Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times,
Lucky horseshoe or not, goalie Ben Bishop outplayed Carey Price in the last round of the playoffs, lifting the Lightning over the Canadiens.
Price may collect his share of hardware at the NHL awards in June, including MVP and Vezina Trophy as the league's top goalie. But Bishop is the one still playing, the one still with a shot at hockey's holy grail, the Stanley Cup.
However, if Bishop, 28, is going to hoist the Cup, he now must match save for save Rangers star Henrik Lundqvist in the Eastern Conference final, which begins today at Madison Square Garden. Lundqvist, 33, was the 2012 Vezina winner and, like Price, is considered one of the best in the world.
"I kind of look at him as the benchmark," Bishop said. "He's someone who has set the bar."
Bishop is setting his own bar in this postseason, arguably the biggest reason the Lightning is in the NHL's final four. He is 8-5 with a 1.81 goals-against average in his first 13 career playoff games. And by the way, Bishop has never lost to the Rangers (8-0-0, 1.49), including seven head-to-head matchups with Lundqvist, nicknamed the "King."
If Bishop, in his second full season as a starter, slays another one of NHL's elite goaltenders, he might soon find himself in that category.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
And now, as Sather nears the end of his career, there is great success again. And perhaps more glory.
From the beginning to the end, or wherever he is at this moment, he’s done it his way. First, he built the fastest, most talented team in hockey and coaxed and prodded that group to five Cups in seven years. Nobody, really, played the way Oilers played, because nobody could and only Sather seemed to imagine the game played at that speed.
Now, he has built the Rangers in a completely different way, a team that is a complete contradiction of the way teams are supposed to be built in the salary cap era.
Maybe only Sather could see this as well.
The Rangers, for starters, aren’t built through the draft at all, at least not their own draft. A major part of the strength of their team has been acquiring undervalued young assets drafted by other teams — Ryan McDonagh, Derrick Brassard, Kevin Hayes — and turning them into very good to excellent NHLers.
New York doesn’t have a true No. 1 centre like Chicago, Pittsburgh or Los Angeles. They have Derek Stepan, a nice player, a reliable two-way player, but not a point-per-game player. In all, 28 NHL centres had more points this season, although most played more than the 68 games Stepan did.
from Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun,
Mostly quiet since he was fired by the Vancouver Canucks last summer, the controversial John Tortorella popped up the day before an Eastern Conference final between two other teams he has coached.
Appearing on ESPN, “Torts” was asked about the current struggles of Martin St. Louis, his captain when they won the Stanley Cup together with the 2003-04 Lightning.
“Don’t you dare count him out,” said Tortorella. “When it gets to a bigger stage, and it’s getting bigger and bigger … Marty was sat out the last game, missed a few shifts … I just know him too well. He is chomping on the bit.
“I think he is going to make a big difference here. He always plays better on the bigger stage. With all the things going on around him, he’s going to have questions asked about him, he sat out a few shifts, the Tampa-Stevie Yzerman thing, his age, all that … he thrives on that. I think he’s going to be a wild card for the Rangers, as far as stepping up his play.
continued plus more ECF talk...
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
This is neither about the past in Tampa Bay nor the future that is so uncertain. This is simply about the present for Marty St. Louis, and how much the 39-year-old winger will be able to contribute to the Rangers in the Eastern Conference final against the Lightning.
Nostalgia can wait, and so must sentiment. But if St. Louis is unable to elevate his game dramatically over where it was for much of the last round against the Capitals, then Alain Vigneault won’t have the luxury of waiting very long before replacing the winger with J.T. Miller on the top-gun unit with Derick Brassard and Rick Nash, as the coach did over the final 10:03 of regulation in Game 7 against Washington.
Though the decision to bench the slam-dunk future Hall of Famer must have been one of the most difficult — if not the most difficult — call Vigneault has had to make (and may have to make again) since taking over behind the New York bench two years ago, the coach framed it matter-of-factly when asked about it following Friday’s practice.
original post was on 5/14/15 at 10:19am, bringing this into focus...
Who moves on to meet in the Stanley Cup Final?
New York Rangers vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
Anaheim Ducks vs. Chicago Blackhawks
If interested, here are the picks KK members made for the second round.
from Luke Fox of Sportsnet,
The 2015 IIHF World Championship has been such a blast, even from six time zones west, so let’s say it: this is the best one ever. At least through these North American, NHL-trained eyes. Seriously.
Can you recall a previous edition of the Worlds — such a poor man’s Stanley Cup Playoffs that the spring tourney has been relegated to punch-line status, alongside golf jokes — being so rich with stories and rewindable plays and intrigue heading into the medal round?
Saturday offers two hand-plucked semifinals -- USA versus Russia, Canada versus Czech Republic -- that will lead to a fantastic, star-studded gold medal matchup Sunday no matter how it shakes out.
Would you like Canada-USA and watch Sidney Crosby face Jack Eichel? How about Late addition Alex Ovechkin's attempt to avenge the Capitals' elimination and snuff out Crosby's bid to join the Triple Gold Club?
Both semi-final games will be streamed in the US on NBCSports Live Extra.
All times are ET..
Canada vs. Czech Republic 9am
USA vs. Russia 1pm
God medal game is at 2:30pm ET on Sunday and is on NBCSN.
from Brett Popplewell of Sportsnet,
Cherry takes to his perch behind the desk while his makeup artist, Lianne Cousvis, does some last-minute adjustments to his complexion. “She’s just gilding the lily,” Cherry says.
MacLean, carrying his suit jacket over his arm, isn’t far behind. He speed-walks toward the set. “Stan!” he hollers out as he moves. “Yup?” replies Stan Nieradka, Coach’s Corner’s designated stats guru and on-the-fly research assistant. “I didn’t miss a goal, did I?” asks MacLean. It’s been 40 seconds since he last saw a monitor, and it’s important that he keep himself up to speed on everything that’s going on. “Nothing,” says Nieradka from his seat behind the stage wall next to the set. “Thanks, Stan,” MacLean says, passing by without even looking at him, before putting on his suit jacket and taking his seat next to Cherry.
The buzzer rings inside the Bell Centre in Montreal, and the Habs and Senators head to their dressing rooms. The Capitals and Islanders are off the ice as well, and suddenly the sound of chatter begins echoing down to the set from the other stage as commentators start weighing in on the game in Washington. Their voices are audible but thankfully soft enough that Nieradka doesn’t believe Cherry will notice. “I think we’re going to be OK,” he says, then turns out the desk light next to his computer. “Better safe than sorry,” he says. “You know, in case there’s a shadow or something.”
via the the NHL's YouTube channel,
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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