Kukla's Korner Hockey
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
Alexei Yashin is in a familiar position at playoff time — nailed to the bench….
Nolan busted Yashin, 33, down to centre on the fourth line halfway through the first period of the Eastern Conference quarter-final game. Yashin played between Richard Park and Andy Hilbert, while Richard Zednik was promoted to Yashin’s spot with centre Viktor Kozlov and right winger Miroslav Satan. Yashin barely got off the bench in the third period.
from Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News,
Let’s be honest, the Islanders have no business staying with them in this series. Anyone can break down the categories, examine the matchups from every conceivable angle and draw the same conclusion.
Ruff has more than three times as many playoff victories as Nolan has playoff games coached. Ruff is better at making adjustments on the fly. He junked his lines in the second period, shipping listless Ales Kotalik to the fourth line and giving Stafford time with Drury and Dainius Zubrus.
The difference Saturday night was Nolan’s players showed up. The Sabres were absent just long enough for one to slip away. In the playoffs, that’s all it takes.
Instead of grabbing a sniping forward with the No. 1 overall pick in 2000, the team made Rick DiPietro the only goalie in NHL history chosen with the first overall pick. But after deciding on DiPietro, the Isles still needed scorers, which is why Mike Milbury shipped Luongo to Florida for a package that included right wing Mark Parrish, a 20-goal man, and the enigmatic Oleg Kvasha.
It’s debatable whether the Islanders would have been better off keeping Luongo and drafting Marian Gaborik, the forward Milbury said he would have selected No. 1 if the goalie moves hadn’t been consummated. The former Isles GM and current senior vice president has said he made the deals because the mandate from new owners Charles Wang and Sanjay Kumar was to produce a playoff team—immediately.
from the Buffalo News,
The Islanders played soft and defensive in Game One, and it got them nowhere. They need to come out of their shell and engage the Sabres in a game of speed and finesse. That’s a dangerous strategy against the Sabres. But the Isles feel emboldened to open things up when DiPietro is back there covering for them.
“You can’t change your game just because it’s playoff hockey,” said Jason Blake. “The Sabres are the best four-line team in the league by far. What are you going to do, watch them skate around with the puck all day? We have to play the way we did when we won hockey games. We have to be more aggressive.”
Blake said the Isles are more confident with DiPietro in net. He even compared DiPietro with Martin Brodeur, Patrick Roy and other elite goalies.
via David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
Rick DiPietro returned to practice for the New York Islanders on Friday and is expected to be in goal Saturday night against the Buffalo Sabres.
“I think that will give them a huge lift,” Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff said of DiPietro’s return from a concussion.
from Joe Gergen at Newsday,
Certainly, the mind-set will have to change tomorrow night if the Islanders hope to tie the series.
“We might have been doing too much watching and not enough attacking,” said defenseman Sean Hill. “It’s nice to be close, but we were in position to steal that game. With the amount of offense we had, we have to take some solace in that.”
For a team whose mantra in the final week was “desperate times call for desperate measures,” perhaps the situation wasn’t desperate enough.
The New York Islanders’ playoff chances improved late Thursday night, as the team announced that goaltender Rick DiPietro has been cleared to play and will take part in a full practice on Friday.
DiPietro, recovering from two concussions, did not dress in Thursday’s 4-1 loss against the Buffalo Sabres and watched the game from a luxury box at HSBC Arena.
Wade Dubielewicz started Game 1 of the best-of-seven series and stopped 31 of 35 Buffalo shots.
DiPietro sustained two concussions 12 days apart last month. He skated on his own Tuesday, but hasn’t practiced with the team since a loss to the New York Rangers on March 25. He missed the final seven games of the regular season.
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
Shortly before the 2004 trading deadline, Satan scored a goal in a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at HSBC Arena. Instead of the usual celebration, he took off his glove and put his hand to his ear, mimicking a telephone conversation. In other words, Sabres GM Darcy Regier had better get on the phone and trade him.
This did not go over well with the fans and almost a month later, in the Sabres’ last home game, Satan was chosen the first star. He came out and instead of lifting his stick in the usual salute to the crowd, he waved goodbye. This was a sincere attempt to say thank you for the good times and goodbye but by then the fans were not having any of it.
“Last year it was a little more noticeable,” Satan said of the booing. “It’s a little quieter this year but at least they remember me.”
from the Nationa Post,
Brinkley’s web diary appeared for the first time a few weeks back, and within a day it had generated 50,000 page views.
It does not feature any pictures of the 53-year-old mother of three in swimwear, though there is a series of Brinkley at a game in an Islanders sweater.
Brinkley, admits Milord, works with a ghost blogger at the league’s New York offices. When she has the urge to talk hockey, she talks to them, and they transcribe her thoughts for public consumption.
Since Brinkley went live, a buzz has shot through the world of the celebrity hockey fan.
added 10:18am, You can view many of the celeb blogs here...
Still, if Zach Johnson can win the Masters and if Blake can be the Islanders’ first 40-goal scorer since Zigmund Palffy in 1998 ... Well, isn’t it at least OK to dream a little?
“Obviously, we’re playing a great opponent with a lot of firepower. But we worked our way into the playoffs, and let’s see what happens,” Blake said, having had the best goal-scoring season of his career since he had 50 in junior hockey with the Waterloo Hawks in Iowa, Johnson’s home state.
As much as Blake admires Woods, the Islanders dynamo of a right wing is a lot more like Johnson, who wasn’t even the best player at Drake University. “Not very many guys are fortunate enough to be the best right off the bat,” Blake said. “You’ve just got to keep working ... and hope someday you get your break.”
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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