Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Adrian Dater at All Things Avs,
I’ve definitely noticed it, and so have the players. Simply put, the Pepsi Center has been too much like an art gallery this year. Too much wine and cheese, and not enough nachos and beer. What happened to the wild and crazy Avalanche crowd that used to make a legitimate difference in games?
Why is it that, when Peter Forsberg skated back onto the ice for the first time this year, it was like the reception at a Dennis Kucinich rally? Why were there too many times this year that the Avs game-night entertainment staff had to flash the lame “Make Some Noise” banner on the Jumbotron?
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
Jean-Sebastien Giguere has been, ahem, hard to hit. Ryan Getzlaf is supposed to be the next big thing, but so far in this series he hasn’t been.
Todd Bertuzzi, on his best days, still takes a dumb penalty for every good play he makes. Scott Niedermayer, one of the best skaters in the history of the NHL, has been caught out of position more than once.
These aren’t the same Ducks, of course.
They’ve made enough changes to add players like Mathieu Schneider, Doug Weight, Jonas Hiller, Bryan Sutherby and Bertuzzi that while the core of the team remains the same, there are some different individual dynamics at work. Team chemistry is a fragile thing and doesn’t necessarily transfer from one season to the next, and so far the Ducks just don’t look as cohesive and focused as they were last spring.
from Allan Maki of the Globe and Mail,
In relief, the Flames turned to Curtis Joseph and right then it seemed as if this was going to be a long and painful evening for the Flames. Only it was Marleau who was left feeling the pain.
On a hit that changed the complexion of the game, not to mention Marleau’s, Sarich caught Marleau in his own end of the ice along the boards with his head down. It was a monster collision that brought the crowd alive and left Marleau dazed and bleeding.
“We were down 3-0 and I was just trying to make something happen,” said Sarich. “I hit him and followed through. They [the referees] called it right. I didn’t think it deserved a penalty.”
Watch the hit below…
added 8:11am, Sharkpage breaks down the Sarich hit…
from Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette via the National Post,
If you want to sell the National Hockey League, you don’t need more scoring, bigger nets or smaller equipment for goaltenders.
All you need are more games played with the same intensity as Sunday night’s war between the Montreal Canadiens and the Boston Bruins.
Neither team gave an inch as they battled for more than 69 minutes before Marc Savard scored on a delayed penalty at 9:25 of the first overtime to give Bruins a 2-1 win. This was old-fashioned playoff hockey which kept the sellout crowd of 17,565 on edge all night.
continued... A game recap but I know many US viewers were blacked-out of this game…
from Ted Leonsis at USA TODAY,
It does feel great to be able to lose a game and NOT have the season be over. We have basically been in a situation where we have been playing Game 7 eliminations during the regular season. We know now that we could lose three games this series and still move on to the next round—so no need to panic quite yet.
It is a series now. We go play Games 3 and 4 in Philly—we had the ‘Red Out,’ they will have the ‘Orange Crush.’ NHL playoffs are so much fun but so tense and hard to predict.
from Michael Russo of the Star Tribune,
Two games into the quarterfinals, Gaborik has no points and three shots. He has been smothered by the Avalanche defense, which was supposed to be its weakness.
“There’s not a lot of room out there, so I’ve got to try to create room by skating, by changing my game up a little bit,” Gaborik said. “I have to find the room. I have to. There’s always an Avs sweater on you. I have to work for [space].”
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
There was a telling moment in Bryan Murray’s news conference Sunday when the Ottawa Senators’ head coach and general manager was asked about the fact that both of last year’s Stanley Cup finalists are on the ropes this year.
The Anaheim Ducks, who won the 2007 Stanley Cup by beating the Senators in five games, are now, like the Senators, down 2-0 in the first round of the NHL playoffs. Murray pointed out several things troubling the Ducks, who are trailing the Dallas Stars, but he could just as easily been talking about his own team.
“I think everybody learns from the guy [who] won,” he said. “I think what Dallas has done is really neutralize Anaheim’s defence. I think they’ve really pressured them consistently and made them pay for almost every penalty.
While the Rangers were on a 5 on 3 advantage, Avery faced Brodeur and tried a new ‘screening’ method by facing Avery and following his every move. Also was waving his stick in his face.
Avery scored on the next rush, with the Rangers taking a 2-1 lead late in the 2nd period.
added 11:03pm, Watch the video of the incident below.
Update 1:15am ET April 14—From the Daily News:
Brodeur and Devils coach Brent Sutter said the refs had told them that future shenanigans from Avery would be penalized, even though they knew of no specific rule being violated.
“Nobody should have to play hockey with a stick an inch from your face,” Brodeur said. “But it wasn’t a bad play. While he was doing it, I couldn’t see anything. The two misses were just luck, I couldn’t see a thing.”
from Adam Proteau of the Hockey News,
Most of the credit for the win will go to Martin Biron’s mastery in Philadelphia’s net, and much of the fault will go to Caps defenseman Mike Green and sniper Alex Semin. I don’t wholly disagree with that diagnosis, but above and beyond scapegoating, I think you saw (a) Washington grow more tentative and jittery after they failed to score despite having five of the game’s first seven power plays; and (b) the Flyers grow more confident in Biron and their defense after that point.
more and a few additional NHL topics…
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
“We’re like the Queen,” the San Jose Sharks’ Joe Thornton was saying. “We travel with our own toilet seat.”
OK, that probably needs some explanation. The Sharks moved into the visitor’s dressing room at the Pengrowth Saddledome Sunday morning, to continue their best-of-seven Western Conference playoff series against the Flames. The Sharks usually travel with all kinds of team-related paraphernalia. Draped just inside the entrance to the dressing room are replicas of their Pacific Division champion banners (from 2001-02 and 2003-04). There are personalized Shark skate mats for each player; every one of the four walls also has a This Is Sharks Playoff time posters. All make sense – sort of.
Update 6:01pm ET: More from Duhatschek today on the Sharks/Flames series, including musings on Jarome Iginla’s “scoring slump”:
[On] Masters Sunday, Keenan invoked the spirit of Tiger Woods, noting how Iginla “reminds me of Tiger – a bogey on the first hole and then he’s going to birdie the rest of the 17. I’m looking forward to it.”
added 6:51pm, Why not- even more on the toilet seat from Working the Corners....
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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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