Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,
Thanks to Vermette’s winning goal early in the third period of Chicago’s 2-1 victory over the host Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena on Saturday in Game 5 of the 2015 Stanley Cup final, the Hawks are now up 3-2 in the series.
More importantly, Chicago can now close things out on Monday night in Game 6 with a victory at the United Center, arguably the loudest building in hockey, if not in all of sports.
The Hawks Stanley Cup-clinching wins in both 2010 and 2013 came on the road, so their crazed fans did not have a chance to be on hand to see their hockey heroes raise the Stanley Cup.
They’ll have that opportunity now.
“(Since I’ve been here) we’ve never been in this spot before,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “I’m sure the town will be crazy.
“The buzz will be off the charts.”
Flipping through the history books, the Hawks have not won the NHL title on home ice since 1938, a span of 77 years.
At that time, Franklin D. Roosevelt was the president of the United States, William Lyon Mackenzie King was Canada’s Prime Minister, Hank Greenberg led the majors in home runs with 58 and Mike Karakas was the goalie who led those Hawks to the Cup.
Now, almost eight full decades later, just thinking of how electric the always emotional national anthem will be at the United Center Monday is enough to send shivers up the spine of any player.
from Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune,
Dreams of capturing silver took on a tarnished feel for the Lightning.
Despite the return of goaltender Ben Bishop to the net, Tampa Bay’s offense again came up dry in a 2-1 loss to Chicago in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final. The Lightning trail the best-of-seven series 3-2 heading into Game 6 in Chicago on Monday.
For just the second time this postseason Tampa Bay has dropped consecutive games and will need to avoid the first three-game losing streak of the season to force a decisive Game 7 back in Tampa on Wednesday.
Antoine Vermette scored the game-winning goal early in the third period to break a 1-1 tie as Corey Crawford made it stand up, finishing with 31 saves to help bring Chicago to the brink of winning a third Stanley Cup in a six-year span, and the chance to do it on home ice for the first time since 1938.
Bishop, a question mark to start the game after he missed Game 4 with an undisclosed injury, finished with 27 saves but his costly decision to come out to the circles to try to play a puck led to Chicago’s opening goal after he collided with teammate Victor Hedman allowing Patrick Sharp to skate in alone for an empty net goal at 6:11 of the first period.
“That’s the difference in the game,’’ Bishop said. “You obviously don’t want to make those mistakes at this stage of the game, but it happened and that’s unfortunate. The puck came off the boards there and I thought I could hit (Steven Stamkos), kind of made eye contact with him and Heddy didn’t see me, obviously. They were changing and I thought I could catch (Stamkos) up there. Maybe it was a little too far to venture but it’s just unfortunate we ran into each other.’’
Watch Sportsnet's Game 5 Mashup below...
from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of Yahoo,
We’re so eager to use the word “dynasty.” Too eager. Entering the Stanley Cup Final, some actually anointed the Tampa Bay Lightning as a potential dynasty, even though this group hadn’t won one championship, let alone two.
But here are the Chicago Blackhawks, one win from earning the title – or at least redefining it for the modern era. With a 2-1 victory Saturday night, they took a 3-2 series lead. They can win their third Cup in six years on Monday night in Chicago.
“We understand,” said Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews, “how unique this group is and how unique this chance is.”
No, the Blackhawks are not the Montreal Canadiens of the 1970s. They are not the New York Islanders or Edmonton Oilers of the 1980s.
But this is not the NHL of those days, either. This is the NHL of the salary cap, a league of parity – a league so competitive that the Blackhawks’ biggest foils, the Los Angeles Kings, winners of two of the past three Cups, didn’t even make the playoffs this season.
Watch Game 5 highlights below...
Don Cherry talks about the hockey being played by the Lightning and Blackhawks, but his real issue is that Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson isn’t getting enough votes to start at the All-Star Game.
It's difficult to suggest that the Chicago Blackhawks haven't earned the enviable position of wrapping up a third Stanley Cup championship of the "modern era" at home on Monday, thanks in large part to Saturday's 2-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning.
They got the game's first goal via a Bishop gaffe yielding a Patrick Sharp tally, they weathered the Lightning's 2nd-period storm and Valtteri Filppula's game-tying goal, and in the 3rd, Bishop had little chance on the defensive mash-up (literally) that led to Antoine Vermette's gamer:
The Blackahwks have simply been calmer and more poised in the situations that determine the outcome of games, and that's why they're pretty bloody close to winning another Cup.
Both teams are clearly mentally and physically fatigued playing into the middle of June, but when the Hawks have had to be sharp, they've been razor-sharp.
Patrick Sharp with a gift.
added 8:57pm, NBC version is below...
The puck drops just after 8:00pm ET and is on NBC, CBC and TVA.
The series is tied 2-2 and after the game tonight, one team will be facing elimination in Game 6 on Monday night in Chicago.
I say the Bolts win tonight by at least two goals and your comments on the game will be gladly accepted.
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
Maybe there is a binding agreement in place that will keep the Coyotes in place for another year or three in Glendale, Ariz., and maybe there isn’t. Courts of law will decide the issue. As customary in Gary Bettman’s regime, league and ad hoc attorneys will be in for a windfall. Attorneys, by the way, whose fees aren’t capped and who pay no escrow.
But there is no reason other than the NHL’s institutional ego to maintain the franchise in Glendale that has been a money pit and source of unending drama essentially from its inception after yanking the Original Jets out of Winnipeg in 1996.
It’s been a two-decade soap opera replete with one inadequately financed owner after another, seasons apart in which the team was a ward of the state — was it 1999-2000 or 2000-01, I’m not sure now, during which the Rangers were prevented from trading for Nikolai Khabibulin and Keith Tkachuk because the Coyotes’ assets were frozen by Sixth Avenue? — and a series of unending court battles during which almost everyone connected with the franchise has been bled dry.
continued plus more topics....
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
You would think that 6,375 square feet of ice is enough office space for the planet’s most skilled hockey players to enjoy as an offensive playground. Coaches, systems, goalies, and equipment, however, have turned the attacking zone into a pit of quicksand.
This season, NHL teams averaged 2.73 goals per game. In 2005-06, the first season after the lockout, the league average was 3.08 goals per game. Scoring chances don’t just die on the vine. Not enough of them happen in the first place.
Defense rules, to the point where the game’s stewards are studying the rules themselves.
During their formal meetings and in casual conversations, general managers have chatted about outlawing zone defense. The idea has not progressed to a degree where the GMs are considering how to implement such a change. It would be a radical departure. But that GMs are discussing the concept at all indicates their concern over scoring’s waning rate.
continued plus more hockey topics...
from Bob McKenzie of TSN,
- There's going to be considerable (trade) speculation, obviously, about the futures of Phil Kessel and many more Maple Leafs leading up to the draft.
Toronto is looking to rebuild and the Leafs' veteran core players will generate varying degrees of interest. Most of them have limited no trade clauses.
Kessel's limited NTC is believed to include eight teams he can be traded to. Prior to the trade deadline, TSN reported those eight teams were believed to be: Boston; Chicago; Los Angeles; Minnesota; Montreal; New York Rangers; Philadelphia; and Pittsburgh.
But that doesn't preclude the possibility of the Leafs finding a suitable deal with a team not on the list and asking the player to amend the list. Also, with each new contract year, it's believed a new list can be submitted by the player so the list can change from year to year. The contract year expires June 30.
- The 2015 unrestricted free agent class is not perceived to have a lot of marquee value, especially as it pertains to forwards, but there does appear to be keen interest in what looks like an intriguing list of defencemen.
Amongst those expected to be available on July 1 are: Pittsburgh's Paul Martin and Christian Ehrhoff; Los Angeles's Andrej Sekera; Chicago's Johnny Oduya; and, Washington's Mike Green, amongst others.
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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