Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Ryan Kennedy of the Hockey News,
San Jose has officially created a new kind of system: the offensive trap. OK, it’s just puck-possession with great forechecking, but Detroit’s hardly getting a sniff of the puck in the final frame, which must be maddening, since they were supposed to be the puck-possession team.
more on both games from last night…
From the AP via Toronto Star,
New Jersey Devils captain Patrik Elias will be sidelined for the first game of the second-round playoff series against the Ottawa Senators on Thursday because of a lingering cold.
“Patrik was here this morning and he will not be in the lineup,” Devils coach Lou Lamoriello said after the team’s morning skate. “He is much better. The way he feels, he’ll skate tomorrow and be ready for Saturday.”
From North Jersey Media,
Watching his father toil through backbreaking construction work, hearing the stories of his parents’ winding path from Mexico to the great Northwest as migrant farm workers, these are the building blocks of Gomez’s personality, the foundation for valuing his life as a professional athlete.
“We’re in fantasy land and I’ve always appreciated that,” Gomez said Wednesday following the Devils’ final practice in advance of their second-round playoff opener tonight against Ottawa. “What’s not to love? I mean, I play hockey, I’m in a locker room, this is my job.”
Bit by bit over the past seven years with the Devils, Gomez has allowed himself to release more of that inner clown, breaking the room up with a joke or nudging a jittery rookie past his nerves as a game is about to begin.
from the New York Times,
The Devils played their first three home playoff games before a total of nearly 6,300 empty seats, but goaltender Martin Brodeur could have sworn Continental Arena was packed to the rafters.
“I think the towels made it,” Brodeur said with a smile Tuesday, referring to the white towels given to fans to spin over their heads in the playoffs. “It fills up the empty seats.”...
The Devils, who open their second-round series at home Thursday night against Ottawa, have yet to sell out this season at 19,040-seat Continental Arena — a 26-year-old building with the all the charm of a warehouse. The Devils say they play hard no matter what, but the empty seats start conversations.
“It’s brought up,” center Scott Gomez said. “It’s something that’s definitely noticed. How can you not notice it?”
from the AP via the Akron Beacon Journal,
The New Jersey Devils apparently are getting rugged defenseman Colin White back for the second round of the playoffs against the Ottawa Senators.
The concern now is Devils captain Patrik Elias.
Elias missed his second straight practice with a cold on Wednesday, sparking concern that the left wing on the Devils’ top line might not be available for Game 1 at the Continental Airlines Arena on Thursday night.
from the NY Post,
“We’ve been through all situations and we’ve had success both ways and had disappointments both ways,” the coach/GM said after practice yesterday, when the Devils prepared for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals tomorrow against Ottawa at the Meadowlands. “To say there’s a formula [for success isn’t true].”
He acknowledged, “This is the best for us. This is a better set of circumstances.”
His players agreed. They believe the difficulty they had dispatching seventh-seeded Tampa Bay in six games bodes well for their postseason future.
A year ago, after overwhelming the Rangers in a four-game sweep, the Devils dropped their second-round series with Carolina in five games.
Lou Lamoriello and Zach Parise took part in an NHL tele-conference today-
Q. Lou, looking at the Ottawa Senators, obviously they’re a very different team from the Lightning. What do you see that you’re going to need to do differently as a team in order to succeed in this series?
LOU LAMORIELLO: There’s no question they’re a different team. They’re a deep team. They skate four lines, six defensemen. We’ll get more of our players certainly involved. As you know, the Tampa series, their bench is a lot shorter because of the matching that we do, and we are a matching team. So we see a lot of different players getting more ice time.
from the NY Post,
“I’m sure the Senators feel this is their year. Every year I’ve been in this league, they’ve been right there,” John Madden said after the Devils advanced to the second round with their 3-2 Game 6 victory over the Lightning here yesterday.
“Their depth is going to be a big challenge,” Martin Brodeur said after becoming the second-winningest goalie in NHL history with his 93rd victory.
The Devils, however, showed that they’ll present the old tenacity that is their trademark, the spirit of the bulldog that should be their alternate emblem.
The Hockey News comments on yesterday’s action…
•I’d imagine the Lightning’s loss will mean one of their big three (Richards, Martin St-Louis, Vincent Lecavalier) will be on the move this summer. Tampa GM Jay Feaster can’t go into the 2007-08 season so top-heavy in payroll and he needs to improve his defense.
•I don’t buy the theory that older teams tend to wear down during overtime or late in a series. The Red Wings looked young and strong throughout the overtime of Game 6, the seventh-plus period of hockey they played in about 33 hours. A younger Calgary team looked wasted at times. Durability is all about conditioning and drive, not age.
from the Tampa Tribune,
We knew at some point in the series that [Brodeur] was going to stand on his head and he played very well,” Lightning captain Tim Taylor said. “That’s why he is who he is.”
And on this night, Brodeur had to be the Brodeur the Devils have relied upon so many times in the past. The Lightning showed no effects of an emotional overtime loss two nights earlier and showed up to play.
Tampa Bay was the better team on the ice for most of the game, limiting the Devils to 14 shots, a franchise record low allowed by Tampa Bay in a playoff game and a New Jersey record for fewest shots at home in a postseason game….
Lightning coach John Tortorella said he liked they way his team played, but failed to elaborate on his point. When pushed on the issue, he traded expletives with a reporter from the New York Post while being broadcast live on Canadian television station CBC.
added 3:43pm, To see the Tortorella interview, go here...
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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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