Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Dan Rusanowsky at Seagate Broadcaster Blog,
Okay, folks, the test has started, and it isn’t an open book test. It’s a Stanley Cup playoff test, it’s happening in the very first round, and it may be the best thing for a team that wants to win the Stanley Cup.
So, you thought that the Sharks would waltz to a four-game sweep or a relatively easy five-game knockoff, as was the case with the Nashville Predators in the past two years? Sorry, folks, that isn’t going to happen this time. The first supreme test for the Sharks this year is happening, right here and now, in the presence of the hard-working, hard-hitting Flames.
from Ryan Pyette at Best of Seven,
As the first-round NHL series reach their mid-point, let’s rank which ones are holding our attention and which ones are so boring, there’s no sense even turning on the TV.
Here’s the ranking system: Extremely intriguing (four stars); Has potential (three stars); Not living up to the hype (two stars) and finally, Yawn . . . What else is on? (one star).
Rangers-Devils: Extremely intriguing.
from Lyle Richardson at the Hockey News,
That list includes Florida’s Jay Bouwmeester, Philadelphia’s Jeff Carter, Anaheim’s Corey Perry, Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury, Columbus’ Pascal Leclaire, Washington’s Mike Green, Minnesota’s Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Montreal’s Andrei Kostitsyn, Ottawa’s Andrej Meszaros and Nashville’s Martin Erat, Shea Weber and Ryan Suter.
While their respective clubs intend to re-sign them, the longer it takes, the greater the threat of an offer sheet becomes.
This gives those RFAs considerable leverage in contract negotiations. In the past, the only option they would’ve had to land a better deal was to stage a holdout, which rarely worked well for the player in terms of dollars and performance.
From Robin Brownlee at Metro,
Did Edmonton Oilers GM Kevin Lowe overpay when he inked Tom Gilbert to a six-year deal worth $24 million US Friday? Probably.
Did Lowe overpay when he signed Sheldon Souray to a five-year contract for $27 million? Definitely — by as much as $1 million a season over any other offer, according to my sources.
On both counts, the luxury of such a debate didn’t exist under the NHL’s old collective bargaining agreement — the Oilers couldn’t bid on free agents and couldn’t afford to keep their own players. Under the new CBA, Lowe hasn’t hesitated to put his money where his mouth is in offering long-term contracts to players he deems cornerstones of the franchise.
from Eric Francis at Best of Seven,
First question I had for the coach after the game was who his starting goaltender would be Game 4.
“I thought you might ask to start a controversy,” was his opener.
“We’ll have to wait and see.”
Guess who is starting a controversy Mikey? You and only you.
If indeed there is a one in a million chance you’re actually thinking about starting Game 3 replacement Curtis Joseph instead of Miikka Kiprusoff I assure you you are the only one in North America who thinks it would be wise.
The correct answer would have been: Miikka.
Instead, you risk further infuriating one of the game’s premiere netminders who is the only reason the Flames have a shot at pulling off an upset over San Jose.
from Ted’s Take,
I reached out to Mike Milbury last night via NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. Gary called me and we spoke. And then Mike called me and we spoke late last night.
Mike calmly explained that he meant no harm. He had a slip of the tongue when trying to start a commentary about our play. He meant to say the Washington Caps but instead he said the Washington Craps. He laughed and then stated we weren’t playing well at that time in the game and we were playing like the “Crapitals”. He was trying to be funny and trying to recover - on air - and he misspoke.
Fan590 in Toronto reporting Bryan Murray stated this morning that Jason Spezza will play tonight and a small chance Daniel Alfredsson may play too.
added 11:31am, from TSN,
The Ottawa Senators received a boost prior to Game 3 of their series with the Pittsburgh Penguins as Jason Spezza will be in the lineup tonight as the series shifts to the Nation’s capital.
The Senators leading scorer in the regular season did not practice with the team on Sunday but took the morning skate Monday and declared himself ready to go.
Ottawa may also be getting a bit of a surprise boost as general manager and head coach Bryan Murray isn’t ruling out a return of Daniel Alfredsson to the lineup.
“I’m not shutting the door on it,” Murray told reporters.
Update 12:20pm ET— From Bruce Garrioch at the Ottawa Sun:
Jason Spezza is ready to roll, but the biggest surprise is captain Daniel Alfredsson will likely return tonight as well.
Senators GM/coach Bryan Murray hinted today that Alfredsson could be in the lineup tonight for Game 3 against the Pittsburgh Penguins after confirming that the injured forward had also skated on Sunday.
from Rick Westhead of the Toronto Star,
The seller was looking to dump a pair of tickets in the red section and wanted to sell the personal-seat licences for $20,000 apiece, (Rob) Tanguay said. There was one hitch: Tanguay said the MLSE employee wanted him to bring $5,000 in cash – at the seller’s request – to cement the deal.
“After I bought the tickets, I looked up the seller’s name on Canada411.com and contacted him, asking whether he’d received the cash,” Tanguay said. “He hadn’t. I knew right then I’d been scammed. I called (the MLSE employee) back and asked why he had wanted the $5,000 and he told me that the seller was lying and he had given him the cash. I didn’t believe him but I didn’t do anything about it at the time.”
NBC commentator Mike Milbury was asked to make believe he was the team’s coach and gave his analysis of what the team needed to do to win: “so, I’m in the Washington cra-capaitals dre—ahh. I said Crapitals. That’s what it is today. Washington Capitals dressing room…”
Milbury halfway apologized for using the same dumb insult for the Caps that immature fans of teams in cities like Boston and New York have been using for decades. It’s understandable. He’s worked most of his career for teams in those towns, and at least Milbury doesn’t call the play by play. At least he’s only on screen between periods. At least the play by play comes from experienced professionals, led by respected veteran announcer Mike Emerick.
Wait, did we say respected?
from Bob McKenzie of TSN,
You never know how a team is going to respond when adversity hits but what we do know is that if the Senators play as soft and ineffectively as they did in Game 1, get out the brooms. Pittsburgh looks like a team that isn’t going to be denied but the question is whether the Senators are going to make them earn it or just hand Geno and Sid a free pass to the second round.
many more NHL bits…
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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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