Kukla's Korner Hockey
Care to take an educated guess on what team does not make the playoffs in the Western Conference?
Your choices are LA Kings, Calgary Flames or Winnipeg Jets.
"They are the least likable group of professional athletes I think I’ve ever been around. Just the way they play, outside of the arena, the way they come across – they come across as the opposite of plucky underdogs that are trying really hard even if they’re not quite good enough. This is talented guys who are getting paid enormous amounts of money who stopped trying a long time ago and are kind of laughing at everybody. That’s a bad vibe if you’re a consumer."
-Stephen Brunt of Sportsnet. Scott Lewis of Sportsnet has more.
LIGHTNING COMPLETE SWEEP OF CANADIENS, CLINCH PLAYOFF BERTH
Vladislav Namestnikov (2-1—3) recorded his first career multi-goal game and first career three-point performance to help the Lightning sweep their five-game season series with the Canadiens and clinch their eighth playoff berth in franchise history.
* At 47-23-7 (101 points), the Lightning moved within one point of the Canadiens (47-22-8, 102 points) for first place in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference. They also set a franchise record with their 47th victory of the season, surpassing the previous mark of 46 achieved in 2003-04, 2010-11 and 2013-14.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
Looks like that Chicago Blackhawks-St. Louis Blues playoff rematch is on.
When the Blues took over top spot in the Central Division while the Nashville Predators were going sideways for much of March it, looked like the Blues were going to be the team to beat in the ultra-competitive Central Divison, masters of their own destiny. Not so much now.
The Blues were dumped by Vancouver at home on Monday night by a 4-1 count, and St. Louis has now managed just one win in its last six games. Coupled with the Blackhawks' impressive win over the Los Angeles Kings, the loss puts the Blues just one point ahead of Chicago. So, not only could the two teams face each other in the first round for the second straight year, but the Blues are in danger of giving up home ice advantage as they bumble down the stretch.
Both teams have six games remaining, but the Blues' closing schedule is murderous with five of the six against teams currently in playoff positions. Best of all? The Blues and the Blackhawks play twice before the end of the regular season. Not sure that's good news for the slumping boys from St. Louis.
read on for more hockey tak including LeBrun on the Canadiens, Custance on the Blues and Strang on the Kings...
from Michael Russo of the Star Tribune,
Man cave bliss.
That’s the first impression in the NHL’s Situation Room. The 20-by-40 haven of high-def TVs and projector screens would be the perfect place to throw a Stanley Cup-watching party, if only they’d add a few recliners, a wet bar, pool table, some poker chips and a popcorn machine.
None of that is in the works, though. Real work is done in this high-tech room — dubbed the “video war room” — that essentially is surveillance of 30 NHL arenas.
This video room, where every goal from every game is reviewed and confirmed, is not to be confused with the Department of Player Safety video room. That room, where games are watched in part for incidents that may require supplemental discipline, is in New York, where Commissioner Gary Bettman and Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly work.
The situation video room is in a different country. The windows overlook Lake Ontario a few blocks away and look down on the roof of Air Canada Centre, which is attached to the NHL’s Toronto headquarters. This is the building where Executive Vice President and Director of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell and Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations Mike Murphy work.
Things are getting dire for the defending Stanley Cup champion Kings, though their remaining six games include two against the also-ran Edmonton Oilers and one against soon-to-be eliminated San Jose. Their best hope was to finish third in the Pacific and face the Canucks, who flinch at the Kings' physical game, but the Kings now trail third-place Calgary by three points and by three in the regulation/overtime wins tiebreaker. The Kings have overcome daunting odds before, but this might be their toughest task.
-Helene Elliott of the LA Times.
from Dan Rosen of NHL.com,
A key stat of yours that jumped out to me was ice time. You exceeded 20 minutes of ice time in 10 of your first 19 games, but only in 11 of the past 46. Now some of these games you're in the 19:50s range so take that for what it's worth, but it's not around 22, 23, 24 or 25 as it had been for you in the past. Has playing fewer minutes been better for your overall game?
"Well, I definitely enjoy playing a lot of minutes and sort of a more prominent role, but in this case this is my role now for this team and I think it's helped me in the sense of being able to stay healthy throughout the season. When you log a lot of minutes and you are an offensive defenseman you can get targeted at times, and in that case you can sustain injuries. It's been a good balance. I'm comfortable with my role right now. Sometimes you've gotta put your ego aside for the betterment of the team."
Do you think this team is better suited to win a championship this season than even the team that won the Presidents' Trophy in 2009-10?
"Oh absolutely. It's feelings. I think we're definitely more structured than we've ever been. The whole team has bought into that structure. The relationship and camaraderie outside the rink is the best it's ever been. I think we're getting older and a little more mature in the sense that we're all focusing on the same thing now."
Should he have received more for this?
All the highlights from the NHL games on Monday night.
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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