Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the CP,
Welcome to the Penguins’ unexpected spring vacation, one they hope doesn’t get them off their game just when they appeared to be peaking. On a day they expected to be playing Game 5 against Ottawa, they had a light skate before many players went home to watch some or all the day’s three NHL playoff games.
“I’ve been watching a lot,” forward Jordan Staal said. “It’s always fun to watch playoff hockey and, even though you’re a part of it, you love watching it, too. I think all of us have been watching a lot of games to see what’s going on.”
Sidney Crosby said not knowing who the Penguins would play next - either the Bruins, Rangers or Capitals, in a series that will start sometime late in the week - made watching the other games more interesting.
“It’s nice that we’re through our first one and we can have a little sit-back and watch,” he said. “I think everyone who’s involved in the playoffs has fun being part of it and follows it.”
from Lew Serviss of Slap Shot at the NY Times,
With Pittsburgh already across the finish line, the Rangers await a second-round match-up. If the Canadiens, up 3-2 over the Bruins, can close out Boston, and the Flyers, up 3-1 over the Caps, can finish off Washington, then the Rangers draw Pittsburgh and Montreal gets Philly.
Checking the season series — what have we here? — the Rangers had the edge, winning 5 games to 3 for the Penguins. Here’s the season series:
via the AP,
The city-county Sports & Exhibition Authority has approved spending $75,000 to rent portable coolers for Mellon Arena if the Pittsburgh Penguins encounter warmer weather during home playoff games.
The 47-year-old arena has been plagued by bad ice and officials are concerned it could get worse if the building isn’t kept cool enough as springtime temperatures rise. The Penguins hope to begin play in a new $290 million in the 2010-2011 season.
All I know is the Penguins keep on winning…
from Erin Nicks at her blog, The Universal Cynic,
Sorry, but I’m not ready to hand over the Cup to Pittsburgh. Their defence and goaltending specifically faced little (if any) grief, and they haven’t been behind in a series yet. Their lines roll well—there’s still some chemistry to work on—but ultimately it’s going to come down to what happens from the blueline backwards. And will someone please tell them to go back to their powder blues?
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…
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