Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
I have to say that I feel as good about our chances now as I did going into this game,” Lundqvist told The Post following the Kings’ 3-2 overtime victory on Justin Williams’ goal from the slot following a fatal Dan Girardi turnover at 4:35. “I went into the game thinking it would be 50-50, and that’s how I still feel.
“We were right there.”
The Blueshirts were there for the first 40 minutes, but really nowhere for the third period in which they were outshot 14-0 over the first 11:43 and 20-3 overall. Seriously, they might as well have been in Pasadena smelling the roses as on the rink playing for a championship. They were bystanders most of the way, and not innocent ones.
Winning a game in the Stanley Cup finals takes a minimum of 60 minutes. The Rangers came up short by at least a third. You could say that every single one of them knows it, too.
“In the first period we accomplished what we set out to do, the second was all right, but then in third, obviously it wasn’t good enough,” said Marc Staal, who had a bumpy ride. “The second half of the game we didn’t get the puck in and get on the forecheck, and they seemed to gain energy from being on the attack.
“Hanky still gave us a chance, but we’re going to have to be better next game. We’ll go over our mistakes and correct them.”
The curse of the two-goal lead and/or perhaps some delayed jet-lag setting in? The Los Angeles Kings fell behind 2-0 against the New York Rangers, who had rest on their side coming into Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, but after the Kings rallied to tie the game 2-2, the Kings came out with legs full of lead in the 3rd period, getting out-shot 20-3, and while Henrik Lundqvist stopped almost everything he saw, he wasn't able to steal this snipe shot by Justin Williams 4:36 into OT (Dan Girardi had a terrible giveaway, and his teammates all "flew by" and skated the other way, yielding a mini one-on-none):
The Kings prevailed 3-2 despite Lundqvist's 40-save performance, and now things get interesting: the Kings won the first game, which supposedly garners you a 77% chance of winning the Stanley Cup, but both Los Angeles, which had two days to turn around after beating the Hawks, and the Rangers, who had nearly a week off before taking their cross-continental flight on Monday, will BOTH be able to re-set and refocus in a big way as Game 2 doesn't take place until Saturday (7 PM EDT start).
Does momentum transfer from game to game, or will the series essentially re-set after two days of rest and recuperation for both clearly mentally and physically exhausted teams, at least given their play over the first 40 or so minutes?
We'll find out on Saturday night.
from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,
The World Cup of Hockey is expected to be held in Toronto when it is reborn in September 2016, Sportsnet has learned.
The NHL and NHL Players’ Association are currently working on the final details of an agreement that will fill out the international calendar for the next several years and believe that the Air Canada Centre is the ideal location to relaunch the World Cup, according to multiple sources familiar with the discussions.
When the event was last held in 2004, it was split between seven different venues in North America and Europe. The final was held in Toronto and won by Team Canada.
Several different formats were considered for the relaunch of the event before the sides agreed that the biggest impact would be made in the world’s largest hockey market.
East vs. West, one team will soon raise the Stanley Cup and be crowned Stanley Cup Champions.
If the New York Rangers are looking to steal a game, this may be the one game to do so.
But as we have learned, the Los Angeles Kings are a tough team to put away.
It should be interesting to see how the teams play against each other and if the Kings try to use their size advantage against the Rangers.
Puck drops a little after 8:00pm ET and is on NBC, CBC and RDS.
Gary Bettman's annual meeting with the media is on now or will be soon, watch below...
added 8:15pm, Here is Gary Bettman meeting with the media a few hours ago...
from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,
Spring and summer can seem like forever for the players and management of teams that don’t make the playoffs in the NHL, but the clock is ticking on the Vancouver Canucks.
It’s getting down to cases for them, as the next five short weeks will define the team they’ll ice next season.
There are a ton of decisions to be made, and if you really want to be effective, there’s no time to put them off. For instance, if you want to keep Ryan Kesler — as some signals from Jim Benning and Trevor Linden have indicated — then when they meet this week, they must give him some indication of whom the head coach will be.
There’s no way he’s committing to withdrawing the trade request he’s still denying making if he doesn’t know who the coach is going to be after his head-butting with the last two. And if after said meeting you want to trade him, the best time is just before the draft. Any suggestion you’ll make a better deal later in the summer is an exercise in self-delusion. By the time September rolls around, everyone likes the look of their own young players, no matter how lame they may be. It’s a time when optimism reigns, leading every team to overvalue its assets.
If landing a high-profile free agent to play with Kesler is part of the discussion and is to be acted upon, it’s likely to come in the first few days, maybe even the first few hours after July 1. That means preparation.
The Rangers know the Kings enter this matchup as the favourite, going for their second Stanley Cup in three years, but are not focusing on labels as they approach Game 1.
"The underdog thing and the favourite thing really doesn't mean anything in the locker room. You have to go out and play," said Rangers forward Brad Richards.
Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault said he understands why the label is on his team, but will not use it as a crutch in the series. "To put it quite simply, we're up against the team that won the Stanley Cup two years ago that just beat the defending Stanley Cup champions, that without a doubt is battle-tested," he said. "We know exactly what we have to do. If we want to have a chance, we're going to have to bring our best hockey of the year. It's as simple as that."
Kings head coach Darryl Sutter has no intention of allowing his club to buy into that same hype. Sutter pointed out the strengths of Rangers he had observed on Monday.
"Great goaltending. Great defence. Great forwards. Great special teams," he said. "We're up against it again."
KINGS, RANGERS DROP PUCK ON 2014 STANLEY CUP FINAL
The Kings and Rangers open the 2014 Stanley Cup Final with Game 1 at STAPLES Center. This marks the third all-time playoff meeting between the Kings and Rangers and first since 1981. New York has won both of their previous matchups: in the 1979 Preliminary Round (2-0) and 1981 Preliminary Round (3-1). In their six total postseason games, the Rangers have outscored the Kings 32-14.
* The 2014 Stanley Cup Final pits the cities of Los Angeles and New York against each other for the first time in NHL history. It also marks the first championship meeting between these cities (among the fourth North American professional sports leagues) since 1981, when MLB’s Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the New York Yankees in six games to win the World Series.
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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