Kukla's Korner Hockey
From the Globe & Mail:
Chris Drury is in pain with what is thought to be bruised ribs but the New York Rangers centre expects to play Tuesday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
But the Rangers will be missing checking centre Blair Betts and winger Sean Avery when they try to avoid elimination from the NHL playoffs Tuesday night at the hands of the Penguins. The Penguins lead the best-of-seven Eastern Conference semi-final 3-0.
P.S. I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume the writer—David Shoalts, I believe—meant “Thursday night.” Tonight.
Update 2:22pm ET: More help for the Blueshirts. From Larry Brooks at the NY Post,
Lauri Korpikoski (center), the 21-year-old out of Finland who was the 19th overall selection in the 2004 Entry Draft, is expected to make his NHL debut tonight vs. Pittsburgh.
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
(Gary) Roberts will take his regular spot at left wing on the fourth line. Adam Hall, who replaced Roberts when he was injured, will probably move to centre on that line to fill in for Talbot, with Georges Laraque at right wing.
While he was not happy about sitting out on Tuesday, Roberts said he understood.
“Obviously, the way this team is playing, it’s a tough lineup to crack,” he said. “Unfortunately for Max [Talbot], he broke his foot and it’s an opportunity for me to get back in and help the team.”
more on the Pens…
from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
Therrien and his staff have handled the preparations. And the players have taken it upon themselves to police themselves.
“Come playoff time, everyone’s got to step up and be on the same page,” winger Ryan Malone said. “And when you’re not on the same page, you’re going to hear it from the other 19 guys on the bench that you better be on the right page.
“We’re helping each other out when we need it, but we’ll also give each other a kick in the butt if we need a kick in the butt.”
From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
Penguins center Max Talbot is believed to have broken his right foot blocking a shot during the Penguins’ 5-3 victory in Game 3 of their second-round playoff series against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden last night.
Talbot, one of several players hobbled after blocking shots last night, had his foot in a walking boot when he reported to the Garden for practice today.
Team officials declined to discuss the precise nature of Talbot’s injury, or his prognosis. Talbot also declined to talk about it, but when asked if he expects to be able to play again—albeit not at a specific time—he responded simply, “I hope so.”
Three teams face elimination from the 2008 NHL Playoffs with their next game.
All three of the San Jose Sharks, the Colorado Avalanche and the New York Rangers being down 3-0 in their series, which team seems most likely to win their next game and extend their playoff hopes?
from Mark Herrmann of Newsday,
The decisive moment of the game was won by the fresher team. Everybody on the ice was dog tired during the Penguins power play late in the second period, but the action was so fierce that nobody could get to the bench. What happened was that the Penguins wore down the Rangers and Evgeni Malkin, 21, scored the goal that broke a tie at 3 and the Rangers’ back.
Youth is being served experience on the fly.
“We don’t have a choice. I mean, this is the playoffs,” said Ryan Malone, one of the guys who was struggling to stay on his feet toward the end of that power play. Before this season, he had played in all of five NHL playoff games with no points.
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
By the middle of the third period last night, even the New York Rangers’ notoriously diehard fans in the upper reaches had thrown in the towel, turning their anger on their heroes and finally on themselves in a series of punch-ups.
Down on the ice, the Rangers were punchless by the third period, having thrown everything they had at the Pittsburgh Penguins, only to run up against goaltender Marc-André Fleury, who has never been bad in this NHL playoff series, but was far better last night than his Rangers counterpart, Henrik Lundqvist, for the first time.
From David Shoalts at the Globe & Mail,
In fact, the team chemistry is such that head coach Michel Therrien does not want to change it even though veteran forward Gary Roberts is healthy enough to return to the lineup. Roberts, who played a big role in the first two games of the first round of the NHL playoffs before suffering a groin injury, was told in the morning that he will not play in Game Three of the Eastern Conference semi-final against the New York Rangers on Tuesday night.
With the Penguins holding a 2-0 series lead and Adam Hall playing well in Roberts’ place, Therrien decided to leave things as they are.
“We want Gary Roberts back in the lineup but we want him back at the right time,” Therrien said. “If we bring him back, who are we going to take out? We have great chemistry right now.”
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
Because the Penguins are blessed with a handful of the game’s most talented players, the coach’s role in the team’s successes will always be undersold. “Ah, anyone could coach those guys,” the radio call-in guys will suggest. But if the team falters, the blame will fall squarely on Therrien’s shoulders.
“I’m not afraid to make changes and keep the players on their toes, too,” Therrien said. “To be a Stanley Cup champion, it’s demanding.”
He’s trying to teach his players that.
“They’re young. They could easily lose their focus because they’re young,” Therrien said.
So he’s on them. Constantly.
from Joe Starkey of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
It happened in the neutral zone, away from the puck.
Avery, the New York Rangers’ resident coward, came up from behind—as cowards often do—and took two chopping slashes at Crosby’s left wrist….
In a quieter moment after yesterday’s media session, I asked Crosby if he thought Avery was trying to injure him.
“He wasn’t going for the puck,” Crosby said. “He was going for my wrist.”
A call to the Rangers’ media relations office yesterday seeking comment from Avery wasn’t returned.
Carefully choosing his words, Crosby went on.
“Obviously, he was trying to make me feel it a bit,” he said. “I don’t know if it was a direct intent to hurt me or anything. ... I guess he was just letting me know that he’s there.”
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