Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
This was more than your customary vanilla pre-series press briefing from Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby.
This morning, hours before the puck would be dropped here for the opener of the Rangers New York Rangers -Penguins Eastern Conference semifinal, No. 87 reacted angrily when asked to respond to innuendo from Tom Renney that Crosby embellishes possible penalties and takes dives.
Thursday, Renney, asked if he were concerned about a potential bias toward Crosby, who has been known to embellish in order to draw penalty calls, said he would speak to the series supervisor of officials about a number of topics.
“I haven’t changed one bit; I never dove and I don’t dive now,” Crosby said today with a flash of anger. “That’s just part of the playoffs; part of gamesmanship.
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
In the 2000-01 season, the Penguins had just come through their second bout of bankruptcy. They only remained in Pittsburgh because Mario Lemieux found the financing to take over the team and later that season he came out of retirement, in part because the team desperately needed a gate attraction to stay solvent.
By then, however, Jagr was in a long public sulk. He fought with his coaches and teammates and the media.
Now, he says, looking back with the wisdom of 36-year-old eyes, it was all done to keep forwards Alexei Kovalev, Martin Straka and Robert Lang in Penguins uniforms. All three were set to become free agents at the end of the 2000-01 season and Jagr said he knew the team needed them more than him. After Lemieux made his comeback halfway through the season, Jagr said the team could afford to lose him.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
The Rangers New York Rangers must get the puck in deep, they must force the Penguins to play as much as possible in their own end of the ice, and they must stay out of the penalty box in order to prevail in the Eastern semifinal series that commences here tonight.
Equally important, however, is what the Rangers must not do in this marquee matchup between Broadway’s bright lights and Sidney Crosby’s name above the title, for they must not become preoccupied with Pittsburgh’s - and No. 87’s - penchant for embellishing and contesting every call, and they must not become consumed with matching lines against Crosby or Evegni Malkin.
via Rangers Report,
When I asked Shanahan about the rekindling of the bitter Red Wings-Avalanche rivalry, of which he played a major part while in Detroit, the veteran laughed.
“I thought it was pretty interesting, especially the fact that they went and got (Adam) Foote and (Peter) Forsberg back. I thought maybe Detroit would maybe try to swing a deal for me and Larry Murphy,” he said.
“I’ll watch a little bit, but it’s kind of in the past and I don’t really focus on that anymore. What everybody forgets about our rivalry with the Avalanche 10 years ago is that we were usually No. 1 and 2 in the league. Everybody talked about how much we hated each other and how dirty the games were and that was all true. But what made it most interesting was it was the two best teams in the league trying to do that to each other.”
from Stan Fischler at Game On,
INTANGIBLES: Crosby will be under extreme media pressure and that alone could enervate The Kid. If Avery succeeds in luring Pitt into a headhunting expedition, that, too, could hurt the Pens. Opening on the road won’t scare the Blueshirts; they took all three games in Newark. Motivation is high on both sides and each club is well-rested, but the Penguins will be more rusty from the longer layoff.
CONCLUSION: I picked the Rangers in seven over New Jersey never thinking that Brodeur would have such a mediocre five games. I pick the Blueshirts in six as much on a hunch as the fact that New York has been in an impressive crescendo. Add The Avery Effect to that, and ‘nuff said!
NHL.com has preview pages set up for every series going into the second round. Each one of the links below has its own selection of related multimedia archives (photos and video), the official media guides for each team and stories from various NHL.com writers.
Filed in: NHL Teams, Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, San Jose Sharks, NHL Talk, NHL Playoff Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: media, playoffs
from Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
The Rangers profess to be glad to have him as a teammate; one was quoted recently as saying he would “take a bullet” for Avery.
Not surprisingly, players on other clubs view him a bit differently. Characterize their feelings about him as mixed, because some think he’s a jerk and a blight on the sport; others aren’t nearly as charitable.
Earlier this month, when asked about Avery’s celebrated face-guarding stunt against New Jersey goalie Martin Brodeur in a first-round game, Penguins left winger Gary Roberts responded by labeling Avery an “idiot.”
It was the kind of remark Avery isn’t likely to forget. After all, it might be the nicest thing an opponent ever says about him.
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.
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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