Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Stan Fischler at the Daily Freeman,
This will come as a shock to feminists, male journalists and assorted others who care about the right to write for a living.
My tale begins a half-century ago when hockey writers were given a ticket for every Rangers game at Madison Square Garden. Nothing wrong -- or startling -- about that. Right?
There was a message clearly printed on every ticket stub: LADIES NOT PERMITTED IN THE PRESS BOX.
Incredible, but true.
I mention this because in the days and weeks following my wife Shirley’s death (May 13), a number of articles appeared about the manner in which she led the battle to erase that form of media discrimination against women.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
So it comes down to this again:
One game, between the last two Stanley Cup champions, to decide which team gets to play for the trophy again.
Well, why not?
You always had the sense that the Chicago Blackhawks and the Los Angeles Kings’ series would go down to the wire – and it will, thanks to Chicago’s 4-3 victory Friday night at Staples Center. The win, in a nervously played game where the lead kept changing hands, tied the Western Conference final at three apiece, with the deciding game set for the United Center in Chicago Sunday night.
Chicago is a sparkling 8-1 on home-ice in these playoffs, its only loss coming to the Kings in Game 2 of the series.
L.A., meanwhile, has won six road games in these playoffs, including victories in two previous Game 7s against both the San Jose Sharks and the Anaheim Ducks in the first two rounds.
from Ronnie Shuker of The Hockey News,
... the buyout scuttlebutt buzzing around Richards this post-season suggests Sunday could be his final game in a Kings uniform after Los Angeles lost to the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3 in Game 6 Friday night to even the series 3-3 and set up a Game 7 back in Illinois.
That’s right, one of the most money players in hockey history, who has yet to turn 30 years old, might become a casualty of the league’s money game. That’s what the NHL has come to in the salary cap system. Arguably, no active player has had more team success throughout his career than Richards, and yet his current team may end up not wanting him, even if it wins with him, yet again.
Richards is halfway through a 12-year, $69-million contract he signed with Philadelphia in 2008. He played the first three seasons of his deal in Philly before the Flyers traded him in 2011 to Los Angeles, where he’s played the past three with the Kings. He has $29 million remaining on his contract, which carries a cap hit of $5.8 million. It would cost the Kings $19.3 million over 12 years to buy him out.
His production has slipped this season, but that’s not the real reason why Richards might be bought out by the Kings. Several others, all out of his control, may dictate his departure out of L.A
Regarding Vanek's UFA status...
KANE, BLACKHAWKS RALLY (AGAIN) TO FORCE GAME 7
Trailing 3-2 with less than nine minutes remaining in regulation, Patrick Kane (2-1—3) set up the tying goal by Duncan Keith and scored the game-winner with 3:45 left on the clock to help the Blackhawks force a Game 7 in the Western Conference Final.
* The Blackhawks held a 2-1 lead entering the third period, but Drew Doughty and Alec Martinez scored 2:06 apart to put the Kings ahead. Chicago also rallied from a third-period deficit in Game 5, with Ben Smith potting the tying goal and Michal Handzus recording the winner in double-overtime.
* According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Blackhawks became the fourth team in Stanley Cup Playoffs history to win consecutive elimination games when trailing in the third period. The others: the 1985 Sabres vs. QUE in Games 3 and 4 of DSF; the 2001 Penguins vs. BUF in Games 6 and 7 of CSF; and the 2011 Red Wings vs. SJ in Games 5 and 6 of CSF.
* The Blackhawks improved to 9-2 in their last 11 games when facing elimination (dating to 2011). They also improved to 13-0 in Games 5-7 of a series over the past two postseasons, including a 5-0 mark when facing elimination.
from Shawn Roarke of NHL.com,
The coaches have never stopped pushing buttons from the opening faceoff of Game 1 until the final whistle Friday. Quenneville has changed his personnel and jumbled his lines. His decision to put Kane with Brandon Saad and Andrew Shaw in Game 5 looks inspired. Sutter has made adjustments, both minor and major, to counter many of the things the Blackhawks normally do well. He has rendered tame their potent power play for long stretches and has found weaknesses in a penalty kill that had dominated Chicago's first two opponents this spring.
It all culminates in what every hockey fan covets: a winner-takes-all Game 7 that will be played in United Center, which will be a madhouse of epic proportions.
Thirty-eight players, some good, some great, will take the ice and try to be the difference-maker, trying to propel their team to greater glory and a place in the Stanley Cup Final against the New York Rangers.
For the Blackhawks, it is for a chance to try to defend the crown that has rested so comfortably on their head all year. For the Kings, it is the chance to be the first team in League history to win three Game 7s -- all on the road, no less -- to reach the championship round.
"Hey, it's been a great series," Sutter said. "Now it comes down to one game."
from Michael Traikos of the National Post,
So while most outsiders are fixated on the top-4 in this draft, Buffalo Sabres general manager Tim Murray, who has the No. 2 overall pick, said his team’s success depends more on what he does with the three selections in the second round.
Those picks, said Murray, probably won’t get nearly as much attention as the first-round pick. But in a draft that is seven rounds deep, those later selections — where the Chicago Blackhawks found Niklas Hjalmarsson at 108th overall and the New York Rangers unearthed Henrik Lundqvist with the 205th pick — are often the lifeblood of the team’s future.
“I think in every draft you have the ability to rebuild and get good players, but not every draft has a Crosby or a Toews,” Murray said this week at the NHL Draft Combine in Toronto. “You have to acquire NHL players. And it’s not just with your first pick.”...
“The way to rebuild is to draft well so that you can trade well and then you use free agency to put you over the top,” said Murray. “If you can hit on a couple of seconds and a couple of thirds, you might be able to trade for that real good player down the road.”
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
This is a trip the Kings didn't want to make. And for a few moments, after Alec Martinez put them ahead, 3-2, at 7:38 of the third period, it appeared they wouldn't have to pack their bags yet again. But their inability to stop Kane — again — has put them on the edge of a playoff precipice.
"We've got a one-game playoff here in their building to punch a ticket to the finals," Martinez said, "and we've got to focus on learning from our mistakes tonight and going in there ready to play."
Defenseman Drew Doughty, every bit as dazzling for the Kings on Friday as Kane was for Chicago, tried to put a positive spin on the situation.
"I think before the series if we were asked 'would you go to Game 7 with Chicago and just be put in that spot in just a one-game thing,' I think we would take it," he said.
But there's a different feeling to it now, after they've backed into this winner-goes-to-the-finals scenario.
They haven't been able to dictate the style in the last two outings and the Blackhawks have gained control and confidence. There's a reason why the Blackhawks won the Cup last season and are a victory away from continuing their quest to become the first repeat champion since the 1997 and 1998 Detroit Red Wings: The Blackhawks are 13-0 in Games 5 through 7 of their playoff series over the last two postseasons, a sign they know how to close things out.
Perhaps the line of the playoffs from Darryl Sutter when asked what he said to the players after the game.
His response, "fly at 11".
Watch a quick recap from both Joel Quenneville and Darryl Sutter post-game...
added 11:22am, A second video has been added, with the quote from Sutter at the beginning of the video.
Watch it below the first video...
According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune's Michael Russo, the Minnesota Wild will lock up coach Mike Yeo--and the vast majority of the team's front office--in short order:
Final details were being worked out Friday night, but all signs pointed toward an agreement soon, multiple sources said. Yeo, General Manager Chuck Fletcher and other members of the front office are due to leave for owner Craig Leipold’s home in the Bahamas on Saturday for meetings.
The NHL’s youngest coach is 104-82-26 (. 552) in the regular season and coached the Wild past the first round for only the second time in franchise history this spring.
Yeo, 40, is nearing the end of a three-year contract. Fletcher said May 16 that his first offseason priority was to re-sign Yeo, then address the two-dozen others whose contracts also expire June 30.
That includes members of his front office like Andrew Brunette, the scouting staff and the medical and equipment trainers. The trainers have since been re-signed.
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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