Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
The St. Louis Blues didn’t want to use injuries as an excuse for their second-round elimination.
To a man, they stated that the Kings were simply the better team.
But starting with a suspected knee injury that star blueliner Alex Pietrangelo tried to play through and being without No. 1 goalie Jaroslav Halak for most of the playoffs with a suspected ankle injury, it’s clear the Blues were a beat-up bunch.
“We’ll let the injury stuff come out over the next couple of days,” said Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock. “But, it’s not great.”
Captain David Backes also played through some sort of stomach ailment, but he didn’t feel like going there either Sunday.
added 9:11pm, Below, find 2 videos, first is Ken Hitchcock post-game and 2nd is Darryl Sutter post-game… Please note, you may have to wait for the video to load, once you see a picture of the coach, hit play. NHL.com must be getting hit hard with video requests.
The LA Kings defeated the St. Louis Blues 3-1 and win the series 4-0 and become the first team to advance to the Conference Finals.
The Blues head home and can only think what could have been.
Here’s the winning goal by Dustin Brown…
added 6:55pm. Watch a video below of the Kings celebration and handshake line as an extra benefit, some of the players words are picked up too…
added 7:11pm A second video added below, the Kings in their dressing room post-game…
from Robert Tychkowski of the Edmonton Sun,
This is not a series being won with skill and strategy, but rather with hunger and discipline, which is all the more frustrating for a team that lived on those qualities all year long.
Being beaten at your own game is no fun.
“I think the frustration is we’re getting done to us what we’ve done to teams all year,” said Hitchcock. “We were frustrating the opposition, discouraging them. Now we’re getting it done to us and we didn’t react very well.
“We have to learn to fight through this stuff. I think we’ve gotten discouraged at times and got off the plan at times because of it.”
While the Blues are talking about how they’re beating themselves, how they still haven’t played their best game, most impartial observers believe the reason for LA’s 3-0 in simple: The Kings are a better team.
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
Talk to an NHL general manager about what it takes to win the Stanley Cup and the mantra is depth, depth, depth.
The Stanley Cup playoffs are a war of attrition. The teams that can best replace their fallen or ineffective players will thrive. Look how the Philadelphia Flyers are struggling because their big star, centre Claude Giroux, appears to be playing hurt and was no match for the New Jersey Devils’ Zach Parise on Thursday night.
When you are filling key positions by committee, the need for depth is more acute. That’s why the St. Louis Blues, the league’s textbook defensive team this season, are going to lose their second-round series to the Los Angeles Kings barring a medical miracle.
Under head coach Ken Hitchcock, the Blues were a defensive powerhouse this season. Goaltenders Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott copped the Jennings Trophy by allowing the fewest goals-against during the regular season.
The Los Angeles Kings playing their first home game of the series, defeated the St. Louis Blues 4-2.
The Kings now lead the Blues 3-0 in the series which forces the Blues to win the next four games. The two teams play again on Sunday at 3:00pm ET.
Will the next game be the last one for the Blues?
Update: Here’s NHL.com’s slate of game highlights:
from Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
So this is my wish for Game 3 tonight in LA: I hope the Blues show up, and play with tenacity and purpose. I hope the Blues are stronger mentally, which will cut down on the foolish mistakes that hurt them so terribly in the first two games.
I hope the Blues are more committed physically against a big LA team, and start winning more of those battles in tight spaces. I hope the Blues’ best players start playing like the Blues’ best players. I hope Alex Pietrangelo can give this team a boost if he returns in Game 3, and that fellow defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk can get his game in order. I hope the Blues forwards remember that their persistent, effective backchecking was an important factor in the team’s superb defensive performance this season. It’s time to work harder.
It would be a shame for the Blues to go quietly, and submit weakly, in the remainder of this series. I want to see the Blues make an honest stand, and give everything they have, to extend this series and give themselves a chance. I don’t want to lose respect for the Blues. I want to feel positive about the season. But if the Blues roll over in Los Angeles, they’ll trash much of the respect and admiration they’d earned this season.
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
The sale of the St. Louis Blues to a group headed by minority owner Tom Stillman is finally ready to be announced.
According to an NHL source, Stillman has his financing and legal work in place and is just waiting for the right moment – probably when the Blues are finished in the NHL playoffs – to make the announcement. The final step will be the stamp of approval from the league’s board of governors, although that is not going to be a problem since Stillman is NHL commissioner Gary Bettman’s preferred buyer.
The purchase, thought to be for around $130-million (all currency U.S.), comes not a moment too soon. Two sources say the Blues’ debt situation is serious enough under current chairman Dave Checketts that the NHL has been paying the team’s bills, likely in the form of advances on its share of league revenues, since early January. The assistance may have ended in April when ticket money from the playoffs and season tickets for next season began coming in.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Like Doan and his wife and family, Fisher’s faith is also a staple in his marriage to country music star Carrie Underwood. It was one of the initial draws when the two first met.
“That was a huge part of our relationship early on,” Fisher said. “She’s got a similar story to me in our journey and walking with the Lord. We both kind of learned through the teenage years and found what was really important and made it real for us. That was a big part of our relationship and obviously still is and of our marriage now.”
For Doan, a word that he repeats over and over is “genuine.” He said it six times during a 15-minute interview with ESPN.com. And it’s clear that perhaps what he’s trying to say is that a lot of athletes cite their faith but not all walk the walk.
“Too many times athletes and people want to think it’s what they should do, and they try to do it, but it’s not genuine,” Doan said. “God called on us to be real. He didn’t call on us to fake, he called on us to be real.”
That’s one thing Doan and Fisher will never be accused of—not being genuine.
Best goal of the night, no doubt, Anze Kopitar’s shorty against the Blues followed below by the best hit of the night from T.J. Oshie on Dustin Penner.
Down 0-2 as they head to Los Angeles.
Scoring has become a problem and they 0-for on the power play this series too.
The Kings on the other hand, just need to keep doing what they have been. Don’t get too fancy or think you have the game won before hitting the ice.
Watch the highlights of the 5-2 win tonight.
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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