Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Benjamin Hochman of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
When it was over, the captain cried.
David Backes came into the media interview with puffy, saddened eyes — possibly like the eyes reading this column were Wednesday night — and he broke down again when describing his team’s character.
“He’ll kill me for telling you this story,” a lip-quivering, watery-eyed Backes said after the Game 6, season-ending loss. “But Game 5, I’m not feeling well, and Steve Ott brings me something to help me feel better. Knowing that he’s the guy not going in the lineup if I can play, that’s pretty selfless — that’s the kind of guys we have in here. Just stories like that. Guys blocking shots, sacrificing their bodies. It’s tough to swallow. You know that the heart’s in here, the ability’s in there, but we came up short.”
The story is a tear-jerker in itself. It reminds you how much goes into this. It also makes you wonder where that character was on ice in Game 6, when the Blues needed to play hockey with fire. The Blues were gassed, and their performance was exasperating.
Watch Backes post-game below along with Ken Hitcock meeting with the media....
St. Louis @ San Jose 9:00 PM ET NBCSN, CBC & TVAS
Blues need a win to extend this series to seven games, Sharks need a win for their first trip to the Stanley Cup Final.
Which will it be?
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
When you’ve been at it this long without success, talking about winning the Clarence S. Campbell Trophy at the morning skate is as taboo as touching it post-game. At least for some, anyhow.
“You look at your whole career,” began San Jose Sharks captain Joe Pavelski, who leads the Sharks with 21 playoff points in 17 games this spring. “When I was in high school in the state championship, that was my biggest game of my life at the time. In college, in junior – there’s games where the moments are so big. It’s your Stanley Cup.
“You work all those days to get in the position to hopefully play for it. Tonight those games are in the past, you draw from those experiences. As a kid, you grow up trying to be able to play for the Stanley Cup, and we have a game tonight (that could put them there). This is the most important one right now.”
In the St. Louis Blues’ room, watching the Pittsburgh Penguins‘ dominant Game 6 performance provided the template.
“That’s the way we have to play tonight,” said Kyle Brodziak with a nod. “Every player, every shift, you have to play as if it could be your last.”
from Mark Purdy of the Mercury News,
Hold your breath. Twenty-five years of teal-tinted angst and teasing torment could come to an end Wednesday night. The Sharks are on uncharted ice. And it feels ... pretty amazing, actually. Also odd and strange.
Hold your breath. The Sharks, with a defeat of the St. Louis Blues at SAP Center, will earn a trip to the Stanley Cup finals for the first time since the team was born in 1991. Shark fans are not quite sure how to approach this. I can tell. One of my Twitter followers says she will spend Wednesday night hiding inside her closet because she won't be able to stand the tension.
Hold your breath. But try to enjoy it. For fans, this will definitely constitute three periods (or more) of apprehension and nerves. So many good Shark teams over the years have never gotten this far. Why not bask in the unease? Would you rather be a fan of the Arizona Coyotes this week?
The Shark players have done this so impressively, all through this six-week skate across nails to reach this point. They have done a good job of staying in the moment, as Joe Thornton says. And they know not to get ahead of themselves.
from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of NHL.com,
Through the years, as the San Jose Sharks kept falling short in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Joe Pavelski kept developing chemistry with teammate Joe Thornton.
Through the years, as the Sharks kept being called underachievers, Pavelski kept working at his craft.
The Sharks are one win from their first Stanley Cup Final, closer than ever before in their 25-year history, after defeating the St. Louis Blues 6-3 in Game 5 of the Western Conference Final on Monday and taking a 3-2 lead in the best-of-7 series.
Pavelski scored two key goals to put them on the cusp, giving him a League-leading 12 goals in the playoffs and 21 points, tied for first with teammate Logan Couture.
His goals were born amid all that disappointment. The first was a product of his longtime connection with Thornton. The second was a product of hours of practice that have made Pavelski, in the words of Couture, "the best in the world" at a certain hockey skill.
Watch Pavelski's two key goals in one video below...
from Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
Young Blues forward Robby Fabbri dabbed at his forehead, shook his head and acknowledged that he had no answer late Monday night. Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo was stumped by the question as well.
Why in heck have the Blues not been able to own Scottrade Center during these Stanley Cup playoffs? Veteran captain David Backes notes that the Blues might suffer because they get “a little cuter at home” at the expense of their ugly game.
Blues coach Ken Hitchcock didn’t buy that assessment.
Here’s the only thing that we know for sure: The Blues’ latest slip at home has put them on the brink of elimination in the Western Conference finals. The San Jose Sharks moved within a victory of the Stanley Cup Finals by beating the Blues 6-3 Monday night in Game 5 at Scottrade Center.
“Our expectations are high and we want to do well for the fans,” Hitchcock said after the Blues dropped to 4-6 at home this postseason. “Sometimes that cocktail doesn’t mix very well. I mean, if we could have eliminated the errors. There was a tremendous amount of effort today, but we did make big errors and they came back and haunted us.”
Game highlights are below...
San Jose @ St. Louis 8:00 PM ET NBCSN, CBC & TVAS
Series tied at 2-2 and ater the game tonight, one team will be a win away from advancing to the Stanley Cup Final.
Who will it be?
This post belongs to you, discuss the game as it plays out.
from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of NHL.com,
Here are 5 Keys for Game 5:
FILL THE VOID
Blues forwards David Backes and Robby Fabbri left Game 4 with injuries and did not skate Monday morning. Blues coach Ken Hitchcock indicated each will warm up and be game-time decisions. Will they play? If they do, how effective will they be?
Fabbri leads the Blues with 14 points (3 goals, 11 assists) in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Backes is tied with Vladimir Tarasenko and Troy Brouwer for first on the Blues with seven goals and is tied with Tarasenko and Jaden Schwartz for second with 13 points.
"Nobody's sure what's really going to happen," Blues forward Kyle Brodziak said. "It's kind of the first time in the postseason that we've seen injuries and had to deal with them. If it does happen, it's kind of old hat for us if you look at the way the whole year went. I don't think we were fully healthy for any part of the season. Whatever happens, whoever gets a chance has the trust in all of us that they're going to make the best of the opportunity, and as a group we feel like we can all step up a little bit."
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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