Kukla's Korner Hockey
from The Maven,
No question, Lou & Co. wanted very much to reach The Finals this Spring. And why not?
But reality tells us that only two get that far. Finishing in the Final Eight out of 30 ain’t bad.
Consider this: the 82-game schedule is a marathon out of which emerge 16 playoff teams.
Over the past decade, Lamoriello’s clubs have survived that marathon and gained a playoff berth every year.
Can the free-spending Flyers make that statement? No. The Islanders? Heck no. Rangers? Nix.
In a span of a dozen years, Lou’s sextet has won three Stanley Cups. Flyers - none. Isles - none. Rangers - none.
from The Maven,
There’s no point in beating around the bush; New Jersey lost primarily because Martin Brodeur failed to play goal up to his previous standard.
The cheapies he allowed simply cannot be rationalized because there were too many at critical junctures in decisive games….
Lou Lamoriello needs a new coach. The best bet would be Ron Wilson, should he become available. I’d also support Pat Quinn.
Talking to Scott Gomez, I get the feeling that he’s gone, barring some miraculous sales job. Scotty wants to play a more wide open game and in the unlikely event that he gets some assurance of that, I’m convinced he’ll want to play elsewhere.
from Steve Politi of the Star-Ledger,
For the Devils to move forward as a franchise after another second-round postseason loss, Lou Lamoriello is going to finally have to come to this conclusion: He is not an NHL coach.
He has to ditch the Steinbrenner on Ice routine. He has to make finding—and keeping—a new head coach his first priority. If that new leader is John MacLean, the assistant who handled the Xs and Os during this failed playoff run, then Lamoriello should accept the growing pains.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
Maybe one playoff series can be won that old-fashioned way, but not two, and not in this NHL. Since winning their last Stanley Cup in 2003, the Devils have won a total of 11 playoff games. That number wouldn’t be good enough to qualify as a success in one tournament, let alone over the course of three, for this great but now fraying franchise.
Times change. So does fashion. The Devils haven’t.
For the first time in the Lou Lamoriello Era of Excellence, that is not a good thing.
from the AP via TSN,
The Senators will face either the Buffalo Sabres or New York Rangers in the conference final with the winner earning a trip to the Stanley Cup finals. While Ottawa has been to the playoffs the last 10 years, it has never made it to the finals. The only time they made the conference finals, the Devils beat them in seven games en route to winning the Cup.
Whoever faces the Senators will go up against a team that’s getting great goaltending, outstanding play from its top line of Spezza, Alfredsson and Dany Heatley (two assists in Game 5) and all the little things from the role players.
more on the game tonight…
from Chris Stevenson of the Ottawa Sun,
Now the Senators get a chance to shut down the Devils and their building tonight.
“That’d be nice, wouldn’t it?” said Senators defenceman Chris Phillips, who scored the overtime winner in Game 6 of the 2003 Eastern Conference final here to force Game 7 back in Ottawa. “That’s definitely our goal.”
The Devils will have home-ice advantage tonight and it will be interesting now to see if New Jersey coach and GM Lou Lamoriello, who fired Claude Julien as coach with just a couple of games to go in the regular season, will change his philosophy regarding the matching of lines. Lamoriello obviously thought he could do a better job behind the bench.
from David Shoalts at the Globe and Mail,
Things started reasonably well when she asked Lamoriello if he considered keeping both jobs next season. Lamoriello surprised the NHL world by firing head coach Claude Julien with just a few games left in the regular season and the Devils at the top of their division.
“No, last year I said it would never happen again and unfortunately I find myself here [again],” said Lamoriello, who has a well-deserved reputation for a late-season trigger finger. He last stepped in as coach in December, 2005 when Larry Robinson resigned for health reasons.
from the Bergen Record,
Empty seats will be scarce—perhaps non-existent—when the New Jersey Devils debut at the Prudential Center in Newark this fall, Devils principal owner Jeffrey Vanderbeek said Wednesday.
“Based on the response that I’ve been seeing, there’s a decent chance that we sell out every game,” said Vanderbeek, whose team is battling the Ottawa Senators in the Stanley Cup playoffs. “Even my optimistic self has been overwhelmed by the demand for the premium seats.”
from the Hockey News,
• Sharks winger Mike Grier during a second intermission interview with TSN: “We’ve got to get back to playing hockey.”
Glad he cleared up his contractual obligations.
• At this point in the playoffs, whenever I hear a broadcaster use the words “regulation time” during a one-goal game in the late stages of the third period, I wish a small pox (thought not smallpox) on him.
• And, right on schedule, Robert Lang scores with 34 seconds left. Damn you, Chris Cuthbert!
more observations from both games last night…
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
Martin Brodeur again had trouble stopping shots, but that didn’t stop the New Jersey Devils goalie from firing a wicked shot of his own.
The shot was aimed directly at Senators goalie Ray Emery, the guy whose team is now up 3-1 in the Eastern Conference semi-final series with a 3-2 win over the Devils last night.
“We finally proved if we shoot pucks at Emery, he doesn’t look too good,” said Brodeur. “Right now, nobody expects us to pull this off. We’re trying to create history, to a certain extent.”
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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