Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
On the day Simon Despres would become a member of the Anaheim Ducks, he was shopping for furniture with his girlfriend. Despres noted that the trade deadline had passed and thought little of the matter.
Then his phone started lighting up with messages wondering how he felt about his impending move to Anaheim.
Needless to say, the Laval, Quebec, native was dumbfounded that he was no longer with the Pittsburgh Penguins, the team that had drafted him with the 30th overall pick in 2009.
At the time, mentions of the deal that saw former Penguin Ben Lovejoy returned to Pittsburgh in return for Despres considered the trade a wash, if not a slight advantage to Pittsburgh, given Lovejoy’s experience and physical nature.
Hindsight being what it is, it’s difficult to imagine this deal working out any better for Despres or the Ducks, and not just because he delivered the game-winning goal in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals against the Chicago Blackhawks Thursday night.
Home Team in Caps
NY Rangers 5, TAMPA BAY 1 – series tied 2-2
NASH HELPS RANGERS EVEN EASTERN CONFERENCE FINAL
Rick Nash registered 2-1—3, his first career multi-goal and three-point playoff performances, to help the Rangers even the Eastern Conference Final at two games apiece.
* The Rangers scored five goals for the second consecutive game (6-5 OT L in Game 3 at TBL). It marks the first time they have recorded five or more goals in consecutive playoff outings since Games 4 (5-3 W) and 5 (5-3 W) of the 2008 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals vs. NJD. It also marks the first time they have posted five or more goals in consecutive road postseason contests since Games 3 (5-1 W) and 4 (5-2 W) of the 1994 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals at NYI.
from Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun,
Somewhere in between the three overtime loss and the three and a half hour flight back here from California, the Blackhawks lost their speed.
And with it, they may have lost the ability to dictate the outcome of the remainder of the Western Conference final.
With a crucial Game 4 looming at the United Center on Saturday night, the 'Hawks hope to return to the style that got them through the first two rounds and a series split back in Anaheim.
And to do it, they'll need to get their legs out of the quicksand and not allow the Ducks to control the flow of the game as they did in Thursday's 2-1 win.
"I think any time when you talk about winning a series, you're going to want to play your game," Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf said. "We can't play a run-and-gun game.
"We're not a team that's built to skate up and down the rink all night long and trade chances. We're just not built that way. We have to execute our system and the things we want to do."
from Martin Fellelly of the Tampa Tribune,
The Eastern Conference finals is even. The Rangers just grabbed the home-ice edge again. They grabbed the Lightning and shook, liberally, with a 5-1 win in Game 4 — with a Marty goal thrown in for good measure.
Lightning fans could hardly muster righteous boos at that point. They were beaten down.
All those great Lightning chances, 19 shots alone in a frantic second period, even as Amalie Arena rocked. All those body blows, but nothing left at the end. Nothing. Empty tank.
Defensive breakdowns. Another bad night for Ben Bishop.
They just weren’t good enough.
“We definitely had our chances to win this game,” Lightning defenseman Anton Stralman said.
And now Rick Nash, the Rangers’ sleeping scorer, is wide awake after a two-goal night.
And Henrik Lundqvist is back to being Henrik Lundqvist.
And Bishop has had consecutive five-goal games.
And Marty just got his first goal of the postseason.
Can any of this be good news?
And this just in: The Triplets are human.
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
These were the Rangers with their best players being their best players.
These were the Rangers with a confident Henrik Lundqvist at the top of his game in nets — if there were a blackboard in front of me and a piece of chalk in my hand, I would write 100 times: “I should have known … I should have known … I should have known” — and these were the Rangers with Rick Nash producing the way he had when he carried his team’s offense through the first five months of the regular season.
“It’s frustrating when you feel you’re letting down the guys, the team and everyone around the organization,” Nash said after scoring twice in the Blueshirts’ 5-1 victory in Friday’s Game 4 that squared the conference finals at two-all. “I’ve felt the pressure.
“Believe me, I’ve been trying to contribute offensively as much as I can.”
The goals were Nash’s third and fourth of this postseason and the eighth and ninth in 57 playoff games as a Ranger. Last year, when he recorded three goals, Nash was doing everything else but score. The same pattern held true through the first two rounds this year.
Watch the game highlights below....
To put it indelicately, Don Cherry is going ga-ga over Mike Babcock, and while he insists that Babcock is no messiah, Cherry spent 85% of this Coach's Corner praising Babcock, praising Babcock, and also praising Babcock as the best coach in the world and the coach who will bring Canadians and Ontario natives to "Canada's team":
NEW YORK -- Bob Murray of the Anaheim Ducks, Glen Sather of the New York Rangers and Steve Yzerman of the Tampa Bay Lightning are the three finalists for the 2014-15 NHL General Manager of the Year Award, the National Hockey League announced today.
Voting for this award was conducted among the 30 club general managers and a panel of NHL executives, print and broadcast media at the conclusion of the Second Round of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The winner will be announced Wednesday, June 24, during the 2015 NHL Awards from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
The puck drops just after 8:00pm ET and is on NBCSN, CBC and TVA.
Almost a must win for the Rangers, they certainly do not want to go down 3-1.
On the other hand, the Lightning hope to go up 3-1 before heading back to New York to play game 5 on Sunday.
Feel free to discuss the game tonight.
from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,
There was a smarter way for Gary Bettman to handle a question about the existence of any connection between contact in hockey and the brain damage condition known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
The commissioner should have replied that the league is currently involved in litigation and then declined to speak any further. Evasive, sure, but perfectly understandable.
Instead, he told reporters in Chicago on Thursday this:
“From a medical science standpoint, there is no evidence yet that one necessarily leads to the other,” Bettman said. “I know there are a lot of theories, but if you ask people who study it, they tell you there is no statistical correlation that can definitively make that conclusion.”
It was a page ripped from the climate-change denial playbook, a classic head-in-the-sand defense. Appalling ... but then again exactly what you’d expect the man to say.
more plus other hockey topics...
from Matt Yoder of Awful Announcing,
Heading into the Stanley Cup Conference Finals, the suits at NBC were surely crossing their fingers and doing whatever superstitious ritual they could think of to get a dream Stanley Cup Final in the ratings department: Rangers vs Blackhawks.
Chicago. New York. Two members of the original six. Two of the biggest markets in the country. Two teams with national namebrand recognition. Two cities with hockey in their sports DNA. It wouldn’t get better than that.
Instead, after three games in the west and the east, NBC is looking straight down the barrel at a matchup that is most certainly a polar opposite: Ducks vs Lightning.
Tampa Bay. Anaheim. Two of hockey’s more recent expansion representatives. Warm weather. Sunshine. Palm trees. It’s not exactly the ghosts of Stan Mikita and Eddie Giacomin.
Why is this the case? The numbers tell the story.
The Ducks were involved in the lowest rated Stanley Cup Final in the last 20 years back in 2007. Senators-Ducks averaged a paltry 1.2 rating over the course of 5 games and just 1.7 million viewers on average.
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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