Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Scott Morrison of Viewpoint at CBC,
The Pittsburgh Penguins are for real. Very much for real, actually.
And in a conference in which any of the eight teams that ultimately make the playoffs have a reasonably good chance of going all the way to the final - where they will lose to the Western Conference winner, of course - there are signs that perhaps the Penguins are just a little better than the rest.
Now, that isn’t entirely born out statistically, given they are tied with the Montreal Canadiens for first overall and have been playing at roughly the same clip for the past dozen or so games.
from Japers’ Rink,
Add another vote to the “Ovechkin for MVP” campaign, this from rival Evgeni Malkin:
“I still have chances to become the MVP this season, however I am sure that Alexander Ovechkin is the best player in NHL this season and he will win this award.”
from Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette,
The Canadiens and the Penguins are tied atop the Eastern Conference with 100 points each and Montreal has only one chance of moving up to the top spot and that’s by finishing with more points in the standings.
With each team having two games to play, the Penguins hold the tiebreaker, because they have one more victory.
But Christopher Higgins said he’s excited about the possibility of winning the conference because “you don’t get too many chances to do that in your career. I think the last time I finished first was in my junior years in high school.”
from Darren Dreger of TSN,
Let’s face it, while we’ve seen some spectacular goals in Crosby’s 3 seasons in the NHL, goal scoring doesn’t come easily for this young phenom.
He’s incredibly strong on the puck and loves to battle physically.
One on one, he’s hard to beat.
Among the leagues great playmakers, he might be the greatest.
However, when it comes to scoring goals, Crosby isn’t great…he’s good.
from Chris Zelkovich of the Toronto Star,
When the first TV producer decided to place a hockey analyst between the benches a few years back, the idea looked like it might end up high on the pointless ideas list, just behind the infamous glowing puck….
But this idea, used to great advantage by TSN and NBC, is proving to be one of the best broadcasting innovations since the advent of the second camera.
It was on display during yesterday’s Pittsburgh-New York Rangers game on NBC, with Pierre McGuire stationed between the benches and providing viewers with the kind of insights that only someone in that position could get.
Throughout the game, McGuire told viewers how the coaches were rotating their lines and even what players were saying to each other. When New York coach Tom Renney chastised his players for passing too much and not shooting enough, McGuire passed that on, too.
from John Dellapina at the Blueshirts Blog,
...That said, what I don’t get is how the hard-working and utterly honest men who referee NHL games can repeatedly be duped by the same maneuver - you know, that fling back of the head in mock horror in reaction to an opponent’s stick that didn’t come close to striking it. Like, say, the tap to the hip that Scott Gomez gave Crosby, drawing that head flop and a high-sticking penalty in today’s third period.
But even more mystifying is how Jaromir Jagr could have begun his career in Pittsburgh, developed into a superstar here and never learned the diving and face-clutching and horrified equipment shedding that has been part and parcel of Pens hockey ever since Mario Lemieux decided to shame the league into enforcing its obstruction penalties by embarrassing all officials who didn’t do so.
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
Nicklas Lidstrom is going to win his sixth Norris trophy, but Sergei Gonchar may finish in the top three. The Penguins defenceman has been maligned for years for his play away from the puck, but this year he’s been very good. He might deserve more praise than Zdeno Chara in Boston, or Brian Campbell before he was traded from Buffalo to San Jose. “He matches up against the other team’s best players every night. I think his game has gone to another level there,” said Penguins GM Ray Shero
more and other NHL topics…
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
This afternoon, Jaromir Jagr will play the 420th regular-season game of his career here at the Igloo. The Post wanted to know if he expects to be his last.
“Are the Penguins moving?” a grinning Jagr responded following practice yesterday, before the Rangers departed for the opener of a back-to-back, home-and-home series against the division leaders they trail by six points while holding a game in hand.
“Should I wave to the fans?” Jagr asked. “Maybe I’ll wave . . . after I score.”
Jagr was as coy in talking about his plans as he has been since telling The Post on March 9: “I have a pretty good idea what I’m going to do next year and I’ve known for three or four weeks, but I’m not going to say anything.”
Earlier today, the Pittsburgh Penguins made general manager Ray Shero available for a media conference call. The Penguins currently sit first overall in the Eastern Conference with 97 points, and six points ahead of New Jersey and the New York Rangers in the race for first place in the Atlantic division. They are looking to win their first divisional title since 1997-98.
Here is the transcript from the Q&A.
Q. Watching the game last night, you had Crosby with Dupuis and Hossa. What was the thinking in combining Dupuis because a lot of people would have thought he would have been a third or fourth line guy, and next thing is Crosby, first game back, talk about his soreness level or how he came out of the game, Hossa missing the third period.
from the Pittsburgh Penguins,
Sidney Crosby is back again.
The Penguins captain will return to the lineup Thursday night when the New York Islanders visit Mellon Arena.
“I am playing,” he said. “My ankle feels great and my conditioning is as good as it can get, really, without playing. It always takes a few games, but I feel good.”
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.
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