, hockey is a no-holds- barred battle of attrition, not skill.
The only good thing that can be said about Minnesota’s 3-2 overtime victory against Colorado was the game lasted so deep into the night that it ended past the bedtime of most kids who could be frightened by the way the Wild mauls all the beauty from the sport.
from the National Post,
“If we kept the foot on the gas and kept pushing the pace, it may be a different story,” San Jose centre Patrick Marleau said. “We sat back and they came at us.”
read on for more on the Sharks and Flames. Plus, attention Mike Babcock: study those words carefully!
from Mike Boone of the Montreal Gazette,
I have to double-check with Red Fisher, the Living Legend of Sports Journalism, but it seems to me that through most of the team’s glorious history, the Canadiens sweaters one saw at a Canadiens game were worn by Canadiens. The only ones wearing red in the stands were Forum ushers. Between shifts, Maurice Richard and the other immortals gazed out at a sea of black, blue and grey topcoats.
Dressing for hockey meant furs for the ladies, fedoras on the gents. If the referees made a bad call, Toe Blake would protest and toe rubbers would rain down on the ice.
I don’t know what a mink stole cost in 1955, but a Reebok Edge authentic Canadiens jersey will run you $300 in 2008 - $380 if you want it customized with a name and a number. And of the 21,273 who pack the Bell Centre for every Canadiens home game, at least 10,637 are wearing red or white bleu-blanc-rouge - not counting six on the ice and 14 on the bench.
from Jennifer Floyd Engel of the Star Telegram,
Pronger is mean, nasty, sadistic, talented, gritty; your basic hockey nightmare and exactly what you want in a captain. He is the guy who night in and night out says you have to come through me to get to them. Or he used to be that guy.
That Pronger has been nowhere to be found in this first-round playoff series; unless you count seeing snippets of him in Dallas Stars captain Brenden Morrow.
He has out-Prongered Pronger with his play and is a big reason the Stars find themselves up 2-0 on the defending Stanley Cup champs with a chance to bury them in Game 3 tonight at the AAC.
from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,
The engaging Boston Bruins rookie had just broken his large nose, causing the volume of his snoring spells at night to practically crumble the plaster in his hotel rooms.
“Yeah, that really happened,” the Vancouver native said, adding that he understood why his teammates didn’t want to bunk with him during that brief period of the regular season.
It may have been the only time all season that Milan Lucic was unpopular with anyone in this town.
Still just 19, Lucic is developing a cult following in Boston, working his way to becoming a sporting icon in one of North America’s top sports towns.
from Adrian Dater of the Denver Post,
Pierre Marc-Bouchard’s goal at 11:58 of OT won it for Minnesota, which was the stronger-looking team in the extra session. The goal was the result of the Avs’ Jeff Finger taking the wrong path behind the net to a puck that should have been icing. The puck further took a crazy bounce to Brian Rolston in the right corner, and he fed a wide-open Bouchard for a wrister to the top shelf.
“The puck took a funny hop and we made a mistake on the other side of the net,” Avs coach Joel Quenne-ville said. “They had some good chances in OT.”
Watch the OT Game winner and this play may be proof why no-touch icing won’t work…
from the Tennessean,
So while there were not alarm bells ringing in their dressing room Monday night at Sommet Center, they were well aware of a disturbing trend that cost the Western Conference’s top seed Game 3.
Nashville scored its first four goals in pairs, with second-period goals just 2:09 apart and third-period goals that tied and won a 5-3 game separated by only nine ticks of the clock.
In Detroit’s Game 2 win, Nashville’s two goals came in an 11-second span.
“Anytime a team scores, the next shift is so critical,” Detroit Coach Mike Babcock said. “The thing we talked about … as a coaching staff is obviously we’re not doing a good enough job of it. They get excited and play a little bit better and we seem to come out on our heels.”
from The Good, The Bad and The Duthie,
If (so tempting just to say “when”) the Senators are eliminated in the next few days, the window will not completely close on their chances win a Stanley Cup in the next three years. Find a goalie, make a major shake-up trade or two, find a steal in the draft (any more Milan Lucic’s out there?) and this team could challenge again.
But the Senators need a fresh set of eyes in the front office to make that happen. A season this apocalyptic mandates major change.
Bryan Murray knew that when he fired John Paddock. He realized something drastic had to be done.
With one more loss, something even more drastic will have to be done. And Murray probably knows that, too.
from the National Post,
A shirtless man in a red cape and metal helmet made one of his final, grating appearances on the big screens above centre ice midway through the third period on Monday night. He was dressed to look like the face of the Ottawa Senators, and he exhorted the crowd to make noise: “Sens Army, our backs are against the wall - we must defend, defend, defend.”
But the man, like the team, failed.
Update 10:25pm ET: More on the game, the “half-naked gladiator” in the pre-game, and Daniel Alfredsson’s return in Tuesday’s Globe & Mail.
Watch the video of the pre-game…
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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