Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the 2008 Stanley Cup Playoffs Blog at CBC,
The Flyers are down 0-2 in the Eastern Conference finals to those upstart Pittsburgh Penguins. Truth is, can anyone say they’re surprised? The Penguins have a better, all-around skill set than the Flyers.
On the other hand …
As Flyers’ general manager Paul Holmgren said Monday, “We’re 0-2. We have to play better if we expect to win a game.”
Flyers’ defenceman Braydon Coburn is “doubtful” for Game 3 Tuesday at the Wachovia Center. He has no structural damage to his left eye.
“We’re still waiting to hear how his eye is,” Holmgren said. “Right now, it’s swollen shut. There are no fractures. He’s doing better. We have no reason to think there’s anything wrong with the eye.”
From Paul Kukla at Hockey.com:
Can the Stars make a sudden turnaround and take control of the series? Sure they can, but I don’t see it happening. Led by coach Mike Babcock, the Wings are on a roll and are determined to erase the memories of losing to the Anaheim Ducks in last year’s Western Conference Final.
The Pittsburgh Penguins have showed they can adjust to any style of play their opposition throws at them. The Flyers are trying to be physical with the young Pens, but it hasn’t worked for them to this point. Talent-wise, the Flyers just don’t match up with Pittsburgh and must play perfect games from here on out in order to extend this series past five games.
Once again, the Flyers can make a make a comeback, but I don’t see it happening.
From Al Strachan at FoxSports,
This is NHL playoff justice. Anything short of an ax-murder is likely to be ignored. But don’t blame the current dispenser of justice, Colin Campbell. It has always been this way.
There has been the occasional exception. When Gary Bettman was in the first few months of his regime, he didn’t understand hockey tradition very well (insert your own cheap shot here) and seeing Dale Hunter deliver a cross-check to Pierre Turgeon after a goal, decided that Hunter had earned himself a 21-game suspension.
But since then, the NHL has followed a firm policy. First of all, suspensions, when they occur, are much shorter than they would be for a similar incident in the regular season. Secondly, every effort is made to keep the stars in the game.
At one time, the league used to defer playoff suspensions. One of the more notorious examples was the vicious slash that Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Ron Hextall delivered to Edmonton’s Kent Nilsson in the 1987 Stanley Cup finals.
From the Nashville Predators:
Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the club has signed restricted free agent forward Martin Erat to a seven-year, $31.5 million contract.
“Martin Erat is a perfect example of this organization’s philosophy,” Poile said. “He came to us as a seventh-round draft pick, and grew steadily into an elite player when given an opportunity to succeed. He has continued to take on more responsibility and is an integral part of our team moving forward. We look forward to his leadership and production for the next seven years.”
From Damien Cox in The Spin at the Toronto Star,
Sure was nasty watching the fine young Philadelphia defenceman, Braydon Coburn, take a puck in the face Sunday night in Game 2 between the Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins.
He was cut badly near the eye, and may or may not be able to play in Game 3.
Surely, it could have been worse. Yet wasn’t it also preventable?
Given where the injury was, it would appear a half-shield would have blocked the puck from hitting Coburn in the face. But he doesn’t wear one, and so he was lost for the game, and maybe more.
*And more on this topic today from Greg Wyshynski at the Yahoo! Sports blog, Puck Daddy
Interview today with Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock.
Q I apologize for opening with a Provincial question, but do you have any reaction to what happened to Joel Quenneville at Colorado?
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: Good for Joel. He’s a hot commodity now, and he’s out in the market. I think he’s a heck of a coach. I think he does a good job. He got his team two of the last three years out of the first round.
An interview today with Pittsburgh Penguins coach Michel Therrien.
Q. Can you describe the conversation you had with Georges Laraque after the end of last year when you told him what you wanted him to be like physically, and what role in order to fulfill a role here?
COACH THERRIEN: Well, if there’s someone who knows Georges really well, it’s me, because I coached Georges in Juniors. I know what he’s capable of. We won a Memorial Cup together. He was an impact player on our team. That was a guy that we were looking to bring to our club. I thought we really did a great job to bring Georges in, but the Georges Laraque that I saw last year was not the Georges Laraque that I knew.
I told him at the end of the year that he needs to be in much better shape. He could be an impact player, and he took care of himself over the summer. Reported in great shape, and got a great season as far as I’m concerned.
An interview today with Dallas Stars coach Dave Tippett.
Q. Talk about tonight, going into play and how do you guide your team not to play too desperate because your backs are against the wall?
COACH DAVE TIPPETT: We have to come in, and our focus now is to come play the best game of the series. We thought our team struggled with energy the first game. The second game we thought we did stuff that’s more indicative of how we did in the playoffs so far.
from Spector at Fox Sports,
It was not the start to the conference finals that the Philadelphia Flyers and Dallas Stars envisioned, down 2-0 in their respective series against the Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings.
Both clubs must now find ways to rebound quickly in their next games or face the prospect of facing a deficit in the series too steep to overcome.
From Joe O’Connor at the National Post, some chat with Brett Hull, co-GM of the Dallas Stars. A sampling:
National Post: You were a goal scorer and a teammate of Dominik Hasek in Detroit. And you know Chris Osgood, whose been around a long time. So, do you have any tips for Dallas’ shooters in the Western final?
Brett Hull: The way goalies play goal now, they are all the same. There are only certain places you can shoot today on an NHL goalie and score. [...]
NP: What is your guilty pleasure?
BH: Can I say tequila?
NP: Finish this sentence for me: Old scorers never die they just…
BH: Learn to score off the ice.
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