Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Wayne Scanlan of the Ottawa Citizen,
Senators fans are overjoyed for the team, the general manager and his scouting staff (18 players drafted and developed in-house). Murray, 72, from up the Ottawa Valley in Shawville, has especially touched the hearts of team supporters as he fights a daily battle against stage 4 cancer, a battle that doesn’t keep him from his daily work.
Poignantly, Murray wasn’t thinking of any personal triumph when the buzzer sounded in Philly, even if he said he couldn’t remember the last time he was this nervous watching a game. He was thinking about his young players, like the two rookies, Mark Stone and Jean-Gabriel Pageau, who did all the goal-scoring against the Flyers, just as it was rookies – Stone, Pageau and Mike Hoffman – who produced all the goals in a 4-3 comeback win against the Pittsburgh Penguins last Tuesday that saved Ottawa’s season.
“It was all about the kids,” Murray said in the visitors dressing room, describing his thoughts at game end. “They worked so hard, deserved getting in, and it would have been a shame if we’d lost out.”
In nearly 40 years in the NHL, Murray has coached and managed a host of different teams, but none with greater “character.” He has been nearly overwhelmed by “how much these guys have shown they care about putting it together. And hanging together every night. Handling the pressure. Every game was a must-win almost.”
They were the story of the second half as the NHL watched in awe and wonder as the Ottawa Senators mounted a massive comeback from 14 points back to a playoff berth.
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
- If Tampa Bay follows Chicago’s lead, Steven Stamkos will sign an eight-year extension in less than three months. On July 9, 2014, the summer before the final seasons of their deals, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane signed identical eight-year, $84 million extensions. Stamkos, who has one year remaining on his current deal, will use both contracts as benchmarks. It’s arguable that the center is even more valuable to his team than Toews and Kane are to the Blackhawks. From that perspective, Stamkos should earn at least $11 million per season, even with the cap correction because of the Canadian exchange rate.
- Ottawa will have some serious work to do this summer. Mika Zibanejad, Mark Stone, Mike Hoffman, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, and Alex Chiasson will be restricted free agents. Of the group, Zibanejad, Stone, and Hoffman project to be top-six fixtures. All will require raises. The Senators have decent cap space, partly because of the smart money they invested in Kyle Turris. On Aug. 29, 2012, Ottawa re-upped Turris to a five-year, $17.5 million extension. It was an excellent move. Ottawa’s No. 1 center is playing like he’s worth double his $3.5 million average annual value. Even smarter than the extension: the price the Senators paid to acquire Turris from the Coyotes. On Dec. 17, 2011, Ottawa landed Turris for David Rundblad and a 2012 second-round pick.
many more hockey topics...
With their 3-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers today, the Senators are in.
Which means either Boston or Pittsburgh will not make it...
The Penguins would clinch a playoff berth if they defeat the Sabres in any fashion OR if they get one point against the Sabres AND the Bruins fail to defeat the Lightning in regulation or overtime OR if the Bruins lose to the Lightning in any fashion.
The Bruins would clinch a playoff berth if they defeat the Lightning in any fashion AND the Penguins lose in regulation. If the Bruins defeat the Lightning in regulation or overtime, they would qualify with a Penguins loss in any fashion.
from Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun,
For it all to end now would be cruel and unusual punishment.
It would be like falling in love, proposing, then being left at the alter. Ten times over.
But only worse.
Can you see it happening? Not me. If the Hockey Gods were just going to break the hearts of destiny's darlings on the final day of the season -- after all they've done the past two-months -- they would have left them as they were on Valentine's Day, back when everybody was resigned to the fact this Senators season would end on April 11.
For them to deny Ottawa a point, by lucky bounces or bad calls, in its game against the Flyers Saturday afternoon, well, that would be one thing. But then to allow the wayward Boston Bruins to collect two against a superior Tampa Bay team still playing for first in the division and then home ice advantage in a series down the road, well, it would almost be like Lightning striking the same tree twice.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
The team of destiny now controls its own. The Ottawa Senators need just a single point Saturday afternoon in Philadelphia to clinch a playoff berth, something that was unthinkable just seven weeks ago. But after a 20-3-3 run, one of the most impressive late-season stretches in years, the never-say-die Sens are on the verge of completing a miracle.
Ottawa blanked the Presidents' Trophy-winning New York Rangers 3-0 at MSG on Thursday night, albeit a New York team that rested a few key regulars, but still, a terrific road effort. The Boston Bruins did their part for the Senators, dropping a 4-2 decision at Florida, making it back-to-back losses on back-to-back nights for a B's team now in serious danger of missing the playoffs.
Ottawa now sits at 97 points in the top wild-card spot, the Pittsburgh Penguins are next at 96 points (with two games left), and the Bruins are on the outside looking in with 95 points and one game remaining, Saturday at Tampa Bay.
Is all this really happening? Is Sens rookie goalie Andrew Hammond, a complete unknown a few weeks ago, really now 19-1-2? You cannot make this stuff up. Oh, and with the Senators needing just one point Saturday, you know they can't cap this kind of run with a loser point. Expect a victory over the Flyers. It's the only way to go.
read on for topics like the Kings, Wings and more from the ESPN crew...
via Don Brennan of Off The Post at the Ottawa Sun,
With one game left in the regular season, the Senators are now in control of their own destiny.
By getting even just a single point Saturday in Philadelphia, they guarantee themselves a spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Ottawa’s 3-0 victory over the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden Thursday night continued its wild dash to the regular season finish line, and beyond.
Not only did the Senators leap past the Bruins, but they landed in the first wild card spot with Boston’s 4-2 loss to the Florida Panthers.
The Penguins are one point behind the Senators but have two games left.
Meanwhile, the Senators could still move past the Detroit Red Wings into third place in the Atlantic Division. The Red Wings have 98 points after losing in overtime to the Montreal Canadiens.
The Senators could lose Saturday and still get in if the Bruins don’t get two points against the Lightning.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Is there a more beautiful thing than when the escapism of sports crosses over to real life to make a difference.
That’s just what these young Ottawa Senators are doing for Bryan Murray, the veteran general manager said Wednesday that his team’s improbable 19-3-3 run has provided some inspiration as he continues his battle with Stage 4 colon cancer.
"Absolutely," Murray said a day after an incredible comeback win over the Pittsburgh Penguins kept his team’s playoff hopes alive.
"My sister actually texted me and she was talking about the game (Tuesday) and she was asking me how I was feeling because she knows I had chemo yesterday," said Murray. "Well, you don’t sleep the night after you have chemo but I feel pretty good today because of the team. There’s no question."
One treads lightly when trying to make sense of hockey victories on the ice and a real-life battle with cancer off of it. You don’t what to trivialize what is such an emotional situation for the 72-year-old, life-long hockey man.
Watch as Mike Hoffman and Mark Stone of the Ottawa Senators are heroes tonight as their goals against the Pittsburgh Penguins to prolong the Senators season.
Full game highlights are below...
Dave Cameron, he will be appearing here all week!
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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