Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the Mercury News,
This is the third time the Sharks will face the same opponent in the postseason two years in a row. On the previous two occasions, the Sharks won the first year and lost the second.
Last year, the Sharks beat Nashville in the opening round, four games to one. The Predators say they will be using that defeat as motivation.
“We saw them last year, and I think we’re a little more prepared as a team and as a group,” Nashville Coach Barry Trotz said.
The Sharks enter the playoffs on a roll, having finished the regular season with a 13-1-3 run. “The last three games especially, we’ve been honing our playoff intensity,” defenseman Kyle McLaren said. “We feel good about the way we’re playing.”
from the Mercury News,
When the Sharks end the regular season today against Vancouver, expect to see Evgeni Nabokov starting in goal - just as he has for 22 of the team’s 25 games since Valentine’s Day.
A season that began with an unconventional goalie rotation is finishing in a more traditional manner. Nabokov, who rode the bench a year ago when Vesa Toskala emerged as San Jose’s playoff netminder, is back in the starting role that a $5 million salary might indicate is rightfully his.
Other numbers help explain why. Nabokov’s 2.25 goals-against average and .915 save percentage are much improved over last season. So is his confidence.
from the LA Times,
Selanne was called for using an illegal stick, which nullified the four-on-three advantage. The Ducks couldn’t score in overtime and San Jose put in both of its tries in the shootout to get a 3-2 victory at Honda Center….
Selanne said he was surprised by Wilson’s maneuver. He acknowledged the illegality but also blamed the poor ice surface.
“It might be a little wide. But there’s a reason why it’s wide. That’s because the NHL makes great ice and you need a stick this wide to receive a pass in this league,” Selanne said sarcastically.
As he said that, Selanne held his hands a foot apart. Ducks Coach Randy Carlyle sought to shift the blame away from his star winger.
more (reg. req.)
Battle of California will be live blogging during the Sharks/Ducks game tonight.
I may have to take a nap to catch up with that one.
Note to Alanah- stay away, you have work to do…
added 10:19pm, Link to the live blog post…
Joe Thornton took part in an NHL tele-coference today…
Q. Could you just address the impact that the acquisition of Bill Guerin and Craig Rivet have had on the team?
JOE THORNTON: Well, obviously, we’re pretty young in the back, so Rivet just brings us some more toughness back there. He’s pretty rugged. He plays the power plays, the right?handed shot, which we needed, as well. So he fills so many voids that we didn’t have before. He’s a guy that’s been there, done that, and he’s going to be great going to the playoffs.
Obviously Billy winning the Cup I think in ‘95 or ‘96, he’s a good, veteran guy that works really well with Patty Marleau, and he’s another right?handed shot. He’s physical, he’s big, he’s strong and just two very, very valuable pickups that we definitely needed coming down the stretch here.
Q. I’d like to ask another question. I’ve got to ask you, last season late you just went on an amazing rampage, and you’ve done it again this season. How do you explain the late season surges that you have?
JOE THORNTON: I don’t know, it’s just ?? obviously especially this year, playing with Milan Michalek, he’s been playing great lately, and Cheech has been putting the puck in the back of the net. But I don’t really know the rhyme or reason that it happens. But like you said, it happened last year and again this year, but I don’t know the reason why.
Over at Canucks and Beyond, Alanah asked a Canucks fan to write a piece on her recent visit to the Shark Tank…
It took 17 hours straight by car but me and my hockey buddy made it just in time to watch the Canucks kick Shark butt on Friday March 9. Why a road trip? Why not! Visiting the enemy is always a fun experience.
continue reading at C&B…
from Gary Peterson of the Contra Costa Times,
A lot of people are convinced there will (and should) come a time when Team Wilson (coach Ron and general manager Doug) will submit to tradition and name Nabokov the team’s postseason horse.
Of course, a lot of people have been nothing but wrong to this point. But hey, we—um, they—can’t be wrong forever.
via the San Jose Sharks,
The San Jose Sharks will be without Goaltending Coach Warren Strelow for an undetermined amount of time as he recently suffered a minor stroke.
The embattled goaltending coach is currently being taken care of in Worcester, Mass. Area where he was working with minor league goaltenders Thomas Greiss and Dimitri Patzold.
Strelow, who won a gold medal with Herb Brooks and the miracle of ice USA hockey team, has had a series of health problems including a kidney transplant in August 2003.
“Warren is being taken care of and we look forward to him returning to work with our goaltenders,” said Sharks Vice President and Assistant General Manager Wayne Thomas.
“I talked to him in the hospital and he understood everything,” said goaltender Vesa Toskala. “He’s been through a lot the last couple of years and he’s a strong man. He will bounce back.”
from the Montreal Gazette,
A new hockey life for Craig Rivet begins, with this story: “We finished practice Saturday in Anaheim, we’re in the dressing room and (teammate) Billy Guerin yells over to me, ‘Are you ready for the media?’ Rivet said Sunday from a hotel lobby in Dallas, a few hours before his San Jose Sharks would blank the Stars 4-0.
“I said, ‘Yeah, let ‘em in,’ and Billy said, ‘He already is in.’ I started laughing - there was one soft-spoken reporter, and he wasn’t looking for any blood.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org