Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Scott Burnside at ESPN,
Attention Sidney Crosby, Jordan Staal, Evgeni Malkin, Ryan Whitney, et al, school is now in session.
Lesson 1: These are the playoffs.
Lesson 2: Play like you did Wednesday night in a 6-3 humbling at the hands of the Ottawa Senators, and this course will be frightfully short.
“We didn’t bring our best,” said Crosby, the youngest scoring champ around whom so much revolves for this Penguins team. “I think we can look at ourselves and say if we threw everything at them and this was the result, then I think we’d be questioning ourselves.
from Roy MacGregor at the Globe and Mail,
He is only 23 years old, but feels almost elderly when talking about Sidney Crosby, the 19-year-old star he will face tonight when Crosby’s Pittsburgh Penguins visit Spezza’s Ottawa Senators in the first game of the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Both were child prodigies in a game in which the majority of Canadian parents would rather see their sons play a single exhibition game in the National Hockey League than become prime minister.
Both were being written up in major newspapers by ages 13 and 14, Spezza making a quick leap from peewee hockey in Mississauga to bantam and, at 15, off to the major-junior leagues.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
It’s why the press box is expected to be full here for Game 1.
It’s why the Penguins asked for credential requests several weeks before the end of the regular season.
It’s why NBC denuded venerable “Hockey Night in Canada” of a Canadian matchup on the first weekend of the playoffs, insisting Game 2 of the be played Saturday afternoon and leaving CBC with the equivalent of moldy bread crust (Tampa Bay vs. New Jersey) for its traditional Saturday evening broadcast.
via the Pittsburgh Channel,
Pittsburgh Penguins fans are invited to gather downtown for a playoff rally at noon Wednesday in the courtyard of the Allegheny County Courthouse.
Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and county Chief Executive Dan Onorato are hosting the rally. There will be free food and music.
Onorato’s office said students are encouraged to bring signs and banners to decorate the courthouse and the City-County Building. The signs can either be brought to the rally or dropped off at the guard station adjacent to the Forbes Avenue entrance of the courtyard.
via the Detroit News,
Come back to detnews.com after 1 p.m. today for a story and photo of the unveiling in Detroit of the statue of former Red Wings great Gordie Howe.
The Wings plan to unveil the statue at 1 p.m. at the Gordie Howe Entrance of the Joe Louis Arena. Howe, the Wings’ all-time leading scorer, is expected to attend the ceremony, which is closed to the public.
from the CP via TSN,
As the Senators prepared to meet the Pittsburgh Penguins in the opening round of the Eastern Conference post-season beginning Wednesday, Murray’s first order of business was to address the “choking dog” brush - his words - that he’s sick of seeing his team painted with.
“I think it’s bullshit,” Murray snorted following the team’s practice.
While it’s the 10th straight season the Senators have qualified for the playoffs, they’ve advanced beyond the second round just once in their history.
from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
Five reasons they can win it-
Heart. It’s not going to be easy to drive a stake through this team, which is among the best in winning percentage when trailing after the first or second period. Those young legs help in comeback situations, and no player in the league has a bigger heart than veteran winger Gary Roberts.
Five reasons they can’t win it-
Faceoffs. Don’t laugh. Consider the game eight days ago in Toronto, when a lost faceoff in overtime led directly to the Maple Leafs’ winning goal. The Penguins have been the worst faceoff team in the NHL all season and do not have a go-to guy.
read on for all of the other reasons…
Sidney Crosby took part in an NHL tele-conference today…
Q. I think everybody knew that the Penguins with the young talent they had were going to be good, but I don’t think anybody knew they would be good this quickly. Can you give us your idea why the Penguins have come together so quickly with the young players they have?
SIDNEY CROSBY: I think it’s been a long time. Starting in goal, I think you have to have a great goalie in order to be successful. Marc has done a great job. Jocelyn, when he’s had the chance to go in, has. Starting there, I just think the young guys that we have really put the pressure on themselves to learn quick. I think everyone has the right attitude on our team, you know, just put a lot of pressure on themselves to learn faster than maybe typically younger guys would have to learn. They’ve really made an impact at a young age. Our veterans, guys like Recchi, Gonchar, Roberts, guys like that have really stepped up and led the way. I think it’s been a combination of things, but all those things combined.
Scott Burnside of ESPN breaks down every first round matchup and has this to say about the Ottawa/Pittsbugh series…
It might not be what the big brains at the NHL would like to see, but the Senators’ experience and talented back end prove the difference in a surprisingly short series. Ottawa in five.
more on that matchup plus you will find links to every series on the right sidebar of that page…
from the Canadian Press:
It could be just the first of many, but Sidney Crosby will win the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL scoring leader for 2006-07.
The 19-year-old Pittsburgh Penguins prodigy ended the season with 120 points, six more than Joe Thornton of the San Jose Sharks, who won the Art Ross last season with 125.
“It’s a nice accomplishment, and I didn’t come into this season expecting it,” Crosby told reporters after setting up both Pittsburgh goals in a 2-1 victory over the New York Rangers on Saturday night. “I tried to have the best season possible, and I was lucky enough to get it.”
continued with a list of the NHL’s leaders in goals, GAA, etc.
From the New York Daily News,
Ray Shero could easily have claimed all the credit for maneuvering the Penguins into the playoffs for the first time in six years, but Shero doesn’t do things the easy way.
If he did, he would have flaunted his famous last name like Paris Hilton at the velvet rope, demanding a VIP job in the NHL instead of paying his dues for a dozen years as a player agent and then as an assistant GM for two expansion teams.
continued… plus some other NHL talk
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