Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
Bobby Ryan knows when to let things go—like his bitterness over starting the season in the minor leagues—and when to hold onto other things, like pucks.
Those lessons have made him a finalist for rookie of the year honors and sent him zooming toward stardom. On Thursday they launched the Ducks to the brink of a playoff upset over the top-ranked San Jose Sharks, whose skates seem to fill with lead when the Stanley Cup is about to be taken out of its case and polished for presentation.
from Elliotte Friedman of Blogs and Columns at CBC,
It’s some of the best advice I’ve ever received: Never make important decisions in overly emotional moments. Right now, everyone in the Montreal organization should listen.
Take a step back, really think things through, and don’t make any major decisions in the immediate aftermath of the 100th anniversary letdown.
The Canadiens are at a crossroads, with a need for the most honest and extensive self-evaluation since Bob Gainey’s arrival. With the fans out for blood, it would be easy to offer up a series of public floggings/hangings to satisfy the mob. But just because it’s easy doesn’t mean it’s right.
That’s why it’s best that Gainey wants to stay. It was funny to hear the “Carbo! Carbo!” chants after the coach was fired, because many of the people yelling were probably the same ones phoning the radio shows and demanding his head in February. Those same people are angry at Gainey now, but would probably be yelling his name once the team lost three in a row under a new GM.
from Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post,
After the few Washington Capitals who skated yesterday at the team’s Arlington training complex came off the ice, they removed their sweaty pads to reveal red T-shirts that left little doubt about what they consider an acceptable outcome to this season. On the back is the silhouette of a man hoisting aloft a familiar oversized chalice, all stenciled underneath unambiguous words: “Our Goal Now.”
That would be the broad picture, because the group that will assemble tonight at Verizon Center believes a Stanley Cup championship is a realistic possibility, considering the youth and talent of the team’s core.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
Game 4 was his worst night as a Ranger. Nothing comes close to it. Instead of getting into the Capitals’ heads, Avery allowed the NHL, the officiating and the unforgiving environment in which he works, to get into his. And look at what happened—he was a liability to the only people who will employ him.
Avery needs to breathe deep here. He needs to take a timeout and practice the meditation exercises he learned during his time away this winter. He needs to call a timeout on the anger that built inside of him and led to two reckless plays that nearly wrecked Wednesday’s Game 4 for his teammates.
Because if Avery can’t call a timeout on himself, John Tortorella will have to do it for him. There is, in fact, no excuse not to, for the head coach’s obligation isn’t to Avery, it’s to the Rangers.
from David Pollak of the Mercury News,
The dream could die Saturday.
A Sharks team built for a long Stanley Cup run, one that finished the regular season with the best record in the NHL, finds itself on the brink of a first-round elimination after losing to the Anaheim Ducks 4-0 at the Honda Center on Thursday night.
“We just weren’t good enough tonight in just about every area,” Coach Todd McLellan said after describing himself as “disappointed because we’re better than we showed tonight to a man.”
from Michael Arace of Puck-rakers at the Columbus Dispatch,
It is tough to swallow. There is 1 minute, 34 seconds remaining in a 5-5 game. The crowd is doing something beyond booing—howling with anger, you might say. The Detroit Red Wings—who to this point have scored two power play goals in the game and six in the series—are given a man advantage with 94 seconds remaining in a potential elimination game.
“To lose an elimination game, when there were no holds barred, on a call by a linesman . . . It’s just not right,” defenseman Mike Commodore said.
With 46.6 seconds remaining, Johan Franzen scores a power-play goal to win the game and complete a sweep of the series. The fans in Nationwide Arena are livid. They toss cans and bottles on the ice, with much of the debris aimed at the officials.
Once I got out of the Jackets’ room, I headed straight for the area near the officials’ dressing room. I hoped to find Kevin Collins, and ask him about the call.
from Stan Fischler of Game On,
Every so often a playoff series unfolds that is so close, so competitive that it’s impossible to predict a winner.
Every so often there’s a playoff game that’s so gripping, so unpredictable that it’s impossible to imagine another one like it.
And as the New Jersey Devils and Carolina Hurricanes prepare for Game Six of the Opening Round in Raleigh on Sunday, one can hardly imagine a match more heart-throbbing than Games Four and Five in The Southland and Newark, respectively.
from Sam Donnellon of the Philadelphia Daily News via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
Bottom line, after one period it was 0-0. And the Penguins had expended an awful lot of adrenaline. “With Marty playing like he did, he allowed us to regroup between periods,” Stevens said. “He really gave us a shot of confidence that allowed us to get back to playing.’
They go back to playing tomorrow afternoon at the Wachovia Center. They still trail in this series, but they have been the better team over the last three games. Not by much, not by more than a big save here, a hit post there. But this series is now close enough to steal, close enough that one man, one play, could ultimately decide it. That might frighten some goalies. If nothing else, Biron has proven he’s not one of them.
“I thought the second period was more of a free-for-all than the third. I was really proud of the players today; they gave everything they had today. I was really proud of the fans. The fans were great, even when we were down 3-1 or 5-3, they weren’t leaving us. The fans, when we were down 5-3, brought us back as much as the players brought us back. I saw significant impact of people in the building; how they can impact the team’s fortunes. We got some energy because of (the fans).”
-Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock after game 4 tonight. Many more post-game quotes at ColumbusBlueJackets.com (including the Detroit side).
from Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice,
Martin Brodeur had a nice little scratch on outside of his right ankle as a reminder of a first period collsion with Chad LaRose.
That was the only mark of significance on Brodeur after another record-setting night at Prudential Center.
Brodeur made 44 saves to post his 23rd career playoff shutout in a 1-0 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes tonight in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.
Brodeur tied Patrick Roy’s NHL record for career playoff shutouts and gave the Devils a 3-2 lead in the series with a chance to wrap it up in Game 6 Sunday in Carolina.
“It’s nice, but it’s all about winning,” Brodeur said of tying Roy’s record. “I play on a great team. I think shutouts will happen when you play so many games in the playoffs and you’re successful in the playoffs also. It’s like anything. It’s nice to be on top.”
added 12:16am 4/24/09, from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Now the Hurricanes must beat the game’s greatest goalie of all time in two consecutive games to reach the second round. They’ll need a few bounces to go their way.
As we walked through the arena hallways with Carolina coach Paul Maurice following his news conference, he stopped dead in his tracks.
“Ah, here we go,” Maurice said.
He bent over and picked up a penny from the concrete floor. After witnessing a legend at play Thursday night, he’ll need every bit of luck he can get.
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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