Kukla's Korner Hockey
With Mother’s Day weekend many were out with family. I, myself, spent yesterday at my mom’s house getting asked by my family for hockey updates and being asked to recap the playoffs thus far. Here are some hockey highlights (or low lights depending on what way you look at it).
In case you missed it Friday kicked off the start of the preliminary round for the IIHF World Championship taking place in Minsk, Belarus.
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from Kevin Kurz of CSNBayArea,
“We can’t keep what we have, or at least keep the same approach. Something has to change,” Todd McLellan said on Friday. “It’s two years in a row losing to that team, and it’s a very good team, too. Let me make that very clear.
“But, it’s two years in a row losing to them. And, in fact, when we thought we had improved our group – which I believe we did – we got a weaker performance (in 2014) than we got the year prior.”...
The more intriguing options are up front in Pavelski and Burns, both of whom are under contract for the next several years at reasonable prices and are in the prime of their careers.
Pavelski is coming off of a 41-goal season, third in the NHL. If there were ever a time to sell high on the 29-year-old, this would be it, as the majority of Pavelski’s goals came on the wing of Thornton. His five-year, $30 million contract extension (that includes a limited no-trade clause) kicks in this summer, and the Wisconsin native could get a huge return if he became available.
As for Burns, who just completed his first full NHL season as a forward, his streaky play carried over into the playoffs. There aren’t many players in the game like the six-foot-five, 230-pound 29-year-old, who can take games over with his physicality and shot when he’s playing well. He also brings with him the option of returning to the blue line, where he didn’t work out in San Jose. Maybe he could fit in somewhere in the Eastern Conference, where teams typically play a less structured style. He’s set to make $5.67 million for the next three years.
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
Todd McLellan may be the most hydrated coach in the NHL behind the San Jose Sharks’ bench because he always has a water bottle in his hands, taking healthy swigs throughout the game but on Wednesday night in game seven, there wasn’t enough aqua to cool the raging fire in his gut as the Sharks gassed a 3-0 series lead to the Los Angeles Kings.
Now the question is whether one of the game’s best coaches and best guys will pay for the lowest of low Sharks’ results–only the fourth team in NHL history to win the first three games and lose the next four. McLellan, one of the NHL’s sharpest coaching minds, in his sixth year in San Jose, would be out of work about 10 minutes. About as long as it might take Brendan Shanahan, the new Toronto Maple Leafs’ president, who used to play for McLellan in Detroit when McLellan was Mike Babcock’s right-hand man, to pick up the phone if Shanahan doesn’t want Randy Carlyle back as coach.
McLellan, who was hired in San Jose after the Wings’ Cup ride in 2008, is a heckuva coach. You would be hard-pressed to find anybody better, but hockey’s a playoff results-driven business.
from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of Yahoo,
Neither general manager Doug Wilson nor coach Todd McLellan should be sacrificed just for the sake of it – just to show the Sharks are doing something and won’t settle for the same old, same old; just to sell change. Firing McLellan would be the simplest and perhaps the most effective move, but the Sharks would need to upgrade. Whom would they hire to put this particular group over the top?
The core should not be broken up. The core cannot be broken up. Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau just signed extensions through 2016-17 with no-movement clauses, so they aren’t going anywhere if they don’t want to.
Logan Couture, Joe Pavelski and Marc-Edouard Vlasic are all signed to long-term deals. Tomas Hertl has two years left on his entry-level deal. Does anyone think they aren’t players to build around?
The Sharks need to take a long, hard look at themselves. Maybe they’ll part with Dan Boyle, a pending unrestricted free agent, and buy out Martin Havlat, who has a year left on his contract and a no-movement clause. Maybe they need to find a new goalie, if they don’t trust Antti Niemi anymore.
Scored tied 1-1 when Quick comes up with this marvelous save.
The NHL did look at the play and ruled correctly the puck did not cross the goal line.
from David Pollak of Working The Corners,
It was an epic failure. And nobody in the Sharks locker room treated it as anything but after a 5-1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings that put the Sharks on an inverted pedestal as one of only four teams to win the first three games of a seven-game series and still not advance.
Dissecting how they lost the game isn’t really important, but it was the same problem they had in the three shots at clinching before this one. Their top players once again were not on the scoresheet as San Jose only mustered two goals in the final three losses. Their power play wasted six opportunities; their penalty kill gave up a goal.
What’s most important is what comes next and at this point, who knows?
So we’ll have to settle for a look at how the Sharks reacted to ending up on, as Brad Stuart and others have put it, the wrong side of history.
continued and watch the handshake line below...
Well what a night that was! Three Game Sevens and now we start the second round later today.
Before the second round starts let’s take a look at how we did predicting the first round.
Huge night for hockey fans out there! Kings, avs and rangers are my picks!— anthony brodeur (@abrodeur30) April 30, 2014
I will put my own predictions up to bat:
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Welcome to the late late show!
Having three series extend to the full seven games it meant a lot of meaningful hockey last night and it all started at 7 p.m. EST and ended at …
So how did the teams do last night?
Filed in: NHL Teams, Colorado Avalanche, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota Wild, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, San Jose Sharks, NHL Talk, NHL Playoff Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
from Kevin Kurz of CSNBayArea,
While the Kings’ top players have been surging, the opposite can be said for the Sharks’ big guns, several of which have been missing in action lately as the team prepares for Game 7 on Wednesday night.
Forward Brent Burns is scoreless in the last three games, and has just one even-strength point in the series other than a Game 1 empty-net goal. Captain Joe Thornton has not found the scoresheet since Game 3, and after finishing second in the league in assists, has just one helper through three games with a -4 rating. His only even-strength point of the series was his goal to open Game 1.
Joe Pavelski, the league’s third-leading goal scorer, has two goals and six points in the series but has been unable to finish on some prime chances lately. He has just one combined shot on goal in the last two games. Patrick Marleau scored the overtime winner in Game 3, and after getting eight shots on goal in Game 4, he was as bad as anyone on the Sharks’ side in a team-wide lackluster Game 5 performance. Marleau was credited with a game-high four giveaways to go with five shots that missed the net in the 3-0 home loss.
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
"We can treat this as the Stanley Cup Final. This game is huge," Doughty said Tuesday. "We can't get any further without a win, so I think that's how we're looking at it. This is the biggest game of our lives, of our careers, and there's no option but to win."
The Kings played a Game 7 against San Jose in the second round last season, but that series unfolded much differently. Last spring the Kings had home-ice advantage, and they don't have it this time. Each of their first two losses a year ago was by a 2-1 count — the first in overtime and the second in regulation — and this season they lost the first two games by a cumulative 13-5.
Each game of last season's series was won by the home team, but that hasn't happened this time. The Sharks won Game 3 at Staples Center in overtime and the Kings retaliated by blanking the Sharks in Game 5 at SAP Center on Saturday.
"It's not our most conventional way to go through a series," forward Mike Richards said, "but you've got to win, I guess, in different ways."
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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