Kukla's Korner Hockey
“I would like to sincerely thank Glen Sather and the New York Rangers for giving me the opportunity this past season in New York. I would also like to thank the Vancouver Canucks and all of their fans for their support over the 11-plus seasons I was a part of their organization, as well as to the Pittsburgh Penguins where I began my NHL career.”
-Markus Naslund in his official retirement announcement. More at NewYorkRangers.com.
from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,
The Canucks have more than a few issues to deal with as their second-round series lands in the Windy City. But job No. 1 is defending those killer stretch passes that have exposed their blueline.
David Bolland’s shorthanded goal Saturday night was simply the most glaring example of that play, but the Blackhawks have used the long bomb to ignite their attack throughout the first two games.
It’s confusing the Canucks’ coverage. It’s putting Roberto Luongo under considerable duress. And it’s completely negating the Canucks’ forecheck.
Here’s the result. Aside from a 30-minute span from the 10-minute mark of the first period to the end of the second period in Game 1, the Hawks have dominated this series to an alarming degree. The Canucks now have to prove they can play at their speed or slow them down to their own. Either way, the challenge is formidable.
from Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune,
Ever since their three-goal explosion in the third period of Game 1 Thursday night, the Hawks have been the faster, stronger and more physical of the teams, and they have seized home-ice advantage in the series with three of the possible five remaining games scheduled at the UC.
After winning all three home games in front of roaring crowds during their first-round series with Calgary, the Hawks are pleased to be setting up shop once again on West Madison Street.
“It’s all about coming out hard and flying and using that energy in our own building,” captain Jonathan Toews said. “We have an opportunity here, so we have to go out there and take advantage of it.”
The most shocking aspect of the two games in Vancouver was the Hawks’ ability to put pucks past Canucks star goaltender Roberto Luongo. The veteran netminder has yielded eight goals during the first two games after giving up just five in Vancouver’s four-game sweep of St. Louis in the first round.
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
If Vancouver’s Sedin brothers, Henrik and Daniel, hit the free agent market in July with their names on the Cup as conquering Canucks, imagine the score they’ll make at the pay window.
Los Angeles and Toronto will be just two of the clubs with enough cap room and interest to woo the talented Swedish forwards. Montreal, with the league’s most available cash, also could be enticed. Ah, two Sedins and one Celine, how lyrical.
Their deal in Vancouver paid each of the Sedins $3.75 million this season. They easily will average upward of $6 million each on their next contract, and given that they won’t turn 29 until September, they might persuade someone to cough up, say, $90 million over six years, averaging out to $7.5 million per Sedin.
continued and other hockey topics too…
from Stephen Brunt of the Globe and Mail,
They made Roberto Luongo, by and large, look ordinary in the Vancouver net, and at even strength controlled the tempo. Their defencemen fearlessly ventured deep into Canucks territory or fired long stretch passes through the neutral zone. Their forwards won all of the small races for the puck, and made Vancouver seem a bit tentative, a bit slow, back on their heels, reacting.
The really striking part, though, was the Blackhawks’ poise.
Young teams, with the bulk of their roster dipping a toe for the first time into the postseason, are supposed to be at least a little bit intimidated, and franchises that make great leaps forward during the regular season often fall back in the playoffs.
But as the folks in Calgary already know all too well, this is a special group of Hawks, apparently not the least bit shaken by the situation or by unfriendly surroundings.
from Tim Sassone of Between The Circles at the Chicago Daily-Herald,
The more you see the Vancouver defense, the more ordinary it looks. And now the Canucks might be without defenseman Samu Salo, who apparently hurt his back scoring his power-play goal two minutes into the first period. Salo left the game and never returned.
Kevin Bieksa acts all tough, but Dustin Byfuglien blew by him much of the night like he was one of those orange practice cones.
Go inside the locker room following Game #2 of the Western Conference semi-finals vs. Chicago, followed by Vigneault’s media Q & A
This won’t last long so watch now…
added 11:59pm, The Versus version of the save can be watched below…
from Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun,
When the season started he was known locally as “Kyle Well-fed.”
Nobody was projecting the former Toronto Maple Leaf to be a Stanley Cup hero in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinal, much less acknowledged by coach Alain Vigneault as “our best player.”
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
What kind of shape is Mats Sundin really in?
Well, we’re about to find out.
“He’s a target,” promised agitating Chicago Blackhawks winger Adam Burish. “If you asked him, he’d know he has a target on his back.”...
“They’ve got to understand that they’re going to have earn their space,” said Burish, fresh off of driving Jarome Iginla to distraction in Chicago’s six-game victory over Calgary in Round 1. “They have to earn every inch of ice.”
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 email@example.com