Kukla's Korner Hockey
Emotions will be at an all-time high when the puck drops tomorrow.
Read my NHL.com blog for more….
From Eric Francis at the Calgary Sun, Jeremy Roenick tells a story about Mike Keenan:
“In the 1992 Stanley Cup, I got slashed by Kevin Stevens, and Mike threw a cast on my hand and put me in front of the media to get a point across to the league and the officials that I was getting cheap-shotted,” chuckled Roenick during a conference call yesterday setting up his Sharks’ series with Keenan’s Calgary Flames.
“He made me a guinea pig—it was kind of embarrassing—but what Mike says, you do. Mike is a genius when it comes to head games and getting into the referees’ or players’ heads. He’s crazy—very slippery, very sly. He can manipulate a lot of people with what comes out of his mouth. That’s just a talent.”
from Chuck Gormley of the Courier-Post,
Now, after an equally long and circuitous career as a minor-league coach, Boudreau is where he has dreamed of being all along, playing for a Stanley Cup.
Much like his coaching counterpart, John Stevens.
On Friday night in Washington, Boudreau and Stevens will coach their first Stanley Cup playoff games when the Flyers visit the Capitals in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.
Boudreau led the Capitals to a miraculous turnaround, taking them from 15th in the conference three months ago to a playoff-clinching victory in the final game of the regular season.
from Randy Sportak of the Calgary Sun,
You can’t help but wonder if his old team as the opposition adds a new element.
“There really isn’t,” Nolan insisted. “I’m just really excited about being back in the playoffs. It’s been a while since I’ve been in it, and with the team, we have we think we can go far. We’re just excited and ready to play.”
But San Jose is the squad Nolan was front and centre with for nearly eight seasons. San Jose remains his off-season home, and he’s part-owner of a couple of establishments.
This series will be much about his old haunt and the old memories.
from the NY Daily News,
He has ratcheted up his off-ice workouts in recent weeks. But Jagr maintains that is standard operating procedure for him at this time of year, not an attempt to get one more dominant playoff run out of a body that is now 36.
And as for the prospect of winning the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoffs MVP - the one remaining reachable threshold in his contract that would extend it through next season - Jagr refused to even entertain such a discussion on Monday.
At least for public consumption, that is.
from Empty Netters,
One of the allures of watching the Stanley Cup Playoffs is watching clean-shaven men progress from baby-faced cherubs into Jeffrey Lebowski… uh… the other Jeffrey Lebowski. The Dude. His Dudeness, or uh, Duder, or El Duderino if you’re not into the whole brevity thing.
So with a day left before the growing can begin, let us take a team-by-team look at who will grow the best playoff beards:
via the AP at The Charlotte Observer,
“I didn’t tell them anything,” coach Peter Laviolette said Monday. “I couldn’t. I didn’t know what to say. I’ll figure that out as we move along. I had a hard time moving forward myself.”
So the Hurricanes (43-33-6) become the first NHL team to miss the playoffs in each of the two seasons after winning the Stanley Cup.
“It’s like your legs were chopped out from under you, and you feel totally helpless,” said forward Justin Williams, whose empty-netter sealed the ‘06 title.
from Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette,
“We began in October with 15 Eastern Conference teams and our objective was to make the playoffs, in the best position possible,” Gainey said. “Now that we’re in the playoffs, our goal is to win the Stanley Cup.”
And just like that, the genius behind this remarkable Canadiens team turned playoff fever up another few degrees in a civic cauldron that’s been on a rolling boil for weeks.
For more on the Canadiens, make sure to check out Habs Inside/Out.
from Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun,
The very banging and battering the Penguins wanted to avoid from the Flyers can serve as an equalizer in this series for the undermanned Senators. They just need to bring it. Schubert, Chris Neil, Martin Lapointe, Cody Bass, Shean Donovan, Mike Commodore and Anton Volchenkov will be key players for Ottawa.
They have to frustrate the skilled Penguins. They have to throw them off their game. Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Marian Hossa, Petr Sykora and Sergei Gonchar have to be targeted. They cannot be allowed to free-wheel without concern or they will roll right over the Senators.
Crosby’s got a bad RIGHT ankle? How will it stand up to a two-hander? The Senators have to find out.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
So unless these Ducks are going to change drastically over the next 2 1/2 months, they’re going to have to repeat while scoring less often than last year’s squad and while having to kill off more penalties than the other team most nights.
That doesn’t leave much room for error.
Two major factors work in the Ducks’ favour, however. First, in Jean-Sebastien Giguere, they have a brilliant playoff netminder who owns a 31-13 record all-time in the Stanley Cup tournament, including 12-1 in overtime matches.
Second, they can buckle up the chinstraps and grit their teeth more than any other club. Consider the fact, for example, that in the 10 regular-season and playoff games for which defenceman Chris Pronger has been suspended since last May, the Ducks have won eight.
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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