Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
Perhaps five goals allowed in four consecutive victories against a team beaten up physically and psychologically isn’t a large enough sampling of evidence to declare him a fully budded star.
Yet for Marc-Andre Fleury, for a goaltender with too much cumbersome playoff history packed into the back end of his 23 years, this was indeed a triumph to savor and, as he giddily warbles after some saves, let out a yell.
“I don’t see them as much as ghosts, but as experience I got through all those years,” the Penguins’ lanky goalie said late last night, after he made 21 saves and made the Senators go away in a four-game sweep that ended with a 3-1 victory at Scotiabank Place.
from Allen Panzeri of the Ottawa Citizen
The Ottawa Senators’ 2007/2008 season came to an official, if not also ignominious, end Wednesday night when the Pittsburgh Penguins swept them with a 3-1 win.
The season, however, really ended a long time ago.
You can pick any number of incidents that might have been the catalyst.
But it might have starting going off the rails as long ago as last Sept. 5, when Ray Emery, on his way to a workout at the Bell Sensplex, got into a road rage episode with a senior citizen who had accidentally cut him off
Update 10:18pm ET: More from the Canadian Press...
From the CP,
“I was definitely pleased,” said Penguins superstar centre Sidney Crosby. “I’d watched him play a lot and from what I had heard he was a great person and a great fit for our team. The thing I kept hearing was how complete he was. I don’t think that’s something he gets a lot of recognition for. But you know you’re going to get a chance to play with an offensively gifted guy that’s really responsible defensively.
“That was a great deadline gift, so to speak, for our team and for me personally to be able to play with. I was very excited for that.”
So instead of joining the Senators for a second tour of duty, Hossa has been busy trying to knock them out of the playoffs.
from Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
One of the Penguins’ greatest assets so far has been their attention to detail, and they demonstrated that again yesterday when, to a man, they refused to utter so much as an inflammatory syllable about the Senators, the series or any other subject.
“I’m sure Bryan Murray will say all the right cliches, and I’ll say all the right cliches,” coach Michel Therrien said.
“That’s the way it is.”
He proceeded to underscore his point by tossing out this insightful nugget: “We all know, No. 4 is the toughest one to win.”
Mind you, Therrien was a virtual verbal flamethrower compared to some of his players.
from the National Post,
A shirtless man in a red cape and metal helmet made one of his final, grating appearances on the big screens above centre ice midway through the third period on Monday night. He was dressed to look like the face of the Ottawa Senators, and he exhorted the crowd to make noise: “Sens Army, our backs are against the wall - we must defend, defend, defend.”
But the man, like the team, failed.
Update 10:25pm ET: More on the game, the “half-naked gladiator” in the pre-game, and Daniel Alfredsson’s return in Tuesday’s Globe & Mail.
Watch the video of the pre-game…
from Bob McKenzie of TSN,
You never know how a team is going to respond when adversity hits but what we do know is that if the Senators play as soft and ineffectively as they did in Game 1, get out the brooms. Pittsburgh looks like a team that isn’t going to be denied but the question is whether the Senators are going to make them earn it or just hand Geno and Sid a free pass to the second round.
many more NHL bits…
from Chris Stevenson of the Ottawa Sun,
In what is surely one of the stupidest and most ignorant moves going, somebody with the Senators organization decided to cover a wall near the Penguins dressing room in Scotiabank Place with a large mural. It’s a photo of the Senators shaking hands with the Penguins after the Senators eliminated them in their first-round matchup last spring.
It’s positioned so it is about the last thing the Penguins will see as they make the turn from the main hallway to enter their dressing room.
It’s right in an area where the visiting teams have been known to play their warmup game of “Keep Up,” bouncing a soccer ball around from player to player, trying to keep it from hitting the ground.
“That’s what they’ll be looking at when they play soccer,” said another player, with a shake of his head.
As if you need to give a team any other reason or motivation to want to beat you at this time of year.
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
Malkin set up the Penguins’ first three goals, two of them on the power play, to stake the hosts to a 3-0 lead. He also played a lead role killing penalties and was a physical force, using his big frame to flatten a couple of Senators, including tough winger Chris Neil.
“Yeah, one year’s experience is a big deal,” Malkin said through an interpreter, as his confidence in his English is not the same as his confidence in his playmaking skills. “I feel more comfortable.”
There are two reasons for this, he said. One is that this year he is playing his natural position, centre, rather than on the wing, which he did a year ago. The other is having Petr Sykora on his right wing. They played together for Magnitogorsk Metallurg in the Russian league in 2004-05 when Sykora signed on during the NHL lockout.
“This year I’m playing with Sykora, I feel more familiar with this guy,” Malkin said. “I feel much more comfortable this year than compared to last year.”
from Empty Netters,
When we started Empty Netters, we have to admit poetry wasn’t exactly something we anticipated readers would submit to us. Maybe we’re a little close-minded, but we’ve never put hockey and poetry together. That’s just us. Regardless, here’s another poem. This one is from EN reader J.T. Koladish:
Cup Number Three
It was the night before the playoffs and all through the air
The hopes of a Stanley Cup hung everywhere
Mellon Arena was dressed up and clean
The city of Pittsburgh seemed so serene
I got off my knees and jumped into bed
I turned on Mike Lange, and here’s what he said:
read on and Empty Netters has a bunch of NHL bits too…
ESPN had a poll up earlier today, asking the question: “Who are you going to watch Friday night?”
Results are below, including a map pinpointing the origin of the results. Find out if your part of the country is more hyped for Crosby or AO.
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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