Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Phil Sheridan of the Philadelphia Inquirer,
They have now lost Game 1 of each of their three playoff series. In the first two rounds, they came back and won Game 2, then went on to take the series.
This Game 1 was different, though. The Penguins are simply better than the Washington Capitals and the Montreal Canadiens. Evgeni Malkin is the best player the Flyers have faced, delivering where Alex Ovechkin and Alex Kovalev simply did not. Marc-Andre Fleury is the best goaltender the Flyers have faced. For the first time in these playoffs, Biron was not the better netminder.
That doesn’t mean the Flyers can’t compete with the Penguins. They can. It just means they have to play near-perfect hockey to have a chance, and that is not something they’ve shown an aptitude for doing. They were able to blow two-goal leads against the Caps and the Habs and still win. Those days are gone.
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
When the NHL playoffs started, the Pittsburgh Penguins liked to tell people they could play any way their opponents wanted.
Then they proceeded to back it up. The first round didn’t count, since the Ottawa Senators lay down and died for them, but the New York Rangers found out the Penguins could win in a shootout or a checking game.
But coming into the Eastern Conference final, there was one game the Penguins had not played: a physical, hard-hitting battle along the boards and in front of the net. The Philadelphia Flyers, even if missing top defenceman Kimmo Timonen, brought one of those games last night.
Guess what? The Penguins beat them at that, too.
from Michael Farber of Sports Illustrated,
There are 46,055 square miles in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, which means it is obviously not big enough for two NHL teams in May.
On the one end of this great, diverse state is Philadelphia, now 25 years removed from its last pro sports championship. At the other end is Pittsburgh, which, relatively speaking, collects titles the way Lindsay Lohan attracts the paparazzi. Other than license plates and garrulous, sports-loving governor Ed Rendell, these cities, and their hockey teams, share almost nothing other than a healthy dislike for each other.
The rivalry is back in the NHL.
Just received a phone call from Versus, Game 1 of the Philadelphia/Pittsburgh Series will be in HD on VERSUS!!
Good new all around! And yes, they heard you!
added 2:25pm, Just wanted to thank Versus for working with me and making it right for HD hockey fans. Hope everyone enjoys the game.
From a press conference Q&A session featuring Philadelphia Flyers players Daniel Briere, R.J. Umberger, and Martin Biron.
Q. Danny, the way you’ve played this season and, the way the team has played overall this season, does this further validate your decision to leave the Sabres and go to the Flyers?
DANIEL BRIERE: You know what, when I was looking at my options, obviously looking at Philly, you know, very similar as far as offense, where it’s a team that doesn’t just rely on one or two guys or on just one line. We’ve seen it through the year. Everybody’s chipping in.
from Ken Campbell of the Hockey News,
If the Philadelphia Flyers plan to intimidate the Pittsburgh Penguins and set a physical tone for the Eastern Conference final in Game 1 tonight, they do so at their own peril.
That’s because even the best penalty-killing team in the league would have a tough time stopping the Penguins power play these days. If the Flyers create a conga line to the penalty box in an effort to make a point, the Penguins will demolish them.
from Empty Netters,
In case you haven’t heard, the Penguins and Flyers are rivals.
If you ask us, this rivalry is on par with some of the all-time greats:
read on for video comparisons and watch out for the falling anvil!
from Paul Friesen of the Winnipeg Sun,
A banner supporting the Hells Angels in Winnipeg. A link to a family member who’s a full-fledged member of the outlaw motorcycle club.
These are the things you’ll find on Winnipeg NHLer Riley Cote’s MySpace page….
But the head of the Winnipeg Police Association and a university criminologist say he hasn’t used good judgment on his internet site.
There, you’ll find a banner that reads, Support Red and White, Winnipeg, a moniker for the Hells Angels. There’s also a link to his cousin, Sean Wolfe, a member who’s had several run-ins with the law.
“It certainly makes you wonder about the suitability of the guy as a role model for aspiring hockey players,” Winnipeg Police Association president Mike Sutherland said yesterday.
Update 3:01pm ET: A response from Riley Cote (and words from the NHL at Globe & Mail),
“It shouldn’t be an issue right now in the Stanley Cup playoffs,” he said after the Flyers’ morning skate in preparation for the opening game of the Eastern Conference final against the Pittsburgh Penguins. “I can’t believe someone would stoop so low to bring that up now. [Wolfe] is my cousin.. He’s my family. What do you want me to do?I can’t change anything about it,” Cote said. “I support him.”
from Robert Dvorchak of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
“These teams have such a history,” said Bill Clement, who played on the Flyers’ title teams and is now a hockey analyst, “but five minutes after they drop the puck, none of it matters. They’ll be writing new history.”
He expects a “gladiator-type” series with Sherwoods instead of swords, one that will have the blood boiling not only among the combatants but the fan bases.
“Players respond to fans’ reactions, and fans are not compelled to show any restraint at all,” he said. “The Flyers are looked on as something like the Antichrist. Everybody loves to hate the Flyers. But you have to be careful. You can end up winning a battle and losing the war.”
Update 11:35am ET: The AP (via the Globe & Mail) previews the series as a “Bad Blood Showdown”
from Sam Donnellon of the Philadelphia Daily News,
Mike Knuble grew up in Kentwood, Mich., played hockey for the University of Michigan, held the Stanley Cup in his hands at the end of his first two NHL seasons with Detroit. “The passion it brings out in the city and the fans is something you never forget,” he said after the Flyers’ practice yesterday. “In Detroit they had all those flags hanging on the cars . . .
“You got tired of it almost after 2 years in a row. It sounds crazy but . . . It was like, ‘There’s that damn Cup again.’ “
Ten long years later, after stops in Detroit, with the New York Rangers and Boston, after his midcareer transformation from NHL grinder to goal-scorer, Knuble, 35, sometimes drives home from the rink conjuring up that image, sometimes imagines what that skate around the ice
after the NHL’s final game would feel like again. He tries not to, he said, because the Flyers have won only eight of the 16 games necessary for that dream to be a reality. But it doesn’t always work, and it does not make him tired.
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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