Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
This is the time for the Islanders, who have had the better of the play for a majority of the series’ 244:22, to step up. This is the time for the Islanders’ best players to step up. This is the time for Jack Capuano to coach with quiet desperation.
We can celebrate the unique place the Matt Martin-Casey Cizikas-Cal Clutterbuck fourth line has on its team’s depth chart, but the truth is that though it is something very fine indeed for Martin, Cizikas and Clutterbuck when they are the Islanders’ best players (as they were for much of Games 3 and 4), it is not so fine for the Islanders.
This isn’t a fair fight for John Tavares, whose time and space have been limited by the Lightning, and whose support as a franchise player has been limited by general manager Garth Snow’s inability — or refusal — to use some of the organization’s overflow of prospects as bait to acquire a worthy partner both to aid the center and deflect some of the attention and responsibility on No. 91’s back.
The Capital defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-1 to force a game 6 on Tuesday in Pittsburgh.
Braden Holtby was outstanding.
notes from Headlines: don't be surprised if CAL interviews VAN assistant Glen Gulutzan. He and Brad Treliving both played...
in WHL Brandon, although a year apart. Some contacts between them.
Sounds like Dale Tallon will be moving to a President of Hockey Ops-style position in Florida. Tom Rowe as GM. Eric Joyce as AGM.
Via text, Darryl Sutter agreed with Dean Lombardi that he is "still undecided" about coaching LA. Sutter said he is watching to see...
what the Kings will look like through free agency, the cap and its prospects. Said his family has enjoyed it in LA and "that has weight"...
but wants to win another Cup and that is also "a big factor."
And of course the Boudreau hire by the Wild.
added 8:51pm, via the Minnesota Wild,
Ron and Don talk about the issue with pretend shot-blocking, Nashville’s huge triple-overtime win, and the people of Fort McMurray.
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
- The big management news has centred around the analytics kid, John Chayka, being named general manager in Arizona. The context of the hiring and the restructuring of the front office may be something different. The announcement that co-owner Gary Drummond is now president and director of hockey operations with the Coyotes. “When you see that,” a veteran hockey guy told me, “it concerns me. It tells me the this guy wants to be the GM and that never works out.”
- Jake Gardiner wanted a guarantee of how much ice time he would get before committing to play for Team USA at the world hockey championship. When he didn’t get that he chose not to go. Hard to believe he wouldn’t have played a ton with the very weak defence the American have in Russia.
- You don’t succeed in the Stanley Cup playoffs very long without a 25-minute-a game defenceman. Tampa’s getting that kind of play from Victor Hedman. Pittsburgh from Kris Letang. San Jose from Brent Burns. St. Louis from Alex Pietrangelo. Nashville from Shea Weber and Roman Josi. The only Stanley Cup winners of the last 40 years not to have that kind of player: Carolina in 2006 and Tampa Bay in 2004.
The Pens/Caps game is scheduled to start at 7:15pm ET on NBC with Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick and Pierre McGuire calling the game. In Canada, the game is available on CBC and TVAS.
The Predators/Sharks game starts just after 10:00pm ET and is on NBCSN, CBC and TVAS. Calling the game for NBCSN will be Chris Cuthbert and Brian Boucher.
Feel free to discuss the games tonight.
If you are wondering, the Pens are up 3-1 and the Predators/Sharks series is tied at 2-2.
from Tim Cowlishaw of the Dallas Morning News,
The NHL's highest scoring team can no longer locate the net. Stars Coach Lindy Ruff calls it simply a matter of "puck luck." It surely seems to be more than that.
The St. Louis Blues took something less than command but something greater than a slight 3-2 edge in this series with their 4-1 victory at American Airlines Center Saturday afternoon. The game was over (2:26 p.m. CDT) almost before most afternoon games start, and now this series isn't over but it's tilted in the direction of the Blues.
It's not because Game 6 will be played back in St. Louis. The Blues have lost three of the their six home games in this postseason. They are no more dominant at home than the Stars have been (3-3 at AAC). But of the last three games in this series, the Blues have won by scores of 6-1 and 4-1 while losing once in overtime.
That constitutes a trend that doesn't favor the local club.
Game highlights are below...
from Andrew Berkshire of Sportsnet,
As it turns out, there actually have been more scoring chances on average per minute played during overtime in the playoffs so far this season, even if the difference is relatively small.
That higher frequency of scoring chances might not be enough to be caught by the eye though, since it’s just a 4.5 per cent increase in scoring chances on net, and a 3.9 per cent increase in scoring chances overall.
That brings us back to the stakes inflating our perceptions a little bit, but there’s another wrinkle to all this; shot attempts also increase in overtime, and they increase by a bit more than scoring chances do.
On average, teams have produced 21.875 shot attempts per 20 minutes played at even strength in regulation, but that rises to 23.333 in overtime, a 6.7 per cent increase. This means that the relative danger of each shot attempt is actually lower in overtime than in regulation, but teams are putting every available puck on net in order to either generate a scoring chance, or get lucky.
That increased pace of play is surprising considering the players should be tired, and the lower percentage of dangerous shots is possibly even more surprising since you would expect that tired players make more mistakes, but so far it just hasn’t been true during these playoffs.
from Tom Gulitti of NHL.com,
1. PLAY WITH URGECNY
The Capitals are looking to come back from a 3-1 deficit for the third time in their history and first time since their 2009 first-round series against the New York Rangers. If they don't win Saturday their season is over. That should be all the motivation they need to come up with their best game of the playoffs.
Although the Penguins have won the past three games, they don't want to take anything for granted. They also were up 3-1 against the Rangers in the first round and finished that series in five games. They'd like to do the same against the Capitals.
"When you have a team in that situation you want to make the most of the opportunity," Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said Saturday. "We have to have the same type of approach as we would with any other playoff game, but just understand the situation and know what to expect."
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.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org