Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Paul Hunter at the Toronto Star,
To understand how the Senators have transformed from choking dogs to doggedly determined, it’s necessary to recall the calamitous events around Christmas.
At the time, no one could have known that the negative circumstances enveloping the club foreshadowed a likely trip to the Stanley Cup final. Such a prediction would have earned only scorn.
From John Branch at The New York Times,
The Snyders are still trying to shape and build the legacy of their son — most recently with an 18,000-mile trip to all 30 N.H.L. arenas — while coping with something that time and distance has not healed.
The lasting image from Dan Snyder’s death, in this town and across hockey’s sprawling landscape, is painted in forgiveness. Moments after her son died, LuAnn Snyder entered Heatley’s hospital room. He would recover from the broken jaw and the torn-apart knee, but perhaps never from the survivor guilt. She squelched his apologies by saying that he would always be forgiven.
But the more success Heatley has, the more likely his past will be recalled. The desires of Heatley and the Snyders appear, on the surface, to be in opposition: Heatley is trying to move on, the Snyders do not want anyone to forget.
from Damien Cox at ESPN,
As a goalie, many in the hockey world expected him to hit a wall in these playoffs, but for the most part he has played “Like Wall,” the nickname once given to Latvian goalie ace Arturs Irbe.
After a shaky outing in the opening game of the second round against New Jersey, he hasn’t allowed more than three goals in a game since and is now 11-2 in the postseason. When it matters, he has been the Emery Board, nailed across the front of the net, more than good enough.
from Al Strachan at Fox Sports,
But Murray and general manager John Muckler don’t always see eye to eye. It’s not really a matter of hockey philosophy. As a coach, Muckler did a magnificent job of instituting a similar transformation in Edmonton, and he believes what Murray believes: you have some defensive responsibilities and after that, be as creative on offense as you can be.
The animosity began with Murray’s disapproval of some of Muckler’s managerial moves — or non-moves — and has escalated. As a result, the whisper around the NHL is that there will be a regime change in Ottawa this summer.
from Inside The Panters at the Palm Beach Post,
The Senators have been one of the more entertaining teams in the NHL for years, but they’ve consistently been one of the worst draws among all visiting teams for the Panthers and, presumably, most other American-based franchises. One can only speculate, but a miserable first few years out of the blocks combined with no Stanley Cups and no Original Six history has added up to no excitement for the casual hockey fan.
from Mark Spector of the National Post,
But the question that needs to be asked in a hurry is, what ever became of the Buffalo Sabres?
With a power play that would shoot blanks if it shot at all, and a President’s Trophy winning roster that looks intimidated against the hard-charging Senators, the Buffalo Sabres took one more step toward extinction last night at Scotiabank Place, losing 1-0 to fall behind three games to none in what was once a highly anticipated Eastern Conference Final.
Talk about anticlimactic. The scoreboard may have read 1-0, with Daniel Alfredsson’s second period goal standing up. In reality, however, Game 3 was a blow-out, disguised only by the spectacular play of Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
So far, Alfredsson has an NHL-best nine goals in 13 playoff games, has scored in all three games in this series and in six of his last seven post-season matches.
Not bad for a former sixth-round draft pick.
Not bad for a player roundly vilified for his weak defensive play against these same Sabres on the goal that eliminated the Senators from last spring’s playdowns.
“I’m a better player this year,” he said flatly when asked about the difference in his 2007 springtime performance compared to last year.
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
They are on the verge of living the dream and going to the Stanley Cup final for the first time in team history with a series victory over the Buffalo Sabres and holding a 2-0 lead in the East final going into Game 3 last night at Scotiabank Place.
“They’ve had to go through some tough times along the way and I’m sure that’s toughened them up a little,” said former Red Wings captain Steve Yzerman, who as GM led Canada to a gold medal at the world championship in Moscow. “There’s no question that can happen to you. Sometimes you have to go through tough times before you can have success. You develop more of an edge and you get stronger. Every team goes through it and it takes hard to work to get out of it.”
Ray Emery shuts down the Sabres tonight, 1-0.
Watch the post game interviews.
note 9:39pm: Video should be available shortly.
from Al Strachan at Fox Sports,
If you’re a fan of hockey, then you have to be rooting for the Ottawa Senators.
You can be excused from that sentiment if you have a dyed-in-the-wool affinity for Detroit, Buffalo or Anaheim. But if you’re unattached, as we aging singles like to call it, and you just care about the game for its own sake, you have to get behind the Senators.
They appear to be steamrolling to the Stanley Cup, leaving turmoil in their wake and perhaps even creating a scenario that will bring about turmoil in their own organization. But they deserve support not because they’re winning but because of the way they do it.
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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