Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
Question is: Who is the LeBron James of the Ottawa Senators? Is it smiling Jason Spezza—and we wonder, what is this man so happy about? Is it Daniel Alfredsson, the Conn Smythe favourite a week or so ago, now lost in translation. Is it Dany Heatley, the quietest 50-goal scorer anyone has ever known?
Or are the Senators grasping for whatever answers they can find in a series in which they might not find any?
“If you get hit with a right hand one time,” said coach Bryan Murray, “you’d better duck the next time if the guy throws a right hand. We’re going to try to duck.”
from the LA Times,
All you need to know about Ottawa’s inept offense in the Stanley Cup finals is that in two games, the Ducks have limited the Senators to 36 shots on goal, with 15 of them coming in man-advantage situations.
Playing a style of defense similar to an NFL Cover 2 scheme with two safeties deep, the Ducks have made it difficult for the Senators to get the puck into the attacking zone.
“It’s not just that, but they have a couple of real good safeties back there,” Ottawa forward Mike Comrie said of the Ducks’ Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger.
continued (reg. req.)
from Bob McKenzie of TSN,
Kunitz will take the game-day skate on Saturday and there is a chance that the doctor could be re-visited—though the doctor is in Anaheim, so whether he gets X-Rays, nobody knows for sure, but this guy looks like he’s getting closer and closer.
Is he perfect? No, not even close. But, he provides a physical element and, the way that he was shooting the puck in practice suggests that Kunitz could be a player at some point in Game 3, 4, 5 or 6, when it appeared at the start of the series that he only had an outside shot at playing in Game 6 or 7.
I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s in the game pretty soon.
more plus other SCF bits…
from the OC Register,
The Ducks-Ottawa Finals also highlight the increased importance of making the right personnel decisions in the new NHL. The Ducks and Senators front offices, NHL players and coaches said, focused on the right guys.
“There’s more to it than just how much money is spent,” Ducks captain Scott Niedermayer said.
“With the cap system,” Burke said, “if everybody has the same amount of money to spend, it’s going to come down to personnel decisions: scouting, coaching, management.”
from Ken Campbell at the Hockey News,
I think that’s the difference we have to make tomorrow,” said Senators coach Bryan Murray. “We have looked for the stretch guy often. They really get back with their ‘D’. They sit back very well and they’ve really got quality people back there. So we have to do a little different things in the attack as far as I’m concerned. We’re going to try, anyway.”
In fact, the Ducks are posturing themselves so deeply in the defensive zone that even when the Senators try to dump the puck in and go to get it, they’re being beaten to it.
“They cheat right back to the middle of the circle almost,” Murray said. “You try to dump it in and all it takes is two steps and they’re back to get the puck.”
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
On a team that features stars like captain Daniel Alfredsson, Dany Heatley and Wade Redden, none of whom have played particularly well in the first two games of the finals against Anaheim, Murray pointed instead to the 23-year-old Spezza.
Perhaps he was laying down the gauntlet for Spezza, whom he expects great things from.
Perhaps he was just hoping to catch a break in a series in which the Senators are desperate for a break.
Regardless, it is a mark of the evolution, the maturity of the one-time child prodigy that Spezza reacted to Murray’s hopeful comments, not with surprise or nervousness, but with his newfound aplomb.
“I know personally I have to be good,”” Spezza said. “Hopefully I can give the team a jolt. I know I have to be an impact guy.”
from the AP via the NY Post,
The Ottawa Senators may have a surprise or two for the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday night. They better if they want to avoid falling into a 3-0 deficit.
On the eve of the first Stanley Cup finals game in Ottawa in 80 years, the Senators held a team meeting prior to Friday’s practice at Scotiabank Place.
Goalie Ray Emery wasn’t about to divulge what coach Bryan Murray discussed with his team, which flew home from Anaheim on Thursday after dropping the first two games of the finals on the road.
“I don’t want to get in trouble,” Emery said.
from Jim Kelley at Sporstnet describing the Sens chances of a comeback-
Besides, it’s not like they’re calling on Alexei Yashin to give them a win-one-for-Ottawa speech. This time their fate is truly in their own hands.
from Loose Change at the Hockey News,
I think it’s safe to assume two things about the city of Ottawa: (1) it’s populated largely by lemmings and (2) Chicken Little has a prominent position in city council.
Have you ever heard so much negative talk and such a defeatist attitude coming from this town? Well, actually you have – many times to be exact – I mean it is Ottawa. The Senators have historically tripped more than Keith Richards and fallen more than a one-legged table.
from the National Post via Canada.com,
The morning after a postgame Ottawa dressing room that was rife with complaints about the dropping of the standard for hooking and holding in this series, Stephen Walkom, the NHL’s director of officiating, didn’t give an inch to the Senators’ complaints.
In fact, he filed them under G—for gamesmanship.
“I appreciate it, but I’m oblivious to it. That approach to influencing the game, it’s archaic,” the head ref said. “The coaches stand up for their team, and I stand up for my team. We don’t score goals or miss the net.”
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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