Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun,
Make no mistake, this is going to get ugly.
It has to, or the Calgary Flames have no chance.
Round 1 of what is shaping up to be a slugfest goes tonight at HP Pavilion, where the underdog Flames will begin their attempts to get the league’s hottest team off its game.
And what better way to do it than by waving some chum named Eric Godard around the Shark Tank and seeing who bites first.
“Oh, I think you’re going to see some fights. That’s kind of the way the team makeup is this year,” smiled Craig Conroy, whose club has nine players with at least three fighting majors this season.
From Eric Francis at the Calgary Sun, Jeremy Roenick tells a story about Mike Keenan:
“In the 1992 Stanley Cup, I got slashed by Kevin Stevens, and Mike threw a cast on my hand and put me in front of the media to get a point across to the league and the officials that I was getting cheap-shotted,” chuckled Roenick during a conference call yesterday setting up his Sharks’ series with Keenan’s Calgary Flames.
“He made me a guinea pig—it was kind of embarrassing—but what Mike says, you do. Mike is a genius when it comes to head games and getting into the referees’ or players’ heads. He’s crazy—very slippery, very sly. He can manipulate a lot of people with what comes out of his mouth. That’s just a talent.”
from the Globe and Mail,
“They’ve got size and skill up front and a really strong back end,” Phaneuf said. “It’ll be a battle. You have to be aware when [San Jose centre Joe Thornton] is on the ice. We’ll have to do a job on him.”
more on the Flames and Phaneuf…
from Randy Sportak of the Calgary Sun,
It will be an upset for the Flames to again knock out the Sharks, especially when you consider how they finished the season in a middling manner.
But don’t count them out just yet, Keenan said.
“We’ll draw from our experiences this season and our playoff experience in the past to be ready.”
from David Pollak of MediaNews via Inside Bay Area,
Things reached the point that Sharks coach Ron Wilson didn’t send goalie Evgeni Nabokov out for the start of the second period, and his reasoning was only partly based on the desire to give backup Brian Boucher a little ice time.
“I didn’t trust that team,” Wilson said of the Stars. “They were running guys. For all I know, Nabby was next on their list. That wasn’t going to happen.”
The guy doing most of the running was Steve Ott, the Stars’ nuisance of a center. And when he hit San Jose left wing Milan Michalek at 8:42 of the first period, a game that already had seen one fight quickly escalated.
from Marty Henwood of Hockey.com
, There is really no in-between with Jeremy Roenick, nor has there been his entire career. You either love him or hate him.
But even those leading the anti-J.R. brigade have to admit that the San Jose Sharks are looking like geniuses for rolling the dice with the old man.
Getting Roenick to check his oft-inflated ego at the door may have been the largest coup of all for Doug Wilson and Co., and may pay even larger dividends once the post-season begins next week.
“I think he’s going to win the Vezina,” Sharks coach Ron Wilson said after Nabokov picked up his franchise-record 46th victory Tuesday night. “I think they’d be crazy not to give it to him.”
“They” refers to the league’s 30 general managers who will cast their ballots before the playoffs begin. And this year it should be a classic one-on-one battle between Nabokov and Martin Brodeur of the New Jersey Devils.
Not that there aren’t other goalies, such as Vancouver’s Roberto Luongo, with impressive statistics next to their name. But none match the workload that both Nabokov and Brodeur have taken on, or the wins they’ve racked up.
Wilson gives Nabokov the edge based on those wins, 46 for Nabokov and 42 for Brodeur, plus the Sharks loftier position in the standings.
from All Things Avs,
What better place to be than Northern California, this or any time of year? That’s my best bet for where the Avs will open up, at the H-P Pavilion against the Sharks.
A quick couple of thoughts here before the ambien fully kicks in: I think the Avs would be better off playing the Sharks in the first round, instead of Minnesota. I know San Jose has been the hottest team in the West in the second half, and that their defense was transformed with the addition of Bryan Campbell, and Joe Thornton is a monster and Patrick Marleau has been a lot better. I get that.
I still think that’s the best matchup for Colorado. I don’t think the Avs fear Evgeni Nabokov much. I think, of the top eight teams in the West, he is in the middle of the pack among goalies.
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
So we will wait to annoint Brian Campbell as the second-coming of Paul Coffey in San Jose until we see how far the 106-point Sharks go this spring. But right now the former Buffalo Sabres defenceman is clearly the best addition any team made on Feb. 26 or in the leadup to the deadline.
You can make a case for goalie Cristobal Huet in Washington (8-2, 1.83 average) and Joe Corvo (18 points in 20 games, plus-6) in Carolina, too, but Campbell has given the NHL’s hottest team exactly what they needed—a blueliner who could easily transport the puck up ice and run the power play.
He’s got 16 points in 17 games which gives him 59 points on the year, third most for defencemen after Nicklas Lidstrom’s 66 and Sergei Gonchar’s 62, and is also plus-10 in San Jose
from Drew Remenda at Seagate Broadcaster Blog,
As Kurtis Foster was laying on a opererating table getting his leg repaired, the Minnesota Wild had quickly made arrangements to get his fiance to the San Jose. Chris Snow the Wild’s Director of Hockey Operations stayed behind to make sure Kurtis Foster was getting the best possible care by keeeping the communication going between the Wild and Sharks Medical Staff. One of Kurtis’ first visitors at the hospital was Greg Jamison. The Sharks President and CEO brought by a gift basket and showed some kindness to the injured Wild Defenseman. Shortly after GM Doug Wilson dropped by.
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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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