Kukla's Korner Hockey
From John Niyo at The Detroit News,
Nick Lidstrom , with a little backchecking help from his friends, held Calgary’s star forward, Jarome Iginla , largely in check in the first round. But this stacked San Jose lineup presents a more daunting challenge for the Wings defense.
“This is a little different, because Calgary is a one-trick pony, and we’re not,” Sharks coach Ron Wilson said Tuesday. “We’ve got a lot of weapons. Our third and fourth lines can be just as dangerous.
“They’ll pick a matchup that they think can help them. But we’ve got four lines we’ll be rolling, and it’ll be hard for them to check all those guys.”
more… *a full scouting report of the series
From David Pollack of the Mercury News,
Four veterans - defenseman Craig Rivet and forwards Mike Grier, Curtis Brown and Bill Guerin - now in the lineup were added to put the Sharks in a better position for a Stanley Cup run. All have made contributions. But, with the Sharks and Detroit Red Wings beginning their Western Conference semifinal series today at Joe Louis Arena, none of them says he feels as if he’s under a special spotlight.
“I don’t feel any pressure because they brought me here, that I’m the reason why we’re going to win the Stanley Cup,” Rivet said. “I was just a piece of the puzzle.”
from Ray Ratto of the San Francisco Chronicle,
Head coach Ron Wilson refines the search by pointing out that Guerin isn’t in charge of breaking down video but of whispering sweet somethings into the ears of the players next to him on the bench during the game, and his expertise in that context is invaluable.
“Take Mathieu Schneider or Chris Chelios or Nicklas Lidstrom,” Wilson said. “Billy knows what makes those guys tick, what they like to do and don’t like to do. He can tell one of the young guys what don’t they want to do in a certain situation. To say that this is why we got him is putting it a little too simply, but this is one of the ways he helps us. I mean, if you saw all the little things he did against Nashville that made things easier for the other guys, you’d get it.”
from the Toronto Sun,
“He doesn’t like traffic, but, then again, what goalie does?“Thornton said yesterday. “Either way, we have a lot of big forwards and plan to use our size to our advantage.
“It’s unlikely you are going to score many pretty goals in the post-season.
“It’s going to be hack and whack. Most of the goals will come from within four feet of the net.
“The trouble is, Hasek has such an unorthodox style, you can’t really scout him.”
from the Mercury News,
Versus snagged Games1 and 4 of the Sharks-Red Wings series as exclusive telecasts. For a healthy portion of Bay Area viewers - tens of thousands, based on first-round ratings - it’s a tune-out, turn-off moment.
A Versus representative said 71 percent of the Bay Area gets the network. Yes, at the only time of year the NHL truly sells itself, its TV contract eliminates much of the potential audience.
Who knows how many of those people would actually watch a game, but here’s one stark example: Game3 of the first-round series, on Fox Sports Net Bay Area, drew a 2.5 local rating (60,000 households). Game5, a 2.5 rating. Game4, on Versus, a 1.3, or 31,000 households.
Versus has the entire conference finals and first two games of the Stanley Cup finals. So if the Sharks advance, tens of thousands of interested viewers could miss the very best of the product.
from the Mercury News,
The Sharks overcame a huge psychological hurdle when they beat the Red Wings 3-2 at Joe Louis Arena on Dec.2. It was just the third time in 29 visits that the Sharks had won a regular-season game in Detroit.
“We’re going to see that Red Wing jersey, and I don’t think we’re going to be intimidated,” Wilson said. “We’ll be respectful, but not intimidated by their team.”
from the San Francisco Chronicle,
More than a decade later, the skate is on the other foot as many expect San Jose’s physical advantage to prevail for a potential monster conference showdown against Anaheim in the third round.
“We just focus on the game we play, just like we did against Nashville,” coach Ron Wilson said.
The Sharks won three of four during the regular season against Detroit. However, the two teams were done playing each other by early January so the Wings didn’t see the Sharks with forward Bill Guerin or defenseman Craig Rivet, and San Jose didn’t see Detroit with forwards Todd Bertuzzi and Kyle Calder, all of whom changed addresses at the trade deadline.
“We know we can compete with Detroit and we know we stack up well against them,” McLaren said. “But on the other side, it’s been a while since we’ve played them.”
from the Mercury News,
A victory tonight would give the Sharks some much-needed recovery time before the next series. They would not need to play a Game 6 in San Jose on Sunday or (heaven forbid) a Game 7 in Nashville on Tuesday. It is likely that Round 2 of the playoffs won’t begin until next weekend.
You can look it up. The most accurate predictor of a Cup winner is how easily the team makes it through the early playoff rounds. Not since 1992 has a team been stretched to a seven-game series in the first round and then proceeded to win the Stanley Cup. And the team that did so, the Pittsburgh Penguins, had the benefit of Mario Lemieux on its roster.
from the Tennessean,
“You are a little bit (frustrated) in the fact that you added some pieces that you felt could get over the hump here,” Trotz said. “But for the most part the pieces that we have put in have had a better effect on this team, no question.
“San Jose might not admit it, but it’s a lot harder than they probably expected it would be based on the two teams and based on last year. They are fortunate right now … they have played very well.
“They are a solid hockey club and an elite hockey club, and I feel we are too. So we have to get a positive result, and if we do we will see what happens.”
From John Glennon at the Tennessean,
The Predators managed to thwart the normally potent San Jose power play yet again on Wednesday, holding the Sharks without a goal on five power-play chances.
But Nashville players and Coach Barry Trotz are starting to scratch over at least some of the calls that are sending the Predators to the box on a regular basis in this series.
Center Jason Arnott was particularly irritated by a somewhat mysterious hooking call on Jordin Tootoo in the second period. It appeared Tootoo had been impeded by Sharks forward Jonathan Cheechoo, but Tootoo wound up going to the penalty box.
Plus: A photogallery of the Shark/Preds series
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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