Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Mike Keenan – God love him – hates that tired old cliché that’s generally trotted out whenever an NHL playoff series is tied at two games apiece – that it’s now a best-of-three and may the best team win.
As far as Keenan concerned, on the morning of the fifth game of the Calgary Flames-San Jose Sharks, it’s a best-of-one. Only tonight’s game against matters; it’s the only one on his mind – and he hopes it’s the only one on his players’ minds as well.
“I would prefer to have the group playoff ready for (tonight’s) game,” replied Keenan, when asked the best-of-three question.
fromm the Mercury News,
They played him alongside Russ Hodges. That’s saying a lot.
OK, so it was hyperbole and some humor from KNBR’s Gary Radnich on Wednesday morning. But Randy Hahn’s TV call of Joe Thornton’s game-winning goal Tuesday night is destined to become part of the Sharks soundtrack, particularly if the goal leads to a playoff run that at last won’t disappoint fans.
“HE SCORES! HE SCORES! HE SCORES!” Simple. And, no, it’s no “The Giants win the pennant!” But it packed some deep-seated emotion.
“It’s raw, it’s primal,” Hahn told us Wednesday. “It just comes from inside you. And in that moment, you know what, it comes especially on the road for me.”
Watch and hear Hahn’s call…
Calgary Flames assistant coach Rich Preston and Flames captain Jarome Iginla got into a very heated argument during a video session this morning.
The argument was based on a disagreement between coach and captain over coverage in game four last night.
Flames coach Mike Keenan acknowledges the argument took place and admits it was heated but says Iginla later apologized and the two were put into a room together to settle their differences. ‘‘All brothers scrap,’’ Keenan joked. ‘‘However, that doesn’t mean then don’t care for each other, in fact it’ the opposite,’’ he told TSN.ca.
They “care for each other”? This mellow, ‘kinder, gentler’ version of Iron Mike is hard to get used to…
Update 5:33pm ET: More on Flames frustrations from Eric Duhatschek at the Globe & Mail.
from Mark Purdy of the Mercury News,
Thornton was planted in front of the Calgary net, taking a royal Canadian pounding from a passel of guys in red Flames jerseys. Sharks defenseman Douglas Murray launched a gorgeously on-target shot from up top. Thornton then used his trademark stick control to perfectly deflect the puck past goalie Miikka Kiprusoff.
Suddenly, the enormous Pengrowth Saddledome went silent. You could almost hear the flaming gas jets in the rafters, the ones that regularly shoot out big bursts of fire, click off the way they do on your home barbecue.
Sharks 3, Calgary 2. Prescription filled.
And it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy in the process of overcoming a largely unfair reputation as a playoff non-dominator.
via the CBC 2008 Stanley Cup Playoffs Blog,
Thornton, San Jose’s leading goal scorer and point producer in the regular season, has only three assists and the questions were whether the Flames have done anything special to defend him.
“No, they’re just tight checking,” Thornton said after the morning skate. “They take away your time and space, so you have to make your space. They’re tight on you, they make sure you have no room.
“That’s how you play hockey.”
Curiously, Thornton is coming off a two-assist performance, but knows his play will be closely compared to Jarome Iginla’s.
“When you’re down 2-1, everybody can do more and I have to do more to help this team win,” Thornton said. “I have to have a big game tonight.”
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
There was talk about who might start in goal for Calgary (San Jose Sharks’ coach Ron Wilson cast his vote for Mike Vernon). There was talk about Evgeni Nabokov’s post-game observation Sunday — that some of the Sharks’ “boys” are going to have to become “men” (Wilson again: “Maybe he meant the singing group.”)
Mostly though, the focus on the visiting Sharks was on which version of the team would show up for tonight’s fourth game of their best-of-seven Western Conference first-round playoff series against the Flames. The one that finished with the best record in the NHL over the final third of the season? Or the one that spectacularly flamed out in each of the past two playoffs.
from the National Post,
“If we kept the foot on the gas and kept pushing the pace, it may be a different story,” San Jose centre Patrick Marleau said. “We sat back and they came at us.”
read on for more on the Sharks and Flames. Plus, attention Mike Babcock: study those words carefully!
from Jamie Baker at the Seagate Broadcaster Blog,
Dear Hockey God,
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
This years playoff adversity is deja-vu all over again, except this time you didn’t wait until the second round. Sheesh, it only took 3 games for the “big test of adversity” to take place for our beloved Sharkies.
This version of the Sharks has stated since day 1 of the season they will be judged by how they do in the playoffs. This version of the Sharks has said they are different from the teams who lost in the second round in the last two playoffs. This version of the Sharks get virtually the same test as the previous two playoff teams. I mean, you can’t be anymore fair than that!
from Dan Rusanowsky at Seagate Broadcaster Blog,
Okay, folks, the test has started, and it isn’t an open book test. It’s a Stanley Cup playoff test, it’s happening in the very first round, and it may be the best thing for a team that wants to win the Stanley Cup.
So, you thought that the Sharks would waltz to a four-game sweep or a relatively easy five-game knockoff, as was the case with the Nashville Predators in the past two years? Sorry, folks, that isn’t going to happen this time. The first supreme test for the Sharks this year is happening, right here and now, in the presence of the hard-working, hard-hitting Flames.
“I don’t know how many lessons we have to learn,” murmurred a disgusted Evgeni Nabokov. “Maybe it’s good that we got this out of the way early in the series. We have to rebound. We have to show poise. We have to turn it around.”
And that chronic reputation the Sharks have for pulling the chute when the going gets tough?
“It takes men to change that,” he answered with chilling accuracy.
“Some of our boys are going to have to become men.”
more by George Johnson of the Calgary Herald…
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.
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