Kukla's Korner Hockey
Lundqvist has put game 5 behind him...
from Bruce Arthur of the Toronto Star,
After Dale Weise was hit in the head by New York Rangers defenceman John Moore he rolled right back up and he tried to turn and he nearly fell down. His eyes were glassy and his hair was wild, because his helmet had come off. P.K. Subban grabbed him to hold him up, like a trainer hugging his boxer after throwing in the towel to end a fight. Tomas Plekanec helped Weise onto the bench; a trainer held Weise by the elbow on the way to the dressing room. It was the third period.
And Weise came back. The Montreal Canadiens had a two-goal lead in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference final, and Weise played 1:44 the rest of the way, including most of the final minute. He was ruled out for Game 6 on Thursday morning. The Canadiens denied he had a concussion.
From Montreal head coach Michel Therrien’s press conference before Game 6 of the Eastern Conference final:
Q: Is there any regret about having Dale come back given that the symptoms, obviously, came on after the game?
Therrien: You’re presuming it’s a head injury.
Q: Am I not correct?
Therrien: You’re not correct.
Katie Strang of ESPN participated in an online Q & A today,
Katie, if the Kings can close out the Hawks tomorrow night they are taking one of the hardest paths in playoff history to get to the Cup Finals. (Sharks, Ducks, and Hawks) Would you agree?
Katie Strang No doubt. And honestly, it's really hard to watch these games out West and not assume that either the Rangers or the Habs are going to be beaten pretty handily.
Where will Marty be playing next year? If not the Devils who will be backing up Cory?
Katie Strang Marty may have a pretty rude awakening when he tests the market this summer. I think there are definitely some good landing spots for him as a backup, but if he's looking for a starter role, or even a 1A job, he may be pretty disappointed at his prospects.
from Scott Cullen of TSN,
Off-Season Game Plan looks at what the Blue Jackets may do to build upon last season's success to return to the playoffs again next year.
There's lots of reason to be optimistic about Columbus, as they have a young core, headlined by 21-year-old centre Ryan Johansen. The only expected returnees older than 30 are defencemen Fedor Tyutin and James Wisniewski. Winger R.J. Umberger is 32, but is looking to move on, so the Blue Jackets largely have a roster around which they can build for the next couple seasons.
GM Jarmo Kekalainen and head coach Todd Richards were buoyed by the Blue Jackets' progress last season, but both know that there is still much room to improve.
"We have to be careful. We want to keep our good chemistry," said Kekalainen. "We always want to bring in the right kind of people, not only as hockey players but as teammates and human beings. It's going to be an important part of our scouting manual."
from Adam Proteau of The Hockey News,
Of course, should Ovechkin decide to change leagues, he’d need to be extremely careful lest he come off looking like an even bigger villain than Ilya Kovalchuk did when he abruptly abandoned the New Jersey Devils last summer. There would be a sizeable contingent of mortified Washington fans no matter what Ovechkin said to explain himself, but life is all about framing and this situation would be no different.
Here’s how he should frame it: by pointing to other teams that have parted ways with their franchise player and discovered the devil they knew wasn’t always better than the one they didn’t. Take the Blue Jackets, for example. There was no shortage of angst-ridden Columbus fans when management traded their franchise cornerstone, Rick Nash, to the Rangers in the summer of 2012. That transaction benefitted the Jackets as much as it did Nash (who no longer had the full weight of an organization sitting on his shoulders). It was a classic short-term-pain-for-long-term-gain scenario.
Ovechkin leaving for the KHL would free up some $9.5 million in salary cap space for the seven years remaining on his contract. As we should know by now, that space would allow Caps management to acquire two or three high-quality talents and add balance to a roster that desperately needs it. Ovechkin could paint himself as making a sacrifice for the long-term good of the franchise.
There is some question whether the NHL would provide cap relief to the Capitals if Ovechkin returned to Russia, but the league would have an extremely tough time justifying a rejection of cap relief for one team after providing it to the Devils. As well, KHL president Alexander Medvedev recently gave an interview with Russian publication championat.com in which he said, “there is a legal way for any player if he decides to play in another league (to do so) without breaking the mutual (KHL/NHL) agreement to respect each other’s contracts.” Clearly, it’s technically possible.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
This spring marks my 18th playoff spring (17, actually, given the one that went down the tubes during the 2004-05 lockout)....
It's amazing, not just the passage of time, but the ties that bind the people in the game and the memories every playoff year creates.
With the start of the 2014 Stanley Cup finals just days away, here are a few of the memories that do not fade even as the months and years tick away:
The one Stanley Cup memory I keep coming back to is from 1998, after the Detroit Red Wings had completed the second of back-to-back Cup wins by sweeping the Washington Capitals. Captain Steve Yzerman took the Cup from commissioner Gary Bettman, turned and set the trophy on the edge of the wheelchair occupied by teammate Vladimir Konstantinov, who had been badly injured in a limousine crash shortly after the Wings' 1997 Cup win. Konstantinov was an integral part of the "Russian Five," and that team set the Red Wings on a long, glorious journey through most of the past two decades -- a journey that included four Stanley Cups and a playoff appearance every single season. Konstantinov was part of the Winter Classic festivities in Detroit this past January. I never fail to wonder what might have been for Konstantinov had circumstances turned out differently. Likewise, I never fail to be impressed by the bond that continues to exist between the great, rugged defenseman and that franchise.
read on for much more...
Almost two minutes long...
from Luke Fox of Sportsnet,
His voice sounds like childhood, like staying up past bedtime, like wearing out the front edge of the family couch.
And we’ll get to hear it one more time, at least.
Since the legendary Foster Hewitt passed away in 1985, hockey’s most recognizable play-by-play voice has belonged to Robert Cecil Cole, who broadcasted at least one game of the Stanley Cup Final from 1980 through 2008.
Cole will turn 81 next month. With age and accuracy heading in opposite directions, he has slipped to Hockey Night in Canada‘s second line, behind the razor-sharp Jim Hughson, 57. And now his future in the booth is in doubt.
Last night, George posted Cole's call of Chicago's game winning, OT goal and below, watch the same call with a camera focused on Bob Cole...
A amazing fact about Cole I read last night, he's called 144 OT games in his NHL career as a broadcaster.
Sonny Milano shows off a few stick tricks...
from Steve Serby of the New York Post,
Sorry, but the Jets are not the big story in town with the Rangers playing a Game 6 Thursday night at the Garden against the Canadiens for a berth in the Stanley Cup Finals.
“I hope they make it, I hope they go all the way,” Ryan told The Post.
Ryan got a taste for how the New York metropolitan area embraces winners — not as big a taste as Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning and the Giants have gotten since 2008 — and he understands this latest New York love affair with the Rangers.
“Oh yeah, of course. There’s nothing like it,” Ryan said. “But I think what New York’s embracing about the Rangers is, like obviously the [Marty] St. Louis deal and things, but the courage he showed [following the death of his mother], that was awesome to me. And his teammates I’m sure said the same thing. Nobody needs to say anything, that was impressive. But the guts they showed, they’re down 3-1 against Pittsburgh, and come back and rally and take that series. That was fantastic.”
Ryan is a hockey aficionado from way back.
“Growing up, I was a Ranger fan and a Maple Leaf fan, if that’s possible,” Ryan said. “I lived in Toronto, and my dad [Buddy] was in New York, so that’s kinda how I grew up … Eddie Giacomin, Brad Park — I can give you ‘em all — Walt Tkaczuk, Rod Gilbert, you name ‘em, Jean Ratelle … I could name every one of ‘em.”
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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