Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette,
The Canadiens and the Penguins are tied atop the Eastern Conference with 100 points each and Montreal has only one chance of moving up to the top spot and that’s by finishing with more points in the standings.
With each team having two games to play, the Penguins hold the tiebreaker, because they have one more victory.
But Christopher Higgins said he’s excited about the possibility of winning the conference because “you don’t get too many chances to do that in your career. I think the last time I finished first was in my junior years in high school.”
Sergei Fedorov brings up some points the Caps and Washington fans need to remember.
Scroll to the 4:11 mark of the YouTube video at On Frozen Blog and listen to what Sergei has to say, especially the going “flat” remark. The Caps need to keep the momentum going but not get to “high” with the victory last night.
from Paul Friesen of the Winnipeg Sun,
The Predators had all the look of a Dead Franchise Walking, after a fire sale of several of its top players and a stormy ownership change in which a Canadian billionaire tried in vain to hijack the team to Hamilton.
One month and just four victories into the season, you could hear the “I told you so’s” from Tennessee to Timbuktu.
“Everybody had written us off,” Trotz, reached in St. Louis, was saying yesterday.
If they can pull it off in their last two games, the NHL’s coach of the year might just be a born-and-bred Manitoban who penned hockey’s version of the Music City Miracle.
from the Chicago Sun-Times,
The NHL Alumni Association has rolled out a Signature Wine Series, a 12-bottle collection—six Chardonnays, six Cabernet Sauvignons—featuring the likeness of some of hockey’s greatest players.
In Chicago, the two wines, produced by Ironstone Vineyards of Murphys, Calif., are Bobby Hull’s “Golden Jet” 2007 Chardonnay and Tony Esposito’s “Tony O” 2005 Cabernet. The wines are sold at Binny’s and in the United Center’s restaurants and suites….
Quigley said it was a wise move for the hockey world to expand its demographic reach by making hockey-related wine. Though beer is enormously popular among sports fans, “wine should have its day as well,” he said.
Those demographics already might be changing. Fans in the United Center’s pricier seats and luxury boxes can order wine from waiters. The old Chicago Stadium “[smelled] of 70 years of beer that had embedded itself in the concrete,” Quigley recalled almost wistfully.
from Vartan Kupelian of the Detroit News,
In perhaps the highest compliment Lidstrom has ever received, Orr said he sees “some similarities” in their games.
“He does the things I like to see a defenseman do,” Orr said. “He reads the ice—all the great players read the ice—and he does it as well as anybody. There haven’t been many like him when it comes to reading what’s happening. He sees what’s going to happen.
“The way he shoots the puck, passes, anticipates, jumps up—or doesn’t jump up—he does everything.”
more on Lidstrom…
from Matthew Sekeres of the Globe and Mail,
The Canucks, a defensive team that makes its hay protecting leads, permitted four unanswered goals, including two in rapid-fire succession during the second period, in what was a devastating blow to their now fledgling hopes of making the Stanley Cup playoffs. Vancouver has lost five of its last six games, and six straight to the Avalanche, and is on the verge of a monumental late-season collapse.
“We put ourselves in this position and we have to do whatever we can to get back,” captain Markus Naslund said. “I don’t think it was a problem with the effort. It was more the mistakes, giving them odd-man rushes.”
from Slap Shot at the NY Times,
How overarchingly great has Ovechkin been this year? Beyond getting more goals than anyone else, he takes more shots than anyone else, fires more shots wide than anyone else — in short, he’s simply got the puck on his stick more than anyone else. Consider this list of the only players with 400 or more combined shots and missed shots:
Player, team Shots Missed Total
Ovechkin, Wsh ..436 ..196 632
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
If Ottawa doesn’t beat the Toronto Maple Leafs tomorrow night, the defending Eastern Conference champs will be forced to rely on scoreboard watching and mathematics after the Washington Capitals (90) pulled within two points of Ottawa (92) with a 4-1 win over Carolina last night.
Yes, the Boston Bruins (91) and Philadelphia Flyers (91), could both still falter, but they have a game in hand. The possibility exists that the Hurricanes (90) could get overtaken by the Caps for the Southeast title and end up getting knocked out.
from All Things Avs,
What better place to be than Northern California, this or any time of year? That’s my best bet for where the Avs will open up, at the H-P Pavilion against the Sharks.
A quick couple of thoughts here before the ambien fully kicks in: I think the Avs would be better off playing the Sharks in the first round, instead of Minnesota. I know San Jose has been the hottest team in the West in the second half, and that their defense was transformed with the addition of Bryan Campbell, and Joe Thornton is a monster and Patrick Marleau has been a lot better. I get that.
I still think that’s the best matchup for Colorado. I don’t think the Avs fear Evgeni Nabokov much. I think, of the top eight teams in the West, he is in the middle of the pack among goalies.
from the Washington Post,
It was, without question, the most important game several of the Washington Capitals had ever played in. But it never looked that way.
In a contest that featured all of the intensity of a playoff game, the Capitals’ impressive core of youngsters and veteran goaltender Cristobal Huet buoyed their hope of earning a spot in the playoffs with a 4-1 thumping of the Carolina Hurricanes.
continued (reg. req.)
added 11:26pm, from Lord Stanley’s Blog at the News & Observer,
Playing on some of the worst ice in recent NHL history — riddled with cracks like a windshield after a wreck — the Caps scored twice early, then answered a Carolina goal with a power-play goal during a controversial second-period sequence.
Alex Ovechkin took exception to Eric Staal poking at Huet’s glove after a save on Scott Walker on a short-handed two-on-one and threw Staal into the boards.
But the Capitals remained on the power play because a coincidental minor was called on Niclas Wallin in the brawl that followed, and Alexander Semin scored to make it 3-1.
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.
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