Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Patrick Redford of Deadspin,
The Tampa Bay Lighting hosted a very well-attended viewing party on Sunday for Game 5 of their Eastern Conference Finals series with Pittsburgh. Thousands went to the public showing (around 8,000 attended an analogous event last year), and the team had planned another official party for tonight’s Game 7, only to cancel it yesterday afternoon and encourage fans to head to a different, unofficial event.
The NHL told Deadspin that the Lightning were only allowed to host one official event per series, and that they’d already used up their slot on the Game 5 party. But the Sharks and Blues have each hosted multiple parties during the Western Conference Finals, and sources tell us that the NHL and NBC pressured the team to cancel tonight’s event because of worries about low TV ratings.
OTTAWA – Ottawa Senators defenceman Chris Phillips announced today his retirement from the National Hockey League. A former first overall selection of the Senators in 1996, Phillips spent his entire 19-year NHL career in Ottawa, establishing a new Senators all-time games played mark with 1,179 while making a lasting impression on the Ottawa-Gatineau community.
“Chris’ trademark leadership, determination, hard work, and resilience as a hockey player gave our city and our fans the opportunity to witness an impressive 19 year journey in the National Hockey League,” said Senators owner Eugene Melnyk. “Chris’ commitment to our team and our city places him among one of the greatest players to don a Senators uniform. He will forever hold a special place in the history of our hockey club. Chris, his wife Erin and their children Ben, Zoe and Niomi will always be part of our Senators family and I look forward to their ongoing involvement with our team, our community and various foundations.”
from Craig Custance of ESPN,
By Game No. 20, the Blues were done. That they took this run just about as far as they possibly could have wasn't much consolation because they saw the finish line.
Two more wins and they would have been playing for a Stanley Cup.
The Blues, unlike in postseasons past, didn't choke or disappoint this spring. They simply got beat by a Sharks team that was relentless in its tracking, completely eliminating the Blues' rush game. San Jose had more speed and more energy -- and the Blues could never get their punishing forechecking game going for long enough stretches to catch the Sharks.
"We thought we had a team ..." said Blues forward Troy Brouwer before correcting himself. "We do have a team that's a championship-caliber team."
He's right. They do. The Blues proved it by beating a championship-caliber team in round one. They just happened to run into another championship-caliber team in the Western Conference finals. That's why it's so hard to win a Stanley Cup.
Good teams go home earlier than they want in the Stanley Cup playoffs all the time. It doesn't make it any easier.
from Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun,
The Sharks did it with a core group of players that have long been questioned for their inability to go deep into the playoffs.
One thing that’s occasionally overlooked is that many of those Sharks teams didn’t get strong enough goaltending.
After the Sharks missed the playoffs last season, general manager Doug Wilson addressed that need by acquiring Martin Jones in a trade with the Boston Bruins at the 2015 draft.
Wilson also replaced longtime head coach Todd McLellan with Peter DeBoer and brought in defenceman Paul Martin and playoff performer Joel Ward as unrestricted free agents.
Martin has proven to be the perfect defence partner for Brent Burns, who has been fantastic during the post-season after being named a Norris Trophy finalist.
As for Ward, after a quiet start to this series (no points in four games), he scored twice in Game 6 to give him four goals over the past two games and six in the playoffs.
Below, watch on-ice post-game interview with Joe Thornton...
from Mark Purdy of the Mercury News,
The sound at the finish was a noise never before heard at SAP Center. It was the sound of a 25-year emotional release, surging from the seats to the playing surface. The air above the ice was clogged with swirling joy and churning elation and damn near disbelief.
The Sharks are going to the Stanley Cup final. It only took them until the 2,020th game in franchise history, dating back to the team's birth in 1991. But it might have been worth the wait, just to witness this scene.
"I took a few quick looks around, just to see everyone standing and cheering," said Logan Couture, who has been a Shark player for just seven seasons but knows the history. "They've been through a lot. It's been a long time that we've been the favorite. They've had a lot of high hopes . . . A lot of credit to the people that have had season tickets and kept them through it all. They deserve this."
Below, watch Peter DeBoer post-game...
from Benjamin Hochman of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
When it was over, the captain cried.
David Backes came into the media interview with puffy, saddened eyes — possibly like the eyes reading this column were Wednesday night — and he broke down again when describing his team’s character.
“He’ll kill me for telling you this story,” a lip-quivering, watery-eyed Backes said after the Game 6, season-ending loss. “But Game 5, I’m not feeling well, and Steve Ott brings me something to help me feel better. Knowing that he’s the guy not going in the lineup if I can play, that’s pretty selfless — that’s the kind of guys we have in here. Just stories like that. Guys blocking shots, sacrificing their bodies. It’s tough to swallow. You know that the heart’s in here, the ability’s in there, but we came up short.”
The story is a tear-jerker in itself. It reminds you how much goes into this. It also makes you wonder where that character was on ice in Game 6, when the Blues needed to play hockey with fire. The Blues were gassed, and their performance was exasperating.
Watch Backes post-game below along with Ken Hitcock meeting with the media....
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
They sat side by side by side at the news conference podium, the last three captains of the San Jose Sharks, the guys who have tried so many times to get to this very point with this very team.
Some 19 years in the making for Patrick Marleau since the Sharks drafted him. More than a decade for Joe Thornton since the blockbuster trade brought him here. And 10 years for Joe Pavelski since he played his first game for this franchise.
Finally -- a trip to the Stanley Cup finals.
"We're just enjoying the ride right now," said Marleau, the specks of gray in his playoff beard reminding us of the very long journey. "We've had some really good teams over the years. Like Joe was saying, this team is a little bit different. The confidence we've built over the regular season and now in the playoffs -- I think winning on the road helped us get close as a group during the regular season. It carried over into the playoffs so far. Just having each other's back out there, working for each other."
Highlights are below...
SHARKS REACH STANLEY CUP FINAL FOR FIRST TIME IN FRANCHISE HISTORY
Logan Couture (1-2—3) and Joel Ward (2-0—2) combined for three of San Jose’s five goals to help the Sharks win Game 6 and advance to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in franchise history.
* The Sharks are the first team to advance to the Stanley Cup Final after missing the playoffs the previous season since the 2011-12 New Jersey Devils. Both achieved the feat under a head coach in his first season with the club – Peter DeBoer.
The San Jose Sharks defeated the St. Louis Blues 5-2 on Wednesday night, winning the teams' third-round series 4-2.
The Sharks will now face either Pittsburgh or Tampa Bay.
Game 1 of the SCF is Monday at 8:00pm ET. Games 1 & 2 will be hosted by Pittsburgh if they win tomorrow night or San Jose if Tampa Bay wins.
added 12:38 am, the Sharks did not touch the Clarence Campbell Bowl:
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
The Post has learned the Blueshirts do not intend to buy out the remainder of Dan Girardi’s contract, which has four years remaining at an annual $5.5 million cap charge.
In addition, sources report management has not requested the alternate captain to waive his no-move clause (which will be replaced by a modified no-trade following 2016-17). Further, no such request is expected....
Communication remains open between the Blueshirts and Keith Yandle, still far more likely to depart than to remain. But even as The Post has learned No. 93 is not committed to getting to July 1 at the exclusion of negotiating with general manager Jeff Gorton, the price tag — expected to be a minimum $45 million over seven years — is likely to be too expensive for the Rangers.
Of course Rick Nash is available — as is everyone in the organization other than Henrik Lundqvist, Brady Skjei and Pavel Buchnevich. The Rangers, we’re told, are prepared to listen to offers for everyone.
That includes Ryan McDonagh, Derek Stepan, Derick Brassard, Chris Kreider and Kevin Hayes, each player’s availability, of course, will be dependent upon the exchange rate in return. But nothing is off the table. And the Wild are believed to have serious interest in native Minnesotan Stepan.
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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