Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Sam Donnellon of the Philadelphia Daily News,
Derian Hatcher has arguably been the Flyers’ best defenseman in the playoffs. If not, then Kimmo Timonen has. So far in this series with Montreal, we have seen a sucker punch with intent to injure on Timonen go unpunished, and in last night’s harrowing 3-2 Flyers victory, we watched Hatcher get thrown out of the third period of a playoff game for a boarding penalty that occurred almost simultaneously with Tomas Plekanec’s blatant attempt to injure the Flyers’ R.J. Umberger by taking out his knees away from the puck….
Can’t wait to see what’s in store for tomorrow night.
This series is just three games old, and already there is way too much circumstantial evidence to support the perennial theorem embraced in the lower 48 at this time of year.
Namely, that Canada looks out for its own.
From Darren Eliot at Sports Illustrated,
Watching Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Martin Biron embrace the moment is one of the best stories of these NHL playoffs. He embodies the axiom about the value of the journey over the destination. And while the Stanley Cup dream is the ultimate, Biron’s career-long anticipation of his first postseason action in the NHL makes him a prime example of the wait giving weight—as in richness—to the moment.
Kostopoulos earned a two-minute roughing minor on the play, but the war of words has escalated ever since.
“Kostopoulos, he’s a tough kid and I’ve got a lot of respect for him and [Steve] Bégin,” Philadelphia head coach John Stevens said. “But to go up and blindside sucker Kimmo Timonen on a play at the end there, that’s cowardly, in my opinion.”
Canadiens head coach Guy Carbonneau has been anything but quiet about the criticism of his player.
“That’s one team that shouldn’t talk,” Carbonneau said of Stevens’s comments. “They played 82 games and had the most suspensions in the league.”
And over at the Philadelphia Daily News, Rich Hofmann also expects things to get nastier in this series, citing this quote from Carbonneau:
“I think [Timonen] deserved it. That’s why they didn’t call any (major) penalties on it.”
from Roy MacGregor of the Globe and Mail,
Others will say it’s been ugly around here since the playoffs began.
It all depends, of course, entirely on your view of hair style.
On the one side of the Canadiens’ dressing room, you have the long, flowing, golden locks of Russian star Alexei Kovalev - hair so long and blond that, Saturday night, some Montreal fans showed up in wigs that made them look like they were extras in the Broadway musical Hairspray.
On the other side, you have the buzz cut, playoff choice of most of the Montreal dressing room, with players like Tom Kostopoulos, the one who decked Philadelphia’s Kimmo Timonen the other night, looking like they’ve just been deloused and are about to be issued their prison garb.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
The Flyers, like the Bruins, found themselves in a dogfight for a playoff berth in the final weeks of the season, but that seems to have hardened the team and made it more prepared for post-season play. Captain Mike Richards, meanwhile, leads the club in ice time and seems to be in the middle of everything, whether it’s a scoring play or a scrum.
The Flyers, on home ice, now have a glorious opportunity to put their boots on the throats of the Habs. But if they don’t, no one would criticize them for it because they are the team that came all the way from the bottom to be respectable again.
from Tim Wharnsby of the Globe and Mail,
Montreal Canadiens forward Tom Kostopoulos will not be suspended for his left hook sucker punch to the face of Philadelphia Flyers defenceman Kimmo Timonen on Saturday.
The NHL hockey operations office reviewed the incident and ruled that because Kostopoulos was penalized on the play and Timonen was not injured, no further discipline was necessary.
Less than 24 hours after his team was accused of commiting a cowardly act by Philadelphia coach John Stevens, Guy Carbonneau has rushed to his players’ defence – especially atoning the behaviour of Tom Kostopoulos.
“That (the Flyers) is one team that shouldn’t talk,” the Canadiens coach said Sunday, after his team participated in an optional practice in LaSalle. “Over 82 games, they had the most suspensions in the league.”
more at Habs Inside/Out…
from Chuck Gormley of the Courier Post via Delaware Online,
Dowd’s routine does not end with his last forkful of rice.
When he gets to the arena—whether it’s the Bell Centre in Montreal or the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia—Dowd has to have his equipment positioned just right.
“I like my stall nice and neat,” Dowd said. “[Former Islanders great] Butch Goring once told me that if something works, don’t change it. Stick with it. Some guys say I’m a little bit of a neat freak. But I ain’t changing anything.”
According to Flyers equipment manager Derek Settlemyre, most players have some kind of pregame ritual that goes unchanged. Derian Hatcher gives fist punches to every player before he takes the ice. Jeff Carter always follows Mike Richards down the runway. Randy Jones always is the last player off the ice following warmups and before every intermission.
from Chris Stevenson of the Ottawa Sun,
After Philly’s R.J. Umberger scored to make it 4-2 and clinch the win, Timonen turned back toward the Canadiens and raised his arms, a smirk on his face.
Canadiens forward Tom Kostopoulos delivered a roundhouse left to Timonen’s chops.
“I was just upset we were losing,” Kostopoulos said.
“I didn’t say anything. I raised my hands and I got punched,” Timonen said.
“I don’t want to make a big deal of it ... I guess we’ll see what happens (tomorrow).”
from Wayne Fish at phillyBurbs,
Doesn’t get any better than playing hockey in Montreal in April or May. There’s no such thing as bandwagon fans in this city because everyone — repeat, everyone — is a Canadiens fan. Even little dogs are wearing red, white and blue sweaters.
Canada sort of feels like it invented hockey, just as America has baseball, football and basketball as its birthrights. Face it, it’s the only game in town, so why shouldn’t rooting interest be over the top.
Here’s how rabid — but knowledgeable — the fans are. Joffrey Lupul was walking down the street on Friday and fans not only recognized him but booed him!
Watch the video highlights of the Canadiens/Flyers and Wings/Avalanche games from last night.
added 9:47am, ESPN highlights with Buccigross and Melrose…
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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