Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette,
There’s a very good reason for Canadiens fans to loathe Daniel Briere - and it’s not because he spurned Montreal’s courtship last July and signed an eight-year, $52-million contract with the Philadelphia Flyers.
It’s because Briere blithely flipped the final puck used during Carey Price’s first NHL shutout into the Bell Centre stands on Feb. 16.
Even for a non-collector like Price, the vulcanized souvenir from this milestone is a keeper. And even if Briere didn’t realize the significance of the Canadien rookie’s 34-save effort that night, he did a very bad thing.
from the Courier Post,
Marty Biron spent nearly 12 years in the Buffalo Sabres’ organization waiting, hoping and praying for a chance to prove himself in a playoff series.
He never got it.
Danny Briere spent the past two years in Buffalo hearing how he could produce offense during the regular season, but disappeared in the playoffs.
Even one of his current teammates commented last year that Briere had been “pushed out” of the Sabres’ conference finals against the Ottawa Senators.
Today, the two former Buffalo soldiers are proving themselves as playoff warriors for the Flyers.
from Adam Proteau of the Hockey News,
And the performance of the duo of veteran referees Don Koharski and Paul Devorski in Philadelphia’s 3-2 overtime win over Washington Tuesday has to be noted, because it was simply abhorrent.
If there were a way to get a police sketch artist to encapsulate Koharski and Devorski’s wildly varying in-game assessments – featured by a stretch in which no penalties were called from the 13:27 mark of the second period to Tom Poti’s chintzy tripping minor 4:15 into OT that led to Joffrey Lupul’s game-winner at 6:06 – I’d transfer that image to thousands of Wanted: Dead Or Alive posters and start fundraising immediately to raise as much money as possible for a reward.
Making matters worse, if it weren’t for another blown call in the second period, the Caps might’ve won their Eastern Conference first-round series in regulation time.
Update 3:35pm ET: Jamie Fitzpatrick writes a response to Proteau’s comments at About.com
from Rich Hofmann of the Philadelphia Daily News,
The leaping, joyous emotion Stevens showed on the bench after Joffrey Lupul won it, won Game 7 in overtime, was back wherever Stevens stores such things. If you could read the relief on his face, hear it in his voice, it wasn’t obvious.
Stevens was just himself - the coach of a team that rose from the depths last season and learned something, learned how to win.
“I’m just happy,” Stevens said. “You just love to see a group have some success . . .
“You keep talking about success, and getting to where you want to go. To win a series, it’s great to see the excitement in the players and the whole organization, especially after last year.”
Tonight’s highly anticipated faceoff in Washington features a few players with some game 7 experience. The Flyers available lineup tonight features 7 players with 15 games experience in this situation; the Capitals boast 6 players with 16 games experience.
Only Washington’s Matt Cooke and Sergei Fedorov have ever scored in a game 7 situation.
But does any of this matter? And who will come out on top?
from Ken Campbell of the Hockey News,
Hey, if the league can change its rules in the middle of the playoffs, certainly the fellows who run the NHL have the power to mandate that the Flyers and the Capitals must play a best-of-nine…or 11…or 25.
Sadly, this series will come to an end Tuesday night in Washington and if the league really wants to increase its mass appeal, it will do something, anything, to prevent that from happening. Simply put, this series has been one of the most compelling in years in the NHL and is putting on display everything the league would like the casual sports fan to see.
from Phil Sheridan of the Philadelphia Inquirer,
It was just a word, just three little letters at the end of a sentence. There was something fatalistic, though, in Kimmo Timonen’s postgame comment.
“We haven’t lost yet,” the veteran defenseman said.
Yet. They haven’t lost the series yet. Three little letters that perfectly capture the feel of things after the Flyers blew Game 6 against the Washington Capitals last night.
The problem isn’t Game 7 in Washington tonight. The problem is how the Flyers arrived there.
Canadiens defeat Bruins 5-0. Bruins put up a fight the whole series but the Canadiens had their number tonight.
Washington takes on Philadelphia tomorrow night in a game 7 after defeating the Flyers 4-2. Ovechkin had the game winner early in the 3rd and put the game out of reach with another goal later in the 3rd period.
from John McGourty of NHL.com,
Despite a lot of outside vitriol among media and fans, the players and coaches of the Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers, who meet in Game 6 tonight (7 p.m. ET, VERSUS, TSN, RDS) at the Wachovia Center have been professional and respectful of one another.
The Flyers’ players, coaches and management don’t hate the Capitals. And the Capitals express respect for their opponents as well.
from Phil Sheridan of the Philadelphia Inquirer,
Game 6 or bust. That has to be the Flyers’ mantra after they were outhustled and outsmarted here in Game 5. The Caps’ 3-2 win may have been the last wild punch of a beaten team desperate to save face with its home fans. Or it may have been more proof that these young Capitals have figured out how to play in the postseason and have taken control of this series.
The best and perhaps only way to prevent that is to win Game 6 tomorrow night at the Wachovia Center.
“Maybe I’m crazy,” said coach John Stevens, who is not. “But I always start at seven and work backward. If you are able to sweep the series, that’s a bonus for you, but I always go into a series thinking we are going to play seven. If we have an opportunity to finish it in less than seven - we had that opportunity today - good.”
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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