Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Randy Hahn of the Seagate Broadcasters Blog,
Finally. A NORCAL vs SOCAL Stanley Cup Playoff series. The Sharks vs the Ducks in a best of seven affair that could go down as one of the best the boys in teal have ever been involved in. It’s a dream series. We know the hockey will be terrific and intense but more about that in the days to come.
The fact that two teams within California are going head to head is terrific. For once, most of the state will have some interest in the NHL Playoffs at the same time.
added 10:05pm, from Randy Youngman of the OC Register,
Remember the final frenzied seconds of their last regular-season meeting a week ago Sunday at Honda Center, a 3-2 Ducks loss, when all you-know-what broke loose on the ice?
There were bodies and fists flying everywhere and players jumping on piles, with both teams accusing the other of cheap shots after Ducks leading scorer Ryan Getzlaf was knocked down in the slot — without a whistle -— as he prepared to shoot the puck.
That bad blood likely will carry over into their playoff series, as will the intensity on the ice and in the stands. That’s why the records and seeding — San Jose (53-18-11, NHL-best 117 points) is the top seed and the Ducks (42-33-7, 91 points) are No. 8 — might be irrelevant when the playoffs open this week in San Jose.
from Ray Ratto of the San Francisco Chronicle,
San Jose is better positioned to break through the conference ceiling than ever before. They have no real tactical holes, they have two very good lines and a decent third line, they are more willing to exchange body blows, their goaltending is solid if not necessarily elite, they don’t have listening issues with the coaching staff, and they almost never lose at home.
That’s the talent side of the team. They’re not quite loaded in that Detroit way, but their weaknesses are harder to repeatedly exploit….
Now comes the fun part. Teams that have gone three years or more without a playoff appearance get knocked out of the first round twice as often as they advance, because there really is such a thing as playoff inexperience. It’s hard to miss the playoffs three years in a row, so teams that get there are usually a little googly-eyed when they arrive, and since the Western Conference has three such teams, Chicago, Columbus and St. Louis, this can only help the hardy perennials like the Sharks and Red Wings.
But whether the Blues beat Colorado tonight, the Sharks will enter the postseason knowing they have done too much too well this season to claim that as an excuse if things don’t go as they wish.
from Lindsay Berra of ESPN The Magazine,
Q: What do the San Jose Sharks and the Titanic have in common?
A: They both look good until they hit the ice. [Harsh? Try this one.]
Q: What do you call 30 millionaires watching the Stanley Cup Finals on TV?
A: The Sharks!
Hold the applause—these comedic gems aren’t ours. They are but a sampling of the wit posted on message boards by Sharks fans who are tired of San Jose’s beast-in-the-regular-season, belly-up-in-the-postseason play.
Too harsh again? Hardly. In November 2005, GM Doug Wilson traded for Bruins center Joe Thornton, who notched 125 points and won the Hart. In the playoffs? The Sharks lost in the second round to the eighth-seeded Oilers. In 2006-07, they posted a franchise-best 51– 26– 5 record … and lost again (to Detroit) in the second round. Last season, they picked up coveted blueliner Brian Campbell in late February, won the Pacific—then lost to the Stars in you-know-what round.
from Drew Remenda of the Seagate Broadcaster Blog,
You know what puzzles me? All this “whoa you don’t want to play St. Louis (or Calgary or Anaheim or insert whatever team) in the first round” talk. What about… You don’t want to play the First place since the start of the year, 53 wins and counting NHL Leading San Jose friggin Sharks. I hope there are teams out there that are thinking yeah we really want to play them. We really want to play a team that has a Superstar centre that can dominate games. A Captain having a career year. A puck moving cool as ice smooth skating D-Man. 4 defenceman with 30+ assists. A goalie that is one of the best in the game a team that has the best second line in hockey-a kick ass powerplay and a stingy penalty kill. Doesn’t that sound like fun?
via the Mercury News,
Sharks forwards Mike Grier and Claude Lemieux are returning to the lineup just in time for the Sharks’ final push for the Presidents’ Trophy.
Both forwards have been out since March 3 and missed 17 games. San Jose entered Tuesday night’s game at Colorado with a three-point lead on Boston for the NHL’s best record.
Grier was out with a knee injury, while the 43-year-old Lemieux had an upper-body injury.
from Randy Youngman of the OC Register,
Referees Dan O’Rourke and Chris Lee, the guys wearing the decorative orange armbands Sunday night, apparently had a plane to catch.
Or maybe they had to be escorted to a local hospital for emergency surgery to have small metal objects removed from their digestive systems.
What other reason could there be for the refs ignoring the muggings outside the San Jose goal crease in the closing seconds of the Ducks’ 3-2 loss to the Sharks at sold-out Honda Center?
They must have swallowed their whistles.
added 9:55pm, from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
No supplementary discipline has been imposed against the Ducks or San Jose Sharks for their misdeeds at the end of the Sharks’ 3-2 victory Sunday at the Honda Center, and it’s likely no suspensions or fines will be imposed at all.
A league executive who requested anonymity because he didn’t want either team to view him as biased in one direction or another said he didn’t see anything that crossed the line that most concerns the NHL now: injuries to the head. The final say will come from Colin Campbell, if there’s anything to say, which there might not be.
from Dan Wood of Ducks Blog,
Among the NHL’s many mysteries is how the Ducks can be playing by far their best hockey of the season and yet, over the past three games, have drawn only four power-play opportunities.
The club’s frustration reached a breaking point at the conclusion of Sunday night’s 3-2 loss to the league-leading San Jose Sharks at Honda Center.
After a debatable holding penalty on Ducks left wing Drew Miller led to a power-play conversion by Sharks winger Jonathan Cheechoo that snapped a 2-2 tie at 13:19 of the third period, the Ducks spent the game’s final 80 seconds controlling the puck in the offensive zone, pressing for an equalizer that never came.
It might have been different had veteran San Jose winger Jeremy Roenick not mugged Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf in the slot during the waning seconds. There was no penalty call.
“I don’t think Ryan Getzlaf is going to miss a wide-open one-timer,” Ducks defenseman Ryan Whitney said. “He’s going to at least get his stick on the puck unless he’s hooked. He’s not just going to whiff.”
Referees Dan O’Rourke and Chris Lee handed out a combined 64 penalty minutes, including four misconducts, to four players from each side following a ruckus after time expired.
continued and watch video below of the end of the game fracas…
from Dan Wood of the Ducks Blog,
Ducks right wing Corey Perry laughed.
He said he hadn’t seen last month’s Yahoo! Sports interview with Evgeni Nabokov in which the San Jose Sharks goaltender called Perry a “crybaby.”
“I don’t even care,” Perry said when relayed the details Thursday night after he had scored the lone shootout goal in a 6-5 Ducks triumph over the Vancouver Canucks at GM Place. “I’m not even listening to that. He can say what he wants. It’s — whatever.”
Perry accused Nabokov of kicking him after play had stopped during a 1-0 Sharks victory March 15 at Honda Center. Nabokov denied it, and the NHL announced no supplementary discipline for either player. Perry had cross-checked the back of a prone Nabokov’s legs before the alleged kicking incident.
from Steve MacFarlane of the Calgary Sun,
Starting as friendly banter between Joe Thornton and Brian Boucher, the joking morphed into a full-fledged competition.
“We were rating guys bodies. I think I gave him a six or something like that,” Boucher said after yesterday’s morning skate at the Saddledome.
“He was devastated.
“It turned into, ‘Let’s see who’s the better athlete.’ “
It’s Boucher who’s a little devastated right now, trailing the 10-event contest with a record of 0-2-1, losing in ping-pong, golf and settling for a controversial tie in timed push-ups.
“I’m in desperate need of a win,” Boucher said.
The team isn’t.
from David Pollak of the Mercury News,
The Sharks came from behind Saturday night to beat the Phoenix Coyotes 3-2 at HP Pavilion for a franchise-record 109 points — two more than the Detroit Red Wings in the battle for NHL supremacy with both teams having seven games to play.
But the victory could come at a price as center Patrick Marleau was injured late in the first period, tried a few shifts in the second and did not return.
“I just tweaked something in the lower body and that’s it, that’s all I can give you,” Marleau said after the game. “It was kind of a contact play, but not big contact.”
Coach Todd McLellan described Marleau as day to day, adding he probably would not be able to skate at today’s morning practice before the team leaves for a two-game trip to Calgary and Edmonton.
more on the Sharks and their victory over the Coyotes…
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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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