Kukla's Korner Hockey
It’s clear that Quenneville will try to stretch his top four of Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Johnny Oduya and Niklas Hjalmarsson as far as he can, but they need some help if they’re going to survive this series. The Ducks drove Chicago’s defensemen into the boards at every opportunity in Game 1, with Hjalmarsson alone being targeted nine times. The toll was clear every time they skated back to the bench.
-Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated where you can read more on this plus other hockey topics...
Corey Hirsch of Sportsnet feels the same way...
from Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet,
- Some whispers, but zero conformation, we are getting close to a Boston GM decision. Internal candidate Don Sweeney remains the favourite. Two of their other interviewees were Paul Fenton and George McPhee, although I’d assume there were more.
McPhee is in the Toronto picture, as is Tampa assistant GM Julien BriseBois, although that is extremely unlikely.
- It’s a pretty eclectic group chasing the San Jose job.
As of last weekend, the Sharks were the only team that’s asked for permission to speak to Randy Carlyle and Doug Wilson’s old defence partner (Anaheim GM Bob Murray) would give a good recommendation. There have been other interviewees with NHL lead experience (Dan Bylsma, Peter DeBoer), some without it (Dave Lowry) and who knows who else.
How much influence will Sharks’ director of player development Larry Robinson have? He coached with DeBoer when the Devils reached the Stanley Cup Final.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
Burnside: When did the idea come to you that you and Ryan were going to spend a lot of time together? Was there a moment where you were, 'Oh, this is the plan for us here.' That you two were sort of connected?
Perry: You never know what’s going to happen. But I think at that time they had a vision, they had a plan and a long-term plan on what was going to happen and where we were going to fit in this organization. We were excited when we came in. And we’ve pretty much been, everything you can think of, we’ve done together. It’s been a fun experience.
Burnside: That’s kind of an unusual thing. It is kind of a unique thing that’s gone on here. Can you imagine your life without Ryan Getzlaf, or if it had gone a different way?
Perry: I was almost in Edmonton. I remember that I was traded to Edmonton but then the whole Mike Comrie thing, Kevin Lowe thing went through and then I was back to the Anaheim Ducks. You always think about what could have happened if I did get traded, where my career would be right now, where I would and what would be going on. It’s fun to talk about but I’m glad I’m here.
As an analyst, based on what we've seen/heard, the prevailing sentiment is Babcock will stay in DET. That appears to be conventional wisdom
But I have to tell you, based strictly on not much more than instincts, I could see Babcock ending up in BUF. Like I said, just a hunch.
If I had to bet big bucks of my own money, I'd probably wager DET. If I could lay down a loonie or twoonie with a big payoff, I'd pick BUF.
-Bob McKenzie via Twitter this morning.
Home Team in Caps
Tampa Bay 6, NY RANGERS 2 – series tied 1-1
JOHNSON’S HAT TRICK HELPS LIGHTNING EVEN SERIES
Tyler Johnson recorded the first hat trick in Lightning playoff history – as well as the first in his postseason career – to help the team even the Eastern Conference Final at one game apiece.
* Johnson, who scored while shorthanded, on the power play and at even strength, paces the NHL with 11 goals and 16 points this postseason (15 GP). He also registered the game-winning goal, his League-leading fourth of the playoffs.
I missed this a few days ago...
from Roy MacGregor of the Globe and Mail,
It is not as if there are no Canadians still involved. The Anaheim Ducks, the team that eliminated Calgary, have eight Canadians, including their captain, Ryan Getzlaf, and both assistants, Corey Perry and François Beauchemin. The Tampa Bay Lightning, the team that put the Canadiens out, has seven Canadians on the roster, including captain Steven Stamkos.
But it is just not the same. The Canadiens might have an American and a Russian as assistant captains but the team is still very much Canadian.
Speculation as to why Canadian teams now regularly come up short range from bad luck to bad drafting to an inability to attract the blue-chip free agents that are widely believed to be the difference makers in the postseason. Whether they will not come because of the weather, taxes or spouses wishing their families to avoid the intensity of the spotlight hardly matters – the very best don’t seem to come north.
Once there is no Canadian team to cheer for – or cheer against, which is equally important in sports – there is not much attraction to be found in a game reduced to chip and chase, blocked shots, gigantic goaltenders and low-scoring games that now seem never to feature the sort of glory goals children are scoring in their driveways at this time of year.
It has created a situation in this country where the climax of the season is no longer the day in June when the championship is decided, but a season that peaks in the opening round of the playoffs, might continue into a second round – but then enters a denouement wherein interest slips steadily, even if the televisions remain on.
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
Maybe it's because the Ducks don't have a dominant, minutes-gobbling defenseman like two-time Norris Trophy winner Duncan Keith of Chicago, tireless Ryan Suter of Minnesota, or Norris finalist Drew Doughty of the Kings that their defense corps hasn't gotten much respect.
Hampus Lindholm has the potential to become that kind of stud defenseman someday soon, but the Ducks don't have the equivalent of Keith, who is averaging a remarkable 30 minutes and 25 seconds of ice time per game. For now, the Ducks' strength is the balance they've built among their three pairs in terms of style and ice time.
"We don't get overloaded with minutes," said Francois Beauchemin, the team leader at an average of 23:50. "Guys don't get tired, like when you log 29, 30 minutes a game."
Once, Beauchemin routinely logged high totals. When the Ducks won the Stanley Cup in 2007, their defense featured Hall of Famer Scott Niedermayer and future Hall of Famer Chris Pronger, but Beauchemin led them with an average of 30:33. Pronger played 30:11 and Niedermayer averaged 29:51. "I was young, and I was able to take it easy," Beauchemin said, smiling.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
A year ago, Tyler Johnson informed the hockey world of the immensity of his skill set in his rookie season.
This spring he’s telling us about the enormity of his heart.
Monday night’s hat trick at Madison Square Garden to lead his Tampa Bay Lightning to a 6-2 win over the New York Rangers in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals will go down as one of the more memorable nights in these playoffs.
A short-handed goal with his team down two men, a power-play goal and an even-strength goal that was all second effort -- it was breathtaking.
Just another day at the office for Johnson, who padded his playoff lead to 11 goals, and the goals weren't even his most impressive play of the night.
Below, watch Johnson post-game with Scott Oake...
from Stephen Harris of the Boston Herald,
After decades as the most dominant individual on the Bruins leadership team — as general manager for 28 years and president for 17 — Harry Sinden has faded largely into the background since taking the title of senior advisor to the owner nine years ago.
For media members, it was more likely to see him at a Bruins game against the Panthers in Sunrise, Fla. — near his second home — than at the Garden.
This was Peter Chiarelli’s team since the day he took over as GM May 26, 2009, and it was commonly assumed Sinden had little or no input on major decisions.
But after the club fired Chiarelli on April 15, the decision-making duties fell to team president Cam Neely and CEO Charlie Jacobs — and, of course, whomever they name as the new GM.
And according to a well-informed NHL source, team owner Jeremy Jacobs, concerned that both son Charlie and Neely lack experience running an NHL franchise, also has asked the 82-year-old Sinden to play a larger role than in recent years.
Linesman Brad Kovachik left Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final on Monday in the second period with a sprained knee after a collision along the boards.
The NHL said he will be out indefinitely.
Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos checked New York Rangers defenseman Kevin Klein, who hit Kovachik with 7:41 left in the period.
Kovachik, who was helped off the ice, was replaced by Greg Devorski. The game was delayed about five minutes.
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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