Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Phil Sheridan of the Philadelphia Inquirer,
Ovechkin fetched the loose puck and slid it back to Green. This time, Green fired a shot over Biron’s glove hand to tie the game at 4.
It was a good shot. A shutdown goaltender - a wartime goaltender - stops it.
It isn’t time to overreact. This isn’t Roman Cechmanek wandering around while opponents fire pucks into his empty net. It was Biron’s first playoff game, and he acknowledged a case of nerves.
“There were some jitters early in the game,” Biron said. “We’ve got to get into our rhythm.”
Flyers coach John Stevens, asked merely to evaluate Biron’s play, immediately took the opportunity to mute possible criticism. He has a series here, after all.
“Obviously you have a 4-2 lead there,” Stevens said. “Guys stepped in and teed up from some difficult places to see. . . . We’re in this together here.”
from Shawn Windsor of the Detroit Free Press,
Zetterberg sat down for this story inside a lounge at Joe Louis Arena. It was lunchtime, and the team had just finished practice. Over the course of the interview, several players walked by his table. No one could resist mocking him, making faces, taking verbal shots at him. They weren’t used to seeing him talk for more than a few minutes at his locker.
“Not with the North American media anyway,” he said.
In Sweden, he is often the subject of profiles. His famous girlfriend only adds to the spotlight.
“Sometimes you just want to hide,” he said.
But here he walks around the Somerset Collection freely. He eats at local restaurants in peace. The most intrusive cameras in his life are the ones sent from his home country to watch his kitchen get turned into a high-end IKEA showcase.
“Geez, I wish I could play tomorrow,” Ricci said, referring to the playoff-opener against Calgary.
For seven seasons Ricci was the face of the franchise—with his rock-star hair and gap-toothed grin. He became arguably the most popular player in team history with a reckless-abandon playing style that often left him sprawled on the ice.
That finally caught up to him when a slow-healing neck injury forced his retirement last summer. Now working in the Sharks’ front office, Ricci, 36, finds himself wishing he could still lace up his skates, oh, constantly.
“At least once a week he says he’s going to start training again and that he’s even going to play in the minors if he has to,” said his wife, Beth. “All I can do is smile and laugh. I do feel bad. His heart wanted to play, but it was just too much for his body.”
from The Record,
“I feel we have a good enough team to do it,” Jagr said of the possibility of the Rangers winning their first Stanley Cup since 1994. “I’m not guaranteeing anything but we’re capable to fight for it. I still believe we can play better than we did in the first two games. I’ll say it over and over, we have to make more plays.”
“I understand sometimes you have to chip the puck in,” the Rangers captain added. “But you have to have a little faith sometimes and play with a little more confidence.”
And, no doubt, this gets to the root of why Jagr has been so coy about re-signing with the Rangers after this playoff run is over. The Czech superstar is 36 and coming off a regular season in which he scored a career-low 25 goals.
Even if he does not return to Europe to play next season, he knows his time in the NHL is dwindling. He likely wants one more chance to be the free-wheeling Jagr of old and that does not mesh with Rangers coach Tom Renney’s measured — and successful — style of play.
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
Malkin set up the Penguins’ first three goals, two of them on the power play, to stake the hosts to a 3-0 lead. He also played a lead role killing penalties and was a physical force, using his big frame to flatten a couple of Senators, including tough winger Chris Neil.
“Yeah, one year’s experience is a big deal,” Malkin said through an interpreter, as his confidence in his English is not the same as his confidence in his playmaking skills. “I feel more comfortable.”
There are two reasons for this, he said. One is that this year he is playing his natural position, centre, rather than on the wing, which he did a year ago. The other is having Petr Sykora on his right wing. They played together for Magnitogorsk Metallurg in the Russian league in 2004-05 when Sykora signed on during the NHL lockout.
“This year I’m playing with Sykora, I feel more familiar with this guy,” Malkin said. “I feel much more comfortable this year than compared to last year.”
from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,
The Canadiens are not hiding the fact that Chara is a marked man. Pancaked early in the game by the Habs hard-charging duo of Tom Kotsopoulos and Steve Begin, Chara did not look anything like the Norris Trophy candidate who was dominant at times during the regular season.
During the Hockey Night in Canada broadcast of the opener, there was speculation that Chara still might be nursing a nagging shoulder injury. Confronted with that idea yesterday, the hulking defenceman deflected away the suggestion with the same ease that Habs goalie Carey Price deflects away shots.
“That’s gone now,” he told the first wave of reporters when asked about a potential ailment. “Everything’s fine.”
from Jennifer Floyd-Engel of the Star-Telegram,
Between Chris Pronger and Scott Niedermayer, the Ducks have the beginnings of the Mount Rushmore of current NHL defensemen. The Stars, well,...
“Are you saying we don’t have any Rushmores here?” coach Dave Tippett asked.
Yeah, that is kind of what I am saying. Nor, apparently, am I alone.
Tip admits that he has fellow NHL coaches calling and asking “what are you doing?” with regard to his six defensemen. What he tells them is, “We are doing fine.”
And despite all evidence pointing to the contrary, they are doing just fine. Better than fine, actually, which is saying a lot since Anaheim basically has pinpointed Dallas’ D as an area of interest.
from Empty Netters,
When we started Empty Netters, we have to admit poetry wasn’t exactly something we anticipated readers would submit to us. Maybe we’re a little close-minded, but we’ve never put hockey and poetry together. That’s just us. Regardless, here’s another poem. This one is from EN reader J.T. Koladish:
Cup Number Three
It was the night before the playoffs and all through the air
The hopes of a Stanley Cup hung everywhere
Mellon Arena was dressed up and clean
The city of Pittsburgh seemed so serene
I got off my knees and jumped into bed
I turned on Mike Lange, and here’s what he said:
read on and Empty Netters has a bunch of NHL bits too…
from the Calgary Sun,
Douglas Murray’s invention doesn’t have huge cashflow, but he’s tapped into college kids’ hearts.
While at Cornell University, the San Jose Sharks defenceman and some friends came up with the UberTap, a quick spout for beer kegs.
Surely it must have him drowning in success.
“Not right now,” he said. “But we’re making some kids happier.”
The ubertap website...
from Stan Fischler at Game On,
The cows are coming home—but what can the Devils do about it? Well, they can moan ‘til the cows come home about bad breaks and questionable, late-third period officiating in Game 2, but when all is said and done, the Rangers come to The Garden Sunday night seeking a three-game series lead; and for good reason.
Namely, Opportunism—with a capital O.
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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