Kukla's Korner Hockey
The NHLOA would like to congratulate the officials selected to work the 2015 Stanley Cup Finals.
Wes McCauley, Dan O'Halloran, Kevin Pollock, Kelly Sutherland.
Derek Amell, Shane Heyer, Brian Murphy, Pierre Racicot.
“I’m not 100 percent convinced he’s not getting (fired). I don’t know. I don’t know. I’m just saying that I know the relationship there is not great between Murray and Boudreau.
“I think it would be crazy. I think Murray would be smart to wait one more year and just see how this group does and how he does with them. But I know that their relationship isn’t great, so that always complicates things.”
-Elliotte Friedman on Fan590 radio today. More from Chris Nichols of Today's Slapshot.
added 2:53pm, Video of Friedman's segment is below...
Below, watch how the injury occurred.
added 3:54pm, Also added below, Zuccarello talking with the media...
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
With the Chicago Blackhawks and Tampa Bay Lightning set to face off in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals Wednesday night in Florida, there are a plethora of storylines to explore:
It’s not that the Blackhawks are exactly old (their average age is 28.9) but they are certainly wise in the ways of long playoff runs. This is their third trip to the finals in six years. They have won the Cup in each of their previous two appearances. Since 2009, the Blackhawks -- whose core remains basically the same -- have advanced at least to the conference finals five times, including the past three seasons. In short, they get it.
The Lightning? It’s not that they’re fresh-faced kids, but the start time in the finals is likely to be past bedtime for a handful of the youthful Lightning players. OK, just kidding. But the Bolts do have an average age of 26.2 and rely heavily on younger players with little playoff experience compared to those on Chicago’s roster. Since the Lightning won the Cup in 2004, this year marks the franchise's first return trip to the Cup finals, and just its second trip to the conference finals (the previous appearance was in 2011). Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman are the only players on that 2011 squad still with the team, so that experience won't likely be much of a factor. Does it matter? Did it matter that the New York Rangers never lose at home in Game 7? Not to the Lightning. But the finals are another beast, so the veteran steel that helped Chicago come back from a 3-2 series deficit in the Western Conference finals may give them an edge over the Bolts.
REMINDER: STANLEY CUP FINAL SCHEDULE
The 2015 Stanley Cup Final begins on Wednesday, June 3, at Amalie Arena in Tampa Bay.
Based on their superior regular-season point total, the Lightning will host Games 1 and 2 of the best-of-seven series, as well as Games 5 and 7, if necessary. Games 3 and 4, as well as Game 6, if necessary, will be hosted by the Blackhawks.
In the U.S., NBC will broadcast Games 1 and 2 and, if necessary, Games 5, 6 and 7. NBCSN will telecast Games 3 and 4. In Canada, CBC and TVA Sports will televise the entire series.
All games also will be carried on SiriusXM Satellite Radio. NHL Network will feature special programming surrounding the Stanley Cup Final and NHL.com will continue to provide extensive digital coverage.
Click here for more details.
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from Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune,
While many continue to doubt the Lightning, they have maintained that quiet inner confidence throughout the postseason. Though it might have wavered at times, that brashness served them well on the biggest stage many of them had never been on to this point in their careers.
“There is some swagger here,” veteran forward Brenden Morrow said. “Whether it’s from the experience of winning before (in the minor leagues) or whatever it was, there is swagger here, and it’s not arrogance. We all believe in each other, and they believe in themselves.”
So while many counted the Lightning out, they refused to listen to the outside noise. And with the spotlight shining brightly, Tampa Bay stayed the course and pushed forward by winning three of the four games at Madison Square Garden, shutting the Rangers out in Games 5 and 7, arguably the two biggest games of the series.
“You shine the light bright on our guys, and they’ll just put on sunglasses and walk right through it,” Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said. “It’s unreal how they respond. I’m out of words. I’m just so happy for them. I’m really, genuinely happy for our players, and I know how much they’ve worked, how much they’re probably sick of listening to me. But this is a team that didn’t play with each other, they played for each other, and that’s why we’re here.”
from Jeremy P. Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
It would be a difficult sell for the Blues to open training camp in September with the same group that made its fan base soon forget a Central Division championship by bowing out in a six-game loss to the Wild. And now that Armstrong has, in part, absolved Hitchcock, the pressure will shift on the GM to see what he can do to alter the club’s composition.
“I don’t see it that way,” Armstrong said. “I think it’s a good coaching staff, that’s why they’re coming back. I know there’s going to be four or five changes already just based on free agency and the age of players. The team that wins the Stanley Cup is probably going to have four or five roster changes. It’s just the nature of a salary-cap system. So we are going to have a different look.”
Much of the fan focus has been centered on disassembling the Blues’ core, a group that many identify as including David Backes, Alexander Steen, T.J. Oshie, Patrik Berglund and Barret Jackman.
Backes has one season left on his five-year contract, while Steen, Oshie and Berglund each have two years remaining on their deals. Jackman will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason.
In reality, this is not the club’s complete core, but a mixture of a few key players and a collection of the old guard that has been involved in the string of postseason failures.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Chicago’s win sets up an intriguing final against the Tampa Bay Lightning, a young up-and-coming team that probably reminds the Blackhawks of where they were back in, say, 2009, when their extraordinary run of playoff success started. Back then, Kane and Toews were just a couple of newbies, highly touted young players who had their whole professional lives in front of them.
How would that go? Who could really say?
But now, eight years into their respective careers, the answers have flooded in, and they are among the most decorated players of their generation. Toews, at 27, has two Olympic gold medals on his résumé, a world junior championship, plus two Stanley Cup championships, with a decent chance at winning a third. Kane, 26, took home silver Olympic medals when Toews won gold, but has been integral in the Blackhawks’ rise too – from a sorry, poorly run organization to one that hums along on all cylinders, willing to take bold steps and big chances to win in the now, because championships are what matters in pro sports, not close calls.
Next year, Toews’s and Kane’s salaries rise by about $4-million (U.S.), which will create new salary-cap headaches for general manager Stan Bowman. So time may be of the essence.
“We’ve had some good accomplishments in here, some things to be proud of, but at the same time, who knows if these opportunities are going to come around this often?” Kane acknowledged. “We thought we were right there last year and didn’t get the job done. This team learns from different experiences and different mistakes and tries to incorporate that.”
from Lance Pugmire of the LA Times,
Ryan Getzlaf painted his Ducks teammates into a corner by refusing to admit the Chicago Blackhawks were the better team after winning the Western Conference finals.
By not accepting that the Ducks were beaten by a superior franchise positioned to win its third Stanley Cup in six seasons, Getzlaf brings attention to why his team squandered a 3-2 playoff series lead and lost Game 7 at home for an unprecedented third consecutive season.
If the reason wasn't the Blackhawks' talent — center Jonathan Toews scored four goals in the last three games, defenseman Duncan Keith had five assists in the final two and forward Patrick Kane closed with a goal and four assists in Games 6 and 7 — then the focus shifts to why the Ducks shrink in hockey's most pressurized games....
After saying he played "terrible" with a minus-three rating in Game 6, Getzlaf was minus-one with two giveaways in Game 7 while right wing Corey Perry matched those figures with a late third-period goal that was answered less than two minutes later by the Blackhawks' dagger.
Perry declined to speak to reporters after the loss.
Getzlaf admitted of Game 6, "We weren't really mentally prepared to play that game," and lamented after Game 7, "they started stronger than us."
The question to both statements is why.
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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