Kukla's Korner Hockey
"I'm glad they went somewhere instead of folding. Watching them now, they're exactly the same team. I feel bad for Winnipeg. They thought it was going to be awesome, but they're the same team."
-Lauren Godinez, a fan of the Atlanta Thrashers on the Winnipeg Jets. More from a feature by Geoff Kirbyson of the Winnipeg Free Press on fans in Atlanta still following 'their' team.
KREJCI, BRUINS WRAP UP PRESIDENTS’ TROPHY
David Krejci (2-0—2) recorded his second multi-goal game of the season, including the winner, to help the Bruins (54-18-9, 117 points) clinch their second Presidents’ Trophy in franchise history.
* The Bruins last won the Presidents’ Trophy in 1989-90 (46-25-9, 101 points). They also finished first overall in the NHL standings 10 times prior to the introduction of the award for the 1985-86 season.
* The Bruins recorded their 54th victory of the season, matching the second-highest total in team history (1971-72: 54-13-11). Their 117 points are the third-most in franchise history, behind the 1970-71 (121 points) and 1971-72 (119) squads.
from Jeff Miller of the OC Register (paid sub.) at the Bellingham Herald,
"We've put ourselves in a very good position to make a run for it," Ducks forward Kyle Palmieri said. "We feel good and feel confident in ourselves. There's not a guy in this locker room who would be less than devastated with anything other than winning the Stanley Cup."
Yet, unexpected is not unusual in the NHL in springtime, this being the one sport where having home-field advantage often proves to be not even marginally advantageous.
Strange things happen all the time, like just Friday, when Daniel Winnik showed up on the Ducks' practice ice protected by a full-face cage. Afterward, Boudreau announced that Winnik had suffered a broken nose, but the coach claimed he wasn't entirely sure where, when or how the injury happened.
"He's just ugly," Boudreau cracked, and the guy really does have a great sense of humor. Maybe this is the postseason Boudreau will be around long enough to keep people laughing.
If not, it will be another sad conclusion after another glorious but overhyped regular season, a franchise valued at $300 million unworthy yet again.
from Craig Custance of ESPN,
The NHL will never be confused with a league that is progressive, but if it were smart, it would look hard at some of these proposals submitted by hockey fans. They would dramatically change the spring landscape and make the hockey playoffs a must-watch not only for hockey fans but anyone who loves unscripted drama. And it wasn’t just fans who responded. We’ll begin with this submission via email from an NHL team executive:
“Glaring obvious suggestion: Expand season by four extra days. We just did it for 21, so it is pretty easy to do. In each conference, 10 teams make playoffs. No. 10 and No. 9 play a best-of-three series at No. 7 and No. 8. They have to win on the road to get in. Day off between games two and three. Right now (at time of email), four points separate 8 and 9 in the East and two points in the West. So it’s not exactly like we are significantly devaluing an eighth-place finish. From No. 7 to No. 9 in the East is five points and the West is nine points. So we may be unfairly treating the No. 7 seed there. But they still have home ice for three games.
"Right now, teams down to the Carolina Hurricanes and Winnipeg Jets in the West would be still be in. All of those teams, fans, and buildings would still be in the race. More regular season tickets sold as fans are still into it. Significant additional revenue/media. Possibility of major markets still getting in i.e. Toronto, Vancouver. Twelve additional games possible [if all series went three games], more significant additional revenue and media.”
This should be done immediately. The only downside is that the No. 7 seed could argue that it is devaluing the regular season, but the potential for three more home games and the millions that come with that should quiet any concerns from that franchise.
more playoff format ideas (paid subscription)...
from Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
The Blues host the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday having accomplished the improbable: They’ve gone from presumptive favorites to win this year’s Stanley Cup to a team that would stun its fan base by advancing beyond the playoffs’ first round even given home-ice advantage.
A team that lost only 14 of its first 68 games in regulation is 5-8-0 in its last 13.
A team that didn’t take a regulation loss in its first 21 games within the Central Division has lost five consecutive games against the same competition.
The Blues have been outscored 24-11 in their last seven games within a division they no longer control. They require help to recapture the Central Sunday. Heck, the Blues require help, period.
from Arthur Staple of Newsday,
Jack Capuano said he wants to see a little more effort from the few veterans still left on the active roster for Sunday's season finale here.
"I would hope they're aware," Capuano said of the evaluations he, his coaching staff and general manager Garth Snow are performing on what remains of the team that muddled through this lottery-bound season. "I would hope they know they're still being watched closely, because obviously this season wasn't good enough."
So who will still be an Islander when the team convenes in September for the 2014-15 season? Who is on the bubble? Here are educated analysis/guesses on what the team may look like next season:
As long as Charles Wang controls the Islanders, Garth Snow is his man as general manager. Despite the negotiations of late -- and it’s believed that Wang is hoping for other suitors besides Philadelphia wealth manager Andrew Barroway to be involved- - nothing seems imminent, so Snow isn’t going anywhere.
The Columbus Blue Jackets secured the first wild card with a 3-2 win against the Florida Panthers and move on to face the Pittsburgh Penguins in the opening round of the playoffs. That meant the Detroit Red Wings landed the second wild card and will battle the Boston Bruins.
In the other Eastern Conference series, the New York Rangers, who finished second in the Metropolitan Division, will play the Philadelphia Flyers, who finished third. The second- and third-place finishers in the Atlantic Division -- the Tampa Bay Lightning and Montreal Canadiens -- will also go head-to-head.
However, it will require the final day of the regular season to determine whether the Lightning or Canadiens will have home-ice advantage in the first round.
Tampa Bay can secure home ice with a victory against the Washington Capitals at Verizon Center on Sunday. If the Lightning fail to get the two points, the series will open at Bell Centre in Montreal....
The Central Division title is still up for grabs and will be decided Sunday. The St. Louis Blues, who have lost five in a row, will host the Detroit Red Wings at Scottrade Center (12:30 p.m.; NBC, TSN). The Colorado Avalanche will know what they have to do before their game in Anaheim, which begins at 8 p.m. ET.
St. Louis and Colorado each have 111 points, but the Avalanche own the tiebreaker. The division winner will face the Minnesota Wild in the first round of the playoffs, while the loser finishes second and gets the Chicago Blackhawks.
Ryan Smyth's final game ended with an Edmonton 5-2 win over Vancouver.
added 9:29am, Below, watch Ryan Smyth on HNIC After Hours segment last night...
Ron MacLean and Don Cherry discussed two main topics- Situations in both Vancouver and Toronto.
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
- The Sunday essay question: Who had a worse season, Carlyle or Dallas Eakins?
- The three best goalies in the NHL this season, Tuukka Rask, Semyon Varlamov and Ben Bishop are not performing for the team that drafted them. All three were traded away and in Bishop’s case, twice.
- Watched the entire hour of SportsCentre on ESPN on Friday night and there was not a single mention of the NHL. Not a score. Not a highlight. Nothing. They did mention the Frozen Four NCAA championships in the 58th minute of the show, which ESPN happens to be televising.
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.
Email Paul anytime at email@example.com