Kukla's Korner Hockey
from David Boclair of the Daily News Journal,
Following three straight first-round playoff defeats, many Nashville Predators’ fans are wondering aloud on radio and on message boards whether coach Barry Trotz ought to be replaced.
Somehow, general manager David Poile has been given a pass, but in many ways Poile did not give Trotz as much to work with as a year ago. In that way, Poile has had as much — if not more — to do with the current state of affairs as Trotz.
from Joe Biddle of the Tennessean,
“It’s very disappointing to play the way we did all year and then to finish the way we did. Very disappointing,’’ Vokoun said. “We just didn’t get it done. There were a lot of things we didn’t do.
“There was taking penalties, to not being able to score during key moments. It’s all kinds of things. It’s extremely hard. I’m a very competitive person and if I could have done anything to change the game … You don’t know how many chances you’re going to get like this against a team like that.’‘
The most glaring problem was the number of penalties the Predators incurred. It not only put them behind the 8-ball in Game 5, but most of the series.
It was a problem that never got corrected. Friday night they got hit with nine penalties worth 29 minutes.
from the Tennessean,
“You are a little bit (frustrated) in the fact that you added some pieces that you felt could get over the hump here,” Trotz said. “But for the most part the pieces that we have put in have had a better effect on this team, no question.
“San Jose might not admit it, but it’s a lot harder than they probably expected it would be based on the two teams and based on last year. They are fortunate right now … they have played very well.
“They are a solid hockey club and an elite hockey club, and I feel we are too. So we have to get a positive result, and if we do we will see what happens.”
From John Glennon at the Tennessean,
The Predators managed to thwart the normally potent San Jose power play yet again on Wednesday, holding the Sharks without a goal on five power-play chances.
But Nashville players and Coach Barry Trotz are starting to scratch over at least some of the calls that are sending the Predators to the box on a regular basis in this series.
Center Jason Arnott was particularly irritated by a somewhat mysterious hooking call on Jordin Tootoo in the second period. It appeared Tootoo had been impeded by Sharks forward Jonathan Cheechoo, but Tootoo wound up going to the penalty box.
Plus: A photogallery of the Shark/Preds series
From John Glennon at The Tennessean,
As the Predators look to square their first-round playoff series against San Jose tonight, they’re looking for the players who excelled in the regular season to do the same in the postseason.
That means more production from players such as Jason Arnott, Paul Kariya and David Legwand, less reliance on J.P. Dumont, Peter Forsberg and Alexander Radulov.
The former trio has combined for zero goals and four assists in the first three games of this series, while the latter has done the heavy lifting — combining for 12 points (nine goals, three assists).
From Victor Chi at the San Jose Mercury News,
Call it collateral damage.
The Sharks’ power play has converted only once in this opening-round playoff series, but it could push Nashville’s gas gauge toward empty if the chances keep piling up. Despite an 0-for-6 performance Monday, the Sharks wore out the Predators with a 41-20 shot advantage built largely on those six power plays.
from the National Post,
“I could very easily give you a printed picture of the whole incident that would clear it up for you,” Wilson growled at the reporter from Nashville.
“I’ve looked at a lot of tape, and I haven’t seen it,” the reporter shot back. “Do you have that picture?”
“Do you work for Nashville, seriously?” “Yes, I do,” the reporter said.
“Well, good for you,” Wilson said. “If you work for Nashville, you shouldn’t be in this room.”
from the Mercury News,
The NHL finally sent the proper message. It suspended Nashville forward Alex Radulov for his Game2 blindside hit on the Sharks’ Steve Bernier. The suspension should dissuade both teams from taking precarious liberties with each other.
Or, as Sharks Coach Ron Wilson said Sunday in more intellectual terms: “Hopefully, it will end the dirty crap going on out there.”
But there’s one more thing: The hockey will be much different this time around, too.
from the Tennessean,
Heading into tonight’s Game 3 of the first-round playoff series against San Jose, Forsberg has not only posted two goals and an assist in two contests, but he also led Nashville in a number of categories. The 33 year-old center has delivered a team-best 10 hits (including a memorable eight in Game 1), snatched a team-best seven takeaways and won a team-best 53.6 percent of his face-offs.
“I’m not saying you don’t play during the regular season or anything like that,’’ Forsberg said. “But I think you have to take your game to a different level come playoffs.
“This time of year, you’re playing for something — the Cup. These games are huge, every single one. Every single little thing can turn a series around.”
from the AP via the Akron Beacon Journal,
After refusing to comment following the Sharks’ fisticuff-filled 5-2 loss to the Predators on Friday night, Wilson reacted incredulously Saturday to Trotz’s repeated attempts to blame the series’ physical tone and vindictive episodes on the Sharks.
“The rhetoric coming (from Trotz) is that we went there to start a street brawl, which is comical,” Wilson said after the Sharks’ 4 a.m. return from splitting the first two games in Nashville. The best-of-seven Western Conference series resumes Monday.
“Our responses aren’t about beating anybody up or any of that baloney. We took home ice from them. The pressure is on them now. We’re still in the driver’s seat. ... We’ll win the game on the ice.”
TORONTO (April 14, 2007)—The National Hockey League announced today that Nashville Predators forward Alexander Radulov has been suspended for one game for a hitting-from-behind incident involving San Jose forward Steve Bernier in Western Conference Quarterfinal game #182 in Nashville, April 13.
The incident occurred at 4:44 of the second period. Radulov was assessed a major penalty for boarding and a game misconduct.
Radulov will miss Game 3 of the Western Conference Quarterfinal, Monday, April 16 at San Jose. He will be eligible to return for Game 4, April 18 at San Jose.
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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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