Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
From the Fool Them Once file: If the Rangers trade Chris Kreider to a Western Conference team, then general manager Jeff Gorton must attach a clause to the deal through which the Blueshirts would receive additional value — say, in the form of a first-round draft choice — should Kid K be sent back east within three years.
Call it Rule 62.
It is impossible to recall a trade of a support player backfiring as badly on a team as the Carl Hagelin deal has blown up in the Blueshirts’ faces. Not only did the Rangers lose a unique, and thus far irreplaceable, piece of the puzzle who personified a large part of their identity as a speed team under coach Alain Vigneault, Hagelin has wound up in Pittsburgh, thriving as an instrumental part of a powerful division rival.
This turn of events has to make the Rangers sick. All of it: the negligible return from Anaheim in the trade, which materialized out of thin air at last year’s entry draft and was completed within about five minutes; the switcheroo to Pittsburgh in mid-January after Hagelin had failed to adapt to Anaheim (or the Ducks failed to adapt to him); the revitalization of the Penguins, with the Swede playing the same role as a catalyst as he had in New York from the moment of his promotion from the AHL the day after Thanksgiving 2011.
continued plus more NHL topics....
from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,
To truly appreciate how far Justin Schultz has come in the last three months you have to reflect back on how uncomfortable his life became in Edmonton.
Mistakes compounded as his confidence slipped. Fans began booing him mercilessly at Rexall Place as another Oilers season slid down the drain. The once-prized free-agent signing became a scapegoat for those looking to air their frustrations.
No wonder the Feb. 27 trade that brought him to Pittsburgh was such a welcome change. Reflecting back on it now, he calls it a “second chance.”
“My confidence was pretty low near the end of my time in Edmonton,” said Schultz. ”(The trade) just gave me more confidence; even before I played a game I got more confidence just being in a new environment. I have nothing against Edmonton, I enjoyed my time there.
“But sometimes players need a change of scenery and I think that this has helped me.”
from Seth Rorabaugh of Empty Netters at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
First things first, head coach Mike Sullivan had no updates on defenseman Trevor Daley who left the game at 10:32 of the second period. Battling for a puck in the Penguins' left corner, Daley and right winger Ryan Callahan collided. Daley went down in a heap and had trouble recovering to his skates.
Daley needed assistance off the ice and into the dressing room. He did not return. He left Amalie Arena on crutches.
Sullivan suggested he could have some information Saturday.
As far as the game goes, the Penguins got thoroughly outplayed for the first 40 minutes. Almost literally from the start, they were chasing the Lightning. They gave up a goal less than 30 seconds into play and were playing from behind the entire night. They scraped out three goals in the third period to make it interesting and really came close to tying the game a few times. But as captain/center Sidney Crosby said, "We didn't deserve to win."
The Lightning is a very good team. Despite what Games 2 and 3 looked like as far as the possession battle was concerned, this wasn't going to be a mismatch in favor of the Penguins the way the first and second rounds were against the Rangers and Capitals respectively. The Lightning can play with the Penguins when it comes to speed and possession.
Tonight, they were better at the Penguins' own game.
See the Daley injury below.
from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,
If you’re following this Eastern Conference Final closely, you might as well go ahead and clear your schedule for next Thursday night.
That’s when Game 7 between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning is scheduled.
It’s not currently necessary, but it probably will be.
The way the Lightning responded here in Game 4 all but guaranteed it. They hadn’t played particularly well the previous two games and were backed into a corner. On Friday night, Tampa built a 4-0 lead by the second intermission and gutted through a furious Penguins push over the final 20 minutes to even the series.
“We’re a good character team,” said defenceman Anton Stralman. “I think we know our weaknesses and we know how to change from game to game if something was bad before. We certainly did tonight.
“I thought we upped our game, all over the ice, all three zones. Battle levels, everything.”
Highlights are below...
Pittsburgh @ Tampa Bay8:00 PM ET NBCSN, CBC & TVAS
Penguins lead the seried 2-1 and with a win tonight, they will be playing at home on Sunday night with a chance to advance to the Stanley Cup Final.
Do the Lightning have enough in them to force this into a long series? We are about to find out.
Discuss the game if you so desire.
via a PR release from the NHL...
SHOWTIME Sports released the open/tease for the upcoming real-time, behind-the-scenes documentary series ALL ACCESS: Quest For The Stanley Cup. Narrated by acclaimed Broadway actor and 2016 Tony Award-nominated Bill Camp, the highly anticipated series premieres TONIGHT, May 20 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME.
The docu-series is the first of its kind to nationally televise the championship of a major North American sport as it unfolds. The weekly episodes chronicle the four teams remaining in the quest for the Stanley Cup®: the St. Louis Blues®, the San Jose Sharks®, the Pittsburgh Penguins® and the Tampa Bay Lightning®. The best-of-seven-games winners will meet in the Stanley Cup Final for the chance to hoist one of the most iconic trophies in all of sports.
ALL ACCESS: Quest For The Stanley Cup is produced by 54-time Sports Emmy® Award winning producer Ross Greenburg, who pioneered the sports documentary series genre.
Watch a segment below...
from Tom Gulitti of NHL.com,
Here are 5 keys for Game 4:
1. TRIPLET THREAT
Lightning coach Jon Cooper reunited his "Triplets" line of Ondrej Palat, Tyler Johnson and Nikita Kucherov in the third period of Game 3 on Wednesday and they combined for two goals in a 4-2 loss. After being outshot 89-49 in losing the past two games, the Lightning need an offensive spark. But Cooper seems reluctant to use the "Triplets" together for the full game because he wants balanced scoring from his four lines.
Cooper hinted he could use Palat, Johnson and Kucherov together in certain situations in Game 4. That's what Penguins coach Mike Sullivan has done with some effectiveness the past two games in picking his spots to use Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin on the same line. Maybe using the "Triplets" similarly will be enough. But Cooper shouldn't hesitate to rely on them more if the Lightning struggle to produce scoring chances again.
from Tom Gulitti of NHL.com,
One of the narratives entering the Eastern Conference Final focused on the comparatively easier path the Tampa Bay Lightning had to the NHL's Final Four.
The Lightning were impressive in defeating the Detroit Red Wings, who finished with 93 points, in the first round and the New York Islanders, who earned the first wild card with 100 points, in the second round, taking each series in five games.
But some wondered what would happen what would happen when they faced stiffer competition.
Regardless of what you think of the Red Wings and Islanders, it's been abundantly evident in the past two games that the Lightning's opponent in the Eastern Final, the Pittsburgh Penguins, is a completely different animal. The Penguins dominated for the second game in a row on their way to a 4-2 victory in Game 3 of the best-of-7 series at Amalie Arena on Wednesday.
Although the Lightning were one shot away from winning Game 2 and taking the first two games of the series in Pittsburgh, they were badly outplayed for long stretches of that 3-2 overtime loss Monday. After a good opening seven minutes of Game 3, the Lightning had few answers again for the Penguins' relentless speed and depth, other than relying heavily on 21-year-old goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy, who made 44 saves.
Game highlights are below...
Pittsburgh @ Tampa Bay 8:00 PM ET NBCSN, CBC & TVAS
Series is tied at 1-1 and the Bolts will once again be without Ben Bishop and Steven Stamkos.
I consider this a pivotal game and going with the Lightning.
Discuss the game if you wish.
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.
Email Paul anytime at email@example.com