Kukla's Korner Hockey
Lightning head coach Jon Cooper tells Millard and Shannon that he’s enjoying every bit of his team’s phenomenal run to the Stanley Cup Final, talks about the status of Ben Bishop, and how he uses his skills as a lawyer to his advantage.
Why did Alex Killorn high-stick Kimmo Timonen in the first period of Game 4?
Why would anyone high-stick Timonen ever?
Timonen is 40 and bad and nearly died every time the Ducks forechecked.
If Killorn had injured Timonen, he would’ve deserved a benching for eliminating the chance that Hawks coach Joel Quenneville would play an ill-equipped defenseman.
Timonen, who surprisingly drew into the lineup for Game 4, played his eight shifts without somehow giving up a goal. He’ll undoubtedly draw into Game 5.
Be afraid. Be very afraid.
-Steve Rosenbloom of the Chicago Tribune were you can read more on the Blackhawks.
from Katie Strang of ESPN,
It was one brief shift in the second period of Game 4, but noteworthy nonetheless, when Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos skated with Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat.
We have become so accustomed to seeing Tampa Bay’s vaunted "Triplets" line -- Palat, Johnson and Nikita Kucherov -- that it’s odd when someone else makes an appearance on that line, even if only for a brief cameo.
That’s because the three players, similar in both size and stature, have combined to form one of the most explosive, dynamic lines in hockey. Johnson, the catalyst of the trio, leads the league with 13 playoff goals (and 23 points even though he has been held to two points in the Cup finals). Kucherov is not far behind, second in both categories with 10 goals and 22 points. Palat has eight goals and 16 points.
The chemistry among them is so fine-tuned that they know each other’s tendencies and can anticipate each movement. They all speak different native languages -- Johnson hails from Spokane, Washington, Palat from Feydek-Mistek, Czech Republic, and Kucherov from Moscow, Russia -- but are bound by the puck that toggles between their sticks.
That is, indeed, the genesis of the nickname.
“It’s really tough for either team to separate themselves from the other in any of these games, which makes for entertaining hockey games. I think both teams are equally deserving so far. I think it’s just going to come down to, as they say, who wants it more, who is going to fight and work for those bounces. I think both teams are feeling pretty confident it’s going to go their way right now.” – Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews
“There’s very little margin for error. Both teams are here because of the way they handle adversity, the things we’ve been through. Seems like every time a team makes a push, the other team responds. Obviously you’d like to open it up and get a couple-goal lead, see what happens. But I think both teams are comfortable playing in these tight games. Like I said, a small margin for error. You really got to try to capitalize on your chances when you get them.” – Lightning defenseman Matt Carle
from Barry Horn of the Dallas Morning News,
Dave and Razor? Strader and Razor?
The new play-by-play voice of the Dallas Stars is Dave Strader, a veteran NHL broadcaster who has worked nationally for ESPN, Fox, Versus and NBC Sports Network.
The official announcement is expected to come later this morning but there will be no local news conference to present the new voice. Strader is in Tampa preparing to call Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals for various radio networks including satellite’s SiriusXM.
Strader spent the 2014-2015 season as the No. 2 play-by-play voice behind Mike Emrick at NBCSN. NBC says it will continue to use Strader when he has no Stars conflicts.
Strader replaces Ralph Strangis, who resigned in April after 22 seasons of Stars broadcasts, the last 19 in the play-by-play seat alongside analyst Daryl “Razor” Reaugh.
added 11:01am, Dallas press release is below...
from Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times,
What is Bishop's mystery injury? NHL Network analyst Martin Biron, a former NHL goalie, calls it "The Curious Case of Benjamin Bishop." Former Lightning goalie and current NHL Network analyst Kevin Weekes believes it's a groin injury, judging by how Bishop is distributing his weight and moving side to side when he's on the ice. Longtime Lightning color analyst Bobby Taylor, another former NHL goalie, thinks it's a knee or a hamstring injury because Bishop struggles mostly to get up and down. Others suggest its a hip.
Whatever the injury, it's the hottest topic in the Stanley Cup final, and the Lightning's most pressing issue. Bishop is hardly the first to play hurt. Even teammate Tyler Johnson is unable to take faceoffs due to an undisclosed injury.
But that Bishop so visibly labored in a gutsy 36-save performance in a Game 3 win Monday, and that coach Jon Cooper said after Game 4 that he expected Bishop to play again in this series, the injury has made a particular impression on many.
"I know a lot of us have been hurt and played hurt, and in some cases played injured," said Weekes, who spent 11 seasons in the league. "But I don't recall ever seeing it that physically apparent. It's incredible. It's almost like Willis Reed with the Knicks, playing on one leg. It's beyond amazing."
frm Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
All four games have been tied or within one goal entering the final five minutes of regulation. By next Wednesday, one team will be lifting the Stanley Cup – and it is safe to say the difference in such a tight series, with so little to distinguish one team from the other, could be pure simple luck – good or bad.
“It’s really tough for either team to separate themselves from the other in any of these games, which makes for entertaining hockey,” Blackhawks’ captain Jonathan Toews said Thursday. “It’s just going to come down to who wants it more and who’s going to fight and work for those bounces. I think both teams feel pretty confident it’s going to go their way.”
It was a peaceful morning at the United Center, no one practising because of the two days off between games. The ice was covered up, the rock band Rush was scheduled to play a concert later in the evening, and the Blackhawks were enjoying the chance to rest and regroup.
No one wanted to acknowledge, speak of or otherwise concede that fatigue could be a factor now that both teams are in their ninth month of work, though the Blackhawks didn’t look nearly as crisp Wednesday as they had earlier in the playoffs.
The Blackhawks’ Duncan Keith logged another 29-plus minutes Wednesday and his total ice time in these playoffs, 655 minutes 55 seconds, is nearly 82 minutes ahead of the next closest player, Tampa’s Victor Hedman, at 574:02. Keith generates so much offence from defence, but he looks as though he’s trying to play within himself more than he did in the previous round.
Logically, if anybody can make the difference offensively, it’ll be either Chicago’s Patrick Kane or Tampa’s Steven Stamkos, two freakishly talented scorers who’ve been quiet in the final, and not getting any of those aforementioned bounces.
The Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch spoke with Daniel Alfredsson while the former Senators forward was attending a charitable event in Ottawa, and while Alfredsson isn't exactly ready to rejoin the Senators right now, Garrioch was surprised to find that Alredsson, who still lives in Birmingham, Michigan, has become intrigued by the idea of coaching:
Following his retirement, Alfredsson watched a few games with Senators GM Bryan Murray along with assistants Pierre Dorion and Randy Lee to see what they're looking for when they scout players and then spent time in the front office to get a first-hand look at what goes into the scouting of players on a day-to-day basis.
That's why it's a little surprising he hasn't completely ruled out maybe playing a role on the coaching staff, but after spending time with his kids it sounds like he's enjoying being an on-ice teacher and mentor.
"I don't know. When that time comes you have to have that discussion with people that have been there and see what they think and what I could contribute with in different areas," said Alfredsson, who's still a major sponsor of the annual Ringside for Youth charity event for the Boys and Girls Club which was held Thursday evening at the Shaw Centre.
"I really enjoyed coaching the boys and it was a big learning curve for me as well. You know it's easy when you see things on the ice, 'Just do this' but you have to be able to explain it to eight year-olds or 12 year-olds in a way they might understand it and I really enjoy that. It's challenging, and I'm learning a lot from it too. I think I'm helping the kids become better and thinking in a different way than maybe I have with other coaches."
Garrioch continues, and there's a complicating factor here: it sounds like Alfredsson's family has settled in Metro Detroit, and Ottawa isn't exctly an everyday commute's distance from Metro Airport.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Brad Richards suggested after the Chicago Blackhawks' Game 4 victory Wednesday night that it was their worst performance in a while.
He didn’t know why, he was happy they woke up in time to win, but the veteran center stressed the need for the Blackhawks to find their 'A' game if they’re going to win the best-of-three showdown that remains of the 2014-15 NHL season.
The Stanley Cup finals are tied 2-2, yet one team is a little more satisfied with its overall play than the other.
The fact of the matter is, the Tampa Bay Lightning could very easily be up 3-1 in this series based on the merit of play. But they know perhaps more than anyone that it simply doesn’t work that way in the playoffs. They know deep down they didn’t deserve to be up 3-0 on the Montreal Canadiens in the second round, yet that’s how the breaks played out. They were probably a little fortunate to survive Game 7 against the Detroit Red Wings, too.
So what you’re not going to get from the young Lightning is any kind of frustration that they’re not up in a series against a veteran Blackhawks team still trying to find another gear.
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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