Kukla's Korner Hockey
Tampa defeated the Detroit Red Wings 2-0 in game 7 and will play Montreal starting on Friday.
A tightly played game with not many scoring chances.
Don Cherry and Ron MacLean talk about blind passes, Joel Ward’s play for the Washington Capitals, the coaching of Jon Cooper and Mike Babcock.
NEW YORK – Forward Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals, goaltender Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens and forward John Tavares of the New York Islanders are the three finalists for the 2014-15 Hart Memorial Trophy, which is awarded "to the player adjudged to be the most valuable to his team," the National Hockey League announced today.
Members of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association submitted ballots for the Hart Trophy at the conclusion of the regular season, with the top three vote-getters designated as finalists. The winner will be announced Wednesday, June 24, during the 2015 NHL Awards from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
from Seth Rorabaugh of Empty Netters,
The 2014-15 Penguins were a mystery from the start.
Less than a week after their season ended in New York, it's still difficult to say, “The Penguins are _____.”
While “____” might be difficult to pinpoint, there are plenty of reasons to explain what they aren't; A Stanley Cup contender.
Here are ten things to examine as the Penguins enter the offseason.
- In 2012, former Rangers coach John Tortorella drew plenty of scorn (and even a $20,000 fine) when he said the Penguins were "one of the most arrogant organizations in the league."
Those seemed like ridiculous comments at the time, especially coming from a blustery windbag like Tortorella. But he couldn't have been more correct.
For the better part of a decade, the Penguins have been the NHL's glamor team. Routinely on national television and involved in high profile events such as outdoor games, they have been the darlings of the league. A lot of that was born simply out of the lucky bounce of a ping-pong ball in 2005. Much of it was justified by Stanley Cup runs in 2008 and 2009.
But that was a long time ago.
Despite having not won the Stanley Cup in six ... let's repeat that ... SIX years, they still portray themselves as the class of the NHL. In contrast, the Kings (albeit with a non-playoff appearance this spring) and the Blackhawks are the class of the NHL.
The Penguins could benefit from some a heaping spoonful of humility.
from Tom Cigarran, Chairman of the Nashville Predators,
Dear Nashville Predators Fans,
On behalf of the Nashville Predators ownership group, staff and players, thank you for your outstanding support throughout this season and for turning Bridgestone Arena into a sea of gold during our playoff series against Chicago. Losing in the playoffs is always painful, especially considering how hard our team worked and how close we came to advancing to the next round. We share your pain and we are still coming to grips with the fact that our season has ended.
There is no doubt that this season, both the regular season but especially the playoffs, was an important learning experience for our very young team. A team that, based on what transpired throughout the year, will continue to grow and develop and be a team that will compete for the Stanley Cup every year for years to come. Among the keys to playoff success, in addition to a strong team and playoff experience, are health and good fortune. Playing without Captain Shea Weber for four games and center Mike Fisher for three certainly increased the challenge but our young players stepped up admirably. Losing double and triple overtime games while outplaying Chicago, games where one bounce of the puck would have changed a loss into a win, tested this teams’ character. They responded by fighting back to win Game Five on home ice and push the Blackhawks to the very end of Game Six.
A re-tooling of our team began just two seasons ago. In that short time, we acquired Filip Forsberg, James Neal and Mike Ribeiro; we drafted Seth Jones and Kevin Fiala (among other young prospects) and we changed course with the addition of Peter Laviolette as our head coach this season. While we are disappointed to not be playing today, it is a measure of our progress that in two years we have gone from finishing the regular season in 27th place in the NHL in the 2012-13 season, to 19th in the 2013-14 season to 6th in the 2014-15 season. And Coach Laviolette has certainly transformed our team into a more aggressive, offensive and exciting club to watch.
from Ken Warren of the Ottawa Citizen,
The re-signing of coach Dave Cameron to an extension is a foregone conclusion. Murray says the team played to its strengths after Cameron replaced Paul MacLean in December, looking like a faster team while spending less time in its own zone.
Murray’s dream, as it has been for sometime seemingly, would be to add another proven front-line scorer, saying “if we could add one more piece up front, it would make a huge difference in our team.” Again, a trade could be the most likely route to acquiring such a high-profile player.
As usual, though, there are budget concerns. The Senators will need to re-sign restricted free agent forwards Mark Stone, Mike Hoffman, Mika Zibanejad, Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Alex Chiasson. They have Colin Greening, David Legwand and Chris Neil under contract next season, players who finished the season on the sidelines.
“I believe we will have (a higher budget), but we won’t be a cap team, I don’t think we have to be a cap team, if we do it right. We have a big summer ahead of us, with our restricted (free agents). We have to move a couple of guys – for their benefit, as much as ours.”
The door, Murray says, is also open for former captain Daniel Alfredsson to join the front office, in some capacity. Alfredsson watched Game 5 and Game 6 of the Montreal series beside Murray.
“Not management, necessarily. We’ve talked to him about getting involved, learning the business, spending a little time,” Murray said.
from Jonas Siegel of TSN,
... Jeff Blashill, hired a night before the draft that previous summer, was their first-year head coach. An assistant for nearly a decade in the U.S. college ranks, Blashill had never been a head coach before. Success came quick, as it did a few years later when he captured the Calder Cup in his very first season with the Grand Rapids Griffins.
Two championships in two leagues in his first four seasons behind a bench of any kind.
There will certainly be more experienced candidates for Brendan Shanahan and the Maple Leafs to pursue in their search for a new head coach – Mike Babcock, perhaps, above all – but if they want to look outside the box just a little, they'd be wise to consider the 41-year-old from Sault Ste. Marie, currently coaching against the organization in the first round of the AHL playoffs.
"He doesn't have [NHL] experience, but if you look at his resume, he just wins," Skjodt said of Blashill in an interview. "Has he been a coach before in the NHL? No. But he's certainly ready. If there's anyone in this country that's ready right now, it'd be Jeff Blashill."
Blashill may just be next in a line of fresh faces to emerge onto the NHL landscape, a movement fronted at the moment by Jon Cooper, who hadn't coached a day in the league when Steve Yzerman promoted him to coach the Lightning a few years back.
from Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet,
- Last Friday, hours after Peter Chiarelli was introduced in Edmonton, he flew to Kelowna to watch Leon Draisaitl. With him on that trip was Craig MacTavish.
Chiarelli confirmed he asked MacTavish to stay, but wouldn’t expand any further. it will take time for this to play out.
According to a couple of sources, MacTavish didn’t see it coming and was hurt. One minute, you’re dancing in the hallways of a Swiss hotel at 2 am after winning the draft lottery, then you’re seeing it evaporate. It couldn’t have been an easy conversation between him and long-time friend Kevin Lowe, who helped recruit Chiarelli to Edmonton.
- Boston, was scheduled to interview Ray Shero and Paul Fenton for its opening this week, although current assistant GM Don Sweeney is a significant candidate.
The Boston Herald reported the Bruins asked for permission to talk to one of their former execs — Jeff Gorton, now the Rangers assistant GM. One thing about Glen Sather: he prefers to wait until after his team is eliminated before granting permission. Pittsburgh was interested in Gorton last season, but New York was still playing.
Wouldn’t be a shock if John Ferguson Jr., currently the club’s executive director of player personnel, also gets consideration here.
The Bruins have connection to Pittsburgh’s assistant GM, Tom Fitzgerald, who lives in Boston. The Penguins’ front-office is crowded and Boston’s is a man short. Could that be a match?
from Adam Vingan of The Tennessean,
When the Predators acquired defenseman Cody Franson as part of a trade with the Maple Leafs on Feb. 15, it was viewed as the rich getting richer.
Franson was among the most coveted rental players available. His return to Nashville, which drafted him in 2005, strengthened what was already considered one of the best defenses in the NHL,
Yet Franson wasn't impactful in 28 regular-season and playoff games for Nashville, largely because he wasn't utilized nearly as much as he was in Toronto.
He averaged 21:23 per game for the Maple Leafs, which included 3:05 on the power play and 2:00 shorthanded. With the Predators, his ice time plunged to 15:25 per game, barely contributing to Nashville's special-teams units.
"It was definitely an adjustment," Franson said. "You go from playing over 20 minutes a night on any given night in a bunch of different situations, special teams and things like that, to more of a depth guy and trying to play more of a shutdown role and just not really allow much. I tried to adjust to it as best I could and contribute as much as I could."
SNEAK PEEK AT WEDNESDAY’S ACTION
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Detroit @ Tampa Bay, series tied 3-3, 7:30 p.m., NBCSN, CBC, TVA2, FS-D, SUN
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LIGHTNING, RED WINGS CLOSE FIRST ROUND WITH GAME 7
The Lightning and Red Wings play the final contest of the First Round of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs when they face off in Game 7 at Amalie Arena. Tampa Bay owns a 3-1 all-time record in Game 7s, including a 2-0 mark at home, while Detroit is 14-10 in Game 7s, including a 3-5 clip as visitors. All four of the Lightning’s Game 7 appearances have been decided by one goal; five of the Red Wings’ last six Game 7s have featured one-goal margins.
Tampa Bay and Detroit have alternated wins in each game during this series, with the Lightning taking Games 2, 4 and 6 and the Red Wings winning Games 1, 3 and 5.
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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