Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Jay Greenberg of the NY Post,
“With all due respect for [Sidney] Crosby and [Evgeni] Malkin, I don’t think they are Mario Lemieux,” said Jagr, preparing to go to Pittsburgh, his first NHL home, for tomorrow’s night second-round opener between the Rangers New York Rangers and Penguins.
“I say that with all due respect because the game has changed.
“The gap between the best and worst players on a team [today] is very small. The gap between Mario and the rest of the guys when I was in Pittsburgh was so huge he was able to score 20 points in one series. I don’t think those kids are able to do it. If I am wrong I am going to apologize and [say], ‘Great job.’
From Lynn Zinser at the New York Times,
In late December, the Rangers were in a midseason swoon and Lundqvist, their normally rock-solid goalie, was dealing with his father’s operation for a brain aneurysm in Sweden. The stress showed in his play.
“It was definitely a tough time,” Lundqvist said Monday after the N.H.L. named him one of three Vezina finalists. “You don’t really think when it happens that it affects you, but afterwards, when he started to recover, I thought back about those weeks after it happened and it was a really tough time. I think it affected me a little bit.”
While his father, Peter, has gone through a slow recovery, Lundqvist has bounced back to form on the ice. He finished the season strong, with 37 victories and a league-high 10 shutouts.
from the New Yorker,
(Mick) McGeough, an appreciator, generally, of agitators and their in-game chatter, found himself giggling. “I wasn’t fond of it,” he said a few days later. “But it’s done. Are people talking about it? Sure. Was it bush league? That’s crap. It’s good for the game.” As he talked, a call came in from another retired N.H.L. referee, Paul Stewart. Stewy, who was at an Applebee’s in Walpole, Massachusetts, watching the Yankees play the Sox, left a message: “Sean Avery is like a case of jock rash. It’s there, it bothers you, and eventually you have to just play through it.”
more about Avery…
New York Rangers Brendan Shanahan, Sean Avery, Scott Gomez, Fredrik Sjostrom and goalie Henrik Lundqvist will be featured in tonight’s “Late Show with David Letterman” along with comedians Billy Crystal and Chris Elliott. The Late Show airs at 11:30 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.
Jaromir Jagr said a little while ago that it doesn’t matter much to him, even though he’s sure to be booed lustily in Pittsburgh, where he played his first 11 NHL seasons, or in Washington, where he played the following two and change.
“I get booed everywhere,” he said, flashing that squinty-eyed, devilish grin he puts on when it’s time to have a laugh with his questioners. “Heck, maybe I get booed at home too.”
more on the Rangers…
From Dan Rosen at NHL.com,
In one corner is the mainstay, the ol’ reliable in New Jersey Devils’ dynamo Martin Brodeur. Last season, Brodeur captured his third Vezina Trophy in the last four seasons after setting an NHL record with 48 victories. This season he won 44 games.
In another corner, we have the element of surprise, the unlikely candidate in San Jose Sharks veteran Evgeni Nabokov. He has never been a Vezina finalist and had previously never played in more than 67 games in one season. Nabokov played in 77 this time around.
And finally, we have the rising star, the current and future “King” of New York in Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist. This is Lundqvist’s third-straight season as a Vezina finalist, meaning he’s been in the final three in each of his three NHL seasons.
from Lew Serviss of Slap Shot at the NY Times,
With Pittsburgh already across the finish line, the Rangers await a second-round match-up. If the Canadiens, up 3-2 over the Bruins, can close out Boston, and the Flyers, up 3-1 over the Caps, can finish off Washington, then the Rangers draw Pittsburgh and Montreal gets Philly.
Checking the season series — what have we here? — the Rangers had the edge, winning 5 games to 3 for the Penguins. Here’s the season series:
from Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice,
Martin Brodeur was a focal point in this series from beginning to end. He was bumped and badgered verbally by Sean Avery throughout the season and series. Avery didn’t even stop after the series was over, calling Brodeur “fatso” on a postgame interview on MSG.
Normally, I would not defend Brodeur not shaking Sean Avery’s hand. It’s wrong 99.9 percent of the time.
It was wrong when Scott Stevens and Bobby Holik skipped the handshake line following the 1997 series between the Devils and Rangers and claimed afterward that they forgot about it.
But this is the .1 percent of the time when it wasn’t wrong.
If Sean Avery wants to say things about Brodeur’s family and his personal life and stare him down face-to-face he can’t reasonably expect the guy to shake his hand afterward.
added 9:06am, from Empty Netters,
The above is a video of the postgame handshake lines between the Rangers and Devils following New York’s 5-3 series-clinching win in New Jersey last night. Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur didn’t shake the hand of Rangers forward Sean Avery.
Was Brodeur wrong to do this? The handshake line is one of the more revered traditions in the NHL playoffs.
continued and as mentioned, with video…
From Steve Edelson at APP.com,
Having the Rangers as the top team in the metropolitan area, and in a position to possibly challenge for a championship in the coming years, is the best thing that could happen to the NHL right now.
A league still trying to pull itself back from the brink of extinction, with television ratings mired somewhere between a test pattern and Bonanza reruns, needs the Rangers and their fan base, infinitely larger than the Devils.
They need Madison Square Garden hosting a Cup final, and Sean Avery doing his best Ken Linsman impressions in front of a national audience. They need recollections of Mark Messier’s guarantee and replays of Howie Rose blurting out “Matteau, Matteau, Matteau.’‘
Now more than ever, they need the Rangers.
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.
Email Paul anytime at email@example.com