Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Mark Herrmann of Newsday,
Here’s the plan: Everybody immediately starts praising Alexei Yashin. Writers opine about how much he means to the Islanders, fans chant his name during long stretches when he is off the ice and shriek uncontrollably when he takes a rare shift.
Anyone who goes to Game 4 Wednesday night against the Sabres must reminisce about the good times and mention he is just inches from turning it all around. Finally, and pay careful attention because this is the most important part, shamelessly beg that the Islanders keep Yashin.
from Jim Baumbach at Newsday,
Stickle agreed to talk, but you’re not going to like what he told me. “I’m happy with the job that was done tonight,” he said.
As part of his job, Stickle sits in the press box and focuses on the officials, watching every call (and non-call) live and then on the replay. He was a linesman for 27 years, so he knows penalties.
“I did that job for a long time, so I see things that could become a bone of contention and take a look at it,” Stickle said. “Sometimes we’re wrong, too. But not in these cases tonight.”
from Mark Herrmann at Newsday,
“It’s not something you want to see anybody go through,” said Connolly, 25, whose concussion last May 8 kept him out until the final two regular-season games and the first two games of the Islanders series.
“It’s definitely an injury I wouldn’t wish on anybody,” said DiPietro, 25, who had two concussions in March and returned to spark the Islanders to a series-tying 3-2 win in Buffalo on Saturday, his first appearance since March 25.
The goalie knows how lucky he is to be back so soon. He called missing a few weeks “torture.” He doesn’t have the words to describe what Connolly went through, given that Connolly also missed a season after his first concussion in 2003.
from Chris Russell of the Sporting News,
Wang has been bludgeoned by media pundits and fans across the NHL landscape for being clueless and out of touch with reality. Amongst the charges, hiring Nolan, hiring Garth Snow after firing Smith who was on the job for about four minutes. Or how about the bashing that Wang took after signing star goaltender Rick DiPietro to a high risk, high reward, 15-year contract that ultimately will prove to be a steal.
I don’t know about you, but I’d say so far Wang has come out of this smelling like roses. One year of making the playoffs does not reverse everything, but it does buy you momentum. It buys you hope. It buys you a lot of smiles and the feeling that it is only going to get better from here.
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.
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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